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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
    Brenda Howcroft

    A fascinating introduction to India

    Starting in the busy city of Mysore, we saw the sites, learning along the way how to cross the manic roads on foot and on our bikes. Moving through and down India, we went on a tiger safari, climbed the 36 hairpin bends of the road to Ooty, experiencing Indian village life as we went. We spent a free day in vibrant Cochin, stayed the night on a rice barge in the backwaters of Kerala, and after the toughest of final cycling days relaxed in boho Varkala. All in all it was an amazing introduction to India.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many.... riding the road to Ooty and making it to the top, surviving the final days cycling; it was like cycling in an oven. On arrival, the middle of the night coffee stop, a wooden chariot arrives at speed, driven by 2 oxen, there to collect the rubbish. The smiling lady making rope from a fuzz of coconut coir in the hotel grounds. Seeing Indian village life, including on a veranda, the propped up body of a garlanded dead lady, the villagers in their Sunday best paying respects before her cremation later in the day. Seeing a leopard on safari.... temple elephants walking past us in the street... whizzing around in a tuc tuc in Cochin to have my favourite skirt remade, 0830-1800 and delivered to the hotel, seeing the open air laundry, the spice market, the many interesting churches there. Being mobbed by smiling school children and young people everywhere we went, keen to snap a selfie with you and have a chat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi is an exceptional leader of his back up team and his adventurers alike... human, kind, his mission is to squeeze the most out of our visit to his country. A great problem solver he worked tirelessly to make the logistics glide. His speciality is bridging the tourist experience with real life Indian culture, he'd signal to come off the road many times, dropping in on a Hindi festival full of cooking pots of daal... or he'd spot a Hindu wedding and a surreal experience of the bride and groom surrounded by us 15 sweaty cyclists in front of a wall of camera phones ensued - we were lucky apparently! At one hotel Safi organised a long table on the beach by the Indian Ocean, evening meal was served there - a most memorable experience. The cycling was at times challenging and at everyone's low times Safi and his team were there to support, cajole and feed us snacks. The luggage driver went round literally shaking water bottles to keep you topped up. On the whole Safi chose the restaurants we visited, the food was without exception varied and excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    None of our group suffered with Delhi belly, hand sanitiser is a must. I took the wrong adapter plug, plugs are the three round prong variety... Once you come down from Ooty the humidity hits, vest cycling tops from then on, my cotton lined dresses felt too thick for Kerala. I booked 'Premium' to ensure ensuite rooms and to avoid basic toilets, along the way I was particularly impressed with about 4 of our hotels, they were beautiful, often with great swimming pools, the last hotel in Varkala was a real treat. Generally we set off early and finished approx lunchtime to escape the hottest sun, the day we didn't set off early I couldn't finish the last km for heat exhaustion. Bring something to cover your mouth for when you are on busy highways. I found cycling with our 2 leaders leading two small groups along these busy highways worked best for me and kept your spirits up.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I travelled as a single traveller, within a group of 12 travelling as couples; in future I would book late, enquire that more single travellers had booked and postpone booking if no one else was travelling alone. India was fantastic but with few exceptions the vibe from my fellow travellers proved more difficult to navigate.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Andrew Lang

    Ok

    An excellent trip with tour leaders that were absolutely brilliant

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The awesome downhills and the food

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic all of the team were hard working I couldn’t find fault with any of them

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get on your bike and ride

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed November 2018
    William Lang

    No title

    Excellent trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Some of the downhills

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Spot on excellent leader and support team

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get on your bike and ride

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed November 2015
    David Jones

    MIK Cycle Kerala and Tropical India Cycle Ride - Premium

    Overall an excellent trip, well organised and led, with excellent equipment. Hotels were all generally very good and food excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Observing a lone leopard in Bandipu National Park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent - very organised and led his team very well. Safi always ensured our safety was paramount - both on the road and when it came to advising on what was safe to eat and drink. He was friendly, managed the group well, always on time and very dependable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We kept off all meat during the trip, the vegetarian dishes were great, and then at the coast fish dishes were excellent - and had no health issues at all (unlike some of the group). If you haven't been to India before the traffic is manic - but it felt safer on a bicycle at the side of the road rather than in a bus!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Couple of observations: 1. The very steep ride on day 5 is out of context compared with the rest of the trip - and added nothing to the ride other than alot of effort. 2. Day 4 ride out of the National Park was actually only 17k - which felt a bit of a waste of time. 3. A couple of early morning starts resulted in us being ready before hotel staff resulting in poor quality breakfasts. Only minor gripes - as the trip as a whole was fascinating.
  • Reviewed March 2015
    Anthony Anthony

