My husband and I had a fantastic month long adventure in India, celebrating my husbands 80th Birthday. We were very well taken care of every step of the way, from the moment we were met at the airport to the last day when we were put on the airplane to come back to New York. All greeters and drivers were courteous and punctual, and all guides were very pleasant and knowledgeable. We only had a couple of misunderstandings where our itinerary did not match up with the one the company had, but it was all taken care of by the guides. We also didn't get our "local phone" at arrival as promised. It was given to us a little later, but it didn't really matter because we were so well cared for at all times that we never needed the phone anyway. One small thing we appreciated very much was that there was always water and hand sanitizer and wipes for us in the cars. Only one car did not have it. Also the cars very nice and clean. Most hotels were wonderful, with excellent service, nice clean rooms and good breakfast with lots of choices. There was only one hotel we would not recommend, the hotel in Goa. The place is beautiful, surrounded by water, but there are a few problems. First of all it is far down south from all the action. The first room we were given was facing north on a lagoon and smelled of mold and the floor boards were warped by moisture. We complained so they gave us another room facing east on the lagoon. It was also smelly and floor boards were slightly warped but a little bit better than the first room. It was the only other choice they had for us, so we had to take it. Another problem was that the beach, the white sun umbrellas and the palm trees were all covered with black soot, and when we came back from the beach, our toes were black. We were not able to find out what it was or where it came from, but the locals must know, because many of them walking on the beach had their mouth and nose covered by hankies and scarves. We also felt uncomfortable with the guards standing around the pool, and breakfast patio, with guns shooting blanks to chase away the birds. There were lots of birds trying to sneak some food from peoples tables. Every time the guards shot we would jump. It was especially annoying when we were lying by the pool trying to relax. At the other hotel in Goa were we stayed previously they had a man walking around with a long stick with a flag on top to keep the birds away, which was much more pleasant. We highly recommend the Taj Exotica. It was one of our most favorite hotels in India, along with the hotel in Varanasi and the hotel in Mumbai. Unfortunately I have to mention a small nuisance. The tipping of airport greeters, drivers, guides, hotel check in agents, bell hops, became a headache after a while (since we were there a whole month), to have to figure out all the time how much to give, and to make sure we always had some small change at hand. But overall, we had a wonderful time. A big "Thank You"! to all the people involved in making our trip pleasant and safe in every way! I highly recommend this travel company for anyone who is interested in visiting India. It's a lovely country with an amazing history, beautiful sights, (only sad part it the garbage everywhere), and last but not least the Indian people are very friendly and helpful! Pia S G 3/10/2018.
Hard to choose. But Varanasi and The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad blew our minds.
Skip the early morning visit to the Ranthambore National Park. Waste of time. We didn't see any tigers. Bronx zoo is more interesting. Also would have skipped the 6.30 am trip to The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. We see more birds in our garden in the summer time. (Both were part of the "Palace on Wheels" schedule). We should have slept in both mornings to have more energy for the touring the rest of the day.
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