Palace on Wheels Reviews

Overall Train Rating

4.5/5
Rating 4.5 Based on 10 reviews
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GOOD EXPERIENCE, WORTH IT!

5/5

I THOUROUGHLY ENJOYED MYSELF ON THIS JOURNEY. CAN'T FAULT ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BATHROOMS IN THE CABINS. THEY COULD BE DECORATED A BIT MORE TO MATCH THE DECOR OF THE CABIN ITSELF. THEY WERE REALLY PLAIN AND DULL. EXCELLENT FOOD AND SERVICE. THE PROGRAM EVERYDAY WAS ORGANISED REALLY WELL WITH GOOD GUIDES.

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Truly a week in wonderland!

5/5

From the moment that you arrive at the station in Delhi you are treated like a VIP. This superb customer service is what sets the Palace on Wheels (POW) apart.

Each Saloon, consisting of 4 en-suite cabins with two single beds (and a third bunk bed if required) and a shower room, has a captain and an attendant. We stayed in the Bharatpur saloon and the captain, Wasim and attendant Prakash, could not have been more courteous or caring.

Breakfast was taken with the other Bharatpur guests in the lounge area of the saloon and cooked expertly by Wasim. It is simple fare of cereal, toast and preserves and eggs cooked to order in every imaginable form! After this, Prakash would inform us what we needed for the day ("light woollens") and then Wasim would lead us through the welcome ceremony and to the coach for the day's activities.

For the activities, the Saloon passengers are grouped together, each tour group consisting of the passengers of around three saloons. The group is lead by a tour leader, in our case the unflappable Umesh, and each day a local guide joins the party. Again, you are treated like a VIP with special access to avoid the queues. Lunch is usually at an excellent five star hotel or back at the train. One lady in our group had limited mobility and Umesh arranged tuk-tuks etc. for her, so she was still able to participate.

The food was excellent, Indian, Chinese and continental food was usually available, though the continental options sometimes looked interesting. The food is bought fresh everyday from the local markets. Again, the service was excellent. The train has two restaurants and the four tour groups are divided between the two restaurants in two sittings. The well stocked bar is available before and after dinner, although if you have a favourite cocktail, you need to know the recipe for it! The bar states it is open 24hours, however, as the captain sleeps in the saloon lounge and the attendant at the other end, you would have to step over many sleeping people to get to it! However, I have no doubt that if you desired a drink in the middle of the night, the saloon staff would procure it for you.

The POW is an amazing experience and in my opinion, the most convenient, comfortable and cost effective way to see this much of India, however, you need to remember you're on a train with one hundred guests, plus staff and this takes a huge amount of co-ordinating, so you really need to relax and just 'go with it'. The train ride can be quite bumpy especially when travelling to Jaiselmer, but you are on a train in India. The shower works on an immersion system, so you need to wait for hot water and the supply is limited, but again, you are on a train. There are some long periods of travel between places and they prefer it if you stayed in your cabin, but again, your are on a train and 100 people trying to crowd into the bar would be chaos, so as long as you make allowances for the fact that you are on a train, you will be fine.

Internet access is available in the lounge area of each saloon (though we had it in our cabin, as we were next to the lounge), however, it is sporadic and not very fast. Some of the hotels we had lunch in had good internet connections, so if you are a web addict, all is not lost!

Top tips - take some "light woollens" for the early morning safari and bird watching - it is cold! Take long trousers and a long sleeved top for the camel ride. The air conditioning is controlled centrally for all four cabins, so you may find it a bit cold, so take a blanket. We were also advised to take masking tape to cover the AC vents, but we didn't need this. Shopping time means being taken to a POW store for quality goods. If you want souvenirs, then learn to barter on the move, as there isn't any free time for souvenir shopping (you have a train timetable to stick to!) Everyone expects a tip - we were advised 500R for local guides, 100R for coach drivers, 10R for anyone you have your photo taken with (!!) 100R for camel and elephant drivers and 10R for porters. Our group had a long discussion about what to give to Wasim and Prakash and we decided on about 500R a day, plus a bit. We spent

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A highly recommended trip

5/5

I've wanted to visit India for a while and stumbled across the POW as a way of travelling around and seeing what I wanted to see in luxury. It didn't disappoint. I've recently been on the Orient Express and the POW almost matched and exceeded this on many levels - especially the rooms on the train, which were lovely, the food was excellent, service impeccable. The trips were excellently planned and executed. It's a great way to see alot of Indian in luxury, I would recommend to anybody.

