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Highlights of Northern India - Anyone going

Tue, 04/06/2010 - 20:35

I have just booked this trip for 8 Oct 2010 and am so excited - is anyone else booked on it?

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 19:30

Hi Folks, I emailed Charlotte at Exodus with a couple of questions about money to take and whether we will be booked together on the flight.  Here is her response as I thought it may be useful:

"Thank you very much for your email. I am really happy to hear that you are excited about your holiday and that you have been in touch with other people on the trip already.
 
In answer to your questions:
 
1. You will be fine taking cash in sterling. It will be easy to change throughout the trip. I would adivise that you take a card as well as back up and I tend to carry a few travellers cheques as security as they can always be easily changed back on return. They are, however, getting more difficult to change as fewer people use them these days. If you let the leader know you have them they will help you find a bank in which they can be exchanged. You will be able to do this in the main cities. On the trains you will be in berths together so security shouldn't be anything to worry about and we haven't ever had such issues in the past. I would highly recommend keeping all you essential items close to you on these journies however.
 
 2. There are security boxes in the most of the hotel rooms. However, I would probably recommend that you keep your essentials on you at all times.
 
3. A light jumper at this time of year will be fine. THe temperatures will still be quite high and will not drop too much at night.
 
4. I can't guarantee that all of you will be together on the flight unfortunately, however, if you would like me to request a particular seat for you I can certainly look into this for you.
 
I hope this is of help but please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions."

 Catherine.

Anonymous
Tue, 08/24/2010 - 09:42

Hi Catherine - thanks for sharing your reply that's really helpful about the money and the temperature guide, etc.  I guess as its a night flight there's no point in asking for a window seat(!) but I'll ask if those of us who get the chance to meet up beforehand (and who want to!!!?) can book seats together/near each other in advance, or whether we have to wait until we check-in at the airport - any views anyone? (I won't be offended if I have to sit on my own!!!).  Jenny

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 12:32

Hi Jenny - yes I'm happy to sit with you (or others in the group!) on the flight if you want to ask the question.  I was going to ask if there was any chance of an aisle seat.

 Catherine

Tue, 08/24/2010 - 19:52

Me again!  I asked what the makeup of the group was and this was the reply:

 "The group is made up of 12 women - ages 61, 41, 61, 42, 68, 40, 38, 60, 32, 37, 29 and 4 men - ages 34, 36, 57 and 27. Most of the travellers are independent."

Good mix!

Anonymous
Wed, 08/25/2010 - 11:06

Well that's a good mix - it's a shame not everyone was able to join the forum - I'll guess we'll all meet up soon enough.  I'll drop an email to Charlotte at Exodus and see what she can do about booking seats on the flight and I'll mention you want an isle seat! Jenny

Wed, 08/25/2010 - 16:01

Hi folks.  It's really interesting to see the age range of who'll be on the trip, and the male to female ratio.  I'm looking forward to meeting everyone, and putting ages to faces, although I'll be keeping my mouth shut in case I cause offence!  I'd be happy to sit with everyone, but I've already enquired about getting an extra leg room seat if possible, but not sure if I'll have to wait until check-in for that.  Thankfully, it's a much shorter flight that I'd originally thought.

Sat, 08/28/2010 - 20:40

Hi - Jenny, I had previously mentioned to Charlotte that I would like an aisle seat - she has sent a reply saying I'm allocated seat 37C going out and 37H coming back - just incase you want to be near there.  Started reading my travel book now - can't believe it is just over 5 weeks now!  Douglas - just you be careful matching ages to people!! haha!  I've got an appointment at the Docs next week to check innoculations etc - pretty confident I don't need any so wasn't going to bother, but at the last minute I thought I'd better be safe than sorry!  Has anyone been advised to take malaria tablets - I didn't think it would be necessary, but the Rough Guide implies they are necessary - really don't want to if I can help it.

Tue, 08/31/2010 - 11:24

Hi.  I was explicitly told by the nurse at my doctor's practice that malaria tablets were not required.  When I was telling friends and family, however, I did get some worried looks, but I suppose you can only go on what the advice of the doctor is.  After all, they're just going on what a website which is being continually updated says. If you get something nasty, just do a Cheryl Cole and say you took the tablets anyway.  The nurse also told me about an increase in dengue fever, and a case of a rabid cow, so watch out!

