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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed June 2019
    Catharine and David Finn

    Fantastic walking trip

    Fantastic holiday walking the Great Wall .... great group leader and lovely group of people. We both found The Wall absolutely amazing and China is such an interesting country to visit. Would love to go back to visit another part.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole of the wall was more amazing than we imagined but particularly the 28 Towers walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alan was outstanding.....really knowledgeable, enthusiastic and organised. Nothing ever seemed to be a problem or too much trouble as he just sorted things out.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take toilet roll and hand gel as not always available. Download VPN before you go if you want to access internet as some sites are blocked.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Peter Kenny

    The Great wall, a great holiday

    An excellent overall experience, really enjoyed the walking, especially the less touristy parts of the wall. The hotel rooms in Beijing and Xi'an were looking a little tired but, they were clean with comfortable beds and good showers. The homesteads were fine with very welcoming hosts. The food overall was very good, although breakfast was a little limited if you like your traditional "English" style to start the day.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing on a hilltop and seeing the great wall stretching out for miles over mountain peaks that look so steep that you'd think they would be impossible to climb let alone build a wall over.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader in Beijing was Alan, he really was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble for him, on numerous occasions he went out of his way to help us, I really can't praise him enough. Our guide in Xi'an was Chris, he was OK, nothing more than that.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Having done a number of treks with Exodus don't underestimate the physical challenge that this trip offers. Don't be fooled by the distances in the trip notes, it is very up and down with hundreds and hundreds of steps. When we were there the weather was very hot and that also played a part.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Really enjoyed walking the Great wall and China is a fascinating country to visit.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Lynn Simpson

    Captivating China

    Superb trip with plenty to see and do. The Great Wall is amazing, the Terracotta Warriors fascinating as was the Han Yangling Mausoleum. The Shanghai Museum should really be included and not optional. The visit to the Giant Panda breeding research base was great. Plenty of exercise to work off the effects of the delicious food with walking the Wall, dancing in the park, cycling the walls at Xi’an and cycling through the stunning scenery of Yangshuo.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the Great Wall Giant Panda breeding research base

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Peter was very knowledgable and organised. He always had a smile on his face. He organised a cake and celebrations for my husband’s birthday. Alan still talks about the longevity noodles. Thanks Peter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Well worth the effort and hassle of getting a visa.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Probably the most disappointing part of the trip was the visit to the Three Gorges Dam. Leave it out and add in the Shanghai Museum.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Geraldine Kevill

    imperial china and yangsie river cruise

    Peter Wong was a very good guide. He explained in detail the history of China from the early ages until the present day. I found the trip very educational. The fastness of landscapes, with high rise flats, went on forever. The train stations were enormous and larger than most airports. The motorways didn't seem to have any traffic jams because they were gigantic, and they were numerous in number. The culture was interesting, and I enjoyed the operas and dance, and there belief in Buddha. The great wall was very impressive, and I really enjoyed walking it, for me it was the highlight of the trip. The terracotta worriers were amazing, and I also was captivated by the Pandas. The overall experience was mind blowing, but I would not like to live there. I would like to mention the cooking class. Would this class be better held later in the day, as most of us were very full up so soon after breakfast. I would like to thank all of those involved with the planning and organisation of this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The great Wall

    What did you think of your group leader?

    very informative, he certainly knows his history.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    to have the cooking class later than so soon after breakfast.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As I have already explained in the first section of the questionnaire. The group as a whole got along well, any problems that we encountered were soon solved by Peter.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Gina Crowcroft

    Great concept but, on this occasion, poorly delivered

    The basic trip concept is excellent. However, a group of 16 with only 1 main group leader was wholly inadequate - it meant that we had a lot of wasted time hanging around for the slowest person and our itinerary was unilaterally changed by the tour leader to ensure that the needs of the slowest person out of 16 was met. Unfortunately this meant that 15 out of 16 people were left short changed and did not get what they paid for. Additionally, most days we were rushed to ensure that the group lunched at a specific restaurant off the wall. Given that people would have signed up for this trip due to an interest in the Wall it seems strange that we were always being rushed everyday to get off the Wall. This meant that most days we could not linger and savour the amazing views nor take our time to get that non-touristy photo! We also had itinerary changes due to local factors. Whilst it is appreciated that these are unavoidable the revised itineraries, each time, resulted in less trekking time never more trekking time - very frustrating and left a feeling that we did not receive what we paid for.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being on the less touristy parts of the Wall.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry is clearly a lovely guy and a more than adequate tour leader. I think if our group had been more evenly matched re fitness he would have been perfect. However, I believe he was too nice to actually deal with some of the issues on our trek and tried to please everyone but thereby actually not pleasing a significant number of the group. We had our trekking time severely curtailed by a combination of local reasons and a disparity in the speed between the fastest and slowest members of our group but this was not discussed properly with the group and conflicting reasons were given.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not underestimate the unrelenting steepness of the Wall trekking. Be prepared for a lot of "wasted" time away from the Wall due to where the restaurants are etc. It would be much better if picnic lunches were provided most days so that time on the Wall could be maximised. Be brave enough to question how the group kitty is used! Our bus driver ended up being tipped a huge amount (the balance of the kitty) due to our guide leader asking in front of the bus driver if it was ok to give him the balance of the kitty - strangely none of us felt that we could object! But we were all wondering why the balance of the kitty was not redistributed to us after a sensible tip taken for the bus driver.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary and execution of this trip could be improved by a few simple changes: 1. Packed lunches so that time on the Wall is not rushed 2. Two guides every day so that all members of the group could take as long as they wished on the Wall whether that being walking slowly or taking time to take photographs. 3. More information given about the Wall on a daily basis rather than just the last day 4. Changes to itinerary should always be fully discussed and explained with the group in advance
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Kerry Clough

