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

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  • Reviewed May 2019
    Jane Holdsworth

    Awesome

    A very busy trip that gave us a taste of so many parts of Vietnam and an opportunity to understand about the culture and food in the north and south. A good mixture of history, sightseeing and a variety of travel modes. Hotels were of a high standard and the customer service from people who served us in all of the accommodation, on buses and in restaurants was first class. As tourists we were welcomed with open arms. We enjoyed the energy and optimism of Vietnam and the sense of humour and pride in the country

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cruising through Halong Bay was breathtaking and dining and sleeping over on the boat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nga was an absolutely awesome leader. She was full of enthusiasm, knowledge, great care for each individual and wonderful sense of humour. I really missed her early morning positivity on returning to the UK. She made the trip for us and gave us a great insight into Vietnamese culture

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a busy schedule. In retrospect I would have planned in some down time immediately after the travel. Take into consideration that there are a lot of optional trips/activities as well as the main ones
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Karen Healey

    Brilliant holiday... let by a brilliant tour leader/guide

    This was my first holiday ever to the East, beyond Europe. Vietnam is a truly amazing country and having been back two weeks now, I still can't believe I was there. From start to finish of the tour, it was an amazing holiday and experience and one I will never forget, as one as hopefully one day I would like to repeat. The tour is full-on... early starts, long days and always lots to see and do (north to south in 10 days with sights). There was not a lot of free time to yourself and only when we were in Hoi An or on the last day in Ho Chi Minh City before the night flight home, did we manage to get any real chance to do any shopping, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. A perfect holiday left by a perfect guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You see those lovely pictures in books, magazines and brochures of the exotic and the simple rural areas of Vietnam with the locals going about their daily lives in fields, or on a sampan on a narrow waterway with their conical straw hats, and actually being in the middle of it all was an amazing experience, one I still can't believe I was amongst it all. Being on a boat in the middle of Halong Bay amongst the limestone rocks was magical, especially staying overnight. Hoi An was brilliant and picturesque. The cycle ride to Cam Kim island was an experience not to be missed - very rural with villagers showing us their crafts and giving us an insight into their lives... though I found cycling on the main streets in Hoi An to get there a bit hairy (all part of the experience!). Also learning about the country's turbulent past and visiting places of great significance was so interesting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phat was amazing, I took care of us and made sure we were all OK every step of the way. He went out of his way to make sure we could do the things we wanted to, such as lay on a short mini tour of the mausoleum area of Hanoi before departing the city, which was not on the itinerary, so we could see the sights there and nearby that we otherwise would have missed due to time restraints (all at a very low supplement). Optional extras you could take part in, or not, as you wish, and nothing was too much trouble for Phat. His personality and sense of humour, as well as knowledge of everything we needed to know or acting as a guide at historical sights, was second to none. Before I went I felt like I was a bit out of my comfort zone, travelling somewhere so far away and so different to what I was used to, but the moment we met our tour guide (Phat), he really made me (and others) feel more at ease in Vietnam.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit hesitant to book it at first, not knowing what to expect, but so glad I did. Book it now... live the dream like I did.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels we stayed at were very good and comfortable, no complaints at all, and some at a pool. The farmstay was lovely, a sheer delight, and again had a pool. The cabin on the boat on Halong Bay was comfortable and pretty. The only downside to any of the accommodation we had was trying to sleep on the overnight train from Hanoi to Dong Hoi... I don't think any of us got any sleep, but again, an experience not to be missed (just as well I never got any sleep!).
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Alexandra Denby

