We contacted Sohan after seeing great reviews for his car and driver service here on trip advisor. We contacted him along with a number of other driver agencies in India to get a quote for our trip through India and into Nepal. The reason we were persuaded to choose Sohan was not only his reasonable prices but that he was the only agency prepared to offer us some suggestions on alterations to our itinerary, which we explicitly asked all the agencies to do. Although, we had researched where we wanted to go using guide books and the internet Sohan was able to provide advice on where we had planned too little or too much time based on his extensive experience of driving tourists around India. He was by no means pushy with this advice and it was always our decision as to whether we altered the itinerary but we never regretted taking his advice. One particular example is that he suggested visiting Ranthambore National Park on the route between Agra and Jaipur; this provided a welcome break from the crowed cities, allowed us to see beautiful countryside and we were even lucky enough to see a tiger in the wild along with many other animals.
We travelled between Agra, Jaipur and Dehli with stop offs at Ranthambore, Fatepur Sikiri and Amber. For this route Sohan was a very safe and knowledgeable driver but also an excellent guide. His English was very good and so we were able to talk about many different aspects of life in India other than just the standard tourist blurb. Due to his excellent language skills and knowledge of the route Sohan was also able to warn us of any tourist traps and tricks as well as to take us to some of the lesser known sites and culinary gems.
Sohan listened to what we wanted from the trip and responded appropriately; particularly that we didn’t want to feel too rushed on our trip and whizz round seeing everything but experiencing nothing so he made sure that we had enough breaks in the afternoons where we could take a nap at the hotel. He soon understood that we wanted to try real Indian food and introduced us to a number of establishments catering mainly to locals which were always delicious and didn’t cause us any stomach problems.
Another asset of Sohan’s is that he has many contacts in various industries and handicrafts. He took us to a number of vendors where we could purchase quality goods at reasonable prices. However, he never pushed us to buy anything, was open about the fact that he received commission and didn’t push the matter when we said we weren’t interested in shopping that day or in shopping for a particular item, in our case carpets. He took us to an excellent tailor in Jaipur where the staff worked tirelessly to ensure that the clothes fit and we were happy with the style. The tailors had a great range of materials and understood European expectations of dress. Sohan also took us to a very good handicraft cooperative in Ranthambore where the prices were excellent and the local women provided with fair employment.
Sohan was also an wonderful host. He provided us with as much bottled water as we required from a cool box in the boot of the car and even bought fruit for us to eat on the longer journeys. He even gave us some small notes when we only had large ones so that we could tip the toilet attendant at a rest stop. It was never a problem for him to pick us up at a time convenient to us or to wait for us as long as we needed at a particular site or store, he simply found a spot in the shade or talked with the other drivers until we were ready. We could contact him with our mobile phones if we wanted to change a pick up time and he was always punctual.
The other great advantage of the service Sohan offers was that he was able to take us to Nepal. This was a matter of some concern for us as it seemed like it would be difficult and time consuming to travel from Dehli to the Nepalese border using public transport. Sohan offered to drive us there, a service which none of the other companies we contacted offered, and to act as our driver throughout our trip in Nepal. He informed us that he had been to Nepal a couple of times and so also had some knowledge of the area and so could act as guide too. He also made some suggestions to our itinerary, which we were so glad that we accepted. For instance he suggested stopping in Bardia National Park and adding in a night at Bandipur on our way from Pokhara to Kathmandu.
Sadly, due to grave personal circumstance Sohan was not able to come with us to Nepal. However, he arranged for his friend and colleague Prem to drive us from Dehli into and through Nepal. Prem is a very safe driver and we were glad to have him as our driver on the narrow and winding mountain roads due to his experience on mountain roads in his home state of Himachal Pradesh. Prem is a kind and polite man. He always tried to be helpful and we are sure he is an excellent guide / interpreter for India. However, it was his first trip to Nepal so he was not always sure of the route and he was not able to advise on or recommend anything. Prem’s English is sufficient so that he can understand what we wanted and we could exchange some small talk but it is more limited than Sohan’s. Despite this the journey generally went smoothly and we very much enjoyed our time in Nepal.
We would advise anyone with restricted time looking for transportation in India to use a driver: it allows you to cover much more ground in a shorter time; you are not worried about delays or understanding announcements; you can change your itinerary at short notice; you don’t have to worry about watching your bags as they are safely locked away in the boot of the car; you can enjoy the calm, air-conditioned environment the car provides after the heat and crowds of the sites without worrying about haggling over taxi fares; and you are able to see some sites that are difficult to reach with public transport such as a ancient well and temple we visited that were truly spectacular and tucked away in a village miles from the nearest train lines.
We heartily recommend Sohan; he is an excellent driver, a knowledgeable guide and you will always feel safe.
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