Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review of Kullu Manali Honeymoon trip - Kesari Travels

We happened to go for Kullu Manali Leisure trip for Honeymoon couple in the month of March 2008 1st week. Lets go step by step with each phase

1. Office Enquiry :
Pune Office staff was quite helpful in providing all the relevant information & suggestions for the trips which fit within our budget.
Experience : Good

2. Tour booking :
There was also a exhibition of tour operators in Mumbai during the same time. The price was 1k more in the exhibition as compared to Pune office/Website of kesari. I booked in pune office. Got the pre-tour kit.
Experience : Good

3. 1st Day of tour :
We had to meet at railway station. Buses for the entire journey were average.. not a volvo bus.. seats ok...The only +ve part is that one is supposed to sit at the same seat numbers in the bus throughout the trip. The seat numbers are decided based on the date on which you have booked with Kesari.
Food : Average at railway station hotel

4. Chandigarh Hotel :
Hotel : Average
Food : Good
Sightseeing : Good
Journey by Bus : Delhi to Chandigarh @ 6 hours

5. Shimla:
Hotel : Pathetic
Justifications :
1. Water shortage, water pressure really tests your patience
2. Warm water only for a specific period
3. Rooms were worst - stinking

Food : Good
Sightseeing : OK..
Journey by Bus : Chandigarh to Shimla @ 4 hours

6. Manali:
Hotel : Good
Food : Excellent
Sightseeing : Good
Journey by Bus : Shimla to Manali @ 9 hours at a stretch

You may not get the same hotel, i think Hotel selection depends on the availability of the required number of rooms at that point of time within the required budget of Kesari.

Never purchase anything from the shops recommended by Kesari. The price is always at the higher end in those shops. This is the most important point which everyone should keep in mind.
Purchase shawls etc from Kullu/Shimla as it is much cheaper as compared to Manali. Make sure that you take snaps in local himachali dress. Kesari dones the arrangement for delivery of snaps at the hotel.
Tour leaders are quite helpful.

Though it was a honeymoon tour, even a single hotel was not provided with bathtub or of good category room. I used to always look forward for the snack packets which they used to give in bus throughout the trip. Tour leader organizes some group plays/games in bus which is also good. Bus has speaker facility so whatever guide is saying is easily audible.

Pre-tour planning, what all we need to carry considering climate etc is informed by Kesari. Candle light dinner, folk dance, communication of next day schedule, Precautions to be taken, surprise decoration of hotel rooms, rohatang journey, rohatang entire day in snow, arrangement of disc for one night, couple snap by Kesari, extra care for people not keeping well, medicines, tour operator following up with people who have health problems, etc makes the journey with Kesari memorable. Few couples had health problems & Kesari was there to help them even at mid-night ! You get the feeling of 'Athithi devo bhava !' with Kesari.

My recommendation : If you are ok with above average service in terms of hotel/bus then go for Kesari.

Main problems which Kesari shud focus to attract more customers :
1. Improve quality of hotels
2. Should recommend proper shops at tourist places.
3. Improve the quality of buses as almost 10 days customers hv to bear it !

I would definitely like to travel with Kesari & planning for Kerala trip :)

All the best !
Happy Journey !
Bon Voyage !