Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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
    Ann Burnett

    Inexperienced guide

    I have had to give this trip a 2 star because of the guide, although I take no pleasure in doing this. He was inexperienced and quite unfriendly at times. This was my 6th Exodus trip and this was my worst ever guide by a long way. See group leader section.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I absolutely loved swimming in Aidarkul Lake and the desert scenery on the way to and from the yurt. I also loved Samarkand and particularly Shah-i-Zinda.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakh appeared to be inexperienced, he lacked friendliness at times and he showed a complete lack of interest in the fact that I was very badly ill twice. I had arrived a few days earlier (as a solo female traveller) and the day before I met the group I suffered sickness and diarhoea. On first meeting Shakh at the group meeting I mentioned this to him and I could not believe the almost complete lack of interest. In fact, I thought this so unusual, that I repeated myself in case he had not heard. We later went on our tour of Tashkent and I very nearly fainted (as I had not eaten due to the bug). Again Shakh was barely interested, pointed to a door where I could reach the outside and left me to it. Only when the other members of the group asked me if I was OK did Shakh very briefly check on me. A few days after that the bug returned and I was up all night with the worst illness I have ever encountered. The next day I again mentioned this to the guide and he was still uninterested (and no offers of pharmacy stops were made). Other problems with Shakh were:- not having sufficient water for our group in the first few days of the trip (at the desert fortresses we had run out of water completely in the heat and we also run out of water in the morning at Khiva). In fact, at the desert fortresses, I asked Shakh where the water was and he snapped back that he had not picked up the 10 litre bottle yet. As we had driven from the airport at Nukus there had been plenty of opportunity to pick up water. After that I no longer trusted Shakh to provide water and just bought my own to make sure I always had a supply. I have been on 5 other Exodus trips and on all those trips the guide has eaten with the group and the guides have been good/fantastic. This guide did not eat with us on the first night in Tashkent nor the first night in Samarkand and on around 4 or 5 other occasions. He was not always very friendly or smiley, which I think is the requirement of a guide. In fact one time we passed him in the street during our free time and he did not even smile or acknowledge us. The restaurant chosen for our final lunch in Samarkand was appalling in terms of service and again Shakh sat at a neighbouring table. Some of our food took an hour and a quarter or more to arrive and no complaints were made by him, to my knowledge. Then when the bill came the prices had changed markedly, for example the soup price had increased by over 50% and all the other prices had changed. This situation was awful and was handled very badly by the guide. The coach was not always asked to collect us, e.g from right outside the airport, so we were left with quite long distances to drag our cases. This was not really a problem for me as I had a rucksack (albeit a heavy one) but some of the other travellers were in their 70's and I am sure they would have benefited from being picked up. Shakh gave out his mobile number in case of emergency, with instructions NOT to ring him at night. Whilst I am sure most people would not ring the guide at night, emergencies can of course happen at night. On a more positive note Shakh was very knowledgeable about the history and geography of Uzbekistan and I very much enjoyed his commentaries, especially when he told us about his wedding. He also improved as the 11 days progressed (except for the final lunch incident). However I think being completely uninterested in the health of your travellers is completely unacceptable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sadly a number of people in our group were ill. Take plenty of rehydration salts. The bread is at least delicious, so you can survive on that! Do get out for a walk in the area around the yurt. I had a couple of little walks and it was so peaceful and the wildlife great.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The itinerary is great for this trip with a lovely combination of nature and cities. I would however definitely check on who is the guide.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    George Garland

    Fascinating Place

    The names of Samarkand and Bukhara have conjured dreams since my school days many years ago and I never thought I would have a chance to see them. The fall of the USSR and now visa-free travel has left this land of desert fortresses, caravan stops and the beautiful buildings covered in ornate blue tiles within reach. The land of Tamerlane, the vastness of the central Asian steppes and the magical cross-roads of civilisations and learning need to be seen to be believed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving in Khiva and seeing the Silk Road monuments for the first time.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shah is a young man fairly new to the industry. He is very knowledgeable but lacks some of the finesse and inter-personal skills that come with experience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Uzbekistan is far easier to enjoy than imagined. Outside Tashkent English is widely spoken, particularly in the tourist industry and amongst the young. With a stay up to 15 days now visa free for tourists from a large range of countries including the UK this is the time to travel before too many people start making their plans and prices start rising.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The final 24 hours was wasted time which was a pity. The hotel in Tashkent was near the airport but 7 or 8 kilometers from the centre. There is no direct public transport between the two and with no Uzbek or Russian language skills travel could have been fraught, particularly as the return journey would be time critical. It would be far better to secure an hotel close to the city centre for the one night.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Christine Burnell

    Authentic Andalucia ADH190615

    Overall a fabulous experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Rhonda. This should be part of the itinerary not just an optional extra.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Micheal Newcomb was an outstanding group leader / guide. His passion for the region and his knowledge was outstanding.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is quite a bit of walking involved. So a reasonable level of fitness is recommended.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everything was perfect. Thank you.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Robert Strudwick

    Discovering the Baltic Countries

    Well organised, our guide Migle was excellent with good knowledge and well motivated. Quite a busy schedule, some of the hotels were a bit quirky but that added to the appeal for me. Loads of architecture to take in, and heaps of cultural things to learn about, being completely new to these countries I was fascinated by the history, and the differences between these three countries

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cold war missile bunker and the KGB museum were a lesson about how much effect the Soviet occupation had on these countries, and listening to the guide (and a guide who joined our group to learn the ropes) tell about life under the Soviets as they both grew up in that period.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent, to be recommended

