My Trip to Shimla

It’s been 2 years that I have been visiting Shimla (or is it Simla) every summer. Though I don’t go for more then 2-3 days but even those few days spent in Shimla are like heaven. If you are staying in Delhi, you will know what I mean.

We were a group of 4 friends and started off last Thursday night. This time we had decided not to take our car as the traffic on the way back to Delhi is very bad. We had booked our Volvo bus from C.P / Janpath through Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department. Turns out that the bus we were supposed take was by RAO Travels and not HPTDC. I have traveled in Volvo buses before on my Delhi-Jaipur trips so i know how a Volvo rides and this Volvo was either a modified deluxe bus or a very low end model of a Volvo. The driver and conductors were not even wearing any company uniform and looked as if their precious job was driving a blueline bus or a Rickshaw. As usual the bus never left on time and when we finally moved from the parking, we landed at the nearest petrol pump for a refuel. Why were these people refueling at the expense of our time? This is their daily job and if there is less diesel in the bus then shouldn’t they get it filled before the passengers arrive? Needless to say that the service was very crappy from then on, we were not provided with bottled water till we reached the midway at around 1:30am in the night (we started at 9). The air-conditioning was on super chill and no one in the bus could sit without a jacket of shawl around them, unfortunately I had my jacked in the bag which was tucked away in the luggage compartment.

We reached midway only to find ourselves in a shady looking dhabha. Why would HPTDC’s Volvo service stop at a roadside dhabha? Beats me! The food was more expensive than a 5 start hotel while the state of the washroom is better left unmentioned. The driver and the conductor took an hour to restart the onwards journey. My guess is that they were busy counting their share of profit from the passengers who ate at the dhabha.

Shimla View

We reached Shimla at 8am and I that concluded our nightmare of a road trip. Since we already had out hotel booked, we proceeded straight to it (Willow Bank Hotel). I have stayed at the Willow Bank a few years back also… then it WAS a truly nice hotel. When they call themselves a 3 star hotel the services are not at power. We stayed in the Premium Rooms, with wooden floors and a balcony which had barely enough room to stand. There were 3 spiders out of which 1 was in the bathroom…eeks! Some of the furniture looked as it would fall apart anytime. Our package included breakfast and dinner in buffet which otherwise would have been Rs.500 per person per meal. Trust me on this, the food was worse then the Dhabha.

I can cribb a little more but the more I write the more I miss Shimla 🙂 If you are planning a trip from Delhi to Shimla, please do not use RAO travels buses. When it comes to a hotel, you can find better and cheaper alternatives than Hotel Willow Bank on the mall road.

5 Responses to “My Trip to Shimla”

  1. hello…ok ..i wll follow ur advice wenevr plan our trip to simla..i hv been to Barok and Solan near to simla but nver visit simla..

    take care…keep blogging.. 😉

  2. Keep it up sharing experiences through cribbs.Foul play ought be high lighted sir.

  3. @Dreaming Eyes, Solan is so close to Shimla, it would have hardly taken you an hour to get up there.
    @Rony, of course, which things should be brought to light after all its your hard earned money at stake.

  4. I wish I had read this before I signed up with Rao Travels. Their cars are no better than their volvos. I went to Kasauli and Chail in an Indigo taken from Rao travels. The driver was rude and rash and the car was in a pathetic condition. Never seen such pathetic service!

  5. I believe you got cheated, but not by HPTDC. HPTDC buses can be reserved only at 2 plaes in delhi, ISBT kashmere gate and Mandi House (2-8 pm). Rest all are frauds. HPTDC buses start their journey either from ISBT or Mandi house and their driver and conductors always wear dressess. I think you booked the tickets from a deceptively looking private tourist shops which are near HPTDC office at chanderlok building, janpath, new delhi. Volvo buses of HPTDC are marvelous and well maintained, please do not cribb for HPTDC buses but for Rao travel.