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India - Bad trip with Satish Rana of EastWest (aka NorthSouth)Tours -

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Feb 3rd, 2012, 09:45 AM
  #1
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India - Bad trip with Satish Rana of EastWest (aka NorthSouth)Tours -

2 years ago Satish Rana organized a great tour for me and a few friends. Unfortunately I havejust returned from another tour of India with Satish Rana of EastWest tours and it was a complete disaster. He changed our agreed itinerary after we arrived (and paid), eliminating some workshops I spent months organizing with some local art centers, he eliminated some wonderful hotels that I had picked and he agreed upon, put us in 2nd class overnight train compartments instead of 1st class, charged individuals an extra $650 for single accomodations, when the actual difference between single and doubles was only $300 and there were several nights the singles actually had to share in doubles. He had agreed to travel with us, but left the group a week early, promising to return, and never did. He agreed to provide us with an English-speaking escort, which often didn't happen, either. Our last 2 nights in Mumbai he had instructed our driver to deliver us to an actual slum hotel, which even the driver found completely unacceptable, so we all dispersed to find our own hotels as we couldn't find one place that actually had 5 rooms. The itinerary was created so we would never spend more than 5 hours on any day driving. There were several 6-10 hour driving days.. and 19 hours if you include train and car...I could continue with more details regarding his lack of ethics or professionalism, if anyone is interested, but I prefer not to relive some of those moments. On top of all this, Mr. Rana was rude and argumentative the whole time. NEVER AGAIN!!!! His business has many names, EastWest Holidays, NorthSouth Tours, etc and he is actually listed on www.irctc.co.in as a blacklisted agent as of Sept. 2, 2011. India is a lovely country, albeit stressful. Mr. Rana increased the stress level to maximum by his unethical and corrupt performance as a tourleader.
roloho is offline  
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 10:08 AM
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Join Date: May 2007
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I am sure you are sincere in your opinions but others may wonder why this is seemingly the first and only time you have posted on Fodors.
nanabee is offline  
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 10:54 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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To me this doesn't sound like someone just venting his spleen like you see so often here. I call them "one post wonders." This has substance and specifics. The link the OP gave is to a web site one has to register for so I don't know how one can verify the claim about him being blacklisted. I did search for an irctc blacklist but there were nearly 6000 entries!

I'd like a link to where it specifically says his name on this list. If so then its a "thanks for the warning." I am sorry your group had such a hard time. I agree that India can be stressful enough w/o all this though some of the sites are well worth it.
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Feb 3rd, 2012, 04:56 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,252
I for once am going to give this poster the benefit of the doubt. Why would they post a glowing report 2 years ago, then try and bash him now?

This seems to be a common path for many Travel agents, tour operators, even individula drivers. They are great and then they get lots of referrals. After they get too busy, they get tired or ready to retire, and suddenly the details are not worth the work. As they sabotage their own business, they lose clients and then finally they start cutting corners due to the cash flow.

Not just my own experience, but we've gotten feedback over several popular agents from a variety of fodorites.

(We find the same problem with handymen in my business...)
lcuy is online now  
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Feb 6th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Lucy, I am also giving this porter the benefit of the doubt. I did a little digging via Facebook and discovered the poster is an established artist with a huge resume and who teaches at the University level. My guess is that this journey was one with students since she talked about "working for months to set up workshops with local art centers"

My guess is the reason t is her one post is that she was really mad since students depended on her to set up the trip. She also posted this exact message to the East West Tours Facebook page, so it is not like she's talking behind Mr. Rana's back. She is talking directly to his face.
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Feb 6th, 2012, 05:43 PM
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"poster" , not "porter"
BostonHarbor is offline  
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Mar 17th, 2015, 08:12 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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I am a seasoned traveller. I have lived and worked in many countries and circumnavigated the world many times.
I had never travelled to India previously.
In March 2014 I prepared an itinerary for a trip to Northern India. It was to be predominantly by road with a few railway journeys.
My research led me to believe that self drive was not a viable option.
I contacted several websites that offered a car and driver service.
Amongst those I contacted was a driver Madan Lal: [email protected]
Most were not interested in my itinerary and insisted on reduced travel and/or extended stays.
Madan Lal was the exception. I had a very swift response and a provisional quotation at a very reasonable price.
It became apparent that Madan worked in the main for his friend and mentor Satish Rana of East West Holidays.
Most of my communications thereafter were with Satish. He made a few suggestions and in short order we had agreed a price of R155,000 which is about US$ 2,500 or £ 1,600 for a 17 day trip. To include 4 star hotel accommodation, a Toyota Innova car (a superbly spacious and comfortable vehicle) and driver on cal 24/7, all road tolls, taxes etc.
To my astonishment he did not request payment. It was a gentlemen’s’ agreement.
He made 3 train and 1 rail tour reservation for me. He secured forward facing window seats for each trip. He did not request payment until I arrived in India.
I made a payment of 50% in November 2014, a further 25% on 22 January 2015 and the final 25% on 4 February 2015.
I arrived at New Delhi Airport on 22 January 2015 where I was greeted by Satish and Madan. Satish presented me with a beautiful flower arrangement in honour of my birthday.
En route to the hotel Madan took me to a contact where I obtained an Airtel Sim card for my mobile phone. Cheap to purchase and use. It was operational within hours.
My first Indian hotel was the 4 star Connaught in New Delhi’s city centre. It is a grand old hotel remarkably quiet for its location and has impeccable service. At check in they realised it was my birthday and I was upgraded to a large suite.
I left the hotel to obtain cash from an ATM. On my return I found a beautiful birthday cake atop my mini-bar.
After my train travels I arrived back in New Delhi and Satish had secured a room at the new 5 star Piccadilly hotel. I was upgraded to a club room.
This was to be a trend...upgrades everywhere.
All the hotels were 4 or 5 star. The only 2 disappointments were at properties that had received very good reviews in the past.
My driver Madan spoke very good English. He had great knowledge of the roads (he never used a map.) He was available to me at all times. The vehicle was always immaculately clean. He was always waiting for me before the scheduled time. We forged a friendship.
I have no hesitation at all in highly recommending and commending Satish Rana and Madan Lal.
They provided excellent service and value for money.
I doubt you could find better.
I will certainly avail myself of their services in the future.
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