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Laos and/or India tips

Laos and/or India tips

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Old Dec 18, 18, 6:44 pm
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Laos and/or India tips

I'm planning on traveling alone to India over new years (in a couple weeks). I've already been to Rajasthan (Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur & Jodhpur). I stayed in all Oberoi's so this time I would want more of an authentic experience-

I'm thinking of going to Kolkata and Ranthambore Park- Kolkata for the vibrant local life and the feeling of being worlds away from what I'm familiar with and Ranthambore for the tiger safari.

Has anyone been to either places- if so, would you recommend or strongly not recommend (seems to be very different opinions RE: Kolkata). Any input or tips would be very much appreciated. Also, if you have spent time in other places in India, would love to hear your feedback. I am traveling to get away, see as much local life and beautiful scenery as possible (i.e. Mumbai is a def no.)

Finally, for Ranthambore: has anyone stayed in the Oberoi or Sujan? I am not going to stay at Amanikhas so no need to suggest that. After a terribly disappointing stay at another Aman, I need a bit of a break from Amans. Any feedback on Oberoi or Sujan would also be so very much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
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Old Dec 18, 18, 8:05 pm
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Here is a thread which may be of interest,
Oberoi Amarvillas
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Old Dec 19, 18, 4:26 am
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Originally Posted by Kimchi278 View Post
I'm planning on traveling alone to India over new years (in a couple weeks). I've already been to Rajasthan (Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur & Jodhpur). I stayed in all Oberoi's so this time I would want more of an authentic experience-

I'm thinking of going to Kolkata and Ranthambore Park- Kolkata for the vibrant local life and the feeling of being worlds away from what I'm familiar with and Ranthambore for the tiger safari.

Has anyone been to either places- if so, would you recommend or strongly not recommend (seems to be very different opinions RE: Kolkata). Any input or tips would be very much appreciated. Also, if you have spent time in other places in India, would love to hear your feedback. I am traveling to get away, see as much local life and beautiful scenery as possible (i.e. Mumbai is a def no.)

Finally, for Ranthambore: has anyone stayed in the Oberoi or Sujan? I am not going to stay at Amanikhas so no need to suggest that. After a terribly disappointing stay at another Aman, I need a bit of a break from Amans. Any feedback on Oberoi or Sujan would also be so very much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
I did a site tour at Oberoi Vanyavilas - very nice property, but very, very different from Aman-i-Khas. SUJAN is definitely more similar to Aman-i-Khas in style. Also, far more likely to run into people, and indeed families etc, at Oberoi.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 10:28 am
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If you want a more authentic experience, then forget Ranthambhore and go instead to Madhya Pradesh and stay at Taj Banjaar Tola.

If you must go to Ranthambhore, then I have stayed at all three and think Sujan is probably the most 'authentic', although I like Vanyavilas a lot, as it is very civilised.

Other more original places to go would be Hyderabad, staying at Taj Falaknuma Palace.

Kolkata is limited in its interest, I think, but The Oberoi Grand is the best option here.

Another trip of interest would be in the North - start at Sukhvilas in Chandigarh, then take a driver to The Cecil is Shimla and stay a night, then onward to Wildflower Hall in Mashobra, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Great trip.
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Old Dec 20, 18, 8:09 pm
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
If you want a more authentic experience, then forget Ranthambhore and go instead to Madhya Pradesh and stay at Taj Banjaar Tola.

If you must go to Ranthambhore, then I have stayed at all three and think Sujan is probably the most 'authentic', although I like Vanyavilas a lot, as it is very civilised.

Other more original places to go would be Hyderabad, staying at Taj Falaknuma Palace.

Kolkata is limited in its interest, I think, but The Oberoi Grand is the best option here.

Another trip of interest would be in the North - start at Sukhvilas in Chandigarh, then take a driver to The Cecil is Shimla and stay a night, then onward to Wildflower Hall in Mashobra, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Great trip.
This was super helpful and I'm going to thoroughly research all suggestions and probably choose one of the options you suggested. I wanted to go to Sukvilas at Chandigarh of course but it is fully booked for the entire time period that I have holiday for.

Do you know anything about Taj Nadesar Palace or Brijrama Palace in Varanasi? Varanasi looks quite touristy but in the way that Udaipur is in that although there are tons of tourists there are many for a reason and its still a place you should see (?)
Not sure if that is accurate though. I am so intrigued by Hyderabad and Madhya Pradesh. Do you know if tiger sightings are as likely there as they are at Ranthambore?

Thanks again for all your insight!
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Old Dec 20, 18, 8:28 pm
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I love this!
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Old Dec 20, 18, 11:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Kimchi278 View Post
Not sure if that is accurate though. I am so intrigued by Hyderabad and Madhya Pradesh. Do you know if tiger sightings are as likely there as they are at Ranthambore?
By all accounts, Madhya Pradesh is better than Ranthambore for tiger sightings.

Hyderabad is worth a stay.
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Old Dec 21, 18, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by chinmoylad View Post
By all accounts, Madhya Pradesh is better than Ranthambore for tiger sightings.

Hyderabad is worth a stay.
After researching all of Vuitton's suggestions, I have come up with what I think suits all the points I am looking for while compromising because of time constraints.

First, I have decided not to do Laos this trip. As I have literally been to every other country in Asia except Laos, it would have been cool to tick it off my list but another time.

Second, the Taj Falaknuma Palace looks incredibly beautiful and very special but I'm not sure I have enough time to go all the way down to Hyderabad.

I'm planning on flying into Kolkata for a couple nights then fly to Varanasi for a few days and then Madhya Pradesh (for the Tiger Safari) and staying at the Taj Banjaar Tola, which unfortunately doesnt look as nice as the Oberoi or Sujan in Ranthambore but atleast the price reflects that and I am under the impression that it is a lot less touristy (?) so less people (hopefully?).

If I have a total of 11-12 days, do you think I can fit in Hyderabad? Or does anyone have another suggestion of somewhere closer by that would be worth a visit?

Thanks everyone for all their help!
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Old Dec 21, 18, 8:50 am
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I realize you are traveling east to west, but I'll add that Hyderabad is full of history and temples, as well as great food and excitement and modernity. Now, I'm just throwing it out there, but if you are getting tugged south, I loved Kochi most of all, so charming and laid back.
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Old Dec 22, 18, 4:10 am
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Rooms at the Oberoi Grand are not good, dated and small bathrooms but the service and food makes it probably the best choice in Kolkata.

The drive from Chandigarh to Shimla is not for the faint hearted but Wildflower Hall is wonderful, The Cecil did not look as good but only went in to use the loos! You can take the take the train but make sure you book the first class carriage.

The Taj Nadesar Palace is very good and great to go back to after the chaos.
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Old Dec 22, 18, 6:04 am
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I recently stayed at the Brijrama Palace in Varanasi. Because it is not a luxury hotel, I put my comments in the India forum. Here's a link:

Brijrama Palace -- the second best hotel in Varanasi
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