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

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302 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020

    Great extension to the Vietnam trips

    Five days is not really long enough to explore this fascinating country but our two bases gave a quick snapshot and a desire to know more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Siem Reap: 1) The sunrise over Angor Wat; which was really quite spectacular. 2) Wandering down a street away from all the bright lights and restaurants on Pub Street, finding eateries where the menus were not in English and realising why the dish we'd selected was called ginger with pork and not the other way around. A plate full of what we had thought were noodles turned out to be shredded ginger with a few bits of pork. Delicious, very warming and possibly not one for the English dinner party. In Phnom Penn: 1) Seeing the evidence of the Khmer Rouge activity, which we had heard of in the 70's at home but not realised the full extent of their effect on the country nor how long it had taken to finally defeat them. Also hearing our guides personal family experience. 2) Eating at the rooftop restaurant of our hotel over looking the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both were helpful and informative. In Siem Reap Darath was great at explaining the history of the temples and the Angkor Empire, whilst delivering a great series of jokes and knowing all the best spots to take photos from. In Phn om Penh Chanchesda was informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can afford the extra few days at the end of a busy holiday then this is an extension not to be missed.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    andrew bole

    An amazing trip, a couple of tips

    This is a really wonderful trip. I would highly recommend it. You get a unique view of the people, country life and see very few other tourists, outside of the big cities! A good balance between cycling and transfers on the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide makes the difference between a good trip and an amazing trip. Our guide, Nut, was excellent. He was calm, efficient and is vastly experienced so easily managed the large group (18) and so we were all relaxed and could enjoy the trip. Simple things were done very well. We visited lots of different artisans along the way but were never pressured into buying things. They guide handled tipping, meals etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some tips not in the trip notes: 1. It is hot and very sunny. Over xmas, there were no cloudy days and no rain. 2. Take lots of high factor sun cream. We used more than expected as you are out in the sun most of the day. You can only buy it in the big towns, Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 3. Wear white or light coloured tops when cycling. Dark colours absorb the heat making it even hotter! 4. You move most evenings, so can only visit the laundry in the big towns where you stay for more than one night, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 5. Take a water bottle that fits in a standard bike water bottle holder. 6. We took our own clip in pedals (MTB prob best as in and out of them in the towns), which worked well. The bus is always close by so you can change shoes if you need to walk round a temple 7. To go into most of the temples you need to wear trousers or shorts/skirts that cover the knee. Applies to men and women. You can leave them on the bus, so dont need to wear them when cycling. 8. Take some electrolite tablets for your water, as you are out on the bike in the heat sweating alot!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spend a bit of time looking at the flight routes/options as there are lots of possible routes you can end up on, which vary considerably in terms of duration and connections.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Mark Riley

    Amazing tour of Cambodia

    This trip was amazing. It was such a mix of different parts of the country From the bustling capital of Phnom Penh to relaxing beaches in the south then cycling around Battenbang visiting different local industries and finishing up with the awe inspiring temples of Siem Reep With our most incredible guide “Bun” who worked tirelessly to make sure everyone of us had an enjoyable time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I would have to say that the most inspiring thing about this trip was “Bun” a truly amazing young man.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    “Bun” was caring,funny,enthusiastic,helpful,knowledgable,friendly and very passionate about his wonderful country... He is a credit to Exodus

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go and immerse yourself in this wonderful country, yes it’s poor but the people are delightful and the countryside is stunning.... This trip gives you a snippet of so many different parts of Cambodia. We could easily have spent a week in every town.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Clive Marks

