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2 hours ago, achilles said:


Kodai is fun but the closest airport is Madurai and it’s about a 3 hour climb from there in narrow and twisty mountain roads. The little one might not like that. 

 

For stay, Tamara Kodai is good. If you like camping or roughing it for a day or so try The Pear County. Great atmosphere, lovely people, and they serve genuine delish live barbecue, but their tents aren’t in top condition. 

Also the shrooms begin to come out in July ;) 

 

Tamara is out of budget. It's minimum 20k a night, and I'm not willing to go beyond 15k. 

 

1 hour ago, Vamos said:

 

Fly to Leh/Ladakh. 
The views from the plane alone makes it worth it. 


 

If you’re looking for secluded places, try booking a highly rated Airbnb, away from the tourist hustle-bustle. 
Most of the superhosts will have really nice private cottages, homesteads, etc. 

 

 

Leh Ladakh with young kids ? Wouldn't altitude be an issue ? 

 

Also thinking about Bandipur. The Serai Bandipur seems like a great place. Thoughts ?

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17 hours ago, Bird Bird Bird said:

Leh Ladakh with young kids ? Wouldn't altitude be an issue ? 

 

Also thinking about Bandipur. The Serai Bandipur seems like a great place. Thoughts ?

 

Yeah, Leh can be extreme but only if you move further up - towards Nubra, Pangong , etc. 

Suggested it only coz you were asking for colder places. :P

 

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On 5/10/2022 at 7:34 AM, LordSpymaster said:

Any clue what's a good brand for luggage bags? I plan to get a 3 piece set, with wheels and shiz. Looking at American Tourister and Samsonite, though AT is cheaper than the other.

Got a Samsonite since seeing this and the AT ones next to each other made me understand how bad the AT quality is... 

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Planning to go on a holiday on friday. Thinking of going to Chickmagalur, Karnataka. I am tired of Goa and there are not many fun destinations near Pune apart from Goa and konkan beaches. Mahabaleshwar is meh. .

 

 

Is Chickmagalur worth a visit? Shows 740 kms from my place. I will be driving down. 

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17 minutes ago, Bhpian Bali said:

Planning to go on a holiday on friday. Thinking of going to Chickmagalur, Karnataka. I am tired of Goa and there are not many fun destinations near Pune apart from Goa and konkan beaches. Mahabaleshwar is meh. .

 

 

Is Chickmagalur worth a visit? Shows 740 kms from my place. I will be driving down. 

First pic that comes up on a Google search is that of a Bhabhi so I'd say it depends. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone gone to Europe in Dec? Anything to be aware about apart from how cold it'll be?

 

Any other general tips for Europe? Also, what are good travel agencies from India? I have used MMT and Yatra for Asia tours, they were decent..

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1 hour ago, LordSpymaster said:

Has anyone gone to Europe in Dec? Anything to be aware about apart from how cold it'll be?

 

Any other general tips for Europe? Also, what are good travel agencies from India? I have used MMT and Yatra for Asia tours, they were decent..

Depends where you are going in Europe.

But why opt for tours when you can build one yourself?

 

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1 hour ago, KunjanPSD said:

Depends where you are going in Europe.

But why opt for tours when you can build one yourself?

 

Switzerland, Italy and Greece 

Or London / Paris + 1/2 more countries. 

 

I've found it easier to get these tours customized since I prepay for all stuff, travel, Airport pickup drops etc. That's how I explored Japan, Singapore, HK. 

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2 minutes ago, LordSpymaster said:

Switzerland, Italy and Greece 

Or London / Paris + 1/2 more countries. 

 

I've found it easier to get these tours customized since I prepay for all stuff, travel, Airport pickup drops etc. That's how I explored Japan, Singapore, HK. 

I have noticed that these tours are always a tad expensive but I guess it comes down to convenience.

When it comes to Europe, language is the biggest barrier so I would say not skimp out on a reliable sim and data plan.

These are pretty standard places and a quick Youtube search will tell you most of the things but when it comes to Paris, be vigilant about Pick pockets, they are everywhere and really active.

