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Deepak's 7 days trip to North East
Short form of the feedback:
Starting July 11 thru' 17, '19 we had a memorable tour of NE India (mainly Meghalaya & a bit of Guwahati). We enjoyed every moment of it. Many thanks to Nikita from Reify/Itvaar Travels for putting together the overall package, detailed planning and for her constant support right thru' the tour.
Here is a link to the our pictures from the tour: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmFj8TeG (click the 'play' button to view in slide-show mode).
Long form of the feedback:
It was the worst of times and yet the best of times .. In many ways.
Promises and credible relationships were available only at a premium, that which invariably breakdown despite the best of intentions, when working at breakneck speed since the beginning of the year on a high-profile project, that which we were terribly behind and that which we had run out of considerations to not deliver. We were now effectively playing a test match game at T20 speed. Who knew if we would end up at 500 for 1 or would be all out below 100. If one batsman got out in the high-profile chase with time running out, then the next one in line had to pick up the gauntlet and step up his or her game. As Lord Tennyson so eloquently wrote in Charge of the Light Brigade, “Was there a man dismayed? Not though the soldier knew, Someone had blundered. Theirs was not to make reply, Theirs was not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die, Into the Valley of Death …”.
It was the worst of times and yet the best of times .. To be associated with our project execution team.
Such pressure invariably spills over onto the family which, though understanding, cannot quite fathom the necessity of an all-out war-room 24x7 work environment. After one especially contentious call, my wife asked me if I’m okay. Say I, “Yes, its just that I was practicing the ‘Raga Deepak’. Pretty normal under the circumstances. Logical thinking was at a premium.. But things took for a worse, family wise, when we had to cancel a much-awaited vacation to Iceland, mainly because, well you guessed it, work took precedence. But our vacation window for the year was closing. Our son, who is due to start his Master’s program this coming fall, gave us a 2 week window in July of his availability to join my wife & I on a vacation together. Also wanted to visit his grandma. Rescheduling to Iceland was off the table and we turned our sights to India. The 2 week window brought a clarity of purpose.
Workwise, it was finally possible to see the light at the end of the long project tunnel, particularly after a quick dash to our co-developers on-site. That was good. Also, India was a good choice since I could quickly join up with our work team in India. A proposal for a workation (work + vacation) in India was quickly approved. We now turned our attention to picking a vacation spot in India. Not much time to figure that out. A new deadline. So, what’s new?
It was the worst of times and yet the best of times .. To plan a vacation.
July is monsoon time in India. We considered a few drier spots, the western & northern parts. Vacation spots in Gujarat, Himachal, Punjab were in consideration. But none seemed to gel well enough. And then an idea. Why try to avoid the monsoons at all? Why not pick a spot particularly well known for its monsoon rains: Cherrapunjee? That which has the reputation of the rainiest spot on Earth, or atleast that we hadlearnt during our school history lessons. If we could follow Darwin to the Galapagos, our first and only trek of significance into the Himalayas and the Indus Valley Civilization to Harappa, then following the monsoons into Cherrapunjee while impractical, did sounds just about right. Hey, and don’t’ forget the possibility to douse ‘Deepak Raga’ with ‘Megh Raga’.
It was the worst of times and yet the best of times .. To take a monsoon vacation in Cherrapunjee.
Cherrapunjee is in North East India. Organizing a vacation in India requires some level of ground support, particularly when coming from the US. Normally, we get ground support from relatives or friends who have provide contacts, or better still do the reservations & bookings on our behalf. But the North East is a different pickle altogether. None of our contacts knew much about the North East. What exactly to see in Cherrapunjee, or thereabouts? Other that its place in school history books, was it a place worth going to? A quick research on the web alleviated our initial concerns. The more we read, the more it seemed that we had stumbled on a hidden gem, just like Pokhara Nepal that we visited a couple of years back.
But finding our way around there was still an issue. We normally self-organize our vacation travels. To do this requires enough lead time. In this case, we did not have that luxury. Nor, did we get enough leads from the web on how to self-organize one either.
We were now down to Plan C: Contact a few travel agents that we could find on the web. The first one sent back a somewhat vague reply. After waiting in vain on them a few days, we tried the next one. Travel Triangle. Travel Triangle gave an immediate response back, forwarded our request to Nikita from Reify/Itvaar, an agency that specialized in the NE region. Nikita was a game changer. She is truly a responsive travel agent. After a short chat on WhatsApp, Nikita quickly understood our requirements and within a day put together a tour package that was close to what we might have put together ourselves.
By this time word had got around that that we were going to the NE. A few close relatives were intrigued enough that they wanted to join us. An initial party of three quickly turned into a potential party of eight or nine. We settled down to a party of seven with one late joinee.
Yet could we rely on an unknown agent from an unknown agency that had our contact from yet another unknown forwarding agent? What might be the chances of broken promises. Is Reify/Itvaar another fly-by-night operator? It came down to simply my judgement on how credible Nikita herself was. She was simultaneously responsive and insistent enough to raise our confidence in the agency. It was obvious enough that Reify/Itvaar wanted our business. But it was her responsiveness and sufficiently detailed plan that convinced us Reify/Itvaar was a credible enough agency. Our relatives joining us seemed overall fine with the proposal & pricing. Then after 3/4 modifications, that which Nikita was very quick to help work thru’ on, we finalized on 7day/6night proposal.
