The Golden Triangle of India

I disbanded from the culture I newly known and started to love. This is what I felt after the Golden Triangle trip in India.

The Golden Triangle is the most preferred tour as most of the tourists I met were with the same route. It refers to the triangular shape formed in the map of the three cities of India; New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Tourists preferably choose this tour to see the marvelous Taj Mahal of Agra, archaeological sites within Jaipur, and historical landmarks in New Delhi for a certain duration.

The six-day tour price ranges between 12 to 15 thousand Indian rupees per head including 3-star accommodations, transportation, tour guides, taxes, rides and other services as agreed with the tour agency. The more people to join the tour reduces the marked price. Budget tour packages for cheaper option was also offered by the tour agents.

DSC_0180

Our customized itinerary prepared by Map My Tours was so hectic but I personally enjoyed it. I traveled with a small kid so we didn’t follow the normal tour program. The continuous communication of the tour agent was necessary to well discuss the arrangements and lay out the certain possibilities of changes to the tour. The role of Mr. Shrawan of Map My Tours was very important and his replies to our messages timely attracted us. His tour package was grabbed which urged us to apply tourist E-visa online to enter India. Besides, he agreed that the whole amount of the tour package will be paid upon arrival. His presence on our arrival and meeting on us on the last day of the tour was deeply appreciated.

I’m very thankful to Sanjay for driving us safely to the tourist sites of the Golden Triangle. He was neat and kept the car clean. He was consistently on time and always offering a cold bottled water to drink after we came back from every tour. He talked less but his working attitude gave us comfortable ride from traffic jam of New Delhi towards cows dominated road of Agra and mountainous highway of Jaipur. I felt sad when he finally brought us back to the airport on the last day. His personality marked on our hearts and I highly recommend him to be my tour driver if ever I visit New Delhi again.

Hotel Reviews

All the hotel bookings during my Golden Triangle trip were arranged by the travel agent. It is my part to give feedback, both positive and negative, on things I encountered. This is my personal assessment and I hope it will be accepted positively.

Taurus
Comfortable Bed of Taurus Hotel

Taurus Hotel is a few minutes drive from New Delhi Airport. This hotel was our tour starting point. The building is under renovation so the vicinity I’ve seen on arrival was not safe and convenient. The receptionists were so accommodating and helpful.

The room was in ordinary size but the bedding was so comfortable. The AC was working nicely and so cold that we need to adjust its setting.

The hotel has two operating restaurants but we chose Alpha 63 for our early dinner. The restaurant was untidy to look especially the utensils and the table. Flies was also spotted even we were inside the building. The restaurant staffs were so busy at that time, but they managed to entertain us. The “biryani” was served very spicy though I requested to make it non-spicy. The assigned waiter offered to replace it but I declined. I knew, the waiter will be charged when the food was returned. However, the vegetable pizza was delicious and cheesy. This restaurant introduced the levels of spiciness to us.

The complimentary breakfast was mostly Indian cuisines. The attitudes of some guests during our stay were noticeable for they were standing and eating near the buffet table.

Heart Rate: Room ♥♥♥♥Staffs♥♥♥Foods♥♥♥Restaurant♥♥

Taj Vila
Comfortable bed of Hotel Taj Vila

Hotel The Taj Vila was our luxury hotel in Agra located near the mall. The receptionists were already expected our arrival. A welcome drink was served while relaxing comfortably at the reception hall.

We had a nice executive room with a coffee table and modern amenities. The bedding was very comfortable which gave us a peaceful night. Unfortunately, the internet was slow so I didn’t enjoy much of my social media life for a night.

The restaurant’s non-veg pasta was the first food we ordered through room service. As expected, it has a little spicy taste. Some menu can’t be served without hot savor. The complimentary breakfast in the restaurant was superb for selection of Indian and Intercontinental cuisines as buffet. Eggs can be cooked according to  desire as the standby cook was available. The restaurant has stylish decors and relaxing fined dining atmosphere.

