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 March 2019
    Lesley Wilkinson

    Misrepresented

    An extremely disappointing trip. Several places we should have visited were closed on the days we were there because of change to itinerary (why was this not checked out?) Distances travelled on some days were much longer than stated in trip notes. Not sure whether it was due to drivers getting lost or road, we weren't told. Drove for hours without being given any information on areas we were travelling through. Did not see anything of Mandi as we did not arrive there until after 6 pm. Hotel there was filthy. Some of the other hotels were not much better; SIlverine in Shimla was unheated and extremely cold, even public areas and restaurant. Sat in jackets etc for breakfast and dinner.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Evening visit to the Golden Temple. Visit to Dalai Lama's temple.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Asif was pleasant enough but lacked both enthusiasm and knowledge of places visited.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book a different tour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We have been on previous trips with both Exodus and other companies, which were excellent. Some of these have been to remote areas of developing countries, so we were not expecting 5 star treatment. Considering the cost of the trip this has to be the worst experience with any company we have travelled with.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Lesley, Sue, Tony and Rob for their reviews, although we are very sorry that they were so disappointed with the trip on which they travelled together.  We regret that this departure did not live up to our normal high standards and we have taken their feedback on board with immediate effect; their leader will no longer guide for us and the availability of activities has been reviewed.  The standard of accommodation on this tour is not to the same level as is found in other areas of India given that the trip travels to less touristic locations where there are fewer accommodation options available, but the hotels have also been reviewed to ensure that we are using the best properties available to us.

     

    Kashka Lantis - Product Manager for India

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Sue Dean

    Exodus needs to do better

    Overall this was such a disappointing trip. Highlights - Golden temple in Amritsar; Wagah border ceremony; optional excursion to Taj Mahal; Viceroy toy train from Shimla to Kalka. Hotels - four out of the seven we stayed in were below an acceptable standard and were barely acceptable. In particular the Hotel Raj Mahal in Shimla was filthy and cockroach infested. Others were very cold, damp and smelled of drains. The other three hotels and the homestay were satisfactory. I felt that as a single traveller sharing a room I was often given the worst rooms in hotels and asked for room changes on three occasions. Itinerary - uninteresting for the most part although it sounded very interesting on paper. We were unable to visit several places as they were always closed on those particular days. Travel time between hotels was grossly inaccurate and we spent many more hours travelling than was scheduled.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Golden temple at night

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Asif was polite and helpful however his diction was sometimes difficult to understand and he did not demonstrate a real passion for the role and his culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't book this trip

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I did not come to this holiday as a naive Westerner who was expecting Western standards. I have previously travelled in India so knew what to expect. The tour did not offer value for money and is grossly overpriced. The standard of hotels was overall completely unacceptable for the price of the holiday and were more akin to backpacking hostels.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Lesley, Sue, Tony and Rob for their reviews, although we are very sorry that they were so disappointed with the trip on which they travelled together.  We regret that this departure did not live up to our normal high standards and we have taken their feedback on board with immediate effect; their leader will no longer guide for us and the availability of activities has been reviewed.  The standard of accommodation on this tour is not to the same level as is found in other areas of India given that the trip travels to less touristic locations where there are fewer accommodation options available, but the hotels have also been reviewed to ensure that we are using the best properties available to us.

     

    Kashka Lantis - Product Manager for India

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Tony White

    Disappointing

    This tour has all the makings of something special, but fails to deliver. Amritsar and Golden Temple fantastic, Partition Museum shut and if you want to visit the Wagah Border ceremony, then it will need arranging and cost extra ( why is it not included?). Rushed visit to Mcleodganj, staying in Citrus Hotel which needs a thorough deep clean ( dirty, unchanged sheets and filthy pillows). Andretta homestay pleasant although very wet and cold, pottery shut. So what is there to do there? Long day travel to Mandi; didn't see anything of the town and it's "80 temples". Group ate in Raj Mahal Palace; 50% I'll following day. Rooms dirty and bathrooms filthy. Drop this hotel from the itinerary! Shimla is highlight of the mountains and was as good as expected, although the weather was very cold and wet. Unfortunately Silverine Hotel is not heated, so wet clothes need drying out in front of 2 bar electric fire supplied on request. Shimla Toy Train a great experience. Overall, the poor hotels and some long uncomfortable days on the road dragged down the overall ambience of the tour. Finally, the constant noise, dirt, poverty and litter take over one's senses. India will sink under its own litter problem, which is piled everywhere. I have done extensive tours around the world, most of them a wonderful cultural experience. This, alas, is not one of them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Golden Temple, Dalai Lama Temple, Himalayan views, Shimla.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not the inspirational leader that other tours have had. Arranged transport and meals ok, but limited information and descriptions in many locations.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This tour is overpriced for the standard of hotels offered and content. Entry fees to the 50% of museums that weren't shut are cheap in India. This is mid-priced tour that provides some very sub-standard accomodation. Advice; try another tour.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Lesley, Sue, Tony and Rob for their reviews, although we are very sorry that they were so disappointed with the trip on which they travelled together. We regret that this departure did not live up to our normal high standards and we have taken their feedback on board with immediate effect; their leader will no longer guide for us and the availability of activities has been reviewed. The standard of accommodation on this tour is not to the same level as is found in other areas of India given that the trip travels to less touristic locations where there are fewer accommodation options available, but the hotels have also been reviewed to ensure that we are using the best properties available to us.

