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

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11 Reviews

  • Reviewed December 2019
    Michelle Burton

    Fantastic trip - great scenery, well paced, brilliant leader

    We had the most wonderful trip on the Mini Annapurna Circuit in Nov 19 with a great group of 6, and a brilliant leader Jangbu. The scenery was amazing throughout and so varied - starting off warm with jungle and rice terraces, going through to the barren and snow covered pass. The group was made up of 3 couples (40's/50's/60's) who all met on this trip but worked really well together and was a nice number. The itinerary was very well thought out, from walking times between breakfast, tea stop, lunch, and afternoon. A slow enough pace that no-one was pushed, out of breath or sweaty. No-one got altitude sickness as the increase in altitude every day was so well managed. The food was much better and more varied that expected (fried rice, fried noodles, soup, curry, chips, pizza, and occasionally even items like lasagna, burritos etc. And of course desserts like apply pie, and mars bar rolls !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The peace and tranquillity on the trail. Going end-Nov meant it was very quiet, and we even had a lot of the tea houses all to ourselves. Every day the views were amazing and fascinating to see it change the higher you went.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Jangbu was superb. Nothing was too much trouble, he was always on hand to answer any question, order our breakfast, tea, lunch, dinner, sort out wifi, charging, showers, safe drinking water etc. He made sure we all knew the next days plans, what to wear, what to carry etc etc. We felt completely confident and comfortable with his leadership and advice, considering he has been doing this for years, and has even summited Everest 6+ times ! He made sure we only ate in safe places, advised us on what to eat, what to drink, where not to eat, and even made sure the hygiene in each place was up to standard - including going into the kitchen to assist ! No-one from the group got ill, and he was always on hand for any questions, had no downtime for himself, and even on the final day was around at breakfast and to ensure we all got our transfers to the airport and to say goodbyes.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes do cover everything you need to know - just keep re-reading them as whatever you need to know is in there ! The trail is very dusty - not just the jeep tracks, but also the walking trails, so expect very dusty boots and trousers, and a buff is essential every day. A few essential items to bring: Buff (needed every day of trek) Steripen and wide-mouth Nalgene bottle Body wipes (unreliable hot showers, and sometime too cold to want one) Hydration pack - drink on the go Hand gel - multiple bottles Diamox (start on day 3) - can buy in Kathmandu/before the trek Lots of toilet roll (3 each) Pillow case V. warm clothes - it was -8c on the morning we went over the Thorong La pass. Decent 4-season sleeping bag (we used this every single night), and sleeping bag liner to keep it clean The tea houses vary in quality - some quite smart and new, others more basic and old. We had more rooms with ensuites than shared bathrooms, and the higher you go, they all have a hot stove you can gather round in the dining room to warm up. None had heating in the bedrooms so you are only in there to unpack/pack and sleep. We normally slept in some of our clothes, and needed the 4-season sleeping bags and sometimes provided blankets as well. We only ended up having a few showers as either the hot water ran out, or the rooms were too cold to want to undress/come out wet, so body wipes were much needed ! You are advised not to drink alcohol over 3000m so this meant from day 4 onwards until you are in Jomsom on the final trekking day - 8 days without !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were a bit daunted by this trip, and potential for either getting altitude sickness, or getting ill from general hygiene on the trail. But we didnt need to worry. The itinerary is planned so you acclimatise well and the leader really looks out for you. We all religiously used hand gel at all opportunities - even cleaning the cutlery, and as a result, no-one got sick. I would 100% recommend Exodus and going guided as it takes away all hassle and concerns, from planning, pace setting, and even to knowing the safe places to eat/drink. We met a lot of people travelling in 2's/3's without guide or porters, and every evening they had to find somewhere to stay, were pouring over maps planning route, worrying about weather forecasts etc. Whereas we were all calm and had 100% faith in our leader Jangbu. Even down to what to wear, when the sun will hit the path etc. Invaluable. You also have the knowledge that you have someone there to help if you get ill, they carry any medication you may need, and even have an oxygen cylinder the entire time. None of group got sick from food or altitude which cannot be underestimated.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Jo Griffiths

    Fabulous!

