The Rolls Royce and India have a special relationship in history. The Maharajas, many of whom enjoyed their relationship with the British, saw the vehicle not only as an ultimate status symbol but as a recognition of this allegiance. This interesting short film follows the Maharaja of Udaipur – where our group spends three nights on our holiday to India.
Next month, our first group of intrepid travellers will be off to India, camping under the stars for a night, staying in old trader’s houses and palaces, riding camels, going on a train journey across the great Thar desert and seeing the Tal Mahal; amongst other experiences. ?We’ve mentioned the Exotic Marigold hotel will feature strongly on the trip, in fact we’ll be enjoying lunch in it. It might be an idea to watch the movie before travelling (there’s an Exotic Marigold Hotel 1 & 2; its sequel). ?Here is a link.
The BBC’s wonderful documentary ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ explored the possibility of retiring in India, in the busy city of Jaipur – and what a wonderful place this ‘pink’ city is. It??has a vibrancy, exuberance and eclectic quality of its own,?and the haveli (old mansion house) featured on the show, is a place Angel Holidays is friends with (we know the owner) and where you can visit: we can book you in for dinner?(for just around ?9). Here’s an interesting BBC link that has some perspectives; from?the men of the group. Copy and paste the link below, you can also click the BBC link for female perspectives too.
Here are some practical tips to help those?travelling to India.? By now you should be well underway with vaccinations, and don?t forget to apply for the Indian Visa.
What to bring
You could conceivably arrive in Delhi with no luggage and buy everything you need cheaply within a few hours. So don?t be too concerned if you forget anything.? Your case/bag: We?re moving around a lot. Often you?ll have to carry/wheel your own luggage over rugged terrain, poor footpaths etc; it?s useful not to bring large cases. A soft holdall on wheels is probably best or a smaller sized suitcase.
The contents: Remember whilst evenings can be cool (but rarely very cold) days will be warm. You can buy most things in India such as toiletries, clothes, sunhats and sandals.? You may want to bring some smart clothes if you want to dine in style some evenings.
Your luggage should include:
There are cheap laundry services along the tour (bring a carrier bag to store laundry) so there?s no need to pack enough clean clothes for a full three weeks.
You can change sterling in India. It?s better to change large amounts at a time as exchange bureaus are not always easy to find and non existent in remote places.? Changing around ?100/200 or more per person in Delhi is recommended. You can also use ATMs in cities, but tell your bank you?re going to India. Your bank will charge you per withdrawal so it is better to withdraw larger amounts.
In tourist quality restaurants you can pay anything from ?3 to ?20 (but rare) for a meal.? For an approximate budget the average meal will cost around ?3 – ?10, a large beer or Gin/Tonic ?2.50 and soft drinks 50p. Wine can be bought but not everywhere. Tax and service charges are added to your bill and can add up. Overall you?ll find India a great deal cheaper than the West.? Souvenirs can be bought very cheaply. Local markets offer fabulous bargains. Don?t get taken to any emporiums by rickshaw or taxi drivers.
We hope this advice helps to prepare for our great trip. Bring some luggage space for shopping!
For those coming on our first trip to India in 2016, you will need to start thinking about Indian visas. Note that the Indian government have?changed the application process.? Formerly the visa?would cost over ?100 and would allow either double or multiple entries over a year long period, usually up to six months maximum stay in any one year.??This service?has been outsourced to an agency called ‘VFS global’ an agency employed by the Indian Commission.? The processing/secure postage fees can add?another ?20/30 to this service??? (see: vfsglobal.com) so it can be expensive.
However, the Indian Commission have also introduced a new?online visa process.??The cost of this is around ?45 ($60)?plus any credit/debit card fees.?For the online?visa?you can only apply for this up to 34 days before travel. So for example, if?you are arriving?in Delhi on 29th October, you can only start the application around 26th September. This lower cost?visa?allows?up to 30 days in the country,?and can only be applicable to certain ports of entry (Delhi being?included).
