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susanj

Expensive India! I'm Not Sure

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Hi

its me again, got to be quick I have to go and get Husband from Gatwick. I have been quoted a cost of from 1900 Indian Rupees to 2200IR's a night for a room at Chonor House in McLeod Ghanj. As those of you who have been reading my questions know I have yet to travel to India. Should I email back and ask if they have cheaper, don't even know if this is just room only basis, just know that it has a nice view! B)

My first week or 2 will spent at Sherabling Monastery, I sponsor a Lama and I am going to met him. Also starting to wonder if I am going to be bored, I need 1 week there for the teachings being given by HH Dalia Lama after that any suggestions don't think I can do big cities on my own too scary ;)
so to sum up I've got 1 month flying into and out of Delhi the only definite plan at the moment are the teachings are from 14-18th August

Thanks for all your advice, so far. Suze

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Hi,

I don't know this place, but it doesn't seem expensive for a good hotel.

If you don't like the place, you can stay one night and look for a better alternative the next day.

You'd better get off to Gatwick - don't be late!

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Rs.2200/- for a night in Mac??? Too much!! When are you coming to Delhi? August will be raining that is monsoon time...

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In India, like most places, you'll get what you pay for. The prices you were quoted were for rooms that normally accommodate two people, and usually there's not much of a price break, if any, if you are traveling on your own. If you are used to sharing the cost with someone else, the single "penalty" can be a little bit hard to swallow.

Yes, you certainly [b]can [/b] get much cheaper places in McLeod Ganj, but keep in mind that many of them are very "backpacker-y" and probably aren't up to the standards you're used to if you've never traveled outside Europe before. I can stick low budget, backpacker type places for a while, but at my age, frankly, I like a little more comfort much of the time. I can only think that you are shocked at the thought of spending $40-50 a night (whatever that is in pounds or Euros) for a [b]very [/b] nice hotel because you have a (possibly) out of date notion of how cheap India is. Yes, much of it is still dirt cheap by Western standards, but India, too, is getting more prosperous and the nicer places are priced accordingly. I once stayed (sort of by accident) at the Oberoi Grand in Calcutta - a luxury hotel by any standards. Do you think it was cheap because it was in India? Are you joking! The room was over $300 a night - a price I'd never dream of paying in ordinary circumstances, [b]anywhere[/b]! But that does give you an idea than not everything in India is priced at rock bottom.

Below is some information from the Conde Nast Traveler website, published in November 2003 (so several years out of date) re: Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj. This publication is aimed at middle class travelers, not budget backpackers, so it will give you an idea of the places and prices it thinks are "on the mark" for that demographic.

F[b]rom Conde Nast Traveler
Published November 2003[/b]


"Dharamsala: Places & Prices
Dharamsala gets very cold in winter, and in summer endures one of the region's worst monsoons. With clear skies and warm nights, October, November, and March through June are the best times to go, although they are, of course, also the most crowded.

There's a small airport near Dharamsala, but the flight schedule is erratic at best. So the standard approach is by overnight train from Delhi to Pathankot (15 hours, $30), and then by taxi to McLeod Ganj (3 hours, $30). But the very efficient Jet Airways makes a one-hour flight from Delhi to Jammu (jetairways.com; round-trip, $230), from which you can get a taxi for the five-hour drive to McLeod Ganj ($65).

The minivans and auto-rickshaws that serve as taxis in McLeod Ganj charge fairly standard rates: $6 for a round-trip to the Norbulingka (plus $1 per hour for waiting after the first hour), and $3 to the Tibetan Children's Village. Even cheaper, the local bus makes a one-hour trip through Lower Dharamsala to the Norbulingka area for 25 cents.

The country code for India is 91. Prices are quoted for the current month. The U.S. embassy is at Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, in New Delhi (22-2419-8000; newdelhi.usembassy.gov).

Lodging
The government-in-exile's guesthouse, just across from the Namgyal Monastery, Chonor House is by far the most comfortable and stylish place to stay, with 12 rooms individually and lavishly decorated in Tibetan style. It must be booked months in advance (1892-221-006; www.norbulingka.org/visitors/chonor.htm; doubles, $40-$55; v). A serviceable alternative, the Hotel Pema Thang is up the slope behind Chonor House. It has basic rooms and facilities, and rooms 101 through 105 have commanding views of the valley (1892-221-871; pemathang.com; doubles, $14-$20). Both are wonderfully situated near the Tibetan heart of town.

