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

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552 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2019
    Gary Brown

    Good cycling but a shame about the pollution in the cities.

    We've visited India twice before, the first time 20 years ago and then again 10 years ago, and so as keen cyclists we were excited about the prospect of cycling around the back roads of Rajasthan. The cycling was fantastic, along quiet country roads through small rural villages where everyone waves and shouts hello. Brilliant! But beware - after the cycling you end up in large cities where the levels of pollution are now so bad that it is not only unpleasant to walk around but potentially very bad for your health. I and 3 others ended up with chest infections and 2 of us couldn't cycle again for the remainder of the trip. Our trip was over Xmas and New Year and the hotels, although perfectly clean and adequate, had no heating and it was very very cold at night - we had to ask for extra blankets just to be able to sleep. Our leader Manu and all the support crew were excellent but the bikes were a little tired. Would I recommend this trip - No! Although the cycling was great the pollution in the cities is horrendous!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cycling and the excitement of the local children.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus like to promote responsible tourism and yet their tipping policy makes a mockery of this. Why is it necessary for the clients to subsidise the wages of the leader and support crew? Surely Exodus (and the company they subcontract to in India) should be paying these local people a decent living wage? I would certainly prefer to pay a little extra in the cost of the holiday if it would do away with this unpleasant tipping procedure.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Wing Chan

    Amazing experience but challenging conditions

    This was a busy and varied trip through northern Ethiopia. I had a great time and met lots of friendly, interesting and kind people. We bonded as a group and with our guide, which made it really special. The Simien Mountains are stunning and we got to see them from the national park, during the long drives and on the mule trek and climb up to a church in Lalibela. Our guide let us stop frequently on the long drives to take pictures, which broke up the journey and made it interesting. The unique paintings in the monastery churches in Lake Tana were breathtaking when we first saw them and the rock hewn churches in Lalibela were a true wonder. When we were there, the Ethiopians celebrated their Christmas and we experienced the pilgrimage that thousands of people make to Lalibela for the Christmas Day service. On Christmas Eve, we went up to the church in the Simiens by mule and on foot, which was dangerous and crowded coming down, but which was an amazing and unforgettable experience. We managed because of paid helpers who were mostly young lads trying to earn money for their education and I did not begrudge this at all. Also, the Ethiopians were kind, understanding and allowed us to pass safely, amazed that foreigners were there at all. In the evening, at 10 pm, some of us went to the rock hewn church of St Mary and joined thousands of pilgrims who were spending the night there, some holding candle wicks and watching the night time service. It was really atmospheric. Thankfully, we went back to the hotel to sleep. Others got up at 7 am to make it to the Christmas Day service itself and were seen in the crowd on Ethiopian tv! The accommodation was varied, some ok and some below standard. The wifi is unreliable and weak, even if the hotels say that it is available. The functionality of the plumbing, general cleanliness and availability of hot water is varied amongst all the hotels where we stayed and were the main problems. The availability of clean and functional toilets outside the hotels during the day was sparse. Be prepared to tolerate all of this when you go on this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The mule trek and hike to the church in the Simien Mountains and the hike down was one of the highlights. The other was Christmas Eve and being amongst the pilgrims at night time as they slept/waited for Christmas Day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gebre was fantastic. He is very knowledgeable, friendly and was pleased to answer any questions that we had. He made sure that we got to see everything, negotiating with locals and sorting out any problems with accommodation. He went out of his way to ensure that we got the most out of our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to put up with poor toilets (generally everywhere), plumbing that does not work (no hot water in some hotels and toilets that do not flush well), lack of cleanliness, loose electrical wires and lack of functionality of mundane items (tv, hair dryer - if there is one) in some of the accommodation (in Lalibela, the seals on the shower cubicle had gaps in them and so the room was flooded each time we had a shower, but there was hot water). There is unreliable wifi, which is frustrating when the hotels say that it is available. In Lake Tana and Gondar, the hotel staff opened our windows during the day time, which let the insects and mosquitoes in and the mosquito nets in the windows had holes in them. Good walking boots are essential for most days. The steps to/ground around the churches are all uneven and sometimes steep, even in Lalibela. Some of the trip is exceptionally dusty, which is why the showering issue becomes important. There are early starts and long days in order to travel to see everything described. This is is a rewarding holiday but definitely not 'relaxing'. Read the trip notes. They are fairly accurate.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our driver, Tegen, was also great. He was very skilled at driving us through the most challenging of 'roads', manoeuvring us through chaotic traffic jams and making the van do things that we did not think were possible. We were completely safe with him. 11/12 of us became ill at some point of the trip, all of us suffering from upset stomach and not feeling well. It lasted a day or two and did not spoil the trip.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Lynne Hopkins

