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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed February 2018
    Sarah Hamer

    Backroads of Sri Lanka - cycle

    To see Sri Lanka on two wheels was just the most amazing experience for us. Cycling through tea plantations, rice paddies, local villages and wildlife sanctuaries. A stunning country with the friendliest of people. Being part of a group made the holiday like one big party with friendly banter from breakfast through to lights out in the evening. Early starts met with the usual groan but what a way to spend the day flying along the roads enjoying all the sights along the way. A well organised trip with an excellent leader in Suresh. Nothing is too much trouble. A must do for the those out there thinking about your next Exodus adventure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the sunset and the sunrise the next morning in Ella listening to the call to prayer across the valley with the mist swirling around the mountains. Peaceful and just magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    How many words can we use. Suresh. Amazing. Witty. Helpful. Great listener. Entertainer. Historian. Super fit. Playful. Comedian. Kind. Considerate. Our group were 16 who became one large family all of us chatting and having the best time with Suresh being the party organiser. A great trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book it and ask for Suresh as your tour leader. Nothing is stopping you. This has to be the only way to see this beautiful country. Get out there and see it.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Diane Smith

    Cycling and so much more.

    This is a cycling trip for anyone of average cycling ability, or above, who also wishes to sample all the culture sights, sounds and tastes that beautiful Sri Lanka has to offer. Accommodation varies from simple guest houses to nice hotels, but it is as stated in the trip notes and perfectly adequate in all instances to refresh and rest after a fantastic day. The food is delicious, be it served in a street café or hotel buffet, and options for those who don't like their food too hot are always available.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every minute spent cycling through this country is inspirational. The scenery and wildlife are awesome and the friendly locals (in particular the children) ensure you are never lonely. They will take time out of their daily schedule to wave, cheer and speak as you pass; making you feel humbled to be so welcomed to their beautiful country. Time taken to enjoy a fantastic jeep safari in Yala National Park, climb Lion Rock at Sigiriya, go whale watching and explore the old towns of Kandy and Galle are also extremely memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I have never travelled with any other tour guide who commits himself so totally to ensuring that his clients have a fantastic holiday in the way that our guide Suresh Bandara did. His love and knowledge of his country shine through and he shares this with the group in the most enthusiastic and entertaining manner. He constantly goes the extra mile to cater for the individuals interests (for example organising two extra early morning bird walks for interested parties) and has a knack for identifying when a special occasion is being celebrated and organising a special surprise. The safety and comfort of the group are clearly paramount to him and cycling is always undertaken at a pace to suit everyone.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Travel light. Apart from your cycling clothes you don't need a lot more. The Sri Lankan people are quite reserved so shorts which go below the knee and long light trousers are more useful than very short shorts when not cycling! You will also need long sleeves and trousers to protect against the insects at night in some locations. It is fun to haggle the price when shopping in Kandy and Galle, however you will find the hotel shop in Kandy is very good value for anything from jewellery to trousers and they are prepared to barter.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will be hard pushed to find a cycling tour which has more of an impact on you than this one. If it is your first cycling tour go for it. You will be so well looked after and encouraged that you will return home determined to book your next one.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Martin Pilcher

    "Best holiday so far.........guaranteed!"

    A great trip that had everything including dramatic scenery, lush countryside, wonderful cycling, adventure in a safari park, beautiful beaches and of course lots of tea!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We really enjoyed the safari and seeing elephants, crocodiles and leopard in their natural habitat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh took care of our every need from the moment we arrived and met us at the airport. He goes above and beyond in ensuring that we all had a fantastic experience, taking any stress away from us so we could enjoy every moment. His excellent relationships with the locals tells you that this is someone who is well respected among the community, which in turn means you get the best out of seeing how the people live and work.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Well everyone talks about that hill! My advice is to enjoy it - take it at your pace and see how you get on. If you are an accomplished rider then you will love it, if not, then it is a great challenge! There is of course the support bus always at hand. There is also the alternative of the train, for which 1st class tickets need to be booked months in advance. 2nd class tickets are available on the day but be prepared to stand the whole way! The tea and water stops are great but do not include electrolytes so you might want to take your own.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is our second Exodus cycling holiday and we are looking to book for 2019 but this will be hard to beat......................or will it??
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Jane Owen

    Cycling the friendliest island in the world

    Highly recommend this trip as the best way to see Sri Lanka. Not only is it a most beautiful country that has such varied landscapes and sites to see each day, but you do it all by 2 wheels with very little overland journeys in a minibus. Its also a fantastic mix of cycling and sightseeing. What's more the local people are so friendly everywhere you go...could it be the friendliest island in the world?

