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Has anyone toured India with children?

(26 Posts)
bonhomme Sat 14-Feb-15 13:19:53

Considering India for October half term, one of the Taj and Tiger type tours.

Has anyone done this with a 7/8 year old and willing to share their experiences? Also, which tour company did you use and would you recommend then>

Many thanks in advance flowers

nannyafrica Sat 14-Feb-15 22:03:50

Not done it with children but did see families on the same train as us when travelling to Bandhavgarh National Park
We used this company which were very good but it was a few years ago now
We loved the park and saw tigers everyday, you go out in jeeps looking for tigers and when you find them we had to go to a spot and register then go back at which point the elephants had arrived which you climb onto from your jeep then the elephant walks upto the tigers for a closer look!!!!!
The train was an experience but you do get your own cabin. Meeting Indian families and playing hide and seek with all the kids on the train was so funny, we took balloons and handed them out. We never went without food, locals wanted us to try all theirs which was yummy. (Bathrooms not so good!)

masquerade Sat 14-Feb-15 22:28:33

Try for a private tour by car (but definitely also try and include a train journey in your trip!). We didn't use them for an full tour as we were there for longer and just travelled independently but we did stay at the owner's guesthouse and used their cars/drivers for airport pick-ups and one 6-7 hour journey. The owner is a lovely and trustworthy man and their cars were the only ones we travelled in that had seatbelts!

Ooh I a bit emotional now thinking about the wonderful time we spent in India now, we were there this time 2 years ago.

Snooksbury Sat 14-Feb-15 22:39:23

Have been to India with my child but not on an official tour. Could try 'Explore' company as another option, their itineraries often look good and they sometimes have specific weeks for family's/teenagers/singles etc. are you just going for the one week?

bonhomme Sun 15-Feb-15 08:26:04

We are looking for about 10 days. We haven't used an adventure/tour company for a whole holiday before and I wasn't sure whether to go for a small family tour (like Explore) or a private tour (with Audley travel or similar). Some of the adventure tour companies' accommodation seems quite basic with long bus drives etc - I think I might want a bit more comfort/slower pace - but my child would enjoy the company of other children.

PoppySausage Sun 15-Feb-15 08:27:50

Never done it but is my dream to do it with dd in the next 10 years. Have fun!

lightgreenglass Sun 15-Feb-15 08:31:41

I went with my parents when I was 5 and my sisters were 7 and 8. They didn't do a tour but arranged everything themselves - had private drivers in every place we went to. It was amazing. I can't wait to take my little ones.

lightgreenglass Sun 15-Feb-15 08:34:01

I remember sitting in the trains and talking to the local strangers and have a video of people singing happy birthday to me. And when I say private drivers I don't mean chauffeur styles, it's very much the norm in India.

ElizaPickford Sun 15-Feb-15 08:38:04

We were talking about this the other day; we've been to India a lot and am desperate to take our kids. The only thing that stops me is that I've been extremely ill every single time. Having said that maybe we would travel/eat differently if we took them? I think it would be a brilliant thing for them to do, and nothing beats seeing tigers in the wild! (Don't go to Sariska though, there aren't any!)

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Sun 15-Feb-15 08:38:08

Try They do a lot of family stuff now and their trips are v well run with all hygiene and medical bases covered.

nannyafrica Sun 15-Feb-15 09:06:27

My friend went on the Exodus trip and find out they used the company I mentioned above so we booked direct with them when she and I went to India we saved over £1000 each !

bonhomme Sun 15-Feb-15 11:23:52

Thanks for all the tips. I have just looked up KVT holidays and there is indeed a link between them and Exodus. I will certainly check them out as that is a good compromise between a fully organised tour from UK and sorting out independently.

Ziglinda Sun 15-Feb-15 11:36:27

I went on a family holiday to India when I was 8. It was amazing and memorable. We travelled by train and it's a wonderful way to see the country. However, it was also very confronting especially seeing children begging. I remember seeing one child about my age begging with a sign around her neck saying she couldn't speak as she had no tongue.

nannyafrica Sun 15-Feb-15 12:38:33

One thing to think of is getting a Indian visa which can be a pain and costs about £100 each! We recently went to Sri Lanka because their visa took 10 minutes online and we received it via email within an hour and I think was £20. There was so much to do there at when we got back we booked to go again 3 weeks later! We had our own driver (who was amazing and has become a great friend) and car and for 3 weeks was just over £300 that also paid for his accommodation and fuel. No tigers but we did see 2 leopards at Willpattu National Park we watched for over an hour with no other vehicles around.We also did a wonderful train journey, whale watching and feed elephants.

bonkersLFDT20 Sun 15-Feb-15 12:43:40

We took our then 7 year old to India for 3 months.
Just replying now so I can write more later.
Do you have specific concerns or questions?

babybarrister Sun 15-Feb-15 12:45:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Sun 15-Feb-15 23:14:03

I agree that obtaining Indian visas are a pain.

2Retts Sun 15-Feb-15 23:46:10

Hey bonhomme and good to know of everyone's experiences.

My DP and I are travelling to India in two weeks for the first time ever (but not with DC's) and we found the visas not to be such a pain to obtain, as long as you're orrganised. Took a week using the postal services and went without a hitch (we used two different centres too) but they are expensive (over £100 each).

The innoculations we need for our itinerary were all available on the NHS.