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its quite a busy trip and covers lot of ground - make sure you have insect repellant, although not bothered much the walks in the parks are where you are most likely to be bitten.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Sarah Parkes

    A jam packed week

    This is a very full trip that means you see the most amount of things in the least amount of time so be aware of this before you book if you’re expecting a leisurely trip! The coach was of an excellent standard, clean spacious and had air con which was essential for some long drives! Plenty of stops too for snacks and to stretch your legs.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Petra lived up to my hopes and then some. I had my reservations about the night in the desert but it was good fun, especially the camel ride and the food was excellent. The mud on the last day at the Dead Sea was great fun too and nice to end a hectic trip on a relaxed note.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdullah was friendly and funny and got us where we needed to be. He was very knowledgable on the history of the areas and gave us time to ourselves. He sourced the most amazing falafel sandwich for 1 dinar that we raved about the rest of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take Sea shoes for the Red Sea Prepare yourself for a long tiring day on day one after your flight. Petra by night gets a bad rep but we went and enjoyed it, certainly helps to be there early though. If I had my time again I’d have extended the trip by one day to relax and enjoy the Dead Sea A’s by the time we arrived and checked in it was 4pm and the pools etc close at sunset and we had an early flight. It was a lovely hotel and would have been nice to enjoy it more.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was reassuring to be met the other side in the airport by a representative who sorted out our visas. I’d be willing to have paid more for a hotel in the Red Sea with a pool as it’s extremely hot... too hot to go to the sea until the evening so we had a lovely rare free afternoon but with not a lot to do so a pool would have been good. Minor point though.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Deborah Terry

    Excellenttrip

    This was a well-organised trip which gave a good overview of the three Baltic states. It was enhanced by nonstop hot sunny weather and a large but lovely group of mainly very experienced Exodus travellers. The cities were all very different, and the countryside and coastal visits all interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is an odd question, but what made the trip interesting was the contrast between the cities, countryside and coast. It was good when we found places to eat serving something other than the ubiquitous pork and potatoes. Wonderful soft fruit was available everywhere, and in all three cities the local markets are highly recommended. It was good to have plenty of free time to explore.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Migle was simply excellent - humorous and very well-organised.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I booked my own flights and added an extra day in Tallin at the start and two in Helsinki at the end. In practice Helsinki would work better at the start as one could then get the ferry across to Tallin. Oh, and take a universal basin plug!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    At 19, this was the largest Exodus group I’d ever travelled with. Fortunately it worked out ok as everyone was lovely, good at being on time etc, but it meant that outside the group stuff we all tended to do things on our own. This suited me but others might not have liked it. All the hotels were fine, but the Europa City was c.35 mins walk into the centre of Vilnius which was really too far.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Colin Billings

    A great week in Jordan

    A very busy week however we saw a lot in the limited time

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two days in Petra , the treasury then the monastery and the high places ab

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abdullah was excellent Very knowledgeable, organised and sociable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Next time i would take my own mask and snorkel for the Red Sea to make sure it fits properly . Take advantage of the donkeys and horses available in Petra , they save a lot of walking
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Clare Phillips

    A trip of 2 halves

    Loved Armenia, Georgia itinerary needs improvement

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everything in Armenia was beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rafik in Armenia was amazing. The group leader in Georgia did not give enough information about timings, did not organise vegetarian main courses for the vegetarian as the starters which are plentiful are mainly vegetarian.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you book in on line and print your boarding pass to avoid a fee on checking in at Gatwick. Be prepared for your check in luggage to be broken in to. 3 out of 11 of our group had their bags opened and rifled through. Get a customs lock so they don’t cut the lock. Consider getting your bag wrapped. You do not need water purification tablets. Bottled water is supplied and easily available. Day 13 is a at least 12 hours so have your last dinner together the day before. Get the jeep as the alpine walk is hard work.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Leslie Polidoro

    Love Sri Lanka!

    Hotels, meals all very good. You can tell the country is still developing their tourism business, but they are doing a great job. Unfortunately the bombings will have put a stop on travel there, however I have fallen in love with this country and will be quick to recommend it. Excursions and tours were excellent, I felt like I had a good overall visit to Sri Lanka, yet not enough so I am keen to return.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lion Rock Fortress

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was very knowledgeable, however I found that he tended to poke "fun" at certain people a little more than was necessary. I felt a bit more history and explanations of sites could have been provided "on-site". Most tours were a bit rushed, fine for those in excellent physical condition, difficult for those who were not. I would have rather it was a bit more leisurely when out on site.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a battery pack/charger -- you will want to take alot of pictures and sometimes your camera/phone will not make it through the day. Tip well to all those that help with your journey.
  • Reviewed June 2019
    Katherine Morgan

    A great trip full of variety.

    A very busy trip with so much to see, it was my first time in Russia and this trip is an excellent introduction into its history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed Suzdal and Vladimir, a pleasant change from the big cities, a great opportunity to see some of the old Russia. The churches were all amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Artem was excellent, very well organised, thorough and extremely patient ensuring all our needs were met. Local guides were also good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light! The hotels never offer assistance with bags etc. Would also suggest an extra day in Moscow which we did, the group day was a bit rushed as there was so much to see.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you do the St Petersburg extension, which I highly recommend, make sure you take a direct flight there. We didn't and our luggage didn't come with us so we spent the first three days in our travel clothes.
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