Heart Rate: Room♥♥♥♥Staffs♥♥♥Foods♥♥♥♥Restaurant♥♥♥♥♥

The Anuraag Villas was our next accommodation situated in the middle of residential village in Jaipur for two days. This hotel gave us the feelings that we were just at home. The receptionist was approachable and comfortable to communicate. We were so touched that he offered a complimentary cake for our trip buddy who was celebrating a birthday. The staffs are mostly young and humbly shy on talking just like me. Speaking English language is not our comfort zone.

The room was wide and bedding was basic but that old wood cabinet massages our eyes. Simplicity is beauty as what we called it. The window’s location of the bathroom was so challenging. There was nice view from the window while sitting on the porcelain throne. At night was my greatest concern, my silhouette might be seen from the outside when taking a shower .

The restaurant is purely vegetarian so expected that there is no meat found on the menu aside from eggs. The complimentary breakfast was prepared upon ordering and can be served either in the room, restaurant or in the garden. Breakfast at the garden must be tried to experience dining while a flute musician is serenading.

Heart rate: Room♥♥♥Staffs♥♥♥♥♥Foods♥♥♥Restaurant♥♥♥

Clarks Inn
Comfortable Room of Clarks Inn Hotel

Lastly, the Clarks Inn Hotel was our hotel in South Delhi for two nights. Its location is excellent because it’s near to metro station. There is also a good restaurant named Storm Bar and Grill which is few minutes away by walk.

The room was big with an old sofa. The bedding was so nice and soft. However, the bed’s headboard was with bad odor so we were avoiding to be near it. The plastic water dipper and bucket in the toilet were dirty.

The restaurant rid us from spicy food. The unknown chef was very appreciated for granting our request of zero spicy taste on our ordered food. It was important for us as we are traveling with a kid and I also have low tolerance on spiciness. We preferred the menu served in the hotel than dining out.

Room♥♥♥♥Staffs♥♥♥Foods♥♥♥♥Restaurant♥♥♥

Conclusions

I was surprised that most of the hotel bellboys are always expecting a tip from guests. They didn’t ask verbally but their gestures are showing that they were asking of it.

Majority of the foods served in India are spicy. My sense of taste was crippled due to spiciness. We always relied on the flatbread, “paratha or nan” every time that we can’t survive on the ordered Indian food.

DSC00888

The level of cleanliness in India specifically for toilets and bathrooms were so different compared to previous hotels where I stayed. The toilet bowls were not properly cleaned. Black stains were visible in the toilet bowls of all hotels where we stayed even at the restaurants and Delhi’s modernized airport.

Overall, my trip in India ended with a smile and satisfied feeling. The Indian greetings, the daily transfer, the hot and spicy foods which has burning sensation in my ass, the squirrels, cows, crows, monkeys, and pigeons… I am missing them all.

DSC_0013

Overnight in Hotel Europa and Orchard

We stayed one day more in Mactan, but at this time, not anymore in a luxury accommodation like Plantation Bay. We transferred to a budget hotel near Gaisano Mall which was referred to us by a taxi driver.

DSC_0036.JPG

Europa
Comfortable bed of Hotel Europa

The Hotel Europa is a three story building offering 1,100 pesos deluxe room with a refrigerator and flat screen TV. The building has no elevator and it only has one staff in the morning, the receptionist. She will assist during check in and will also check the room upon check out. The room has limited space because of two chairs and a table. The bed is a bit high so it is not advisable for those who have little kids.

It is a five minutes walk to the mall. It is also few minutes walk to Manang Fe BBQ, a cheap but delicious restaurant offering grilled chicken parts and rice cooked in coconut leaves called “puso”. On the ground floor is the hotel lobby and a pizza store. On the left side is a bakery and a burger store.

The hotel was near to everything we needed but during check out, I found it hard to find a taxi. I walked to Gaisano Mall and from there I rented a taxi passing back to the hotel to pick up my family whose waiting for me in the reception.

The hotel check out time is up to 2pm. We left the hotel at 12:30pm to catch our flight to Davao.

