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

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  • Reviewed August 2019
    Jill Haydock

    Go and experience Uzbekistan

    An amazing trip if you’re interested in Early to modern civilisation, beautiful architecture and a country rediscovering its heritage and crafts. The people are very welcoming, dress code is relaxed and beer or wine is always an option at mealtimes. It’s a country worth seeing now.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The unexpected ‘wild swim’ in the lake and visiting the beautiful Shah-I-Zinda on the day families were celebrating Eid are both magical memories.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic! Dilshod’s knowledge of ancient and modern history, the architecture, crafts and culture in each city was phenomenal; and his willingness to share his own stories of recent history put this trip right up with the best.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have a problem with pillows try and take your own travel pillow!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would have the yurt stay a little more remote from parked cars, coaches and motorbikes! I was woken by a motorbike starting up!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Neil Thomas

    Llamas and Alpacas: Machu Picchu Dreaming

    It took me a while to love Peru. It didn't help that our flight from Gatwick was delayed nearly 24 hours, resulting in us missing the first part of the adventure, and then enduring two very long travel days. However, once we arrived in Cusco and dealt with the initial impact of the altitude, the magic started to work. Ignore the sprawling, traffic-filled suburbs: the historic centre of Cusco is a magnificent place to spend a couple of days. We enjoyed visiting the market, the Bohemian quarter of San Blas, people watching in the Plaza de Armas and even waiting to cheer a bride into her wedding. Our days in Cusco bracketed our visit to Machu Picchu, which is every bit as magnificent as the guidebooks lead you to believe. Our allocated afternoon time slot allowed us to walk to the Sun Gate before visiting the main site - a rewarding experience affording magnificent views. The downside of MP - the shuttle buses to and from Aguas Callientes. You will have to face lengthy queues in each direction. On our second morning in Aguas Callientes we resisted the urge to visit MP again and instead were taken on a walk along the railway line to Los Jardines de Mandor, a beautiful botanic garden in the cloud forest leading to a waterfall. I would urge all Exodus clients to make this three-hour excursion - it was a highlight for us. After Cusco, there was another sprinkling of magic on Amantani Island, an oasis of beauty on Lake Titicaca. Our visit coincided with an island fiesta, so we enjoyed the riot of flags, dancing and colour displayed by the locals. Our journey across Titicaca also involved a visit to one of the floating island communities. That too was wonderful in a weird way. Next was the trip through the altiplano to the charming town of Chivay, stopping to watch an erupting volcano and a couple of whirlwinds en route. I can also now tell my llamas from my alpacas, as well as vicunas - there are plenty of all three species to be seen en route. Chivay offered a trip to the thermal springs and a rare hour of leisurely self-indulgence. The next day it was an early start to see the Andean condors rising on the thermals in Colca Canyon - another memorable experience. Then it was Arequipa, our visit coinciding with another festival of music and dance, and finally Miraflores, and a belated meeting with Paddington Bear, before our flight home.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Machu Picchu, Cusco, Amantani Island, Colca Canyon, the train trip from Ollentaytambo to Machu Picchu. There were more, but you get the drift.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have been on numerous Exodus trips, all with good leaders, but Giuliano Gallesi was on a higher level than all of them - not just because of the altitude. He dealt efficiently with our day-late arrival and then led the tour with authority and compassion throughout. He was quick to recognise the signs when group members were struggling with the altitude and twice called the doctor as a result. He has a very good command of English, a likeable personality, was happy to answer all our questions and, above all, was available to the group 24/7. A true professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the long distances involved in the itinerary. For most of the route, the bus had a toilet on board, but that is of little consolation if, like me, you are not happy travelling near the back of a coach. We bought Peruvian Soles in advance of the trip and these were easier to use than US dollars. Dollars are accepted, but you are subject to the vagaries of local exchange rates. Food was generally of a very high standard. Our tour leader took us to or recommended consistently good restaurants. Make sure you have a supply of toilet paper handy. Many public banos did not have any available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Essential Peru is a rewarding but tiring trip. And you cannot ignore the altitude. On first arrival in Cusco we wanted to go straight to bed to sleep. The advice to take a short walk for some fresh air and then to have something to eat helped us to acclimatise.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Phil Watson

    Impressive and full of variety whilst still feeling welcoming & friendly

    This trip ticks all the boxes to immerse yourself in Chinese culture and history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Terracotta army in all its glory was a lifelong ambition and didn’t disappoint

    What did you think of your group leader?

