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

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60 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2014
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    A fascinating insight into life in Vietnam.    This tour visited the highlights of the country - it's not a relaxing holiday, but very interesting.     Cambodia was worth seeing too - even though it was only two nights in that country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat trip in Halong Bay was fabulous, amazing scenery, but the biggest surprise was how good the boat was - nice clean cabins and a huge ensuite shower room.      The crew served amazing food too.     We also loved Hoi An - the place to buy your Summer wardrobe, and even have some clothes and shoes made for you. Cycling through the countryside around Hoi An was very interesting cycling through the padi fields.   The cookery course was brilliant, especially the walk around the market first of all, to see the ingredients the Vietnamese use.    

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Linh, was amazing.   Everything was perfectly organised for us and he told us so much about life in Vietnam, including their history, but also much about their day to day lives.        

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a brilliant way to see Vietnam in 2 weeks.  It's not particularly relaxing as you are doing something nearly all the time, but it was very well organised.        I wish we had added a stopover on the way back though - somewhere where we could chill out for a few days, before coming home.       

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The time between flights at Kuala Lumpur airport on the return journey was too long (7 hours) - however, all other timings were perfect and Malaysian airlines were good.
  • Reviewed November 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    A very interesting & mixed trip. Fascinating country, my eyes were out on stalks most of the time. All life can be seen on the back of a motor bike.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the traffic flow like water around locals & tourists crossing the road.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phoung was an excellent leader, couldn't have done any more for us. He was more disappointed than our group when Halong Bay boat trip had to be cancelled due to weather. He organised a party in his room to try to cheer us up. The fact he successfully got everyone across the road every time is a credit to him. He was ever cheerful, knowledgable and guided us all to having the best possible time we could.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its hot & humid. Light cotton clothing. Hat & umbrella essential.  Dollars accepted everywhere but local currency useful in Vietnam, not needed at all in Cambodia. Best shopping by far in HoiAn. Well worth getting clothes made, even simple pair of black trousers. Rehydration salts essential. Locals friendly, never felt threatened or uncomfortable.  Laundry cheap & very available. Busy most of the time with a few long coach journeys as well as the flights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We booked our own flights as we didn't fancy the long stop over on the return hjouney with Exodus. We arrived a day earlier in Hanoi so were better rested before the trip started. Had a great day exploring Hanoi on our own. Also stayed another day in Siem Reap at the end which was time well spent. Try to get to the circus if you can - street kids trained up with skills that they use to can earn a living - very funny & so talented.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    Quite simply both are lands of beauty, interesting wildlife (birds), very friendly people and superb food. I would recommend a visit to anyone but would suggest sooner rather than later - before it becomes too commercialised.Great for serious photography, and for snap-shooting also.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Night time in Hoi An.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A most personable Guy with a nice sense of humour. Always very helpful and interested in the group members.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We spent a few extra days either side of the 'fixed' schedule - this afforded us bird watching opportunities in National Parks which were superb. It also afforded us the opportunity to drive through some very interesting countryside.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I want to return .....
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    Excellent variety of things to see and do. Small congenial group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Overnight cruise in Halong Bay including  sea kayaking through a rock tunnel to an enclosed bay with wild monkeys.Exploring the Chi Chi tunnels - I knew about these of course, but experiencing them first hand and understanding the ingenuity and determination that  created them and kept them functioning was fascinating.Loved Hoi An - relaxing after the bustle of Hanoi.Angkor Wat for its scale, Bayon temple for its artistry and doing my Tomb Raider pose among those incredible tree roots at Ta Prohm. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dat was very personable and fitted in well with the group. He took us to some great places to eat that we might not have discovered for ourselves, especially the Night market BBQ in Ho Chi Minh City and the newly opened Little Menu restaurant in Hoi An. I'm sure a lot of work went on behind the scenes to make all the arrangements flow smoothly.In Angkor, we had less social time with our guide but he was very knowledgable and made a good selection of 4 temples each with something different to offer.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although guide books say you can get good coffee in Vietnam, I found it almost undrinkable. It was often like tar and the biggest problem was that I just couldn't find unsweetened milk. So if you like white coffee without sugar, suggest you take both coffee and some powdered milk (kettle in all hotels on this trip)Don't take too many clothes; you will be packing and unpacking a lot. Laundry services are easy to find, very cheap (outside the hotel) and quick. Loose silk or cotton pants or tops are very cheap and there are lots of T shirts, trainers, sandals etc if you need them + you will need space in your luggage to bring stuff back.Save your shopping for Hoi An; best quality, best variety and rather less hustle and bustle than Hanoi.If you are in the market for a handbag (or belt, wallet etc) Siem Reap has lots of crocodile, snake, ostrich and sting ray leather goods - not cheap but certainly cheaper than UK for this quality.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A couple of adjustments would have made an excellent itinerary perfect:A little less time in Hanoi and a little more in Hoi AnThe 'sunset'  visit to an Angkor temple was a little underwhelming. An earlier start the next day to see sunrise over Angkor Wat would have been preferable. Although this would have meant an early start, it would have been preferable to the 40 degree + heat we expereinced later in the day.You may want to give feedback to the Angkor Holiday Hotel (as a company you may have more clout than an individual) They decided to take over the pool area for a staff party on our last day which not only deprived guests of its use on a very hot aftenoon, but made a lot of noise  until nearly midnight.
  • Reviewed April 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    Friendly people, lovely country, good tour leaders taking care of all our needs without being overbearing, good hotel facilities.  Always difficult to strike a balance, but I think going forward you might want to progressively let go of the past legacy, the war, the politics and concentrate more on cultural highlights (Hue ?) and leisure

