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

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  • Reviewed February 2019
    Cathy Parmenter

    Great cycling and site seeing combination

    This trip is a great way of seeing a selection of famous sites as well as getting glimpses of the real India from cycling on back roads, waving at friendly locals, looping round cows, avoiding wandering pigs, nipping past sleeping dogs, pausing to allow flocks of sheep and goats to cross, overtaking bullock carts and even camels. The sometimes parched scenery may not be as lush as south India but there are plenty of sights to see along the way and regular snack stops to break up the longer cycling days. The longer rides tend to be pretty flat and there are some stiff but achievable hills too. But there's always a back up vehicle for anyone who has had enough and plenty of snacks and sweet chai to keep you going.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Taj Mahal literally took my breath away, the Amer Fort in Jodhpur was amazing and the City Palace in Udaipur was spectacular, but there were many fascinating insights into local life too whether seeing a couple making rope along the roadside or watching bricks being made by hand.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sanjay and Manu were both excellent, highly experienced guides who worked hard to make sure that everything went smoothly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are travelling in January, it is probably going to be colder than you think. I was glad of the down jacket I had worn to the airport and even wore it for cycling a couple of times until me and the day warmed up. Personally, I felt most comfortable wearing my over the knee mountain biking shorts as village women always have their legs covered but no one had any issues when wearing shorter shorts. Two pairs of cycling under shorts were sufficient as there are enough two night stops for them to get washed, three would be better if you have them. You'll need something warm to wear on cold evenings too as we ate outside a couple of times. But I guess that won't apply to later departures.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Gary Brown

    Good cycling but a shame about the pollution in the cities.

    We've visited India twice before, the first time 20 years ago and then again 10 years ago, and so as keen cyclists we were excited about the prospect of cycling around the back roads of Rajasthan. The cycling was fantastic, along quiet country roads through small rural villages where everyone waves and shouts hello. Brilliant! But beware - after the cycling you end up in large cities where the levels of pollution are now so bad that it is not only unpleasant to walk around but potentially very bad for your health. I and 3 others ended up with chest infections and 2 of us couldn't cycle again for the remainder of the trip. Our trip was over Xmas and New Year and the hotels, although perfectly clean and adequate, had no heating and it was very very cold at night - we had to ask for extra blankets just to be able to sleep. Our leader Manu and all the support crew were excellent but the bikes were a little tired. Would I recommend this trip - No! Although the cycling was great the pollution in the cities is horrendous!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cycling and the excitement of the local children.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus like to promote responsible tourism and yet their tipping policy makes a mockery of this. Why is it necessary for the clients to subsidise the wages of the leader and support crew? Surely Exodus (and the company they subcontract to in India) should be paying these local people a decent living wage? I would certainly prefer to pay a little extra in the cost of the holiday if it would do away with this unpleasant tipping procedure.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Philip Atkinson

    Fantastic trip through Moghul India

    This was a great trip to be on, saw amazing sights; buildings, landscape, wildlife as well as having a chance to see and interact with local people. We cycled through some varied and interesting landscape as well as some that was dull. The roads were quite a mix, some better than the guides remembered from their last trip, others much worse. The heat was relentless on a few days due to lack of shade and start times being later due to coach transfers, this did cause problems and maybe needs more thought. I have to say that, after a few days cycling, most of us improved but the 34km extenI think the trip will be a five in future but it needs some tweaking of itinerary and trip notes to get there. sion on day eight seemed to be wasted as the countryside was probably the worst we came across, uninspiring. Overall a great trip though with a few adjustments to trip notes and tweaking of itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a few, sorry! 1) The forts and palaces generally, especially at Jaipur and Udaipur 2) cycle up to Kumbhalgarh and visit to the fort 3) Morning guided heritage cycle around Jaipur, everyone thought that was fantastic 4) Ride through Sariskar NP buffer zone on day 10 5) Day 13 cycle through backroads to Fatehpur Sikri 6) And finally, the visit to the Taj Mahal, amazing