As with most?services online these days, you will need to do a little admin to apply. You will need to scan a copy of your passport for example, as well as create some digital online photographs of yourself for the visa.??The link to this?online application is below this message. Our advice is to start getting digital photos ready early, so that you can apply speedily 34 days?before travel.
Thanks to all travellers who?ve booked our epic journey across the desert state of Rajasthan, India (28th Oct ? 19th Nov, 2016). We?re flattered so many signed up for this exploratory trip, with little more than a list of places we might visit; no definite plan or itinerary. It?s a testament that people trust the authentic way of ?Angel? travelling.
Many of you have been with us to Nepal, Peru or Cambodia & Laos, and if you may like to join too, please read on. ??The trip cost is just ?1,490 for over 3 weeks (based 2 sharing) plus flights which we help you find.?We?ve now got some more detail to the trip with some very interesting surprises, not least we?re off to the Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Our journey will begin in Delhi with a short tour of the city, followed by a drive into the desert frontier town of Mandawa; here we?ll stay in an old ‘haveli’ trader?s house (all en-suite) for an unusual night. The next day we ride camels out into the desert, for a night?s camping under the stars by campfire.
Next we reach the desert city of Bikaner. Here we?ll stay in a classic hotel, Maharaja style. This is home to a cousin of the Maharaja of the city, a friend of Angel Holidays. From here, we?ll take you to a camel breeding farm to see herds of camels coming in, in the late day sun, as well as Karni Mata ? a unique temple devoted to thousands of live rats featured on the BBC (entrance is optional).
We then head into the desert again, this time near the town of Phalodi, and largely in the middle of nowhere. Our accommodation will be a mixture of Swiss tents (luxury tents where you can stand & en-suite) or comfortable bungalows. We?ll come here to witness an unusual phenomenon. Each morning, nature permitting, 25,000 demoiselle cranes fly in on migration from the Himalaya, to this small village in a ?huge cloud of birds? to be fed by the locals. This striking spectacle has also been filmed on the BBC.
From here we move to the far west of the Thar desert, around 200 miles from the Pakistan border to the magical citadel of Jaisalmer; rising out of the sand like something from ?Arabian Nights.? You?ll enjoy free time and rest here in this magical location.? We?ll then drive south, to the blue city of Jodhpur and take you to explore its bazaars, show you the opulence of the city?s Maharaja or you can even zip-line around its fortresses’ walls (something that London Major Boris Johnson boasted about).
After this we?ve added something special to the trip; a visit to the annual Puskhar camel festival: the largest collection of livestock on earth. Here, you?ll be staying in Maharaja styled tents for two nights (with en-suite) and enjoy free time at this once in a lifetime event. Traders, herdsman and tribes people come together to trade and celebrate desert culture.
From Pushkar we move south; to the most romantic city in India: Udaipur ? with its rooftop restaurants and palaces in this stunning lake location.? Angel Holidays has become friends with the owner of the ‘Exotic Marigold Hotel’; the hotel used for the two movies with Judy Dench, Richard Gere etc. ?We?ve arranged a visit to this hotel and lunch on its grounds – all complementary on us. We?ll also take you on a fascinating walk to a nearby village, unspoilt by time, where old herders drink opium and people still live in traditional Rajasthani ways.
On to Udaipur, a beautiful place, so we?ve allowed 3 nights here.? Time to rest, wander, shop or simply enjoy being here.? There are many outdoor rooftop restaurants where you can enjoy dinner in the desert over looking its palaces and lake. ?From Udaipur we take a train journey, Indian style, right across the desert and to the pink city of Jaipur; the capital of Rajasthan.
It?s here we?ve our second ?Marigold? connection.? An old mansion in the city, owned by Brigadier Singh, a friend of Angel Holidays, was used for the BBC documentary ?The Real Marigold Hotel? with Bobby George, Wayne Sleep, Jan Leaming etc. Here they lived for 3 weeks exploring what it might be like to retire in the city. If you might like to go there for dinner on its rooftop one evening, let us know and we can arrange this.