     

    Kashka Lantis - Product Manager for India

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Rob Gilbert

    Mountains temples and hill stations

    The highlight of this trip was the golden temple Amritsar and Taj Mahal, of which i had to pay 140 euro extra to do this...hotels in most places were below standards with filthy bed linen, mould, no heat, hanging wall sockets galore..as i was single supplement, it seems i got the raw deal in most places we stayed....mandi hotel, maharaja palace, should be dropped from this tour....worst place ever!! Asif was pleasant tour guide who did his best to keep things going but with programme changes and making alternatives, proved difficult. All in all, a very disappointing trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting golden temple and Taj Mahal, which i had already seen before

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Asif was a good guy who tried his best to please a lot of grumpy tourists who felt they were not getting what they signed up for.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yea like the previous lady said on her review early 2019....dont do this trip

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Lesley, Sue, Tony and Rob for their reviews, although we are very sorry that they were so disappointed with the trip on which they travelled together.  We regret that this departure did not live up to our normal high standards and we have taken their feedback on board with immediate effect; their leader will no longer guide for us and the availability of activities has been reviewed.  The standard of accommodation on this tour is not to the same level as is found in other areas of India given that the trip travels to less touristic locations where there are fewer accommodation options available, but the hotels have also been reviewed to ensure that we are using the best properties available to us.

     

    Kashka Lantis - Product Manager for India

  • Reviewed March 2019
    Iain Roberts

    Stunning

    This was a wonderful trip, well organised and lead by the wonderful Valerie Parkinson. We had a great mix of people, who all got on together, and this does really help when your trekking in extreme conditions. The hard work put in by the spotters, porters, cooks and helpers was gratefully appreciated. No task was too much trouble, and always done with a lovely smile. These guys certainly earn their money.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip from start to finish was good fun, but seeing a couple of snow leopards was the highlight of the trip. The wonderful scenery. We had 36 hours of snow, but when the sun came out and seeing the snow capped Himalayas in all there glory, was truly magnificent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie is a natural. Laid back, well organised, and was great fun to be with. You can see the pleasure she gets from being in the Himalayas, and helping the local people.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do take the warmest of sleeping bag. We had very low temp. so everything does freeze during the night, so if you need to keep anything warm, just put in your sleeping bag. My face wipes, contact lens solution where all frozen after the first night. I have to admit, that over the six days camping, I only changed once, and probably only washed once, but everybody is in the same boat, so don't worry. As we had a lot of snow, I was really glad to have a pair of micro spikes. They made a huge difference trekking on the snow and ice. They give you a lot more confidence, but do buy decent ones ( Yak Trak ) as cheaper ones will fall apart after one day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The home stay was a welcome relief after a few nights camping. The people in the mountain village are really wonderful. Nice to be in a room with a log burning fire, and to get up to a hot cup of tea and freshly baked bread.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Sue Butcher

    Disappointing

    Sadly I can not recommend this trip. The guides we had were not up to Exodus standard and often no local knowledge. I came home with little new knowledge of Indian history, culture or customs. The transport was dangerous and uncomfortable The hotels were of a poor standard and at times filthy dirty The trip notes do not give a realistic impression of the amount of travelling undertaken, often for little reward. Eg “drive through a tea plantation” which we did with no explanation, stopping or photo opportunity! And frequently arriving at our destination late There was often no choice over where we could eat our evening meals due to the isolation of the hotels a fixed dinner was often only available at a fixed price

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The friendliness of the rural mountain women The of beauty of the golden temple ar Amritsar

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not enough knowledge or experience. Anxious

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t go on this trip
  • Reviewed December 2018
    anne hillman

    You cycle all the way!

    One of the great joys of this trip was that you cycle for 10 days without having any transfers. There is, as has been mentioned, a fair amount climbing compared to other trips of similar grading. However few have really steep gradients so you can generally just get into your rhythm and up you go! The added bonus being some long fabulous downhill sections. It goes without saying that the environment is stunning, ever changing with glorious views of the surrounding mountains, rivers and valleys. We didn't see any other tourists (except in Amritsar and Shimla) and were welcomed with warmth and big beaming smiles where ever we went. Enjoy!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Golden Temple at night along with the welcome of the local people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