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two tour leaders who shared duties, Sanjay who was the most senior and Tapesh. I thought they were a good mix and ensured we had the chance to meet locals, especially in impromptu situations. They looked after everyone on the rides and catered for the varying levels of fitness and determination. Socially they were good fun as were the cycle rides. They made the trip in my opinion.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don’t underestimate the heat and it’s impact on performance. Drinking plenty is difficult when the water in your bottle is 40C so try and mix with other drinks or take some squash or similar. Travel light, a bar bag is a useful thing to take rather than rucksack. Have camera handy for photos as you pass through small villages and chai shops.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There were a couple of fairly negative people in the group who were disruptive towards the end, I thought the group leaders dealt with them quite well considering. Not sure of the benefit of the extra 34km on day 8, just made us late into Jaipur because of traffic. Also, there was no mention of the length of some of the transfers, the ones to Jaipur and also to Pushkar were very long but nothing in trip notes to indicate that, should,be more honest/explicit. On a separate note, the support staff were all very good and worked very hard.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    Stephen Yaxley

    An incredible, stunning, strange and wonderful experience

    The organisation and support from the entirely local team running the trip was absolutely exceptional. NK, the group leader, was faultless - calm, fun, supportive, organised, knowledgeable, entertaining. He led an exceptional team of drivers, cooks, mountain bikers/mechanics/guides, who all made the trip utterly fantastic. Breathtaking scenery, well maintained bikes, a good variety of routes - grassy Steppes, mountains, lakes and rivers. Gorgeous camp locations. Fascinating visits to a nomadic family, the capital and the ancient capital. It was a wonderful trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is really difficult to choose one - the most inspirational moment was often every single morning, setting off after a hearty breakfast to (usually!) crisp blue skies, early morning sun, herds of animals across the Steppes, distant ger tents. Just magical. Staying up late one night to see the stars on a very clear night was very special. The lamb roasted in the traditional way with hot stones from a fire one evening was very special too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NK was himself an inspiration. He truly was mindblowing - great fun, extremely knowledgeable. methodical, efficient, well organised. I was in awe of him! Can’t thank him enough for making the trip so amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It got very cold at night on this last tour of the season... down to -5 on occasions. But still up to 20 degrees sometimes in the day. So being equipped for the temperature change and range is critical for your enjoyment of the trip - I was pretty cold at night, and setting off in the morning I was dressed up like for skiing, and then rapidly had to strip off layers as the temperature shoots up in the mornings.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Steven GITTENS

    The land that time forgot

    This was simply a magnificent holiday in a wonderful country. Cycling eleven days in a row is a bit tough and the terrain can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. The landscape is vast and photographs cannot do it justice. I never tired of seeing herds of horses, running free in this never ending scenery. On the practical side, the tents were of top quality, the bikes were of equally good quality, the crew of 8 were brilliant and the group of cyclists were great company. The meals were well balanced and a credit to our cook. NK our leader was probably the best group leader I have experienced in my many Exodus adventures. We even had a shower tent with warm water when possible. September brought us varied weather conditions, with cold mornings, some rain, snow on the mountains, hail, high winds and plenty of sunshine. I would recommend this holiday especially if you want to get away from busy cities and experience real peace and quiet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I never tired of the horses running alongside us. The herds of yaks and cows and enormous flocks of sheep and goats are equally impressive. Large birds of prey can be seen regularly. The night skies are incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NK was magnificent. His organisational skills, his pleasant manner and his love of Mongolia is inspirational. My luggage failed to arrive when we landed at Ulaan Baataar, but NK assured me that the luggage would arrive before we boarded the overnight train. He arranged this and my luggage arrived. The excellent Gala Dinner on our last night was a very pleasant surprise. Our team consisted of NK, two other cyclist guides, three drivers, a cook and cook's assistant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good quality sleeping bag. The camping is very good and nothing to fear. We all became very slick at erecting our tents and taking them down.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When wild camping, toilets can be a bit of a worry. In Mongolia we had a western style toilet in a tent.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Graham Brodie

    Brilliant biking in Bhutan.

