Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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24 Reviews

  • Reviewed November 2019
    Clare Smit

    Tough trek but views are amazing!

    Great mix of cultural diversity and natural beauty of India - starting and ending in the manic centres of Delhi and Kolkata respectively, the majority of the trip is in quieter parts of West Bengal and Sikkim, which are simply beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunrise and cups of tea at campsite 3 with views of Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Mt Everest and Manaslu. It was cold but an absolutely magical experience! Also, the visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling - it was quite humbling to see the gear that Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary summitted Everest with so many years ago and how the equipment has advanced.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rajeev Rawat. What can I say - an amazing leader....nothing was too much trouble!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack for all kinds of weather. We had a torrential hail storm half way through the Singalila ridge trek, followed by thick fog...so thick that we couldn’t see the tents from the dinner tent! Head torches are a definite must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Singalila trek was one of the toughest walks I have done but totally worth it for the views. India is a very different place with so much diversity - take each place visited for its own uniqueness and try everything!
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Clare Smit

    Tough trek but views are amazing!

    Great mix of cultural diversity and natural beauty of India - starting and ending in the manic centres of Delhi and Kolkata respectively, the majority of the trip is in quieter parts of West Bengal and Sikkim, which are simply beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sunrise and cups of tea at campsite 3 with views of Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Mt Everest and Manaslu. It was cold but an absolutely magical experience! Also, the visit to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling - it was quite humbling to see the gear that Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary summitted Everest with so many years ago and how the equipment has advanced.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rajeev Rawat. What can I say - an amazing leader....nothing was too much trouble!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack for all kinds of weather. We had a torrential hail storm half way through the Singalila ridge trek, followed by thick fog...so thick that we couldn’t see the tents from the dinner tent! Head torches are a definite must.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Singalila trek was one of the toughest walks I have done but totally worth it for the views. India is a very different place with so much diversity - take each place visited for its own uniqueness and try everything!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Sandra Pinnock

    Hiking in the Himilayas

    Such a varied and personally challenging tour! At 73, I wondered how well I would deal with the serious elevation hike up to the Ridge. The guide, Rajeev, made hard choices when the weather was difficult. The 3 guides supported us every day so we all did our best. The view at sunrise of the mountain from the Ridge made the effort worth it. The other stops in Darjeeling and Sikkim and Kolcutta gave us a good idea of this part of the country. A well planned and varied experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Viewing the Himalayas from the Singalila Ridge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Although younger than the hikers, he acted with knowledge, consideration and organisation. He took all into consideration to guide us quietly. He did not sidestep making hard decisions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. Pack for all weather possibilities. We had hail in April.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Tony Harris

    There and back again; an amazing journey

    This is a very varied trip, a mix of culture and exercise where we met some of the friendliest people in the world and eat fantastic food, the highlight for me being the Singalila Ridge trek. The trip takes you from chaotic streets of Delhi, to beautiful Sikkim and its wonderful people, to Darjeeling and its busy traffic, to the edge of the high Himalayas to trek that wonderful ridge and then back to more manic city streets this time in Kolkata.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On day three of the trek we were up at 5:15 and drinking an early morning cup of black tea, we were pleased to see clear skies after the previous nights thick mist. The whole group walked to a low knoll near the camp site to watch the sunrise and see the view of the high Himalaya. As the sun rose the horizon lit up. To the north Kanchenjunga rose high above the cloud, as the sun hit the mountain it lit up and glowed. To the west in the far distance there were three mountains that looked close together, the first of these to catch the sun was Everest closely followed by Makalu and then Lhotse. We were standing at a height of approximately 3500 meters, a reasonable height if you were in the Alps, I was stunned by the thought that these summits were 5 kilometers higher than us; awesome a sunrise I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide/group leader Sonam was fantastic, nothing was to much trouble, his organisational skills were excellent and he made everything work like clockwork. He had a great sense of humour and I shall always remember his infectious laugh that brought a smile to everyone’s face. He showed huge respect to the local people and customs and was an excellent ambassador for his country and your company If I were to rate him on a scale of 1 to 10 I would have to say, in the words of the bass player in the film Spinal Tap, he goes up to 11. A great guy and an excellent guide/leader

