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North India Explorer QIN

Visiting: India
Trip Duration 16 Days
 

Reviews for North India Explorer

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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North India Explorer reviews verified by reevooReevoo

22 reviews

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North India ExplorerScores 8.0 out of 10 based on 22 reviews
(9 out of 10)

Eva

Costa Mesa, CA
India is not for a novice traveler. Once you get passed the air & noise pollution, the country and people are beautiful!
Confirmed traveller: 28 November 2016
Published on: 02 December 2016
(7 out of 10)

Andrew

Carlisle
This was our first time to India and nothing prepares you for the noise, squalor and chaos we experienced in this country. Added to that was the cash crises which meant that for the first few days we struggled to get hold of Rupees to spend.
The cities were very polluted and many complained of sore throats at some stage or another.
The itinerary is fairly hectic, moving from centre to centre, often by overnight sleeper trains which tended to suffer from delays.
The main sights were spectacular with obvious highlights being the Taj Mahal and the Amber Fort at Jaipur with the procession of elephants carrying visitors from valley floor to the top.
The boat trip was exceptional on the Ganges - a real feeling of adventure and a unique experience.
Hotels were fairly basic and not always as clean as hoped for, but there were some really nice ones as well.
We missed seeing Kolkata due to a long delay on the last train ride. Perhaps the time in Varanasi could have been reduced?
Tips:
- be prepared for some early morning starts
- hectic schedule
- you need to be resilient to heat, noise, poverty, dirt, pollution, chaotic road traffic and white knuckle 'tuk-tuk' rides etc
- mosquitos only seemed to be a problem in Kolkata
Overall, this was an 'experience' type holiday and not one where you come home feeling relaxed and refreshed
Confirmed traveller: 28 November 2016
Published on: 30 November 2016
(5 out of 10)

Kathryn

London
I've been to India before so am accustomed to the country but the pollution in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in particular was appalling and at a dangerous level. The currency crisis was v stressful and I did not appreciate the fact that Explore did not communicate at all with support or information for us. Most of us were unimpressed with such a poor level of customer service/ support. The accommodation in Agra was dreadful, stained sheets, old grey towels and dirty rooms. I was expecting budget standard accommodation but this was very poor. I also felt three nights on a train sleeper was just too much for many of us. I don't feel the itinerary made clear quite how much more we were expected to shell out for transport and guides. Our tour leader was very sweet but not the most dynamic and didn't really come up with ideas about what to do on free days. His itinerary was different from the one you sent to us and some of the changes meant we missed things because he timed things badly and sights were closed or nearly closing. We were frustrated when changes came without warning or consultation. Calcutta was a delightful end destination but given we arrived late due to train delays I felt on balance I would have been happy to lose a day in Varanasi in order to gain an extra day in Calcutta.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 14 November 2016
Published on: 16 November 2016

I really am very sorry that you’re unhappy with our level of contact during the currency withdrawal in India. I do apologise for the inconvenience but as the government deliberately gave no notice there was an understandable period of uncertainty while contingency planning was put into place. Whilst we do appreciate you would have felt reassured with a call, our leaders were best placed to provide updates and information and so we didn’t feel a call from our office staff in the UK would be of any benefit.
I will discuss the hotel in Agra with our operations manager as we expect hotels to be simple in standard, but clean. This itinerary has a lot of free days and nine optionals so you are able to tailor the trip to your interests. We do note the details of the optionals in the trip notes and their associated costs.

(3 out of 10)

Peter

Hexham
The trip may have experienced exceptional difficulties. We arrived on diwali and on the following day (Monday) the majority of visitor attractions were closed. The level of atmospheric pollution was astonishing with most of us suffering from stinging eyes, sore throats and hacking coughs. The government induced currency crisis let many feeling insecure and anxious.
Hotel accommodation was expected to be "simple" but facilities within them were frequently dirty, inadequate or falling to bits. An organisation with the buying influence of Explore/Cox & Kings should be able to attain better.
Travel by tuk tuk is an essential part of the "experience" but its fascination began to pall after the repeated exposure to noise, dust and traffic terror. The longer coach rides should be provided with mire comfort such as adequate leg room for tall passengers.
The program itinerary can be criticised as being unimaginative and repetitive: arrive, at leisure to explore (a strange and bewildering environment), visit market/temple/fort, move on to next city and repeat. Specifically, the Delhi visit was greatly disappointing - does Explore not understand that attractions are closed on Mondays? The tour would leave the impression that India is a country of filth and poverty from a bygone age: it could be balanced by exploring rural life or a spell in a modern area ( if only for a hot shower).
Whilst not Explore's fault the level of atmospheric pollution including dust is a major impediment to enjoying India - romantic sunsets and sunrises no longer happen. It is also a health hazard: I would consider it irresponsible not to warn potential travellers of this especially for those with existing problems such as asthma or bronchitis.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 14 November 2016
Published on: 15 November 2016

I am sorry that the harvest field burning and the fireworks from Diwali caused such a physical discomfort with your group. I appreciate that India has not quite come round to a greener ideology and to assist in this we do support a number responsible tourism initiatives in regards to pollution. I also apologise for the inconvenience regards the currency change but, as the government deliberately gave no notice, there was an understandable period of uncertainty while contingency planning was put into place. Whilst this is a ‘simply’ trip we do expect the accommodation to be quite basic, but clean. In light of your comments we have requested a review of the accommodation on this departure to ensure our standards are being met. As the tour pace is noted a ‘full on’ trip it’s jam-packed so you get the full India experience, as such there is lots of travelling with long days interspersed with city tours and visiting local highlights. Thank you for your comments regarding the addition of a health advisory and we will look into this further.

