We booked this Tauck trip with Bonnie Buchanan at cruise one on June 1, 2020, for a cost of $26,558. We booked our business class air on Dec. 31, 2021, at a cost of $7883.68. We waited for this trip through the difficulties of covid and the uncertainty om my falling and shattering my femur on June 22, 2022, just 4 months before the trip was to occur. With the blessing of the doctor…we proceeded.
We left our house on October 27, 2022, at 6:00 am and headed for the airport. We left on time and arrived in Charlotte. We left Charlotte and arrived in NYC. We had reserved a wheelchair at each leg of the journey, and we did receive one in NYC.
We left NYC an hour late because the bathrooms were not working. Maintenance was working on the issue...but then the captain announced that the crew was almost out of limited time...he had 20 minutes to get us in the air. God bless him...he did it with 3 minutes to spare. The flight was uneventful. The food was terrible.
We arrived in Delhi about 9:45 pm. I went to the wheelchair guy… Who promptly said I am not on the list. WHAT???? they confirmed in NYC...I was already on the list in Delhi. SOOOOO...I WALKED...yes ladies and gentlemen...I WALKED FOREVER....lol Oh boy is my leg screaming...but I did it!
We got to immigration...and We had all of our paperwork in order...except there is a little pink form you get when you arrive that asks for the exact information you already have on your visa...but of course they MUST have that little form to proceed. Normally it is no big deal...but when you have been traveling and WALKING for 30 hours...all you want to do is get to your hotel and SIT DOWN.
We got our bags...yes, all bags arrived with us! We met the Tauck Rep who called the driver, and we were on our way to the Imperial Hotel. Delhi is the smoggiest city I have ever seen. The traffic even at 10:00 pm is horrific. There are stray dogs everywhere.
We checked in and were assigned room 256... unpacked our bags and called it a night after 30 hours of travel.
We had breakfast in 1911 restaurant. We met with the Tauck group at 1:45. We have fifteen in our group. We have a family of eight, a single lady and 3 couples. We were given our duffel bags. We got on the Tauck bus and did a tour of New Delhi. Our local guide is Sharitma? She is very lovely. We went to the place where Mahama Ghandi was murdered. We had cocktail hour at 6:30. Then we had dinner. It was a fixed menu of all different Indian food. We came back to the room about 9:30.
We had breakfast at 1911 restaurant. We went to Old Delhi. We visited Humayun’s tomb. Then we visited Qutub minar. We had lunch at Olive’s restaurant. We arrived back at the hotel about 3pm. The trip has been extremely hard on my leg and the time change has been difficult on my body.
On October 31 we got up at 5 ...had breakfast at 1911 restaurant…then boarded the bus for the airport. It was the most chaotic airport experience t I have ever had. Our tour director, Anna Sbordoni, got a driver to take me to gate 10B. God bless her for that. We flew to Kathmandu…then boarded the bus for a trip to the temple to watch the cremations. Our local guide is Rakesh. We went to the Dwarika hotel. We were given cold towels and a short tour. We were assigned room 303. I was so tired I went to bed, and we skipped dinner.
On November 1, we met at 5:30 am to go on our flight to see Mount Everest. It was AMAZING. We came back to the hotel for breakfast. Then we departed for a tour of Durbar Square. We saw many temples, and even saw the living, Goddess. We took a rickshaw ride to the restaurant Nepali Ghar for lunch. Then we came back to the hotel. We had a lecture by a Sherpa at 5:00. Then we had dinner at Krishnaarpan.
November 2, we had breakfast at the Toran Restaurant. We boarded the vans for the Kopan Monastery. Then we went to the Boudhanath stupa we bought a painting. We had lunch at the Tibet International Hotel. We boarded the van and drove to the city of Patan where we visited Temples.
On November 3, we got up at 5:30 to fly to Bharatpur. This time the flight was a breeze. We did not even need our passports. We did not have to remove everything electrical from our carry ons. When we arrived, we rode in vans to the Taj Meghauli lodge. This place is amazing. The room is beautiful, the view is breathtaking, the food is excellent, the staff is phenomenal. We went on a boat ride down the Rapti river. We saw lots of birds and a crocodile. At the end of the ride, we had sundowners. Then we rode the vans back to the lodge. We saw a jackal. We were tired and We had a wonderful lunch, so we skipped the dinner.
