India 2021 - NEED ADVICE

Old Sep 29th, 2020, 06:32 AM
  #21  
 
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https://www.bbb.org/us/ma/boston/pro...avel-0021-3848

Interesting, The BBB gives them an A+ rating though note they have been so accredited since 8/28/20. However the 36 customer testimonials give them an abysmal rating and they are fairly recent. Personally I would put more credence into these but it’s up to you.

Good luck.

Larry.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 12:55 PM
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I agree that a bad guide can ruin a trip. Iíve taken 5 OAT trips since 2012 and most of the guides & itineraries have been good. I do prefer independent travel since many tour participants arenít that much interested in visiting old temples, archeological sites, and quirky museums. So I do take a day off from a tour and all the ďtime on your ownĒ to follow my own interests. Now that Iím 73 and my former traveling companions have health conditions and/or grandchildren care that prevents their traveling, Iím using tour companies more often. Thanks to COVID-19 Iíve had to cancel independent travel to Bhutan and Denmark this past spring and summer but I hope that a GeoEX trip to Pakistan, with the same superb guide and 4 pleasant fellow travelers met on a 2019 Pakistan trip, will go in December 2020.

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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 01:08 PM
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Hope your trip works out. I went to Bhutan with GeoEx back in 2001. Excellent guides, but not the best scheduling - they pulled us away from a festival to go eat a lengthy lunch! The next time I made them give me sandwiches... Also, they kept insisting that I didn't want to ride the "toy" train up to Darjeeling and stay at the Windamere after the tour ended. Their agent actually canceled the reservation I had made at the Windamere without checking with me. Still, I would expect them to be much, much better than OAT.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 02:36 PM
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I traveled with GeoEx before (Tibet and Northern Pakistan) and their guides have been great. GeoEX is better than OAT--smaller groups (3-10 people) & better accommodations but also is significally more expensive. We should hear about Geo's Southern Pakistan trip within a week. I hope they don't cancel it--Pakistan seems to have COVID under control. I miss traveling and my next trip--Quark Expeditions to Svalbard-- isn't until May.

No one would have pulled me away from a festival (or off the toy train) especially not for lunch! I haven't been impressed with Bhutanese cuisine; the best food I had was at a homestay in Haa. I've been to Bhutan 4 times with local companies and as a guest of the government and I had planned to go back for a Centre for Bhutan Studies conference.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 03:15 PM
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I agree, the food in Bhutan was not inspiring. If I had realized that lunch would take two hours and that the festival was nearing the end, I would have made a fuss, but it was early in the trip. Plus, I can't go too long without protein or my blood sugar crashes. Fortunately, the Windamere had space, and I loved staying there. BTW, that trip included Beijing to Islamabad with Intrepid, with a wonderful drive on the Karakorum Highway. I'm glad I did it then, I wouldn't want to go back to Xinjiang province now.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 06:08 PM
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I looked into that Intrepid trip but in the end went with GeoEx, partly because I was unnecesarily paranoid about traveling in Pakistan & thought it best to go with a US company in case of problems (there were none) . The trip started out in Xinjiang (Urumqi & Kashgar), a place I certainly wouldn't want to visit again--the police presence was even more opressive than in Lhasa. Then down the Karakoruim Highway to Islamabad. The Sourthern trip starts in Islamabad, follows the Karkakoram Highway to Lahore , then onto the archeological sites of Harappa, Mohenjodaro and Karachi before flying back to Islamabad to visit Gandharan Buddhists around Peshaswar and the Swat valley. If doesn't go in December, I'll go on the next available date.
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Old Sep 29th, 2020, 06:52 PM
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We were supposed to go up to Peshawar, but we crossed the border the day after 9-11, which necessitated some changes.... I've only contacted an embassy (or the equivalent, the US doesn't have an actual embassy in Taiwan) twice, and that was the first, although it was the UK embassy, and turned out I didn't need their help.
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Old Oct 1st, 2020, 09:45 PM
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You can reach out to solo female travelers on India based travel forums like IndiaMike and BCM touring.
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