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Posts Tagged ‘Taj Mahal’

See India for free! Enter to win our final Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes giveaway

WONDER OF THE WORLD: The winner of this free trip will
get to see all India has to offer, including the Taj Mahal!

I love to explore destinations that have an exotic culture, beautiful scenery, and hospitable people. Few places capture these traits better than India, which is why I decided to offer our Taj Mahal Express tour as our sixth and final Win the World Facebook Sweepstakes trip giveaway.

One lucky traveler and a guest will have the chance to win a free nine-day excursion to India –up to a $4,800 value. To enter to win the trip of a lifetime, visit our Facebook page and fill out an entry form. If you’ve already entered to win the trip to Turkey or Ireland, then you will automatically be submitted to win this trip as well.

Looking to swing the odds in your favor? Then start spreading the word about our sweepstakes to friends and family. For every entry into our sweepstakes from one of your referrals, you’ll get an extra entry for yourself.

Our Taj Mahal Express tour explores the “golden triangle” of India, which includes the cities of Delhi, Agar, and Jaipur, all filled with vibrant sights and sounds. Travelers will also have the opportunity to visit one of the eight Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. Experiencing the spiritual and exotic atmosphere of India will surely be an unforgettable adventure.

The prize for the winner and a guest includes round-trip airfare and all intra-India ground transportation. It also includes accommodations at superior and deluxe hotels; daily breakfasts and a farewell dinner; a comprehensive touring program, including entrance fees; a professional, English-speaking tour director; and more. If you’re interested in finding out more information about the Taj Mahal Express tour, check out the detailed itinerary online.

If you don’t believe that you can win, check out these blog posts about our last four winners, who all won a free trip for themselves and a guest!

I’m sad to see our Win the World sweepstakes come to an end, but I’m excited to offer this amazing trip to India to one last winner. This is your final chance to win a free trip with us, so don’t forget to enter on Facebook! I can’t wait to announce our final winner on August 1. Good luck to everyone who enters!

The top 10 affordable destinations of 2012

I would never offer a tour that wasn’t a terrific value — that’s the core of our business at Friendly Planet Travel. But there are some tours that are so value-packed, I want to point them out specifically.

I had the opportunity to do just that at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show last month. I named my speech “The Top 10 Affordable Destinations of 2012,” and delivered exactly what I promised. Check out my speech in it’s entirety below.

If you don’t have time to watch the full video, I’ve detailed a few of my favorites, as shared in my speech, below.

Pick #9: Ireland. Like Greece, Ireland has gone through some difficult financial times, but you would never know it from the incredibly friendly and welcoming people you’ll meet when you visit. Ireland has always been a popular destination for Americans, but in the coming years, Ireland is expected to see record numbers of tourists. That’s no surprise. The country is beautiful, with lush, green landscapes; picturesque towns and villages; castles galore; and plenty of pubs where you can mix with the locals, especially since they speak your language.

Pick #6: India. This wild, disorganized country of over a billion people is simply amazing. It has plenty of history and culture to experience and admire. It has an educated, entrepreneurial population that is rushing toward modernity at the speed of light. It has the most gorgeous building I’ve seen, the Taj Mahal, and believe me when I tell you that no picture does this palace justice. That’s how all of India is.

Pick #3: China. Each year, we wait to see if interest in China will finally drop among travelers, but it never does. This is a country that continues to amaze travelers, with its ancient history, gorgeous landscapes, incredibly welcoming people, and, of course, the food. Oh, and did I mention that you can buy an entire wardrobe for pennies on the dollar? Travel to China continues to be a terrific bargain.

Pick #1: Cuba. You might be thinking Cuba is a place that Americans can’t visit. But in the past year, the rules have changed, and a few tour operators are lucky to have been granted one of the new people-to-people licenses, including us. This tropical island is a 50-minute flight from Miami, but until recently, it could just have easily been on Mars. Thanks to a liberalizing of laws, Americans can visit Cuba legally. Visiting Cuba is like taking a trip back to the ’50s, and not just because of the cars. When you visit Cuba, you get to see how people have created a life for themselves with very little money or resources. The music is everywhere, street parties abound, and everyone is welcome to attend. It’s quite an experience.

