Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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160 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    Best Group Ever

    Though the group, tour leader and support staff were phenomenal throughout the trip and there were many highlights, the rural cycling within Thailand and Cambodia proved to be largely uninteresting, smoggy and garbage was strewn throughout. Mostly we saw different tree plantations of smaller trees for rubber, furniture, etc. and a little bit of off season ground crop areas. On the plus side the accomodation was spotless, the food excellent and the people wonderful. We certainly enjoyed Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and the other temple complexes and Phnom Penh. Also the history of Cambodia during the Khymer Rouge regime, though dark, was extremely educational and offered an understanding of current day Cambodia that we would have not gotten without physically attending the Killing Fields and the S-21 prison. In sharp contrast to what we saw of Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam was very green and lush and our stay at the Homestay on the island, travel on the Mekong and other cultural highlights was amazing. The very best of the trip was getting to know the wonderful group of people the tour attracted and the care our tour guide Chai gave us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Attending the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh (Choeung Ek) and the S-21 Prison (Tuol Sleng) which is now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and meeting two of the 14 survivors from the prison, Chum Mey and Bou Meng.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Chai was beyond superb. His organizational ability, his kindness and concern, his upbeat demeanour, his availability and his sharing of cultural knowledge made the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Slow burner

    It must be said this is a bit dull to begin with - the first three cycling days are not particularly interesting - but it builds and in the end it is a great experience. Cambodia is a fascinating journey from the pomp of Angkor Wat to the rat infested piles of rubbish in Phnom Penh to the anguish of the Killing Fields; I'll never forget it. Vietnam was a complete contrast - colourful, enterprising,confident, resplendent with gold starred red flags everywhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Quite a few: The giant recumbent golden Buddha in Wat Pho The frog sausage with green tamarind salsa from a street vendor near Siem Reap Cycling through the North Gate of Angkor Thum at dusk Being brought to tears by the guide in the Genocide museum Riding through the country lanes and bustle near Chau Doc with all the children shouting "hallo" to us

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai is a great guy - a fine advocate for Buddhism

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is a bit of a side show and this trip is really more about imagining yourself in the heartbeat of another as Sebastian Faulks, I think, said. I felt privileged to have made the journey. The best day's cycling is the second day in Angkor Wat so don't go shopping as some of our party did. It is very hot - take lots of factor 50 sun block. Aside from the frog sausage the best dish was Fish Amok served in a hollowed out coconut - don't miss it

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not for cyclist purists but an adventure you won't forget
  • Reviewed January 2020
    wendy fairhurst

    Great trip overall - a real journey

    Just returned from this trip . Myself , my husband and 3 more friends went on the trip - we are all keen on cycle touring. For myself and my husband, our overall experience was very good . Our guide, Chai was the best we have ever had . He dealt with a varied group with humour, fantastic organisation and always a smile. The group we were with was made up of British , Canadian, American and Australian cyclists . The group was great and bonded well under Chai's expert guidance. Culturally the trip is very interesting - Angkor Wat is fascinating and beautiful and the Killing Fields in Cambodia were life changing. Travelling through the 3 countries and seeing the various levels of development, political situations and living conditions was interesting and sometimes disturbing. However the cycling itself was sometimes disappointing - in the first few days there is rather a lot of cycling along straight, featureless , flat roads in 35 degrees of heat. Being taken out to eat local food in the evenings was very enjoyable and welcome after this. Cycling around Angkor Wat and the various temples which make up the complex was beautiful and the cycling in Vietnam is amazing - cycling through communities , hopping on and off ferries - everywhere a riot of colour and interest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing the story of our young female guide in Phnom Pen give an emotional and personal account of the Polpot regime and life in Cambodia nowadays moved me to tears . Cycling around Angkor Wat Hearing our guide talk about his humane and pragmatic approach to Buddhism Cycling through villages and communities in Vietnam

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was quite simply one of the nicest human beings I have ever met and an inspirational guide and leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the first few days of cycling which are long , scenery is not spectacular and it is very hot. It does get better! We are reasonably strong cyclists and were able to find enjoyment in blasting down the long, straight, quiet roads but still found the heat a challenge. Chai managed it well though and arranged stops every 8-10 miles to re-group and cool down. The team were always waiting with very welcome and delicious snacks and drinks. Go easy on them if you don't want to gain weight. Cycling around the Angkor Wat temples and in Vietnam is lovely. Go out with the guide to eat in the evenings - the local food and experience is fantastic and hotel food often very average. We did not get ill.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was a journey rather than a holiday and overall a very positive experience. Most people on the trip who had never done Exodus holidays before were inspired to do more trips like this. However be prepared for some of the cycling in the heat and seeing the poverty of some of the communities, particularly in Cambodia.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    andrew bole