    A whistlestop tour of Vietnam

    This is a busy tour taking in the main sights of Vietnam. Be prepared for planes, trains and automobiles (and boats!).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are a few: The Mekong Delta - sailing on the Mekong, walking in the coconut/banana plantation and going along on a sampan boat. Getting back to nature is just magical after being in the cities. Hoi An - Phat rearrange the walking tour so that we had a whole day free. I spent it with some others seeing the main sites, shopping and visiting coffee shops, finishing the day with a cooking class making our dinner for that night. Vinh Moc tunnels and the War Remnants museum - these really bring to life the atrocities of the Vietnam war. The museum has a lot of upsetting images, I needed some quiet time afterwards to wipe away tears and get my head around everything.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phat is a fantastic leader. He is knowledgeable and has a great sense of humour. He would rearrange days to make sure we used the short time we had really well, even giving up some free time to take us on a tour of Hanoi. He was on top of the various dietary needs of some of us. Phat reminded us constantly about responsible tourism - he is a gem!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good pair of walking sandals and do laundry in Hoi An. If you have the time, go to Hanoi a day early to do some sightseeing (or just recover from the jetlag), and go and see the water puppets. The overnight train starts in Hanoi, so the sheets and cabins will be clean - but take a sleeping bag liner and pillowcase just in case. If you are on a top bunk, it can get cold from the air conditioning. Order takeaway food for the train. There are 2 western toilets for each carriage, which are topped up with toilet paper during the journey. It is noisy and jerky so be prepared for little sleep. Walk along the Perfume River in Hue - there is a dedicated walkway away from the traffic. And go to the embroidery art museum. The cookery class in Hoi An is fun, you learn about Vietnamese cookery and you eat what you make. Buy lanterns in the night market in Hoi An if you want one - the best and biggest choice is there. On the last day the group flight leaves Ho Chi Minh City after midnight - book an extra day in the last hotel so that you can do sight seeing in HCMC and then freshen up afterwards. In HCMC on the last day, go to the cafe on level 50 of the Bitexco building (this is free - the observation deck is ~$10 - although the drinks can be pricey). And check out the street food market and the rooftop bars of the Majestic Hotel, Caravelle Hotel and Rex Hotel. The jade emperor pagoda is mentioned in the guide books but I found it a bit disappointing.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a good tour if you want a quick overview of Vietnam. Our tour leader was good and rearranged various days to give us more free time for optional activities or for our own sightseeing. The food is excellent (and cheap, you could pay less than £5 for lunch with beer). The weather is cooler in Hanoi than further south, and it can also be misty/smoggy in Hanoi.
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Henry Lovegrove

    Fantastic holiday

    High paced trip which provides big variety of activity and stunning sights. Great guide as well!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The rickshaw and cycle rides through the countryside at Hoi An

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What a considerate, cheery and clear chap: he could not be faulted

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bolt on a trip to Cambodia and may be an extra day at Hanoi

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well done Exodus for devising a brilliant itinerary
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Kristin Koblis

    A Lot to See in a Short Amount of Time

    I felt that we really did see Vietnam top to bottom. There was a lot to cover in 10 days and the trip could really be extended. It was helpful to get to Hanoi a couple of days earlier and I previously went to Ho Chi Min City. The caves are the best part of the trip. You really can't go wrong with it, if your goal is to see Vietnam.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I very much enjoyed seeing the caves in Phong Nha National Park. I wish we spent more time that area.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    There were times he told us too much and other times not enough. He things planned, but not clear enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get to Hanoi a little bit early and stay in HCM City after to really see those cities and sights.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Andrew White

    Highlights of Vietnam

    This trip provided an insight into Vietnamese life in the past and present. The experiences were varied such as visits to sites of natural beauty as well as historical and social settings. Our guide was very informative and professional, providing the group with both factual and personal narratives. The trip and our guide introduced us to venues and experiences that we would not have had access to, had we visited on our own.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting Mr Dee and Mrs Ming, both retired from the Vietcong Army, at their home. Visiting the caves in Quong Tri region

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wonderful! Thuy was attentive to all of our needs, providing individual services to the group members, highly professional, educational, warm and humorous. Both me and my wife felt confident being with Thuy as he was accessible at all times and ready to respond if needed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take Vietnamese Dong as well as US Dollars. Use US Dollar only as a back up as Vietnamese prefer the Dong. Pack lightly. Write a diary as you go along as you will have so many adventures in one day.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    VITTORIA Doyle

