India & Sri Lanka Planning 2018

Discussion in 'Destination Guide' started by Jacques Vert, Sep 2, 2017.

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  1. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    #1 Jacques Vert, Sep 2, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    Hi all,

    Following the wonderful response we've had to my thread on Machu Picchu & South America Planning:

    http://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/destination-guide/machu-picchu-s-america-planning-83564.html,

    I'm now working on planning the second half of our 280k Award trip in late 2018. I had originally included this as a possibility in the other thread but have decided it deserves a thread of its own, especially for others who may be looking for info on the sub-continent.

    So......after returning from Sth America in May 18 (stopping the award ticket in AKL and flying home on a separate ticket), we are planning on flying back to AKL to continue the award ticket by then heading to India. I've been looking at when is the best time to go to avoid the monsoons, the hot summers, and the freezing nights in the higher parts of the north in winter. I was originally thinking of Sri Lanka in late September but am now looking at starting in mid-October and stopping in Sri Lanka on the way home (mid to late Nov).

    Of course, the final plan will depend to a great extent on availability of award seats.
     

  2. RB

    RB Established Member

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    For our 2013 Indian trip where we visited parts of the north, we arrived at the start of Nov. It was certainly cold but not unbearably so & daytime was no challenge. The hotels we stayed at were generally well organised to cope. Hiring a car & driver was a great way to do it & I can highly recommend the guy we used.
    Sri Lanka in Nov might be a bit of a lottery although later Nov probably the better with the south & west the most likely to enjoy the better weather. We enjoyed just having downtime in the south & west when we were there & really enjoyed it. Again I think a car & driver is the best way to do it & the one we used was experienced & excellent.
    Happy to supply contact details for both drivers.
     
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  3. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    Thanks RB, happy to receive your recommendations for drivers.

    We have also been looking at the possibility of an India Rail Pass; prices seem quite reasonable. That man in seat 61 has some good information and suggested itineraries. It may end up being a combination of both.

    As noted in post 1, we are still in the researching/early planning stage. Most likely award flights to be available (in J) appear to be AKL-KUL with MH, KUL-CMB-CCU with UL (or possibly CMB-DEL).
     
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  4. Fifa

    Fifa Established Member

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    I'll be following with interest as I'd love to do an extended visit to both countries.

    We have visited four Indian ports on a cruise from Singapore to Dubai. In Mumbai we did a 'slum' tour which was incredible.
    A few years ago our son and his then girlfriend hired a government accredited driver/guide while he was there and visited Rajasthan for a week.

    I'm keen to do one of the multi-day luxury train trips in India too.
     
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  5. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    Prices not quite so reasonable:shock::(
     
  6. Fifa

    Fifa Established Member

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    If the award requires more points to India and Sri Lanka than Asia a good option may be a J mileage run from/to KUL with MH or UL.
    Sign up for their newsletters and check out the sale prices which are often 30% off.
     
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  7. RooFlyer

    RooFlyer Enthusiast

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    Also following this one with interest. Also planning Sri Lanka next year.
     
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  8. Milboo

    Milboo Established Member

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    I have a recent trip report for Sri Lanka in Trip Reports - I went last March (from memory) and back in October.

    I have the details of an awesome driver - was given to me on recommendation, used him and have had a friend use him too. If he cannot help then he will refer you to someone.

    Its a beautiful country - nice people, amazing sights and great food.

    I can't wait to return.
     
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  9. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    All part of a 280k J award so points will be the same either way.
     
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  10. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    I've seen your trip report and will be revisiting it during our planning. Happy for any further recommendations although we will most likely be spending most of our time in India.
     
  11. Major

    Major Established Member

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    The UL prices are very good. I have booked CMB-MEL-BNE in J next May for $1200 (MEL-BNE sector is QF in J)
     
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  12. MEL_Traveller

    MEL_Traveller Enthusiast

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    For India I'd be heading to Udaipur. I think this is the quintessential 'Inida' many of us imagine... steeped in the history of the Raj with museums, art and paintings, and of course everything else that India has to offer (shopping, food). Udaipur is famous for its Lake Palace, but you can stay on the shores of the lake, sipping cocktails on the roof of your hotel while watching James Bond in Octopussy at sunset.

    Train? Hmm, well. Once is fun. And that once is probably in a 1AC sleeper. Otherwise fly. Saves a lot of time and hassle.

    One tip - arrange a car to meet you at the airport (and any subsequent airport) on arrival. The introduction to India can be brutal faced with hundreds of touts at the exit of the airport. And it could ruin your holiday if you get caught. We did it once and after that had cars to meet us everywhere. They're very cheap and smooth everything to allow you to focus on the holiday.
     
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  13. VPS

    VPS Established Member

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    Following with interest - Sri Lanka is on my list
     
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  14. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

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    MrP and son hired a car and driver to get them around Rajasthan area - which they loved. Jaipur and Udaipur. They travelled at Christmas time and trains were all booked out. They did catch a bus for one longish trip that was - mmm- eventful.
    Sri Lanka - again MrP and other son hired a driver for a four day drive around south - Hikkaduwa and then into Kandy and the Tea Country. Sourced through Trip Advisor reviews.
     
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  15. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    In relation to having a car meet us at the airport, did you organize this through your hotel(s) or through another source?
     
  16. MEL_Traveller

    MEL_Traveller Enthusiast

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    We did a mix of both... hotels in some cases and arranged it ourselves on-line for others. Expect to pay a premium for hotel cars.
     
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  17. RB

    RB Established Member

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    If you are going to be hiring a car & driver, we found they would pick up at the airport & drop you at a hotel for an overnight stay the night before you start your trip-all done for no or little cost in our experience
     
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  18. coyote25

    coyote25 Established Member

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    While I visited India and Sri Lanka with tour companies (G Adventures to India, On The Go Tours to Sri Lanka) you might find these blog entries useful;

    Destination: India

    Sri Lanka | Nathan's Insights

    Happy to answer any specific questions you might have.
     
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  19. RooFlyer

    RooFlyer Enthusiast

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    I used a tour company RVentures, recommended by another AFFer jojen who used them before. Couldn't be happier with them. Small company, flexible; they do driven guided tours, cycling tours, animal park tours etc.

    My TR using them, here: A series of Firsts: India and Xi'an, mainly thanks to AFF

    PM or 'converse' me if you'd like e-mail details etc.
     
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  20. Jacques Vert

    Jacques Vert Established Member

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    Thanks for the links; all good information.
     
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