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The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Crans Montana
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The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

We have recently returned from our first trip to India. We were a bit worried about what company to use for our private tour. There are many scare stories or posts about companies not doing a good job or providing a service. After reading reviews on Tripadvisor we eventually decided on TRAVEL SPIRIT INTERNATIONAL TSI for our Northern India / Golden Triangle and THE TRAVEL PLANNERS for our South India / Kerela Tour.

Both companies were excellent. They were excellent from start to finish. From my first e mails about our plans and itinerary, to the tours, guides, drivers, cars, itinerary and hotels.

With The Travel Planners we chose the Luxury Southern India Tours. They have lots of different tours. These are just suggestions, you can add destinations or cut things short.

Our trip started in Bangalore then Mysore, Mudumali Wild Life Park, Ooty, Munnar, Cochin, Alleppey and Kovalam.

We thought it was a very good and varied itinerary. Hopefully in the next few days i will be able to review all the hotels separately but i have a few comments and suggestions if you use The Travel Planners for this tour.

Lalith Mahal Heritage Hotel in Mysore. We did not like this hotel. Yes it is a grand old building but it is like staying in a museum. It is not a luxury hotel. They are making so much money from the Bollywood movies they have no intention of upgrading or re decorating the rooms. There should be a new Ramada hotel opening soon and i would use this.

The Jungle Retreat Mudumali The accommodation, food, staff and owners is all very good. Unfortunately the wildlife park has been closed. We were there in November 2012. This meant they could only offer jeep safaris on the main road (lorries, busses, horns, fumes, etc) and no wildlife treks on foot in the morning. They say they “might” be able to organize walking treks but i suspect there have not been any. Please correct me if you have been on one. If you wish they try and book you on a jeep or open bus safari in the park next door that is open. There were 100’s of people all trying to get on jeeps or open window buses. They were charging over 2250 rupees per person to sit in a bus with now windows and “hope” you might spot a few elephants or deer. I think the animals would stay well away from the tracks with all the noise and vehicles. So Jungle Retreat is a place to relax and spend time in the jungle but dont go there for wildlife.

Swiss County Munnar. This is just a Bed & Breakfast. They have 5 rooms open at the moment but hope to open more soon. They have spent a lot of money on the rooms / bathrooms and fixtures and fittings. Most rooms have amazing views. The food is very poor. It takes 30 minutes to arrive and you can eat in your room or on the roof terrace. If you eat in the room there is no proper table to sit at. They also served undercooked Chicken. It is 20 minutes or more along a winding road from Munnar. There are no other hotels or places to eat near it. You pre order breakfast from a menu and it is served in your room. All in all a strange place, it seems trying to be something its not. I recommend a proper hotel in Munnar.

Lake Palace Alleppy. Loved the location, right in the backwaters and you have to take a boat to the hotel. Great views of all the Houseboats going up and down. The room was ok but the bathrooms needed updating. The worst part was the staff. After staying in some loverly hotels it was hard to accept staff that did not know what they were doing and had some attitude problems. It was the same at reception and in the restaurant. The food was very poor. Even if you were the only people in the restaurant and you ordered a burger and chips it took over 30 minutes. All the staff in all areas were poor. A Ramada hotel is being built nearby. Not sure when it will open but use it when it does. I expect hotel accommodation is limited in the area so possibly this is the best you can do at the moment.

All the Taj hotels are excellent. My favorite hotel of the whole trip was the Taj Malabar at Cochin. Now that is how a hotel should be run!!

Our driver was Sangeeth. He was an excellent driver and always willing to help and would do what we asked. You felt he was always trying to do the best for you. His English is limited but it was only a minor point.

All in all we had a great holiday. I highly recommend using THE TRAVEL PLANNERS for all your South India Holidays www.keralatourpackages.com travelplan@asianetindia.com

Thank you to Santosh and all the staff for helping with a great trip.

Udupi, India
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1. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Thanks a lot for the wonderful package and the service provided by the Travel Planners

" First impression is the best impression". The moment we met our driver-Mr. Shibu and Representative Mr. Jeevan we were sure that this is going to be one of the best tour ever we had,

They made us feel at home. no words to describe hospitality.

Every day was unique and we were overwhelmed by the surprises which your team gave us which made our Anniversary more special.