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me personally my greatest achievement and moment of inspiration was climbing Sigiriya rock rather than the cycle challenges that I didn't find too challenging, as I had to conquer my fear of heights for the climb! Really thanks to Neelaka our guide and the rest of the group who were so calming and encouraging. I am so glad I got to the top as the 360 views of Sri Lanka were just stunning and I will never forget this moment in Sri Lanka. My other great moment was the cycling moment and satisfaction of reaching the top tea hills at Nuwara Eliya after the all day ascent from Kandy. The faster cyclists and the guides cheering everyone in at the top was memorable as was the relief of arriving.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Neelaka was outstanding. I have always found the standard of Exodus leaders good and have been with other companies that were good, but Neelaka was a cut above the rest. He was such a great mix of always so professional but letting his fun and sunny personality shine through and was always generous with his time to impart his immense knowledge and insight about the country, its culture and its places. He dealt with any concerns so calmly and efficiently and together with his team got the entire group of 16 people (no less) of quite varied cycling abilities, round the country with no problems whatsoever, with a smile on everyone faces and great memories. He was ensured we had memorable tea and lunch stops - a fantastic variety of local cafes with delicious local savoury snacks, local families houses and many treats of fresh coconuts and ice cream! Most people had done a few trips in their time but the general consensus was that Neelaka was everything you could want in a guide and more. The cycle guide and mechanic Sandy was also excellent in looking after everyone's cycle needs and supporting all 16 cyclists.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its worth getting cycle fit before this trip as it is very hot cycling which can make the distances feel longer. I also found that it is OK wearing lycra in Sri Lanka - they are used to weirdly dressed cyclists by now! But slap on the sun block and take a hat for when you are sightseeing off the bike. The food is generally amazing but some of the hotels and restaurants get a bit repetitive on offering the same curries.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I'm now just trying to plan when I can return!
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Michael Innes

    Sri Lanka cycling

    A lovely trip to a lush green island. Cycling is generally good. Sites are all interesting and well worth seeing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyone has there own likes but for me the Sigiriya Rock and some of the Buddhist shrines were really good. The amount of remains from ancient civilizations is both impressive and humbling compared with what we have in Britain. Also the bird life is plentiful and varied and the general lush tropical landscape is lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent - as was the whole team. Friendly, genuinely caring, highly knowledgeable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There are certain things to consider- Although the trip title implies that you are travelling on quiet back roads most of the time, you are not. At least half the cycling is on busy roads which can be fun but involves a lot of dodging traffic etc. The worst aspect of the trip is the pollution from vehicles which can get quite unpleasant as you overtake or are overtaken by yet another bus / truck belching black exhaust smoke. The country is going to have to tackle emissions which are causing issues in the cities. Generally we had a trip with no serious incidents / illnesses but most had a short bout of stomach problems so be prepared. The lack of malaria and serious mosquito issues is a bonus. Take the trip notes with a pinch of salt. They need to be updated as some days are longer / harder / easier than they say. They should be updated and made more accurate. It is hot - over 30C most of the time - but this is OK as long as one drinks plenty of bottled water which is continually available.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a very pleasant trip in that it is a lovely island, the people are genuinely friendly, and the cycling is perfectly achievable for a very average cyclist like myself. The country is busy and appears crowded as most people either live in cities or along the roads so wherever you cycle, however quiet and remote the little roads may be, you are always among people and habitations. The optional whale watching trip was OK. The plus side is that we saw a reasonable number of blue whales at close quarters. The downside is that you are doing that with at least another 20 boats who are rushing around trying to get close to the same whales. Sri Lankan food is OK but not as great as is sometimes made out. All the hotels put emphasis on the "buffet" system but it doesn't take long to get fed up with yet another array of curries or dishes which you somehow feel have been sitting around a little too long. Most hotels do have a la carte and the prices are fair and the choice is usually decent, although don't expect fine dining. The lunches (included) are simple but perfectly adequate. Alcohol - local beer (lager) is widely available in hotels and is OK. The local stout is good but very strong. Wine usually about £18 per bottle of house wine. Cocktails decent and reasonably priced.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Karthi Pillai