    From the first minute to the last, Avan was a perfect ambassador for his wonderful Country - full of knowledge, always resourceful and flexible to our needs as well as having a great sense of humour which made the trip swing along - we had lots of fun along the way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Whilst the advice was to prepare for steps and long platforms, in reality wheeled suitcases were absolutely fine and negotiating the train stations was easy even in the busy summer holiday period.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is quite demanding with the heat in the summer and large crowds, but the variety of options are huge and the sights keep rolling along for the whole trip - a total immersion in China which was unforgettable!
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kim Norton

    Awesome Vietnam experience

    The whole experience exceeded my expectations. The trip had a great mix of experiences, my personal favourites being the Halong Bay boat trip and Mekong delta homestay with added birthday cake (surprise from our guide, Tung) for the August birthday celebratees.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is hard for me to choose one, but I am inspired by how welcoming and friendly the people are and their resilience.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Tung, had an amazing knowledge of the region and always ensured everyone was in their happy place 😊. Vote Tung for guide of the year!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Stay an extra day or two after the tour ends, to rest. Although the tour is well paced it is still tiring if you are not used to the busy city travel.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Sandor Burslem

    A week of incredible contrasts

    A wonderful week encompassing a huge variety of experiences in Jordan, from Bedouin tents to a swimming pool on the edge of the Dead Sea, very well organised and covering a lot of ground.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A toss up between Petra and the Wadi Rum; seeing the Treasury at Petra first appear between the rocks of the Siq probably takes the prize. Also taking in the Grand Canyon-esque view of the Wadi Mujib, of which I'd never heard before.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ibrahim was knowledgeable, great fun and very well organised, e.g. changing the day's activities to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The heat in the South and the Dead Sea was intense in August, I managed about ten minutes on the beach at the Dead Sea resort before having to go inside. The temperatures were more comfortable in Amman and Jerash. The week has some early starts so take an alarm with you, and in the Wadi Rum camp you'll need a torch to find the toilet block after sunset! The days in Petra are more akin to a walking holiday than pure sightseeing so you will need walking shoes (though you inevitably see people climbing to the High Place of Sacrifice dressed for the beach). Most of the sites visited have people selling postcards and handicrafts etc though it's nowhere near as aggressive as in Egypt.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The night at the Holiday Inn resort hotel at the Dead Sea, though very pleasant, did seem a bit off kilter with the rest of the trip and Exodus's ethos of supporting local businesses and communities, although looking at the surrounding area there perhaps isn't any alternative form of accommodation if you want to experience the Dead Sea.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Michelle Claxton

    So many 'wow' moments

    I returned from this trip having experienced many moments which will last a lifetime, from seeing numerous animals in the wild or at watering holes to seeing the vastness of the Namib desert and the changing colour of the sand dunes. It really is a trip that is a photographers dream as you want to capture each and every moment. We were a group of 12 with ages ranging from early 20s to 70s and we all got on very well. Yes there were lots of long drives but these were broken up well. Accommodation was good and food often excellent. It certainly is a trip of a lifetime.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a large number of elephants at the watering hole at our lodge in Etosha. Having just finished dinner and thinking 'we'll just see if there are any animals at the watering hole' only to find around 25 elephants of various sizes and ages all drinking water alongside some zebra, springbok and oryx was truly magical. Also, seeing a pride of 12 lions on a game drive. Although not too close to our truck, it was still fascinating to watch them interact with each other.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronney was an absolute superstar! Nothing, literally nothing, was too much trouble. He had a fantastic sense of humour and laugh, and went out of his was to ensure each and every person on the trip enjoyed themselves. I never saw Ronney without anything but a smile on his face; he really is a man who loves his job. With a group of 12 with a range of dietary requirements, Ronney made sure that everyone was catered for and happy. Ruben, his assistant was also fantastic, creating amazing and huge lunch selections at the side of the road or BBQs of an evening. They are a great team and anyone getting the Ronney and Ruben combo on a trip will have struck it lucky!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    During the end of July and beginning of August the evenings and mornings get quite chilly - I underestimated how cold it could get - so bring lots of layers to cope with this. Swimming pools are not heated so unless very brave do not count on swimming. Money- Bring SA Rand as this is pegged 1:1 with Namibian Dollars and is easier to change back to Pounds Sterling if needed. Be aware of the cost of the flight over the dunes - many companies quote for this trip but often they outsource your business to another company and then the price goes up. Ensure you decide on optional excursions early so that you get to go on the ones you want. On this note - the quadbiking was excellent! The drives are long and sometimes on unmade roads. The truck does get very bouncy! Similarly on the game drive in the Waterberg Plateau. Female travellers may wish to pack a sports bra for comfort! It also gets quite dusty - a Buff or similar is useful to help keep the dust out of your lungs. When purchasing things from markets etc, listen to the starting price and then begin your offer very low, they trader will eventually meet you at a price that they judge fair, often 25% or the starting price. Don't be afraid to haggle hard.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    John Massey

    Highlights of Georgia and Armenia 2019

    This is an very good tour if you are fascinated by ancient churches and monasteries. You will see many on this tour. Although some are situated in amazing locations there are far too many to remember them all. I felt that the tour could benefit for a little variation in itinerary. The food and wine were excellent as were the very friendly people and our superb tour guides. All of which made this a very memorable trip to what is an interesting and relatively undiscovered part of the world for western tourists.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was very impressed with Tibilisi. Clean city with lots of open spaces and a mix of modern and old architecture. Especially like the cafe culture. The food throughout trip was excellent and very reasonably priced. Really impressive scenery in the Causcasus mountains

