Chalo Jaai – Worst Experience…Never tour with them
We booked Arunachal Pradesh package tour through Chalo Jaai, one of big tour operators in Kolkata and toured Guwahati, Bhalukpong, Dhirang, Bomdilla & Tawang with them during the post puja vacations this year. I have toured several places in India with other less popular travel agencies in the past, but this was the horrible experience for me with a ‘reputed’ tour operator. Chalo Jaai even cannot match the level of them. The kind of experience I went through dealing with Chalo Jaai, was simply worst/bitter and is listed below.
• We could only start our journey on 20.10.10 from Hotel Ginger, Guwahati at 9:30A.M. much after schedule as the vehicles ( four Tata Sumos) for the journey turned up very late. The sumo vehicle meant for my and another family members was soiled both outside and inside. On the way from Guwahati to Bhalukpong the sumo vehicle on which we were travelling broke down twice and was temporarily repaired.
• On the morning of 21.10.10 at Prashanti cottage, Bhalukpong, Assam breakfast was served to us at 9:30 A.M two hours after the scheduled time, for reasons unknown to us and we could only depart for Dhirang after 10.25 A.M.
• The tour members reached Dhirang at 7:30 P.M. and had to wait in hotel reception hall as the hotel manager refused to allot rooms without the necessary documents which were with the tour manager. It was raining outside and very cold. We could not contact with the Mr. Pralay Das, Chalo Jaai Tour manager as he did not possess any valid mobile connection. The tour Manager finally arrived at 8:30P.M. and informed us about vehicle break-down somewhere on the way. We were then able to check in. We failed to understand why Mr. Das the Chalo Jaai, Tour Manager did not contact any of us or the Hotel Manager from a local PCO to inform about his problem. Neither does Mr. Das did not have the courtesy of apologizing for his fault.
• Similar incidents of serving late breakfast consequently late departure also occurred at Pemaling Hotel, Dhirang. The passengers reached Sela Pass(13, 700 ft) at about 1:20 P.M.and waited for nearly 11/2 hr. in chilling cold for the Tour Manager’s vehicle which was nowhere to be seen. We could not contact the Tour Manager for the same reason of invalid mobile connection and was wondering worse situations which may befall him and the cooks. Neither did Mr. Das had the sense of informing us about his problem. Finally we (the tour members) departed from Sela Pass at 2:50 P.M. to have lunch at a local food stall. Without knowing the route our driver drove us safely to Hotel Siddharth, with the help of local Military.
• The vehicle that was allotted for my and Mr. Ghosh’s family members broke down near Tawang bajar on 23.10.10. The vehicle was repaired and the next day viz. 24.10.10 before leaving for Sangstar Lake Mr. Das, the Tour Manager ensured us that the vehicle is O.K. and all the three Tata Sumos will travel together. Unfortunately, on the way to the said Lake the same vehicle had a mechanical snag which was repaired by removing some filters. All the vehicles resumed journey with the repaired vehicle moving behind. After traveling for some distance the other two vehicles which were in good conditions traveled fast and left us far behind. Mr. Das who was in the middle vehicle did not have any control over the vehicles. While descending towards the Lake from the highest position at Tawang the repaired vehicle fell in a hill side ditch and got stuck. Neither of the other two vehicles were at sight and we with three female members were helpless. Luckily after waiting for half an hour some local people came to our help and they pulled up our vehicle after which we were able to reach the lake.
• We were also misinformed regarding the tour to Bumla Pass from Tawang. It was stated by the authorities at the office of Chalo Jaai, Kolkata that Bumla Pass is inaccessible and local vehicles also cannot reach upto the said pass. But on reaching Tawang we learnt that many tourists traveling with other tour operators have visited Bumla Pass and are very much enjoyed in having a lifetime chance to visit this historical Pass. The same incident happened to us again at the last day of our trip. The other two vehicle left us & we lost our way to Guwahati Stataion, but somehow managed to reach there driving almost extra 50 K.M.
• One of the reasons for most of travelers to select Chalo Jaai was the promise to provide very good food on all days of the tour. The food that was served on most of the days was not good with absolutely no choice available. The most surprising fact was that evening snacks was skipped for few days.
Any package tour's success is totally dependent on the tour manager how does he manages the show. The tour manager of this trip Mr. Das was unskilled in his job, arrogant, non-courteous, non-coopeartive, and showed special attention towards a few members with whom he may have some vested interest. He has got no experience of making trips to Arunachal Pradesh even. My personal recommendation is not to travel with Chalo Jaai anymore.
They cannot provide good food, comfortable travel and good coverage of the destination – in short meet basic expectations. Chalo Jaai as concluded by almost all the tour members (customers) on this tour is a mis-managed, un-professional tour company providing worst possible service for the premium amount they charge. For the heavy price that the we paid on this tour had to pay in terms of time, money, mental peace and above all ruining family vacation, most of the tour members were mentally very upset after returning from the tour. The entire episode has left us with most traumatic experience of being cheated by Chalo Jaai for our hard earned money.