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Old 10-17-2013, 01:59 PM   #1
CO/WV OP
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India by guided tour???

I have been doing some looking and India via guided tour seems to be common.

I know i know..... Not as ADV as going to Starbucks via a dirt road but maybe a good way to do india for 3 weeks.
There seem to be many operators doing it.... Aboriginal Tours has caught my eye.

I really want to see India and I like riding motos....... Seems like a win win.
I searched this site and have found little talk about it.

Surely someone will have some opinions....... If no responses here I will try JoMomma.
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Old 10-17-2013, 02:22 PM   #2
Warin
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Try HU ?

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/
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Old 10-17-2013, 05:10 PM   #3
Mark Manley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Warin View Post
Good advice, you could also look on http://www.rideasia.net/motorcycle-forum/

If you have not been there before India is a fascinating but challenging place to visit. I have not taken a guided tour there as I have taken my own motorcycle and bicycle but have met many who have and the vast majority thought it the best way to see the country for the first time.
Riding in India is more ADV than a lot of dirt road riding and certainly not a trip to Starbucks, an experience you will not forget.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:42 AM   #4
Pecha72
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I first went to South India (Kerala and Tamil Nadu) on a guided tour on Enfields in 2004. Later on I made a trip there with my own bike from Europe, and rode through the length of the country from the north to the south. The first “practice trip” was well worth it, helped me to get an idea of what traffic is like over there (it is, hmmmmm.... VERY different from Europe, for example!!!)

And yeah, I agree, that it΄s a tough country to ride a bike, probably the #1 toughest, that I΄ve ever been to. But India is also a huge experience. Starting off on a guided tour is not a bad idea at all.
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Old 10-21-2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info guys......

I really like what I have got so far.
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Old 10-23-2013, 12:49 AM   #6
Witold
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What exactly makes India "tough" for the people saying that it's tough?

The country is very safe.
+
Hotels everywhere.
+
Food everywhere.
+
Fuel everywhere.
+
Very easy to rent or buy motorcycles for cheap.
+
Tons of people who speak English and are genuinely helpful. (aside from tourist traps, where there's tons of scammers.)

The road quality is not a big concern. If it's too rough for you at 50mph, then you go 30mph and it's easy. It's a very easy solution. Same with safety: if you don't feel comfortable at 60mph, then you go 40mph.

You can make Indian roads as stressful as you want, but you can also make them as boring and relaxing as you want. The pics you see in trip reports can be very deceiving. People rarely post pics of the major 4 lane highway with perfect pavement from India.

Just because it's unfamiliar and undeveloped and poor doesn't necessarily make it "tough". Being uncomfortable because you are not used to something does not mean a place is "tough".

As a motorcycle destination, it's one of the easier places in the world. You can rent/buy a very decent motorcycle for very cheap, and you can go anywhere you want without any stress at all. And because of its poor development and big cultural difference, it's one of the most rewarding in terms of seeing memorable things.

I'm not a against tours or anything, but for the money, you can almost always get a much better experience yourself if you do your research. The biggest benefit of tours is safety and personal guide knowledge. If there is ever a moto tour of Somalia - that is money well spent on a tour. And if you are into ancient Buddhist architecture and your guide is some university researcher on the topic, it's money well spent. But usually... it's just not worth wasting the extra money.

In summary, India sounds tough and India looks tough. You can do it, though. It's much easier than many other places of the world where you don't have to battle just with your internal comfort level, but you also have to battle with legitimate external concerns (safety, etc), and deal with legitimate logistical complications.
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Old 10-30-2013, 02:56 AM   #7
Pecha72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Witold View Post
What exactly makes India "tough" for the people saying that it's tough?

India is such a huge country, that one should avoid generalizing too much...

But I personally did find it a tough country to ride a motorcycle. Highways were practically always so crowded, that even 50 kms per hour on average was often not possible. 200 kms felt like a long day on the saddle, 400 kms was almost like you΄ve just done the “Iron-Butt” back home! Plus you΄re constantly being pushed to the shoulder, or even off the road by oncoming trucks and buses, that can pass each other anywhere (and if somebody is already passing, that΄s no reason for another bus/truck driver to still pass them both). And it was not my first trip to India, so I knew this is the way they drive. It was not really scary for me, but it was exhausting.

(Note that our trip was almost 6 years ago, and in many towns, they were building flyovers on the highways, which were the most terrible traffic jams ever, while they were still under construction, they were so tightly packed that with the sidecases on our bike, we were basically stuck in a huge cloud of exhausts for long periods, and could not move anywhere... I΄m not sure, but IF these projects are now finished, then MAYBE it has gotten a tiny bit easier now, though I would not hold my breath, because the number of cars is going up there all the time!)

Sometimes we tried to use some smaller roads, but at least on the northern plains that didn΄t work so well either. Signage can be very poor, and it is village after village after village, and the road network outside highways is quite old and poor, and those roads always pass through the center of town. So, very bumpy and extremely slow, and we got lost more than a few times.

