Turtle, Ecuador

Review Centre

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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

Lots of our clients also like to post handy tips and advice about their travels. It’s great to know what to expect on an Exodus adventure before you go, so make the most of their experience and you’ll make the most of yours!

Haven't posted your review yet? Here's how to do it...

After you have returned from your Exodus adventure holiday you will be emailed a link to the review page. Any feedback collected is posted straight onto our website - totally unedited.

If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then click here to start the process to post your holiday review.

43 Reviews

  • 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 June 2019
    Ann Burnett

    Inexperienced guide

    I have had to give this trip a 2 star because of the guide, although I take no pleasure in doing this. He was inexperienced and quite unfriendly at times. This was my 6th Exodus trip and this was my worst ever guide by a long way. See group leader section.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I absolutely loved swimming in Aidarkul Lake and the desert scenery on the way to and from the yurt. I also loved Samarkand and particularly Shah-i-Zinda.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakh appeared to be inexperienced, he lacked friendliness at times and he showed a complete lack of interest in the fact that I was very badly ill twice. I had arrived a few days earlier (as a solo female traveller) and the day before I met the group I suffered sickness and diarhoea. On first meeting Shakh at the group meeting I mentioned this to him and I could not believe the almost complete lack of interest. In fact, I thought this so unusual, that I repeated myself in case he had not heard. We later went on our tour of Tashkent and I very nearly fainted (as I had not eaten due to the bug). Again Shakh was barely interested, pointed to a door where I could reach the outside and left me to it. Only when the other members of the group asked me if I was OK did Shakh very briefly check on me. A few days after that the bug returned and I was up all night with the worst illness I have ever encountered. The next day I again mentioned this to the guide and he was still uninterested (and no offers of pharmacy stops were made). Other problems with Shakh were:- not having sufficient water for our group in the first few days of the trip (at the desert fortresses we had run out of water completely in the heat and we also run out of water in the morning at Khiva). In fact, at the desert fortresses, I asked Shakh where the water was and he snapped back that he had not picked up the 10 litre bottle yet. As we had driven from the airport at Nukus there had been plenty of opportunity to pick up water. After that I no longer trusted Shakh to provide water and just bought my own to make sure I always had a supply. I have been on 5 other Exodus trips and on all those trips the guide has eaten with the group and the guides have been good/fantastic. This guide did not eat with us on the first night in Tashkent nor the first night in Samarkand and on around 4 or 5 other occasions. He was not always very friendly or smiley, which I think is the requirement of a guide. In fact one time we passed him in the street during our free time and he did not even smile or acknowledge us. The restaurant chosen for our final lunch in Samarkand was appalling in terms of service and again Shakh sat at a neighbouring table. Some of our food took an hour and a quarter or more to arrive and no complaints were made by him, to my knowledge. Then when the bill came the prices had changed markedly, for example the soup price had increased by over 50% and all the other prices had changed. This situation was awful and was handled very badly by the guide. The coach was not always asked to collect us, e.g from right outside the airport, so we were left with quite long distances to drag our cases. This was not really a problem for me as I had a rucksack (albeit a heavy one) but some of the other travellers were in their 70's and I am sure they would have benefited from being picked up. Shakh gave out his mobile number in case of emergency, with instructions NOT to ring him at night. Whilst I am sure most people would not ring the guide at night, emergencies can of course happen at night. On a more positive note Shakh was very knowledgeable about the history and geography of Uzbekistan and I very much enjoyed his commentaries, especially when he told us about his wedding. He also improved as the 11 days progressed (except for the final lunch incident). However I think being completely uninterested in the health of your travellers is completely unacceptable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sadly a number of people in our group were ill. Take plenty of rehydration salts. The bread is at least delicious, so you can survive on that! Do get out for a walk in the area around the yurt. I had a couple of little walks and it was so peaceful and the wildlife great.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary is great for this trip with a lovely combination of nature and cities. I would however definitely check on who is the guide.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Ann for her review; we were pleased to read she enjoyed the itinerary and found it to have a good combination of nature and cities, as we feel this is something that makes Uzbekistan such a special country to visit.  We were, however, very sorry to read that she was disappointed with her tour leader, Shahrukh.  Having discussed this with a member of the Exodus team who has also travelled with Shahrukh, who is an experienced guide, we feel that he has potential to be a great tour leader for us, so we have asked the local team to carry out some additional training regarding what is expected by Exodus and our clients.  While we are sorry that this cannot alter Ann’s experience, we hope that this shows we have taken her review on board.  Jennifer Cox - Product Manager