    Cycle Sri Lanka - Amazing trip with some challenging cycling

    This was my 3rd trip with Exodus, and it was a really great experience. Sri Lanka is a wonderful country, very lush & green as it is a tropical country with lots of rain, so it is just green everywhere. The people are very humble & friendly, they speak English in most places, except in some really remote areas. The cycling itself was challenging, due to the heat factor, as it is quite a humid & hot most of the time. Overall, the trip exceeded my expectations, & I really enjoyed the cycling as that is what I was looking forward to.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The simplicity of the people & how humble they are, extremely friendly, and especially since we are on bikes, they are always fascinated by where we have come from & where we are going to, and the fact that we are cycling everywhere. Ridging through very remote areas is really refreshing as well, a nice break from the busy & polluted cities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suresh is a great guy & a great leader, a great sense of humour, and goes out of his way to do more that what is expected of him & always does it with a smile.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some days of the cycling can be quite challenging, so ensure you have a decent level of fitness. I am fairly fit, and there were a few days that were tough. The weather plays an role as well, as it is very humid & hot, it adds to the difficulty of the cycling, so ensure you are prepared. Stray dogs are everywhere, lying in the middle of the roads roaming around, they are generally harmless, however, as you will be on bikes, they like to run after the bikes, sometimes giving up after a few meters, but sometimes they can chase you for a while, can be quite scary, but you just need to kick you leg out at them & shout at them & that will hopefully get rid of them. Lots of sunblock & insect replant is a must. The food is not for everyone, can be spicy & you may not get western food in all places. Keep hydrated, as it is extremely hot. Some of the accommodation is not the best, think we had 2 places where is was very basic, but that is expected, as some parts are not central & a little remote.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It is a lovely trip, just be prepared for some decent cycling, and ensure you are ready for some real work, especially up the hills, climbing up to the tea plantation area was an epic ride, & very tough. Mostly enjoy the sights & sounds, as it was a really great trip with a great tour guide as well, who not only lead us cycling, but also gave us a lot of history on the country as well as some added activities, like a hike up to amazing lookout points.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Jan Challis

    Fabulous trip

    This was one of the best trip I have done. Its a fabulous mix of cycling, culture and wildlife/flora and you get to stay in some lovely hotels and guest houses. Its pretty full-on - every day was packed out - and the cycling is challenging. Its hillier than I anticipated (or undulating inclines as our guide described them) and although we used back roads they are still very busy with traffic. Our group was small (8 people) and ranged from good club cyclists to occasional/recreational cyclists. We stayed together as a group most of the time and had numerous snack water breaks

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many great moments on this trip.... Attending the ceremony in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy was very moving. Seeing wild elephants on the road as we cycled through the jungle. The fantastic massage in the spice gardens after a long days ride. Ruwan's cookery demonstration and the feast we enjoyed afterwards. All the birds, wildlife and beautiful flowers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ruwan and his team were fantastic - I can't praise them enough. Ruwan's knowledge of the wildlife/fauna and enthusiasm to share the culture of their country was infectious. Nothing was too much trouble and they all went out of their way to ensure we had an amazing experience. It's the little things that make such a different. Coming round the corner and seeing the drivers at the side of the road with a huge smiles and plates of fresh fruit. Taking time on the free day to show us around Kandy. Organising meals at some lovely local restaurants.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take extra cycling kit - there's not a lot of time to wash stuff and in the humidity it doesn't dry quickly. We opted out of the long ride from Kandy to Nuwara Eliya and got the train, which was a wonderful experience. We travelled 2nd class which was crowded, takes hours and you risk not having a seat but the views are fantastic and having the chance to talk to local people and share food was very special.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Jo Thomas

