The level of service was excellent. Our travel agency helped us plan a great trip and adapted well to our preferences. The hotel choices were not only excellent, but often interesting too.
For the most part, the drivers were really great as were the guides. But what we really appreciated was that our travel agency checked in with us regularly to get our feedback - and they used that feedback to prep future guides and drivers as to our preferences. They are always focussed on the experience of the client, they are always available by phone, and they react quickly if something needs to be taken care of.
There were a couple of times in the trip where we wanted to make changes on the fly. Our agency helped us with these changes, but I felt that their usual 'right on top of things' way slipped a bit when we got out of the normal routine.
All that said, we would definitely use their services again.
Our time in Cochin - especially our visit to the tiny Jewish section.
Our day of Cycling in Munnar. The mountain scenery with the views of the tea plantations were magnificent.
The resort in Thekaddy and the Nature Walk in the National Park where we saw elephants in the wild.
Visiting the temples in Madurai with our guide. The temple visits would not have been the same if we had not had such a sincere and practicing guide. We didn't just see the temples, we were able to experience them.
Varanasi has to be experienced. What you might see on TV or in a movie just doesn't come close to seeing the entire range of spiritual life being practiced on the shores of the Ganges in the oldest city in the world. And I have to add that our guide went far out of his way to ensure that we saw some special places in Varanasi that were not on the itinerary but were important to us. One of the important side trips was to Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment.
In Deli, we changed up the original itinerary and took two tours: an early morning cycling trip in New Delhi and a special Slum tour. This was a great way to spend our last day. Another highlight of Delhi was the incredible guest house that our travel agency booked us into. Besides it's great charm and romantic rooftop dining, the owner personally helped us as our flight did not leave until after midnight. He made sure that we had a place to stay, rest up, and to dine at.
Our agency completed this great trip by swiftly guiding us through the entire airline check-in process without us having to deal with the lineups. Somehow they even got my boxed bike on the plane with no extra charges.
We would skip the Houseboat trip. We prefer to be moving - and it's not our usual style to have 3 people catering to just the two of us. If we were part of a group of 2 or 3 couples we might have thought differently. But we still prefer to be active as opposed to staying on a boat all day and night.
We would have stayed longer in Thekaddy and done the overnight excursion in the National Park. We would have skipped the boat cruise as there was no commentary from a guide. The Spice Plantation visit was a dud as it was actually a high pressure sales pitch to buy their Ayurvedic medicines. Depending on how you feel about trained domesticated elephants, you might want to skip the elephant riding and washing as well.
We would have by-passed Chennai and spent another day in Varanasi.
We would have liked to have taken the train at least one time also. Probably would have preferred to take the overnight train from Goa to Cochin instead of flying. The flights didn't save us much time either as we flew from Goa back to Mumbai, waited there for 3 or 4 hours, and then flew to Cochin.
Travel Company's Comment
Greetings! We thank you for submitting your review on Zicasso.
We are glad to know that you liked the guides, chauffeurs, hotels and our services during the trip.
Please note that the Houseboat was included because it is one of the highlights of Kerala. All travel companies would have included that experience. Had you communicated your dislike of staying idle during the trip, we would have not suggested this option.
During your trip of India, you had asked us to make some last minute changes in New Delhi like adding some third-party tours, extending the check-out time of hotel etc. Our team noted these requirements of yours during the trip and made arrangements accordingly. Since your travel dates coincided with Holi festival time, it was difficult for the third-party tour company too to arrange the guide for the trip. This may have resulted in some wait time for confirmation and arrangement. But, we finally managed to arrange these tours for you and also extended the check-out time in hotel. All these tours and hotel check-out time extension were confirmed and communicated to you a day in advance.
We gave our 100% and tried to offer the best of the services. We even tried to offer a few services on complimentary basis (like delivers of your bicycle box etc) so as to make your trip memorable. But, it is unfortunate that we did not get a 5 star rating from you. We shall further work to improve our services and strive to get a 5 star rating in the future.
Look forward to serving you again during your trip to India.
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