Tour in India, guesthouse in Seychelles, Bangkok to Golden Triangle tour

This item appears on page 4 of the March 2011 issue.

Report from India…

We used the guide Sanny Khan (phone +91 9335666195 or e-mail for a tour of Varanasi, India, Oct. 25-26, 2010. His English was great, which is less common in India than I had expected.

Not only did Sanny take us to all the tourist sites and arrange sunset/sunrise boat trips on the Ganges, he took us to all the local haunts for the best lassi, chai and spices, took us to local markets and outlying villages, arranged for porters to carry our luggage on their heads to the train (quite a sight!) and even invited and escorted us to his friend’s wedding, where we got to participate in the horseback procession of the groom to the bride’s home. He was great!

Out of a three-week trip in India, 11 days were planned with the help of Raju at Incredible Real India, located in Jaipur. Including a number of flights, all hotels (mostly historic havelis), transfers and a car and driver throughout, the two of us each paid him $2,886.

We used Sanny Khan for four hours on the first day (plus his friend’s wedding) and eight on the second day (the train was late, so he was with us longer than planned).

Raju found Sanny for us, as well as a driver, so I’m not sure what the daily charge for guide, car and driver would be, but, at ANY price, Sanny is a gift.

— Betty Serow, Tallahassee, FL


Our tour group stayed at the Panorama Guesthouse (Beau Vallon Beach, Mahé, Seychelles; phone +248 247 300, fax +248 247 947), Oct. 4-7, 2010.

My first impression was that it was extremely clean. It had a comfortable lounge with cushy chairs, a satellite TV, a bar and a small library. Outside were comfortable wicker chairs with cushions. The staff was friendly and very attentive to all our needs.

My room (€75, or $102, per night) had twin beds, a dresser and an en suite bathroom with shower. Screened windows kept any creepies outside (I never saw any).

Breakfast was simple: cereal, toast, fruit, juice, coffee and tea.

I wished the guest house would have offered air-conditioned rooms or, at least, electric fans in the rooms and that they didn’t charge for WiFi.

The two things that I liked most were its proximity to Beau Vallon Beach and to Baobab Pizzeria, serving superbly delicious Italian dishes such as pizza, lasagna and other pastas.

Overall, I was pleased with the Panorama Guesthouse.

— Jim Hendrickson, Lynden, WA


My husband and I took a tour of Thailand, Nov. 7-20, 2010, with Hand Held Tours (Box 2114, Springfield, VA 22152; 571/244-4363), whom we discovered in ITN. The land-only cost was $5,950 for two people, including all meals, transfers, baggage handling, entrance fees and tips.

From Bangkok to the Golden Triangle, the tour covered Thailand’s cultural and historical sides. The food was always diverse, quite plentiful and delicious!

There were supposed to be seven group members, but two couples backed out at the last minute, leaving just three. We were lucky the tour wasn’t canceled. The small group size allowed for many extra stops not listed on the itinerary, and our needs were always met (even if it was something as odd as wanting to try rat from a streetside vendor).

I would recommend this tour to anyone who wants an in-depth and hassle-free view of this beautiful country.

— Joanna Kamba, Alsip, IL