    Memorable Adventure

    Walking the Great Wall in the less touristy sections (in fact almost no other people at all) together with the Xi'an extension to see the Terracotta Warriors surpassed my expectations. It also opened my eyes to a whole new positive side of China that my preconceived ideas had not imagined. A wide range of walking from the flat in Beijing to the undulating and steep on the Wall, on even paths to shingle and scrambling. Delicious food throughout, far superior and less salty than in the UK and friendly, curious locals. Topped off by an absolutely superb Leader/Guide Jerry, whose infectious enthusiasm, wide knowledge of all things Chinese, sense of humour and ability to tell jokes in English made for a truly memorable experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking the Wall in the quiet sections was spectacular as it weaved its way into the distance over undulating hills with forts on top for as far as you could see. Feeling like we had it all to ourselves most days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding. Fluent English, infectious enthusiasm and love of China, friendly approachable personality, ability to assess the trekking ability of all of the tour participants and make adjustments to the walks as appropriate, which in most cases for our group was to seek acceptance from all to walk further than the Tour Notes suggested. He was funny, extremely helpful, organised things to do in the evenings if you wanted to participate like Chinese dumpling making and watching and participating in Chinese paper cutting. He also had a good line in English jokes once he knew the group was open to such banter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do the Xi'an extension and walk or cycle the full 14km of the city wall. It is in fantastic condition and affords great panoramic views of the old city inside the wall. For me it was just as good to do as seeing the Terracotta warriors, which I suggest you get to by 9am as the hordes descended by 9:30 and made for a more stressful viewing experience!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't be put off by the long winded Chinese Visa Application process. if you are open minded your experience on this tour in China will pay you back many fold. Go!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Lindsey Stone

    It's interesting but misrepresented by the nomenclature!

    The rapid expansion of the Chinese domestic travel industry is rendering this trip as far from 'Wild' in many elements. An expanded hike through the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the hike through the paddy fields were the only 'wild' bits. The rest of the trip often felt like a coach trip in over populated tourist areas. A guide with many limitations and a final destination, sold as a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was more like Disneyland, leads me not to recommend this trip for the average Exodus traveller.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The social economic situation in China is fascinating. It's a beautiful place but often seeks to deceive (read ancient towns that look like they were built in 1980!). So whilst the crowds spoiled it for me, I did find it a very interesting place. The paddy fields are beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Not up to the usual Exodus standard. Well meaning, helpful and very sweet but lacking in understanding of the needs of an Exodus traveller. Understandable in some ways, but Exodus should be managing this if they are selling 'off the beaten track' trips - it's not! Walking tours were a disaster. No information and a route march through interesting areas in pursuit of a panda attached to a car aerial! To be fair, a group of 16 is too big but even so they were badly managed. Sometimes less is more.......frequent confusion caused. I often felt that Chin failed to absorb the needs and interests of her travellers. Frequent changes in the itinerary were made without explanation or apparent justification. EG: changing the day of a sunset or sunrise trip without checking the weather forecast (especially with many keen photographers in the group).