    Compact trip with all the highlights

    Trip is an excellent way to see pretty much Vietnam in a short space of time. It lacks a Hanoi tour at the start and i would suggest going a day earlier like i did to do your own. Likewise at the end i did my own tour to the Cu Chi tunnels which are a must see really. You have all day before your flight so its possible.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the beautiful Hoi An

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader Thuy was very organised and everything ran as it should do. A very lovely man who understands hus country and presents it in a clear and humourous way.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go a day earlier to see Hanoi and book a room so you can have it when you land first thing in the morning. Also pay to keep your room on the last day as the flight home is at midnight so you can have a little sleep and a shower before the flight.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Demelza Higginson

    Amazing 10 days

    This is a busy trip but gives you the highlights of this beautiful country. We went to the cities and the countryside. We enjoyed some fabulous food and the people were really friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is really difficult as there were lots of inspirational moments. But Halong Bay and Hoi An were 2 of them. The trip to the tunnels and the war museum was thought provoking and made you realise the impact of the war and that it is really still very recent.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Hung was brilliant - very knowledge, organised but flexible. He was great fun and led our group well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is busy trip so be prepared for some busy days and lack of sleep especially at the start of the trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip to show you the best of Vietnam.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Peter Rogers

    Excellent Adventure

    Wonderful trip, It was well planned and well executed, We were with a great group and we all got on so well immediately, The Group leader was so knowledgeable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few highlights to this trip, The cruise in Halong Bay was very good, especial the chief making table decorations out of vegetables. The Thien Duong caves and Phong Nha cave were fantastic, and i really enjoyed them. The optional cycling trip was very good, its well worth booking it. Overall every thing was great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Huy was a great leader, he is very knowledgeable and looked after us very well. This was my 8 trip with exodus and he is one of the best leaders I have had. I'm a fussy eater, but he always found me something else to eat if there was something on the menu i didn't like.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go for it, its a busy week, but well worth it, we went in February, while it only rained one day, it was cloudy for the first half of the trip and hot and sunny in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the Mekong Delta, so you will need plenty of suntan lotion

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a great trip and an enjoyable experience, there is so much to see in the 12 days, but it is well worth it.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Emily Draper

    Fun, Fast, Exhilarating, Exhausting and wouldn't change a thing

    The most jam packed 10 days of my life. But also the most enjoyable. Every day brought something new. It's fast and furious so be prepared for moving to somewhere new virtually everyday day. Having said that it's a truly enthralling trip. Every destination is different providing you with a ton of different unforgettable experiences.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but mostly the people! All the different guides we met on tours had a different amazing story. Each bringing a different perspective on life through war and post war. Really made you think and reflect. The guide on the My Son Sanctuary visit was brilliant, his knowledge and story were superb. Also the bike ride around Hoi An and Camp Ping Island gave you a unique reflection of life in the country. Standing on top of an old water mill at the top of the High Van Pass taking in the views was incredible. Walking around the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City was probably one of the hardest things to do, but amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Huy was an incredible leader. His knowledge was second to none, he gave us plenty of options of optional activities, restaurant options whilst pointing out the best places to go. He always had logistics sewn up, on the road breakfasts, lunches, transportation - the timings were always perfect. An all round lovely guy with a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We travelled mid-end of February - a rain jacket is useful as it was cloudy most days, some of the group found that the hat + gloves came in handy on the overnight train. Eat everything! The food is amazing everywhere you go. Pack light. There is opportunity to have laundry done along the way and as you'll be moving around virtually everyday it'll be easier if you've packed light. I found using packing cubes in my rucksack a god send!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be afraid, jump right in, take in as much as you can, embrace the food, culture and each other. We had an amazing group, we all jelled very well making the trip even more enjoyable.