Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Delhi day 1

Here begins 2015 Trip to India.

Arrived at Indira Ghandhi International Airport, New York, I mean New Delhi. Nowadays it is a little easier to get a prepaid phone sim again. There were 3 booths at Terminal 3 where international flights arrive. Airtel, vodafone and aircel. If you are travelling in cities then coverage should be good for all. But if you are travelling to more remote places e.g. like Kutch, Vodafone works better.

I bought a prepaid sim. It takes around 4 hours to activate I think (I slept and next morning it was working). You need to then call an automated interactive number (ivr), key in your last for digits of passport number to activate it. Remember you need to do this from the state that you purchased your sim card I believe.

For taxi i took the prepaid taxi. Immediately after arrival gate (still inside airport doors next to the Vodafone and aircel counter is the prepaid taxi. There have been mixed reviews on these taxis and don't know if there are better options. I took this, booking was easy seemed honest. Now when u come out had towards the black and yellow cabs and minivans. You'll also see another prepaid booth of the same operator. Easier and less people inside the gates to buy your prepaid taxi coupon. I suggest you get the taxi driver to confirm he knows where to go or at least have the hotel phone number handy.

My driver didn't give me a positive experience, he asked (very insistingly) to let him wait and pick up other passengers after he drived few hundred meters in front. I had to be firm and said no. They will then act frustrated but will usually take you to the destination. Keyword act. I think they tend to try their luck.

Arrived at Chanakya Inn hotel. The front desk manager seemed to have this don't care attitude. Interestingly for hotel reviews in India on Tripadvisor there are a lot of one time reviews that speak either way to positively or negatively of hotels. So it is pretty hard to get real reviews. Anyway after a lot of searching and cross checking reviews on agoda and booking.com (i found booking.com reviews quite unreliable too though they say it is all reviews by actual guest). Maybe the hotel gets someone to book, then refunds their booking and puts on a fake review.

Anyway that's why I guess blogs are still useful, as it is supported by the credibility of the writers previous posts. So based on my searching I found 2 hotels near the airport that were decently rated. First hotel Delhi Aerocity and secondly hotel Chanakya inn. Aerocity was full so i went with Chanakya Inn, whose rates were better.

Overall hotel was ok, quite close to airport (both terminal 1 & terminal 3). Bathroom was decent. Bed was ok BUT had stains on sheets.

 I THINK this is still overall better then some of the other hotels nearby the vicinity if you want to stay near the hotel. Room is basic, and if you don't look too much in detail, it's a nice stay. Interesting I didn't feel very cold in December, though don't think there was heating.

The toilet was surprisingly new and rather clean.

Would be nicer if they provided a floor mat or bathroom slippers as your wet feet just stains the room's floor once you come out of the shower.

They were nice enough to offer me replacement of the morning breakfast as I was checking out before breakfast time. Got nice tea, and butter bread toast. Make sure you negotiate when you check in, and remember the staff's name as the next morning he might not be around. Overall I would say value for money if you need a place to bunk for the night for your next flight. My next flight was around 6am, so I wouldn't risk staying in the city. For longer stays, if you can figure out the metro you might want to consider staying in the city depending on your luggage again. All in all, I think one of the reviews I read sums it up - this is a hotel you'd stay for proximity to airport and for a quick in and out.

Fare from airport using prepaid taxi was inr200+. The hotel charged inr400 for back to airport early morning . Their car was AC car. I tried checking uber the night before but their surcharge was wayy too high. Didn't check in the morning.

Headed back to Delhi airport safely. Some notes:

  • Terminal 1: dedicated mostly for domestic and budget airline. Not sure if there is a booth selling prepaid sim cards.
    • T1D- for departures
    • T1C - for arrivals
  • Terminal 3: for all international flights. Non budget domestic flights use this terminal. There are 3 prepaid sim card booths.



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