The Real Exotic Marigold Hotel 2020 Programme
Day 1: Fri 28th Feb UK Departure
Today you will fly to Delhi. Direct flights take approximately 8 hours and usually (with the time difference) arrive the next day.
Many travellers may prefer to fly out a day or two early, to relax after the flight and see more of Delhi. Extra night costs in Delhi is £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: Sat 29th Feb, Arrival Delhi & Welcome Dinner 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: Sun 1st March Agra BB
Today we drive to Agra to stay one night. We are here to visit the magnificent Taj Mahal tomorrow.
Day 4: Mon 2nd March The Taj Mahal and move to our Exotic Marigold Hotel! HB
This morning we take you on a very special visit to the Taj Mahal. Later we drive to Jaipur and our ‘Exotic Marigold Hotel’ where we’ll get settled in and enjoy dinner this evening.
Day 5: Tues 3rd March, The magnificent Amber Fort & City tour BB
Today, we’ll take you on a short drive out of the city, to Amber fort epically placed on a rugged hillside in the desert – we’ll travel by coach and jeeps.
We’ll also visit the City Palace, the iconic ‘Palace of the Winds’ and the Jantar Mantar, a fascinating park of astronomical instruments, featured on Dan Cruikshank’s ‘Around the world in 80 Treasures.’
Tonight’s dinner can be taken outside our home at a restaurant of choice.
We can advise on classic, beautiful Indian restaurant settings such as dining from an Victorian steam train in the grounds of a 5 star hotel, to good, clean local eateries, or opulent garden settings – the choice is yours.
Day 6: Wed 4th March Practical walk around city and tonight is party night HB
This morning we will take you on a practical tour of the city, giving you a grounding on how to live there. Later you are free. Tonight you are also hosting a party to meet some local Indian people to get further acquainted.
Use tonight to make friends and get more of an idea about how to live in the city.
Day 7: Thurs 5th March Morning Yoga and free day BB
This morning a yoga instructor will teach you the practical benefits of gentle yoga for seniors. Rest of the day is free to pursue your own interests.
You may want to visit an ashram to learn about meditation for example (we can help you get there), visit local children’s charities and lend a hand, play golf or go shopping. See below for other suggestions too. We can help you arrange any activity. Tonight you are free to find another great restaurant of choice – we can advise.
Day 8: Fri 6th March Free day HB
Today is free to explore your own interests (for some ideas see below – we can help you arrange). Tonight; dinner back at home.
Day 9: Sat 7th March Morning yoga and free day BB
Today we offer a second session in yoga for seniors. The rest of the day is free. Tonight dine at a restaurant of choice (we can advise on some wonderful restaurants from Italian to Indian and others).
Day 10: Sun 8th March Free day HB
Today is free to pursue your own interests (see below for ideas). Tonight dinner in our home.
Day 11: Mon 9th March Free day BB
Today free to pursue your own interests. Dinner can be taken outside our home this evening at one of the city’s restaurants. This evening is the start of ‘Holi’ with bonfires lit across the city – it’s magical. (Please note that Hindu festival dates sometimes change so that this cannot be guaranteed).
Day 12: Tues 10th March Free day- Holi! HB
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. You might like to buy white Kurtas from the local market (a loose fitting Indian ‘pyjama set’) to provide a blank canvas for all the coloured powder that will be thrown at you.
Tonight, we will enjoy our last supper together in our home.
Day 13: Wed 11th March A train across the desert to magical Udaipur BB
We sadly leave our own ‘Marigold’ yet we are departing for the romantic lake city of Udaipur for a 3 night stay. We will leave early and travel by train southwards; right across the desert.
Day 14: Thurs 12th March Tour of City Palace and free BB
Today we’ll take you on an orientation morning stroll of Udaipur, including a visit to Fort Palace. Udaipur is a beautiful place with fascinating shopping and magical rooftop restaurants.
Day 15: Fri 13th March A visit to the Exotic Marigold Hotel used in the movies BB
This morning we drive (around 30 miles away) to the Exotic Marigold Hotel used for the movies. We’ll enjoy tea and biscuits there as well as a guided walk to a nearby traditional village. Later we’ll return to Udaipur with the rest of the day free.
Day 16: Sat 14th March
Today we fly to Delhi for a night before flying home tomorrow. For those who would like to see more of India, your colourful trip – and extended time in the sunshine – we will continue from here. Please see below for details.
Day 17: Sun 15th March Fly to UK
Extended tour of India, Just £895!
At the end of your Marigold experience, you may like to take the advantage and join a tour of India. The following tour of India will begin on Day 16. This fascinating 9 day extension will give you a great tour of Rajasthan and what it has to offer. It includes all private transport, bed and breakfast accommodation and tours/entrances as listed. You’ll have a Tour Leader too. There is a single supplement of just £179 for single travellers.
Day 16 (14th March) Jodhpur BB
Today, whilst others fly to Delhi and the UK, you’ll drive to Jodhpur to stay two nights.
Day 18 Jodhpur BB
Today we will take you for a tour of the dominating fort of Jodhpur. For the adventurous few, you may prefer to zipwire along its walls (at an extra cost – approx. £25). The rest of the day you’ll have time to visit the old bazaars and market places.
Day 19 Jaisalmer BB
Today we take a dramatic drive through the desert before reaching the magical citadel city of Jaisalmer not far from the Pakistan border. This magical place is something like a theme from ‘Arabian Nights’. On arrival check into hotel(s) with rest of day free. Please note in Jaisalmer we may use more than one hotel.
Day 20 Jaisalmer BB
Today you are free to explore this wonderful fort with its narrow alleyways, Jain temples, markets and bazaars. You may like to experience sunset from the fortress walls, looking outwards into the desert.
Day 21 Bikaner BB
Today we take our desert drive to Bikaner where we stay two nights. Bikaner is a lively desert city.
Day 22 Bikaner BB
This morning you are free to relax or explore the city and its fortress. This afternoon we include a visit to the nearby camel breeding centre to see how camels play an important role in Rajasthani life. For those brave enough you might like to visit the Karni Mata ‘Rat Temple’ at an additional cost.
Day 23 Mandawa BB
Today we drive across the desert to the town of Mandawa, at the end of the silk road. On arrival you will be given a short walking tour of this fascinating town, which was once an attractive and prosperous silk route traders town. This evening free.
Day 24 Delhi BB
Today we drive to Delhi, in place for your flight back to the UK tomorrow.
Day 25 (22nd March) Flight home
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. Simply wandering around the old city is fascinating. We’ll give you maps and other supporting information to get the most out of your time in India. 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. We will be on-hand to help you arrange the activities below.
- 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.
- 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.
- Children’s charities: do volunteer work to help children from poor backgrounds.
- 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.
- 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.
- Visit the puppet colony in the slums of Jaipur.
- Visiting Indian Cinema. Even if the movie’s in Hindi!
- Ranthambhore Tiger reserve, an overnight stay in a lodge, combined with two game drives.
- Pushkar, an overnight visit to this pilgrimage town staying at the classic Jagat Palace.
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.