    This trip had everything I could've wished for. Fabulous mountains, magnificent scenery, picturesque villages, friendly locals, great company and physical challenge. What I love about trips like this is the point when you forget about everything back home and properly switch off, maybe day 6 on this trip. Your whole focus is on eating, hiking, sleeping. Back to basics, perfect!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Always the mountains; the reason why I choose to do these big hiking trips. Mountains aside, I fell ill with a vomiting bug and had to take a motorbike ‘taxi’ as I was too poorly to hike one day. I was petrified, but at the same time, the exhilaration of riding along a high altitude dirt track in the Himalaya was quite awesome and something I will never forget. We also spotted a few vultures flying at eye level, which was cool! Of course, crossing Thorong La Pass was fabulous; the whole event. Getting up so early, the anticipation and excitement, hiking by torchlight, the snow and ice; a very special day!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous, as I’ve come to expect on all Exodus trips. Chandra and our two local guides, Hemant and Jumba, worked tirelessly to make sure everyone had a great trip. Evening briefings were always a joy, were we learnt about Nepalese culture, traditions and card games, as well as the plans for the next day. Tour Leaders and local guides take care of everything, even the simple things like advising when to put on a your waterproof, and when it’s time to take off some layers! We didn't really see much of our porters during the hike as they would set off really early, but it lovely that they joined us for dancing and few beers in Jomsom.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get your visa in advance, the queues at Kathmandu can be horrendous! Take a pillow case to avoid using those provided by the tea houses. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of some of the tea houses, however brace yourself for some pretty basic facilities in others. Buy yaktrax in Kathmandu if your Tour Leader recommends them for your departure. Don't be put off by all the negative talk of the road!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Claire Walls

    Incredible and life-affirming adventure

    The holiday was absolutely fantastic: well planned, well executed and a magical experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better break!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing Thorong-La pass in the dark wearing head torches and seeing my breath in the freezing air!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was fantastic. The best Exodus tour guide I have had, and that’s saying a lot!
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Linda Ainsworth

    Great Trek in the Himalayas

    The variety is this trip is a great surprise, after being in the Everest Region. We start from a fairly low altitude and trek all the way up, which gives a great sense of the terrain and climate as you go up. And helps with altitude acclimatization. The views are wonderful; to see the mountain ranges from all sides is a treat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Going over the pass is the big day. We were lucky with great weather and clear skies. Sunrise on the way up to the pass was a highlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee and RB are a great team! Dorjee is a great guide. He takes his job seriously but keeps it fun as well. he has great presence and it is clear he loves his job, Nepal, and the Himalayas. He does a great job telling what we need to know each day and enough of what we need to know of the days ahead. RB is also very knowledgeable and caring. He is very attentive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    read the trip notes! if you read it and the packing guide, you are good to go.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A big surprise and a bit of a disappointment is the amount of walking we need to do on the road. i know it is unavoidable and not the fault of exodus. is there anyway to alter the route to minimize the time on the road
  • Reviewed November 2018

    stunning !!

    An amazing adventure that was enjoyed by all. The scenery was amazing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The crossing of the throng la pass..........this had been what we had been edging towards from the start. Somewhat apprehensive as at 5416 metres and a long long day ahead. The weather was the unknown factor but we were lucky, once the sun came up after 2 1/2 hours , it looked achievable . The scenery was simply stunning most of the time .

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sukman was superb. Knowledgeable and experienced he was there for any problem big or small. He shared with us the love of his country and its people .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Much of the group were first time trekkers. Everyone appreciated the use of trekking poles. The steri pen for sterilising water by UV was essential but make sure you have spare batteries as the cold temperature at night can render them useless if you dont keep them in your sleeping bag. The generous baggage allowance of 2 bags totalling 35 kgs with Jet airways meant I could take old warm clothing for the porters/sherpas and back copies of Wanderlust for the schools as they are wonderful pictorial atlases of the world we live in.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Old reviews speak of the road spoiling the circuit. I found it did intrude a couple of times on the trek but it is now important for the future of Nepal and its people. The mini circuit seemed to have less contact with the road than the full trek. It is dusty so a buff is essential but on the last day of walking which was spectacular , the last part......the road became an exhilarating experience and another facet of Nepal. The group all felt the trip was an amazing experience.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Marc Gardiner

    Good Job Exodus!