    An amazing trip, a couple of tips

    This is a really wonderful trip. I would highly recommend it. You get a unique view of the people, country life and see very few other tourists, outside of the big cities! A good balance between cycling and transfers on the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide makes the difference between a good trip and an amazing trip. Our guide, Nut, was excellent. He was calm, efficient and is vastly experienced so easily managed the large group (18) and so we were all relaxed and could enjoy the trip. Simple things were done very well. We visited lots of different artisans along the way but were never pressured into buying things. They guide handled tipping, meals etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some tips not in the trip notes: 1. It is hot and very sunny. Over xmas, there were no cloudy days and no rain. 2. Take lots of high factor sun cream. We used more than expected as you are out in the sun most of the day. You can only buy it in the big towns, Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 3. Wear white or light coloured tops when cycling. Dark colours absorb the heat making it even hotter! 4. You move most evenings, so can only visit the laundry in the big towns where you stay for more than one night, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 5. Take a water bottle that fits in a standard bike water bottle holder. 6. We took our own clip in pedals (MTB prob best as in and out of them in the towns), which worked well. The bus is always close by so you can change shoes if you need to walk round a temple 7. To go into most of the temples you need to wear trousers or shorts/skirts that cover the knee. Applies to men and women. You can leave them on the bus, so dont need to wear them when cycling. 8. Take some electrolite tablets for your water, as you are out on the bike in the heat sweating alot!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spend a bit of time looking at the flight routes/options as there are lots of possible routes you can end up on, which vary considerably in terms of duration and connections.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Mark Billington

    Trying something new in S.E Asia

    I’ve previously been on several exodus trips either hiking or sightseeing ones or a mixture of the two. I thought I’d give cycling a go, I’m not a cyclist at home but keep myself fit. The trip was amazing, the cycling tough in the heat, but you get looked after so well, the bike teams manage the traffic so well and look after your hydration and energy levels. This trip isn’t just about the cycling though, the combination of 3 different countries, with different cultures and foods and fantastic sights and cities you get to see, make this a very memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You can’t fail to be amazed with the temples around Angkor, it’s staggering to think these masterpieces were put together centuries ago and to see them by bicycle is the perfect way to absorb them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn’t of asked for a better group leader than IS, so knowledgeable, so helpful, so approachable and within a very short time became one of us, part of the team, a friend to us all. In my experiences all Exodus leaders have been great but a couple have gone above and beyond to ensure your holiday is a memorable one, IS definitely went above and beyond and was much loved and respected by us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you build up your fitness, preferably with time on your bike, I did a couple of 40 mile cycles just prior to going on the trip, if possible cycle in some traffic as although the roads rarely get very busy, some of the towns have moderate traffic. Take a towel and swimwear, there’s plenty of opportunities to swim and if it’s as warm as it was when we visited you’ll be grateful of the cooling off in the pool. Definitely use the rooftop hot tub in the hotel in Phnom Penh.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really, just to say this holiday takes in so much, there’s never a dull moment or quiet moment so if you like your holidays full on and fun packed, it’s definitely for you.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Patricia West

    Best Trip

    Just did cycle trip Nov 8-23...what a fabulous time!!!. I am not a cyclist and was worried about being able to do this trip, but it was amazing. The group was large (18) with a mixture of couples and singles all around 25-69 yrs in age. I did fall off the bike on the first day and ended with a slight sprained wrist and cuts and bruises. 2nd day fell off again lol. Our guide looked after me well. I did ride the bus in places I did not feel comfortable with. Cycling was pretty decent, around 12-15km/hr for most of the group, the faster riders went ahead. Bike teams were fabulous and kept the equipment well looked after, snack foods plentiful. The heat and humidity was incredible, but after 3 days I was fine. Crossing boarders was easy. Visited many markets along the way and tried Grasshoppers, Silk Worms, Beetles, Snake, Tarantula, Scorpion and many other delicious Asian dishes. Visiting the Killing Fields, S21, War museum was very eye opening. The home stay was amazing! what a beautiful experience, got to help with dinner prep, beds were comfy, out door shower relaxing. The only thing I would say is if travelling single it is worth the extra cost to book single supplement. Spending 24/7 with the group is great but its nice to have time alone. I took the advice of reviews and packed light...took a back pack and carry on and I did fine, you can wash clothes in the sink and it dries quickly or laundry is cheap.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational part of the trip for me was visiting the killing fields, S21 and War museum.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was IS....what can I say …. she is the BEST!!!! We all fell in love with her. what an amazing woman and friend. She had us on time and kept us safe,When I fell she was right there taking care of my wounds, showed us how the people live, shared many foods with us. She went above and beyond her job! If you are fortunate to have her as your guide you will truly enjoy your trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    make sure you are a seasoned cyclist, doing just spin classes wont be enough. The cycling is long, the first day is short, but the next 2 days will be about 80-90k the heat and humidity will be high! it was high 30s and humidity was around 72. Be sure you are very comfortable cycling in the city as the traffic can be quite heavy and very different from normal city cycling, I took the bus near the cities as I was totally not prepared. Bring some type of cream for the bottom lol. I did not care for Vietnam $$ so I changed it back into US currency as most places will take US dollars. I took about $100.00 US for each country and that was sufficient but if you want to drink alcohol and buy items then you would need more. For the Temples you would need to bring clothing that covers below the knees. As I mentioned before, if travelling solo then its worth the extra $ to book a single room.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an amazing trip. I am so glad I did it. I would totally recommend doing it and this is coming from a non cyclist lol. By the 4th day I was told I had improved and actually looked like a cyclist . Exodus is the only company I would book with, its a little more expensive but they look after you top notch!.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    David Barnewell

