Travel agent, tour company - Kerala

Old Nov 27th, 2011, 07:07 AM
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Travel agent, tour company - Kerala

I am looking for an excellent travel / tour company in Kerala, or for a holiday in Kerala.
We want a 12 night trip with plenty of wildlife to see .Can anyone give me some guidelines.
Thanks
lidboymk2 is offline  
Old Nov 27th, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Check with VP Singh, Legendsandpalaces.com.
I am not sure whether he runs a tour in Kerala but, if not, he may have some recommendations.
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Old Dec 1st, 2011, 04:27 AM
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Thanks I have looked at Indian Panorama and Holiday India does anyone have experience of these two companies?
Thanks
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Old Dec 2nd, 2011, 10:06 PM
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I travel independently. I used Fourens Travel, aka Le Royal Hotel in Cochin. They provided me with a car and driver for the four days I was there. I was picked up from the airport, then I went to Munnar for a couple of nights and then to Le Royale in Cochin for my final night.
I was very happy with the service.

My trip reports are here:
http://loraltravel.blogspot.com/2011...ala-india.html
http://loraltravel.blogspot.com/2011...ala-india.html

Cheers, Alan, Australia.
Born Under a Wandering Star
http://loraltravel.blogspot.com
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Old Dec 3rd, 2011, 01:48 PM
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Alan--

Were you also happy with le Royale? I believe it is a bit outside of town, isn't it? Was this a plus or a minus for you?

You were happy with the car and driver, but I am wondering if one wants to go to other areas like Munnar and Periyar and Coorg (like we do)if it is better to somehow to try to find different drivers in different locales so that you have a driver who knows the area. Maybe this isn't a doable option though. Do you vaguely recall what you paid per day for the car and driver? Thanks.
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 11:10 PM
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We have a quote from Indian Panorama and I want to know if anyone has any experience of this company. It's quite scary just booking with a foreign agent. We did it for Vietnam and it was brilliant, but we had a great introduction therefore we want the same level of service in Kerala.
Thanks
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 11:16 PM
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Julie, you are right. Le Royale IS out of the part of Cochin you'll likely want to see. Having stayed about 30 minutes outsdie t Cochin, and very much regretting it, i now recommend, for what it;s wroth, that visitors should IN the Fort Cochin area (at lesat, easy walking distance to the harbor).

Jenny was lovely (I enquired of her three yrs ago) but some places she recommended, she was basing on just feedback--she had not actually been herself. To me, this in-peson knowledge is important. This was like another homestay owner of whom i asked advice. He had "heard about " places, or they belonged to his family, close or distant "cousins" ...but he hadnt been for himself

Backt o the OP--i've used Indian Panorama (including for Kerala) been very happy with every aspect of their help and plan, and now using them for partial assistance for another trip. Someone else (can't recall name) on this forum was pleased with them -- one other FFer (Rinda ) PM'd me that she was happy with her trip. There is at least one thread about Indian Panorama on Tripadvisor (to which i and others have contributed ).

There are about 5 recommended tour companies you'll see repeatedly on this forum, from the same folks, (including your truly). Mr Singh (see above) himself posts here and is very knowledgeable. There are many other perfectly good tour companies, but because this forum gets so little "traffic" you'll tend to see the same five .

Other sources for info on gtour planning are tripadvisor and Indiamike

Whomever you chose, Lidoy, good luck with your trip!! Kerala is beautiful!!!!!
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 11:25 PM
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Lidboy, i also recommend when you get quotes, you make sure it is "apples and apples"--i.e same level of car, same level of accommodation, etc.
Oh, because of your name, I just remembered--the other person on this forum who was very happy with Indian Panorama was Lipgirl!

One thing i have heard and experienced with Indianpanorama is that the drivers (i.e from town to town) are fantastic!! You will rely on the driver for so much--mainly safety, but also pointing out interesting sites, begin pleasant and friendly (and understanding and speaking good ENglish , in your case)so it is important--no matter with whom you book--that you make clear your expectation for a high level of service. For example--the first person who met us at Cochi airport (NOT booked with Indian Panorama) had a clean and spotless car...but no seatbelts in the back seat!!! )-:
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 11:30 PM
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p.s. Julie S, on our first trip by car, we went though parts of Kerala and up to Coorg (also Coonor, Mysore, Nagarhole, Belur) ro Kumarokom Lake area in Kerala, until drop off at BLR, we had the same drier. He was safe, fantastic, and it was great to buld up that relationship of trust and learning, with one person who gets to know you, and vice versa, for a week or ten days or more. I would highly rec haVing the sameperson to all the area you want to visit. A reputable tour company will have drivers who have been in those areas, many many times, as they are all on the beaten path tourist circuit.
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Old Dec 4th, 2011, 11:32 PM
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meant "from" Kumarokom/Vembanad Lake area. Apologies for that and other typos.
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 12:08 AM
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Thanks for the positive comments, it is just so important. I also looked at Holiday India but have had some bad comments. Indian Panorama certainly have not been pushy, like Holiday India. Anymore comments would be great as we certainly would like to spend a couple of days at Perriar wildlife, any comments?
Thanks again
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 02:19 AM
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indiamike.com best info deals cut out middlemen to save 50%

keralahouseboat.org great deals for me

bidding boots on the ground albeit it a few years ago.
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 02:56 PM
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OP--I haven't used these people, but I understand they are quite reputable. They have some very interesting options for wildlife activities.

http://www.kalypsoadventures.com/index.php

Calinurse--Thanks for all the assistance. What would you say were your favorite locales that you visited in Keraka? And, any that you'd recommend giving a pass to?
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Old Dec 5th, 2011, 06:08 PM
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"Were you also happy with le Royale? I believe it is a bit outside of town, isn't it? Was this a plus or a minus for you?"