    Authentic Andalucia

    Just back from a fantastic trip. Was great to be based in the Spanish countryside. The Cortijo is such a lovely, relaxing, chilled place. Good mix of places visited on the itinerary. To bring in the New Year in Seville was a special experience. There wasn’t a place visited that I wouldn’t want to return to. Indeed I’d happily do the whole trip again. We were fortunate to have a week of blue skies and sunshine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The chilled location of the Cortijo in the Spanish countryside, among the olive groves and everyday life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michael was very informative and enthusiastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Lynne Hopkins

    Authentic Andalucia

    Just back from a fantastic trip. Was great to be based in the Spanish countryside. The Cortijo is such a lovely, relaxing, chilled place. Good mix of places visited on the itinerary. To bring in the New Year in Seville was a special experience. There wasn’t a place visited that I wouldn’t want to return to. Indeed I’d happily do the whole trip again. We were fortunate to have a week of blue skies and sunshine.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The chilled location of the Cortijo in the Spanish countryside, among the olive groves and everyday life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Michael was very informative and enthusiastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Amrit Panesar

    amazing trip, full of surprises

    a great, well organised trip - The hardest thing i needed to do was to wake up on time - everything else was taken care of. Loved the safaris, bird watching, village walks/cycling, train journey, whale watching and more. Hotels were great too.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Elephant safari was my highlight- so exciting getting close (but not too close) to the elephants. A totally majestic animal. I also loved the cycling through the village, meeting locals along the way- taking photos of breathtaking scenery along the way. To top it off, we had the most amazing food in the village, sitting in the open surrounded by trees and plants. Food was absolutely amazing, best meal of the tour - and the family was so friendly. They were so happy for us to dine at their home. was a total pleasure.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A Legend. Sujaan, looked after us throughout the trip and would make sure that we didn't miss out . on anything, including eating fresh fruits and local delicacies - not to mention teaching us how to make coconut daal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You will be dining a lot in hotels- mostly buffets which is not great if you are vegetarian- i did feel that i was eating more western food, as i wanted to try out the local food. Apart from that, Sri Lanka has everything to offer. I felt very safe, being a solo traveller and a women.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would have been great if the tour leader had more of a say as to where we should eat, rather than taking us to "exodus recommended restaurants". when in kandy and "little britain" Sujaan suggested dining at "Aroma" and "Grand hotel" - both amazing places to dine, with great food and local selections. The rest of the places were okish-
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Mary Fenelon Bourke

    Unforgettable Sri Lanka

    This two week trip of Sri Lanka covers a lot of ground & various experiences & really gives the traveller a great taste of what this wonderful country has to offer. We had cultural experiences in Dambulla & Sigiryia , saw elephants & leopard on safari ,experienced hiking, biking, white water rafting, tea plantations, cities like Kandy & Galle, colonial experiences in Nuwara Eliyia , super food & the services of Ruwan an exceptional guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing Lion's rock in Sigiryia, seeing leopard in Yala, white water rafting in Kitulgala.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan is a fantastic leader, super organised & efficient but in a gentle effective way. He made sure that we had great experiences.He is clearly passionate about his country & his job & he ensured that we had a memorable holiday. He also was very funny which is not easy when English is not his first language.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for rain most days in November/early December. We were lucky that it was mainly in the evenings but it was still more than we expected. Bring good insect sprays, walking shoes for the hikes & climbs & temple cover up clothes for the temples.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It would have been nice to spend more time in Galle as it is a lovely city & we only had three hours there. Perhaps an overnight would be an option. It would also be nice to be able to eat other than in our hotels more of the time as you can get tired with the hotel buffets.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Joy Harrington