Thu, 09/02/2010 - 00:28

Hi - Saw Nurse today who confirmed, as you have been told, that I won't need malaria tablets - so should be no need to do a Cheryl Cole!  It did however have on the site she was on, a notification that there is an outbreak of Japanese enchephilitis (apologies for spelling!) in the Utter Pradesh area (Agra and Varanasi).  Done a bit of googling and from what I can see, you are really only at risk if you are in rice fields or working with animals (perhaps those rabid cows!) so think I'm going to take my chances! 

Mon, 09/13/2010 - 21:13

Well folks - not long now - 3 weeks on Thursday - getting excited and started buying bits and bobs, sun cream etc - can't wait!

Jenny - did you have any luck with any of the group sitting together?

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 16:03

Hi.  I can't believe it's finally coming around.  I've set aside this Saturday for toiletery shopping as it's a serious business.  I also need to get something to wear for travelling, and a hat as well.  I look like Benny from Crossroads in hats, so I'm tempted not to bother, but I've been told I should take one.   And I received my "luggage label 4 life" today, so I'm all set.  Hope you're all well.  Douglas 

Anonymous
Tue, 09/14/2010 - 19:49

Hi All.

Apologies I've not inputed recently.  I may have missed some questions that I could have answered for you, but it seems like it has been taken care of.  I'm getting excited for you guys going, and I'm not even going!!!  I guess it brings back fond memories.  You seem to have a really good group chatting on here, so that's always a good start.

Re the currency.  I managed to buy Indian Rupees from Thompson, but things may have changed now.  I was also worried that I would be stopped at the airport for carrying ruppees (approx £600 worth) and was only put at ease after I asked a native Indian at Heathrow the question about carrying Rupees into India.  Still, do what the email proposes - whatever that is.

Tips I can think of:  

  • Game drives - worth taking a fleece or a jacket expecially during the early morning game drives...it can get really chilly travelling in the open top canter.  Also for these game drives in Ranthambore, you will be covered from head to tow in a fine terracotta coloured dust from the track.  It was everywhere - up my nose, in my eyes. etc.  Most importantly if you have expensive camera equipment carry it in a plastic bag or keep it covered to prevent it being caked!  That said, none of our group did, but it's a case of weighing up the pros and cons. Yes you want to protect your camera, but you don't want to miss that shot of the elusive tiger!  
  • Take anti - bacterial hand-gel everywhere and you shoud be ok.  I didn't take any anti-malaria tablets either as advised by the nurse, but this time when I got to Kenya I will be taking Malarone  - £67.50 for 24 tablets.  Bargain!   
  • Re safety on sleeper trains.  Now, whilst I can't guarantee they are secure.  Ours was.  We didn't have any thefts or anything like that.  I was concerned about my camera as it's very expensive and thought that I may have to sleep with one eye open, but just be wise and not to flash anything that might attract unwanted eyes.
  • If you can bag a top bunk, I would recommend it!  It's just fun.  It was fun though I did get bitten by bugs perhaps from the courtesy blankets, so just be careful.
  • Drink plenty of water! Keep hydrated! You will be able to buy bottled water [Paani]  on the bus everyday and really cheap too! 
  • If you see something you want to buy; buy it! because I came home thinking I wish I had bought more even from the vendors on the streets that were persistent!  Prices were so cheap! 
  • Buy some Indian music!  I heard some on TV at the hotels and it sounded good.  I'm glad I bought some and it reminded me of the trip!

You probably know all this already and I can't think of any more tips right now, but if you have any burning questions, do let me know and I will try and answer them before you go.

Best regards and enjoy India!

Andrew

Tue, 09/14/2010 - 20:18

Hi All

Thanks for that info Andrew - very useful info for us - I was wondering about taking a fleece for the safari - so will definitely do that!

I was thinking of buying a cheap duvet cover to sleep in incase of any dodgy blankets etc - then I can just leave it behind - following your mention of bites - I think that is a definite purchase I need to make now!

Once again - thanks for the tips - can't wait!

Enjoy Kenya

Catherine

Anonymous
Tue, 09/14/2010 - 20:37

You're welcome.

Blanket that you can leave behind is a good idea.  I would have done that in hindsight.  

Thanks Catherine.  Hope Kenya lives up to India! 

Andrew

Wed, 09/15/2010 - 16:21

Thanks folks.  It would bever have occurred to me to take a blanket.  I'll be off to Primark shortly.

Andrew, I hope you have a great time in Kenya.  I'd love to see the wildlife some day, it sounds like another trip of a lifetime.

