Abha Rai helped me to plan a very special trip to India, this was complicated as it involved meeting family members that were travelling and also family members that would join us part way through the trip. Abha came up with a suggested plan which she regularly adjusted and reviewed as I asked for more advice and changes. She was able to advise me every step of the way and contacted hotels etc for further information where needed. In total there were 7 of us traveling together, a range of ages, and we have made memories of a lifetime. We traveled around North India for approximately 1 week, then flew to Kerala in the south for another week. It's difficult to put into words what a wonderful trip we have had. We were met and guided by the most professional but friendly staff who had excellent local knowledge. We were able to include so much in to our trip to see and do all of the things we wanted to but also had time to relax particularly towards the end of our trip. We felt that travel local provided good value for money. We have been inspired by India, it's an amazing country, we felt we have been able to understand the spirit of the country and the culture. During the trip all guides, agents and drivers that we encountered were accommodating and provided great information. Thank you thank you we would highly recommend travel local
I have included this information in detail above on part one from Abha Rai helping me to plan to everyone we met during our trip. All drivers on the min bus north and south were wonderful
Small points for future reference Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya Jaipur - suggest do not use in the future, no windows in the hotel rooms, things not working in the room and staff friendly but poorly trained. Mini bus in the north was wonderful but as north India was experiencing extreme cold it did not have any heating for our long journey to Rantambore, it was cold for us and the drivers at times. Wish we had been advised more by the guide at Antrilippy falls about the plan as we drove to this location - a long journey in the hills, the view was amazing but then we had to leave, it was disappointing.
Drivers were fantastic both in the North and in Kerala, they all went over and above. They really took good care of us, offering opportunities and answering our requests ( staff to keep!!) Guides were also all very good and knowledgeable - some just stood out more due to their personality / additional knowledge or helpfulness. Guru, Vikram, Babu meeting and solving some problems for us, Praveen tea plantation and mountain trek.
There were so many highlights but I will name a few not to be missed if you are going to India: The hectic Delhi markets, Taj Mahal, Indian train travel, Jaipur, The elephant SOS sanctuary( please do not ride elephants), Ranthambore National Park ( even without spotting a tiger), Munnar the mountains and trek just incredible, cooking lesson in Cochin, cruising on the backwaters and then a beautiful peaceful beach Mararikulam. We had a mix of different accommodation, just one hotel that was disappointing in Jaipur ( Leisure Inn Grand Chanakya) do not go there Our favourite hotels- The Panoramic Getaway in Munnar is wonderful with the most amazing views( be prepared they do not serve alcohol in many locations in Kerala) our driver stopped for us to purchase to take with us. The Alleppey boat on the backwaters that provided the best service and also served the most delicious food. Xandari Pearl a quiet beach escape. Ranthambore Heritage Hotel was beautiful and the staff helped when someone in our group was unwell - North India was experiencing extreme cold in 100 years, the hotel had heaters and provided hot water bottles but the rooms were still chilly, I believe this was very unusual. Prepare yourself for cold if travelling in the North December / January particularly Rantambore safari
This was probably slightly different for everyone but the two main things that everyone said was The Hill Trek tea plantations in Munnar and The Taj Mahal.