  • Reviewed November 2018
    Peter Gomes

    Great riding in the foothills of the Himalaya

    This centrepiece of the trip is ten straight days riding the foothills of the Himalaya. The riding is mostly in areas that are undeveloped in terms of tourism and where the accommodation is basic, it's really basic. As is to be expected, the riding is undulating from a low of 600m to a high of 3,100m amidst the snow atop the Jalori Pass. I clocked it at over 40,000 feet of vertical ascent in total over the 10 days, which is far higher than the other grade 4 rides we've completed (Sri Lanka, Peru). The scenery is stunning with plenty of opportunity to stop and admire distant snow covered peaks rising over 5,000m. At one point, I could see twelve gradually rising hills stacked one behind the other into the distance. Magical. The trip opens with two visits (evening and morning) to the Golden Temple in Amritsar & closes with a day in each of Shimla and Delhi with the joy of the toy train ride down the mountain from Shimla to the plain at Kalka. Food is plentiful and very cheap, and we had no tummy issues at any point. As long as you are reasonably cycling fit and prepared for some rather basic accommodation, this is another trip to add to your list.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In terms of cycling, probably the final section up to the Jalori Pass with snow on either side of the road as I climbed. Everyone rode at their own pace and we all made it to the top for chai and chocolate. I also enjoyed the climbs to Dharamsala/Mcleod Ganj and Narkanda both topped off by stunning views from our hill-stop overnight stays. Oh, and of course all the descents, where we all got to be eight year old again. I was impressed by the quality of the food at the many road-side eateries that we stopped at for chai and/or lunch. I was not alone, given the clamour for seconds and even thirds. Away from the bike, the trip got off to a terrific start with the visit to the Golden Temple which was inspiring both in terms of the temple complex but also the people whom we encountered. A truly humbling experience as one of our party put it. Also quietly impressive was the visit to the Norbulingka Institute which seeks to preserve Tibetan culture. Once off the bike, we enjoyed Shimla with the pedestrianized Mall staking a claim for the longest yet cleanest street in India, and the impressive Viceroy's Lodge was worth the walk from our hotel. The train from Shimla to Kalka was a fun must-do and once in Delhi : old Delhi's bazaars, India Gate, Rahtrapati Bhavan, the Red Fort and Humayun's Tomb were personal highlights. Ultimately, unless you're a hard-core cyclist, its about people and a lovely moment was when we stopped a local beauty spot for a picnic lunch and encountered a collection of children on a school trip to the same spot. The brief post lunch cricket match between the school boys and we tourists that ensued was a joy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tapesh was a tribute to Exodus and India. A bundle of energy, he kept us in line without being overbearing but was fun throughout, contributing to a really cohesive group almost from Day 1.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. The basic hotels are really basic, especially the one in Bali Chowk. Bring warm clothing with a down jacket a must, certainly in November. Sleeping bag liners & thermal underwear, and a range of hats also strongly recommended. 2. Eat vegetarian. The food is always fresh, tasty and inexpensive. We quickly gave up on meat once we realised the most chickens in India seemed to have die of starvation. 3. Drink only bottled water. It's plentiful and you don't need to take chances. 4. In Delhi, the metro system (nearest station 5 min walk from our hotel) is excellent: new, frequent, inexpensive (50p per day) & far less crowded than our tube. Great way to get to & from the sights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is India. You will often be accosted by young locals wanting "selfies". Enjoy the attention. The infrastructure is very variable and customer service whilst well-intentioned sometimes falls quite a way short of western standards. Chill, go with the flow and remember you're on holiday.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    sue hodgson

    Northern India

    A wonderful trip exploring Northern India.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the orphanage in McCleod Ganj. Golden Temple, Amritsar

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sonam was a very organised group leader.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The local guides, supporting Sonam, were not of the usual Exodus standard.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Marie Josee van Rijn

    Himalaya experience

    Wonderful, inspiring and active trip full of challenges. Beautiful scenery, great people, lovely staff. Truly one of the best experiences in my life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing over the highest passes, overcoming my fear of descending (I really prefer walkin uphill), letting go of everything that was going on in my life back home, meeting wonderful new people, dealing with altitude and learning the effects it has on your body, meeting monks in Ladakh and visiting the Taj Mahal (I booked the extension Golden triangle).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ngima was the best! He was so experienced with climbing and the altitude. Also, he was extremely fit. He made sure everyone was doing alright all the time and motivated us to keep on going even if we were having a hard time. He showed genuine interest in all of us and opened up to us during the trip. Tashi was great as well, as was the rest of the staff.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was very happy with my walking poles for the descents. Also, bring lots of sunscreen and a hat with a long flap that covers your neck. Exercise enough at home before you start this trip. I was very happy that a came prepared and fit enough. The altitude and the heat during the day already make it hard so having a certain level of fitness really helps you to be able to enjoy this trip instead of having to struggle through it. Bring a set of playing cards and invite the rest of the staff to join you for a game after diner; they love that! Earplugs will come in handy at night as most nights you will here the continuous sounds of the bells on the horses that stay around the tents. Warm clothes are a must, especially a warm hat, fleece and gloves. A washcloth helps you clean up a little bit during the 7 days camping when you get a bowl of warm water and you try to ‘shower’ in your tent ;-).
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