John Perera

Wellington, New Zealand

“Travel is my hobby. I have travelled to many interesting parts of the world, but this was my first visit to India. It is a fascinating country and plans to visit different parts of India every year…”

My 18 days experience of Fascinating India as a solo traveller.

I was born in Sri Lanka and have lived in England and New Zealand from 1970.

Travel is my hobby. I have travelled to many interesting parts of the world, but this was my first visit to India. It is a fascinating country and plans to visit different parts of India every year.

I would not have enjoyed India so much if not for Joji and his team in India. If anything went wrong, Joji was always available on the phone. What went wrong was put right within half an hour. Technology today is great!

Joji planned my itinerary. The plan was to do the Golden Triangle by car with driver and different tourist guides, and also to spend some time in Bombay and Goa.

I arrived in Delhi on 17 August 2017 and met the tour guide and the driver at the airport. They took me to The Park hotel. I was at this hotel for two nights. The hotel was good and in an area that I could walk about on my own at nights as Joji told me before the trip. There were good restaurants a few pubs and local markets amount other things.

Next day according to Joji’s itinerary it was a Delhi tour with driver and guide. I spent about eight hours with the driver and guide that day. Architecture, temples, markets, culture, explanation from the guide was an experience. The highlights that day was Jama Masjid the Grand Mosque, and the Rickshaw ride at Chandni Chowk, Red Fort and Raj Ghat the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandi, Humayun Tomb and Bangala Sahib Sikh temple. I could not have done all this with so little effort if not for the guide and driver. That day, Joji also called me to find out how everything was going and that was jolly nice of him. It was a full day and had so much fun, but I was not even tired at the end of the day.

On the 19th August, it was our long journey of 200 km to Agra which was about four hours drive. The car was good, and the driver was great and not only very friendly spoke good English. It was a motorway and driver was professional and drove carefully. I was taken to Trident which was a great hotel. The hotel was a five-star standard, and I enjoyed staying there. My recommendation is to pay a little more and stay in good hotels. I had about an hour to rest, a quick dip in the pool, and I was picked up again by the car and guide to take me to Agra Fort and show Taj Mahal at Sunset. You will see the photos, and it was the highlight of the trip. I had a good nights sleep.

On the 20th August, it was Agra to Jaipur a 265 Km journey. The driver was on time, but there was no rush. Located 40 Kms Agra, deserted city Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569. I understand that this City became a Ghost city 14 years after it was built due to lack of water. Buildings are well preserved. There were many things to see, and it was another great experience. Upon arrival in Jaipur check-in at Trident. Another great hotel. Overnight stay. Dinner and breakfast were very good and a Masala Thosa is highly recommended for breakfast!

On 21 August, I explored Jaipur. High lights were Amber Fort with Elephant ride, Maharajas city palace and Jantar Mantra, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. Overnight stay at Trident.

22 August Flight from Jaipur to Mumbai

The guide and driver met me in the morning and I was taken to the Airport. The guide helped me to check the luggage which was very helpful in a busy Airport. I was met at the Mumbai Airport on arrival by a different driver and guide and taken to Fariyas Hotel. This hotel is not the same standard as Trident but Joji arranged a room upgrade. The location of the hotel was very good and there was a lot of restaurants, pubs and markets. I could walk and explore on my own. The hotel staff was friendly. That evening I was picked up by the driver and guide to show me Mumbai at night.

On 23rd and 24th August – Leisure and sight-seeing in Mumbai. It is different to Delhi in many ways. Food is different, and people are also different in a lovely way. I was fascinated by Beards, moustaches and turbans!

On 25th August, Flight from Mumbai to Goa. Again I was picked up by car and driver from the Goa Airport and taken to Ocean Palm hotel. Goa is very different to rest of India. There is far more Catholic and Portuguese influence there. I stayed nine days in Goa, and it was far too long. Four days in Goa would have been enough as Joji recommended before the trip. I am told the best time to go to Goa is around December if one likes a party culture. Last three days of Goa I was at Zuri White Sands hotel. Again I was transported there by Jojis team. It was five-star plus.

The hotel was so nice, and I did not go anywhere during those three days. I have seen a lot of Goa by that time. The hotel was by a beautiful white sand private beach owned by the hotel. The pool was also great. Food was the best Indian food I have ever eaten anywhere in the world. It was a great way to end the trip.

The following morning I was taken to the Airport by Joji’s team to take to plane to Bombay and Bangkok.

Thanks to Joji and his team for making this trip so memorable.

John Perera

Wellington, New Zealand

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