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Der Fahrer war ausgezeichnet.
Der Reiseleiter sprach zwar Deutsch, aber so unverständlich, dass praktisch nichts zu verstehen war. Auch wollte er eine eigenen Lohn. Ein Teil des Programms war ohne Reiseleitung und nur auf unseren nachtdrücklichen Wunsch erhältlich. Auch gab es wieder die obligatorische Einkaufstour in einer Steinschleiferei. Grausam.
The good points - a great and really friendly driver who took me for the best chai in Jaipur as we started out on the journey. The guide was very knowledgeable and I learnt a lot about the Taj Mahal, Baby Taj and the Agra fort. Bad points - do not expect to see the Fatehpur Sikri, the guide was much more interested in taking me to see the workshops for carpets and inlay marble, which were interesting, but if I had known that this meant I would not see all the sights I had paid for, then I would have told him not to take me there. The guide obviously gets a commission from these shops so ended up feeling really cheated. I chose Viator as I have used them many times in different parts of the world. This is the first time I have not received the tour as advertised. This tour was really expensive in comparison to other tours and I selected it based on the company's reputation. I would not choose it again. I would take a private driver and then find a guide at the sites you want to see - you are much more in control then and it will cost you about half the price. Very disappointed Viator!
I would give this excursion a 1 and that's a stretch! I'm actually surprised by the 5 reviews, now I've been through this myself, but maybe we were unlucky.
Let's start with the positive - the driver turned up on time and was efficient.
For everything else. This tour was hugely overpriced, you could organize this yourself in India for less than a quarter of the price and I would highly recommend doing this. It will probably be more enjoyable as well.
On the sights themselves.The Taj was obviously fantastic, but you don't need a guide. Although ours was entertaining and took some great photos you can read about the history in advance and there isn't much to point out, except the Taj itself and we were reminded by our tour guide within 5 minutes of meeting him, that he would be wanting a tip. Not exactly a great first impression! At the end of the tour of the Taj, he tried to put us off seeing anything else in Agra, I'm assuming so he could sneak off early and again pressured for a tip, claiming he hadn't been paid by Viator for 6 months, repeating myself, this isn't exactly what you want to hear, when you've paid out some serious money for this tour. Don't get me wrong, although I've been negative so far, we were always intending to give this guy a tip, but just be prepared for this for this kind of chat.
Despite our tour guides less than enthusiastic nature, we were eager to see the Fatehpur Sikri and cards on the table, I'm not even sure if the 'new' guide realized he worked for Viator, I was actually unsure about following him. Saying this, he shared alot of information about the site and it's worth a visit, if you haven't seen many other forts/palaces. We took the bus he recommended to get to the gate, which was a bargain 10 rupees and actually chose to walk back! The sun was shining and it was good to feel the buzz of the town, I would highly recommended doing this!
All in all - really not worth the money!
The driver was wonderful, and drove us in his modern Volkswagen to Agra brilliantly. No worries there. The 'hustorian' guide, however, was not what we expected. He seemed disinterested both in us and in the Taj Mahal, in his dark glasses and bomber jacket. He rushed us round the Taj Mahal stunning, it must be admitted, before bundling us back into the car and taking us to a carpet seller's where he expected us rich tourists to buy merchandise on which he would make a commission. Having failed there, he took us to a very touristy and expensive restaurant, presumably in further search of commission. After lunch, he decided that there was too much traffic to see anything else, so we drove past Agra Fort, dropped this man off somewhere, and drove home. Altoghether a disappointment. I can understand the desire for endless commission if this was a cheap tour, but it wasn't - it was through a reputable, and not inexpensive tour company who promised lots and, in the end, delivered little. I hope that this helps people in the future. I hope that the company is listening.
Only 1hr at the Taj Mahal - not 2. Only 30mins at Agra Fort - not 1hr. Didn't get to visit anything else on the tour with the exception of a carpet shop which was unrelated and a precious stone shop - only for the hard sell. Was home for 5pm - not the stated 8pm. Very rushed. Do it yourself instead.
Driver service was fine...tour guide didn't provide a lot of info at the sight, tried to make me write a TripAdvisor review of him while we were in the Agra fort so beware of overly positive trip advisor reviews, tried to convince me not to go to Agra fort so he didn't have to spend more time showing me around we can just take a picture outside if you want which I would've hated to miss, and took me to 3 different tourist trap places where it's literally just a store and there is high pressure to buy something, even after I asked not to be taken to the 3rd after going to the first 2. Clearly he makes a commission off of sales at these places, and even asked me how much I spent at one of them. I know this is something tour guides do in India, but didn't expect it of a tour I paid 150 for. Also tried to refer me to a specific photographer to pay for photos inside the Taj Mahal. In the guide's defense, when I said I didn't want to buy photos, he was happy to take plenty of me on my phone. It was still a fun day, but I was overall a bit disappointed. The sites are amazing though, and you should definitely see them.