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My main bit of advice to potential travelers would be, don’t be put off by the long days travelling. The end result is definitely worth it. Be prepared for any weather conditions you can think of because chances are you will get it. There were a few changes to our itinerary that Exodus informed us of before we left. One of these was the 1100 meter climb to reach the top of the ridge. Don't be put off, take it easy drink plenty of water and enjoy the journey.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A huge thank you to all the support team, the pony boys who moved the gear every day on the trek, the cook’s team for managing the camp and ensuring a regular supply of tea. Special thanks to the cook who produced fantastic food throughout the trek and the genius who produced roast potatoes at 3500 meters; to Dipesh our local trek guide. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the local area and was great fun to be with. Last but by no means least I must say thanks to our fellow trekkers, a great bunch of people and great fun to be with. Hope to trek with them again sometime in the future it was a great trip.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Eric Brierley

    My perfect India trip,

    From the madness of New Delhi to the beautiful unspoilt Sikkim area. This India trip does it all.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking though farms and villages that have not had tourists though the area before. truly magical moments.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sonam and Dipesh, where both great leaders, full of information and kept all the group together. Any questions asked and problems where quickly answered and sorted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you have warm clothes,it’s gets cold and windy at night on the ridge.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I wanted a holiday with walking and hopefully to meet local people, this trip did all that and more..if you get chance arrive a few days before and take in the delights of New Delhi. I’m glad the itinerary was changed around to do the sightseeing first, it’s helps to get to know the rest of the group before starting the trek and gets you acclimatised to the food ( if you know what I mean )
  • Darjeeling , Sikkim & the Singalila Ridge

    This trip is wonderfully varied with each day having something different to the last. The accommodation throughout is very comfortable especially if you love an adventure. There are highlights such as heritage and eco hotels and lodges , and full service camping with roomy tents . In March and the beginning of April the weather included sunny days in the cities of Delhi and Calcutta , contrasting with cold fresh nights on camp , with a hail shower . The hotel in Delhi has a pool and relaxation facilities , and for anyone arriving earlier , there is time for city tours to see the sights . The drives from the plains to the Himalayan hill stations revealed beautiful rivers , terraced tea plantations and habitations on high and steep slopes . We visited colorful Buddhist temples and the Unesco World Heritage site of the Toy Train at Darjeeling .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being woken at 0500 and being lead by Rajeev our leader , to the top of the ridge near the Kalijar campsite to see the sunrise lighting up Kachenjunga , the 3rd highest mountain in the World , and seeing the whole range of the Himalayan snow capped mountains in front of us , which included Mount Everest in the distance . Rajeev was tremendous in pointing out and naming each individual summit . The team took the trouble to ensure we even had cups of tea and had lots of time to savour the amazing view and take photographs.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rajeev was excellent in leading our group which had walkers with varied experience , and walking pace . He gave detailed information about the region , farming methods , his country and the mountain ranges , and answered our many questions . He is a very capable leader .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Come prepared to try out different food , and with fitness preparation for walking to summits on fairly steep slopes. Bring a camera too !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think the highlights wee often the optional parts of the trip like walking to the summit of Singalila , and seeing the Everest range on a clear day so make the most of these . The 16 Zoe's , a cross between a Yak and a cow , were the fantastic animals that carried our camping gear for us , and the team of herdsman and cooks provided an amazing service during our camping trek .
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Melanie B

    Freezing but worth it

    Having completed the Annapurna circuit two years ago I was looking for more Himalayan trekking but somewhere different. The views of Kanchenjunga in the sunrise and sunset are breathtaking and (weather permitting) you see Everest too! An excellent trip with a good mix between trekking and cultural exploration

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Waking up at dawn, in a frost covered tent, before getting to see the sun rise on the mountains.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sonam was brilliant fun to be with. He took good acre of all of us and made sure that any backmarkers on the trek part were supported. He was kind and engaging and had a wicked sense of humour. He also brought the best cook ever to cook for us on the trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trek is less strenuous than Annapurna but it's still at altitude and the fitter you are the more you will enjoy it. It got really cold in the tents and the ground was harder than you think! I'd suggest getting the thickest, warmest inflatable mattress you can afford and making sure you pack good quality merino and a really decent sleeping bag.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bring earplugs if coming at Diwali. They like their fireworks loud.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Paul Bulstrode