Wed, 09/15/2010 - 20:20

I've been to Asda tonight and bought myself a cheap duvet cover - going to use it as a sleeping bag under the supplied bedding which will hopefully protect me from any beasties!

Anonymous
Wed, 09/15/2010 - 21:18

Thanks Doug.  Yes, it should be another trip of a lifetime.  I think Exodus trips are designed with that in mind.  You should all report back here when you return to let me know how it went. 

Have fun and most importantly experience it! 

Andrew

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 11:43

Don't forget an inflatable pillow!

Anonymous
Tue, 09/21/2010 - 13:09

Hi everyone. We went on a similar itinery to you in March this year (not with Exodus). Its an amazing country. It was much cleaner more friendly and less being hassled than we expected.

A couple of tips - Money exchange. When you arrive at Delhi airport, change your money at one of the two counters (one is Thomas Cook, we think) while you are in the Baggage reclaim hall. Some of our group changed their money outside the baggage hall and got a worse rate and massive commission (£30!).

One recommended way to try and minimise/avoid the Delhi Belly  is to take Probiotic Multivitamins before and during your journey. They are widely available, some are packaged especially for travel.

The advice about the dust at Ranthambore is correct. The stuff gets everywhere, but isn't a problem as long as you keep your camera covered. Pillowcases can be useful for those with D-SLR's & big lenses.

Anti-bacterial hand gel is also a good idea.

Most of all - Enjoy!

Ian

Anonymous
Tue, 09/21/2010 - 17:59

Hi everyone - just been trying to catch up with all the info as my home computer has died on me and this is the first opportunity I've had to pick up at work!  Andrew - thanks for the tips on cameras as I was wondering how best to protect it on safari!  Re bugs on the train - is it cold at night as I was going to take a beach towel instead which could double up as a blanket? Catherine - I haven't heard back about the seating other than they will do their best to put us all together so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  I definitely was told that malaria tablets are not required and I've checked several times with several different sources.  Those of you travelling from Heathrow and who fancy meeting up for a coffee first - what time are you all going to get there? I will have to book a coach ticket shortly so let me know and we can rendezvous!  Incidentally I've ordered some travellers cheques although I'm going to take the most of it in cash and they said it's definitely a closed currency and you can't purchase Indian ruppees before you go.  Good tip about where to exchange at Delhi airport.  Look forward to meeting you all soon! Jenny

Tue, 09/21/2010 - 20:50

Thanks for the tips Ian, particularly the one about exchanging money - worth knowing!  Plus I better take something to cover my camera with in Ranthambore!

Jenny - yes great to meet up for a coffee - unfortunately I get to Heathrow HOURS before the Delhi flight - I get to Heathrow at 14.50!  So happy for you to suggest a time when you know what sort of time you will get there.  If you want I can message you my mobile no on facebook just incase we struggle to identify each other!

I've bought a cheap single duvet set from Adsa to use as a sleeping bag under any blankets and because it was cheap, I won't have any worries leaving it behind - hopefully that will protect me from bites - or at least minimise them!

I'd just recently read somewhere about taking pro-biotics just before and during the trip so have bought some and will maybe start taking them the week before.  I usually have a cast iron stomach, but I did get a bit of an upset stomach in Nepal last year - so fingers crossed they'll do the trick!

 See you all soon - not long now!

Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:51

Thanks, Ian, that's really helpful.

I started taking probiotics on the advice of a friend, but I was a little unsure as to whether they would do any good, so I'm glad someone else has suggested it.

I'll be getting to Heathrow about 4pm, with any luck, or perhaps a little earlier. I can't believe it's finally coming around, I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone. Meeting up before the flight. would be nice, keep me in the loop.

Anonymous
Sun, 09/26/2010 - 12:06

Hi all,
I have been to India 3 times before - doing my 4th trip in October, to the South - and I have done a number of overnight train trips. An experience of a lifetime, that will provide endless stories for your return dinner parties! Let's just say they are not restful,due to a lot of coming and going from the locals, loud chatter and throat-clearing! But the beds are relatively comfy, the sheets, pillows and blankets adequate and the aircon a bit too brisk! The loos are bearable: go sooner rather than later as they get worse closer to the end of the trip. But the locals are very friendly and kind, and love to chat and share their food. Have something to share with them, or pictures of home. Tip for the holiday: take a packet of ballons, they cost and weigh nothing and give immense delight to children anywhere.
Have a wonderful trip!
Angela

