We had an ok trip, with some major disappointments. The guides we had were good. However, it was a major disappointment that our travel company apparantly had very little on location experience. We had a trip from Kathmandu to Chitwan national park, - it was supposed to take 4 hours travel time on the road, it ended up taking 8 hfull hours, so a full day lost each way. Moreover, the car provided was completely unfit for the very poor road with big pot holes, gravel surface etc, - it was a real pain. After complaining to the agency, they found a little bit better car for the return to Kathmandu, however this one without aircon, implying that we had to have windows rolled down in a very, very dusty road. That trip was also a pain.
What was worst was really that our travel company continuously came up with bad excuses.
In the Bhutan-part of our vacation, they had arranged a car without seat belts and without aircon. What annoyed us particularily here was, that the company insisted that the car had aircon, which was simply not true.
Moreover, despite the fact that our travel company knew very well which days we would be in Bhutan, they had arranged for visits to museums etc that were closed due to public holidays, however, our guide find very good alternatives. This made us feel like the company have a standard Nepal/Bhutan trip that they sell irrespective of whether it fits with public holidays for the specific visit, - not really very bespoke!
We will never use this travel company again, and we will definetely never recommend any of our friends and family to use this company.
Nepal: we had a wonderful flight to see the Himalayas and Mount Everest arranged by the local guide. We had an enjoyable visit to Bhaktapur.
Bhutan, we enjoyed very much the Tsongas and in particular the Tigers nest. Generally this country is a very nice and reasonably well organized country. We had a very good guide who gave a detailed introduction to local culture.
First of all, we would find another travel agency. Secondly, we would skip the Chitwan national park, at least if it was the same time of the year, there is simply almost no opportunities for watching animals due to the very high grass during the monsoon season, - the only animal we saw were Rhinos (again, the travel agent should have advised us not to go, however due to lack of on location knowledge they did not).
Otherwise, the itinerary was ok.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
We thank you for submitting your review on Zicasso!
It is disappointing to know that you did not like our services and enjoy the trip thoroughly!
When we analyse your review in detail, we find the following areas in which you were disappointed.
1. Vehicles in Nepal and Bhutan2. Big difference in travel time mentioned in the itinerary and actual travel time3. Scheduling of a visit of monument in Bhutan on a holiday when it was closed4. Allegation that we offered excuses for covering above mentioned areas of concern
We would like to offer our point-of-view on the above areas:
1. Vehicles in Nepal and Bhutan - As per our conversation during the trip, you said that you did not like the Sedan car that was initially included in the trip as the road was too bumpy and you found the journey comfortable. We then changed the vehicle to a SUV but unfortunately the AC belt of the car broke down.
We deeply apologise and regret the inconvenience caused because of this. We understand that it must have been difficult to travel without an AC for few hours on a bumpy road. Please note that our local transporter had checked the vehicle before assigning it to you and the AC belt was woking perfectly fine. But, unfortunately AC belt broke down during your journey. Such matters are out of a travel company’s control as best of the vehicles can face problems on bad roads. But, we take your feedback positively and shall further inform our local transporter to improve on vehicle maintenance so that this problem does not occur again.
You also raised the issue that you were expecting a 4 wheel vehicle during the trip. Please note that nowhere in our communication we said that the vehicle would be a 4 Wheel vehicle. In India, Bhutan, Nepal, 4 Wheel drive is only provided on guest’s request and it costs more. Since, you had already reached you max budget for the trip, having this vehicle would not be possible. But, as per your request, we provided this vehicle free of cost. Unfortunately, on the day of travel from Chitwan- Kathmandu the AC belt broke down
In Bhutan, you have mentioned that the car did not have AC. But, as per our interaction with guide who accompanied you all the time and also as per the top management of the local company who offered the vehicle, the AC was there in the car. The guide said that you never asked the driver or the guide to switch the AC on, so it was never turned-on. Since you opened the window of the vehicle, he assumed that you did not require AC. Please note that in Nepal/ Bhutan/ Tibet the AC is not turned on unless the client asks for it as the weather is generally cold. You need to inform the guide/ driver to switch it on. There was a switch right above your seat through which you could have switched it on yourself. As per the guide statement, he informed you about the switch but it seems that you did not interpret him correctly and never pressed it. Please note that you were given a premium Toyota Hiace vehicle, which has AC already installed in it. Even a base category vehicle of Toyota has AC installed.
2. Big difference in travel time mentioned in the itinerary and actual travel time
The travel time mentioned by us in the itinerary between Kathmandu- Chitwan was 4-5 hours. But, you took 7 hours to travel between these two places. We really regret the inconvenience caused because of this. As already informed, due to some recent landslides and road work, the road is bumpy resulting in high travel time. We accept that we should have informed the condition of the roads to you a few days before your travel, so that it would not have come as a surprise. As a result of this event, we have already sent “Road Condition Advisories” to all our future clients traveling to Nepal, so that they have the expectations set.
3. Scheduling of a visit of monument in Bhutan on a holiday when it is closed
We accept this mistake of ours and shall ensure that we are very cautious when making the itinerary. This was a typographical error made by our team but shall ensure that this does not happen in future. We are delighted to know that you did not miss the monument as it was covered on the following day.
4. Allegation that we offered excuses for covering above mentioned areas of concern
It may appear that we offered excuses to cover the above unfortunate events during the trip, but when we communicated to you we offered our point-of-view and explained what caused the above problems. Please note that our manager of local Nepal office, personally apologised for the vehicle Air condition breakdown and inappropriate travel time mentioned in the itinerary and we offered a free upgrade to you - not once but twice during your stay. Had we offered any excuses, we would have not taken ownership and offered an upgrade to you. We tried best to address the unfortunate events that happened during your trip. Our team was also constantly in touch with you over phone and emails to seek your feedback and make arrangements to match your expectations.
Being a responsible Zicasso travel company, we share the following improvement areas that will ensure that similar problem dies not occur again:
1. Communication of Road Advisories to clients - We have already initiated this. 2. Cautious Itinerary writing - We have directed our teams to double-check the itineraries so that there are no discrepancies and errors.3. Vehicle Maintenance - We have directed our local company to improve the maintenance of vehicles.
We do apologise again for the experience. We assure you that we shall continue to improve and perfect our services
India Travel Advisor
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