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Reviews

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

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19 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Mark Riley

    Amazing tour of Cambodia

    This trip was amazing. It was such a mix of different parts of the country From the bustling capital of Phnom Penh to relaxing beaches in the south then cycling around Battenbang visiting different local industries and finishing up with the awe inspiring temples of Siem Reep With our most incredible guide “Bun” who worked tirelessly to make sure everyone of us had an enjoyable time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I would have to say that the most inspiring thing about this trip was “Bun” a truly amazing young man.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    “Bun” was caring,funny,enthusiastic,helpful,knowledgable,friendly and very passionate about his wonderful country... He is a credit to Exodus

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go and immerse yourself in this wonderful country, yes it’s poor but the people are delightful and the countryside is stunning.... This trip gives you a snippet of so many different parts of Cambodia. We could easily have spent a week in every town.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Clive Marks

    Breathtaking and dumbfounding

    The variety of experiences on this trip is among the highest that I have got from any trip, from the serenity of seeing over a million bats streaming out of their roost cave at dusk to the horrors of a killing field and its torture prison, between which are the mystical majesty of the temples of Angkor. are the grand finale to the trip. Along the way were many encounters of real life in this beautiful country as well as snorkelling in the sea.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspirational is a difficult word to asses for this trip, so let me try some others for you: Horrifying - the sheer inhumanity of what went on in the torture prison and the killing field (I just had to go and find a quiet corner with my own thoughts - our tour leader, Bun, whose parents had been Khmer Rouge child soldiers, came to my rescue as he was the only person to know so intimately what went on here; Humbling - meeting two survivors of the torture camp (I was left dumbstruck); Magnificent - seeing over a million bats suddenly start to stream out of their roost cave and head out to eat enough paddy field pest to save 20,000 tonnes of rice per year (nature at its most beautiful, so shortly after the horrors above); Majestic - the whole temple complex of the Angkor area (some are beautifully carved, some are vast, others are simply serene in their simplicity and tranquility, Ta Prohm not being among the tranquil ones since the Tomb Raider film. Crazy - the traffic in every town and city but this was contrasted by the ability of everyone to get through crowded junctions with in calm chaos. Walking out into the road, in the assured belief that you would not get run over, is a habit that one will have to rapidly get out of back in the UK! Tranquility - so many places were blissfully quiet, even at the fabulous hotel near Sihanoukville, where one had just gone through a vast building site, was so gloriously located on the beach near a fabulous choice of bars and restaurants. This was the first trip over the New Year when I have been able to get to sleep early due to the quiet in our Siem Reap hotel.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bun was a star so let me tell you why: he always gave us fabulously accurate and informative briefings about the following day (when we needed to be anywhere; what we would be doing; what we should be wearing; what we should bring with us) as well as updates throughout the day; he was always able to find suitable restaurants for group dinners and coped well with the assorted dietary requirements of some guests. Finding a restaurant for 17 people at short notice is very difficult in any location at any time of year, let alone over the New Year period. Some evenings, when no group dinner was needed, we would find him joining us for dinner and fabulous conversations always resulted; his charm was endless, even when some guests were less than polite or helpful; we always knew where he was as we could always hear his delightful giggle; when one of the guests developed medical complications from sand fly bites, he was fabulous about ensuring that she got the appropriate medical treatment in the right facility and kept the rest of us informed of her progress; when another was taken ill during a bus trip, he dealt with it so discretely that most people had no idea that there had been any problem; his knowledge of his country is amazing; with his parents having been child-soldiers for the Khmer Rouge we knew that he had a very close connection with that dark phase of his country's recent history - he was amazingly frank about some aspects of his parents' lives and of his own extraordinary upbringing; he is a great testament as to what someone can achieve in their own life through sheer determination and hard work, making us feel very humble at having had the privilege of meeting him (woe betide any snivelling brat who whinges about not having the latest gadget, just because they "want" it!) with my husband having broken five vertebrae and twice having had his pelvis crushed, he is a self-confessed "princess and the pea" when it comes to bed mattresses. Bun phoned ahead to ensure that our last hotel had extra facilities in the room when we arrived, helping to ensure some 3 good nights' sleep.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    GO

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The mix of locations and experiences gave us such a broad insight into this amazing country within a really short period. Thank you for creating such a fabulous itinerary (we had looked at many but yours came out as the best and, despite a false start, we are pleased that we came with you. The mix-up over our premium economy seats for the return flight was resolved before we left, thank you. As soon as we got on the plane, there was someone in one of our seats and then another person came along claiming that he had just been moved, from economy, into the other seat. That gave us a bit of a surprise but we rapidly clarified to the staff and passengers that we were in our correctly allocated seats and that the first of other two passengers had simply decided to choose his own seat and that the other had been misinformed. It all ended smoothly and we appreciated the window seats so that we could keep an eye out for the aurora borealis. The aurora did not appear but that is the nature of the phenomenon.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Roger Frith