Special thanks to Sreejith for this package and also for the suggestion given whenever we required.

Thanks a lot to whole team of The Travel Plannerbwho made our Anniversary a memorable one.

All the best

Regards

Prasad Shenoy & Radhika Shenoy

Kaup, Udupi Dist

Karnataka.

Sent from my iPad

New Delhi, India
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2. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Hi, I am planning my kerala honeymoon through The Travel Planners. Is it really good and can you guide me as to I don't feel cheated during my visit to kerala?

I shall be highly thankful for your suggestions.

delhi
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3. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

I am reaching cochin by Rajdhani exp on 05 -12 and planning to return back from same train by 10-12. I have complete 06 days & 05 nights. I am accompanied with my wife & two small kids (06 & 03 yrs).

interested in Cochin, munnar, backwaters in allepy & trivandrum. please adice & plan a trip suiting me with family. Can I make a short trip to kanyakumari in same duration.

My address

PN Gupta

09717882534

guptaprakash75@gmail.com

MAPUTO
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4. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Kind regards to all staff of this golden travel company in Kerela,India

Anil Vitoldas

Daytona Beach...
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5. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

One of the Indian students, James Thomas at ERAU recommended the Travel Planners for me because I wanted to go on the famous houseboat in Alleppey and see Kerala in South India. I want to thank James Thomas for the wonderful recommendation. I had an amazing experience and so much fun with the Travel Planners Tour Company in Kerala, India! The cost of having a personal driver, clean hotels, and all sightseeing activities is well worth it. Thanks to Ashok Mahajan, the USA representative in California. He was able to put a 5-day package together for me during the busy Christmas season in December. This was my first time that I went on a private tour with a personal driver. I needed a change from taking hot crowded buses and tut tut drivers through India. I was pleasantly surprised with the friendliness and professionalism from my wonderful drivers, Nandu Radeesh Kumar and Pradeep. Nandu offered to teach me some local phrases in his native Indian language since I enjoy learning new languages as an English teacher for international students at an aviation university, ERAU in Daytona Beach, Florida. Both drivers had excellent English skills to answer all my questions and share interesting conversations during my trip. They took time to explain the history of each place and gave me suggestions for fun tours. After taking so many crowded and uncomfortable buses around India, I looked forward to relaxing and enjoying the private clean air-conditioned car through Kerala. All the hotels were wonderful for my budget. The Pattom Royal Hotel in Trivandrum was very clean and the staff was friendly. Everyone spoke English, the rooms were clean, and the staff was helpful. I began my journey in Trivandrum. Nandu, my driver suggested taking me on a small boat tour to the Golden Island since I already saw the beautiful Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. We had a great time drinking fresh coconut juice, walking on the beach, and enjoying the sunny boat ride. I enjoyed a nice relaxing day tour at the beach and island for the first part of my trip in Trivandrum.

The Travel Planners help me change one itinerary at the last minute. I had already explored Kanyakumari, the southern tip of India, so I wanted to go to Varkala Beach, which was one hour north on the way to Alleppey for my houseboat tour. Mr. Dhanish was able to find a nice homestay in Varkala right away. Varkala is a popular beach destination along the high cliffs. My Indian friends call it Little Goa. I got a wonderful Ayurveda herbal massage there. My driver, Nandu was kind to invite me to his family to have Christmas Eve dinner since I had no one to spend the holiday with. His family cooked a delicious traditional Indian meal for me and made me feel at home. Nandu and his are part of my extended family and friends now.

