The Real Exotic Marigold Hotel Programme
Day 1: Saturday 9th March UK Departure
Today you will fly to Delhi, direct flights approximately 8 hours and usually (with the time difference) arrive the next day. As you are booking your own flights (we can help you find the best fares) you can also choose to come out a day or two earlier if you prefer. Extra nights are approximately £79 per room (BB). Coming to India early will give you more time to rest after your long flight and see more of Delhi. We always pick you up free from the airport whenever you arrive.
Day 2: Sunday 10th March, HB Arrival Delhi HB
Today you arrive in Delhi. You will be transferred to your hotel. Please note, rooms may not be ready until around 3pm. If you’re arriving very early and want to go straight into your room, you may wish to book the room from the evening before. This evening join our included welcome dinner.
Day 3: Monday 11th March Tour of Delhi BB
Today we take you around the city exploring some of its sights (included). Evening free. There are some restaurants nearby (as well as in) our hotel.
Day 4: Tuesday 12th March Drive to our Real Exotic Marigold Hotel HB
Today we drive to Jaipur and to our Real Marigold Hotel; our Indian home for the next 11 nights. On arrival we will take a short orientation drive around the city, before settling in. Tonight an evening meal is included so that we can get further acquainted.
Day 5: Wednesday 13th March Practical tour of city & Amber fort HB
This morning we will take you around the heart of the city in more practical detail. We’ll show where to shop, local markets, modern and old Jaipur, so that you get a real idea of life in the city. This afternoon, for those interested, we will take you for a local drive to visit Amber fort, epically placed on a cliff edge, 10 miles from the city (no charge to you). Dinner tonight in our home.
Day 6: Thursday 14th March Yoga & tonight a house party HB
This morning, a Yoga instructor will visit to show you the benefits of the exercise as well as meditation techniques for senior citizens. The rest of the day is free. However, tonight you are hosting a party to meet some local Indian people. You may want to help your house staff as they make preparations. You might also want to purchase decorations for the party.
Day 7: Friday 15th March Visit sights around city & afternoon free BB
This morning we’ll take you to see some of the tourist sights of the city such as the Hawa Mahal, the City Palace and Jantar Mantar, featured on Dan Cruickshank’s ‘Around the world in 80 Treasures.’ Afternoon free. Tonight you’re free to find a restaurant of choice. We can advise.
Day 8: Saturday 16th March Free day HB
Today is a completely free to explore some of your interests. Tonight dinner at our home.
Day 9: Sunday 17th March Laughing yoga & Free BB
For those interested this morning we’ll take you on a visit to the Central Park to experience laughing yoga. Rest of day free.
Day 10: Monday 18th March Free day HB
Today completely free. Dinner this evening is in our home.
Day 11: Tuesday 19th March The Taj Mahal HB
Today is rather special as you will have to arise very early and we’ll take you by private bus to the magnificent Taj Mahal.
Day 12: Wednesday 20th March Free day HB
Today you are free to pursue your own interests. Note, this is the first evening of the festival of Holi. Dinner this evening in our home.
Day 13: Thursday 21st March Free day BB
Today free to pursue your own interests. This morning you may like to participate in the colourful and vibrant celebrations of Holi around the city. Dinner can be taken outside our home this evening.
Day 14: Friday 22nd March Free day and, sadly, our final dinner HB
Today is free followed by our last dinner in our home this evening.
Day 15: Saturday 23rd March Sadly, we say goodbye to our home BB
Today we leave our own ‘Marigold’ yet we are departing for 3 magical nights in Udaipur. We’ll travel on a long train journey across the desert to reach Udaipur.
Day 16: Sunday 24th March Tour of City Palace and free BB
Today we will walk you through the city for a tour of the City Palace wonderfully placed overlooking one of Udaipur’s lakes. Rest of day free.
Day 17: Monday 25th March A visit to the Exotic Marigold Hotel BB
This morning we drive to the Exotic Marigold Hotel (around an hour or so away) used for the movies with Judy Dench etc. Here you be taken around the hotel as well as see a fascinating local desert village. Later we return to Udaipur, rest of day free.
Day 18: Tuesday 26th March Fly to Delhi BB
Today we fly to Delhi and check into our hotel.
Day 19: Wednesday 27th March Return to UK
Today we fly back to the UK, after our unique experience of living in India.
