Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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 December 2017
    steven elliot

    Cycle Kerala an Tropical India

    We loved this. India just hits you in the face - sights, smells,sounds,tastes. Exotic and spicy, just like a good curry. Cycling is such a great way of seeing a country and we traveled deep into rural areas where tourists don't go; we often felt like creatures from another planet and the locals seemed to agree judging by the number of selfies they took with us in them.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many: Riding through Mysore in the rush hour - at the same time both exhilarating and bowel loosening. The ride up to Ooty even though we went through rain and mist and didn't see a thing. The ride the next day down through tea plantations and rain forest Walking round Guruvayoor at night during a Hindu festival and realizing we were the only foreigners. The welcome we received from Muslims on the day they celebrated the birth of the Prophet - sweets,food,ice cream,smiles. Sighting a tiger at Bandipur. The food - piled on weight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was a star.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You do need to be confident of cycling in traffic. The route takes you through some busy towns/cities and along some highways. Indians allegedly drive on the left but the evidence for this is weak. Motor cycles seem to routinely travel on the hard shoulder in the wrong direction and tuk tuks and mopeds just do their own thing. Cars and lorries don't so much overtake each other as play chicken. The cycling is pretty easy - once you get to Kerala there is a near total absence of hills. The ride up to Ooty is an aberration - similar to but harder than Alpe d'Huez. The altitude of Ooty is over 7000 feet and we were very cold at the top because of the rain ( we were there at the time of a cyclone which caused flooding and loss of life in southern Kerala). Suggest you take full wet weather gear. Take hand gel and if you you expect a high level of toilet cleanliness then this is not the trip for you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We were a happy group and mixed well which has not always been our experience on Exodus trips. This sort of holiday is best suited to the sociable.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Tom Hazeldine

    Far exceeded expectations

    It's a wonderful trip. Every last detail has been meticulously planned from the routes to the choice of hotels, where to have lunch, where to rest during the cycling... It was my first cycling holiday and I enjoyed that part of it more than expected - if you're reasonably fit, with the exception of Ooty Hill it's perfectly manageable. In that sense the heat and humidity is the hardest part of the cycling. However, the standout for me was the food - simply incredible... I like Indian food in the UK but this was another level entirely - a huge variety of flavours and certainly not crazy spicy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Ooty Hill. Physically, the toughest thing I've ever done (it's brutal) - despite taking on electrolyes and other fluids, being in shape and generally sporty (I'm mid 30's and not carrying any weight) I got badly dehydrated and must of stopped 12-15 times. However, I was enormously proud of myself for cycling the full 13km /1,300m of height gain. And next time I'll know the sort of training I need to do! The other highlight was seeing an elephant in the wild for the first time on the game drive, which again was a lot more fun that I expected.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was easily the best group leader I've had and I've done these group tours all over the world. He was incredibly conscientious and kind as well as being exceptionally well organised - time and again he went the extra mile. He'd always phone ahead so everywhere we stopped was expecting us and his advice on things like what not to eat was greatly appreciated. Finally, when he needed to put his foot down with either us or his team he'd do so in a gentle, understated way - often with a chuckle. He had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go when it's a bit cooler, padded cycling shorts are a must and take electrolytes if you sweat a lot. Oh and try the Kerala bread - kind of a cross between naan bread, a pancake and puff pastry (I couldn't get enough of it!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Most of the cycling is in the morning so there is time to relax or go for a wander in the afternoons - assuming you're willing to brave the heat that is!
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Robert Seatter

    Cycle Kerala and Tropical India

    A great trip - with huge diversity of experience and atmosphere My first time in India, and Kerala was probably the right place to start Good cycling, paced by time in Kochi city/time on the backwaters/a brief time on the beach

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through the winding roads between vivid green tea plantations Dusk viewed through the tracery of Kochi's fishing nets Lunch on the family terrace in Kochi The general Indian assault of colour and light The genuine sense of welcome from schoolkids and passers by

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph/Shibu (not forgetting Harry the driver) were all lovely Calm, assiduous and unfailingly patient and courteous - in what could have been a v stressful and dangerous context (some of this cycling is really quite dangerous if you cease to concentrate for the wrong moment!) The one thing that was really lacking was the cultural/historical input And quite reasonably, Joseph/Shibu cannot be good at everything However, the 2/3 one off guides hired to do this in situ were all terrible - the one in Mysore took a 10 minute call to sell carpets in the middle of our Palace tour, another local guide outside Mysore at the temple was incomprehensible This could I imagine be easily sorted with some better on the spot recruitment