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Halong Bay, Angkor Wat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Friendly, helpful, considerate

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do follow the guidelines on drinks, I've seen a number of people with upset stomachs, in searing temperatures too.Stick to beer, Saigon Green is surprisingly good

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Buy yourself a traffic breathing mask, very handy in Hanoi and Saigon 
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    It is far more jam packed than the itinerary would lead you to think.  The places we stayed in were, in this order: Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap.  Eight different beds in two weeks and a heck of a lot of walking, bus rides and three internal flights. Everything went extremely smoothly thanks to amazing organisation and a tour leader/guide who was extremely professional and capable.  

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We'd done a fair amount of walking around Hanoi on a drizzly day when Nam (our group leader) realised that we probably wanted a break. Rather than go into a "normal" restaurant, we hunched down onto little plastic chairs within an alcove on the pavement of a back street where we were given rice spirits, herbal tea and puffs of tabacco out of a big, bubbling bong. The man providing the tea break looked like an elderly son of Ho Chi Minh, himself and despite his meagre business assets could not have been more cheerful and kindly towards us.  This was an inspired idea from our group leader as I don't know if we, left to our own devices, would ever have stopped for a break at somewhere which appeared to be as rough as this place appeared.  With Nam in attendance, we knew it would be good and in fact, it was one of many wonderful moments in the holiday. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Huge smile. Cheery upbeat nature. Thoughtful to our wellbeing and needs. Nam did everything he could to make our trip as smooth as it could possibly be. However, he didn't just take us to dozens of temples and tourist sites, he brought his personal history and experiences into the equation so that we received an insight into the people's history that was as deep as could be possible in the twelve days that we were with him. Getting to know Vietnam through Nam was a key part of the holiday. Our tour leader in Cambodia was a lovely chap and did a fine job of looking after us and making sure we were well catered for but his rough grip of English was such that it was difficult to gain much insightful information from him. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't have any worries about the internal flights. They were all less than an hour and took place from smallish airports where everything went amazingly smoothly and on time.  Thanks to early starts and terrific organisation, the flights took very little out of our days.  It was amazing to be able to jump from the different cultures and weather in the three different parts of the country.  I'd been concerned about the food and the security.  I'd imagined that we'd be eating all sorts of strange meats and little else. In fact, there were always chicken, beef and vegetarian options.  You didn't have to eat snails, frog legs and squid. I had a dicky tummy on one of the days but I was the only one in our group of eleven who did. With regards security, every hotel room had a working safe. Personal safety was never an issue ... the Vietnamese seemed like a very honest, hard working, moral bunch.   We were warned to be very careful in Ho Chi Minh City but didn't experience or hear of anything to worry us.  Everything you hear about crossing the roads is true.  It is unbelievable.  You simply have to walk out into the sea of motorbikes and have faith that they won't run you over. It works but takes a heck of a lot of getting used to.  Oh yes ... if you are ever asked if you want to go on an out-of-town cycle ride ... accept.  Both the cycle rides we went on were wonderful.  They were chances to get out into the beautiful countryside and receive a taste of village life.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Very busy.  Great value.  Professionally run and organised.  More early starts than we're used to but all in all ... a very rich experience which I'd highly recommend. 
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    This was an excellent trip made even better by a particularly congenial group of fellow travellers.  Our guide in Vietnam, Nam, was truly Mr Fix-it, even lending me his watch for the duration of the trip when mine was out of battery.  Vietnam was a fascinating country and the trip should really be sub-titled 'A Gastronomic Tour'.  The food was great throughout

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My most enjoyable day was our first full day in Hoi An when we went on a bike ride round the surrounding countryside, seeing the local herb farms and even taking in a local festival of thanksgiving for the rice harvest.  That evening we had a delicious dinner with a local family. In the afternoon I also collected a dress I'd ordered - made in just 24 hours.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As I said above, he was very good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In your Trip Notes you said that Malaria prophylaxis was essential but my surgery did not agree and I did not take anything.  The airport at Siem Riep was very well organised for producing visas on entry and it only cost $20 - cheaper than getting in advance in England.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a very busy tour and the full day of temple visits in Siem Reap was too much.  It would have been better to spread them over two days with some time to enjoy the hotel pool and relax.
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    North to South travel better in February. No beach swimming on offer - so hotel pools (in the south) would be good - BUT - balance between hotel in city centres (without pool) and hotel out of town.Probably not possible in Hanoi and Saigon. Hetel in Hoi An had lovely pool and was within the town - lovely !   Also had hotel pool in Siem Reap