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Palace on Wheels

4/5

One of the best options to travel through Rajasthan.

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sweet memories

5/5

A beautiful & memorable journey with the very caring staff of ''Palace On Wheels '' .We still remember and talk about the perfect combination of a sight seeing tour made as comfortable as possible ....Wish you all the best ...POW!!!!!

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Not exactly luxury but a rewarding train traveling experience

4/5

Boarded the train on 12th of Decenmer 2012 with my wife. Overall, it was a satisfying experience.

The cabin was far away from "luxury". Especially the aircon in our cabin was extremely loud and had just two levels: little on or maximum on. But considering that it is one of the oldest running "luxury train" that's understandable.

The bathroom was clean and the thing that won us over were the extremely courteous staff. It was as if they can actually predict your needs and they were always there for us smiling and all. The plus point of the tour was a superb itinerary although a bit demanding and one of the exasperating thing was too many visits to emporium and shops.

Would definitely recommend this tour just for the emotional attachment and royal factor and not to mention exceptional hospitality,

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Palace On Wheels

4/5

DO NOT BOOK WITH PALACE TOURS. Book with another agency if possible. This agency is definitely not professional! While I rate this experience overall as 4 stars, it is definitely not a luxury train. The cabin was extremely small, and could not really accommodate 3 people as advertised. Yes, there were three beds, but the room was so small it was not feasible to have the third bed pulled down. There was no space for luggage, but also no place to store your clothes and belongings. The closely was so small as to be useless. Nothing was mentioned about the extremely limited hot water, maybe five gallons total. What makes this a 4-star experience is the staff! They could not have been more attentive! The personal treatment is more than 5-stars! Wonderful staff! The itinerary was terrific, and travelling from city to city during the night was wonderful. It allowed us to avoid the congestion so prevalent in India. The transportation from the train to the sights was excellent and well-managed. And the chosen sites were fantastic and provided a well-rounded visit! The spa was OK; decent massage but terrible pedicure! I would recommend the Palace on Wheels but be prepared for less-than-luxurious accommodations!

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Palace on Wheels - Best way to tour Rajasthan

4/5

The train decor transport you almost 50 years back when maharajas used to rule the roost in Rajasthan. Although the train is not as dated but it definitely needs modernization. But anyways the interiors are full of character and the crew was simply amazing.

The food and service was above average and there was plenty to suit the taste buds. The compartments, though small, contained everything you needed. Silk bedspreads in cabins, nicely done dark wood, elegant décor and private bathroom. Unending shopping trips at almost every destination is a big bother. Overall a clean and hassle free way to visit Rajasthan and some of the most popular tourist attractions in India. Definitely recommended.

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Account of my journey on the first palace on wheels 1982

5/5

I am happy to review my memories of the first journey made on the Palace on Wheels in 1982.

I arrived in Delhi and after arriving at my hotel (I was traveling alone) I found out that the palace on wheels was due to make its first journey. I arrived in Delhi from the UK (I was traveling alone). When I arrived at the hotel I found out that the newly renovated palace onn wheels was due to take its first journey in two days and there was accomadation for four people in the observation carriage available

At dinner that evening three men who had travelled on the same flight from the uk spoke about the palace on wheels and I told them that there was room for four persons and they decided they too would like to take the trip and could leave there business agenda till after the trip.