Anonymous
Sun, 09/26/2010 - 14:39

Hi All - Only 11 days to go and I'm getting very excited now! I too have started to take probiotic multivatimins and Actimol probiotic drinks daily in the hopes that it makes a difference! I always travel with earplugs and I find that does the trick for most noisy places! Great idea about the balloons. I've also bought some packs of colour pencils as they don't weigh anything either. Doug and Catherine - I will book a coach ticket and let you know what time I'll get there and then we can work out where to meet! (I'll give you my mobile via Facebook)

Sun, 09/26/2010 - 17:10

Hi - very excited here too! Starting to think about what I need to take and if there is anything else I need to buy.
Good tip about baloons - hadn't really thought about taking little bits and bobs - so better get a few things.
CAN'T WAIT!!! Looking foward to meeting up at Heathrow. x

Anonymous
Tue, 09/28/2010 - 22:35

Hi guys..

Have you received you final joining instructions yet?

Does it say who your leader is for the trip?
I wonder if you have the same leader as I did? If so he is a Brilliant leader! His name is Avtar Singh, but I am sure whoever you get will be just as brilliant and they really do 'make' the trip for you!

Not long now...You are going to enjoy it so much, I just know!

Andrew

Wed, 09/29/2010 - 11:44

Hi Andrew. They don't actually say who the guide is, so it'll be a surprise on the day. I'm getting excited now, really looking forward to a break from the UK, and experiencing something different. It's teeming with rain at the moment in Glasgow, so some sunshine will be very welcome.

This forum has been great, chatting with people, and hearing your about experiences etc. Thanks again to Ian and Angela as well, of course. I was a bit apprehensive about booking this trip, but I know I made the right decision. I'll hopefully have some pictures to post as well when we get back, though I know Catherine is getting her new camera warmed up as we speak, hopefully she'll get some good shots cos' I'm rubbish at it. Douglas

Anonymous
Wed, 09/29/2010 - 22:05

Experiencing something different is guaranteed Doug. My best advice to you all is to experience everything that is offered to you, and take it in. I look forward to seeing your groups' photos...

Just one other thing...make sure you have all your documentation with you like your insurance policy number (ie it's your booking reference if you took out travel insurance with Exodus) I had a little trouble with mine as I thought I had not been given a number. The leader will need to see it and make sure that you all have travel insurance prior to embarking.

Jet Airways is a great airline and the food was very tasty I might add, and the movies were great.

have fun

Andrew

Wed, 09/29/2010 - 23:13

Well, a week tomorrow! I am getting beyond excited. I with you Douglas, some sunshine will be very welcome - it's been rain rain rain in Newcastle for a good few days now. Douglas I am sure you will definitely have made the right decision booking this trip, last year I booked with Explore and went to Nepal - first holiday on my own and it was one of the best I've had - completely different culture and experience. I'll still holiday with my friend that I used to always go with, but as there are lots of more unusal places that I want to go to that she's not interested in, I suspect I will do an Explore/Exodus holiday each year - it's the way forward! haha!
Think I'll be spending this weekend washing and ironing things to take, but packing will be Wednesday night - very much a last minute packer.
CAN'T WAIT!!
Andrew - agree with you about Jet Airways - flew with them to Kathmandu (via Delhi) last year and they were one of the best I've flown with.
I'd echo Douglas and thank everyone for their advice - some really useful pointers.
Douglas - I'll email you my mobile no on Facebook (think Jenny has or will do to) and hopefully we'll meet up at Heathrow next week - next week would you believe!

Anonymous
Tue, 10/05/2010 - 16:55

Hello everyone. I was just reading through this thread and saw Andrew's comments about having had Avtar Singh as his tour leader. I've just checked and can confirm that he's not leading this departure. Your tour leader will be Balvinder Singh, who, along with Avtar, was a finalist in our "tour leader of the year" awards not so long ago. You're in good hands.

I hope to go to India next year too, so I'm reading these threads with great interest and look forward to any feedback you have when you get back too. Have a great trip.