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Armenia is developing it's tourism industry and I suspect that is why our tour leader wasn't a tour guide by profession. Taguhi was by profession an English lecturer at the University in Yerevan and you could tell. She had done lots of research and sometimes delivered her commentary like a lecture with far too much detail. Having said that, she was competent and kept on schedule, organising meals as we went along. It was actually nice to have a leader who wasn't a trained guide, just a local who is passionate about her country, it's history and culture. Taguhi is intelligent and she will quickly learn how to refine her skills as a guide. I had no problems. Just a little less detailed information please. In Georgia, our guide was Ia Mikiashvili. . Ia was in her early twenties and not long out of University where she studied tourism . Ia said she was little nervous at first as this was her first English group but she proved to be an excellent tour leader in every sense. She is a very friendly person with good English and she got on well with everyone. Ia has a good knowledge of the itinerary and can advise on places to visits, restaurants etc. She made herself contactable at all times and she has good organisation and problem solving skills . I think she will do very well in the tourist industry. Very well done Ia.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are interested in Georgian and Armenian churches and monasteries you will love this trip but be prepared for some long days travelling. Make sure you check in on line. Either print your boarding pass or download to your phone

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    1. Coach transport in both countries was very good. Both coaches were clean tidy and comfortable with good microphone systems. WiFi and USB charging on the Georgian coach was very well received by everyone. 2. We had free water in Armenia but none in Georgia as we were told it was Exodus policy. Confused? 3. Hotels were very good throughout. I was expecting some standard and budget accommodation but all hotels were good, clean and with full amenities. 4. The food included as part of the tour was very good in both countries. It's a good idea to have group meals provided especially early on as it brings the group together. 5. The itinerary in Georgia was fine but in Armenia there is a need to introduce some variation so guests can experience other aspects of the history and culture other than churches and monasteries. Perhaps needs to be more balanced.. for example we spend what seemed a long time looking at ancient manuscripts and books, which wasn't so interesting and not a lot of time in the genocide museum which was. We seemed to be rushed sometimes trying to cover everything in the itinerary. On the last day we asked if we could miss out the last part of the itinerary other wise we would have been back for our final meal around 9.30pm. Perhaps need to revise the itinerary and introduce some more free time en-route. 6. Our hotel in Tibilsi was very nice but not good for those who are a little infirm and have difficulty difficulty walking uphill. There is also disturbance from a disco across the street which goes on until 5 am. 7. In Armenia we were asked by the tour leader for copies of our passports. Taguhi didn't know why her company wanted this just that she had been asked to get copies. Privacy and security are big issues in the West and so without any explanation I don't think anyone provided their passports.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Philip Atess

    Fantastic trip

    Another well organised and memorable trip by Exodus. Varied activity and ran very smoothly including transport, accommodation and food. Guide very knowledgeable and passionate about his country. Would definitely recommend.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the various sections of the wall and getting to shake hands and get a signed book from the person who discovered the Terracotta warriors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Passionate and knowledgeable about his country. Tried his very best to make sure the group enjoyed the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the Terracotta extension as you see a more authentic China than Bejieng. Xi-an is much cheaper £3-£4 for huge meal and drink and overnight train journey is certainly an experience. You can get away with shorts on the walks and certainly only need summer walking boots but ensure they have good grip as some sections of the wall are steep. Only take very light waterproofs, Chinese just use umbrellas. Practice using chop sticks before you go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • Reviewed August 2019
    Tony Bees

    Exactly what we wanted

    Good group dynamic with a friendly knowledgeable leader

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The lunch in an old hut overlooking the sea after a good walk

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Virginia was great, attentive and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just enjoy it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think the hotel should put a room at the disposal of departing guests for showering, given the late afternoon departure. This is common practice in some other hotels. Having said that the staff were truly excellent and really friendly, particularly when offering us a drink and a piece of Giovanna's birthday cake.
  • Reviewed August 2019

    Fascinating trip!

    I absolutely loved this trip and found it incredibly rich in culture and history. It was a lot to take in and rather fast paced at times, but by the end of it the whole group was up to speed on the different leaders and monarchs or Russia through the ages and had a good insight as to how the country/cities have developed to what they are today. Our leader, Artem, was full of passion and love for his country and shared his views and hopes for the future which made the trip even more insightful and interesting. Get ready for a lot of gold, chandeliers and palaces!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip was so full of history and our local guides were brilliant story tellers and sharers of information that it inspired me to continue reading about Russia and it's history... and to come back one day! The incredible craftsmanship that went in to the opulent palaces and works of art were mind-blowing as well!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring comfortable shoes to walk in! We found most places took card for payments so you don't need to take much cash with you and the food was great and diverse!