We now had a day-by-day schedule, a vehicle with driver reserved and hotel bookings over a week or so. The schedule included the towns of Guwahati (in Assam), Shillong, Mawlynnong, Dawki and Cherrapungi (the last four in Meghalaya). We quickly learned about Shillong’s reputation as the Scotland of the East, Mawlynnong’s as the cleanest village in Asia (no kidding!) and Dawki’s as a town bordering Bangladesh. More hidden gems, for sure.
It was the worst of times and yet the best of times .. Cherrapunjee was ON, and more.
To get in meant a 40+ hour journey from Philadelphia to Doha to Delhi to Guwahati. The last leg of our outbound journey from Guwahati airport to Shillong would in a Tempo Traveler van included as part of the overall package.
The Tempo Traveler and its driver, Tapeshwar would be our constants thru’ the tour. This was the first litmus test on the quality of the arrangements by Reify/Itvaar. The van was good sized 12 seater with plenty of space for our bags and in very good condition. Plenty of room for all.
We would start our tour from Shillong, with Guwahati the last stop on our way back. One relative joined us at Guwahati airport. The others joined us the next day in Shillong. Given the itinerary, it was mostly a tour of Meghalaya, just a day to visit around Guwahati.
Thru’ the week, Tapeshwar was both our driver and guide thru’ the tour. A soft spoken and ever smiling Assamese, knew his way around and ever ready to adjust per our needs. With a good vehicle, Tapeshwar (literally) at the front end and Nikita at the back end, we had an amazingly good support system to take us thru’ the tour. Nikita was ever available thru’ the entire tour to help us as required. We created a WhatsApp group for the tour. The WhatApp group was very useful too, particularly to share pictures with each other. Nikita, though not on the tour, was also in the group. And she was ever attentive to all messages that required her help.
With Nikita & Tapeshwar, we had a memorable trip and enjoyed every moment of it. Overall hotel arrangements were very good (except the last one in Guwahati, where both the room bathroom and breakfast arrangements were sub-par). Our one regret is that we do not have a picture of either. We neglected to take one with Tapeshwar (not sure how that happened). We never met Nikita. We can only imagine what she might be like. But both will be in our thoughts, every time we reminiscence about the tour.
It was the best of times .. thanks to Nikita & Tapeshwar & Meghalaya.
Shikha's 8 days trip to North East
It started with constant follow up for the hotel vouchers and confirmation of the trip. There was no follow up from the travel agent or travel triangle's trip advisor regarding cab details till 1 day before the trip also. The trip was not planned properly. We drove out of Shillong on a 3 hour ride to Krang Shuri falls, came back to town and drove to Dawki and Mawlynnong the next day, another 3 hour ride. One could have stayed overnight at Mawlynnong, considering we were already staying there the next night. There were no timings provided for sight seeing places and we literally had to google everything. It was told that the driver would work as a guide, however, the driver was least interested to even drive around to places. On top, he was cribbing through out like why do you have to go to the city, it is full of traffic jam, why do you wanna go to a certain place, there is nothing to see.
This was my first booking through Travel triangle. Despite of picking up an expensive itinerary, I had an unpleasant experience. Would definitely think twice before booking another trip through the portal and ofcourse, through the agency.
Ravee's 8 days trip to North East
It's Good Travel App. They offered Three Quotations and We have Chosen Indeman Travels. Mr. Avinash of Indeman Travels is Extremely Co-operative and Approachable . We went to Meghalaya for 8 Days Customised Trip and Covered Shillong, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong and Gawahati.
Most of the Places Hotels/Accommodation is Good Except in One Place.
They Offered a Good DZire Car with English & Hindi Speaking local Driver. They have Shown all Locations as Agreed.
Accommodation in Areca ( Type of Resort) in a Forest / with Densely Trees and Bird Sounds in Mawlynnong is Awesome Exp.
Accommodation in High Winds in Shillong is also Very Good.
Overall It's an Appreciatable Trip with Indeman Travels.
Anurag's 4 days trip to North East
Well managed tour, gave us the flexibility to explore Meghalaya the way we wanted to. The accomodations were great, especially the homestay at Mawlynnong. The driver/guide - Gautam is a very humble person who always tried to make us feel comfortable. Full of amazing views and places to explore our Shillong - Mawlynnong - Cherrapunji trip was really a memorable one. Also special thanks to Shivani and Amit for being supportive for changes in the package suggested by me.
Homestay at Mawlynnong and the local food
Bonfire at Cherrapunji below the starry sky
The living root bridge
Every endless sight, road or waterfall that we stopped by on the route to have tea, click pictures and absorb the scenic beauty
Suhrid's 4 days trip to North East
Thanks to Siang For making this a memorable trip to shillong cherapunjee mawlynnong dawki. Special thanks to the driver Hiteshwar Borua for making this trip possible. He is truly a good human being with proper knowledge of the place and and he felt very safe in his hands.