    Breathtaking and dumbfounding

    The variety of experiences on this trip is among the highest that I have got from any trip, from the serenity of seeing over a million bats streaming out of their roost cave at dusk to the horrors of a killing field and its torture prison, between which are the mystical majesty of the temples of Angkor. are the grand finale to the trip. Along the way were many encounters of real life in this beautiful country as well as snorkelling in the sea.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspirational is a difficult word to asses for this trip, so let me try some others for you: Horrifying - the sheer inhumanity of what went on in the torture prison and the killing field (I just had to go and find a quiet corner with my own thoughts - our tour leader, Bun, whose parents had been Khmer Rouge child soldiers, came to my rescue as he was the only person to know so intimately what went on here; Humbling - meeting two survivors of the torture camp (I was left dumbstruck); Magnificent - seeing over a million bats suddenly start to stream out of their roost cave and head out to eat enough paddy field pest to save 20,000 tonnes of rice per year (nature at its most beautiful, so shortly after the horrors above); Majestic - the whole temple complex of the Angkor area (some are beautifully carved, some are vast, others are simply serene in their simplicity and tranquility, Ta Prohm not being among the tranquil ones since the Tomb Raider film. Crazy - the traffic in every town and city but this was contrasted by the ability of everyone to get through crowded junctions with in calm chaos. Walking out into the road, in the assured belief that you would not get run over, is a habit that one will have to rapidly get out of back in the UK! Tranquility - so many places were blissfully quiet, even at the fabulous hotel near Sihanoukville, where one had just gone through a vast building site, was so gloriously located on the beach near a fabulous choice of bars and restaurants. This was the first trip over the New Year when I have been able to get to sleep early due to the quiet in our Siem Reap hotel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bun was a star so let me tell you why: he always gave us fabulously accurate and informative briefings about the following day (when we needed to be anywhere; what we would be doing; what we should be wearing; what we should bring with us) as well as updates throughout the day; he was always able to find suitable restaurants for group dinners and coped well with the assorted dietary requirements of some guests. Finding a restaurant for 17 people at short notice is very difficult in any location at any time of year, let alone over the New Year period. Some evenings, when no group dinner was needed, we would find him joining us for dinner and fabulous conversations always resulted; his charm was endless, even when some guests were less than polite or helpful; we always knew where he was as we could always hear his delightful giggle; when one of the guests developed medical complications from sand fly bites, he was fabulous about ensuring that she got the appropriate medical treatment in the right facility and kept the rest of us informed of her progress; when another was taken ill during a bus trip, he dealt with it so discretely that most people had no idea that there had been any problem; his knowledge of his country is amazing; with his parents having been child-soldiers for the Khmer Rouge we knew that he had a very close connection with that dark phase of his country's recent history - he was amazingly frank about some aspects of his parents' lives and of his own extraordinary upbringing; he is a great testament as to what someone can achieve in their own life through sheer determination and hard work, making us feel very humble at having had the privilege of meeting him (woe betide any snivelling brat who whinges about not having the latest gadget, just because they "want" it!) with my husband having broken five vertebrae and twice having had his pelvis crushed, he is a self-confessed "princess and the pea" when it comes to bed mattresses. Bun phoned ahead to ensure that our last hotel had extra facilities in the room when we arrived, helping to ensure some 3 good nights' sleep.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    GO

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The mix of locations and experiences gave us such a broad insight into this amazing country within a really short period. Thank you for creating such a fabulous itinerary (we had looked at many but yours came out as the best and, despite a false start, we are pleased that we came with you. The mix-up over our premium economy seats for the return flight was resolved before we left, thank you. As soon as we got on the plane, there was someone in one of our seats and then another person came along claiming that he had just been moved, from economy, into the other seat. That gave us a bit of a surprise but we rapidly clarified to the staff and passengers that we were in our correctly allocated seats and that the first of other two passengers had simply decided to choose his own seat and that the other had been misinformed. It all ended smoothly and we appreciated the window seats so that we could keep an eye out for the aurora borealis. The aurora did not appear but that is the nature of the phenomenon.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Angela Lawes

    Very good trip

    We both enjoyed this trip which more than lived up to expectations. There was a good balance between activities and leisure time with options available for those who wanted more. Angela did a lantern class in Hoi An, for instance, which did not feature on the itinerary. Excellent and patient instructors - could provide an apron though as glue was involved! The boat trips were good - though wish use of non-plastic straws had prevailed throughout . Great cookery class at Red Bridge restaurant - we hope to reproduce some of the recipes over Christmas. The Halong Bay trip with a boat to ourselves was amazing as was the visit to all the temples in Cambodia especially Ta Promh with its sense of nature taking over. Excellent photographic opportunities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For Roderick the visit to the Ta Prohm temple. For Angela the overnight visit to Halong Bay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nam (Vietnam) was a very good group leader with a fine sense of humour once he got to know us. He had good knowledge of the places visited from historical and cultural aspects to advice on footwear, toilets etc. He added personal touches such as telling us of his family and presenting a rose to a group member who had a birthday. Boray (Cambodia) was similarly a very experienced group leader, who managed to fit in a great deal into our very short visit to Cambodia. Particularly notable was his obtaining return flights for two group members who had a family emergency, for which he is to be commended.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Suitable footwear for climbing steps, uneven ground and slippery conditions. A range of clothing to suit tropical and cooler conditions. Carry a few sheets of toilet paper. Water can be carried onto internal flights in Vietnam.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Possible inclusion of rail journey Hanoi - Da Nang to visit Hue would have been a welcome addition for us and others on this tour.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    JASON GOODHIND