    Srilanka

    Great trip. Good balence of culture, wildlife and activities. Our guide Ruwan was fantastic; always smiling and had any problems sorted before they occurred. All hotels were of a high standard and the food was good (although we would have liked to eat at local restaurants) transport was excellent, our coach was clean, comfortable and roomy. We definitely had the best driver in Srilanka. I would highly recommend this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the safaris, elephants and leopards. The cycle ride around the villages was amazing with lovely food at a villages house. The walk in the highlands was also another highlight. Kandy and Galle were fantastic towns and would have loved to spend more time there

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan was brilliant. Professional, fun and informative. Nothing was too much trouble and he went out of his way to look after the people who were poorly. I feel as if I have made a new friend and will definitely vote for him in Exodus guide of the year

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep your purse shut at the Gem factory! Pushy salesman and over priced! Definitely visit ‘Charlie’ at the cemetery in Kandy and listen to his stories. Helga folly is worth a visit for a drink

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would cut 5he gem factory out and maybe the museum. Would like a night or 2 in Galle to experience the lovely town and eat in some of the restaurants
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Jerry Dawson

    Comprehensive exploration of the sights of South India

    If you have three weeks to spare and want to see the highlights of South India, this is the trip for you. Comprehensive coverage of the main temples, palaces, hill stations and other attractions of the region. Although the trip packs in all the sights, it did not feel rushed and there is enough time left free to explore on your own. South India seems much less frenetic than the north and the food is amazing! There is a lot of driving but the bus is air conditioned and spacious and from time to time the group travels by train, which is a fascinating experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In terms of sights, the highlights for me were driving through the tea plantations near Ooty and Periyar, exploring the streets of former French colony Pondicherry, having lunch during a small cyclone in the "Rick Stein" beachfront restaurant in Mahabalipuram, exploring the various flower and vegetable markets, the waterfront at Kovalam, and the overnight houseboat trip in the Kerala Backwaters near Alleppey. The real highlight for me, however, was the food - Indian food all day from breakfast (puris and iddlys) through to dinner - including the several stops at roadside restaurants for thalis at lunchtime, the wonderful seafood in Mahabalipuram and Kovalam, and the cooking demonstration (with active participation) in Thekkady/ Periyar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rajesh P.K. did a great job. He had a kind and caring personality and was very open with information about India and its customs, religions and culture. All the trip logistics worked out well - which is quite an achievement for India!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are some very long journeys on the bus so do bring a book to read. Although western food is available at all the hotels and most restaurants, it will add greatly to the enjoyment of the trip if you throw caution to the wind and eat the local food - lot of amazing veg and non-veg options! If you want a cold beer with dinner, call ahead to the restaurant to make sure there are beers in the fridge (many restaurants seem to serve beer at room temperature!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have liked more time in Pondicherry with a more comprehensive city walking tour to include information about life during the 300 years of French occupation; and also time to see the main sights in Chennai.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Mindy Grantham

    Great trip! Covered a lot of ground

    I was already traveling in India and made a fairly last minute decision to join this tour. I’m very glad I did. We had a small group which made it easy to move around, see things, hear the guides, and have a more personal experience. The guide (Santo) was great! He’s very personable, knowledgeable, and tries to make sure that we have a local experience to the extent possible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being at Periyar and having the guide start telling our group to be quiet and move quickly as we started running through the forest in order to get to the place where an elephant was spotted.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santo was wonderful. He’s super nice (all of the time even when there’s a difficult member of the group), he explains things well so we all understand in advance what to expect, he makes sure the trip is seamless for us (even though I’m sure there’s always issues) and he tries to give us local experiences too, which really makes the difference. I highly recommend him! I’d do another trip of his.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Mindy Grantham

    Great trip! Covered a lot of ground

    I was already traveling in India and made a fairly last minute decision to join this tour. I’m very glad I did. We had a small group which made it easy to move around, see things, hear the guides, and have a more personal experience. The guide (Santo) was great! He’s very personable, knowledgeable, and tries to make sure that we have a local experience to the extent possible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being at Periyar and having the guide start telling our group to be quiet and move quickly as we started running through the forest in order to get to the place where an elephant was spotted.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santo was wonderful. He’s super nice (all of the time even when there’s a difficult member of the group), he explains things well so we all understand in advance what to expect, he makes sure the trip is seamless for us (even though I’m sure there’s always issues) and he tries to give us local experiences too, which really makes the difference. I highly recommend him! I’d do another trip of his.