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“I would chose them again”

India By Car and Driver
Ranked #1 of 312 Tours in Jaipur
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Ramesh Meena whom his friends call Ram was born in a remote village of Rajasthan in a poor household. When he was barely 17 years old, his father met with a mine accident and was paralyzed and confined to bed for the rest of his life. Having lost the sole bread-earner of the family and faced with a highly precarious financial condition, Ram had to drop out from his school and start earning to support his family. Having initially starting working as a blue-collar worker in various capacities, he worked for a few travel and tour companies as a driver with a meager monthly salary for about 4 years. When he was working for his last employer, he met , an American civil rights lawyer during her tour to north India with her family in the winter of 2008. Before meeting Ram American family had quite a frustrating experience with the other drivers of that company. Ram greeted her and the family with flowers in the morning and gave them a ride in the in one of the western states of India and the family started enjoying their trip. As a result of her interaction with Ram and the highly professional services received from him, she was so impressed with him and suggested him that Ram should start his own company. With a small amount received from family which she gave it to him generously as tips for his services along with lone received from a financial agency as well as borrowed money from some friends, and a strong motivation from the family , Ram finally started his own company, namely, India by Car and Driver with only one small car of his own. e initially drove the car himself for more than a year. During this period he was able to pay most of the mortgage of the car and save a littile bit of money to by one big car with a decent amount of lone from a bank. With a positive feedback from his clients, most of whom being the Western customers, he was able to get more and more business and now within the third year of starting his own company since January 2009, Ram owns 8 cars which include three small cars to cater to the budget travelers and five SUVies to cater to the needs of those who travel with the family and can afford to spend little more than a budget traveler. Ram attributes the success of his business to his sincerity, honesty and professionalism, the traits which he expects his drivers to possess as well. In addition to these traits, Ram gives the greatest credit for his success in the business to several of his clients whom he served and who took the pain to take out time and document a positive feedback about his services. Several of the past recipients of his services even agreed to interact with his prospective clients and answer questions about the services of India by Car and Driver. Some even made the videos of their trip and agreed to share their pleasant experience with others by upload their videos on the net. One of such recently uploaded video can view by clicking here:
Useful Information: Stroller parking, Activities for young children, Stairs / elevator, Lockers / storage, Activities for older children
Reviewed March 23, 2013

I was so afraid that I had sent my deposit to a website and would not have anyone show up when I arrived. Not so. My driver met us with a sign as we exited baggage claim in Delhi. He had bottled water for us and knew instinctively that after a quick lunch we really needed to sleep. His English was imperfect but he made up for it by having the most charming soul one would ever want to spend two weeks in a car with. His driving was very scary the first day, but soon I realized he was driving like everyone else in India. To the uninitiated it seems scarey to pass on a blind curve, but everyone in India does it and expects it. No one drives at a speed where they can't stop if they meet another car on the curve, and it's no big deal if both cars have to slow down and negotiate who gets to go. Ramesh picked out terrific hotels for us to stay at and I found that the price he paid plus his commission was still less than I would have paid had I booked on the internet. None of the hotels were swanky (except for the one "heritage" hotel we requested and paid extra for (recommend you do this at least once!) but they were fun hotels where you could go to the roof with a beer and meet other travelers from all over the world-perhaps to team up and find a good dinner spot (or the driver would be happy to find you one if you are not that adventurous). The guides were also well chosen. One took us to a little tea room just to see the view. We suggested having tea while we were there and for a buck the three of us sat for tea and light snacks in this great spot I never would have found without a guide (wonder if the guide got a twenty cent kickback?) Another guide got me a twenty cent chunk of opium to help my back which was quite sore that day. Wherever we went our driver would explain the significance of all the minor curiosities we saw. We stopped for tea and he explained why a motorcycle in a glass case was covered in flowers. (If you must know, take the tour with Bagwhan and he will tell you) Or why the women in certain villages dress the way they do or how Bagwhan starts his day by feeding fresh bread to the local cows. We got to pray at the temples with our driver, feed the fish in the lakes with our driver and eat at little roadside spots with our driver (He preferred to take us to tourist lunches and they were quite good, so a mix is probably the way to go)

1  Thank PeterDeon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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637 - 641 of 859 reviews

Reviewed March 17, 2013

I waited a month to cool down before writing this review...

In our communication with Ramesh, the owner of IBC&D, we asked repeatedly for a driver with good English and good driving skills. What we got was Ram, an Indy 500 driver who could not construct a sentence in English. When we complained to Ramesh, he said our driver had been working for him for two years and had excellent English. Then he backed off and said that the driver we were supposed to have got sick. I rather doubt it.

We are adventure travelers but we aren't reckless, and that's how it felt every time Ram got behind the wheel. On this kind of a trip the driver makes or breaks the experience; our driver didn't make it.