    Outstanding trip, wonderful experiences every day

    Great organisation, team, guides and Leader; Chai, we experienced people, food, culture and daily life in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Saw most wonderful temples in Angkor, deeply moving visits to the Killing Fields and the Vietnam War Remnants museum and the great buzz of SiemReap, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh cities

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick a single event. Every day brought something new and different. The Temples of Angkor are simply stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was outstanding. He did a great job showing us new and different aspects to daily life in all three countries. His team of drivers, cyclists, mechanics and local guides were superb.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Research what you will see and visit in advance so you get the very best out of the trip. Bring comfortable cycling clothing, but not too much, laundry is easy. Make sure you bike size is correct and confined ahead of travelling. Get some miles done on the bike before travel so you’re fit enough to enjoy the scenery and not struggling

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to try new and unusual food and experiences
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Kristen Gilbert

    Perfect blend of cycling and sightseeing

    My husband and I went on this tour in July 2019. We were impressed from the beginning by the excellent organization and by the professionality of our guide Nut. We also had a terrific group, a good mix of more ambitious cyclists and those who desired a more leisurely pace (although I should mention that the tour is somewhat demanding and isn't for total beginners). Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time regardless of their cycling ability. Having experienced guides made things so much easier than if we had tried to organize the trip on our own - which we never would have attempted as a cycling tour.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many memorable moments, including the temple visits, the Killing Fields, navigating around scooters and food carts, cycling through the Mekong villages with kids shouting hello, trying new foods ...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nut is simply the best. What else is there to say?

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Book this trip if you want to combine an active holiday and plenty of sightseeing. Highly recommended.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    David H

    An wonderful trip. Highly recommended.

    This was a superb trip in many respects. If you are unsure about booking this trip, then just book it, as it will be a unique and positive experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Cambodia was extremely interesting for me. Discovering the temples around Siem Reep was perfect on bicycle, and surely, there is no better way to do it? Phnom Penn, steeped in recent history regarding the Khmer Rouge was a unique experience, and although upsetting, it importantly outlined what happened so we can be more prepared for the future . The border crossings were something to behold. The overall experience was amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nut was fantastic in all respects. This is my 4th cycle tour, and although they were all excellent, Nut excelled in this role. His attention to detail was well appreciated. The snack stops involved a Tupperwear buffet feast. Ice cold water was always available (appreciated in the heat). On the hottest days, Nut sourced ice cream towards the end of our ride and helped spur us on! He was also a very good guitar player at the Homestay that evening. The support teams were also the best I have had, always smiling and going out of their way to make sure we had all that was needed. The teams took over seamlessly in each country, and having 3 different bikes created no problems at all. Well done!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was in a particularly strong group of cyclists with average moving speeds of 20Km/h-30Km/h, far higher than stated on the website (13-16Km/h). I enjoyed the challenge during first part of the trip, but the long 80Km day cycling from Cambodia into Vietnam at high speeds was regrettable as the scenery was absolutely stunning and I was unable to get any photos or enjoy the experience fully. So be aware that the trip may be faster than the speed stated in the information and find a way to take pictures on the move, if this is important to you. The temperatures ranged from 28-38 degrees whist in Thailand, so take lots of factor 50 sunscreen with you as very little opportunity to buy on route. The Homestay evening was very enjoyable, but some of us got bitten during the night despite nets, so take some good insect spray with you.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Nicki Ashenden

    Cycling through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

    This was our third cycling trip with Exodus. It was an amazing journey and adventure and we loved every single moment of it. It was a fantastic way to see some ‘highlights’ of three beautiful countries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Without a doubt Cambodia - its such a beautiful country; cycling through villages in Cambodia and Vietnam; the wonderful night in the homestay; the food and the border crossings!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nut - what we can we say, he is an absolute star and gave us such a wonderful holiday from start to finish. We have been really lucky to have had fantastic group leaders in our previous trips but Nut just stands out there. He has a wonderful sense of humour, makes you feel incredibly safe and well looked after, has such patience when he has to tell you for the third time as you are so tired when and where we are meeting for dinner or the morning, his knowledge is incredible. He’s amazing!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The heat - this has been said in previous reviews about the heat and this cannot be under estimated. We went early March and the cycling in Thailand was tough due to the heat. Nut was brilliant and shortened the distances between refreshment stops due to this but it is hard going. Don’t however let this put you off, the cycling is relatively flat apart from a few rolling hills, take padded shorts, there are plenty of opportunities for washing so pack light. Insect repellent is also a must. Be also prepared for long days - it’s a tiring trip but definitely worth it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a wonderful cycling holiday - we were a group of 5 and became a “cycling family” very quickly even spending our free evenings together. We laughed our way round and supported each other through three different countries. We can not recommend this trip enough.