I was happy with their service. Because I had a car and driver being out of the centre was irrelevant to me, as I used the car to get around.

"You were happy with the car and driver, but I am wondering if one wants to go to other areas like Munnar and Periyar and Coorg (like we do)if it is better to somehow to try to find different drivers in different locales so that you have a driver who knows the area. Maybe this isn't a doable option though. Do you vaguely recall what you paid per day for the car and driver? Thanks."

I used their driver to go from the airport to Munnar and stayed two days there: http://loraltravel.blogspot.com/2011...ala-india.html

The driver seemed to know the area OK, although he wasn't a local. I give a bit more detail on the blog posts. The proprietors of the Royal Mist homestay were also an excellent source of information for that region. I was only there for the two days to relax, but I still saw the tea museum (well worth the time), the workshop for the disabled, the town and the dams and lakes nearby.

The price for Le Royale was Rs.3500 for single occupancy with breakfast and dinner. The separate price for an air-conditioned Indigo with driver for four days over three nights, picked up at 9am on the first day and delivered to the airport in the late afternoon of the fourth day was Rs.7,200. I paid cash and added a tip.

You may be able to get a cheaper price, but I felt that was good value at the time.

PS. I arrived in the afternoon, so I stayed the night in Angamalay near the airport at the Hotel Elite Palazzo. I notice the reviews on TA are mixed; I found it to be excellent. I booked via Agoda, my review is at the bottom of the page: http://www.agoda.com/asia/india/koch...rp=0#reviewTop

Cheers, Alan, Australia.
Born Under a Wandering Star
http://loraltravel.blogspot.com
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 01:21 AM
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Hello JulieS. YOu've got me oickin' the old brain!

My trip that included Kerala, was parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. Are you planning to stay just in Kerala?

Recommendations: Stay IN the Fort Cochin area, where you can walk to most sites of interest. Most hotels and homestays will be in that area,not in one of the areas you have to take a ferry to. skip overnight in areaof Ft C--we did and regretted it. There are nighttime activiites kin Cochin,--eg dance eperformances--that you wnat to be clcoser for.

Place we loved in Kerala: Philipkuttys Farm.There are less expensive options along the Lake. It's relatively expensive, but worth every penny--or rupee. We loved the boat trip from there out on the lake, and the boat trip through the lagoons.

You can tale the country boats , which are narrower, and you get right into the canals (backwaters) by the villages

Unless you are super interested in Kathakali Dance, skip heading north to toward Guruvayoor or Cheruthuruuthy. We also wanted to see the elephants in Guruvayoor, but i wouldn't again make a special trip for that.

We had a choice: hill station in Kerala, or in TM. We choaw the latter, loved Coonor. Also in that area loved Nagarhole Park (Coonoor--OOty--Mysore--Nagarhole).At the time i did lots of research was better wildlife at Nagarhole than at Periyar (in Kerala) --so we re-routed ;

If you go to Hill Stn in Kerala--of course Munar (where i have not yet been) and from there, the roads to Marayoor, and down to Periyar.l.

I emphatically recommend if you've not already done , search Indiamike. The amount of info from people across a wide range of budgets, interest and national origins is staggering.

How much time do you have in Kerala?

When i go again, i want to spend time in the Wayanad area also--northern part of the state.

I'm sending links to sone fantastic but very realiastic photos of what to expect in Kerala, taken by the travel agent i have used.

http://indianpanorama.in/gallery/ker...ters/index.htm

http://indianpanorama.in/gallery/ker...ions/index.htm
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 07:28 AM
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Thanks Cali--

I am trying to sort it all out, but we are definitely open to Tamil Nadu and Karnakata. I've been doing a ton of research, enough so I definitely know we intend to do a backwaters stay but not an overnight on the boats. We plan to stay right in Kochi because we are they type of people who can walk all day and like to be within walking distance of things.

Parks and nature reserves are an open question and a dilemma. While normally these types of things are right up our alley, I have read so many disappointing reports of how often in India parks can almost have a carnival atmosphere at times; this is not at all what we are looking for! In order to avoid this, we would be willing to hike and camp. But, I just don't know if this is even worth the effort in India since we've been so spoiled by having had the opportunity to visit so many gorgeous and unspoiled parks here in the US and in other parts of the world. And, I understand much of this is based on perception and where people have visited in the past. For some people, these more touristed and commercialized parks might be a splendid new opportunity. We are more interested in nature activities than in the dance, theatre and temple-type activities. However, I'd love to see a festival if possible.

Munnar is also on my list of possibilities, but I have read that lodging there is quite pricey in comparison to other similar places. So, we'll see. Thanks for the tips.
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Old Dec 7th, 2011, 07:35 AM
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Whoops--hit submit and forgot to reply to Alan.

Thanks for the information on pricing for the car and driver. I too don't think that is too bad. But, I am also pretty cheap and am trying to decide if, since we won't want a car at our access at all times, if we would be better off just working with the guesthouses to arrange transportaion from place to place with extra aailability during our stay if we want it. From past experiences, we know that all of the places always have a lost of drivers they use.

And, thanks for the tip about the airport hotel; it is something I hadn't thought about yet.
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Old Dec 9th, 2011, 07:51 AM
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I have read all your comments and like the sound of Indian Panorama, they gave me a quote and even though it isn't for another year, they sounded honest and not pushy, whereas Holiday India keeps pushing so much.
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Old Dec 17th, 2011, 02:12 AM
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Hi
Check with some other providers as well to have a competitive rate.

Regards
Groowynd
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Old Dec 25th, 2011, 12:49 PM
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Has anyone used http://www.cochinkerala.com/. I have read that this is a very reliable company
Thanks
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