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the crowds and their behaviour. Keep an open mind and embrace the rapid development of the Chinese domestic tourism industry. It's not going to be as wild as it perhaps presents itself, but many of the elements will be overrun very soon. So if you're going, do it sooner rather than later and keep an open mind! Service levels in China is different from the rest of S.E Asia. Be prepared to carry bags up staircases. Many of the hotels don't have lifts. English is hardly spoken so a translation app is a must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus - please rename this trip. It's misleading.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Nigel Brereton

    A great trip, who have interest and energy

    Kris was an excellent guide with detailed knowledge on the Nation and people of China. Answered questions with a easily to understand words. There is little rest save for travelling, trains, river cruise and Flight all went well. The trip notes mentioned long Station Platforms, this was true however due to Station location a walk of 700 to 900 meters was often required, many with large bags required help. The use of ATMs to obtain cash in Cities is available, however not in rural areas as much. Very few Business take European Cards, as cash is widely used.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A number, the River Cruise, cycling in villages, seeing the old part which will soon be gone, with an excellent guide in all ways.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    An excellent guide in all ways.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light, you may have to carry you bag up 2 flights of stairs and walk 900 meters to the Bus. Draw out cash in large centres. Listen to you guide and perhaps take notes. My bag was 14 kg, so not difficult, able to help others.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you want to see some of old China go soon.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Holly Creevy

    So much included

    This was my first trip outside of Europe, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to step outside their travel comfort-zone and immerse themselves in a completely different culture. This particular itinerary is excellent, as you visit a wide array of landscapes and landmarks. An important consideration is that China is changing so fast. If you go now you can still see both the old and the new side-by-side, which is really interesting. It is also the sort of place where for all but the most intrepid I think it's necessary to go on an organised tour with a guide to translate/explain/direct everything and drivers to navigate the road system.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's so hard to choose. I think it would have to be visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing. This was the very heart of a civilization, and I was amazed by the size of the complex and the richness of meaning behind all of its structures and components.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Leon was incredible. He was exceptionally well organised and knowledgeable. He never seemed to tire and always had the energy to answer extra questions and arrange extra trips out. He made each person in the group feel valued as an individual, and always acted in a calm and professional manner.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. In the words of a local guide, China is having a 'toilet revolution'! There are a surprisingly large number of public toilets available at frequent intervals, though bring your own loo roll and hand sanitiser. 2. Don't underestimate the VISA process. It is far more involved than for most countries, and UK travellers will have to visit a national centre to get their fingerprints taken. (From word of mouth in our group, the Edinburgh and Manchester centres were easier to deal with than the London centre, which is busier. I'm not sure about the Belfast centre). 3. Pack a range of clothing (in layers). As the distances travelled are huge, the climate will change a lot through the trip. 4. All the hotels we stayed in had both American-style and Australian-style plug sockets in the rooms, so either of those travel adaptors would be fine. 5. ATMs are available at frequent intervals throughout the trip, so although you will be expected to pay for most things in cash, you don't need to bring all of it in advance.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Fiona Galazin

    Hints and tips

    This is not a restful trip. It is full on from the start but it gave us everything we wanted to see in China and our guide Kris made it very easy for us. She had a good sense of humour and warned us if there was anything she thought might be difficult for us. Be prepared for crowds. Most of the tourist sights are busy with Chinese tourists, especially the Terracotta Warriors and the Pandas at Chengdu.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was a great holiday. The Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the pandas, the Three Gorges, Jangshuo and the Three Kingdoms show. Couldn’t pick one out. A possible improvement might be to take another overnight train rather than have the overnight stop in Wuhan. After visiting the dam we travelled for one and a half days on a series of trains and coaches whereas getting an overnight train would have been more restful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kris was a great group leader - funny, patient, informative and took care of everybody. She is one of the best guides we have had and we have done quite a few Exodus holidays.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light. I would suggest not more than 15KG and wheeled luggage. You will be moving around a lot. Take toilet roll and hand gel with you when outside the hotel. Pack a mug, spoon , tea bags and coffee as hot water is available on trains and at airports. Don't expect cold milk though, take powdered if you like your tea white - it wasn't always available except in better hotels. Laundry is cheap to do in Jangshuo. The Three Kingdoms show was fantastic. Can't comment on the others but the rest of the group thought all shows were good, especially the acrobatic show in Shanghai. Carry money and passport at all times. Take cash as credit cards can't be used when the group leader is organising meals etc. The trip notes were about right in terms of what you need for money. China is not as cheap as you might think. Shanghai was the only place we used credit cards and even then not everywhere. Luggage is X- rayed before you get on trains and flammables and sharp objects ( even scissors) may be confiscated. We got away with a penknife but one of our group had their aerosol deodorant confiscated. Keep power packs and camera batteries in hand luggage, even leaving Shanghai. They will get you to open your luggage even after you have handed it over at check in. You will need sunscreen and insect repellent. Trainers were fine, walking boots not needed, but you will be walking quite a lot. If you upgrade to first on the overnight train you will get your own loo and 2 in a cabin (£70 each). Some of the group thought this was definitely a plus. Accommodation on the boat was better than I expected ( not necessary to upgrade) but it is worth upgrading for the food as it means you will eating with a group of 30-40, rather than 300.
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