Robin Fox review 23 Jun 2014
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most exciting part was not on the original programme. We asked Rajat to give us somewhat more nature and less culture. He arranged for us to spend a day and two nights in a resort on the Kabini Lake, across from the Nagarhole National Park. On a boat safari at dusk, amidst myriad birds and beasts, we saw a male tiger emerging muddily from the river, slinking into the jungle. Next day at dawn our guide (the guides were all serious naturalists) was still more excited when a family of sloth bears crossed our path. The resort itself was wondrously luxurious, with excellent food and notably courteous staff. But an equally memorable part was our 3 days with Rajat's family in the Nilgiri Hills. We learned a great deal about how to cultivate and appreciate tea, and enjoyed some exceptionally lively conversations. The family are Jains, and the vegetarian cooking by cooking by Rajat's mother Renu offered repeated revelations. At a personal level, this stay was what we'll remember most fondly.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
In Mysore we had an excellent guide. With our interest in Tipu we had requested an additional visit to Tipu's Summer Palace at nearby Srirangapatnam, and this is not to be missed. Remember that elements in the itinerary can be modified at your request. Up to this point, five stars. However, in the latter part of our tour, we spent rather too high a proportion of the time on bumpy roads - two six-hour drives. If doing it again, we would take the whole 15 days and divide the car travel into smaller bits. Not Rajat's fault. We would also omit Goa - accommodation fine, beach horrid. Lastly, the end of March was often too hot for comfort, and we would advise an earlier slot.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Last year we toured Kerala in homestays and gave the holiday five stars; we like the personal contacts you get in a homestay. Towards the end of this holiday we felt more like regular tourists, and experienced some of the minus points of the industry. Not reborn - just replete with good memories.
Read the operator's response here:
Dear Susan & Robin,
It was a pleasure planning this holiday for you and was an even greater pleasure meeting the two of you and showcasing our lives, family and the part of the world we live in. We’re glad that you had a nice time on this holiday. With regards the region you visited, the emphasis was always going to be about the history and ancient architecture.
Unlike Kerala with it’s abundance of small and heritage family home stays, these parts of Karnataka that you visited are devoid of such experiences but bring a lot of ancient history and wonderful architecture to the balance. It was the reason why we made sure you come and experience our family home stay first to help you settle into your trip and gain a fresh perspective on India before you embarked on the rest of the experiences on the trip. Goa sadly has become more commercial than it ever was and unfortunately as a destination does harbour some of the minuses that commercialism can make of any service. But it was the logical end to your trip, geographically and hence unavoidable. But I’m glad that on the greater balance of things you had great, memorable experiences that will stay with you in the future.