  • Reviewed June 2019
    George Garland

    Fascinating Place

    The names of Samarkand and Bukhara have conjured dreams since my school days many years ago and I never thought I would have a chance to see them. The fall of the USSR and now visa-free travel has left this land of desert fortresses, caravan stops and the beautiful buildings covered in ornate blue tiles within reach. The land of Tamerlane, the vastness of the central Asian steppes and the magical cross-roads of civilisations and learning need to be seen to be believed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving in Khiva and seeing the Silk Road monuments for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shah is a young man fairly new to the industry. He is very knowledgeable but lacks some of the finesse and inter-personal skills that come with experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan is far easier to enjoy than imagined. Outside Tashkent English is widely spoken, particularly in the tourist industry and amongst the young. With a stay up to 15 days now visa free for tourists from a large range of countries including the UK this is the time to travel before too many people start making their plans and prices start rising.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The final 24 hours was wasted time which was a pity. The hotel in Tashkent was near the airport but 7 or 8 kilometers from the centre. There is no direct public transport between the two and with no Uzbek or Russian language skills travel could have been fraught, particularly as the return journey would be time critical. It would be far better to secure an hotel close to the city centre for the one night.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Paul Grundy

    Uzbekistan Uncovered

    A good overview of the country taking in the historic and architectural highlights of Uzbekistan. Transport was Good although it was evident that the train journey was more often than not unavailable. On a personal note, I felt that the group size (16) was too large.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The city of Khiva was the highlight for me. Still relatively unaffected by mass tourism and the locals were pleasant (as they were throughout) and interested to learn about their visitors.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, well informed and concerned for the welfare of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now before mass tourism makes its mark.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes seemed ‘generic’ and need updating
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Gary Lavin

    Sucessful and Safe

    It was a marvellous trip. Each day was filled with new wonders and excitement. Plenty of wow moments. A visit that was completely safe and rewarding

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The city of Samarkand was full of wonder and genuine WOW moments

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A fantastic and informative tour leader. Very informative and knowledgeable. Exodus are lucky to have him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not miss out. Uzbekistan is a hidden jewel

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Uzbekistan is a very safe place to visit and Uzbeks are genuine, friendly and helpful
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Roxy Hooton

    Unbelievably beautiful Uzbekistan!

    Fantastic trip to a wonderful country! So much beauty it hurts your eyes, and the people are incredibly warm & friendly. Each of the main cities has a totally different feel to it, & I loved them all! Khiva was my favourite though : be sure to wander around in the evening after the crowds have gone home - it’s a completely different vibe to during the day. Some tips: If you climb the minaret in Khiva you need a proper torch, strong knees & no fear!! The view is wonderful but coming down is terrifying! Being Vegetarian isn’t too hard but it’s not very exciting- just check the soup has ‘no meat’ even if it is called a vegetable soup it will often still have meat in.Vegetable kebabs lack imagination - best option is the pasta based dishes. Be willing to have your photo taken by the locals - it will lead to some wonderful interactions Do bother to get up for sunrise in the desert (if the Vodka the night before doesn’t prevent!) - it’s worth it! Do have comfortable shoes & some energy! This isn’t really a leisurely trip - the pace is quite full on, but totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dinner & a cold beer on a roof top terrace with a fabulous view over Khiva as the swifts whirled overhead and the sun set!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Full of knowledge and always ready to help.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See Summary
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Anwar Bhutta

