Better to book package?

#1 Jan 22nd, 2009, 22:37
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  • sam371 is offline
#1
Hello IMers,

Quick question about Kerala packages:

Is it better to book a taxi transfer + houseboat package through a travel agent or am I better off landing in Cochin and negotiating a cab and negotiating a houseboat price in Allepy or Kumarakom?

Reason I ask: I have been emailing with a tour operator who is asking for 50% up front. He seems legit but I am not a very trusting person. Who knows if he'll even show up in Cochin the day we land.

Any thoughts?
#2 Jan 24th, 2009, 05:45
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  • vandy is offline
#2
If you care to mention the name of the Operator
Members who may have had dealings with them could
Help with your uncertainty.


vandy
#3 Jan 24th, 2009, 05:53
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  • Indizen is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by sam371 View Post Hello IMers,

Quick question about Kerala packages:

Is it better to book a taxi transfer + houseboat package through a travel agent or am I better off landing in Cochin and negotiating a cab and negotiating a houseboat price in Allepy or Kumarakom?

Reason I ask: I have been emailing with a tour operator who is asking for 50% up front. He seems legit but I am not a very trusting person. Who knows if he'll even show up in Cochin the day we land.

Any thoughts?
Taxi at the airport can be had from the pre-paid counter, so no need to book ahead.
Houseboats can be got cheaper depending on the demand, and will always be more expensive through an operator.
#4 Jan 24th, 2009, 06:50
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  • indiaprof is offline
#4
Most of the hotels in Cochin can set up a package for you, after you arrive, with a reputable local travel agent who works with them. There are a few of these in Fort Kochi, with offices in the heart of the tourist district. Best of all, they'll send a taxi to your hotel and whisk you right off to your Backwater cruise, elephant camp, whatever. The hotels also can give you good advice about what's currently good, what's gone bad, etc. As for paying someone up front... no, absolutely not a good idea. The hotel-organized mini-packages, though, are pretty good. Last time we went out for one of these excursions, we paid our hotel keeper on the morning that the taxi arrived for us, and he transfered the money to the travel agent for us. The only thing required after that was a tip for the driver.

If there have been any changes, or if there are crooks in the business, your hotel owner may be able to give you up-to-date, insider advice.
#5 Jan 24th, 2009, 07:57
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#5
Yeah, like the prof. says. I booked the backwater tour through the govt. place in the heart of Fort cochin tourist area.
Really good, and as I was staying in a hotel really close, they just came and got me when the taxi arrived.
Reasonable rate.
Great adventure. Nice photos.
Everything , including 2 meals, 550 rupees.
This was taxi both ways, a big boat down to alleppey, stopping on the way to visit a "village".
Transfer to a small canoe thingy to go round the man made canals in the backwaters,
Lunch, afternoon tea, wierd coconut liquor, and guides to tell you stuff, who shut up when not asked questions, no rabbiting on about nothing.
Good value for 550 rupees, I reckon.
You certainly won't get it cheaper for booking ahead.
#6 Jan 31st, 2009, 14:53
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#6
Palerider,

What in the hell have you done to your avatar! That's scary.
#7 Jan 31st, 2009, 14:56
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#7
That's Spongebob Squarepants. He's my hero. Intermidably happy and positive.

Doesn't he look Gung Ho?.

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