What places are you planning to visit in 2012? One of these or somewhere different? Let me know here.

Put India on your list for 2011 with our Taj Mahal Express tour

Start seeing more of India’s Golden Triangle for less green in 2011. Today we announced 22 new departure dates starting in April for Friendly Planet’s Taj Mahal Express tour.

Earlier this year, I told you how I discovered several opportunities to make the best tour of India even better. Now we’re giving you more chances to experience them and more for only $999.

The Taj Mahal Express takes you on expert-guided tours of the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikhri, Jaipur (known as the “pink city”), and the Amber Fort, with an ascent on elephant or a Jeep.

You also get a one-day tour in Delhi that takes you to its most important sites, such as the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Raj Ghat, the Red Fort, and more. Your tour concludes with a rickshaw tour through Old Delhi’s most popular street market, Chandni Chowk.

New to the Taj Mahal Express in 2010 was a guided tour of an authentic farming village. It was a favorite of travelers, and is included again in the 2011 departures. Meet the village elder of Barara Village, and interact with the villagers who live and work there. The entire tour was developed exclusively by Friendly Planet Travel to give you the richest understanding of life in India.

But jump back to my previous posts on the Taj Mahal Express to hear how we’re able to give you all of this and more for $999. Also, read what travelers have to say about the tour and what it’s like traveling with a group to India.

Although the price for this tour is incredibly low, the accommodations are incredibly high. Our package price includes roundtrip airfare from New York on Air India; superior first-class hotels; daily buffet breakfasts; an authentic Indian farewell dinner in Delhi; expert guides throughout your journey; fuel surcharges, transfers, and much more.

If nine days just isn’t enough time for you, an optional three-day extension to Nepal is available. It takes you to Kathmandu to visit Durbar Square, the city of Bhadgaon, the famous five-story pagoda temple of Nyatapola, and local bazaars. You also get the opportunity to end your trip on a high note with an optional flight over the Himalayas and Mount Everest. You’ll fly over the highest peak on Earth.

I promise you, the Taj Mahal Express is one of the most amazing cultural experiences of a lifetime. The past few years have proven that these departure dates sell out quickly, so book the nine-day Taj Mahal Express by Dec. 8.

For the full itinerary, visit our website. And if you have any question write to me or call 1-800-555-5765 and speak to our reservations team.

Friendly Planet reviewed: One traveler’s experience on the Taj Mahal Express tour

We recently relaunched our Taj Mahal Express tour with a significant discount and more features. I wanted to share with you what one of the first travelers to go on the tour just told me. You know we could send you marketing literature until the cows come home. But when I’m buying something, nothing has more value to me than what other people say. And I believe nothing has more value to you, the traveler, than what our customers say.

With that, here’s a testimonial from Nancy of Union Mills, N.C. These are her exact words. If there are any typos, my apologies, but we don’t edit these reviews.

“My husband George and I returned last Tuesday from the Taj Mahal Express (03/15/10 to 03/23/10) and we could not be more pleased with the outcome of the trip! Every aspect of the tour FAR EXCEEDED OUR EXPECTATIONS!

The itinerary went so smoothly from start to finish. The hotels were excellent, the food was great, and the sightseeing package could not have been better! Now let me sing the praises of our tour guide- Ravi Shanker Tiwari. There are not enough positive adjectives in the English language to describe the exemplary treatment our group received from Ravi, but I will try.

Ravi is extremely intelligent, knowledgeable in all aspects of his job, super organized, warm & witty, and relates well to all types of individuals. He was with us 24/7 and we felt like we were with a family member. Ravi went ABOVE AND FAR BEYOND the call of duty to ensure we had the best possible experience and he succeeded in spades.

Examples of this were extra side trips that were not included and spending every one of his own free evenings with the group so that we could experience different dining and social experiences that we would not have been able to on our own. George and I have traveled all over the world, and have never had such a great experience with a tour coordinator. I’ll also add that the bus driver and helper were also top notch.