    Superb from start to finish

    This was truly a wonderful 2 weeks. From Delhi to Calcutta, the ridge, the people and those others on the trek made this a trip to remember.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of the Himalayas, walking along the ridge between India and Nepal and the great food we had to eat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sonam was superb, full of knowledge and always smiling. A great character that made us laugh but lead the group well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In autumn (mid October) it was very cold on the mountain (at night). Be ready for it. Otherwise no issues, even on the train. Make sure you get up early for the best views of the mountains (although evenings were also great). Relax, forget the world and enjoy! When it says dont take photos, dont take photos (army check points on trek)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Even with the weak STG, it was still cheap there.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    John Mckenzie

    Sikkim and Singalina Ridge

    I'd never been trekking before, and in many ways I wasn't looking forward to this holiday much, but I absolutely loved it, especially the trekking. What really surprised me was the quality of the support from the pony men, guides, and especially the cook, or cooks. The quality of the food was very impressive even when it was being carried about a campsite in a hail storm. I would recommend this trip to everyone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When he second in charge leapt down a nearly perpendicular slope to retrieve my daysack which had fallen down and then snagged about fifteen feet below the edge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I don't think Chouspel could have done a better job. He was constantly helpful and pleasant despite one or two awkward customers and the huge responsibilities lying on his shoulders. Top guy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the waterproof trousers.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Both the guides were the key to a successful trip. But the cooking was exceptional!
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Sara Harrop

    On top of the world

    A fantastic trip which left our group under India's spell and eager to return for more. This was despite disappointing weather. We experienced mega thunder storms, gales, a hail storm and far more than our fair share of mist and fog. The toilet tent blew down one night in a gale. It could have been a disaster, yet all of our group managed to leave with entirely positive impressions. This was down to a) One day of clear bright sunshine when all the mountains appeared as if by magic; b) a fantastic sense of camaraderie between group members, the guides, cooks and pony men, c) delicious food, d) friendly local people and a great introduction to the culture; e) lovely characterful hotels that felt palatial after sleeping in a cold, damp tent for a week. A lot of people seem to think a trip to India is as good as a crash diet - but not if you go on this trip! Anyone would have thought that the delicious, varied, piping hot and beautifully presented meals had been prepared in a plush kitchen rather than a windswept tent in the middle of nowhere! They even managed a perfectly iced birthday cake baked over a camping stove at 3500m. Exodus seems to have chosen the accommodation particularly well on this trip. The Himalayan Hotel in Kalimpong was a firm favourite, but the Netuk House in Gangtok was also gorgeous and the Sherpa Lodge in Rimbik at the end of the trek (described as basic in the trip notes) is a delightful place in flower filled gardens with comfy rooms with pretty quilts on the beds, en-suite bathrooms and real toilets. The Hilton could not have felt finer. The walking is not too difficult and the paths are good with plenty of interesting flowers and bird life even if you can't see the mountains. The altitude is not too bad. It's a good combination of feeling that you've done something without feeling too stretched and exhausted.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The day the fog cleared and the mountains appeared. We saw Kanchenjunga and Makalu, Lhotse and Everest. Our campsite above Sandakphu was spectacular. At sunset, the clouds sank far below and a panorama of pink-tinged snow-capped mountains appeared all round. Team awestruck! We also loved our unscheduled visit to the beautiful village of Siri Khola when bad weather higher up forced us to head down. We ended up camping in one of the pony men's garden and visiting the cook's home. Everyone felt this was one of the highlights of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rajeev is a rising star. He had to cope with some difficult climactic conditions and a lot of questions. He was very helpful towards a slightly slower walker in the group, thus ensuring that we all kept together and safe. The local guides were excellent too and Rajeev had a good relationship with them and with team of cooks and pony men, showing respect and sensitivity to them at all times.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to expect the unexpected and adapt. The hardships make the good times even better. Nights were long and cold in the tent so a good sleeping bag and lots of layers are essential. Filling a metal bottle with boiled water at night keeps you warm and provides you with safe frost-free drinking water the next day. Take plenty of hand sanitiser. A pack of cards is good for after dinner entertainment for in the mess tent as is a good repertoire of anecdotes and a sense of humour.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    None of our group much liked Gangtok, though the hotel there was lovely and Rumtek monastery interesting. Gangtok was quite car-clogged, concrete covered and westernised. On the other hand, we loved Kalimpong. There's a colourful food market, interesting local shops, temples and monasteries, and it's a laid-back friendly sort of place with none of the hassle some people sometimes associate with India. To sum up: this trip was great value for money, perfect for people who like a good mixture of adventure and comfort and I feel as if I have made a load of really good friends.