Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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545 Reviews

  • 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

    Colourful Rajasthan

    I went on this trip with my family and we all enjoyed a lot. The trip was amazing and we actually saw different colours of Rajasthan. We enjoyed most in Ranthambore and we are again planning to go Rajasthan in upcoming holi.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ranthambore
  • Reviewed December 2019

    Mind Blowing Trip

    A completely enjoyable excursion which worked out as expected. We went out the way where we can see all the little "incidentals" which make the excursion, for example, tile making, rubber tapping, rice and spice plantations. The quality of the lodgings was amazing. On the off chance that you have three weeks to spare and need to see the highlights of South India, this is the excursion for you. Far reaching inclusion of the primary temples, royal residences, hill stations and different attractions of the area. Despite the fact that the excursion packs in every one of the sights, it didn't feel hurried and there is sufficient time left allowed to investigate without anyone else. South India appears to be substantially less frantic than the north and the food is astonishing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Backwaters in Alleppey.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Group leader was very nice and friendly.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Tyler Nixon

    A beautiful trip

    We had 15 people on our group tour. We were from various walks of life and occupations, we were made up of several single people; a couple, a mother and daughter, friends travelling together up to 3 people and a family, we were mostly female group with only two men and aged between 20’s up to 70’s. We all got along nicely and enjoyed sharing experiences. Many people were pretty well travelled and at least two of us had never been to India previously. Our trip was made up of people from Britain, Australia and Hungry which made group dynamics more interesting. Kerala and Tamu Nadu offer some of the most scenically beautiful countryside the world has to offer! There is great cultural diversity seen here too. Wildlife is present but perhaps not in the numbers you might hope. This area offers great experiences and some architectural and historical delights. You will see tea plantations, rivers, mountains, forests, wonderful back waters and beaches. It is very green and so can be wet at times which impacted on us at Periyar when walking in the forest so little seen due to mist other than black monkey’s and hearing a lone bull elephant breaking branches (so still exciting!). The hills at Munnar are a pleasant warm temperature, however if you like more sun and humidity you are likely to also experience this on your trip too. This is a fantastic trip although, I think leisurely may not be how I would categorise this as some people struggled a little with the treks and there are long travelling days ahead. 4 to 7 hours although you often stop to see things along the way such as fruit bats, brick factory etc. You will likely experience some cold showers from time to time in the always clean and decent accommodation furthermore, you are likely to have some periods whereby you might benefit from taking along snacks if you need to eat very regularly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    - Seeing a wild bull elephant at a local village and the journey by jeep to reach it, the atmosphere was electric. - The trek up hill from the tea plantations, surrounding scenery and the magical dragonflies in their hundreds. - The cycle rickshaw ride weaving its way through the crowded streets towards an imposing and beautiful temple at Madurai. - Enjoying “a time that once was” on the backwaters and relaxing on a comfortable houseboat. - Tantalising the taste buds with delectable vegetarian curries and delicious sea food. My friend noted the early morning cultural excursion at Madurai was excellent and I an sorry to have missed it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sam is a friendly guy who is helpful and tries to provide extra when individuals have specialist requests to see something specific i.e. cultural excursion, Although, he doesn’t appear as interested in nature (as I am!). Sam perhaps left plan updates a little late in the day for our group members, however we was knowledgeable and we felt always felt safe with him around.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Leave room in your case if you would like to buy gifts. This part of India is great for material, silk and cotton garments, textiles, wood carvings, metal and wooden ornaments and spices. Loose breathable fabrics as it can be very hot and humid. Pack an brolly/rain coat and a camera to capture the many splendours. A walking pole is useful when hiking if only to prevent slipping on muddy descents. Bring Snacks if you have a high metabolic rate and burn up calories fast as you might get hungry on the longer journeys. We experienced a few bites but nothing significant so cover up to avoid or use a little deet. Mainly bring with you a sense of humour and do all the activities on offer (although, note some suggested optional excursions in our case were not available. Also take sufficient cash or even better a card, Sam was great at ensuring ATM’s we’re regularly visited but if like me you take cash get plenty exchanged before you go on the one night stays as I had to borrow money off Sam our guide which was very kind of him but I did not ask for too much as I quickly realised others in my group had done the same and this meant I did not have my usual independence to spend as much as I wanted too! My friend and I did not get any sickness or diarrhoea but we ate where Sam recommended, I did not really eat meat but loved the fish. I consumed little in the way of diary although milk is said to be pasteurised and the water was filtered at the places we visited so take a water bottle and fill up on the bus. Have a massage when staying up in the hills at Periyar locality, a number of our group enjoyed them, you will get the same gender and it is worth every penny. Cover shoulders, chest and knees at temples. My friend and I would also recommend you do this in Kovalam too when walking to the harbour as to reduce undue male attention as men here can intensively stare! which can feel unnerving / unsafe at times, keep to tourist areas here too particularly if alone female and do not wander off the beaten track. There is a lot of rubbish outside and some unpleasant odours. The tourist bay itself has some great shops and restaurants. Wonderful sunsets can be seen here and the beach is pleasant but the sea can be a little choppy. The shop owners are friendly in the lovely tourist bay and there is access to tailors for those wanting clothes made up.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was fun, enjoyable, interesting and I would recommend it! Hope you enjoy it as much as my friend and I did. We saw amazing things, met great people and took in some of the best scenery the world has to offer.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Kevin Adrian Fingleton

