Saturday, May 15, 2010

Roadtripper review

The hubbysaurus and I went on a road trip to the Himalayan country of Bhutan on a trip organised by Roadtripper, a start up. Bhutan is a lovely place, but this review is about the organisers, not the country. To begin with, Roadtripper is a friends and family trip - those of the organisers. So if you are expecting road trip enthusiasts or like-minded people, you need to rethink the idea.

The next important thing is the trip itself - this is supposed to be a driving trip, where you get to drive luxury cars and what not. On our trip, there were 7 cars, including the spare car with all the drivers. Of the other 6, one was driven by the local guide, while another 2 were driven, at all times, by one of the organizers who should have ideally stayed away from the wheel unless there weren't enough people who wanted to drive! The other 2 cars went to two families, of four each, so the rest of us had to take turns at driving the 1 remaining car. Whats more, the organisers kept the newer and better cars to themselves, while we drove the older, more battered cars.

The organisers had little or no clue about the place itself - we were told that the temperature would be warm ("shorts and sleeveless, light jacket if necessary"), and trust me Bhutan is COLD in most places! They also had no clue about the paper work and formalities - we climbed a few hundred feet to the famous Taktsang monastery, only to be refused entry because we didn't have a permit. Needless to say, the organisers didn't bother with the climb! At one point we camped in a dung filled field, and were told that the original plan of camping in scenic spot by the riverside had to be dropped because some construction work had started. They actually pointed out the spot when we drove by later, and this was a power project which looked liked it had been there for at least 6 months. So much for the 'research trip' that the organisers claimed to have undertaken a few months ago!

In short, plan a trip with Roadtripper only if you want to subsidize the organisers' vacations. Or if you are a family member, in which case some poor moron will subsidize yours! Thumbs down!

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