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

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17801 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Will Hamilton

    Wonderful experience

    This was a fantastic couple of weeks. Joseph and his team are absolutely first class. The cycling is easy apart from that climb up to Ooty! Lots of magical memories.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the temple at Guruvayoor. Farm walk and chai at the farmhouse. Seeing elephants in the wild. Home stay lunch. Houseboat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lara Thompson

    High altitude trek in majestic Indian Himalaya

    So glad to have experienced this remote, beautiful, haunting autumnal Himalaya adventure that took us through ancient villages, rhododendron oak and pine forests on to high mountain meadows with panoramic Himalayan views. V-shaped valleys, enormous glaciers, sepia clad landscapes, high meadows, snow capped mountains, vibrant starry skies and a wonderful trek into the Garwhal Himalaya within a stones throw of majestic Shivling, Meru and Bagarathi sister mountains. All mixed with a good dollop of culture at the amazing arti in Rishikesh, the old trading village en route to Gangotri and the religious ambiance so significant in this special corner of India. Vibrant indian towns of Mussoorie, Rishikesh and Dehradun mixed with the gentler remoter village of Barsu and tourist/pilgrim town of Gangotri.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The majestic sepia clad glacial landscape of Tapovan. Sunset lit peaks of snow covered mountain tops. Unbelievable walk along the lateral morain of the glacier in the shadow of Meru. Panoramic views from Surya Top across the meadows of Daraya Bugyal to the Indian Himalaya one way and the foothills folding and stretching out across the Indian plains to the west. Bagarathi River emerging from the mouth of the glacier, clean, pure and untouched.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An exceptional, experienced, knowledgable and professional guide in Valerie Parkinson. She instilled confidence and security in leading the group. Calm, delightful and a pleasure to be with. She was accompanied by Jigmet, a kind and experienced exodus guide with a lovely sense of humour from high altitude Ladakh as well as competent local guide Mansingh and his helpers.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack for a range of temperature! Travel as light as possible but don’t skimp on the warm layers for the higher altitude sections of the trek. Make sure you are kitted out properly … and that your sleeping bag can deal with the very low temperatures at night once the sun has dipped below the horizon. Audio books helped pass the time on the long bus journeys and dark early nights. Very limited mobile phone reception and limited/intermittent wi-fi only at a couple of the hotels. Unavoidable but very basic hotel in Gangotri.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Journeying into the remoter regions of India from Rishikesh and the lower plains does take time but the journey through the fascinating winding roads of the region was relatively comfortable in small minibuses and jeeps. The route up to Chirwasa is well trodden pilgrim route and the campsite at Bhojwassa looks as if it could get quite crowded at times! Make the effort to do the optional Meru base camp walk. It’s worth it!
  • Reviewed January 2020
    wendy fairhurst

    Great trip overall - a real journey

    Just returned from this trip . Myself , my husband and 3 more friends went on the trip - we are all keen on cycle touring. For myself and my husband, our overall experience was very good . Our guide, Chai was the best we have ever had . He dealt with a varied group with humour, fantastic organisation and always a smile. The group we were with was made up of British , Canadian, American and Australian cyclists . The group was great and bonded well under Chai's expert guidance. Culturally the trip is very interesting - Angkor Wat is fascinating and beautiful and the Killing Fields in Cambodia were life changing. Travelling through the 3 countries and seeing the various levels of development, political situations and living conditions was interesting and sometimes disturbing. However the cycling itself was sometimes disappointing - in the first few days there is rather a lot of cycling along straight, featureless , flat roads in 35 degrees of heat. Being taken out to eat local food in the evenings was very enjoyable and welcome after this. Cycling around Angkor Wat and the various temples which make up the complex was beautiful and the cycling in Vietnam is amazing - cycling through communities , hopping on and off ferries - everywhere a riot of colour and interest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing the story of our young female guide in Phnom Pen give an emotional and personal account of the Polpot regime and life in Cambodia nowadays moved me to tears . Cycling around Angkor Wat Hearing our guide talk about his humane and pragmatic approach to Buddhism Cycling through villages and communities in Vietnam

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was quite simply one of the nicest human beings I have ever met and an inspirational guide and leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the first few days of cycling which are long , scenery is not spectacular and it is very hot. It does get better! We are reasonably strong cyclists and were able to find enjoyment in blasting down the long, straight, quiet roads but still found the heat a challenge. Chai managed it well though and arranged stops every 8-10 miles to re-group and cool down. The team were always waiting with very welcome and delicious snacks and drinks. Go easy on them if you don't want to gain weight. Cycling around the Angkor Wat temples and in Vietnam is lovely. Go out with the guide to eat in the evenings - the local food and experience is fantastic and hotel food often very average. We did not get ill.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was a journey rather than a holiday and overall a very positive experience. Most people on the trip who had never done Exodus holidays before were inspired to do more trips like this. However be prepared for some of the cycling in the heat and seeing the poverty of some of the communities, particularly in Cambodia.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jean Smith

    A ‘must do’ for the ‘bucket list’!