5  Thank BetsyVan5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ramesh M, Owner at India By Car and Driver, responded to this reviewResponded March 18, 2013

Dear Betsy
Thank you for your feedback. Firstly we offer our sincere and unconditional apology for the inconvenience caused to you. As per the principle of our company we believe that every guest must be looked after to his satisfaction and expectation. I am still not able to satisfy myself with your feedback regarding our driver Ram Charan. He has travelled with many of our guests and has received wonderful feedbacks. If you wish, I can forward the e-mails of those guests and you can get in touch with them.
I agree with your point that the driver leaves a great impact on the guest’s India travel experience and could make or break any tour. We have trained all our drivers to impart flexibility to the proceedings and Ram Charan is considered as one of our best drivers.
To clarify your point regarding the English speaking skills, I would like to inform you that driving is not considered to be a highly respectable job in India. Normally those who are not well educated and thus cannot get a regular job and the ones who are normally from a rural background and does not possess good English speaking skills (English has now become a pre requisite to get into any of the so called white collar jobs in India) gets into a trade like driving. It is a challenge for any tour operating company to find a good driver. We choose our staff very rationally. Excellent driving skills backed up with a valid driving license, love for the vehicle and an attitude to naturally serve people is a pre-requisite for any of our drivers. All our drivers are able to interact reasonably well with our English speaking clients and have their excellent knowledge and English speaking skills are appreciated by the clients.
We thank you for the feedback and would make all effort to see all our forthcoming guests have a great experience with us.
Yours sincerely
Ramesh

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

Our driver Mahandara was waiting at the airport to collect us and drove us around Delhi, Jaipur and Agra then back to Delhi. He drop us at the airport at 2 AM. He was with us the whole time and was very polite and gave us good advise. This company also arrange tour guide for us and we were not disappointed. our trip took 6 days and we thoroughly recommend this company for your holiday. we are a couple in our fifties and we went in March 2013. It a good value for money as well. The company provided water every day and took us were ever we wanted to go.

1  Thank mvdavies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2013

I would thoroughly recommend India by car and driver. I travelled to Delhi, Rajasthan, Utter Pradesh and Varanasi with my husband and two teens (16 & 18).
Arriving at Delhi airport after midnight, I was consumed with the doubt that I think a lot of people would feel having found a travel company in India online, having trusted them to develop an itinerary and sending off a 50% deposit. I had convinced myself that no one would be there and that would be the end of our holiday and our deposit. It was wonderful to be completely proved wrong. Absolutely everything was arranged by Ramesh and his staff and it all went without hitch. They booked excellent accommodation (all with breakfast) and internal flights, provided guides in each location and of course provided a car and driver throughout the trip. Our trip included four different cars and drivers due to our itinerary but special mention must go to our driver Raj who we were with for the majority of the trip. It was the little extras that Raj provided that made the most difference. As others have said, Raj provided us with a phone to call him on, a spotlessly clean car and chilled water bottles daily. In addition, Raj provided sweets (that the kids devoured) and when replenishing them went to such trouble to pick out the ones that were the kids’ favourites. He has a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh and he went to extra trouble to ensure that we saw things that particularly interested us. He picked up on our interests through conversations and then would make impromptu stops along the way so we could see or photograph things that met those interests. As a result we did some amazing things like having an unexpected ride on a Punjabi truck through a farming area, stopping to see sugar cane crushed and turned into candies on a small family farm, and watching harnessed bullocks powering mills one crushing sesame seeds and another powering irrigation to a field. Other drivers may have just continued down the highway. Raj even decorated the car with kites for the kite festival and gave each of our kids a small kite to decorate our house with and small bracelet. My son still wears his bracelet most days.
Another highlight was when we visited Ramesh and his staff in the office in Jaipur. They were so lovely and friendly. The next day Ramesh took us out to one of his favourite restaurants and it was fantastic to be eating with locals rather than in tourist areas. I would also like to mention that the guides were very knowledgeable but in particular our guides in Udaipur, Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi. Their English was excellent but more importantly their knowledge was amazing and they were always willing to repeat themselves. This is vital when travelling with teens who only half listen but then want it repeated if it sparks their interest!!
The only small downside was the daily visit to a shop. We are regular travellers and really have no need for more “things”. Sometimes the visits were interesting as we were shown how they manufactured the goods and the shops appeared to provide good quality items and you can always say no – but you often feel guilty doing so. If you don’t want to go make it clear at the outset.
Overall it was a very successful trip and we have already recommended to our friends that they need to visit India (especially Rajasthan), use India by car and driver and if possible, request Raj as their driver.

2  Thank BJJ6687
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 8, 2013

Our overall experience was similar to ScotlandSmiley's (recent review here). Ramesh was excellent at responding to our enquiries and suggesting itineraries. The service provided by our driver, Raju, was very good. He always turned up on time, very polite and pleasant, drove carefully, and his car was cleaned every day.

The downsides: After having travelled from the UK to Delhi via Dubai and losing a night's sleep we were ready to go to our hotel to freshen up and rest before starting the sightseeing. However, we were met by both the driver and the Delhi guide who insisted that we start the tour of Delhi immediately. We were too tired to properly enjoy the day and were shattered by the time we reached our hotel.The hotel in Delhi was not good, grubby sheets and generally tatty. The hotels in Agra and Jaipur were fine, especially the hotel in Jaipur which was characterful and charming.

Like the other review, the guides marred our experience. We quickly learned that their main aim was to take you to shops where they demonstrated how things were made and then pushed hard to get you to buy. The guided tours round the various temples and sites were OK (not exceptional) but were definitely spoiled by the constant visits to shops. Beware of buying jewellery in Jaipur - the quality may be suspect and the prices vastly inflated. (See my message in the forum topic Buying Jewellery in Jaipur.)

Having said that, the tour company is very well organised and their staff are helpful and friendly. The inclusion of visits to shops in the tour, though, should be made clear by Ramesh to clients in his communications with them prior to their booking so that they have the opportunity to decline them (or choose which ones they want to go to) at the point of booking the tour. The guides could then be informed of this by him beforehand. This would vastly improve the experience for clients who do not want to have the hassle of dealing with the guides themselves.

1  Thank bydie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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