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Comparing the warmth, smiles and openess of the Vietnamese people with the history of the western (France US etc) input to that country in recent years. A lesson in "moving on"   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 group leaders, but the Cambodian leader was only 2 days. The main man in Vietnam (Nam) was absolutely brilliant !. His organisational skills were 2nd to none. His dissertation on what we were about to see was informative and not over-wordy. His intimate knowledge of his subject was phenomental (statistics, dates, places etc) He was right on target about booking the meals that were not part of the tour. He always judged correctly the kind of restaurant the group would like, but in any case always canvassed the group as to what they would like - emphasis on you can do your own thing as well. He  arranged (at short notice) a birthday cake (of enormous proportions) and singing (on my birthday) what a star !Also, he was ready to ditch events we didn't want, but added in activities that he thought we might like (after consultation with the group).      He was very knowledgable and informative about Vietnamese food. Since this was one of the best parts of the tour, this information was really helpful in deciding what to order.Generally, he was fun, upbeat, considerate, and knowledgable    

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Depending on the time of year - we travelled in February - definitely better to do it North to South - cool to warm. Might have prefered to do Angkar Wat at the start (which doen't make sense in terms of what  I have just said ). But I would probably see Anghkar Wat as a part of Cambodia in the future. Take toys for children

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well I guess there has been lots of input from previous travellers to make this holiday so good !
  • Reviewed February 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    Itinerary was perfect and the group leader was fantastic - a lovely guy; each day was truly one adventure after another and I will keep those wonderful memories with me for a long, long time!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the bustle of Hanoi (hundreds of scooters), the limestone peaks of Halong Bay and cycling around the surrounding villages of historic Hoi An. Vietnam is a beautiful, lush country and it's people are so friendly. It was lovely to be greeted by local children as we cycled around the villages. We spend New Year in HCM City and it was awesome. I also really enjoyed the wonder of Siem Reap. Cambodians are very humble, friendly people. I wish I'd been there longer than 2 days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    If all the Exodus reps are as passionate about their country as our group leader then I can't wait to do another trip. Thang was knowledgeable, passionate about his work and country and extremely helpful. He put a lot of time and effort into making that we ate at the loveliest restaurants, gave us time to marvel at the awesome sites, made sure our individual needs were met and chivvied us up when we needed it! He was funny and really got involved with the group (he sings very well too)!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take US dollars as you really don't need to take local currency - I took both and it was fun working out the value of their notes but not necessary as everyone converts the cost into dollars if you need them to (you pay individually in all restaurants making it your choice of which currency to use). Definately use insect repellent and anti malaria tablets in CambodiaI completely recommend this trip; I still wake up every day and feel glad that I did it. Thanks Exodus!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The free afternoons that are specified on the itinerary are not whole afternoons free as you might think. Often the morning trip goes into the middle of the afternoon (worth it because the itinerary is amazing), but it leaves very little time to relax and or explore. As we came to the end of the trip I felt exhausted and not on par. Maybe consider giving a little more actual free time as it is deceiving when you read it on the itinerary. If I'd known that free time was so limited I would have tagged some extra days on the end of the trip to relax in Thailand or KL. I really rate this trip.
  • Reviewed January 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC VIETNAM & ANGKOR

    A very good highlights tour of an interesting part of the world with history (both ancient and modern) and an intersting culture - fascinating to see the contrasts between north, central and south Vietnam in a short time.  For me Angkor Wat deserves more time so either extend your trip or choose another and be warned this trip has a lot of early morning starts.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is a trip of highlights and to choose just one would be wrong in my opinion - I was most looking forward to Ha Long Bay and Angkor Wat and was not dissappointed (except for the weather in Ha Long!).  The most interesting thing about this trip for me was to just watch the locals go about their daily lives, both in the cities and in the country - and especially on their scooters!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both group leaders - Thanh in Vietnam & Chaana in Cambodia - were excellent.  Always freindly, knowledgeable, informative and helpful - they were also both eager to learn about our lives at home which was fascinating to contrast.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a very full trip but with a few afternoons for spare time, but be warned there are many early morning starts which does mean little socialising in the evenings and many early nights!Take an overnight bag with you for Ha Long Bay & Mekong Delta when your main luggage is not taken with you - and note that on the transfer days you often get off the flight and go straight out sightseeing before checking into the next hotel & getting access to your main luggage (and remember large sun cream & mossie sprays have to be packed as they cannot go with you in the plane).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Book your own direct flights (eg Vietnam Airlines) as the group flights are awful - flying to/from Kuala Lumpar is just silly when you don't have to; 3 hours airport wait going out and 9 hours on return.  Just about every flight with Malaysia Airways took off and arrived late, the cabin crew were not very helpful, the food was terrible, movie choice poor and I've never been on such a cold plane in my life!