    Fantastic trip

    My first trip with exodus and my first cycling trip ever. The customer service booking it and communications before the trip started were excellent and easy. Well done Exodus UK team for a great job and all the information you provided on trip notes and flight summaries. First class We had a truly fantastic guide - Channy - was really kind, considerate and passionate about the trip and his country. He was full of humour, had a great laugh and went out of his way to make sure all of us were OK. He was really knowledgeable about the country's complex history and religion and gave our trips real context. The cycling was a real mix of road (some main road but very minor roads free of heavy traffic), country roads and off road dirt tracks and the best day for me the track he took us through at Angkor complex through the jungle. It hopefully therefore ticked everyone's boxes across the trip who had different riding backgrounds (road/trails). Really felt that the routes gave a great insight into Cambodian way of life in the cities and in rural areas that you wouldn't see on the main roads. The people we met were all really friendly and the images of all the kids coming out onto the streets smiling and saying hello and waving as we passed by will stay with me for a long time. Angkor temple complex was a real highlight to visit and was a real highlight but each day we saw something that was a real joy to see from visiting temples, watching a local family making rice paper/silver/scarves etc it really gave you a sense of the real Cambodia. I would really recommend this trip to you. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Really nice group of 12 in total who all got along well. We had really great food, brilliant cycling snacks provided and all the back-up support team (mechanic, bus drivers and truck drivers) were lovely. Great specialised guides at Killing fields and in Battambong. A definite 5/5 for me.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are several. Going to the killing fields/S21 prison was very sad and understanding how people were treated in these difficult years of Cambodian's history. The guide we had that day was excellent and really helped to understand these terrible events. Angkor temple complex - wow! All the temples we visited were truly remarkable and just took your breath away. The pictures do not give it justice. Really glad to visit them - full of amazing sculptures, decorative inscriptions and history. I must say though that the humility, positivity and eagerness to please and share their stories from local people was heart-warming. All the children were wanting to say hello as we cycled and wave to us. I really got a good feel from Cambodia and it's a country that I would like to come back to.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Channy was just fantastic. He was really lovely guy - kind, considerate and passionate about the trip and his country. He was full of humour, had a great laugh and went out of his way to make sure all of us were OK. He was really knowledgeable about the country's complex history and religion and gave our trips real context. Unfortunately one of our team had two dogs run into his bike and cause an accident. Channy and the support team were very professional and got all the help to him really quickly and followed up to make sure he was OK. His knowledge of the route was excellent and he suggested some slight changes to some routes which were absolutely right. The route suggested through the jungle at Angkor was one such alteration which was my favourite day and route and a much better way to get there than on a busier route taken by other tourists. He was an absolute joy so thank you again Channy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A few things: 1. Gel saddle - made cycling much more bearable 2. Prepare for the heat - coming from the UK not used to cycling so much in 32-34 degree heat with humidity. We all managed it and we had pit-stops and re-fuelling breaks and excellent snacks 3. Just book it - you will have a fantastic trip and see a fantastic country.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Mark Billington

    Trying something new in S.E Asia

    I’ve previously been on several exodus trips either hiking or sightseeing ones or a mixture of the two. I thought I’d give cycling a go, I’m not a cyclist at home but keep myself fit. The trip was amazing, the cycling tough in the heat, but you get looked after so well, the bike teams manage the traffic so well and look after your hydration and energy levels. This trip isn’t just about the cycling though, the combination of 3 different countries, with different cultures and foods and fantastic sights and cities you get to see, make this a very memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You can’t fail to be amazed with the temples around Angkor, it’s staggering to think these masterpieces were put together centuries ago and to see them by bicycle is the perfect way to absorb them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn’t of asked for a better group leader than IS, so knowledgeable, so helpful, so approachable and within a very short time became one of us, part of the team, a friend to us all. In my experiences all Exodus leaders have been great but a couple have gone above and beyond to ensure your holiday is a memorable one, IS definitely went above and beyond and was much loved and respected by us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you build up your fitness, preferably with time on your bike, I did a couple of 40 mile cycles just prior to going on the trip, if possible cycle in some traffic as although the roads rarely get very busy, some of the towns have moderate traffic. Take a towel and swimwear, there’s plenty of opportunities to swim and if it’s as warm as it was when we visited you’ll be grateful of the cooling off in the pool. Definitely use the rooftop hot tub in the hotel in Phnom Penh.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really, just to say this holiday takes in so much, there’s never a dull moment or quiet moment so if you like your holidays full on and fun packed, it’s definitely for you.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Patricia West

