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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 February 2019
    Lawrence Wheeler

    A fabulous triñ

    An excellent, very well-balanced tour around Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It provided a good insight into the life, culture and landscapes of these two states.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day spent walking through beautifully green tea plantations in the Kannan Devan Hills from our base in Munnar, and then up up up!! The views were stunning, and actually attaining a summit that at first appeared to be way too high provided a fantastic sense of personal achievement.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Philip Rojan, was excellent. He was very knowledgeable about the history of the region, its culture, its people, architecture, geography and food! He did a great job, which made for a wonderful holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A highly recommendable and thoroughly enjoyable tour. You will not be disappointed. However, you should be prepared for rather poor English by some hotel employees, and the occasional lack of hot water in some accommodation.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Martin Kingdom

    A trip packed with interesting experiences

    It’s hard to imagine that so many varied activities could be squeezed into a two week holiday, and our guide Santo James was excellent for the local knowledge that he provided. I came away with a much better understanding of Kerala, its culture and the problems that it has to deal with. Just one tip - don’t bother with the Kathakali dancing unless you have a serious interest in religious rictuals. I’d rather watch paint dry!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A trip to see a Tollywood movie (the Tamil equivalent of Bollywood). Brilliant entertainment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santo James was excellent. Helpful, well organised and knowledgable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for high humidity as well as heat - except in the hills where it’s still quite warm.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Su Wheeldon

    Kerala is open to tourists! A memorable trip not to be missed !!

    When I booked I hoped for a good memorable holiday, what I came home was an amazing experience that will live with me forever! It exceeded my expectations

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many too mention all of them! However need to mention ( no particular order) the visit to a local school, the overnight stay on the backwater, the lady making bricks, going to the cinema, the flower market, tuck tuck ride, the food, the people and everything on the itinerary. The overnight stay on the back was extremely relaxing, comfortable accommodation and we where served delicious food for lunch and dinner. Prior to dinner we had a short walk to an uninhabited island on the way seeing local people going about their lives . Visiting the school (3-8year olds) we where given the warmest welcome from the adorable children. They welcomed us by singing songs, in return we sang to them (Old McDonald had a farm!! ) We all had big smiles as we left ... impossible not too!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Santo was a great ambassador for Exodus, always well presented, professional, friendly with smile no matter what. Knowledgeable, always offering interesting alternative suggestions to try not on the itinerary. Being responsive to the group wishes, an awareness of each member of the group and ready to accommodate their needs. Whether it was assisting with food suggestions or finding a working ATM (Mondays they often run out of cash), nothing was too much trouble for him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Grab every opportunity to experience not only what’s on the itinerary but the amazing non scheduled events offered. This gives you a real insight into this amazing country ! All too good to miss! Go with an open mind and be willing to embrace every experience you can even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. You may like me enjoy something new and learn a lot about yourself, Don’t expect it to be perfect, nowhere is and therefore you will be disappointed. Change is good !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Kerala is open for business following the floods! The infrastructure has been restored. Experienced no problems with travelling or accommodation, everything went smoothly. It’s a beautiful country, well worth seeing don’t hesitate. You will not regret it, I didn’t!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Jackey Phillips

    A wonderful trip - Highly recommended

    An action packed two weeks in an India I was not expecting. Kerala is a beautiful state (apart from the rubbish everywhere) and seems a more affluent part of India. We were not hassled for money all the time and the local people were all really friendly. We filled every day with new experiences, from going to the laundry in Cochin, to stopping on the road to meet locals making bricks with their hands and feet, then watching the tea pickers working in the hot sun for very little money. Once you get used to the traffic, the cities were fascinating and there was so much to see. The Bollywood film we saw was dreadful, but a great experience. Had to be done. Most of the hotels were of a good standard but the rooms at Kovalan, described as a Comfort Hotel, which I thought was supposed to be better than Standard, were very tired and most of the electric sockets didn't work. I was disappointed that due to a forest fire, we were unable to do the morning jungle walk and the only option was a packed boat trip along the river, where we did see wildlife, but mostly at a distance. The food was very good on the whole trip, and so cheap! I was not aware of anyone being unwell.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The houseboat was wonderful, made better by buying freshwater prawns from the local fish market. The best meal of the whole trip and our boat was the only one which had them. The early morning walk in Madurai was great, seeing the wholesale traders selling their wares. It seemed like no other tourists went there, so it was more special. I loved the Muhamma Backwater Resort we stayed at, but I had the best room, overlooking the lake. It was such a peaceful, beautiful place to stay. I could have stayed there longer. I was lucky to travel with such a fun group. Even though we were of different ages, we shared a sense of humour and adventure and they made the 2 weeks very special

