Turtle, Ecuador

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed February 2019

    Fascinating, however..

    Fascinating colourful experience of Vietnam. The trip includes insight into it’s turbulent history, and inspired many of the group to read more about it. I went single, into a group of 16, and with Ngok, one of the nicest and best guides I’ve ever experienced. He was with us in Vietnam, and joined us evenings and for optional tours as well. We had to say goodbye to him before the early morning onward flight to Siem Reap. There we had a new guide, who met us with the unsurprising news that it was too early to check into the hotel – and then took us on a full day program, through to watching sunset over a temple (unfortunately underwhelming on that particular day) – without yet checking in. We arrived at the chosen temple and waited there 2 hours for sunset, tired and travel weary after 2 weeks in Vietnam. The hotel was no more than half an hour away, so we really felt he could have planned the day better for us. We had all been up very early (the previous day too). Half the group wanted to go direct to the hotel and miss the sunset, but the guide felt we should see the sunset because it was mentioned in the original itinerary. The majority of our group were disappointed with the Hotels. Comfortable and clean, friendly staff, but not as good as we expected from a trip advertised as Premium. Exception was the Hotel in Siem Reap, which met our expectations of Premium class. Note, only the hotel in Hanoi was not the one advertised in the original programme, it was supposed to be an 'or similar' hotel. Several of us wrote to our travel agents to complain of its distance from the town centre (shuttle bus ran insufficiently), its proximity next to a road, and general failure to meet expectations. Another point worth mentioning to those who choose this trip having noted that it is classed as leisurely. It wasn’t! There was very little free time, admittedly partly due to participation in some optional activities, and partly due to traffic jams keeping our bus on the road for hours longer than planned. It would help relieve some of the stress if the itinerary could be changed such that we do not spend 2 nights in a hotel, travel some hours for an overnight elsewhere, and then do the reverse travel to return to the original hotel for another night. It happens twice in this itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The colour and hustle and bustle of life in Hanoi, Hoi An and Saigon. The optional street food tour in Hanoi with Thanh (Tony) was worth doing, to see some of the back streets and eat in places you wouldn't normally find. Angkor Wat has to be up there as an inspirational part of the trip, though we hadn't realised there were soooo many temples on the itinerary. Some of the group felt 'all temple-ed out', gave up, and tuk-tuk-ed back to hotel pool and Siem Reap markets on the second day of temple visiting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngok is a lovely, friendly, memorable young (from where I am at 68 years old :-) man, and contributed immensely to the whole trip experience. He was with us in Vietnam, and joined us evenings and for optional tours as well. We learned a lot from him. The evening meals in the Vietnamese restaurants chosen by our guide were really good. He put menus together for us, such that we could try different dishes throughout the trip, though we always had the option of choosing something ourselves instead. Siem Reap guide...very pleasant and keen, though somewhat inflexible. See my summary.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get quickly over the fear of crossing the road! Just pick your moment and go, keep the same pace, and focus on the other side! You get used to it :-))

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was very good, in spite of negative comments I've made. I experienced Vietnam and the temples in Angkor, and was not disappointed. However, it was not an excellent trip. Perhaps if I were considerably younger than 68 it would have been easier, but I chose this trip because it says the pace is leisurely and hotels are premium. So I was disappointed, as were the rest of the group. (14 of the 16 in our group were age around 55 to 75, and there were 2 under 30.)
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Anne-Marie Robinson

    Fascinating trip

    This trip has an interesting and varied itinerary, with plenty of excellent cultural visits. There is quite a lot of travel involved, as stated in the trip notes, but it's a big country and there's loads to see....palaces, temples, nature reserves, tea plantations, markets, backwaters and beaches.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed the whole trip, but the highlight was the day and night spent on the backwaters in Alleppey. Just wonderful!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was outstanding. He was brilliantly organised, totally efficient, thoughtful, and charming. He made the trip a real pleasure to be on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a lot of travel between places. If you don't like temples, don't do this trip!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Virginia Morris