The mountains up north, and in the south were actually less crowded, and also they offered a nice break from the terrible heat at sea level. But even those roads were still Indian traffic, there΄s absolutely no guarantee that thre won΄t be diesel spills half a mile long, or that a trucker won΄t use 90% of your lane on the next blind corner, or whatever... can΄t say that I enjoyed riding there as much as I΄ve enjoyed some mountain areas in Europe, for example. (But I mean only the riding part – the views and the experience in general were truly priceless).

Then there΄s the common problems with the stomach... (and the roadside toilets were really a sight to see, if you were not feeling well before going in, I can assure you that you were feeling VERY unwell once you walked inside!!) The constant noise in the cities, very hard to find any solitude, the trash, the pollution..... and some people also seemed to assume, that you΄re a walking ATM, which was a bit tiring sometimes (but I have to say the vast majority of people were very friendly).

After India, we rode through Thailand, and in many ways it felt like a “holiday” compared to India. Even the rush-hour in Bangkok was a piece of cake compared to Mumbai. But that΄s just my 0.02, and India is most definitely worth seeing.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:57 PM   #8
Witold
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
But I personally did find it a tough country to ride a motorcycle. Highways were practically always so crowded, that even 50 kms per hour on average was often not possible. 200 kms felt like a long day on the saddle, 400 kms was almost like you΄ve just done the “Iron-Butt” back home!
I agree with everything you said, but I simply don't see these things as making it "tough".

If you feel like you're going to die at 60kph, then you can slow down to 30kph and it will be relaxing and enjoyable. It is a quick and easy solution to almost every road "problem" one encounters in India. As such, I don't see it as a problem at all.

But yes, if someone wants to put down heavy mileage, there is nothing better than USA interstates. And if someone want to race around corners, there is nothing better than the local USA racetracks. There is no country in the world that has better roads than USA interstates and USA racetracks.

But that's not the point of travel riding, right?

For "travel riding", India is great because it is interesting, logistically easy, and safe. It is very doable by almost anyone with no special experience or travel wits required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
Then there΄s the common problems with the stomach... (and the roadside toilets were really a sight to see, if you were not feeling well before going in, I can assure you that you were feeling VERY unwell once you walked inside!!) The constant noise in the cities, very hard to find any solitude, the trash, the pollution..... and some people also seemed to assume, that you΄re a walking ATM, which was a bit tiring sometimes (but I have to say the vast majority of people were very friendly).
People often say that visitors to India either love the place or hate the place. There is a strong response either way.

To me, that alone makes it a great travel destination because I like to go to places that elicit strong responses. I don't care to go to yet another Euro country that is basically very similar to the USA except that they have Tesco instead of Walmart and they don't speak English. My "worst" trips were to places that basically felt too much like being back home.

In India, there always seems to be something novel going on and you want to carry your camera to take photos. And you can do so without worries. Combined, that's what makes India a great travel destination.

You might love it or you might hate it - but either way, it's going to be much better than going to some bland country that feels almost exactly the same as USA. And for new riders, it's very doable entry to the developing world. Much easier than many other developing countries where there are severe logistical problems and substantial safety concerns.

Witold screwed with this post 10-30-2013 at 01:08 PM
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:04 PM   #9
Witold
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Originally Posted by Pecha72 View Post
After India, we rode through Thailand, and in many ways it felt like a “holiday” compared to India. Even the rush-hour in Bangkok was a piece of cake compared to Mumbai. But that΄s just my 0.02, and India is most definitely worth seeing.
Same with me. I stopped by Thailand after India for a few months and it felt so weird. Bangkok felt like being back in NYC or something. It didn't feel all that exotic anymore. (To be fair, I've explored Thailand prior to this so I was coming back to familiar places.)

But Thailand felt exactly like a "holiday" and a break from adventure.

Amusingly enough, I then flew back to NYC and the biggest thing that struck me was just how dreary and nasty and ghetto NYC is compared to Bangkok. You can go to the poorest areas of Bangkok and they don't feel as scummy and ghetto and filthy as NYC does on a drizzly Winter day. At least not to me, anyway... NYC looks like a complete dump compared to BKK.
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Old 10-31-2013, 02:36 AM   #10
TassieMark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CO/WV View Post
I have been doing some looking and India via guided tour seems to be common.

I know i know..... Not as ADV as going to Starbucks via a dirt road but maybe a good way to do india for 3 weeks.
There seem to be many operators doing it.... Aboriginal Tours has caught my eye.

I really want to see India and I like riding motos....... Seems like a win win.
I searched this site and have found little talk about it.

Surely someone will have some opinions....... If no responses here I will try JoMomma.
Seems like a good idea to me. Riding an Enfield with a group bikers in a foreign land is very appealing indeed, with I think a reasonable risk. Sure the traffic can be crazy, and the roads can have their challenges, like speed humps in the middle of nowhere, and rivers of oil running across the road from roadside truck repairs. And of course, Delhi belly can be a challenge too, that was the toughest part. I lost 10kg and it took months to recover when I rode across India from Chennai to Amritsa in 2010. But I liked the place because it was all new to me, certainly not my favourite, but well worth the visit.
Regards,
Mark
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