Anonymous
Tue, 10/05/2010 - 18:37

Hi Everyone. Really looking forward to meeting you all on Thursday. I hope you all have safe journeys to Heathrow. This is my last opportunity to add to the Forum so see you soon and thanks to everyone who has provided tips especially from those of you who aren't able to join us. Jenny

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 20:44

This will probably be my last check in on here - though might try and take a last sneeky peak tomorrow night!
Mags - I'm glad you've pointed out about heading to Jaipur from the airport, that didn't dawn on me, so yes, I too will haev to pack something into my hand luggage as don't want to be sat in a potentially hot bus for 5 hours in my jeans!
Will have a re-read of the FAQ's. I just want tomorrow to be over and to be on my way!
I need to have a check through of my clothes to take so that packing isn't a nightmare tomorrow - travelling light is something I don't do well, but I'll have a go!
For all the help and pointers on here - thank you! and to those going.................see you soon!
Catherine

Anonymous
Tue, 10/05/2010 - 21:47

Nearly there...Have a cool trip everyone. In support of Kai Aylward's comment..You're guaranteed an excellent trip. I understand that Bally is Avtar's cousin. I met Bally briefly on the way to the airport going home. He was going to the airport to meet the next group.

Nice speaking to you all even though I'm not on this trip. Look forward to seeing your take on India through your photos when you post them on here.

Regards

Andrew

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 22:00

Enjoy your Africa trip too!

Anonymous
Sun, 10/17/2010 - 12:36

Hi all

any tips ??? I'm going on the trip later this month.

Hope you all had a fab time. Max

Sun, 10/17/2010 - 19:41

Hi Max,

I just got back home, and I'm still trying to process everything from the trip. There's so much to do and see, the trip notes don't come close to covering it. Tips? Just take plenty of hand gel, and be careful what you're eating, but I'm sure you know all that already. I may think of more after some rest. Just enjoy yourself, and do everything. Sleep when you get home, you'll need to. Hope you have a good group. Mine was fantastic and our leader was quite a character. He took care of everything, and made it a very special trip. I know you'll have a great time. All the best,

Douglas

Mon, 10/18/2010 - 16:03

Douglas is so right, there is so much to see and visit that I am still remembering bits we did. I would agree that you need to take care what you are eating - a lot of people on our trip stuck to vegetarian food and were ok. I did this, but weakened once and had a chicken pizza and got food poisoning! Fotunately was only ill for 24 hours.
It is a very busy trip, but you do get some free time in Varanasi where a massage is recommended!
I took a cheap duvet cover for the train journeys which I found useful - as well as being able to sleep in it I was able to put some valuables in it for safety, and I just left the duvet cover when the train trips were over over. That said - i felt perfectly safe on the train and am sure my money and passport would have been safe - but it was nice to have piece of mind.
Just be prepared for a busy, but thoroughly enjoyable trip, with some amazing sights. take plenty of memory cards for your camera and don't forget your charger! (you'd be amazed how many people forgot this in our group!)
Have a fantastic trip - you'll love it. Our guide was Balvinder Singh and as Douglas said - he was a real character.
Douglas - I take it you made it home safely - Janet and I missed our flight to Newcastle due to the delay of the plane findind a parking space! We ended up hiring a car and Janet drove us home. So we got home at 1.30 - only 2.5 hours late - but very tired!
Catherine x

Anonymous
Mon, 10/18/2010 - 18:59

Thank you both that really useful you must both be knackered !!! Couple of quick things :-

One clothes wise - do people where shorts I have some just above the knee as well as 3/4 length trousers are shorts OK ??

Money did you change your money up whilst still in arrivals or the other side ?

Mornings - I've read they can be cold did you find that ? Don't want to pack extra warm stuff if I don't need it

Max

Mon, 10/18/2010 - 19:45

Ask away! You will be fine with long shorts - I wore ones to just above the knee and was fine. I would take a pair of long trousers (combats or jeans) for night time to prevent mozzie bites, but otherwise shorts or 3/4 length trousers will be fine. I changed money in arrivals - there is a Thomas Cook stand so we changed ours whilst waiting for bags to appear on the carousel. I changed £300 but would probably have been fine with a bit less, perhaps £250. I didn't do much shopping, so mostly spent it on food and drink and had some left to change back to sterling. There were ATM's in some of the places we stopped so you can access money there too. Evenings - I was fine with a T-shirt. I did take a couple of light long sleeved shirts (again to cover up from mozzies!). We ate outdoors a couple of nights so there was a risk of bites! Don't know if the evening temp will have changed much by the time you go, but we certainly didn't need anything warm - I took so much that I didn't wear!
If there is anything else you think of - feel free to ask!

Anonymous
Wed, 10/20/2010 - 13:41

You might regret that Catherine !!!

Great I'll get my money when I'm in arrivals.

Thanks for the shorts advice - I'll watch out for the mozzies at night.

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