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You WILL get ill (unless perhaps you are a v seasoned Indian traveller) Pace yrself as the combination of cycling and heat and illness can be difficult

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I much preferred the second week of holiday Mysore was OK but the Tiger Reserve/Ootey were not terribly interesting - may have been bad weather we had I would happily have had a longer time concentrated in Kerala The last venue was pleasant - hotel/beach etc, but it was surrounded by tripperish shops and outlets which was a pity after so much of genuine India
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Colin Prince

    Mr Colin Prince

    The overall content and places visited on the trip was up to the standards expected of an Exodus holiday. The standard of the hotels was average, except when we were in Kochin. There, the home stay room we were given was very poor, the bedding was dirty and the room very small for 2 people. This would have been alright if we only had 1 night there but as we had a down day, I felt it was unacceptable. Our group was split into 2 hotels. It would have been better if we were all kept together. Safi did move us for the second night, but only after I requested it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the tiger in Bhundipur reserve. The animal and bird life was an unexpected pleasure. Going to a family home, meeting the family and doing a cookery course there.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    This is my 3rd Exodus trip and I feel that the service that Safi provided was very much below the standards that Exodus had set previously. His knowledge was very poor and his communication skill were lacking. I felt he had lost any enthusiasm for the trip and he did not think about the social aspects of the group. The Kochin hotel as an example. The care that had been shown on previous Exodus rides,mwhen we came to stops on the bikes,bwas lacking e.g., no reminders for hand wash, no welcoming smiling faces and snacks had to be asked for. The driver was very good but not always there. Having said that Safi stepped up to the plate when I needed to go to hospital.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Use plenty of hand wash, apply lots of sun cream and drink plenty of water.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our trip could have been made more enjoyable if our group leader had volunteered more information and stopped and explained things about Indian life, as has happened on my other Exodus holidays.

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We were sorry to hear that Colin was disappointed with aspects of this trip. This homestay in Cochin is no longer being used by our groups and we hope that people will enjoy their stay at the new homestay. We were disappointed to hear that Colin was underwhelmed with some of the trip’s leadership; Colin’s feedback was followed up on by our local manager and we are pleased to see that Safi has taken this constructively and has received very good feedback since.

    Louise Ungless - Product Manager for India

  • Reviewed March 2017
    Vicki Nunn

    5000 miles away from my life in rural England!!!

    What a shock to the senses arriving in Mysore on the first day of what was to be an amazing 2 weeks! The colour and noise of India was exhilarating! Such a brilliantly varied trip - I loved it! So much more than just a cycling holiday! A real snapshot of Southern India that I would recommend to anyone who loves to see and do a lot whilst away.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just arriving in India and realising that my 2 week adventure was about to begin! Against all odds, seeing a tiger drinking at the waterhole in Bandipur National Park! Mysore Palace at night (I nearly didn't go cos it was the first night and I was SO tired!)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was a nice enough guide but could have been a bit more forthcoming with info about places visited and things seen along the route.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take: a bag for front of your bike to avoid bumbags/rucksacks (it's too hot!), shower gel if you don't like soap (that's what most of the hotels provide), loo roll (not provided in loos out of hotels), electrolyte tabs for your drink, concentrated squash (makes that warm water a little more interesting!) and BINOCULARS for the safari (a must!) Add as many extra days in Varkala at the end of the holiday as you can (one day just isn't enough!) but book it yourself (Exodus charged us double the going rate!!). We used the group flight but left 2 days later than everyone else and were so glad we did!
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Lesley Foote

    Enjoy South India from the comfort of a bike saddle

    Described as "moderate/challenging", this cycling adventure produced everything promised - varied cycling experiences in Indian towns and villages, backwater houseboat cruise, fabulous food and a relaxing beach at the end.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick just one inspirational moment when there were many, but for me the houseboat trip felt like a privilege: the leisurely pace of the cruise and the photography opportunities as the evening light changed, not to mention the beautiful meals cooked on board for us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was Joseph, and together with his team he kept everyone on track and ensured we were well fed, safe and gave us good direction. He let people go off on their own when it was safe to do so, and kept everyone in check and under his wing when cycling through busy urban areas. His management skills ensured that we kept to time, while at the same time allowing us flexibility to visit local homes, tea shops and tourist areas if we wanted. He made staying in Indian hotels easy - no worries about accommodation, food safety or what to tip. He also anticipated some of us needing to know if we could get a beer at the hotels, ensuring we bought in advance if there was going to be a no-alcohol policy at the next hotel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took my own saddle cover for comfort - not a necessity, but a little luxury for the last day which is the longest cycling and some roads a bit bumpy. Always carry hand wash or soap leaves with you - taps for washing hands were normally available at snack stops, but not always soap. Anti-mosquito spray was needed in the evenings at the National Parks and Verkala. Don't be put off by other road users/traffic in India - Indian drivers are much more sensitive to cyclists than British drivers in my experience. They want you to survive, they take care to avoid you, they beep their horns as a warning that they are there, not to tell you to get out of the way. I felt much safer cycling in India than I do cycling in my own home city - London