Your free time
On free days, you may follow your interests or pursuits, relax and explore more of what it might be like to retire in India. The itinerary above is not compulsory; you can opt out of anything. Indeed, simply wandering around the old city is fascinating. We’ll give you maps and other supporting information too. Using local transport such as rickshaws; the confusion in getting around, perhaps going for a barbershop shave or beauty treatment, is all part of the fun. Transport to places in your free time is inexpensive. Rickshaws are cheap. If you prefer, we can arrange a private car with driver to take you around (approx. £18 per half day – seating up to 4 people). You might want half a day driving around the city for example, shopping, visiting tailors to get clothes made or anything else. If you want to explore further afield we can also provide a car and driver at an additional cost.
Below are some free time suggestions. Many of these are based on the BBC series. Please remember, free time activity is at your own cost; but mostly inexpensive. Of course, you do not have to do any of these, you’re free to explore your own interests for your retirement in India. However, if any of the below interest you please let us know on the registration form. You’ll find it beneficial too, to do your own research on Jaipur to see what’s on offer. Please also note that activities below are available at the time of writing. If the situation changes we’ll do our best to find alternatives.
- Vishwa Guru Deep Ashram: Meditation and gentle yoga visit (used for the BBC series – Wayne and Rosemary visited). The ashram encourages a donation from participants of around £8-10 per person.
- Hospital all day, full body health check in a private hospital: This was part of the BBC series. Approximate costs can be given if you’re interested, from around £80 upwards. Please tell us if you want to do this prior to your trip.
- Golf: Jaipur has a golf course in its centre (near its Polo grounds). Green fees are approximately £80 plus buggy (if needed) clubs for hire approx. £15.
- Visit a tailor/dress maker amongst the bazaars and have clothes made. You may want to buy traditional Indian dress too; to blend in on your visit or have some of your own clothes copied in different materials. Visit opticians too, to get inexpensive glasses made (bring your prescription). Buying Indian dress is part of the experience.
- Visit the magnificent Rambagh Palace Hotel, one of the best hotels in the world, for High Tea. Beautiful gardens, an opulent setting with far reaching views. Enjoy high tea overlooking the lawns. Approximately £32.
- Galtaji Temple, featured on the show, an ancient temple complex in a beautiful setting with simple purification pool. It is surrounded by monkeys and also known as the ‘Monkey Temple.’
- Ayurvedic treatments. Experience some of India’s special face and body treatments (as in the show by Jan Leaming).Costs from £15 up.
- Samode Palace & Samode Bagh. An exclusive palace around 30 miles from the city. An overnight package including transport and accommodation can be arranged at around £150 per person based two sharing. The nearby Samode Baghwith beautiful gardens, also offers an accommodation package at around £100 per person. Both are for special occasions and in very quiet settings. You need to book this with us prior to travel, ask us for details.
- Visit an Astrologer to read your fortune. An Indian guru, using an ancient Indian technique, will provide readings.
- A visit to the park to enjoy exercise or laughing yoga (if available) as in the TV programme. This is often enjoyed early mornings by young and old.
- Art of Happiness. Created by Sri Sri Ravi Shanker, this 3 day programme (just 2 hours a day) uses breathing techniques to calm the mind and find the inner, happier you.
- If you’d like to help kitchen staff with their food shopping, around markets and so forth. Let us know.
- Shopping for goods or services is a nice part of the experience in India. Therefore, you might find it beneficial not to bring everything you need from the UK and get some things locally. As you might had seen in the programme, shopping for anything from toiletries to underwear, local clothing to food can be entertaining and give you insights into daily life.
- The ‘Bar Palladio’ is a very pleasant place and good value for an evening meal. It serves delicious Italian cuisine either inside or outside its classic surroundings in the garden area. Around a third of a mile away is Cafe Palladio, a nice place for lunch with pleasant courtyard. Both are frequented by expats and locals.
- Cycling in the countryside. There are local operators who offer this.
- Private car hire – with dedicated driver – can be arranged for you inexpensively. You might have ideas on where to explore further afield.
- Visiting Indian Cinema. Even if the movie’s in Hindi!
The above are only suggestions. Please feel free to read about Jaipur and tell us what you might like to do. We need you to tell us what you’re interested in, prior to travel. We will provide local expertise and support to help you. There is nothing wrong with having a relaxing time in our home too: reading a book, going for a local stroll and taking it all in. You don’t have to participate in any activities.
If you might like to take part we’d love to hear from you. Like the BBC, we’ll consider each registration to put together a nice variety of people. As we will offer this trip more than once, you may also like to register interest for a future ‘Marigold.’ We are looking for friendly, warm people to join each group. So, please get in touch. For single travellers, we can also look for a same-sex room-sharer if you prefer, or you can have a room on your own.