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sibil was an excellent local leader. He filled our days with sights and activities and had a lot of local knowledge. He was not always easy to understand and sometimes he did not understand us, but with a little patience everything worked out OK and he made sure we were all where we were supposed to be. He was very helpful and always cheerful. Even when we arranged our own activities and he had time off, he always was at hand to assist if we needed transport or anything else.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too many clothes, you can buy very cheap cotton items everywhere, which are ideal in the tropical heat. I took my walking poles for the morning trek amongst the tea plantations, but it was very easy and more of a stroll than a trek and I didn't need them. Take European plug adaptors, they are most commonly used. The Martial Arts display at Thekkady is recommended, but if you book for the Kathakali dance display, don't expect Bangra music and dancing girls! You have been warned! Only one room had a hairdryer, but they were available on request. Be prepared for long drives, travel always took longer than anticipated. Though the bus was comfortable and air conditioned. Take snacks. At the Homestay, take care in the bathroom as the floor is very slippery and one of our group fell and broke her arm. I was advised by people at home to only eat vegetables during the trip, but I did eat fish and chicken with no problems. You can ask for food less spicy, so the heat was never a problem.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would highly recommend this trip
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Moira Cerny

    The Tropical South

    The trip's title really sums up our impression of Kerala. The vegetation is lush and every tree or plant seems to bear medicinal and /or edible spices,delicious fruit or vegetables. It was a very varied trip - some long journeys, but to see as much as we did, they were necessary and our bus was air conditioned and very comfortable. Our walk through the tea plantations was most enjoyable . I think we will appreciate a cup of tea even more, having seen the pluckers at work. The drive over the mountains to Tamil Nadu was spectacular. Relaxing on our houseboat as we floated past villages was a very pleasant experience. We didn't see tigers or elephants, but still enjoyed our boat trip in the Nature Reserve, although we were slightly surprised by the numbers of humans we saw! Our group was interesting and fun to be with. and we never felt like we were merely following a disinterested guide. Sibil did his best to answer our many questions and every venue had a local guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to single out one in particular. We found the people of Kerala very friendly and genuinely welcoming. If I had to then... the spice garden walk, the tea plantations and the houseboat would be my favourite experiences. However, I also really enjoyed our last day relaxing by the sea, the trip over the mountains and the early morning walk through the market.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sibil was anxious to help and tried his best to answer all our questions. He was sometimes a little difficult to understand, but he is able to speak four languages well, so who am I to criticise? He had a couple of tricky situations to deal with and could perhaps have benefitted from some a more supportive back-up in India able to make their own decisions. However one of our group fell and broke her wrist and he dealt with that superbly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was 'unseasonably hot' and humid we were told. I wished I had packed a long skirt ,as I think that might have been cooler than trousers at times. However the bus is air conditioned, as were all the hotels, except for the homestead, so it was all quite manageable. Be prepared for long journeys. Kerala is not the trip for you if you want to see ancient forts and palaces, but it is if you enjoy Nature, spectacular scenery, delicious food and relaxing on a houseboat, watching the world go by.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was our second trip to India with Exodus. On both occasions we have travelled with a friendly, interesting and fun group. No-one was ill or eaten alive by mosquitoes. Go with an open mind and you will love it.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Helen Burrell

