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An update from Evaneos

Trip review
India

Catherine O.
Catherine O.
loved their trip to India

We loved our trip and all the places we visited - thank you so much!! Of course we particularly loved the Taj Mahal (who doesn't) but our forest guide helped us see a tiger in Ranthambore(!!); Our Mt Everest flight was delayed 2 hours but worth the wait because we got a beautiful view (tell people to dress very warmly for the flight in winter. No heat and it is freezing! Even the flight attendants are in full winter coats the entire time.) We loved our cooking class in Jaipur and our cultural dinner in Nepal. The hotel in Ranthambore was a let-down after our fabulous hotel in Jaipur but then realized it was really lovely with a sense of community, great shop, had a good location, comfy bed and great service. ALL of the guides that we had were excellent, professional, very knowledgeable, flexible and helpful and the places we visited were fascinating. Naresh - our driver from Jaipur to Delhi -was the hero of our trip: always smiling, helpful, on time, professional, courteous to everyone, attentive (when the guide took us to a sari shop and I didn't find what I wanted, we dropped the guide off and Naresh immediately suggested some other shops, seeing my disappointment. I found just what I wanted.) He is a careful driver and we still have NO idea how he figured out the routes all around the blocked roads to get us from Ranthambore to Agra safely. He is a magician! He really looked out for us and seemed to care that we had a good time :) Amit also in Nepal is going to have a very good career in tourism ahead of him (keep studying English Amit!). Many thanks to Stanzin who was always there for us, helping fix any issues, getting us back on track very quickly when there were small problems, and coordinating with us and the driver to get us to Agra when there was the transit strike. When there were inconveniences, they were small and quickly resolved. We cannot thank you enough for helping us have a trip of a lifetime.
Trip Details
Traveled
As a couple
Travel dates
January 30, 2019
Trip type
Classic

Trip customized with a local travel agent in the destination

Catherine O.
Catherine O.
February 22, 2019
Best parts:
Our trip was wonderful!! Even though we had a couple of hiccups, Stanzin was there to help us out and get everything back on track. Things went according to plan - about 90% of the time and we see that as a success. Our guides were knowledgeable, flexible and helpful. Our drivers were safe and always ready. Our guide in Delhi was excellent and very understanding of my vulnerable and slow status - I had just spent 2 days in the hotel bed sick with the flu. Mohan was our guide in Hyderabad and was our favorite - knowledgeable and friendly. Our guide in Jaipur, KC (who was late due to a miscommunication) was very knowledgeable and did well with sequencing information. Stanzin and Naresh communicated to get us in to see Fatehpur Sikri hours ahead of schedule due to our having to leave at 3AM (see below). they quickly got us a terrific and friendly guide - Pravendra K. We greatly enjoyed the tour of the fort. All the guides got us into the sites quickly and efficiently. Our guides in Nepal - Amit and DipChandra were excellent. Amit has an attention to detail that is remarkable and commendable - He saw that the driver was having a hard time exiting the airport (we were in a hurry) and he came over to deal with the guard so that we could depart, he had printed out the little card that we need to fill in upon arrival in India (!!), He was very friendly and very very professional and efficient. Di Chandra was our guide all through Kathmandu -his font of knowledge about Hinduism, Buddhism, Nepal's history and people is impressive. He was flexible with our schedule and very accommodating.
Worst parts:
Our trip was so great that the couple of things that didn't go according to plan were really not awful. Our guide was an hour late in Jaipur due to poor communication between him and someone (?). The hotel helped us get back on track as did Stanzin. It was a small problem that happened only once and we were out sightseeing within the hour with the guide, who was very good. The other worst part - that was No One's fault - protests in the streets caused us to go over terrible roads from Jaipur to Ranthambore. And then there was a transport strike and we were not able to take the train from Ranthambore to Bharatpur. Instead we had to leave Ranthambore at 3AM to avoid the strike - otherwise if we had left at 8AM or late we might not have made it to Agra that day at all. Our driver Naresh was a hero - safely driving over the worst roads (if you want to call them that) in a complete fog in small villages all over that part of India, getting stopped no less than 10 times to be told that this or that street or highway was closed and he had to go around. He delivered us safely to Agra - and with a smile. Other things that I could have done without: Driver in Delhi laid on the horn the entire time! Richie - excellent guide in Agra - should not eat pan while on tour. Also, he should strive to put in a better sequence his information and make it India specific - he was all over the map (events were all out of sequence, he starts talking about how Pretoria, South Africa got its name, etc) so it was difficult to follow the historical events he was trying to tell us about (but he was courteous and professional). We noticed and that all the guides - while helpful, professional, and courteous - were not personable (except Mohhan). Perhaps it was a language problem but we noticed that none of the guides (except Mohan and to some extent DipChandra) really cared what we said - they care about only what we asked. They were not interested in us as people - only as receptacles to receive information. They didn't want to engage in conversation. We enjoy conversation and exchange with our guides and we didn't get that. To get that personal touch is one of the reasons we do private tours. Also - when you know that people are going to Nepal, I recommend that you educate them on the airport customs process - it was chaos. All the Americans, Europeans and Chinese were bumbling around completely confused and lost (Indians and Nepalese knew what to do). there were NO signs or even a human being to give guidance. We got our visas (so we thought) online. Process - Go to kiosk & fill in info, get slip of paper and fill that in, then go pay the fee at the window and THEN go into the immigration line that says Foreigners Visas 15-30 days. the sign that says Business class is not really for Business class travelers (which we found out after waiting 10 min in line). We didn't have to do the kiosk because we had filled in the info online but did have to fill in the paper, pay the fee and stand in line all over again. EVERYONE was confused and getting help from each other - no one official was there to help. That part took over an hour. Our time in Nepal was great but I would not recommend the hike that we took at the end of our second day. We thought we would get out of Kathmandu - which was so filthy and trashy it made us sad (we didn't think there would be SO much litter and garbage everywhere. We were shocked.). Our hike was basically walking through more trash. There were a few nice things about the hike - but mainly what I remember is trash and walking through a pristine forest for only about 10-15 min.
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