These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.
Hilary Glegg review 23 Apr 2010
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Seeing the tiger in Ranthambore National Park; the Ghats in the evening and the overnight train journeys.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Be aware - the trip is hectic and verging on the exhausting. The travel distances are enormous - 10 hours in a bus is not pleasant. On the other hand, the train journeys are great! There is no contact with people - it seemed we were shunted from place to place, always in the bus, never walking. No opportunities to shop in the local places - always in the chosen tourist spots and therefore quite expensive. Be prepared to spend about £5 a day on lunch - exorbitant - as it was always the touristy places again. Yes, we saw the highlights, but not India. Don't go on this trip unless you are very short on time and feel the need the say "been there, done that".
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
I wonder - always buying bottled water bothered me a lot. Lots of travelling in a bus....Local people - we hardly came across them! The drivers, yes; the hotels - yes; and the tourist restaurants - yes. I would have welcomed the opportunity to get out of the bus and walk through a town or village on route, buy some local produce - fruit (it was the mango season and we didn't have one mango!)
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
6 out of 10. A whirlwind - the guide was inflexible, the pace too fast, and no contact with the country.
Read the operator's response here:
I did everything what I could for the clients of this group using all my knowledge and experiences to deliver the best services. I have been working from the last 15 years as a professional tour leader. I always try to give more free time to the clients in Local market in every city as much as possible within the time frame of the itinerary. In Jaipur I gave them some time to explore the local market near wind palace after we finished our sightseeing. Later clients have visited the textile factory at Jaipur, because some clients wanted to visit. (Only one shop).
1. At Agra, in afternoon group was taken and dropped at the local Bazar (Sadar market ) to explore the market on their own. Clients have spent more than two hours and even some of them returned after three hours. They were picked up from the given spot back to hotel. Group was not taken to any of the shops at Agra.
2. Then in Varanasi Group was taken to Local Bazar by rickshaw ride and on reaching the city I had given them free time of hour and half to explore the local town before they were taken for visiting the Arti Ceremony at Varanasi Ghats. (on the day of arrival)
In Varanasi Lot of people who wanted to do other things on their own before leaving back to Delhi, therefore, whole afternoon was given free to all clients on 2nd day. Late evening we had to take overnight train to Delhi. Some clients visited city and others stayed back to relax at hotel.
3. Then again in Delhi I took them to Karol bagh Local market and they spent more than 2 hours in the market. Therefore, I think they were given maximum free time keeping in view the itinerary and its pace.
Regarding the long bus drive while coming from Ranthambore to Agra we have visited one school and one village on the way inspite of a tight schedule. Apart from that there were number of other stops on the way to take picture of the wheat field, Village, Local People, camels etc.
So, I think I have done what best I could. It is a bit disappointing that even after doing all this still few clients may have felt that I did not perform well. I can only feel sorry for any lack ness and will try my best to perform better in future.
Please note we have visited only two shops during the whole itinerary one at Jaipur and other at Varanasi. As a tour leader I have tried to show maximum India to my clients in a minimum time.
Wahab Khan - Tour leader