Piyush's 6 days trip to North East
It was nice North East trip (covering Kaziranga, Shillong, Cherrapunjee, Mawlynnong village, Guwahati) with well planned by Mr. Shashi from Offbeats. He was reachable at any time I tried contacting him for help. Shankar driver was very professional and well trained. He suggested some good restaurants also in the trip. Trip was little hectic and tiring as we wanted to cover multiple places within 6 days. We were disappointed for few things - not many animals were seen during jeep safari at Kaziranga, no water falls were seen in Cherrapunjee, some hotel (at Kaziranga and Guwahati) and breakfast quality (at Kaziranga) was not upto mark.
Piyush's 8 days trip to North East
When I talk about hotels we liked our stay in Cherrapunjee the most however it is too far from the main city so we didn't have much options to roam around after 5pm. Additionally stay in Mawlynnong was the worst since there was water leakage in the room and there were no electricity in the morning so we had to leave that place without bath since it was too cold. I would say it's not worth spending a night in the village or there should be proper stay facility should be available.
Well, I have nothing much to say about Driver since he was less interactive and he didn't know places completely and we need to use maps to go around. He didn't know much places where we can eat, we need to ask hotel people and revise our itenary and schedule since driver was incapable of scheduling plans and suggesting us where to go, when to go and where to eat. I have very limited things to talk about him so not giving much credit to him and leaving closing remark for him is, he should be more interactive, he should be capable to drive trip, should be flexible with changes in the plan and should take us whenever and wherever we want to go without hesitation. I had happened that we need to convince him to out and sometime need to order him to take some places. I don't know how relevant it is but our cab was not commercial passing though was was good and clean. In overall drive very safely without any fear. Bingo for that!
Now, finally when it come to agent he is so co-operative and helpful whenever we need him. He is easily approachable and he keep constant connect with us even when we need him late night say 10.30pm. Overall experience was good to interact with him before trip, during trip and post trip. He is kind and very flexible. One thing which I would like to mention is he should be aware of other places nearby and suggest visitors where he can visit at the time of tailoring itenary and best options available to roam around and places to eat. We had to depend on Google and local people for food and additinal places to roam around. Closing note for him is to keep rocking and do well in you all upcoming plannings.
Tina's 5 days trip to North East
The agent at Ride and climbers didn't mention all the basic necessities in the itinerary, I told him I have my sick father with me , even most of the time sight seeing places weren't covered at Mawlynnong all limits were crossed the vehicle was parked almost 100 meters away from the home stay and the food was sub standard , next day the guide didn't turn up we were awake from 06.15 am the home stay caretaker comes at 10.30 am and breakfast is given after that we ask him why was the dinner and breakfast was so sub standard he said it was a Sunday I wanted to know why did ride and climbers not inform him that we were coming may be things would get better even Majauli the timings were just mismatched , the only saving grace of the trip was Deepak Bhai who helped us a lot or I didn't know what I would do
Mounis's 8 days trip to North East
Booked a Tawang -- Shillong -- Cherapunjee -- Mawlynnong trip with them, was really impressed by the services of Ride and Climb - they were very supportive and guided us well to plan the itinerary. Our travel representative "Nilim" was very helpful and ensured that everything was on track. Will definitely recommend them. Thanks again for planning a wonderful trip.
Sambit's 6 days trip to North East
I planned a trip for Shillong and Meghalaya with Kaziranga Tours Travels(KTT) through Travel Triangle(TT) from 7th July, 2018 to 12th July, 2018.
The whole trip was planned by Narayan in a nice way.
Driver Jayanta Das is an excellent person who took special interest to make sure we would be able to cover maximum places in Shillong and Cherrapunjee in the given timeline. If you are booking throught KTT, he is the cab driver for you.
Day1- EEE-CEE (Shillong ) is an average hotel. Even premium rooms are OK. But it is located near the Shillong market. So you would get a chance to visit the market.
Day2- Kutmadan (Cherrapunjee ) is an excellent resort with awesome scenic view. Food OK. Go for it.
Day3- Bamboo Cottage (Mawlynnong) was OK. Don't expect much facilities. You can only stay. In Mawlynnong, you can't get premium hotels. So see, if you can any better home stay with some facilities.
Day4- Nongriat Guest House (Nongriat) was OK. Again don't expect much facilities. You can explore other few homestays like Screne etc.
Day5- Hotel The Kalyanizz(Guwahati) is an excellent hotel. All facilities and beautiful rooms. Go for it.
Everything was good except the Day 2 and 3 Arrangements. Cherrapunjee and Nongriat are close. But Mawlynnong was 100 km away. So we had to go from Cherrapunjee to Mawlynnong and then come back to Nongriat. This added additional travel 200 KM extra (4-5 hours).
It should be Shillong->Mawlynnong -> Cherrapunjee -> Nongriat -> Guwahati.
Response of Agent:
1. Though Narayan was polite and responsible, sometimes he did not pick up calls when we needed. This can be improved, because tourists and fully dependent on you for everything.
Overall, It was an awesome experience with KTT. If you are planning a North-East Trip, I strongly recommend KTT as your travel partner.
Places To Visit In Meghalaya
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