    A cycle trip to remember

    This amazing trip has earnt its place as one of the top Exodus cycling adventures. In a fortnight you cover the whole country by bike, bus and train. We combined this trip with the Indochina and Angkor Wat trip so had already cycled from Bangkok to Saigon in the previous fortnight and were acclimatised to the time zone, heat and general chaos of the streets of south east Asia. its a shock to share the roads with so many motorbikes, cars, trucks and people but somehow everyone finds their place. Don't do this trip if you don't like traffic and are looking for peace and tranquillity. We had only a few cycling days through country backwaters but these were outstanding in their beauty. Mostly we cycled busy roads and at a pace which didn't allow for much contemplation. It's a fascinating itinerary with some fabulous stops along the way such as Whale Island, Hoi-An and Halong Bay. I recommend a few extra days in Saigon at the start and also Hanoi at the end as there is much to see and do in both cities. The bikes are mountain bikes so the mileage can seem long at times and the hills tough. That said, I never felt tempted by the bus until the very last day which I skipped to enjoy sightseeing in Hue without sweat. The hotels are all first class and the accommodation on Whale Island and Halong Bay very charming. The overnight train is an 'experience'. Food is fabulous of course and the cycle snacks really amazing especially the home made lemonade. No need to bring anything extra except maybe a bag of muesli (I am a gluten free person and was very well provided for with rice cakes, nuts and fruit at every stop). Our leader was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and great fun. He did push the pace above that stated in the trip notes but we all coped and enjoyed the challenges of the passes and the 'undulating' landscape. The history of Vietnam is gruesome and complex. Meeting the people now and seeing the progress is inspirational. Our photos are awesome and we are looking forward to booking our next adventure. Many thanks Exodus and Tri our leader, for this fabulous cycling holiday. We totally recommend putting the 2 trips together if you have the time and funds available. It's totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the high pass and then sailing down the other side

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to bring snacks along. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. Think about getting a tailor made item or two in Hoi An.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Virginia Morris

    Wonderful contrasting country cycling

    This tour gives a great overview of the 3 countries visited with differing food, landscapes and people. Our group was small (only 9: Brits and Americans) which gave us a very close bonding time together and our leader 'Is' was outstanding in her warmth, compassion and sense of humour. The pace was faster than expected and yet although we cycled further than I have experience of, it was completely manageable and I was never tempted to get on the bus. It's hot and sweaty but virtually flat the whole way. There is more traffic and car fumes than anticipated and it felt a bit risky at times, but 'Is' had her eye on us the whole time with help from the crew. The food is wonderful and as a gluten free vegetable lover I was in heaven. There really is no need to bring anything extra except perhaps a bag of muesli. The cycle snacks are never ending and delicious. Culturally, we were indulged in many new tastes, sights and sounds from spiders, silk worms, frogs, rats and snakes to be eaten in the local markets to fabulous home cooking in the home stay. We toured Angkor Wat in its splendours over 3 days and enjoyed the boat ride in Cambodia and the homestay in Vietnam. Entering Vietnam, we experienced the New Year celebrations in a riot of colourful flowers and local costumes and decorations as well as some evening shows. We enjoyed every aspect of the trip and followed straight on to the Exodus Cycle Vietnam trip. This was totally manageable and I recommend it as a way of enhancing the experience if you can manage that amount of time and expenditure (see my review for that trip too). We loved the time spent in Saigon and also had a few extra days in Bangkok at the start to acclimatise to the time zone difference and the weather. The hotels along the way can be basic but all are clean and comfortable and most have swimming pools. Laundry is easy to do. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. There are lots of possibilities along the way for cheap and colourful clothing, crafts and food items. The history of war can be hard to digest and the visits in Pnom Penh quite devastating. But we were taken for lunch to a community restaurant project rehabilitating street children, which was so uplifting that we could see how the people have moved forward from their dark history with quiet hope, endurance and humility. We have so many great photos and memories but are already thinking about where to go on our next adventure. A big thanks to 'Is' and Exodus for this great holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing about the Cambodia history and seeing how the people have forgiven though not forgotten all their strife.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic in every way