    An excellent trip with Edward our leader, Felix our driver and Primo the very best boatman in Tortuguero. Our 2 days in Tortuguero were a highlight with the boat trips and we were very lucky with the weather. You definitely need plenty of thin cotton clothes - nothing dries in the humidity and layers for the cooler areas. We felt well prepared having read the trip notes and the recent reviews. Plenty of bug spray, umbrella, waterproof or poncho and a good hat. Excellent food especially the fruit and fish and accommodation better than we had expected. The spa at the last hotel was an unexpected bonus - well worth having a massage and jacuzzi after a busy holiday! We enjoyed the happy hours to sample local cocktails (some more than others!). Our group of 16 was an eclectic mix who got on extremely well, always ready for a laugh and a challenge and got on really well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    5.30 am boat trip down the water channels at Tortuguero looking for wildlife - superb!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Edward was very professional, personable and smart both in appearance and knowledge. He was flexible, wanting to meet the whole group’s individual needs and good fun. He was always willing to organise extra things for us to give us the best experience of his beloved country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes and recent reviews and make sure you have a good camera, binoculars, umbrella, waterproof or poncho and a good hat.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    peter macauley

    heart attack and lies

    promised a leisurely ride alongside a river, wrong. Navigation tools completely useless cant read and ride at same time. maps useless distances all wrong. when contacted for help when lost was insulted by people in london who had never ridden the route. when medical emergency happened they provided no help. huge problem was exodus sub contracted everything without providing any info to all the sub-contractors so no one could do anything more than their little part. had to abandon the tour halfway through, due to lack of help and confidence in company. When finally home and raised concerns company insisted on re-living the ordeal with every level of management without apology. didnt seek monetary compensation, but would have liked to have some acknowledgement of their responsibility.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    being lost with no visible solution and having people in london tell us lies about scottish roads and how a sixteen year old girl could do better than us. very insulting.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont use their self guided tours you are better off organizing your own travel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus should at least try to stay intouch with all of their sub-contractors as they are the front lines of their company.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Sarah Morrow

    The real Myanmar

    This trip covers all major aspects of Myanmar and gives an incredible insight into the country. This is an excellent trip, suitable for anyone, as any of the more physically demanding activities can be avoided if you like (although none are very demanding for one of any age with basic fitness) We covered a good distance and all the major sights thanks to efficient use of internal flights (which were probably also a safer way to travel considering the state of some of the roads)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Far too many to mention - except it was a real highlight to catch a glimpse of the river dolphins during our boat trip down the Irrawaddy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was incredible in all respects. He had an obvious love and pride for his country, and gave us the best possible insight into all aspects of life and culture. His knowledge was comprehensive, and he always ensured that we were in the right places to see everything at its best. He ensured that, in return, we contributed as much as possible to the local economy, benefitting most those at the lowest levels. His efficiency at handling transfers between hotels was amazing - you left your bag outside one room, and however we travelled, bus or air,it magically appeared at the next, without any worries at all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Myanmar does not receive the best of press at the moment, but please do not let that put you off visiting. The country feels entirely safe, open, and incredibly welcoming and your tourist pound goes a long way to improving their economy at a beneficial level. All the optional excursions are really worth taking - none of them are at all expensive but they contribute hugely both to their economy and your overall experience of the country. This trip exceeded my expectations in all respects.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Howard Reece-Smith

    A Mixed Bag

    First things first,this is hard cycling,long and steep gradients,and hot weather. The team of Paolo,Gustavo,Jonathan,Hernan and Caesar were sensational.Helpful informative,kind,supportive and excellent cyclists. The accomodation was patchy with the Mirador hotel in Ansema easkly the wlorst.Tiny double bed suitable only for 2 midgets.The bed rock hard and the room tiny and airless.Whoever could have approved it had obviously not spent a night there. The Food was cheap and often excellent but could fall to earth with a bang,when a tepid lasangne was served still in the silver foil.Unsxurprisingly one of our number spent the night vomiting with food poisoning.No suggestion of bubbling hot there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Achieving the climbs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above, a paragon of virtue,as were the whole team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for a very hard ride or accept that you will have to take the bus,sometimes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The scenery is spectacular,the roads vary from sublime to ridiculous.Some of the wayside trips are very good ,but English is pretty much not spoken.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    John Gilligan

