Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review of KSTDC Package Tours

Review of KSTDC Package Tours
As I had promised earlier, today I am blogging a brief review of KSTDC (Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation) package tours and hopefully it’ll help you to make a decision whether to travel with KSTDC or not, for your future trips. I want you to understand it very clearly that I am not promoting or advertising KSTDC in any form. This review article is simply my 360 degree unbiased firsthand experience of traveling in any KSTDC package tour. I’m penning it down only because I had noted that there’s no such utility article available in Internet while I was doing my pre-travel information digging. Moreover, in this age of knowledge- sharing is caring, right?
Review of KSTDC Package Tours
My hotel room in Mysore.
Pros of KSTDC Package Tour:

* Booking is very easy as you can book your tickets online right at their well maintained website. You’ll get your e-ticket which you need to produce on your journey date with your valid ID. Simple procedure right?
* Hospitality in their tourism office at Badami House (Bangalore) is fairly OK.
* Tourist buses which are used seem well maintained.
* Punctuality is maintained throughout the trip.
* Briefing inside the bus is timely and fairly adequate.
* Food is not included in the package, so you have liberty to choose from Pasta to Pao-bhaji. (Just for your knowledge, package includes the transport and accommodation only. Rest all other charges/fees/expenses are solely yours).
Review of KSTDC Package Tours
Our trip vehicle for Mysore, Ooty and Kodaikanal trip was a non-AC deluxe 2*2 bus.
* Food breaks are given in timely intervals and all the food-stops they choose serve moderate to good food at reasonable price.
* Sightseeing schedule is adjusted in such a way that you won’t feel out of breathe despite it being very tight.
* Hotels used for overnight stay are good to moderate with modest hospitality.
* Tour Package costs very reasonable- certainly "value for money". If you are single then you’ll end up paying little extra, otherwise for travelers traveling in double/triple the package cost gets quite cheap!
* Roads in Karnataka are mostly very good unlike most parts of northern India which certainly makes your bus journey much less tiring. Well this is not the credit of KSTDC but I thought it worth mentioning.
Review of KSTDC Package Tours
My hotel room at Kodaikanal.
Cons of KSTDC Package Tour:

* All KSTDC tour packages do not have options for AC bus, like, even if you want to pay more and purchase your AC ticket it won’t be feasible. My trip vehicle for Mysore, Ooty and Kodaikanal trip was a non-AC deluxe 2*2 bus.
* No adequate staff to help you with your luggage. Luggage management is solely your responsibility.
* Hindi briefing by the tour-manager is grossly inadequate and I believe, in a country like India it can prove quite unhelpful for many tourists.
* Although the food places where you’re taken are acceptable but you’ll lack the freedom to explore local food places on your own most of the time.
* You’re taken to emporiums and curio shops wherever they want (based on their vested interest) and allotted an unproductively large time slot in the name of shopping. Thus your choices to shop anywhere as per your will is minimized. You end up paying more for an article and, last but not the least, your sightseeing itinerary is compromised of its "already tight time schedule"!
Review of KSTDC Package Tours
All the food-stops KSTDC chooses, serve moderate to good food (not included in the package) at reasonable price.
* Time per each sightseeing destination is not properly allotted, e.g.- you get only 1 hour to explore the huge and exquisite Mysore city palace, where as you get 2-3 hours for ‘not so worthy’ botanical gardens/parks.
* There’s no buffer time to explore the place at your own or indulge in shopping.
* This is my last point for ‘cons’ and certainly my personal sore point. Our tour manager (Mr Sekhar) was highly big-headed, rude guy and that sort of temperament in no way expected from a tour-manager. He had poverty of speech and smile. Interacting with him felt like interaction with any Govt officer/clerk from whom you want to get some work done. I don’t want to elaborate this bitter point in my travel blog with unnecessary details of our conversation, but, I would only say that he created such a negative impression in my mind that while departing at the end of trip in Bangalore, I didn’t bother to share even a courtesy goodbye or handshake with that man. It was the only disappointment for me in the whole KSTDC tour package but undoubtedly a very serious one when it comes to tourism industry.
Review of KSTDC Package Tours
My hotel room at Ooty.
KSTDC Package Tour can be a great option if:
* You are traveling solo.
* You are on a tight budget.
* You can put up with the ‘lack of liberty’ which is expected from a package tour.
* You don’t want to be stressed with arrangement of transportation and hotel booking.
* You want to cover a lot of places in a limited time.
* You have a limited time which you want to utilize to its maximum.
* You are not into luxury traveling.
* You can bear up with some long (sometimes boring) bus journeys.
* You do not care how your tour manager turns out to be!

My Rating for KSTDC Package Tour:
3.5 / 5 (of course, leaving aside my sour experience with the particular tour manager).

21 comments:

  1. Ooty-my dreamland,really it was so beautiful! Mysore too.I went long..... time ago.After seeing your blog,I closed my eyes and remember so many things. Thanks a lot. Carry on.....

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    1. Thanks a lot for motivating always :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. Most Welcome Arora... Much appreciate your visit :-)

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  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  4. Hmm, so this is really not an option for someone who wants to stop and stare and smell the flowers. I remember your other trip which covered a lot of temples. This is a different one, right?

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    1. I can't really remember of any of my trips which exclusively covered temples because I'm not much of a temple-guy. Could you be little more specific Madhu? :-/

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    2. I remember you had Mysore dosa in one of the stops. Does that help? There were quite a few temple shots I seem to remember.

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    3. Clearly your memory outshines mine :-(
      As far as I remember, I have been to Karnataka only once... Sigh...

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  5. Thanks for such nice information .. I am planning for the same trip on coming 21st November.

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    1. Hope you're having a great trip. Please share your experience after you return :-)

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  6. Hi

    Thanks, Myself with wife is also planning to go same trip , one biggest concern that how was the bus , is it AC or not .
    As you said KSTDC bus are not ac , Can you also suggest the best seat we need to choose for better view i think seat near door will work ?

    Thanks Again

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    1. Hi,

      Despite being non-AC, the bus journey was surprisingly smooth. Obviously it won't be at par with any Volvo, still there's 95% chance that you'll love the ride.

      Try to be on the left side of the bus in the first half of your trip, and on the right (driver's side) while climbing down from Ooty. But then, why would your fellow-travelers let you enjoy such freedom? So, better stick to your left.

      Once you return please do not forget to share your story with me :-)

      Safe and joyful trip buddy!

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  7. Thanks for the review! Traveling is what I fond about! The shared post contains a lot of interesting facts and details!

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  8. Hai,
    is unmarried couples allowed for two days tour ??

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    Replies
    1. Yes, unless you're too fond of public display of affection :-)

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  9. We often travel with my wife, but I have never had to cooperate with this company. It will be necessary to learn more about it

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  10. Surveys tours allow you to understand what conditions are waiting for you and what you should pay attention to some moments.

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