Nandu was always reliable and ready to pick me up for the next part of my journey to Alleppey. We got there on time, but the houseboat was around two hours late. We were a bit worried at first, but the boat finally came. I know that they were busy due to the high season with thousands of tourists. Once I got on the boat, the cook made me a delicious lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next morning. The boat tour is a must see through the calm backwaters of Kerala. It was fun to meet other tourists on their boats when we docked for the evening. My next adventure continued to Thekkady in the beautiful hills and tea plantations. Nandu, my driver was worried about a possible strike and problems of missing the anticipated elephant rides, jeep rides, and a boat tour on the lake in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. He called his friends at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary to make sure that they could help me buy tickets for the early boat tour and elephant ride. Nandu helped me get tickets to see the amazing Kerala cultural dances, Kathakali theater, water fountain light show, and Kalari martial arts during my first evening. I had a chance to show my Chinese Wushu martial arts with the talented martial artists after their show ended. All the shows were extremely professional and the performers were amazingly talented. The next day, I went on the early morning boat tour in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Although I did not see any tigers, I saw lots of birds and monkeys. I enjoyed an elephant ride after the boat tour. I got a chance to wash one large elephant. The elephant ended up giving me a shower from throwing water from his trunk. Elephant Hills was a nice family run hotel. The electrical power went off at night for a few hours and the staff helped us create an outdoor fire to stay warm. The power finally came on. Nandu was able to help me get a fun four-hour jeep ride through the vegetable and fruit farms, and the tea plantations in Thekkady. It was so much fun. We enjoyed eating fresh grapes at the grape farm and dipping our feet in the fresh waterfall on top of the mountain overlooking Thekkady and Tamil Nadu. We ended the fun-filled day with a nice aerial view of Thekkday at the highest peak.

I was sad when there was a sudden change of plans to change my driver for the last day to Cochin. Nandu had to drive a Swedish family for three more days in Thekkady, while Pradeep, my new driver drove me to Cochin. I will keep in touch with both drivers on Facebook. Pradeep was very friendly and he showed me around Cochin on my last day. We saw St.Francis Church, the oldest Church in India, 500 year old Portuguese houses, Cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, 16th century Synagogue, Jew Town and the Dutch Mattancherry Palace. Pradeep took me to a hotel that seemed hidden in Cochin. The Villa Romantica is a perfect little hotel for newlyweds and married couples. I wish I could find an Indian prince to enjoy the romantic hotel together. It was a five-star hotel with a nice pool, cable television, hot water, and very beautiful rooms. The staff were very friendly and attentive to my needs. I highly suggest staying there if you need to go to the airport. They were only ten minutes from the airport. I had to pay for a taxi to the airport even though my airport ride was supposed to be covered in my itinerary. Pradeep needed to take the train home to Trivandrum to see his family for New Years. I understood the need to see family since the drivers are away from home for long periods of time. Overall, I give a high recommendation to the Travel Planners for anyone who wants to see India. Everyone was very helpful, friendly, and professional. They put the tourist first on their agenda and they made my trip through Kerala, South India an unforgettable journey. Thank you for the amazing experiences, warm memories, and new friendships! I will miss my personal drivers! Good luck and keep up the great work!

Best Wishes and Happy New Year,

Kim Hardiman from Daytona Beach, Florida USA

January 12, 2014

Los Altos...
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6. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Travel Planners Tour Company made excellent arrangements and executed it perfectly for our first trip through Kerala.

After a long phone conversation in which he asked us about what we would like to do on our vacation, Ashok Mahajan, their representative based in the US helped us plan the itinerary, the hotels and the various activities we could engage in during our trip. He was more than wiling to engage in many phone and email conversation to make sure the vacation plan was ideally suited for us and it sure was great. We were going to India to attend a wedding in Mumbai and also for a vacation in Kerala. I had made my own air travel arrangements and had not notified him of the flight details. When he found out that my flight would mean an long car drive to my early morning departure, he rearranged the entire schedule to make it much more convenient. Kerala is a beautiful place which is hard to describe in words. Ashok's knowledge of Kerala and his arrangements resulted in us having an excellent time on our vacation.

When we landed in Kochi from Mumbai, Santosh met us at the airport an took us to the Travel Planners office our office where we had a chance to freshen up and get ready for the long trip to Munnar. Mr. Dhanish and his staff in the head office were very nice and went over the trip details.

Santosh pointed out interesting spots along the way to Munnar. The ride was decent considering the narrow roads in India. The last 10 miles or so were very bumpy, but Santosh warned us to expect it to be so. Munnar is very scenic. The tea plantations cover the hills like a carpet. We very much enjoyed the sightseeing tour that Santosh took us on. The Spice tree hotel was good and the food was great. Had an elephant ride and saw an interesting Kathakali dance. I never knew that the female role was also played by a man!

