News

Trip to India was our best trip ever.

Discussion in 'Travel' started by DIGMAN52, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. DIGMAN52

    DIGMAN52 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 30, 2004
    3,154
    Dallas Texas
    Full Name:
    Philip C
    We spent 14 days in India in January with another couple, and all fell in love with the country. Hardworking people who want your stay in their country to be memorable, and the service there was like nothing we had experienced before.

    We had a local travel agent arrange our itinerary with Pierce and Leslie in India. They set up all flights, guides, and transportation for the whole trip. One of their reps met us in Mumbai customs, and got us through quickly and into the driver's hands. They also had a rep meet us at each new hotel / city, and really made things go smoothly.

    Stayed at the Taj Hotel Mumbai for the first 2 nights, doing a walking tour with a guide in the old city area near the hotel. In every city, we would have a guide that grew up there, and only guided that city. All top shelf people, 2 who had quit being a lawyer to be a guide. Right behind the hotel, we saw 2 cows grazing on hay.

    Quick flight to Udaipur - a lake city that was Travel and Leisure's Most Beautiful City in The World a few years back. Our Taj Hotel Lake Palace, was the actual summer palace of the local Maharaja / ruler, and had spectacular views from our island of the Fort and Palace across the water. Bought 2 small rugs, a suit and 2 shirts while we were there. Suit made it to Texas, and fits great. Rugs remind us of the trip.

    Next stop was the Blue City of Jodhpur. We had a long travel day in our van with driver, and turned into the Umaid Bhawan Palace entrance security checkpoint. They had a 9-11 experience in India in 2005, so security is tight at all hotels and historic sights. We see this giant building on the hill, and ask the driver if that is our Hotel ? After hearing yes, these tired travelers were high-fiving, especially after we heard the trumpets blaring, 4 men holding a canopy for us, and a beautiful young lady dropping rose petals on us from above. Crazy welcome. It is a frickin' Palace, only having 60 rooms, and the lobby was under a giant dome. They had gotten us upgraded to suites, and it was by far the best room we have ever stayed in. Toured the Fort / Palace on a high hill, and wherever there were Blue Houses below, that's where Hindu Priests lived. Great historical museum there as well. We ate in a Royal Family's home, had a cooking demonstration, and heard about their history in the area back to the 1300's.

    On to Jaipur, the Pink City. Great tours as usual, and the girls had our guide lead them through one of the huge shopping markets. We also bought a bunch of textiles there, like scarves and bedspreads for family and friends. These companies make the product for Hermes, Valentino, Lauren and others, and you can buy it for a ton less than you would pay over here. All were shipped home with no issues.

    Next stop was Rathambore National Park, where we stayed in luxury tents in a resort on the edge of the park. We had a 4 hour, guided tour for 2 afternoons, and our guide, a veteran of 27 years, had been awarded best guide in all of India in 2017. The first day we saw a ton of monkeys, crocodiles, deer, pigs, kingfishers, and for about 20 seconds, the back end of a tiger. There are only 76 tigers living in this huge park, 1,500 in all of India, and 3,500 in the world, so we had talked to several people who never got to see one. We were in a line of 4 jeeps, waiting on the side of the road where tiger cubs had been spotted earlier. Someone in the back jeep yells TIGER, and we all start backing up as this tiger walks up the road behind us. After 20 seconds it headed into the bush, but we all could say we caught a glimpse of a tiger. The next afternoon, after 2 1/2 hours of no action, we turn a corner and there she was. A beautiful 600+ lb pregnant female tiger, walking right towards the front of our jeep. She gets about 20' from our bumper and stops for a second. We start up the jeep, and back up 100 yards. She then continues to walk towards us, stopping again right in front of us, until we back up again. This went on for 15 full minutes, until another jeep came up from behind too quickly and scared her off. We all got videos, photos, and time to just look and enjoy God's beauty he created in these beasts. That sighting really made my trip, and my need to go to Africa for photography has lessened. Our group was the hit of the campfire that night, with viewings of our pics and videos all around.

    On to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Agra can be done in one night's stay, as we had an afternoon, and then a sunrise tour of the Taj. The first afternoon was a little overcast, but still able to get good photos. The next morning, when we were hoping for the sunrise hitting the Taj shots, it was fogged in, and you could not see it from 100 yds out. We did the quick tour of the inside then, and with hardly any people there then, you had time to take it all in. We stopped at a marble factory after that, whose craftsmen were the 18th generation decendants of the original Taj builders. The marble used is the hardest in the world, and brought from 300 miles away by elephant. We bought a small marble piece to send home for a Cheese tray / Lazy Susan display.