    A wonderful trip through some amazing and unexpected countryside, with plenty of hills and friendly people, and a very rich culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Descending from misty heights of the Dochula pass into almost tropical conditions through the forests below.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were very fortunate in almost having two leaders, a very new leader who worked hard to make our trip good, and we were accompanied by a senior Exodus guide on the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were concerned about altitude sickness on the trip, but the maximum ascent of 4000m didn't seem to cause a problem, there were plenty of "snack breaks" on the way up the climbs. We were also concerned about dogs, and potential "rabies" threat. There were many dogs but during the day they seem to be docile , sleeping and uninterested, but after dark, in both town and countryside, they seem to hoard and then yelp and bark all night long, so you'll need quality ear plugs!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was pricey, but that's how the country raises money for its social and healthcare systems, and pretty much everything was include, we felt well looked after.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Rosie Wych

    Bhutan

    Tremendous trip from start to finish. Fantastic country which was a privilege to visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one thing as many aspects were memorable - some major like the scenery, buildings etc but rounded off by the friendliness of the people, dogs, lack of traffic and for a vegetarian - wonderful food.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All the Staff were great - it was a bonus to have both Valerie and the excellent Bhutanese leader - supported by the 2 drivers whose smiling support with endless tea and snacks along the way made cycling easy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is hard work but can be done at an easy pace. The trip notes were being reviewed during the trip and will benefit from the update with accurate route details and other advice. Warm clothing certainly needed for long descents.Hotels were surprisingly good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A very different type of Asia to the preconceived notion of poverty and squalor - brought home by passing through Kathmandu on the way home.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Ray Powell

    Cycling with a bump

    A great first experience of India

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Handing out pens to local school

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manu was very good and was always around to help us out when we needed it

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have good travel insurance
  • Reviewed February 2018
    curtis wierenga

    loved cycling in rajasthan

    This trip was great! The cycling wasn't overly difficult. The trip offers a wide range of sites to please everyone. Our guides and crew were excellent, the bikes were great as was the support vehicle. We always had drinking water and snacks while we cycled. They took great care of us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through some of the small villages on our last day of cycling. There is no better way to be immersed in the Indian culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manu was fantastic, very professional but also alot of fun at the same time. Great sense of humour! We have travelled many years in many countries with many guides and Manu ranks right at the top!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy! Don't be afraid of the food or drinking water or the sheer number of people. It is fantastic
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Jon richards

    cycling through Rajestan

    This was a good trip, seeing the classic UNESCO sites of Jaipur, Agra & Taj Mahal, wildlife reserves, train rides, moderate cycling as well as some really off the beat village life. The hotels were mainly of a good standard with pools & the staff were excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sites at Agra & Taj Mahal which were amazing. Some really fond memories of village life, visiting local schools, houses etc - Exodus really excel at this. The safari was ok, probably enjoyed the bird sactuary more

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tapesh & the whole team were brilliant - well organised, considerate, communicative etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's hot so take good screen, hat etc. Hardly any mossies, so didn't bother with Deet. Take alcohol hand wash to avoid the bugs.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are lots of visits to palaces & forts which get better as the trip goes on to the well know UNESCO sites, some of these early ones are optional. There are some quite long bus transfers to the cities where these sites are - I believe changes are being made to the schedule to reduce the amount of these. The cycling scenery is fairly dry, and in my opinion much lusher with less urban centres to get to, on the Kerala or Sri Lanka trips. So if you want to see the UNESCO sites and have good (rather than excellent cycling), this would be a good trip. For a more relaxing trip, with lusher scenery & v few bus transfers, the Kerala trip might appeal more
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