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7 hours ago, LordSpymaster said:

Switzerland, Italy and Greece 

Or London / Paris + 1/2 more countries. 

 

I've found it easier to get these tours customized since I prepay for all stuff, travel, Airport pickup drops etc. That's how I explored Japan, Singapore, HK. 

 

My suggestion would be to have a sim with data plan. Given that you are planning for multiple countries, I am assuming that it will be 2-3 weeks trip. In that case, international roaming package works somewhat in the same range as a local tourist sim but offers more convenience. I have used Airtel several times on IR and it works great, except one time in Montenegro where it didn't work.

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10 hours ago, LordSpymaster said:

Has anyone gone to Europe in Dec? Anything to be aware about apart from how cold it'll be?

 

Any other general tips for Europe? Also, what are good travel agencies from India? I have used MMT and Yatra for Asia tours, they were decent..

 

I did 10 days EU in May'19 with family with Veena world. If you're strictly veg, can tolerate oldies in your groups and are okay with boiler-plate itinerary with typical touristic place, then go with them. I've done customised trips earlier to UAE, US but it takes heck of a planning up to the point of exhaustion and with food/family restrictions, it was better for me to go with managed tours even though I wouldn't prefer certain things. 

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On 6/5/2022 at 9:34 AM, LordSpymaster said:

Has anyone gone to Europe in Dec? Anything to be aware about apart from how cold it'll be?

 

Any other general tips for Europe? Also, what are good travel agencies from India? I have used MMT and Yatra for Asia tours, they were decent..

 

 I stayed in UK for 1 year (Though did not travel in Dec). That said, some of my experiences - 

 

1) If there is heavy snow-fall, you might not enjoy much. Getting to something even 10 mins walk away will take you 1/2 hour+. You might not be able to drive anywhere, and visibility will be poor. You can also easily get lost.

 

2) Expect tons of Christmas themed parties on roads.

 

3) Dec might be a very good time to actually visit the Scandinavic Countries (Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Scandinavia etc.) and see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

 

4) If at all possible - avoid Indian Tours. I toured EU with Indian tours. The problem - they will cram far too much and will not allow you to see anything properly, food quality will be bad, you will spend far more time on the bus than actually looking at things etc (Let's say 8 hours on bus while 1-2 hours actually looking at anything, that too in a hurry). For example - 

 

a) When we visited Leaning Tower of Pisa - the Tour Guide would not allow us to climb it, because it takes time and we had to leave for the next destination 

 

b) At the Tower of London there are 4 towers, the Indian Tour took us to just the Kohinoor Diamond and then led us back (Saw almost none of the towers) etc.

 

As for food also - it will be absolutely boring. Wherever you go - they will take you to some Punjabi Cuisine place (Better quality you can get in India frankly) and you will have Punjabi, Indian Chinese and maybe some South Indian food Morning, Noon and Night. Heck, in Italy, they took us to a Punjabi place and we had Indian Pizza - that was far worse than what you get right here in India.

 

If you take my advise - 

 

1) Do your own research and form your own itinerary

 

2) You will generally get Indian food and even veg foreign food very easily in EU. Look at the net. There are tons of places there. The Food Places these Indian Tour Guides take you are generally very poor quality that only open in tourist season, take commission from these tour operators to provide cheap food and remain closed through-out the year

 

3) If at all possible, take Localized Tours. They are awesome. For example, there was a Tour Operator called Golden Tours, based only in UK. They will take you to only some places per tour. But they will explain in detail and cover the place fully. For example, we went to Stonehenge and Bath - which was a full day tour. They explained everything, we saw everything there was to see and came back very satisfied. Same for Tower of London. Full day spent there and we covered everything there was to see (Far more than what the Indian Tour showed us). They also have guides that are very knowledgeable and will explain everything properly. During these tours you will get stuff like sandwiches, starters etc. for food - which is more than sufficient (Multiple shops and cafes nearby).