    Best Trip

    Just did cycle trip Nov 8-23...what a fabulous time!!!. I am not a cyclist and was worried about being able to do this trip, but it was amazing. The group was large (18) with a mixture of couples and singles all around 25-69 yrs in age. I did fall off the bike on the first day and ended with a slight sprained wrist and cuts and bruises. 2nd day fell off again lol. Our guide looked after me well. I did ride the bus in places I did not feel comfortable with. Cycling was pretty decent, around 12-15km/hr for most of the group, the faster riders went ahead. Bike teams were fabulous and kept the equipment well looked after, snack foods plentiful. The heat and humidity was incredible, but after 3 days I was fine. Crossing boarders was easy. Visited many markets along the way and tried Grasshoppers, Silk Worms, Beetles, Snake, Tarantula, Scorpion and many other delicious Asian dishes. Visiting the Killing Fields, S21, War museum was very eye opening. The home stay was amazing! what a beautiful experience, got to help with dinner prep, beds were comfy, out door shower relaxing. The only thing I would say is if travelling single it is worth the extra cost to book single supplement. Spending 24/7 with the group is great but its nice to have time alone. I took the advice of reviews and packed light...took a back pack and carry on and I did fine, you can wash clothes in the sink and it dries quickly or laundry is cheap.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational part of the trip for me was visiting the killing fields, S21 and War museum.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was IS....what can I say …. she is the BEST!!!! We all fell in love with her. what an amazing woman and friend. She had us on time and kept us safe,When I fell she was right there taking care of my wounds, showed us how the people live, shared many foods with us. She went above and beyond her job! If you are fortunate to have her as your guide you will truly enjoy your trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    make sure you are a seasoned cyclist, doing just spin classes wont be enough. The cycling is long, the first day is short, but the next 2 days will be about 80-90k the heat and humidity will be high! it was high 30s and humidity was around 72. Be sure you are very comfortable cycling in the city as the traffic can be quite heavy and very different from normal city cycling, I took the bus near the cities as I was totally not prepared. Bring some type of cream for the bottom lol. I did not care for Vietnam $$ so I changed it back into US currency as most places will take US dollars. I took about $100.00 US for each country and that was sufficient but if you want to drink alcohol and buy items then you would need more. For the Temples you would need to bring clothing that covers below the knees. As I mentioned before, if travelling solo then its worth the extra $ to book a single room.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an amazing trip. I am so glad I did it. I would totally recommend doing it and this is coming from a non cyclist lol. By the 4th day I was told I had improved and actually looked like a cyclist . Exodus is the only company I would book with, its a little more expensive but they look after you top notch!.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    David Barnewell

    Outstanding trip, wonderful experiences every day

    Great organisation, team, guides and Leader; Chai, we experienced people, food, culture and daily life in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Saw most wonderful temples in Angkor, deeply moving visits to the Killing Fields and the Vietnam War Remnants museum and the great buzz of SiemReap, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh cities

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick a single event. Every day brought something new and different. The Temples of Angkor are simply stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was outstanding. He did a great job showing us new and different aspects to daily life in all three countries. His team of drivers, cyclists, mechanics and local guides were superb.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Research what you will see and visit in advance so you get the very best out of the trip. Bring comfortable cycling clothing, but not too much, laundry is easy. Make sure you bike size is correct and confined ahead of travelling. Get some miles done on the bike before travel so you’re fit enough to enjoy the scenery and not struggling

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to try new and unusual food and experiences
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Susanna Buckley

    Wonderful family holiday

    A busy but well organised trip. This was the first time we'd done a trip like this and we don't regret it. We saw so much in the 14 days - I don't think we could have done and seen so much if we'd organised it on our own. Our two children (16 and 18 years old) had a great time. They made friends with the other young people on the trip and this made it easier and enjoyable for everyone. Everything was organised in a family friendly way and the guides were excellent. It was also good to see the way local communities can be supported by responsible travel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say - so many lovely memories. The sampan trip on the Mekong Delta and the stay at the homestay were great. The trip to Angkor Wat was amazing - the scale of the place is breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders - one in Vietnam and one for Cambodia and Bangkok. Both were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need Vietnamese Dong for Vietnam. In Cambodia you can use US Dollars but sometimes it's easier to use Cambodian Riels. ATMs in Cambodia dispense US Dollars and Riels. For Thailand, you'll need Thai Bhat (our guide stopped just before the Thai border so that we could exchange). For visas, you need to pay cash in US Dollars. We found that we needed mainly cash - some of the restaurants didn't accept cards or some places (eg supermarkets) have a minimum spend before using a card and, if you only want a drink, that doesn't come to the minimum spend. Also, if you want to buy in the markets, you'll need cash. There were ATMs near all the places we stayed (except Mekong Delta). Pack light, cotton clothing, you don't really need activewear/trekking wear. There are local laundry services available in Cambodia - around USD2or3 per kg.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful holiday, wonderful memories. Everyone in the family had a great time.