All along this journey I have shared all my experiences with you. I will take this letter Y and make it into a Yelp review for the tour operator we went with.
Of course, this review is not going on the website Yelp but just on my blog post.
We had chosen ThomasCook India because we thought it might be a good option for us. The price, dates and itinerary matched our requirements. So we went ahead with it.
Though we had no problems in the entire trip as such, there are a few complaints.
We came to know later in Haridwar that Thomas Cook had outsourced the trip from Haridwar onwards to another travel company that we had not interacted with. That company did not send any of their reps with us. But it was responsible for the transport arrangements. The bus was its department. The hotel accommodations could have been Thomas Cook’s, I am not so sure.
The rooms that they gave us were fairly comfortable, with adequate hot water and warm blankets. The breakfast and dinner too would be in the hotel. No complaints in that department.
A large part of the journey to char dham is spent on the roads. After every destination, reaching the next one would take a good part of the day. We would leave after breakfast and after a lunch on the road, we would reach in the evening. So we spent a whole lot of time on the bus. The bus that was provided was not comfortable for such long journeys. The seats were not reclinable, nor was there enough leg room. There was absolutely no overhead luggage space. All the space that was overhead was occupied by the driver’s stuff. We had put all our stuff on the roof of the bus and the rest of it in the back seat.
For most of the journey husband and brother-in-law sat in the back seat, jostling and bumping. It was one of the worst seats. Poor Colonel sat in the front seat next to our driver almost the entire trip. That seat had absolutely no leg room at all. The rest of us would rotate on the remaining seats.
Our driver was very skilled. He negotiated the mountain roads very nicely. No complaints there too.
Though none of us made any fuss about this, I feel we were cheated of a comfortable journey. Thomas Cook could have made some effort to get us better buses. After all, traveling with comfort is an important part of the whole journey.
The hotel booking too would be changed at the very last moment just before we would reach our night halt destination. Then we would all scramble to get the destination on the GPS to tool our bus there. This sometimes involved driving around a bit and delays because of that. After sitting in a bus for hours on end, it gets frustrating to be roaming around a town in search of a place.
Rahul would be the last one to know of these changes. The coordination of the tour operator was pathetic in this regard.
You already know about the helicopter fiasco. They never booked our tickets at all. It so happened that Modi came to Kedarnath on the same day, and all helicopters were cancelled. It made all of us very angry. After that we had to follow up for a long time to get our ticket fare back from them.
In spite of these small hitches, I speak for all of us that we had a great trip. It is one of the most memorable vacations that I have been a part of. I wouldn’t miss it for all the wealth of the world.
This is a yelp review that they did not ask for! 🙂
(Yelp is a website where customers post reviews of hotels and restaurants and such other service industry firms. I have no idea if tour operators too have yelp reviews.)