    Tropical South - An Adventure

    Our visit to Kerala and Tamil Nadu was a busy and enjoyable experience. There are several long journeys, but our bus was very comfortable (there were only 9 of us so we could spread out!) and there was so much to see on the way, the colourful towns, the traffic! the busyness of India. Cochin was a lovely start ; we arrived a day early. A tuk tuk driver gave us a grand tour of 2 hours for 100 rupees! The drive to Munnar was lovely through the mountains, but to describe Munnar as a beautiful hill station is stretching it - we thought it a most unattractive town. However the trek through the tea plantations and hills was wonderful. It is quite a strenuous climb and good grip shoes are essential. The picnic at the top was memorable. The rest of the trip unfolded with some visits not on the itinerary, a visit to a family brick making enterprise, heavy work in incredible heat, a school, a lovely temple on the roadside.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trek in Munnar The early morning walk around the markets in Madurai. It's early, but don't miss this! The early morning jungle walk in Periyar. Some climbing to spot a wild elephant! The homestay with lovely home cooked food. The houseboat, peaceful, so much bird life to see, people living on the banks, fishing, washing clothes and themselves in the river. Boats carrying various cargoes, fruit, shopping, canoe ferries transporting families and schoolchildren across the river, even small boats carrying bricks and stones. Kovalam, much nicer than we expected, lovely shops, good beach, friendly people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manoj was an extremely efficient, informative and friendly guide. He set high standards everywhere we went, hotels, restaurants and trips. He advised us on menu choices so that we had a full appreciation of local food. No matter how early we got up, he was there! He gave us an insight into Indian culture that no guidebook can give. We were very impressed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Southern India is hot and extremely humid in the evenings. Don't forget sunscreen and a hat. The sun is very strong and sunburn can happen in minutes. Mosquitos are pretty well everywhere so spray well! I got a more natural spray in our health food shop called Incognito. It worked just as well. Bring tissues everywhere, there's never any loo paper on coffee/lunch stops! And hand gel, often no soap . The masala chai is lovely, I had it at every stop.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Indian people are very friendly, and if you engage with people, you get a lot back. I could never remember the Indian phases we'd been told, so a Good Morning will always be returned. We were frequently asked where we were from (Ireland) and a conversation often followed. In cases where I asked if I could take a photo, it was always agreed, and I'd usually show them the photo I had taken. The friendliness of the Indian people was one of the highlights of the trip for us. The hotels are fine, standard and comfortable (which only means as far as we could see the 2 that had a swimming pool). Every hotel had a redeeming feature. The Ayurvedic massage is lovely, I had two, and the last hotel in Kovalam was particularly good. The cost is very low.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Elle Irvine

    School trip

    I booked this trip on the choosen dates as it was for solo travellers - hoping that it would present opportunities for meeting other individuals who would be keen to do their own thing in the evenings and on free days as opposed to being herded around in a huge group. This group consisted of approx 7 couples. Not quite the solo group I was expecting, more so as they were of retirement age and older, and being younger I struggled with the overall ' school trip ' feel of the holiday. Petty squabbles over who sat where on the bus and evening dinners arranged en- masse either at hotels with buffets or touristy restaurants just added to the disappointment. This was my first trip to India and what I saw of the region I loved - albeit I had to tune out the rest of the group and go off to do my own thing on many occasions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Loved the tea plantation walk - although the majority of the group clearly didn't pay heed to the trip notes about it being steep in places ( this led to more moaning ) , the houseboat was better than expected and the food - when finding local small restaurants - was outstanding.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He had a difficult job on his hands I feel, managing such a large group of elderly people but did his best I suppose. He didn't make an appearance on the first evening and as such everyone pretty much left on their own til the next morning. Also we didn't get the opportunity to do the early morning village tour around Madurai as we would have had ' to get up really early ' . Really? ?! Every morning was either a 9 or 9.30 am start - rather late I felt.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the demographics of the group before you pay your final balance. I guess the trip being graded as -1- leisurely, should have been an indicator of the age group it would attract. Be adventurous, use the time in the evening to source lovely restaurants on line, jump in a Tuk-Tuk and have the real Indian dining experience. Bring headphones for the long journeys.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This wasn't my first group holiday, although the first with Exodus. They all follow the same format really but I felt that this trip should be marketed at the over 60's /70's with Exodus providing the average age of previous travellers on their website per trip in order to allow potential holiday makers to make an informed decision as to whether it's the right one for them.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Susan Weaver