Surya Resorts lodgings, though advertising luxury, are ill-kept, and most of the other guesthouses are for very limited budgets. The only other attractive place to stay, the Norling Guesthouse, has simple, clean rooms inside the idyllic Norbulingka Institute. It is, however, 30 minutes by taxi from McLeod Ganj, so it's really only good if you want to do nothing but meditate all day (1892-246-402; www.norbulingka.org/visitors/guesthouse.htm; doubles, $20).



Dining
Nobody ever makes reservations for meals here; indeed, most restaurants don't have phones. Dinners cost just a few dollars; $6 would be extravagant.

The coolest place in town is, curiously, the small Korean Dokebi, where the candlelit atmosphere is unusually chic by local standards. The popular Lung-ta, in Lung-ta House on Lower Jogibara Road, has an authentic Japanese menu. The Lhasa, in the center of town, is said to be the best place for straightforward Tibetan fare. Nearby, Ashoka is perhaps the best and cleanest place for Indian food, and sometimes you can even dine on its roof.
On Temple Road, the strictly vegan Khana Nirvana Community Café serves good rice dishes in a setting reminiscent of New Mexico. Its California-born activist owners regularly organize open-mike nights, films, lectures, and even Shabbat ceremonies. Inside the main temple, the café Namgyal is pleasant and comfortable, with excellent rice and vegetable dishes but unreliable pizza.

Shopping
Norling Designs, in Chonor House, sells far and away the classiest and most expensive clothing in town. In McLeod Ganj, the shops along Temple and Bhagsu roads tend to specialize in thangkas and Buddha statues, while the shops in the thick of things sell shawls, Tibetan CDs, and postcards. For reading material, Bookworm, on Bhagsu Road, is hard to beat—and its owner has some fascinating stories and insights to pass on.

Reading
Although it was written almost 20 years ago, John Avedon's In Exile from the Land of Snows remains the best and most vivid introduction to Tibet-in-exile (Perennial, $16), and the Dalai Lama's second autobiography, Freedom in Exile, puts his life and work in Dharamsala in the context of his country's history and culture (HarperCollins, $15). Many good photo books explore the pathos and strength of Tibet-in-exile, the most accessible being Living Tibet, by Bill Warren and Nanci Hoetzlein Rose (Snow Lion Publications, $14), and the more recent Dharamsala: Tibetan Refuge, by Jeremy Russell (Heian International Publications, $20). All of the above are most easily found in Dharamsala itself."


Here's a link to some other hotels' websites: [url="http://www.123himachal.com/dharamsala/links/hotels.htm"]http://www.123himachal.com/dharamsala/links/hotels.htm[/url] A lot of them are cheaper than Chonor House (although some are not much cheaper) and even appear "luxurious" in the photos, but I stayed in a similar place two years ago (not one of those on this website) and it was OK but not that great. Edited by dzibead

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I guess an apology is in order. When I did a currency conversion the price per night worked out to £21. Your mention of the monsoon yep I'm there for the whole month!!!!!!!! :rolleyes: really getting excited any other words of wisdom you can pass my way would be appreciated. Will be taking the soft case and an umbrella.

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I know nothing about North India, but in the South of India I normally pay around Rs.2000/- to Rs.3000/- a night for a very good hotel.

I can recommend a good a clean, comfortable hotel (a/c room with TV and en suite bathroom) in Cochin for Rs.490/- a night (£5.00), and I can tell you that a hotel in Mysore that charges Rs.34,500/- a night (£400) isn’t as good as one down the road that charges Rs.2900/- (£34) a night!

As dzibead says, it depends on the type of hotel you are looking for, but it also depends on their pricing structure! As in any country, you can always pay too much for the level of service you are getting and this is where a personal recommendation helps.

We are working on a new Hotel Review section for The India Tree where members will be able to write their own reviews on hotels they have stayed in. Watch this space!

If you find a good hotel that you like, and you want to stay there for a month, you should make an appointment with the manager and negotiate a reduced rate. It costs the hotel more per night for a one night stay than it does per night for a two night stay, and the manager knows that a long-term resident is money in the bank – especially in the monsoon when otherwise the room may stay empty.