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have been on quite a few Exodus cycling trips now and can highly recommend this one for the itinerary, the varied experiences, the cycling (the uphill day was hard but exhilarating, the downhill day exciting), the views, photography opportunities, and the Leader is experienced. The last you can only appreciate when you have been on other trips where the Leader lacks skill.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Lynda Kimola

    Cycle Kerala

    It was an amazing holiday. We saw a variety of landscapies and interesting items. The routes were varied and entertaining. I had the option to ride the bus when the road was too steep or too busy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding down hill from Ooty in the mist through the eucalyptus trees.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was informative, helpful and fabulous.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Mmske the most of all the trip has to offer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a great experience and I would highly recommend the tour.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Anne Mccarthy

    Savouring a section of India at bike speed

    It would be foolish to try and get a taste of all of India in two weeks. You would need to spend at least half your time flying and busing from one corner to another. This tour allows you to savour a corner of India at a reasonable pace. We had a chance to experience the moderately sized city Mysore, see the beaches, the hill country, national parks and cycle both in moderate traffic (hint- don't look back) and on quiet back roads.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved -seeing the people washing in the river outside Mysore -recognizing the extent of our disposable plastic problem - the range of climate from dry land in the parks to the canals of Alleppey - seeing a tiger. Yes we were that lucky.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I appreciated that our leader Safi allowed us to cycle - when reasonable- at our own pace. Safi has a quiet sense of humour. He was sensitive to the groups various food needs, always calm and in control of the situation.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Look out for the tuk tuks in Kochi. They will try very hard to get you into 'tourist' stores. That can be fun, but be prepared to wonder about the value. Consider Dukoral to reduce the chance of stomach upsets. Pack your sense of humour. It is all part of the experience. Enjoy the people. I found that a smile or wave, especially to small children would be rewarded with wonderful welcoming smiles in return. We spent some time before and after the biking on our own. People were helpful friendly and happy to share their lovely country.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You don't have to be an expert cyclist to do this tour. It is possible to opt out of some of the more difficult areas. I only managed to cycle 1/2 way up the nasty switch backs to Ooty. The rest I enjoyed on foot. Be prepared to enjoy some very good food. Pack expandable clothing.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Janet Gooding

    Kerala

    All in all this was a fabulous trip ! Food was excellent. Hotels etc excellent. Cycling challenging enough to give you something to think about each day. Local people wonderful ! Just do it !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling all the way up Ootty !

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Saafi and his team were EXCELLENT !!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ladies don't worry you can cycle in Lycra and vests all the time. I packed all sorts of cover up clothes that never came out of my bag !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I packed mozzy stuff, Imodium, and pain killers - NONE WERE NECESSARY. - fabulous trip !!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Zoe Paton

    Fantastic trip

    This was a whistle stop tour of southern India with a great variety of scenery, some absolutely amazing food & fantastic accommodation. The cycling was straightforward & the Exodus tour guides were great. Can't recommend it highly enough.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I managed 30 of the 36 hairpins going up Ooty Hill before waiting for my partner who wasn't feeling well. Big achievement for me & one of my personal highlights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joseph (leader) & Shibu (driver) were a fantastic team & they gave us everything we needed & more besides on the trip. Unfortunately there were only 3 of us on my departure (because the other guests cancelled the day before) so Joseph & Shibu spent a lot of time with us, talking about India, their lives & ours. I cannot speak highly enough of them. They are absolutely lovely people & made the trip for us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be nervous on the roads - they are insane & chaotic but you get used to the traffic & soon start understanding how they work. Confidence is the key! The cycling really isn't very challenging so don't worry about doing loads of training before you take the trip. Only Ooty is tough but that's optional & you can take your time if you do go for it. Jump in with both feet & enjoy the culture shock! Oh & eat as much food as you can manage, it is amazing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't fault this trip. It offers an amazing array of scenery (seaside, city, mountains, forest, tea plantations) & the accommodation & food is fantastic. The only slight downside was the fact there were only 3 of us (we are a young couple & the other guest was an older solo traveller). This meant we couldn't enjoy the group holiday experience which we had hoped for (& enjoyed on a previous Exodus trip) but it was outside Exodus' control so was just unfortunate.