(9 out of 10)

Eleanor

Truro
Excellent trip across North India taking in most of the major sights. Highlights were Varnesi , Jaipur and Agra. Train rides fun, but quite hard work at times.
The trip down the Ganges was very relaxing after the hustle and bustle of the cities The Food on theboats was excellent.
Amazing as it was cooked on a boat and on a beach.
Our tour guide was great.
Very well informed, good fun and very patient.
He was very kind and thoughtful to those who struggled with a few health problems.
It would have been nice to spend a bit more time in Jaipur.
Confirmed traveller: 17 October 2016
Published on: 03 November 2016
(9 out of 10)

George

Bolton
Fantastic trip - well worth it. Some long days but standing at the Taj at sunrise will take some beating.

Abi our leader was simply one of the best, can see how he received 'Tour guide of the year 2015'.

One minor gripe, the hotel in Kolkota was one of the worst I've encountered! Especially the rat running around with toast in it's mouth whilst we were eating breakfast!

If you can change this hotel then it will be one of the best Explore tours ever.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 12 April 2016
Published on: 18 April 2016

Thanks for such a positive review, George. We're delighted that Abi looked after you so well, and you've got such a great memory of the Taj at sunrise. I've taken your feedback on board and removed the VIP Hotel in Kolkata from our offering - we're now using an upgraded alternative.

(8 out of 10)

Christopher

Glastonbury
The general organization was excellent and everything went like clockwork. The Explore Leader was very pro-active in managing the day to day programme to optimize use of time. He gave outstanding attention to the well-being of the party at all times and all his recommendations for options well worth doing and excellent value.
The accommodation was well-selected in terms of location and comfort and met expectations given the overall holiday cost. The only exception was the hotel in Kolkata, which was dire - very dirty, bone-idle staff, terrible electrics and a pounding disco in an adjoining building throughout the evening. When my air-conditioning was switched on it showered the room with soot - which did not seem either to surprise or bother the porter. He did not seem to understand my request for clean bedding (soot covered) and none came. There appeared to be no joined-up supervision of staff. Change this hotel!!!
The highlight for me was the Varanasi experience, and I loved the boat trip. We all came down with tricky tummys, however, and some attention needs to be paid to where the cooks source their water. Otherwise, the boat lads were generous, great fun and big-hearted. The effort they put into keeping us comfortable and amused is to be commended.
Confirmed traveller: 11 April 2016
Published on: 24 April 2016

Thank you for your review, Christopher. While we're delighted that you enjoyed your trip overall, we're equally unhappy with your experience at the VIP International Hotel in Kolkata. Based on our customers' feedback, we have removed this hotel from our itineraries are we're now using an alternative, upgraded hotel.

(6 out of 10)

Stephen

Hemel Hempstead
This was our ninth trip with Explore, so we know what to expect. The trip was not as active as I had expected, which disappointed. A few of the free days were unnecessary because there was nothing to do or see, after the orientation walk - the towns were uninteresting and too small. The group just vegetated on these days.
The accommodation was really poor towards the end of the tour and the last nights accommodation was by far the worst hotel I and other members of the group had ever stayed in. Even the tour guide asked to be moved on the last night and sent photos of the appalling accommodation to Explore.
Highlights - boating down the Ganges, Taj Mahal, train jouneys and rickshaw rides.
Confirmed traveller: 11 April 2016
Published on: 13 April 2016
(6 out of 10)

John

Croydon
A bit too intense really, I would preferred to have visited LESS places, and spent more days in each one.

I also felt that there was too much paying for items as we went along. It would have been better if things like travelling to and visiting sites like the Taj were already included in the cost paid when booking, the way that G-ADVENTURES do it!
The initial cost would probably have been more, but it have mean't NOT having to keep giving money to the tour guide for these and upgraded travel.

Also, although it seemed like a good idea to have a "Kitty" so that the tour leader could dispense tips to porters etc, this too should be included in the overall initial payment!

I really enjoyed most of the places we visited, and Yadoo, the tour leader was mostly helpful and informative, but the one thing I did not like was being requested to tip him,since he is a 'professional' person and presumably receives a reasonable salary, which together with the commission from the various restaurants and factory outlets that he took us to, should have been sufficient remuneration for him. Is tipping the tour leader on Explore trips the norm, because once again this was not something that I have encountered with G-Adventures!

One thing that require a special mention, is the transfers by Cox & Kings both to and from the airports at the start and finish of the trip - THEY WERE BOTH EFFICIENT AND ON TIME - EXELLENT.

Overall a mostly enjoyable trip.
Confirmed traveller: 22 March 2016
Published on: 01 April 2016
(9 out of 10)

Kay

Lutterworth
Brilliant trip - met all expectations and itinerary balanced the level of activity well always allowing time for relaxation and sorting out just when needed. Sailing down the Ganges was a particular highlight. Yadu, our group leader went out of his way to make sure we all had a good time and nothing was too much trouble for him. He was extremely knowledgeable and told us so much about Indian history and customs, which enhances the experience.
We followed other's tips and travelled light, using hotels laundries, which paid dividends when carrying bags on railway journeys. 2 of the hotels had swimming pools, so I wished I had packed a swimming costume. It was frequently easier to change sterling for rupees than find ATMs.
Confirmed traveller: 21 March 2016
Published on: 24 March 2016