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[quote name='john.sw' post='7597' date='Jun 10 2006, 02:13 AM']If you find a good hotel that you like, and you want to stay there for a month, you should make an appointment with the manager and negotiate a reduced rate. It costs the hotel more per night for a one night stay than it does per night for a two night stay, and the manager knows that a long-term resident is money in the bank – especially in the monsoon when otherwise the room may stay empty.[/quote]

[b]Excellent[/b] advice! susanj, even if you are spending part of your month down at Sherab Ling, as you said in one of your other posts, you'll be staying in McLeod Ganj long enough that trying to negotiate some kind of "deal" would be worth looking into, because you'll be at the hotel for at least a couple of weeks.

By the way, if you are a member/supporter of the Norbulingka Institute, you get a price break on accommodations at both Chonor House and the Norling Guest House out at the Norbulingka Insititute itself (a "must see" place you'll want to visit anyway!). But of course that means ponying up the price of membership (there are different levels) in the first place! :rolleyes: But it's in aid of a worthwhile enterprise, as I'm sure you'll agree when you see the wonderful work they are doing with the preservation of traditional Tibetan arts and crafts. And the discount (which varies between 5% and 15% depending on the level of your membership) also applies to the purchase of their products (a preview of which is available on their website: www.norbulingka.org)

I'm going to stop now, because I'm starting to sound like a ad for the Norbulingka Insitute :D

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[quote name='susanj' post='7591' date='Jun 10 2006, 08:43 AM']I guess an apology is in order. When I did a currency conversion the price per night worked out to £21. Your mention of the monsoon yep I'm there for the whole month!!!!!!!! B) really getting excited any other words of wisdom you can pass my way would be appreciated. Will be taking the soft case and an umbrella.[/quote]

Expect some very wet weather in August and do add a comfortable pair of walking shoes to that packing list. :) If I remember correctly, although only about 50 yards or so, it's a steep climb from the temple road to the entrance of Chonor House. I am sure you will enjoy your trip to McLeod Ganj. Chonor House is a great place to stay if comfort and proximity to the temple is what you are looking for.

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[quote name='susanj' post='7560' date='Jun 9 2006, 07:14 PM']Hi

its me again, got to be quick I have to go and get Husband from Gatwick. I have been quoted a cost of from 1900 Indian Rupees to 2200IR's a night for a room at Chonor House in McLeod Ghanj. As those of you who have been reading my questions know I have yet to travel to India. Should I email back and ask if they have cheaper, don't even know if this is just room only basis, just know that it has a nice view! :D

My first week or 2 will spent at Sherabling Monastery, I sponsor a Lama and I am going to met him. Also starting to wonder if I am going to be bored, I need 1 week there for the teachings being given by HH Dalia Lama after that any suggestions don't think I can do big cities on my own too scary B)
so to sum up I've got 1 month flying into and out of Delhi the only definite plan at the moment are the teachings are from 14-18th August

Thanks for all your advice, so far. Suze[/quote]
Hi, Don't rule out staying at Bhagsu just up the hill, it's only about 15mins stroll from Mcleod & much quieter & if your not up to walking up the slight gradient you can jump in a rickshaw. I think I mentioned the seven seas G/H in another post it's very clean with large marble floored rooms the rooms on the 1st floor to the back of the hotel have wonderful balconies looking onto fields & forest. When I was there last year I sat watching a family of Mongoose pottering about for hours, great fun! & the bonus is it's only 2-300 RS. The owner is a very friendly helpful man called Suri who's from Palampur so he can help with local info.
I noticed you said somewhere that you were going to Baijnath from here you could visit Bir a smaller tibetan colony, spend a couple of nights here then take a local bus to Mandi a small market town with a river running through it & over a hundred old stone carved Hindu temples. You could stay at the RajMahal hotel, one of those places where you feel like you've stepped back in time, from here you could take a bus to Shimla an old British raj hill station where you'll find plenty of things to see & do. From Shimla you could take the toy train heading back towards Delhi with a stop off at a beautiful village called Kasauli that's surrounded by nice woods with flocks of parrots flying around. From here it's 1-2hrs by taxi ti Chandigar where you can catch a fast tourist bus back to Delhi. I know all this sounds like a lot but it is all very easy to do & shouldn't be too strenuous for you. KK

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