The drive to Thekkady was also decent. We stopped at some spice plantations on the way and learnt about the various spices grown in this region. Spice Village is an interesting Hotel made with all Eco-friendly material. Once again the food was fabulous. We saw Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dance at the hotel in the evening. The dancers were terrific. The next day we went on a jeep safari to the Periyar forest. The jeep driver was very good in pointing out the wild life. No luck finding a tiger, but we saw may elephant herds, monkeys and sambar deer. We went on a 1 hr hike up the mountain and also on a boat cruise. The natural beauty of this place is just fabulous.

The drive to Kumarakom was much better because it is not as mountainous and the scenery is great. The Zuri hotel is very nice. It is spread out over many acres. We basically stayed around the resort and did not go out into Kumarakom itself.. We took a boat ride in the evening provided by the hotel. Another day in Kumarakom might have been useful..

The next day we took the house boat which was very nice. The captain was very good as were the staff, especially the cook. He made some great meals for us. The captain suggested we buy some giant prawns along the back water, which we did and the cook made them to perfection. We took a small boat to go through the narrow canals and get a close up view of the people and their habitat around the backwaters. We slept very comfortably in the house boat. The house boat cuise was one of the highlights of our trip. While the house boat we were on was nice, I would have preferred a newer one.

After arriving in Allepy, we started our drive to Kochi, Along the way we went to a handicraft place in Allepy where we bought some interesting handicrafts and some jewelry. On reaching Kochi, we first went sightseeing around Kochi before checking into the hotel. We went to a couple of museums and checked other sights in the city. In the evening we went on a boat cruise provided by the hotel and prior to dinner saw a Mohinatyam dance. Since we were leaving the next day early in the morning, I can't say we really saw Kochi.. Another day might have been useful, but that was my problem that I had to go back Dec 8th. .

So overall I have to say the trip was fabulous. We liked all the places we went to. The staff at all the hotels and the restaurants in their hotels were very nice and helpful. The food was fabulous and very reasonably priced. I do not know if all your drivers in Travel Planners are as good as Santosh, because he is very good. Considering the amount of driving he was doing every day, he was very cheerful and would tell us about interesting spots along the way. He is a careful driver and we felt safe with him driving those narrow roads and modest speeds. We were glad we choose the minivan over the small car. We probably could have used a few more days to the trip, but unfortunately our schedule did not permit it. Everyone from Travel Planners that we met on the trip were very friendly courteous and helpful. An interesting observation that both of us had was that ALL the people in Kerala seemed very relaxed and happy unlike many other places in the world.

Thanks to Travel Planners for their excellent arrangements and the wonderful vacation experience in Kerala. I would highly recommend them to anyone planning a trip to Kerala.

Madhav

A S
San Francisco...
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7. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Travel planners did a wonderful job. The driver Manoj was fantastic and all of the trip planning was first class. The only blemish of the trip was a sub-par houseboat rental. Other than that, I would highly recommend this service to anyone looking to book a vacation in Kerala!

Hyderabad, India
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8. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

We are reaching cochin on July 04-2013, by morning 11:30 and we have return flight on 9th morning from cochin, intrested in Alleppey (houseboat), Thekkady, Munnar, kovalam beach, ananta padmanaba swamy temple, and if possible kanyakumari. we are 10 members family.

please contact me with the best plan on my mobile number-8686907676, 9700088288

London, United...
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9. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Four of us have just returned from a thoroughly enjoyable tour of Kerala with Travel Planners.

The itinerary was superb, covering Kovalam, Trivandrum, Alleppey, Periyar and Munnar. We experienced beaches, local history, wonderful boat trips, wildlife walks, tea plantations and were even washed by an elephant!

The hotels were all excellent and our driver, Pradeep, was always courteous, polite and helpful. He was also a very good driver, which was reassuring given some of the driving that we saw from others on Kerala's roads.

We can thoroughly recommend Travel Planners to anyone thinking of visiting Kerala.

Richard

London

New Orleans...
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10. Re: The Travel Planners Tour Company Highly Recommended

Kimha,

Great trip report! Thanks!!!!

And, to everyone else, I'm so excited to hear about this tour company. I'm starting to make plans to take Mom and me to Kerala after a family wedding in Mumbai, for the 2nd week of December. I will definitely look into this company.

Thanks again!