November 4, we had breakfast then took a boat across the river to get on the safari vehicles. We had a good morning and saw a rhino, spotted deer, and two domesticated elephants. We came back for lunch. Then went back on safari again. We again saw rhino and spotted deer. We went to the Tharus of Terai show and dinner.
On November 5, we had breakfast then boarded the vans for the drive back to the airport. We arrived in Kathmandu and went to lunch at Hotel Heritage. We then walked to Bhaktapur to see temples. We drove to Dhulikel resort.
November 6, we had breakfast then spent a lovely afternoon on our terrace. We had lunch and came back to the terrace for a nap. We attended the singing bowl presentation and the cooking lesson. Then we had dinner.
November 7, we had breakfast then boarded the bus for a trip to the airport. We flew back to Delhi. Then we took a bus to Agra. We checked into the Oberoi hotel. It is AMAZING. We ordered room service.
On November 8, we had breakfast then went to the Taj Mahal. Then we went to Fort Agra. We came back to the hotel and had lunch. Then we went shopping. We bought some beautiful marble pieces that will be shipped home, and some paper Mache pieces. I went to a sari demonstration and steve went to a Turban demonstration. We had dinner in a private garden and were entertained by beautiful dancers and musicians.
November 9, we had breakfast then drove 20 minutes to the train station. We rode the train for 2 hours to Jhansi. We then got into SUVs for the 2.5-hour drive to Khajuraho. We toured the Temple. We then went to the Lalit hotel. We had dinner.
November 10. We had breakfast at 6. Then took the SUVs for the 5.5-hour drive to Bandhavgarh National Park. We checked into the Taj Safari Mahua Kothi Lodge. We had lunch. Then we went on safari. We saw spotted deer, peacocks, and monkeys…but no tigers. We had dinner.
November 11, we went on a morning safari. We saw wild boar, deer, monkeys but again no tigers. We had lunch. We went on Afternoon safari. This time we saw two male tiger cubs 18 months old. We had dinner and a performance by the Baiga tribe.
November 12, we went on a morning safari. We saw the camp elephants, deer monkeys, and Indian Gaur. We had lunch. In the afternoon safari we saw a male and female tiger mating. We saw a stork. We had our last dinner together as a group.
November 13, we had breakfast and drove three hours to the airport. We flew to Mumbai. We toured the complex. We checked into the Oberoi hotel.
On November 14, we had breakfast then met at 9 in the lobby for our tour of Mumbai. We had lunch at the Taj. We came back to the Oberoi to prepare for our flight home. At 6, we met at the EAU bar for the farewell cocktail party.
We left for the airport at 10 for our 2:10am flight to London. We flew home without incident.
My overall opinion is this is a very tough trip. Even if i had been in tip top health...it would have been an exhausting trip. We had very early mornings, late evenings, 6 complicated flights, and long car drives. The safaris were the best part for me of course...which is why i booked the trip. But you cannot take this trip expecting Africa. The animals are few and far between. If I had done this trip first...then done the Botswana South Africa Zambia trip...it would have been better. I had high expectations because we saw so much wild life in Africa.
I expected dirty, I expected trash, I expected crowds, I expected traffic, I expected stench and I expected cows....and i got WAY more than I expected. At one point there were a thousand cows sharing the road with our 7 cars. It was an unbelievable sight. I was so sad to see trash everywhere, and men urinating on the streets. The rivers were so polluted and the air was full of smog. I believe India could be a beautiful place if the leaders cared more about cleaning up the trash.
We saw many wonderful interesting things...we learned a lot about Nepal and India, we met some amazing people. The workers and staff at each location were so helpful and kind. The hotels were amazing. My favorite was the Oberoi in Mumbai.
This was certainly a trip I will never forget. My favorite moments were of course seeing Mount Everest on a bright clear day, seeing the magnificent Taj mahal, and seeing beautiful Tigers in their natural habitat. Our Africa trip still remains number one for me...and Antarctica is still number 2.https://www.sandcvacations.com/