    An amazing, enthralling, full-on trip.

    This trip is not for the faint-hearted. Despite various lengths being quoted, the traveler is effectively on the road in India for 8 days, and flies home on day 9. But in the 8 days you pack in an incredible number of beautiful, memorable sights. You will (hopefully, like we did) meet a smallish group of nice, decent, funny people that you are happy to travel, eat and drink with, and who look out for one another. Transport is effective and comfortable. You'll struggle to take in the volume of sights, sounds and smells that India will provide. The food is wonderful, hotels are comfortable and all in all, it's hard to avoid the 'trip of a lifetime' cliche.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varanasi - both the night-time 'blessing of the Ganges' ceremony, and about 7 hours later, the dawn boat ride on the Ganges to see the sun rise thru the mists and float past the cremation ghats (at a distance). And in between, the chaotic tuk tuk ride. There were many other highlights, but that one just took my breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was truly excellent. Easy company, informed, patient at explaining the culture, history, politics and so on. He was very organised, because this trip is a mini-military-operation. It has to be, to see that many amazing things in 8 days. And he added little touches to enhance the trip (eg flowers to scatter on the Ganges). I wanted to see a step well (If I could) so I asked early on, and we got to see one in Jaipur that was not a tourist sight, by making a short detour. That was another highlight for me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to get tired. But you can sleep on the bus, the hotel beds are comfortable. And you have the post-trip period back home to look forward to, looking at your (way too many) photographs. It really is full-on, but in a great way. And it seems to match the pace of the places you are seeing - it's not a place to dawdle. Finally, if you are into photography, you'll probably never be somewhere with so many photos 'waiting to be taken'. Bring less clothes - this is not a dressing up holiday - and more camera gear. Last thing, as I think of it. Pollution in Delhi is quite bad - it's just a fact of life. But you are only there for about 48 hours, and even if you get a short term sore throat you recover quickly once you exit the city. It's worth it, I think.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first ever trip to India. I utterly loved it, from beginning to end. If you want a chill out holiday, look elsewhere. If you want a safe, well-organised, short sharp trip around some of the key parts of India, this is the one for you. Enjoy
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Vicky Campbell

    Our outstanding tour leader made this trip special

    This was our first visit to India. The itinerary is excellent and provides a varied experience as shown in other reviews. Each day brought new sights, sounds and encounters, some of which will stay with us for ever. Although this is classed as a leisurely trip it is quite “full on” and tiring at times but the long travel days and early starts are necessary in order to cover the ground. Most of the hotels were good with helpful staff and safe, comfortable accommodation. All were well- located. We enjoyed the food ( some evening meals were eaten in the hotels, others in local restaurants).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many of the places we visited obviously left a lasting impression. However, in terms of being inspirational, I think our encounters with local people were exactly that. We were privileged to have a number of opportunities to share some time with people who live very different lives, surely one of the reasons for travelling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh is absolutely first class. He is experienced and professional and from day one, showed that he genuinely wants everyone to gain from this trip. His love for the people of the country and his desire to show us as much as possible made the whole trip very special. Every day brought something extra which was not in the itinerary, nor could it be. Suresh was always on the look out for anything which would enable us to experience the real India. He would stop the bus, quickly check something out and usually would urge us to get off the bus. Our stop at a village where rope is made and our wedding encounter are examples of such diversions. Suresh is knowledgable and readily explained any issues raised by the group, some based on what we saw and at other times, historical matters. Most days, he would talk about where we were going whilst travelling on the bus so we were always prepared for the day. The bus driver, Mohan, was excellent. He was safe and confident and we were able to relax with him at the wheel. The assistant, Manu was also excellent and we were very well looked after.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our “ bus” was comfortable. Some people did use their neck cushions on the longer travel days. There is a constant supply of drinking water on board so you can refill your bottle whenever you want to.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We enjoyed the company of our fellow travellers. The camaraderie was well established quite early on, partly due to the time spent together on the bus. In retrospect, we think this trip represents great value for money. We feel that by doing this trip, we have made useful contributions to local communities ; much of this is down to the positive way that Exodus operates but Suresh facilitated so much more.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Jan Flynn