    Cycle Kerala now

    I found the cycling in the heat to be very hard work, but it was worth it. The people are just so genuinely friendly, with both children and adults rushing to say hello as we cycled past. Each day is different, so there's always something to look forward to.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger at close quarters as it strolled past our vehicle in the Bandipur national park. It was just amazing. However, there were many other inspiring moments. The people may be poor, but they seemed to be amongst the happiest on the planet, which should be an inspiration to us all. Also, seeing the pilgrims sleeping outside the temple, so that they could make an early start the next day, when all I wanted to do was go to my soft hotel bed.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi took us to a wide range of eating establishments without any real after effects. As the slowest cyclist, I also saw plenty of the Michael the driver and Sheebu the bike man as they crawled along in their vehicles behind me.!! They were all very supportive, as were the rest of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to train as much as possible outdoors. I thought I'd done enough gym work, but clearly not. Take the rehydration salts on offer. We took a vast range of medical stuff, but weren't really affected by insects, even on the house boat. Mind you, we did use a lot of deet. Only took imodium once, as a precaution. The sun cream was definitely needed. Every one seems to be a salesperson. We stopped for a drink of coffee and coke, which cost 100 rupees and got sold 2 paintings and changed money. Most of the others in the group stopped off for a couple of days in Dubai, either on the way out or the way back. We wish we'd done that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The area is changing rapidly, so don't delay. The roads seem to have been improved a lot, but you have to take care as there could be a serious pot-hole in the midst of good roads, plus a lot of speed humps. We took a tuk tuk from outside our hotel in Kochi and the driver took us on a 3 hour guided tour for 50 rupees an hour, taking in the laundry, the spice factory, stopping to show us various trees and bushes and some places of worship and the Chinese fishing nets. He mixed this in with some trips to shops, where he got petrol vouchers for bringing in punters. Needless-to-say, we felt obliged to give him more than 150 rupees. He dropped us off at Jew Street and we walked back.
  • Reviewed November 2014

    Cycle Kerala and Tropical India

    An ideal way of seeing as much of India in two weeks. Cycling is the perfect way to get about and experience the diversity of culture, scenery, wildlife, people and food that India has to offer. Every day was different and had something new to offer, memories to add to and new experiences to enjoy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the climb at Ooty even though I walked it from the fourth bend! For the ones that cycled the whole way up it was an even bigger achievement. Then the Western Ghats descent in the afternoon (after a well deserved refreshment), exhilarating, challenging because of the concentration needed to avoid all the potholes accompanied by the stunning scenery of the tea plantations and forests. An amazing day!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vishnu was an exceptional leader. Everything was meticulously organised. Nothing was too much trouble (for example sending one of the support vans back to our previous hotel when I realised I had forgotten my camera battery). He made himself available for everyone on the free days and during the evenings for the meals that weren't included. The other boys in the support group were just as good, Vippy (our front marker for the most), Shane, our driver, always on hand with bottles of water, energy boosting snacks.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring an open mind - India, in places is mad, traffic is bonkers but the rewards far outweigh anything you may possibly be nervous about. The people, without exception, are genuinely interested in talking to you and are immensely proud that you have chosen to visit their country. The variety of food will amaze, the scenery will leave you speechless, the wildlife will make you laugh, in particular the cheeky monkeys, and the culture will fill you with awe and happiness. The cycling on the whole (with the exception of the Ooty climb) is fine for someone with an average level of fitness. You need to be super fit to get up Ooty (on a bike) but I walked most of it and still got up in just over 2 and a half hours, and enjoyed it immensely. There's always the support van too, a choice which carries no shame - the climb is a tough ask.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's well worth paying the extra and going on the premium date, especially if you are worried about hygiene standards. On that note, bring plenty of hand gel and use it religiously! There is plenty of bottled water available so no need to drink the tap water (avoid ice in drinks and washed salad). The hotels are of an excellent standard and a great way of pampering yourself after a long day cycling! Most have pools and Spa treatments. I can recommend the Ayurvedic full body massage. Finally, if you are hesitating about booking the trip, go for it, you will not regret it!