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Hampi

Leeds
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187 posts
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Hampi

Thinking seriously about a trip to Hampi when we are in Goa next April. Would be very pleased to get any info on this trip (possibly with John's Boats) before we go. Can anyone let us know about the itinerary and how enjoyable it was? Any food problems (have had some bad reports).

Thanks in advance,

Fosie

Melbourne
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28 posts
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1. Re: Hampi

Hampi is a beautiful place. Great to relax in.

I wouldn't bother going with a tour group though. It's too small for that! It'll ruin the vibe.

The closest train station is Hospet.

Hampi is about half an hour by auto-rickshaw from Hospet train station. Bargain hard for the ride!

It's a great place to wander round by yourself or use a scooter/motorbike to get around (It's quite hot!).

Guides are generally pretty cheap and you can see all the main sites in a day.

Surrey
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2. Re: Hampi

We are going in January 2009. As we are in South Goa,John's Tours do not come South, we are taking the train to Hospet and staying at Malligi Tourist Home. All this can be arranged, online, before we go. It is great fun going on an Indian train and is part of the holiday. I wanted to stay in a pretty "decent" place and the only one, apparantely, is the Malligi. I think, as we have been informed on this Forum, 2/3 days is enough to see Hampi, so we are travelling on the Sunday and returning on Wednesday.

London, United...
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3. Re: Hampi

We did the trip with John's Boats in Feb 2008. There were exactly ten people on the tour so the experience wasn't ruined by being in a big group. It was very well organised and the guide we had with us was brilliant. I couldn't recommend him enough. He was friendly, informative and seems to be very active in looking after street kids. I wish I could remember his name, as you could ask to go on a tour that he is leading, as he was very good. I'll see if I wrote it down in my guide book and come back and post his name if I find it.

Anyway, we took a taxi to the train station early in the morning. My partner and I wandered off in the station and had the most amazing dosa for breakfast for 15 rupees each. We got on the train and settled down for the long journey. I've been on a few train journeys in India so knew what to expect – the constant stream of food sellers, the kids begging, the kids cleaning the floor for a little tip and women with babies begging (we shared our food and water with the kids that we came across). It’s an assault of the senses and no two journeys are the same. I could travel forever on Indian trains though, as I love the experience. Definitely buy food from the sellers on the trains but make sure you don’t get ripped off! We bought three samosas and it cost us 20 rupess, which I think meant we were grossly overcharged but 20 rupees is about 25p so I try not to stress about things like that.

We arrived in Hospet late afternoon and once we’d checked in the hotel we took a wander to the market place, which is your usual hectic Indian town. Lots of crazy honking of horns and plenty of manic driving, which means lots of negotiating to try and cross the road. We bought some Indian sweets and grapes from a few of the shops and, as always, were surprised at the low cost. Getting away from Goa makes you realise how expensive Goa is in comparison to the rest of India.

Anyway, a word of advice if you go with John’s Boats the hotel you’ll stay in is fine but the attached restaurant (again, I can tell you the name if I check my guidebook at home) is awful. Service is pretty much the worse I’ve ever experienced anywhere in the world and I’m fairly well travelled! Give the restaurant a wide berth and check out a really good restaurant a couple of doors up (will provide the name when I’m home as I have a book of matches from there – The Purple Grass maybe).

The following morning is a really early start, which feels ridiculous as it’s still dark. However, by the time you’ve had breakfast and are on the road to Hampi the sun will be almost up. Starting off early is perfect because it’s actually really cool and far more pleasant weather for walking around in.

I won’t tell you in great detail what you’ll see, as I doubt I could do Hampi justice with my descriptions. However, I will say that it is amazing. Absolutely worth the journey.

The end of the day will find you at monkey temple at the bottom of what looks like a steep, arduous, climb up. Please do it though, as it’s not as bad as it seems. If you’re scared of heights it will be a bit hairy but just take it slow and make sure you walk up with someone to your side and you should be fine.

That evening you’ll be dropped back to Hospet. Again, avoid the hotel restaurant if you want to eat before midnight! The following morning it’s back on the train to Goa.

I like to travel independently most of the time and while I would agree with some of the posters here that being in a big group will ruin the experience that wasn’t the case when we booked the organised tour. Negotiating the trains in India can be slightly intimidating but you’ll always find someone who can help so do what you’d prefer.

One thing I would say (and this was our principal reason for booking a tour) if you’re limited for time then an organised tour is perfect. Everything is booked for you and the experience is still brilliant. A guide for Hampi is provided. We had an older man called Prahesh who was very good. Getting around Hampi on foot would be really difficult if you wanted to see a lot of it. If you go independently you’d need to book a driver (tuk-tuk or taxi) for the day and possibly a guide if you wanted more information than what is in a guide book, for example. Going by John’s Boats would provide you with all of that.

As I said, I’m usually the first person to shout ‘independent travel’ but I think there is something to be said for this organised tour, especially if you’re pushed for time.

London, United...
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4. Re: Hampi

Sorry, I just re-read your OP and realised you wanted information on food. The food on the trip is fine. We were on a B&B basis and the breakfast was limited to tea, coffee, toast and boiled eggs. That is pretty much unlimited and was fine - it did the job!

As I mentioned I would avoid the hotel for lunch and dinner but there are other options - you just need to go for a wander.

St.Annes, Lancashire
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5. Re: Hampi

I agree with LDNgal. We too like to travel independantly but in the case of a visit to Hampi, it is good to go on an organised tour. There is alot to see and it is much better to have a good english speaking, knowledgable guide.

We did the trip (and it sounds much the same) with Daytrippers.

LDNgal, slightly off topic, but were you provided with a packed lunch on the train that contains the weird green sandwiches???

aldershot u.k
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6. Re: Hampi

As you travelled with johnsboattours ldngirl can you remember the name of where you stayed when you went to hampi.(hospet) many thanks.

leeds uk
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952 posts
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7. Re: Hampi

Hi Fozie,

I just posted the link to Johns website.

it's on there.

cheers !

ian.......♥

Leeds
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187 posts
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8. Re: Hampi

Thanks very much for all the info, especially that from LDNgal. We were keen to go before but we're looking forward to it even more now.

London, United...
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441 posts
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9. Re: Hampi

Sylvie, the hotel was Hotel Priyadarshini. I just read the reviews on here and they're terrible. It really isn't that bad though. It was clean and comfortable. Hot water was an issue but when you've spent 9hrs on a hot train a luke warm shower is all you need.

As I said I would definitely avoid the hotel restaurant at all costs but the hotel itself was fine. I think it was undergoing some refurbishment while we were there so perhaps the hotel was getting an overhaul.

London, United...
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10. Re: Hampi

Stephquig, we didn't get lunch on the train so it seems I missed out on green sandwiches! hee hee.

To be honest the food sellers on the train sell such nice, good food that I'm glad we didn't have a packed lunch.

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