    Sri Lanka cycling

    We’ve done several moderate cycling trips with Exodus and I was working up to this one, as I loved the sound of the itinerary from first starting to research where we might like to travel. I’m glad I did some less challenging ones first, and I was definitely the weakest link on this trip in our group of fit and rapid (mostly) club cyclists. But I was (they said) never far behind, I completed every last inch of the trip and was extremely proud of myself for completing the Nuwara Eliya ascent, albeit slowly. All this was made possible by Suresh and his fabulous team and the support and encouragement of the group (especially the patient and long suffering Ken who stuck with me at the back and talked me up the hills). We loved Sri Lanka and the insight we gained from Suresh, and his determination to make sure we discovered his country to the fullest extent. He certainly deserves his title as Tour Guide of the Year. Guaranteed (his buzz word). The trip was well organised, we were lucky to be able to stay in some of the accommodation which we were told is not always possible. All in all a varied, enjoyable and very rewarding trip. What on earth do we do next to follow that ? Thank you Exodus. Thankyou Suresh.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlights for me were the Hill Club hotel in Nuwara Eliya where they brought us almond tea as we limped in after 11hours out and about. And a hot water bottle for our beds. Climbing Sigiriya rock. And the multi faith temple visit. And the visit to a family home for dinner in Ella. The jeep safari was also very memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fabulous

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a round pin adaptor, and a double/triple extension lead to use with it. Most hotels have UK style plug sockets but some of the more rural hotels do not and we weren’t always able to borrow an adaptor.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Jan Ellis

    Backroads of Sri Lanka - Fantastic!

    We loved our trip to Sri Lanka and would not hesitate to recommend it. The itinerary is very well planned and there is a really good mix of cycling and sightseeing.  We visited temples, caves, a tea factory, a gem factory, a spice garden (complete with massage), several wildlife parks and walked up the famous Sigirya Rock as well as stopping at a number of very individual refreshment stops.  The accommodation was good throughout as was the food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It’s hard to pick one but all 16 of our group completing the hill climb to Nuwara Eliya, seeing the elephants at Yala national park, climbing Sigiriya Rock, meeting the local people at some of the tea stops were all highlights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What really made the trip special was the leader, Suresh.  He has led this trip over 70 times so much of the itinerary had been developed by him, including some really special stops at the houses of local people who Suresh – and successive groups of Exodus cyclists – have been able to support and help through difficult times.  Wherever we went it was clear that he was greatly respected and no problem was too big for him to sort – and we threw a few at him just test him out!  He is very proud of his country and passionate about telling you its history, its wildlife and its culture – his knowledge is amazing!  He really brought our various stops to life and they would have meant much less to us without his guidance.  He was also amazingly adept at spotting wildlife in the bushes while cycling along at speed!  And all combined with a very engaging personality and some enduring catch-phrases. The support crew of Sandy, Upali and Lasa were also excellent, making sure we always had plenty of water, guiding us at junctions and making sure our luggage was always ready and waiting for us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip is action-packed with some long days in the saddle so a reasonable level of fitness is advisable to make the most of it. I would advise taking some energy gels and electrolyte tablets to help with hydration. Be prepared for cycling in heavy traffic in some of the towns, particulary Kandy, however we had no problems and there’s always the option of hopping on the bus. There were a lot of dogs around but we didn’t find them aggressive.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cycling is a great way to see country, starting in the Cultural Triangle with rides to the Buddha caves at Dambulla and the complex of temples en route to Polonnaruwa and then climbing up through tea plantations in the hill country before a long ride south to the coast. A very memorable trip made special by the excellent leader and a great group.
  • Reviewed May 2017
    keith sawyers

    Superb action packed trip

    This was simply the best trip we have been on. We loved every element. Cycling through the back roads allows you to get under the skin of the country and the people - both were simply beautiful! It was a triumph of organisation and was superbly led.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every day had it's own highlight but spending 2 nights at a beach hotel on the Indian Ocean at the end of the holiday after many days of tough riding was particularly memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He was simply superb. Knowledgable, organised, personable with a great sense of humour. The best we have ever experienced.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Worthwhile to come with a reasonable level of fitness.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Get yourself there - you will not regret it - magical trip!
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