    Southern india

    It was a taste of the real India rather than the usual tourist holidays. We experienced seeing the day to day living which was a real eye opener. The tour through Indian countryside was scenic and interesting. Watching the women harvesting tea and seeing families washing their clothes on rocks in the river, not to mention the monkeys and fruit bats we passed on our travels. The driving in India is very unlike the UK, but when we expressed our concerns to our guide after day one, he spoke to the driver, who immediately stopped overtaking on blind bends and slowed down to drive in a way that we felt happy. ( the only problem was, other drivers then started to overtake us on blind bends!) The overnight stay on the houseboat was very relaxing, and the number of kingfishers we saw was unbelievable! The rooms on the houseboat were much bigger and luxurious than we had been expecting, and they all had large en-suite bathrooms. The main reason I have scored the trip as very good, rather than excellent, is the comfort of the tour bus. It was an old bus, with over 225,000km on the clock. The seats were not very padded or comfortable for the long journeys that we did, and the suspension was not up to scratch. I did however feel that we had a very competent driver, who completely changed his style of driving after he was aware of our concerns early on.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up at 5.30 to go on a tuc tuc, then a walking tour of the market as the locals were setting up their fruit and veg stalls. The atmosphere, sights, sounds and smells were just spell binding. This was the real India, and it was a privilege to witness and experience it first hand. It’s certainly a morning that I will never forget. I think it should have been promoted more, as half our group decided not to get up early to go on it, but those who did all said they wouldnt have missed it now they knew how fantastic it was! The hike through tea plantations to the top of the mountain was also a fabulous day. The views were spectacular. The peace and tranquility at the top of the mountain, where we had our lovely picnic is also a day which I will always treasure in my memory.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Manoj was brilliant. He is so well suited to his job. Nothing is too much trouble for him. He was very good at getting things organised. He was particularly good at organising the staff in restaurants to get our orders and bills sorted out with as much simplicity as possible. He always listened to our requests, and did his best to accommodate them. He was able to answer the many questions which we had during the tour. He has a great sense of humour, and really joins in with the group. He took a Yoga class at the home stay one morning, which was a lovely touch for the few people who participated. On the final evening of the holiday, my friend became ill with a stomach bug, which would have meant we couldn’t fly home the next morning. But Manoj saved the day! He organised a doctor to come to our room, with 2 nurses. They gave her an injection and set up 2 intravenous drips and said she would be better within 3 hours. Unbelievably, she was better, and could travel home ok. Surprisingly, the medical cost for this fantastic service, was only £50. Manoj stayed up late to make sure we were ok, and that the treatment had worked. He insisted that he wouldn’t go to bed himself until he knew my friend was feeling better. We both feel that he was extremely caring and went the extra mile over this, which just confirms how well suited he is to his role.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you’re unhappy with the driving, feeling that it’s too fast and reckless, say something to the guide early on. Our driver completely changed his style of driving from day 2 onwards. Get up early for the walking tour of the market. It will be a highlight of your holiday, but it’s not marketed or promoted as such, so half of our group missed out.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Nigel Carrick

    The Tropical South

    A very good balanced trip with more activity in the first week and a more relaxed second week. Most of the stays are 2 nights which gives you more time to settle into a place. There are a number of opportunities to experience the frequent Festivals and religious ceremonies which are for the people and are devoid of tourists (apart from us!)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had an evening visit to a Hindu temple standing close to elephants robed in gold with much loud drumming and traditional horns.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manoj our leader was passionate about his country and its traditions of being welcome to all comers. He found out about any special events happening in the next destination so he was briefed to enable us to visit everyday life in Kerala. He was well organised and speedily sorted any problems with good humour. His talks whilst travelling were very instructive if occasionally too long but reflected his love for his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You can travel relatively lightly as most of the hotels have good washing services. Most people thought they had brought too much luggage.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Michael Chow

    A great tropical escape in the winter months

    This was an excellent trip but marred by the noisy festive celebration around the New Year in the beach resort of Kovolam; the noise continues into the night. The lush tropical scenery was a welcome get away from the dark December days.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Backwaters, temples in Madurai, tea plantations.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam was fantastic. One of the best. He was highly knowledgeable in all aspects of India and gave relevant commentaries as we journeyed. He was also patient with us on the menu selections.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip was rated as easy walking. I would say on two days it was moderate.
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