Please make sure a copy of this email goes to the President of Friendly Planet, as well as a copy to Ravi’s supervisor. We have already recommended Friendly Planet to friends/family and will continue to do so. We will definitely be using your services for future trips (I just wish we could have Ravi as our tour coordinator everywhere in the world!)

Again, thank you for a utterly memorable adventure to India!”

Thanks Nancy! Your e-mail made me smile ear to ear. Your experience is what we’re in business for. :)

The new Taj Mahal Express for 2010: The best group tour of India just got better

The Taj Mahal Express has been one of our most popular tours, and for good reason. We were the first tour operator to introduce an affordable tour of India in 2005. It cost just $999 then, and that was five years ago.

The response was huge. Over 900 travelers signed up for the first Taj Mahal Express tour! Since then, its popularity has only grown. And we have continued to add more perks and features, without raising the price.

As you might expect, I personally visit every destination. I inspect every hotel, talk to all the guides, travel the itineraries, see the sites our travelers see, and talk to people who represent us on the ground.

I do this for several reasons. Obviously I love these exotic destinations. But I visit these places also to ensure that our tours are consistently meeting or exceeding my standards, and to look for new ways to make our trips even more exquisite.

It’s funny. Our suppliers on the ground sometimes complain during my visits about the standards I expect for Friendly Planet travelers. Think about that for a moment. If they’re complaining, that suggests our competitors are pushing them only for lower prices, not better value for travelers. It’s easy to pressure suppliers on price. It’s not easy to negotiate better pricing for travelers while maintaining a high level of hotels, service, and programming.

That’s exactly what happened during my recent visit to India. I discovered several opportunities to make the best one week tour of India even better. Our Taj Mahal Express is now enhanced with an additional night (9 days total) and most optional tours now included in the price. And we’ve added an exclusive new tour of an authentic farming village to give our travelers a chance to interact with real people (outside the realm of tourism), meet the village elder, and get a real understanding of life in India.

Best of all, I’ve been able to hold the line on price. This brand new, nine-day Taj Mahal Express tour is just $1,099, including flights, great hotels, lots of touring to the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikhri, and the Amber Fort with an ascent on an elephant or a Jeep.

Plus, a full-day tour in Delhi that will take you to its most important sites, such as the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Raj Ghat, the Red Fort, and more. You’ll conclude your day with a rickshaw tour through Old Delhi’s most popular street market, Chandni Chowk.

This is always one of the most memorable experiences I have of India. Our driver is a master at guiding the rickshaw through India’s winding, narrow lanes and alleys. They’re teeming with shoppers, street vendors, cows, cars, other rickshaws … the ride is simply an amazing adventure, and something you can’t experience anywhere else.

Here’s what else I’ve always included in the Taj Mahal Express tour for you: non-stop flights from JFK International airport on Air India, all transfers and ground transportation within India, deluxe and superior first-class hotels, daily breakfast buffet, an authentic Indian farewell dinner in Delhi, and more.

And now that you’re in the neighborhood, why not add a visit to Nepal. On our three-night extension, you’ll fly to Kathmandu and visit Durbar Square, the city of Bhadgaon, the famous five-story pagoda temple of Nyatapola, and local bazaars. On your last day you have an opportunity to take an optional air tour and fly over the Himalayas to see Mt. Everest. Talk about flying high, if you remember your high school geography, Everest is the highest peak on Earth. And you’ll be flying over it.

As I’ve shared with you before, India’s sights, sounds, and smells are among the most phenomenal in the world. I encourage you to read my previous posts about the Taj Mahal Express, and also see what our Taj Mahal Express travelers have said about it.

Book our new nine-day Taj Mahal Express tour for $1,099 by March 31st. You’ll be signing up for one of the most popular tours we’ve ever offered at Friendly Planet, and certainly one of the most amazing cultural experiences of your life.

For complete details about the tour and the Nepal extension, visit our Web site. Have any questions? Write to me directly.

About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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