    Brilliant trip and holiday

    Amazing country and very, very friendly people. Incredible history and historical monuments. The Uzbek government is doing great work in restoring these incredible archeological gems. Full praise to them. A very varied and inspirational holiday plus brought back some indelible memories. Our guide Dilshod was very informative, caring and sensitive to the needs of a diverse group. He is a brilliant guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visit to see the Othmani Qur'an in Tashkent was a great privilege. This Qur'an written in about 646 CE was awe inspiring. Ragistan Square in Samarquand is incredible. The jaw-dropping moment came when we entered the the mosque in the Tilla-Kari Madressa. I could not take my eyes away from the amazing decorations of the ceiling. The ceiling is flat (so they say) but the the master craftsmen have done such an amazing work that it actually appears to be dome shaped. My highlight of the the whole trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Dilshod was very informative, caring and sensitive to the needs of a diverse group. He is a brilliant guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please go as soon as you can. strongly recommend this trip and holiday
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Daphne Partridge

    Amazing people and architecture

    This holiday gives a great overview of the country and it's history visiting cities along the Great Silk Road, each with their own amazing buildings and stories

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had been to many squares, mosques and madrassas but Registan Square in Samarkand topped them all and one of the final highlights of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was excellent - friendly, extremely helpful and incredibly knowledgeable of his country and it's history and also adaptable to our requests.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Everything was incredibly cheap and we struggled to spend $200 on food and drink and trinkets in the twelve days! Take dollars which can easily be exchanged for Som. Women travellers wear sleeved tops and crop trousers/trousers or skirts., and have a scarf handy for the couple of mosques. Don't worry about the night in the yurt - very pleasant with proper framed beds and and an electric light! To avoid disappointment, if you see something you like then buy it.... some items are only local to that city and you won't see them again. The food was good with salads, soups and meat dishes, some almost European style, but also plenty of local cuisine to try.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for quite a lot of long journeys - the tour bus was fairly basic and the roads bumpy (1600 km travelled in total). Tourists are still quite a novelty in Uzbekistan and everywhere we went people wanted to have their photos taken with you or to talk to you and practise their English. Everyone was so friendly and we were treated like VIPs.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Lesley Prosser

    Very well-run tour of a great destination

    This was a fascinating insight into a country I knew little about. The pace was good, and both the sites and the sights were interesting and varied. With one exception, the accomodation was better than my expectations. We were 15 people in a full-size coach, a real luxury for the several long drives. It was great to be able to swap sides to see a better view, or join others for a chat. The group were a pleasant assortment of people who got on well with each other and were enjoyable company.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What can one say? The Registan at Samarkand. Just when we thought we were all mosqued out, there it was...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I generally prefer solo travel, as I like to go my own way, but Dilshod had made a convert of me. He is a brilliant leader. His long experience shows in the effortless ease with which he performs this very demanding job, but nonetheless, he injects his presentations and information sessions with a freshness and enthusiasm that never, ever sounds like he is just playing a tape recording in his head. He is an immensely likeable person, and a pleasure to chat with out of hours. He is the first leader I have come across who was willing to spend dinner with his group every night to make the ordering and paying a painless process in restaurants where English was rare.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    While standards of hygiene are generally good, some public toilets really require you to have a supply of tissues and sanitiser. Oddly, if you wanted to buy a roll of toilet paper, it would be easily found in any little local shop. Kleenex, on the other hand, is hard to come by - you really need to find a pharmacy to buy that. So take plenty of Kleenex.
  • Reviewed July 2017
    Hayley Mooney

    Unbelievable Uzbekistan

    Definitely book this trip, Uzbekistan is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The yurt camp. Sitting under the milky way listening to the guy singing is something I'll never forget, even the 6k walk through the desert the following day was fun. Of the historical sites, the necropolis in Samarkand was my favourite, and Samarkand was my favourite city. It's easy to get around and the people are lovely, although that can be said for every town and city in Uzbekistan.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was incredible, his passion and knowledge of Uzbekistan is awesome. He must be the best guide in the whole of Uzbekistan. He's also just a really fun and lovely guy. Valentin is a fantastic driver. Even though most of the roads are in good condition it did get a bit bumpy at times, but I always felt safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan airways is great, you get plenty of leg room and the food really isn't as bad as everyone says. A lot of the historic sites have been reconstructed in the past 10-15 years, so much so that it kind of became a running joke, it doesn't detract from the trip though. The food is delicious. Plov is the best! The kebabs taste amazing, but can be a bit greasy. The bread is delicious, and there's plenty of salad options for vegetarians.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Forget any preconceptions you have about Uzbekistan, chances are it's nothing like you're imagining.