Thanks to masquerade, we now have a solution to one of our undecided matters; a decent and reliable car and driver service in Delhi...yay!

bonhomme Mon 16-Feb-15 17:52:43

Hi, I too am concerned about the family contracting food poisoning or similar but my DH, who has been several times, has never been ill and is convincing me that it is OK as long as you are sensible.

In terms of what to see, we were thinking Taj Mahal, one of the tiger parks and Jaipur. Are there any other must sees? I'm thinking something that will appeal to our child, rather than another temple?

bonkersLFDT20 Mon 16-Feb-15 23:26:49

We've always said that getting the bloody visa is a test of how well you can cope with the trials of traveling around India!

I have never had food poisoning, neither did our 7 year old. DH was a twat and took risks and got very ill.

We drink bottled water at all times, wash our teeth using it as well. Eat only fruit you can peel, no salads, no ice cream, no lassi. Stick to simple food for a week or so - rice, eggs, daal, breads, yoghurt. Eat what the locals eat. If you can see it boiling away on the street it's probably fine (and delicious). No warm stuff the vendors sell on the trains. No meat, only fish if by the sea. Get lots of sleep, drink lots and lots of water.

Do you only have a week? Are you flying into Delhi? Don't try and do too much, that will knacker you and put you more at risk or lurgies.

masquerade Tue 17-Feb-15 22:59:40

One of my favourite Taj Mahal photos, this thread has made me go back and look at all of our lovely photos - must get around to getting them printed!

We didn't get ill either. We stayed in a lot of home stays and ate with the family, got restaurant recommendations from locals, and were just quite careful.

Not far outside of Jaipur near Amer Fort is Elefantastic, completely touristy, and expensive as far as things in India go but a lovely experience with the reassurance that the elephants are well cared for.

I found Jaipur the most challenging city we visited, I think it was the tuk-tuk drivers, they were by far the most persistent we encountered, I think maybe there's just too many of them. It does have a lot of good things going for it though, one of our favourite places was the beautiful Royal Gaitor Cenotaphs. Very small entry fee and we were the only people there (making it quite a good place for a game of hide and seek!).

Another quiet (although not as quiet as the Royal Gaitor) and beautiful place was the Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah in Agra, we visited on the afternoon after sunrise at the Taj Mahal - good time of day to go in terms of crowds/queues.

We visited Ramthambhore national park where there seemed to be a good chance of spotting a tiger, in fact everyone we spoke to had seen one, apart from us. I worried beforehand it might be disappointing for dd but she wasn't upset, we had a great time and felt like we'd been very close (plus its a reason to return one day!).

If you're flying in to Delhi there's so much see and do there as well, I loved it although I'm aware other travellers are not so keen.

I could go on and on and on but I might get a bit boring!

bonhomme Wed 18-Feb-15 07:36:07

Hi, we can go for up to two weeks but ideally around 10 - 12 days.

Thanks for all the tips - not boring at all - happy to hear more!

masquerade Wed 18-Feb-15 14:23:18

Have you looked on the India Mike forum? Its a real mine of information I used it a lot when planning our trip.

If I was you my itinerary would look something like
Day 1 arrive in Delhi, how you use the rest of the day would depend on what time you arrived, how you were feeling, where you were staying etc
Day 2 Sightseeing in Delhi
Day 3 Delhi -> Jaipur approx 5 hours by road, leave early and spend the afternoon in Jaipur
Day 4 Visit Amer fort and Elefantastic
Day 5 Jaipur -> Ranthambhore approx 3-4 hours by road, book an afternoon safari
Day 6 Ranthambhore
Day 7 Ranthambhore -> Agra approx 7 hours by road. Visit Fatepur Sikri, about an hour outside of Agra. You could also stop at the Abhaneri step-well if it interests you to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. Depending on how you're feeling and what time it is you could visit Agra Fort on arrival.
Day 8 sunrise at Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays), then visit to Tomb of I'timād-ud-Daulah/Baby Taj and then back to Delhi approx 4 hours by road

Plenty of time to add in extra days depending on what you want to do.

So you could have an extra full day in Jaipur, lots to see. Or have an extra morning there, drive to Ranthambhore on the afternoon and not do a safari that day stay but extra day.

You could stay another day in Agra and dedicate more time to the Fort (we visited the fort in Agra and but not in Delhi, they're similar and there's so many other things to do in Delhi), visit Akbar's Mausoleum and watch the sunset over the Taj from Metab Bagh.

Or you could add in extra stop e.g Pushkar between Jaipur and Ranthambhore (we didn't visit Pushkar so can't comment), or somewhere in the Shekhawati region between Delhi and Jaipur (we loved this area).

I'd like to have the Taj Mahal towards the end of my trip I think. The time at Ranthambhore between Jaipur and Agra will be good down-time.

blush you did say you were happy to hear more. I spent ages planning our trip, so I can talk lots about this little part of India!

bonhomme Sat 21-Feb-15 08:25:23

I've had a look on the India Mike forum but I'm not finding it very user friendly tbh.

cariadlet Wed 25-Mar-15 22:01:35

We're off to India this Easter with dd aged 11. We took her to Kerala a couple of years ago and this time we're going to Amritsar, Jaipur and Ranthambore (can't remember exact itinerary cos DP planned it).

It's pretty easy to organise yourself. We've booked flights, train tickets and hotels separately. When we started going long haul 20 years ago you had to turn up in a town and wander round until you found a hotel that you liked the look of and that had empty rooms. Totally different these days.

The Thorn Tree forum on the Lonely Planet website is always helpful.

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