Orchard hotel
Comfortable Bed of Orchard Hotel

Orchard Hotel. We arrived in Davao at 5pm. We booked in Orchard Hotel which I found through Internet. Their website was not working, but their mobile number was luckily posted in Facebook. This is a new hotel in Davao near SM Lanang Premiere. A budget hotel which has a nice building design. The family room which is good for four adults is 1,600 pesos. The parking space is located at the back of the building. The room is wide but has basic facilities and no refrigerator. However, it has a big chance to upgrade into the modest one.

Lodging at Manila

IMG_0058

Most of the domestic flights going to any provinces in the Philippines bound here. So, Manila could just be a stopped over and a good shopping place. What could I say is, most of the tourists escaped Manila and they most preferred other routes like Cebu for south and Clark for north. Evidence, I saw more bulks of foreigners in downtown Cebu and Baguio than in Manila. Sad to say, but I agreed on how Manila nowadays evolved. It’s more populated and polluted. The tourist destination on previous decades, now judged as the most unsafe place of the country.

However, a wide selection of hotels and lodging houses to choose from would be considered as a competition. For the mean time, I can give highlights on these three affordable and neighboring hotels in Pasay.

07062009805.jpg

Raff Mansion – From the airport, the taxi driver offered me this hotel overlooking the biggest Mall of Asia. He said most of the returning seafarers checked-in on this hotel but I also saw some foreigners. The hotel is near Baclaran church and you can see busy street vendors and lines of night bars along the way. They have given me deluxe room with a price of P2,100 because the normal rooms are already fully booked. The room situated on the 3rd floor is wide and with colorful curtains. The terrace allowed you to spy busy streets of Coastal road. The bathroom has different architecture but I hate the fashion of showering inside the bathtub. They said that there is internet connection but not WIFI. I have to use one of their rented computers on the 2nd floor. My stay is just for a night and the restaurant is in the 5th floor with a good curtains design and an excellent restaurant costumer treatment.

DSC00032

Pinoy Pamilya Club – My co-worker always stayed here. He always said, it was the best and quite place in Pasay. This place is full of hanging “balete” roots and just at the back of Heritage Hotel. At first, I can say, its a car park lodge for there are car parking space at the bottom of every two-storey houses. At reception, I paid P2,300 for a room which I saw in the internet costs P2,100. Booking online has discounted price as explained to me. So next time, I’ll book online. I booked for two days.

The room is satisfactory. It’s a normal painted room with cable TV, mini bar, and a slightly rusty refrigerator. However the staffs and their services are excellent. Their free Filipino style buffet breakfast at the reception was excellent. Those foods are what I really missed when I’m working abroad. At night, drinks can be ordered and they will deliver it to the room. Solid foods are not available.

This place has WIFI but its strong connection is in reception area. So rooms nearby reception has a good access of internet.

05242010906.jpg

Sogo Hotel. “So Clean, So Good”. My first impression for this hotel is only for those couples who want good times with each other. I mean for a short time lodging.
I tried this hotel for just overnight. I have a round trip flight tickets Davao-Manila so I will not stay longer in the city. This SOGO branch is just infront of Pinoy Pamilya Club. I was impressed that this hotel rates started at two hours with equivalent prices. I took executive room for 12 hours at rate of P1,200. Expensive when converted for a day but it was a way better than renting a normal hotel which costs more than two thousand.
The staffs are very descent and neat looking on their red Japanese inspired uniform. The room is full of mirrors at ceiling and side. I can see my reflections anywhere. A very good spot for any scandalous act! The two adult channels on their cable television might be considered as their best ads for a costumer. The room’s design is cool and good except for walls. I think the wall is not a solid and hard materials for I can hear a resident coughing and flushing a toilet bowl from the other room.

The food is excellent and they delivered it to the room with plastic cover. Cleanliness is assurance. The delivery man have all bills so when I paid, he gave me change directly. They have a policy that the food is free if they don’t have exact change.
WIFI is all over the building with fast internet server. Thumbs up!