    Wow! What an amazing adventure!

    Mongolia is a stunningly beautiful country. Miles and miles of vast open vistas, dotted with the occasional ger and nomad herds of animals. The Gobi desert was fascinating, including a visit to the place where the first dinosaur eggs were discovered! We visited many interesting and fabulous places, including several beautiful Buddhist temples. Wherever we went, the people were charming and very hospitable. The Eagle Festival was a spectacle I will never forget, with 120 eagle hunters competing to win the honour of being the champion. Dressed in their finest traditional clothing, riding their sturdy horses at speed, they called their massive golden eagles down from the rocky hillside to land on their arm.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The spectacular Eagle Festival The peacefulness of the temples The wildlife throughout the trip Visiting nomad families and finding out more about their way of life The stars at night including the milky way Staying in gers in the middle of nowhere

    What did you think of your group leader?

    MG made the trip a great success. She worked tirelessly to ensure that the trip ran smoothly, her knowledge of her country, it's history and culture, was fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I would highly recommend this trip. You have to go with an open mind, there are very few tarmac roads, so it's a bumpy ride! But the scenery is spectacular. Packaging for the trip is tricky, the temperature ranged from +28 to -8. So you need everything from shorts to a down jacket and pack lots of layers too.......whilst also trying to pack lightly for the internal flights. Take a good camera and binoculars!
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Sarah osborn

    Great trip

    Great trip, and worth a visit to experience Bhutan and the festivals

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Tigers nest

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off by the price as in Bhutan everything is included except drinks etc. and money needed for souvenirs. I only spent £80 in Bhutan on drinks etc. its generally £2-3 for a beer. If you have time, and willing to pay a bit more for a few nights accommodation its worth coming out early and spending a few days in Kathmandu, which is always a great place to visit. The hotel I stayed in was very central and walking district to Thamel and Durbar square.
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Chris Goddard

    Eagle Festival

    Advice given by Exodus regarding the transfer in Beijing was inadequate. Much more detail is needed. Many lost souls were wandering the airport for some time. Perhaps a step-by-step description ? Chinese airport personnel were generaly rude, and less than helpful. The whole trip was generally fine. Exodus were advisied that one of us was gluten-free, but this information was not given to the tour guide beforehand, which Exodus stated it had been. Probably did not make a huge difference in the end as Gluten free food is largely unknown in Mongolia (not entirely unexpected).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Eagle festival was stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Namja (??) did an excellent job in leading the tour. He was very well versed in local history, and very keen to help and assist when required. Thouroughly reccommend this guide/group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Gluten free travellers - take plenty of food ! Make sure you understand the intricacies of Beijing airport transfer - in advance !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed October 2019
    Laura and Gavin Jones

    Beautiful Bhutan

    This trip provides a fascinating insight into a little known destination. We loved it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlight of the trip was the trek to the Tiger's Nest Monastery. It looks unreachable (and strangely familiar from the famous photos) and then suddenly you are standing outside! The Thimpu Festival was also spectacular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kemey was organised, articulate and incredibly eager to do anything he could to make us comfortable. We were given a very warm welcome.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The day that we visited the Thimpu Festival it rained. This is apparently not unusual. We were therefore sitting out in the rain for about 3.5 hours. It helped to have a good waterproof, something to wrap around your legs to keep them dry (poncho) and a sit mat so that we were not sitting directly on wet concrete. The temperature varies throughout the trip - it helps to have layers. We travelled in October and it was warmer than we expected.