Booking date:- December 2021
Journey:- January 2022
Type:- Honeymoon Package
Places:- Srinagar, Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam
Hotel:- Srinagar -> Adlife Luxury, Pahalgam -> Green Orchid
Houseboat:- Anarkali houseboats in Nigeen Lake
The review is quite long, if you are visiting Kashmir, it will be really helpful I believe as I have mentioned the things which I have faced(You can avoid).
Tip in advance:- Research on youtube vlogs about the places you visit and things that are there to be covered. What is needed? Otherwise, everyone will fool you. They spare no one. Check the places in advance, Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Srinagar, Pahalgam, etc. Activities, clothes needed, guide(not required during the entire trip).
About Overseas:- Initially they will follow up with you unless you book the package, once you are in Kashmir, No one will coordinate you apart from the driver. They will send you a message to pay the remaining amount else they will stop their services.
The hotel room was small for two-person. Honeymoon inclusion bed decoration was also too bad(5 10 rose petals and that's all).
They didn't cover the places that were promised in the package ex: Shankaracharya temple, Shalimar garden, Munawar Abad local handicraft shops, Awantipura ruins, Baisaran.
The driver was friendly but didn't prevent overcharging and misguiding by different people at different places starting from Shikara ride, Sonmarg cab, Pahalgam cab. I felt like he was misguiding me at times. Don't believe and rely entirely on the cab driver. I would rate 2.5 out of 5 for Overseas.
About the Trip:- Kashmir said to be heaven on earth is quite true to an extent but the people out there make it very hard for you to stay in heaven. I don't think there is anything apart from snow on mountains. A few things I liked were the Shikara ride in dal lake, Gandola in Gulmarg, Betaab valley in Pahalgam, and houseboat stay in Nigeen lake, the rest else I felt was a complete waste of money. Everyone will try to scam you in one or the other way. Everything is too expensive Rides, Maggie, Tea anything you name it, you will find 50+-10 Rs extra from normal costs.
People in the tourism business here are very sharp:- They have divided a single destination into two parts, one will be covered by your taxi driver and for another part, you need to either hire a pony or a cab from the union. Example:- Sonmarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam:- You will reach a point and from there, your driver will insist you to hire a cab. The charge depends on your bargaining skills.
Sonmarg :- We checked out early in the morning around 9:30 AM and reached the union cab point in ~1hr. There starts the fooling business. They will ask you to book the cab and the charge will be based upon the POINTS they cover. POINTS they will mention:- Sonmarg Glacier Point, Last village of Kashmir, Zero Bridge, Fish point, Tiger hill.
The only thing which is visitable is Sonmarg's main point(Glacier point). Rest else is there to increase the cost based on POINTS and nothing else. You will not find anything valuable there. My driver already knew all this and still convinced me to cover all the points. Don't give more than 2000 for anything(they will misguide you by saying they will only cover one point, don't believe them go to Sonmarg directly).
They will include jackets and snow boots as well in this which will cost RS. 300(jacket+boots). Trust me, if you layer up with thermals, sweaters, a nice jacket, and some decent hiking shoes(Decathlon, Bacca Bucci, Goldstar) you don't need to take the jackets and boots from them. They will try to fool you by saying the shoes will get wet and it will slip but everything is wrong. The guide or the union cab driver himself wears sports shoes and tells everyone to wear snow boots. Ridiculous.
Personal opinion:- Sonmarg doesn't have anything that can be labeled as a traveling place. Plan your trip WITHOUT Sonmarg. Complete waste.
Gulmarg:- Next day to Gulmarg. Reached union cab point around 11:00 AM. Again you need to hire
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