    We ended with one night in Delhi, at an incredible Oberoi Hotel there. It had just completed a 2 year renovation, making it the highest tech of all their hotels. Ipads in each room for the lights, tv, blinds, and everything else you can imagine. We all could have stayed there another night or two, enjoying its luxury. We ate at a restaurant that was under construction for 7 years. The most ornate, hand carved spot we have ever eaten, with 9 different rooms with different themes. Great food as well. Our final day tour was through the narrow road / alleyways of Delhi. Tiny 10' wide by 50' deep shops everywhere, and you had to dodge scooters and motorcycles as you walked down these roads. One whole road was the Wedding Shops, where they buy all the gaudy fake jewelry they use for their massive weddings. Wires hanging down everywhere, monkeys on the wires, and things being cooked everywhere you turned. We could have done more time in Delhi as well.

    We were in Northern India the whole time, and much of it is desert land. In 2 weeks, we hit the high spots, but in no way did we see it all. My daughter had been before, as well as another couple that shared their past India trips with us. The food was excellent the whole way, and we ate safely at hotels or restaurants that were well known. No street food for us, and no one got Delhi Belly over there. Each hotel had an included hot buffer, with omlette guy, pasteries, meats, and some India choices as well. We would stock up on a big breakfast, and usually not stop for lunch. Bottled water only, including when you brushed your teeth. We all had anti-biotics, and other drugs for whatever might crop up on the trip. We flew Emerites Business Class, and it was very nice. Their lounge in Dubai we used coming and going was outstanding, with a Moet Bar, and some red wines my buddy said were $200 a bottle stuff.

    We did not know how we would travel with these friends for that long a time, but it could not have gone better. We would travel together in a heartbeat. Travel over there is affordable, and with 5 star Hotels, Guides, an 8 passenger van with driver and helper with wifi and USB, and a few dinners included, it was right at $9k per person plus $4,500 for each round trip. We stimulated the economy with all the jewelry, clothes, and textiles we bought. Our girls went a little wild. Consider a trip to India, you won't regret it.

    Photos to follow. May take a couple of posts.
    Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
    Jaguar36 likes this.
  2. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    15,568
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    Totally epic. How was the food?
    T
     
    DIGMAN52 likes this.
  3. DIGMAN52

    DIGMAN52 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 30, 2004
    3,154
    Dallas Texas
    Full Name:
    Philip C
    It was really good. We have liked Indian food for 35 years, but our friends were not used to it. They liked it as well, and you could adjust the spicy factor at all the restaurants. We did break it up with Italian one night, and Continental another just to have different cuisines. I am not a huge vegetable fan , but with the spices and cooking they do with it, I eat things I never would back home. Had the best spinach I ever ate at the Safari resort. Some unusual but really good Indian breakfast items as well, just don't know what they are called.
     
    tomkatf, VAF84 and tomc like this.
  4. Smiles

    Smiles Moderator
    Moderator Owner

    Nov 20, 2003
    11,834
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Full Name:
    Matt F
    Thanks for sharing!

    India is on my (rather short) bucket list.

    Matt
     
    DIGMAN52 likes this.
  5. sf_hombre

    sf_hombre Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 22, 2008
    746
    Lombardia
    Full Name:
    Don
    Great pix and narrative. Thanks for sharing. Would you have stayed another week?
     
    DIGMAN52 likes this.
  6. DIGMAN52

    DIGMAN52 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 30, 2004
    3,154
    Dallas Texas
    Full Name:
    Philip C
    Yes we all would have. Would add a night in several spots to enjoy the amazing Hotels at a more leisurely pace.

    The four of us saw Mumbai Hotel yesterday, about their 9-11 experience. Pretty intense, but neat seeing the Taj Hotel Mumbai, where we stayed.
     
  7. LightGuy

    LightGuy Two Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 4, 2004
    28,798
    Texas
    Full Name:
    David
    Just found this thread.

    Great write up and pics !
    I think they just finished renovating the Taj Mahal a year or two ago so you saw it all sparkly.

    India is on our bucket list where it wasn't even a few years ago.
    We like unusual places now and dont revisit the "normal" destinations as often.
    Although we will do India on a much lower budget :( Do they have ox-cart rentals ? ;)

    IMO The Indian and Chinese government are subsidizing travel to their countries now.
    Generic tour groups such as Smart-tours has killer deals on Groupon.
    We used them for China and had an excellent time. Highly recommended.
    They offer an Indian tour as well.
     
    DIGMAN52 likes this.
  8. vraa

    vraa Formula 3
    Rossa Subscribed

    Oct 31, 2003
    1,378
    Texas
    Full Name:
    Mr. A
  9. BoulderFCar

    BoulderFCar F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Dec 16, 2004
    5,526
    Ft Lauderdale
    Full Name:
    Tom M
    My wife just got back last week. She pretty much didn't like it. Cow crap everywhere and horrible air. She's glad she went and has no desire to go back. It's off my list.
     
  10. DIGMAN52

    DIGMAN52 F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 30, 2004
    3,154
    Dallas Texas
    Full Name:
    Philip C
    To each his own. We only had smoggy air in Mumbai and Delhi, both huge cities. Everywhere else was clear. I would think it makes a huge difference what hotels and guides you had, but all 4 of us were ready to see more of India anytime.
     

Share This Page