We enjoyed our trip immensely and found the arrangements to be excellent and responsive to our requests and modifications. Our agent worked with us extensively on the planning of the itinerary and proved flexible in doing so, including an evening group teleconference to coordinate input and answer questions for all of our travel group living in different states. In addition to planning and reservations, our agent provided advice on obtaining visas and travel insurance and on many small details including tipping, restaurant reservations, and shopping recommendations. She worked very closely with the agency in India who were equally available to us while we were in India.
Our trip was essentially a survey of India and included Delhi, Agra, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Cochin, Munnar, and Chennai. For the most part the itinerary was well paced and the hotels were all excellent. When we did request modifications due to health or timing issues, the agency in India and the guides accompanying us were helpful in making changes and listened to our concerns. We had excellent drivers and although direct communication with the drivers was not always possible, we were able to understand and converse readily with the guides who also saw us through all internal airport transfers.
We especially enjoyed the interactive cooking demonstration and dinner at the Dera Mandawa in Jaipur which is an historic, gracious, and friendly hotel - more like a home stay. While in Mumbai we took the Mumbai at dawn tour which we highly recommend for the opportunity to see the real working city including the fish, poultry and vegetable markets, the daily newspaper seller and the beautiful flower markets. Our guide was engaging, personable, and knowledgable. Munnar was stunning and gorgeous (and cool!) and we really enjoyed awaking to the Malabar whistling thrush and trekking through the cardamom and tea plantations.
We might have added a couple more days or eliminated one city in order to spend some additional time in Jaipur at the Dera Mandawa and/or to spend 3-4 days in Munnar. I would recommend either of these locales as a mid-vacation stop to catch ones breath and factor in a bit of relaxation time - playing board games over drinks at the Dera Mandawa and conversing with its fascinating owner in Jaipur, or making use of the hammocks and stunning view in Munnar.
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