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to take snacks along. Don't take too much clothing and leave space in your suitcase.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Highly recommended
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jeremy Burns

    Costa Rica birding departure

    Good for bird watchers Excellent professional guide and comfortable air-conditioned coach Costa Ricans friendly nice people Good opportunities to ride on boats and walk in unspoilt rain forest and swim from beautiful Pacific beaches Drawbacks are lots of long coach journeys on slow roads and many of the places visited are crowded with coaches and tourists. Also hotel food is nothing to write home about except at savegre where it is excellent Don't bother with night walk and suspension bridges at Monteverdi which are poor value in my opinion. Costa Rica also very expensive even for basics like bread or fruit . I found it hard to understand how the poor local population could afford to live at these prices

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting tortuguero

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent very knowledgeable pleasant hard working and considerate... Guillermo Gomez is his name

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take colones or pay by Visa card. If you are British and buy US dollars to take with you, you then end up converting dollars to colones at a poor local rate and lose out twice on the currency conversion If you are elderly you may find the high altitudes at Monteverdi and at savegre a problem. My 82 year old mother for example managed most of the rest of the trip ok but became ill in the high country Good binoculars and camera a must for the birding departure
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Tim Shaw

    Snowshoeing in the sun

    The amazing weather meant that snow was fast disappearing, but our leader, Miguel, still found some excellent routes. There were some enjoyable snowshoeing challenges, and outstanding views of distant peaks. Miguel also shared his passion for Catalonia and its history,food and wine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The reward of fabulous views after a hard traverse uphill to Creu de l’Eixol.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good. Flexible in choosing appropriate routes for the group members.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Anne Farrow

    Title is appropriate

    Had great week in Bolquere. Lovely group and lots of snow and sunshine. Varied routes each day and really good food at our mountain stops. Hotel small and friendly and delicious 4 courses every night. Every detail of the trip taken care of by Bob our guide. As an improver, I think I did meet most of the challenges - only took my skiis off once on the last day! I didn’t hear another English voice all week which is a big plus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The third day after it snowed and we skiied to an isolated mountain refuge. For me, the skiing was much easier in the fresh snow and the scenery was beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The village is very small. Take some reading materials.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked this trip because we were surrounded by locals - not an English voice to be heard. The village is tiny so do not expect any cafes or bars.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Jim Watson

    Fantastic two weeks. I could have stayed longer!

    This was my fifth trip to Dobbiaco, the first as an absolute beginner. The trip was as enjoyable as my first. The first week was grade 3/4. The second was grade 2/3. A hard first week with long days. The second week was more relaxed with more time for a hot chocolate and a sauna on returning to the hotel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Skiing down the Kreuzburg Pass. A really interesting 5k snowplough.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Liz and Ingrid were both excellent as usual. A great combination of providing instruction at an appropriate level and good encouragement. They looked after the health and safety of the groups while at the same time encouraging the participants to stretch themselves. They are both relaxed and sociable: They are good to be around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it! Dobbiaco is the ideal location for beginners with the Arena complex the ideal location to begin skiing safely. More advanced skiers can stretch themselves to their full ability in a variety of different locations. If you can manage go for two weeks. You will want to stay for longer as you become immersed in the culture of the area. Make sure you go for a hot chocolate in the cafe across the road from the hotel. My favourites were the white and the chilli versions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel is excellent with a fantastic spa. The hotel staff are relaxed, friendly and efficient. They even provided good porridge at breakfast! Perfect for a Scotsman.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Earnshaw

    Mt Toubkal Winter Climb

    Really great trip. All the other people in the group were lovely. Scenery and food fantasic. Mountain accomodation basic but more than adequate. Toilets could be better though.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Both main mountain days

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Well organised and concerned for our safety.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get some ice axe and crampon training and practice before the trip.
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