At this point we?ve added another surprise to the journey: a visit to Ranthambhore National Park, where we?ll take you on safari into the Indian bush in search of tigers. This is a stunning park, once a hunting ground for British royals and Maharajas, and we?ll take you on two game drives. Finally, we move to Agra, to crown our journey with a visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal. ?After this we return to Delhi.
We hope you?ll agree this is a fantastic holiday.? We?ve added some meals that weren?t in the original plan; full board in Pushkar and Ranthambhore for example.? Other nights you?ll be able to enjoy some fantastic meals from romantic rooftops to ?al fresco? dining out Indian style.
As with all our trips, we?ve allowed some free time for you to explore and savour these stunning locations at your own pace. ?You?ll also enjoy the support of being in a friendly group, and can rest whenever you want to, you don?t have to come on all our day trips.?We?ve a private bus and will enlist the help of local guides in some locations.? Some hotels will have swimming pools to enjoy the winter sun!
If you may want to join this trip, please let us know. ?We just need a deposit of ?190. We can provide a detailed itinerary shortly. ?As with all our journeys, a concise dedicated guide book will be given to all travellers on this trip. ?A shorter, two week version of this holiday is planned for 2017.
We look forward to hearing from you.? Angel Holidays
On Prince Harry’s recent trip to Nepal you would have seen how wonderful the country is. Harry was very kind in his remarks, please see the attached slide. We’re sure that those of you who would have traveled with us to Nepal before would agree. ?If you might like to follow in his footsteps, why not join us on our tour in 2017 – simple click ‘Holiday in Detail’ on our site.
We’ll visit many of the places on Harry’s tour, plus others; noticeably a flight around Everest, the birthplace of the Buddha, ancient cities and Pokhara in the Himalaya. Already our 2016 tours are now sold, but we’re currently taking bookings for our holiday in the Autumn of 2017. ? Led by broadcaster Steve Carver and at just ?1,095 this is wonderful opportunity to do something different.
With 4 months to go before our holiday to Peru, it’s nice to know that Angel Holidays is cheaper and better! ?Our two week holiday is ?1,390 plus flights which are currently around ?840 – and dropping steadily. ?Trailfinders meanwhile, with less internal flights (meaning more time sitting on a bus) are ?3,100 including flights from the UK – and we both go to the same places; in fact Angel Holidays takes you to some extra locations, as our holiday is longer. The saving is nearly ?1,000 per person going with us, and you get two extra days in the country! We’re more authentic too, staying in downtown Lima for example, when the others stay in a resort that feels more like Malaga than Peru ?- not that we have anything against Malaga! If you would like to join us, let us know soon.
Many of you might had seen that Prince Harry is enjoying a holiday in Nepal, which is now firmly open for tourists.? The prince has visited Kathmandu and ancient Bhaktapur,?as well as the jungle.?More?recently he’s been in the Himalaya. All these places we visit on our tour to Nepal with Angel Holidays.?In fact, he’s been photographed outside our hotel. If you might like to?follow in his?footsteps as well as?stay in a monastery at?the birthplace of the Buddha and fly around Mount Everest, our new tour dates are now set for 2017.? Simply contact us to reserve your place for just ?200.
For all those booked on our journey to Peru this August (departing 6th) we hope you are looking forward to the experience. Along our journey,?we’ll be venturing far from the tourist trail and staying in the?Andes, at 11,000 feet above sea level.?With no?light pollution and?near?Colca?canyon (twice the depth of the Grand?Canyon) together with an active?volcano in the background, our stay here will be dramatic.
At?this altitude the air, being so thin and clear, has?become?popular?with astronomers. Our hotel?has been chosen as it has an?observatory and?powerful telescope.
We’ll take you inside the tower where on clear nights you can see Saturn and its rings,?as well as,?quite spectacularly, Mars with the naked eye. The?next day we’ll take you to walk inside Colca Canyon. Here you’ll be surrounded by the flights of condors.