 

4) There are some places that no tour will take you. Look at the net. Go by yourself/with your family+friends. Forget the tours. Spend the entire day there. They will be some of the best experiences of your life. Look at the net for recommendations of these places. For example, for me it was Durdle Door in UK, which is essentially this -

 

durdle-door-e1551894820241.jpg

 

Do research and see what you can go to in December. It will be very enjoyable (Unlike the School Picnic atmosphere with Indian Tours, where the Tour Guide essentially acts like your School Teacher)

 

IMO avoid the Indian Packaged tours. Take recommendations, look up stuff, personalize tours (If needed), take local tours or just go off into the Wild Blue Yonder. It will be an absolutely amazing adventure.

Edited by roun90
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On 5/3/2022 at 11:04 PM, achilles said:

So the situation with Schengen Visa appointments is... inconvenient. No appointments available and the online systems are a bit messy. Anyone know anyone who knows anyone who can help? :) 

Need to travel at the end of this month.  

 

Were you able to get an appointment?

 

I am trying to book an appointment at Delhi for Schengen visa but it is unavailable, with no information on the earliest available date. However, it is available at Kolkata and Mumbai centers.

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Places to visit and eat at Hyderabad.

3 days.

 

Museum, zoo and fort will go.

In food looking for biryani, kebabs and nihari etc - not high end restuarants or commercialised centres like behrouz, even Paradise i once tried and didn't like.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I'm back to researching ForEx cards for my upcoming trip. Not decided on the location yet, but it'll either be Europe or Aus/NZ.

 

  1. Saw Bookmyforex. It has a card as well. Seems simple enough with no markup. Anyone used this and any thoughts?
  2. Has anyone used Niyo (https://campaigns.goniyo.com/niyo-global-forex-card/)? This seems a better deal for me since I should get international lounge access on my card and the companion can get the Niyo in their name for lounges. Has anyone used their lounge access abroad as well? Thoughts?
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1 minute ago, LordSpymaster said:

I'm back to researching ForEx cards for my upcoming trip. Not decided on the location yet, but it'll either be Europe or Aus/NZ.

 

  1. Saw Bookmyforex. It has a card as well. Seems simple enough with no markup. Anyone used this and any thoughts?
  2. Has anyone used Niyo (https://campaigns.goniyo.com/niyo-global-forex-card/)? This seems a better deal for me since I should get international lounge access on my card and the companion can get the Niyo in their name for lounges. Has anyone used their lounge access abroad as well? Thoughts?

1) Niyo: Great option as well but rejections do pop up ever since they shifted to SBM full time. Only issue is that they deduct TCS. Acc. to RBI rules, any foreign transactions above 7.5L/year, calls for 5% TCS. Niyo deducts this on every transaction and then refunds in 12 days after checking the limit. Refunds are seamless though. 

For lounges, these are basic lounges and they will be filled to the brim, not much different as compared to other CCs.

 

2) Bookmyforex: Great service, hardly any rejections. I am not sure about their ATM policy but rest works great. No TCS. 

 

You only need to compare the forex exchange difference between the two. Ex: For USD, Niyo is tad better but for EU and UK, BMF is. These rates obviously keep changing though.

 

3) Fi Money: Same as Niyo but hardly any rejections and TCS issue is mostly not present except a few cases. No lounges though.

 

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22 minutes ago, KunjanPSD said:

Great option as well but rejections do pop up ever since they shifted to SBM full time

SBM? This is a bank they have a tie up with? 

 

And rejections due to what? Any clue? 

 

Lounges will be normal ones I know, but better to have that option and not use it than not have it and need it. 

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14 minutes ago, LordSpymaster said:

SBM? This is a bank they have a tie up with? 

 

And rejections due to what? Any clue? 

 

Lounges will be normal ones I know, but better to have that option and not use it than not have it and need it. 

Yup, SBM Bank.

Random rejections at Target/Walmart/local ATMs etc. This did not use to happen before when they had a tie up with DCB.

 

Acceptance is only getting better though.

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