Immersion and integration are key components to understanding and appreciating the heart of a culture. Luckily, travelers don’t often have to venture far from popular destinations to comfortably merge the foreign and familiar. Last year I spotlighted Talabgaon Castle in Rajasthan, India. The 200-year-old fort is nestled in Dausa, only two hours from the "Pink City" of Jaipur. The car horns, bustling markets, and crowds are replaced by stunning sunsets, poolside cocktails, and village life. It is a rare opportunity for travelers to experience the rural lifestyle and authentically engage with the locals.
Brenda and W, Sodha Travelers from New York, recently returned from a 2-week journey in India and UAE. Their destinations included Delhi, Haridwar, Agra, Jaipur, and Dubai. Read on to learn more about their highlights, and the one thing they believe every traveler should experience in Dubai:
For several years, I have often discussed the Sodha Travel Difference. What sets us apart from other travel companies offering custom tours to South Asia? It is being committed to providing a VIP experience without the VIP prices. It is advocating for our clients and assuring our services exceed expectations. And perhaps most importantly, it is merging the foreign and familiar to allow our travelers to immerse in the culture comfortably and authentically.
We are SO excited to announce that Sodha Travel's 2014 customer feedback rating was 96%!!! This means that 96% of our clients rated their trip excellent and would refer friends and family to our company for South Asia programs. On behalf of our entire team, thank you! We truly love creating, connecting, and conversing with all of you. We look forward to even more wonderful experiences in the coming year.
When it comes to sharing the love - or in this case, a lovely review - the more the merrier! So, if you have a minute, we ask that you head over to our Yelp and/or Google+ pages and leave a review of your experience with Sodha Travel. It really makes a difference in both our ability to reach more travelers and the opportunity for potential clients to learn about our company.
As we have shared in the past, we truly appreciate our traveler testimonials. Often our clients say it best when trying to define the sentiments and sensations that accompany travel. Sandy Stork from Washington traveled with Sodha Travel to India in 2009 and is currently on a 2-week trip to India and Bhutan. Before her departure, Sandy sent us the following (reprinted with permission):
The winners of our Golden Experience Giveaway, Cheryl and Sean Bemiss, recently returned from India and graciously provided us with vivid and candid feedback. Read on to learn about their most memorable experiences...
Sodha Travel is pleased to be one of the only US-based travel companies that specializes in India AND has a department that caters to women-only travel. Over the years, we have been delighted to prepare custom itineraries for solo females and women's groups. This includes our popular women-only Colors of India tour that includes a private Rajasthani cooking class and mehndi (henna) session. (Our 2014 dates will be added soon.)
Our Golden Experience Giveaway was a tremendous success! A warm thank you to all who entered to win a private tour of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. After conducting an official drawing, the winner is...
We always appreciate when our clients send us feedback and testimonials regarding their travel experiences. Our team values the input and strives to exceed expectations, based on comments and suggestions. Susan and Jacob from San Diego, California, recently returned from three weeks in Sri Lanka and India. Their itinerary included a custom Jewish tour in Mumbai, overnight houseboat in Alleppey, and traditional dance performance in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The following testimonial is posted, with permission:
Throughout the years, Sodha Travel has remained committed to offering private and custom tours at reasonable prices. Our passion and expertise for the destinations we serve create not only unique but affordable experiences. I often browse the tour programs of other travel companies and gasp. Why, I wonder, is it so expensive? At least twice a month, I price out our packages exactly as they are offered with other companies - the same hotels, destinations, guided touring, entrance fees, internal transportation, and taxes. Almost every time, our costs are significantly less. Additionally, many of the programs are offered in a group setting, where our costs are for private tours with the added benefits of personalized experiences and schedules.
We always appreciate the feedback, photographs, and videos that our clients send during and after their travel experiences. Bill and Suzanne Saul recently returned from a 40-day trip in India. After teaching in Kerala for three weeks, they ventured North and enjoyed our Heritage Discovery tour of Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Khajuraho, and Varanasi. After returning to San Francisco, they sent us the following note and pictures:
If you are considering traveling abroad for a medical procedure, or just curious about the buzz on medical tourism, check out my recent article on Travelhoppers titled Medical Tourism: A Destination Operation. In the past few years, I have seen many clients reserve custom tour packages to India after completing an overseas medical procedure - and the numbers are growing. During a time when healthcare is a hot-button topic, medical tourism is skyrocketing with figures exceeding $80 billion annually. Industry professionals state the pros and cons, but the idea of merging an operation and a vacation is appealing to many. Janet Caldwell, a client who has traveled to India and Nepal several times in the past five years, had cosmetic surgery in Bangalore in 2011. She says, “The doctors, nurses and staff were excellent. My recovery accommodations were like a luxury hotel, and it was all showered with the unrivaled Indian hospitality and service. It was a destination operation, and well worth it.”
The June edition of our Sodha Traveler newsletter spotlights Kolkata, India. Kolkata, previously known as Calcutta, was India’s administrative capital from 1772 – 1911. It is presently the capital of West Bengal and India’s 3rd largest city with over 15 million residents. The city houses architecture and memorials from the British Raj, and was the headquarters of Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity.