My husband and I are arriving in Delhi on 27 jan 06 and have no organised plans up until 5 Feb 06 when we need to be in Mumbai. We have done some research on the internet and found several tours taking in Taj Mahal, tour of Delhi along with several nights at Tiger National Parks and Bird Sanctuaries. The question I have is, is it better to organise something like this with a tour operator or can we do plan something like this ourselves? The suggested tour was arrive Delhi, transfer to hotel, Day 1 trip to Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary, Day 2 City Tour od Delhi, Day 3 Visit Taj Mahal. Day 4-5 Bandhavgarh National Park Day 6-8 Kanha National Park.
My husband and I prefer to book holidays independently rather than through tour operators but are concerned with transport for getting to places, best National Parks to go to etc etc based on our timescale and whether it would be any cheaper doing it ourselves. We have been quoted £600 each for a 9 day tour which seems a bit excessive to us when we are on a budget.
What we would really like to do is take a couple of days in Delhi/Agra on arrival then either one or two Tiger Reserves along with a Bird Sanctuary and any other advetures on route to Mubai.
Can anyone recommend anything suitable and how easy it is to get from A to B? And whether it would be best to book hotels, safaris etc before leaving for India.
You can do all these tours by yourselves. The cost will be much much cheaper. Don't be apprehensive about India. I can suggest you a rough route guide.
Delhi--- bharatpur bird sanctuary/sultanpur bird sanctuary--- Corbett national park (best in India)---tajmahal--------mumbai
bharatpur(rajasthan) is 176 km from delhi. Sultanpur(haryana) is 20 km from delhi.
Corbett national park is 240 km from delhi.
All these places are very well connected by excellent roads. You can either book a car or take a bus from delhi. All these places have plenty of accomodation. So you can get a budget hotel easily.
so decide it for yourself which way to go.
I did a tour to many areas of India about 8 years ago. Went to Dehli, Agra, Banglore, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Udipar, Jaipur, Trevendrum, Bombay and Goa.
I recommend you also check out a travel as you please pass on various Indian airlines. they are available for a fixed price only for foreign nationals. India is very different depending on where you go.
Taj Mahal -pretty but Agra very dirty
Banglore - up and coming city -much of IT outsourcing is there now
Jaipur -city of pink palaces -pretty palaces to see
Trevendrum - southern part of India, tropical- beaches
Goa - not far from Bombay -tropical - beaches -touristy
Amristar- Golden temple (listed as one of 50 must see places by BBC before you die).
India is easy to get around but your timetable is a bit tight;8-9days.
For great guideance just have Lonely Planet India and it has your journey planned right down to which bus or train you catch.
Delhi is great and stay in the backpackers area and you can walk most places yourselfs,you will get lost a few times but thats life but thats going to take a few days;when in Backpackers area tell your hotel you want a citytour and they will get you a cheapie probally by their own car.
When you leave Delhi by BUS you wont be going back because next stop is Agra/Tajmahal for a day and stay in Hotel.
You then go across India by bus or train taking in various stops to Jodhjur,maybe have a night in Jaipur.
From Jodhijur catch a train to Mt Abu and walk up to top of mountain by the steps;hope your fit!!!!!!!!!,stay another night somewhere!!!
Next day bus down to Ahmedabad for another day and night and then its a full days journey by minibus to Mumbai unless you want another night in hotel at Surat to break your journey.
Doing it independently you would save £7-800 but would take longer as travelling India is NOT worth planning!!!!!!!!!!!!just one day at a time but see how you get on first and you can always fly Mumbai.
India was a great unbelieveable travel experience with great friendly people and lots to see.
Have a great trip and enjoy your travels
al de bes
Thanks for the replies.
We had actually thought about having a couple of days in Delhi to recover from the jet lag and see the sights, before catching a train to Agra, maybe a night there but we want to visit Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary on route. We are then considering catching a train to enable us to visit Bandhavgarh National Park for maybe 3 or 4 nights before finally catching an overnight train to Mumbai where we have to be by morning of 5th Feb 06. We spend the night in Mumbai and then we plan to get a train to Goa where we are staying with friends for 9 nights before coming home.
How easy is it to book trains online and is it recommended to book in advance. Can anyone recommend any good hotels? I assume it is easy enough to organise this ourselves rather than using a tour operator at extra costs?
Though you have limited time at your disposal, yet you may be able to see a lot, as far as your interest in Bird watching & trailing the Royal Bengal Tiger is concerned. I would have definitely recommended to you the Corbett National Park, just about 275km away from Delhi. The best part is that you stay inside the park, in the various FRH built by the Brits on the river Ramganga. But that is not advisable in the month of January & it is bitterly cold inside the park. So I most reluctantly, disapprove of Corbett. The other options left is either the Bandhavgarh, Kanha or Ranthambore. I would also not give full marks to Ranthambore as you are visiting this beautiful park in January, just after the school/college holidays, when 25000 visitors go to Ranthambore & drive the carnivora into the deeper recesses of jungles. So Bandhavgarh or Kanha, it has to be. Kanha though is a much bigger reserve & carries a whole variety of animals more than Bandhavgarh.
Your Bird watching interest is more likely to be addressed by Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur. January is the very best time to see the sanctuary at it's humming best.
Your itinerary will, therefore, go something like this: Delhi - Bharatpur - Agra. In Bharatpur do stay at Chandra Mahal Haveli a wonderful little property in the middle of nowhere! Aftewr doing your sightseeing in Keoladeo early morning, drive off to Agra to see the Taj & ofcourse do not miss the formidable Agra fort, where the young English captain got the rights to commerce for East India Co. from Jehangir. You may now take the train to Katni. The trains that run are Mahakoshal Exp; Gondwani Exp. & Kaliguntakul Exp. All these train run daily. After your tryst with the tiger be off for your appointment in Mumbai. The trains are: Kamayani / Mahanagri / GKP Ltt.
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