    Orthodox Christmas in Ethiopia

    Ethiopia is not like any other African country. It is Orthodox Christian by choice not conversion and had no colonial period. It's modern economic development is astonishing with people being lifted out of poverty before your eyes. It is still strange and erratic at times - they turn off the internet from time to time - but the scenery is astonishing and the people generally welcoming and pleased to meet you, even if the children have all figured out that tourists mean rich pickings.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were there for the Orthodox Christmas which was truly memorable as tens of thousands converge on churches to celebrate. Crowd control is minimal and the experience is a full-on sensory assault.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guides are excellent and almost by osmosis you learn about why this country is unique, culturally and geographically.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Food is either Ethiopian and odd to a Western palette (dals, stews and dips with thick sourdough pancake - and what exactly is "fasting food" anyway?), or Italian inspired and absolutely fine. Beer is excellent and cheap and gin essentially all but free. Hotels vary from "pretty good" to "you could do better if you tried a bit", but anyone who goes expecting western chains is going to the wrong place. Fascinating.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    David Hindley

    Excellent, probably the best yet.

    This was an amazing trip. Totally fell in love with Vietnam, We did so much in such in two weeks. The cycling, somehow. only felt like a small part of the experience as there were so many other things that we did. Each day was full on, exceptionally well organised, great food, etc Been on a few cycle trips, and I think this was the best one so far.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many, how could I choose? I'd always wanted to go to Hoi An and the Hai Van pass. Both did not disappoint. The whole trip was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Linh was a perfectionist in all he did. There was no waiting around for buses to turn up, bikes to be made ready, trains to catch, boats to board, meals to eat. etc Everything was there at the time stated or when we just happened to turn up. He was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the places we visited. A great leader. The support team was great too, fixing my puncture on one occasion, and replacing the whole gear system on another. Just great, great and great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I stayed an extra day each end, and depending on how you counted my stay, I was in Vietnam for 15 or 16 days (if you counted the part days at each end as whole days). I asked Exodus if I needed a Visa, they said no. I emailed the Vietnam Visa website also, but got no reply. Vietnam Airlines, flying from Paris, did see this as a problem, and I needed to sign a disclaimer form before they would let me fly taking all responsibility. The Visa counter in Ho Chi Minh also saw this as a problem, where I was questioned at length, but they did eventually let me in. Personally, I would have preferred to have paid the Visa, so I did not have this uncertainty. Others in the group, staying the same length of time, did not have the same problem. So your choice if extending your stay, but you may want to be aware that some see 15 day visa as counting a part day, as one whole day! The accommodation throughout was excellent, but I found the "1st class" train compartment very claustrophobic and far too hot and spent some of the night sitting on a small plastic chair in the corridor. The 2nd/3rd class carriages were far cooler and more spacious. I would probably decamp there if I did this again.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lynda Branch

    Simply sensational

    My husband and I had an amazing time on this cycling trip. From the start in Mysorevisiting stunning temples and cycling through manic traffic to the backwaters of Kerala and the tranquil pace to the national parks and tiger and elephant sightings it was a wonderful experience. Safi and his team were first class guides - there to help in every way they could and to enhance each experience and always with a smile on their faces. Nothing was too much trouble and the added extra of being impromptu guests at an Indian wedding was an experience we’ll never forget. The cycling was accessible to us as occasional cyclists and sometimes challenging. Climbing the hill to Ooty was certainly physically demanding but we had plenty of time and support on route and the midway tea point provided some much needed respite. The roads are, as described in the trip notes, mostly good but with some rough patches but taking our time we all navigated these without too much difficulty. It’s hard to pick out the top highlights because there were so many varied and different experiences but for us the night on the houseboat (where we all dressed in traditional outfits) and seeing a tiger at close range were two. The food was also exquisite. However, it’ll be the smiles of everybody we met and the hospitality of people who couldn’t do enough for us that we’ll remember. We can’t recommend this trip highly enough,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lunch in a family home where we tasted a huge range of local delicacies all served by every member of a lovely family. We loved it so much that we went back for a cookery class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was incredible. From start to finish nothing was too much trouble - he anticipated our needs even before they were apparent to us. His local knowledge added hugely to the trip and he knew every local place to stop at, the best places to eat, where to shop, local craftsmen who demonstrated their skills. If anybody needed anything - e g medication, insect cream - he took care of it all. He gently guided us on the cycles - always around if we needed him but happy for us to go at our own pace as well. A big shout out should also go to this two assistants - Vypin and Santhosh - who were also fantastic. As a team of three they couldn’t have been better and added hugely to our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that there’s some cycling in traffic so practice this before going. Pretty much everybody had a bit of a funny tummy - not enough to stop us cycling - so hand gel essential and supplies of Imodium.