The morning of the trip was really exciting when we arrived at the Rail way station and had our first glimpse of the train it looked amazing the ivory colured carriages gleaming in the sunlight and of cause the hundreds no thousands of people on the platform where she stood ( I say she as I am sure with all that glamour she must be a lady )

We were shown to our observation carriage by two young men respelnded in the uniform of the bygone days when the Maharaja would be traveling on the train. Our room at the end of the train was really special leading on to the outside observation platform (best place on the train). We left our cases on our individual sleeping compartments. There were really nice and gathered in our lounge to a great send off we were our way there were so many press from all over the world with the huge cameras that were necessary 40years ago and it was then that I realized I was the only female on board.

The boys asked us before the train left to follow them to the dineing car which all those years ago meant we had to leave our carriage and walk back along the platform. We were shown the dinning car and the small bar area in which we decided to have a drink we sat down and to our Surprise the train pulled out of the station at that stage we did not realise that there was no way to get back to our compartment and were Informed we would have to wait till the train stopped. So we settled down to wait I think we were able to run back to our cabins along platform about two hours later. Our boys were quite relived to see us and asked if they could get us anything. The oldest man in our party said I think champagne would be nice to celebrate our trip.

The boys set off down the platform (the train was still stationary) and appeared with the bottle and an ice bucket and the next few minutes will be forever etched in my memorie, they placed the champagne bucket on the floor picked up the bottle and looked totally perplexed they whispered to each other turned the bottle upside down and tried to screw the bottle into the bucket making the ice spill out we all did our best not to laugh or make them look silly so with great tact our companion gently asked them if they would like some help they were so happy and watched in amazement when the cork flew into the air (not as high as they did). I think that was there first experiance of exploding bottles.

The rest of the trip was for me brilliant. Apart from all the press telling me to pose leaving the train getting back on and of cause every where we went which was every day I felt like a movie star but loved every minute and have told countless people about the Palace on wheels and some have done the trip. I hope that I will be able to see the new train but I bet I will still always remember the first one. If I can come let me know when the best time is.

With very best wishes for the future of the train Doreen Richardson

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Recommended but Far From 5 Star Luxury

4/5

Palace on Wheels has the reputation of being one of the most luxurious train journeys of the world. So it was with some trepidation and anticipation that I arrived to board this train.

We were greeted with traditional "namaskar" and the "third eye" (a sandalwood paste dot in mid-forehead) on board to embark and "relive the splendor of erstwhile Maharajas of Rajasthan". Well the interiors of the train endeavor best to recreate the ambience reminiscent of the pomp of erstwhile princes.

The Kidmatgars (personal attendant assigned to us) clad in traditional starched uniforms hovered amicably to ease our burden and lead us to our respective cabins. A bit cramped for space but considering that it is a train, there was ample space inside the cabin. A functional bathroom with hot shower was good to find. The beds were properly turned down each night during our journey and the cleanliness on board was really commendable.

Overall the service provided by train staff is worthy of recommendation. They were always helpful and friendly and service was well coordinated. At each destination we were timely met by our tour guides and conveyance. And the offsite excursions were really well thought of. I especially liked the Elephant Safari at Amber and highly recommend it. Each excursion was a fulfilling experience the only disappointment being that our safari group was unable to spot the tiger at Ranthambore. Dining was also up to the mark.

Although the menu on board is quite limited when it comes to variety, the off-train venues for lunch are literally 5 Star hotels, read Rambagh Palace in Jaipur and Lake Palace in Udaipur, both run by prestigious Taj Groups. The menu was sumptuous and eclectic concoctions of cuisines were available for our platter.

With the benefit of hindsight I could say that these journeys acquire a treasured place in our memories when we look back and reminiscence over it. It's like the wine really. The older it gets, the better it becomes. One thing for sure is that travelling on board this luxury train in India is quite an experience. With red carpet being rolled out and a royal treatment at each destination and facilities although not at par with 5 star hotels yet up to mark, Palace on Wheels is definitely worth its dough.

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