Culture holidays India Pvt. Ltd., comes under the leading travel management company located in New Delhi which is serving the people from all over the world with preeminent services since 1999. Culture holidays exclusively serves as a means to explore this diverse nation with much ease. The company is duly recognized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and is reputed as most prominent travel agents and tour operators in India. The company has a vast network of travel partners from across the world which has helped it earn more than ... More
Culture holidays India Pvt. Ltd., comes under the leading travel management company located in New Delhi which is serving the people from all over the world with preeminent services since 1999. Culture holidays exclusively serves as a means to explore this diverse nation with much ease. The company is duly recognized by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and is reputed as most prominent travel agents and tour operators in India. The company has a vast network of travel partners from across the world which has helped it earn more than 1 million satisfied customers all over the world. We accommodate a healthy track record of providing quality and reliable services to our customers with 100% customer satisfaction which helped in the development and growth of the company. We have been in the field for over 12 years with such extensive experience the company has transformed itself into a leading travel management company by establishing direct relations with more than 1800 major hotels and more than 2000 hotels at international level as well as transport service providers across the Indian subcontinent. ... ...Less
To begin with the itinerary for the tour I took (Classic Rajasthan) was rather scant on detail (first red flag). When I pressed the tour operator for more details he provided scant two sentence emails in response. The operator prior to and during the tour was otherwise responsive to my requests and complaints, and even accommodated a change in tour dates some days out from the scheduled tour. Local tour representatives were helpful in assisting me with any inquiries. I was not however provided w ...Full review
To begin with the itinerary for the tour I took (Classic Rajasthan) was rather scant on detail (first red flag). When I pressed the tour operator for more details he provided scant two sentence emails in response. The operator prior to and during the tour was otherwise responsive to my requests and complaints, and even accommodated a change in tour dates some days out from the scheduled tour. Local tour representatives were helpful in assisting me with any inquiries. I was not however provided with accommodation information until after I had begun the tour (another red flag). The tour operator cited the fact I had requested a date change and as a result accommodation options were limited, given I was taking the tour at a peak time. As to the veracity of this claim, I am uncertain, given I was able to find premium accommodation at very cheap prices at the time of my stay on oyorooms.com. Which left me wondering why then I was given for large part subpar accommodation.
The tour offered two different options with accommodation: two stars and three stars. This appeared to be based on a local system of measurement, and as a foreigner I was not certain what each entailed nor what to expect. I selected the two star option anyway. Whatever two star was supposed to represent, the reality it would appear was average to poor. During the tour I experienced at various times unclean, unrenovated/poorly renovated rooms, intermittent to no hot water, stained sheets with cigarette hole burns, super slow WiFi, roaches, noisy shared spaces and no sound insulation, discourteous, intrusive and sometimes outright rude service, no toilet paper, linen, coat hangers etc. and limited English service. At two different hotels I asked to be given a quiet room, and in both instances they gave me a room directly underneath their restaurant. Day and night I could hear the loud scraping of patron’s chairs through the ceiling. One of the rooms appeared to have been abandoned halfway through renovations. It was missing a toilet seat, light fixtures, a ceiling fan and contained two locked closets (none which I could actually use) and a luggage case containing (presumably) the management's belongings. I found a used towel and someone's underwear hanging off the back of the door. When I complained to a staff member that my bed sheet was dirty, he insisted that it was clean and that the dark splotches were just tea stains. I had to insist he change the sheet. He removed the sheet and folded it up, evidently with the intention of reusing it.
In one city I was made to stay at horrendous budget hotel which was comparable with a backpacker hostel. It only offered hot water at one time of the day but even then I never seemed to get any of it. Another hotel (the plushest of them all) turned out to have atrocious management. One night I had friend I made during a sightseeing trip join me at the hotel restaurant for a meal. The waiter inquired about whether he was a guest at the hotel. Afterwards the friend departed via the reception and I returned to my room. At 11.20pm the same waiter shows up at my door quizzing me about whether my friend had left. I rang management to inquire as to why such an intrusion was necessary given reception staff had seen him depart. Never heard back from him. The following morning I experienced yet another breach of etiquette. After taking my bags down to the restaurant to order my breakfast, one of the hotel staff approached me mid-meal to ask for the key, hours before my official check-out time. Seemed like the staff really could have benefited from some basic etiquette training.
Guides were functional but few offered particularly insightful services. One only spoke basic English and in some cases couldn’t understand many simple questions (e.g. "What was the name of the fort we just left?"). In many cases I would’ve been better going with the monument's audio guides (sometimes included in the ticket price). Moreover, most of the guides providing the barest minimum information about the monuments visited, many did not even know the itinerary (and failed to take me to some of the listed sites) and yet still they expected tips. My operator advised me they were paid according to government standards and that tips were not in fact required. Which made me wonder why he failed to inform his employees of this fact. One even went out of their way to try to shame and intimidate me into paying him a tip, standing over me and refusing to leave after the end of the tour, then complaining about my apparent stinginess. Worse still, it seemed the norm for some guides to pressure guests into visiting places not on the itinerary, where you would be hassled by people trying to sell you local souvenirs. One guide insisted on taking me to two such places - a textile centre and a jewellers - where I was immediately set upon by half-a-dozen money-hungry sales representatives. No doubt they earned commission as a result but really this was really inappropriate behaviour.
The main perk of this tour I would say was having a private car ferrying you from one place to another. I have no complaints about this aspect of the service, save that my driver once tried convincing me not to visit a place listed on the itinerary on the basis of it being too far away, despite the fact we had plenty of time to visit it and otherwise had no excuse not to. I had to resort to threatening to speak to the operator if the driver refused to fulfil his duty in this regard, at which point he relented. He also made the point of stopping the car by the side of the road on the way to the airport on the final day, pointing to the segment on my itinerary that says "no tips included" and then detailing in length how much he had done for me, claiming he had been at my service "24 hours" (not true). He then openly expressed his angry disapproval at the tip offered, which a local tourist guide friend told me was in fact more than sufficient. Apparently being a foreigner meant everyone expected you to be wealthy and therefore inclined to tip twice the standard amount. But really, the ingratitude was deeply embarrassing.
The extra activities (camel ride, elephant ride, boat ride) were pedestrian affairs and could not even be described as an experience. The elephant ride involved a circuit of the rundown mahout camp. The camel ride was a 25 minute loop across the sand dunes at snail's pace. The boat ride took you to a largely featureless island in a lake then back again.
By the end of this tour I was left with a feeling of having been shafted. For almost $2000 (AUD) - twice the "Indian" price listed on the operator's sister website Travel ChaCha - this tour did not for me (and according to the price estimates of my local tour guide friend) represent value for money. I am not sure where that money went but it certainly was not reflected in the quality of the tour. In hindsight I think it was designed for domestic tourists with markedly different expectations and the price bump was really just reflective of the whole Indian price/foreigner price custom. But it seems to me that if you are going to offer a service for foreigners, you should at least strive to accomodate standard expectations in terms of quality of service and accommodation. And just importantly, train your staff to treat them with a bit more respect and not as a cash-grab.
Save yourself the heartache and the hassle and don't give your money to this tour operator. Less
I am very pleased with their work. They understand your requirements and try to give you the best options available.
It was my first experience with any travel agency but Culture Holidays made my trip to Goa more memorable with their prompt and great services.
Our Rajasthan holiday was a grand fiesta, thanks to this company. The professionals here with in-depth knowledge of the tourism industry in India and the best places to visit in Rajasthan, made the best arrangements for us.