Sep 26, 2023
Sep 26, 2023
The problem with our passports had occurred because, unlike the travellers who joined the tour from India, we had joined in Kathmandu from Abudhabi directly and so the visa for us had to be issued by Chinese embassy in Nepal. Travelorg had forgotten to inform that there are 2 cases of 'Visa issued in Nepal' cases. Normally this would not have created a problem, but since Mr.Pradhan took the decision to pre-pone the schedule by one day we were stuck in Kodari for the visa. Since he knew that the visas for 11 of us were getting only processed that day, the decent thing would have been to keep us back in Kathmandu in the better hotel and taken us together once the visas got ready. Instead he made us stand in Friendship Bridge, made us go through all the tension and put us up in the much inferior accommodation in Kodari. Lesson 4- If you are joining the tour in Kathmandu, make sure that you are matching your itinerary to the Chinese embassy opening days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), your operator is aware is that you are a 'Visa issued in Nepal' case and you do not leave Kathmandu until you see your passport and visa (or at least make sure that your visa is processed).
At least 4-5 people got sick in Nyalam in our group and Mr.Pradhan had to get his operations organised 'so we stayed in Nyalam an extra day (which fortunately resulted in us matching the original schedule to reach Mansarovar on full moon night). Although this allowed the group to rest and recuperate after the foodless 1st day, nobody from Travelorg or Shrestha remembered to shift the booking in Saga 'our next stop- with the result that instead of staying in Saga Hotel with clean toilets we ended up in a place with really dirty toilets. Lesson 5- If your schedule slips due to any reason remind the operator to reconfirm accommodation or make alternate arrangements. If your operator is as inefficient as Travelorg or Shrestha you will regret if you do not take this initiative.
Hotels such as Saga International requires some money to be advanced to confirm reservation. We had to force Mr.Haresh Trivedi to shell out the advance money for the reservations on our way back or we would have had to stay again in the shit hole where we were put up on our way up. Lesson 6- Check with your hotel or hostel or lodge about your reservations on the way back. If you smell any trouble, confirm with your operator and make necessary arrangements.
Couple of times on the way, some cars in the group dropped back due to breakdowns (one time one car got stuck in the river and almost got washed away). While these incidents are unavoidable, what really was frightening none of the group leaders (from Shrestha, Travelorg or Chinese guides) had any clue about who was in which car and had no idea of the car drivers' telephone number. Lesson 7- Insist that a master list with the Car nos , distinguishing marks, Driver name and telephone number and the occupants is prepared once the passengers are distributed in Nyalam (if the operator is not doing this basic thing take the initiative and get this done)
This same inefficiency was evident during Parikrama ' no one had any idea about how many passengers had started, had returned midway etc. So if one had not got to the camp at the end of the day, it was only his friends/ families who would have been aware of their plight. See lesson 6 and make sure a similar list gets prepared during parkrama also.
Also during parikrama, we could see that other operators had arrangements for one of the sherpas to go early and book accommodation in the rooms for people who wanted to avoid staying in tents (the younger and faster members of our group took this initiative- our sherpas were short in number and they were doubling as porters). There were also Sherpas bringing up the rear with oxygen cylinders, helping and herding the slow movers. Lesson 8- Both these (sherpas going in the front and bringing up the rear) are essential and insist on this if your operator is not already doing so.
In our group of 122, only 22 could do parikrama. Primarily it was due to the sheer large size of the group and due to inefficiency of Shrestha. On the day we landed in Darchen, the person who was supposed to have organised the porters and yaks/ponies announced that he could not manage anything and so we could not do parikrama as scheduled. That was the last straw- all hell broke loose. The money collected for the ponies was returned back and it was left to our initiative to force the Shrestha guy to organise at least porters. After confirming the number of porters and consulting Sherpas how many Kilos they could carry, we finally decided around 35 could do the parikrama by walking. The Sherpas would double as personal porters and carry our back packs. So porters took our tents and eatables and Sherpas doubled as porters and around 45 people started the parikrama (although no one had a clear idea about the numbers). The result was that the elderly people who were planning to do the parikrama by pony did not go. If some of the people in our group (including me) had not taken the initiative of starting out with the porters to carry the tents and eats, none of us would have done the parikrama. Lesson 9- If you are an elderly person planning to do Parikrama on a pony, avoid rush days following new moon nights in Mansarovar and stick to small size groups.
Throughout our trip, we had to force our way into rooms. Because we were with a large group with a sub group of 55 and there was some one to take care of this 55, we 'being only 2-always had to fight our way into rooms. Also since we were in the group that got delayed in border, unfortunately we got grouped in the car with Mr.Haresh Trivedi and his wife. While we did not get any special privileges for being with the Travelorg Representative (although others in the group thought so) the downside was that our peace was disturbed almost every night when the group members came and had show downs and shouting matches with Mr.Haresh. Lesson 10- Avoid travelling with groups having more than 40 members.
More by : Unnimaya
|Excellent and well written. I was confused on this trip.|
Your review has helped me a lot.
Thank you very very very much !!!
|Thank you for the paintstakingly written article.I am planning to take up the Yatra next year and this article is so exhaustive that I do not need to search anywhere else.|
Thank you once again and if possible,I would like to talk/chat with you as I near the departure date.
I would like to thank you so much for writing this blog. I had been searching for information on Mansarovar Yatra and your blog is the one I got which I can trust blindly as it has almost all the information I could think of.
Guys like you make other's life easy.
If you dont mind, I would like to talk/chat with you once as I am planned to travel for the same trip in next 10 days. If so, please provide me your email id or contact number and I will contact you.
But even if its not possible for you to talk to me, I have only one thing to say, again: THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.
Thanks and Regards,