    This was a wonderful trip - and challenging in so many ways! Above all, it was well organised by EXodus, and our excellent local guide Sukman was outstanding.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking 300,000 steps in 11 days, ascending over 4000 metres in the process and then coming down the other side of the Pass.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sukman was excellent. Not only was he knowledgeable and professional at all times, but he also worked constantly to ensure our comfort and safety. He was always the last to bed and the first to rise, and nothing concerning our well-being was too small for him. Sukman is a treasure!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Relax and enjoy yourself - you are in good hands!
  • Reviewed December 2017
    George Frier

    Best of the Circuit

    The AP mini circuit has to be considered as a viable alternative to the full circuit(which I have not done) - if you have a fortnight and are confident of your trekking abilities, you will get all the thrill of the trek up the Valley and over the 5416m pass , a descent through the incredible Mustang valley on the other side followed by a memorable flight past the AP range back to Pokhara .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without doubt the dawn trek up the to the Thorong La pass - summit reached at 0926 am! to find a small hut selling hot chocolate -and the views behind us of the amphitheatre of the mountains we had left behind and the vast sweep of the Mustang valley ahead. Truly memorable as we all danced around in front of the flags in the very strong winds which sweep across form the west.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - ex nepali army, a natural leader who told us clearly what was what, when, but with a friendly smile and sense of humour. He would take decisions that weren't always obvious to us but then you would see why.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it now! Biggest concern must be whether the route can remain special when there is now a (dirt)road up the Valley from the start point, and now evidence of 4 x 4 tours and the like. That coupled with increasing westernisation of the trek offering -- some of which is welcome (western toilets !) some of which is not ( There was an advert for English breakfast at one place in Menang which cannot be a necessity....) Make sure you are pretty fit and leave your prejudices behind - chill . Literally , as you get higher - but also use it as a reason to do a digital detox as i did and you will enjoy it all the more.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Billy Martin

    Mini Annapurna Circuit - October 2017

    A wonderful trip with beautiful mountain views of the Annapurna region. The trip starts at a low altitude (approx 600m) and you get a variety of scenery, rice paddies and villages at the lower levels to high mountains at altitude. The tea houses and food were excellent and were of a higher standard than I had expected. Hot showers were available at all stops.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After a 4.30 am start, getting to the Thorong La Pass with wonderful mountain views all around. The group were absolutely fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chandra was a fantastic group leader, was very knowledgeable on the Annapurnas. He did everything with a great sense of humour and his evening briefings were very entertaining. He had a wonderful support team in Ming Ma/Pema/Pemba. Ming Ma regularly set the pace at the front of the group which we could all keep up with, this was very important when we started trekking at high altitude.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Drink plenty of water, follow the pace of the guides, this will help to acclimatise at altitude. Using a steri-pen or purification tablets helps reduce the plastic bottle waste in Nepal and is also cheaper than buying bottled water every day. Having previously done the EBC trip, I can say the tea houses on the Mini Annapurna Circuit were of a higher standard compared to those on the EBC trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only negative is the amount of time spent walking on the dusty road, would be great if a trekkers path could be developed away from the road. Not an issue at the higher altitude as you're on mountain paths. Would have no hesitation in recommending this trip and Exodus to others.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Keith Tilley

    Mini Annapurna Circuit (Tour code TNH 161030)

    An outstanding experience. The trek was extremely well organised and led by an outstanding tour leader and assistant guide and guides. After reaching Thorung La and following a long and physically challenging day it would have been good to have stayed in a more comfortable tea house and one that had some heat in the main communal room.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching Thorung La pass. A truly inspirational achievement. The varied and changing scenery was also spectacularly beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was outstanding - so much so i have nominated him 'tour leader of the year'. Please see my comments about him on my submission. He had everything, professionalism, enthusiasm, knowledge and encouragement. A truely inspirational leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the trek - it's amazing!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some accommodation could have been more comfortable.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Gillian Clayton

    Mini Annapurna Circuit

    An amazing experience. The guides and porters ensured the group were supported, prepared, guided and encouraged throughout the trip. The views were incredible and sharing the experience with the group helped form wonderful friendships and memories

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Thorong La Pass together as a group

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A great group leader. Knowledgeable, approachable, enthusiastic and supportive of all group members

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train for the challenge

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Loved Nepal and am looking to plan next years trip with Exodus