    Cambodian adventure AOA190310

    An excellent trip. the guide Buntheun was first class, the variation from Ko kong to the Naia hotel in the south was on reflection a very good idea. overall very good value for the money

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Angkor Wat, the silk farm , the beach at Naia hotel

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A truly excellent guide
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Mark Crooke

    Cooking in Cambodia..............it was 38C

    Loved the trip, Great food, great hospitality and our Guide was outstanding ! Some long days, but you will get a great deal out of a packed itinerary. Hotels are pretty good, and you'll appreciate the ones that have swimming pools even more ! The French influence has ensured that the coffee is great just about everywhere, apart maybe from breakfast :-)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the People, their welcome, the warmth & hospitality. You can only admire the way they have come through the last couple of generations. Cambodia is a young, vibrant country which seems to be a good place to be right now

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sokkim was an inspiration in himself. I don't think I have ever met someone quite like him. He couldn't have done more for the group as far as organisation went. He was always on hand with a resolution when anyone had an issue, and was always mindful of what was happening within the group, and our surroundings. Great sense of humour, vast knowledge of all the itinerary items and extremely good with his fellow Cambodians. He had time for everyone, and would put himself out for anyone. Fantastic recommendations for evening meals Couldn't have asked for a better leader ! :-)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In 38C and 90% Humidity - Drink, drink, drink and drink some more, whatever it is ! Make sure you have a water bottle, hat, sunglasses and plenty of lightweight clothes. Don't worry about bringing too much, as the local laundries are great. The food is great, so don't hold back ! The default currency is US Dollars, but don't worry too much, as all the ATM's in the big cities have Dollars in them. Don't both with the Foreign Correspondents Club, as Ibiza is right next door. You can't hear yourself think !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Enjoy before mass tourism really gets there ! Outside of Siem Reap, you'll be in the real Cambodia, so soak it and it's people up. You'll love it :-)
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Nikki Daly

    Interesting and fun

    Ankor Wat is obviously a must-see. Cyclying along the city walls without tourists, just water and people fishing on one side and the jungle on the other to the sound of cicadas made it even more magical. Our guide Soukimm was brilliant throughout and fascinating on the stone friezes in the Bayon temple. See 13th century life with noodle making, healthcare and every day life. All the temples are truly awesome. S-21 and the Killing Fields in Phnom Pehn are a reminder of how important peace is and the dangers of extremism. The cyclo ride throught the traffic at sunset really gave you a different view of this rapidly changing city. Battambang was a cool place and it was salutary to see how hard ordinary people have to work to survive. Eating bbq barracudas on the deserted island was also a highlight although thankfully they now avoid Koh Kong. This is a poor country undergoing huge changes, only 5% of the population are over 60 following the Pol Pot massacres and as such fascinating. The crab/sea food markets of Kampor are wonderful and if you fancy snacking on crunchy crickets or ants then do try them. Our group and guide Soukimm was amazing and we had such fun all the time. However, be aware you are off out at 8am nearly every day and do travel in a bus on dodgy part-made roads for about 5 hours a day. I recommend taking a gel seat for the bikes! So if you don’t just want to tick off key wonders of the world but want to explore and see a country then choose this trip - you won’t regret it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Already detailed above
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Neil Caves

    Superb Experience

    I would not describe this trip as an adventure holiday but an experience. It was full of emotion, culture and recent history. While this trip would not be for everyone and you need to be a bit prepared for the sad times it was a life experience and learning unlikely to be found on any normal "holiday"

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Most inspirational moments were two trip not part of the itinerary but suggested by the tour leader. The first was an early visit to the fish market, 3 of us went and we were the only non-locals to be seen. Cambodian life was happening around us, we were right in the heart of the morning work. The local people just carried on their business as if we were not present. Second was a trip to the Rolous Temples on the last day. Far less people and visiting these temples just consolidated and rounded off the whole visit to Cambodia

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader - Bun - was 100% dedicated to making sure we all enjoyed and experienced Cambodia. Bun was ever attentive, adapted to requests, was constantly checking everything was just right. He loved his country and his knowledge was endless. But more, he brought his personal experience to the trip in a really positive way for us to understand life in Cambodia now and in the recent past. To top it all he had a really loveable sense of humour and engaged everyone

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not expect the normal adventure holiday, yes there are good hotels and sights but there is also the emotional side of the recent past history which was compelling even though sad to hear. This trip is about a country coming to terms with its past and in early stages of becoming whole again.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would suggest that Exodus re-look at the amount of travel involved to Koh Kong as the full day coach travel too and a full day travel back did not justify the little there is to see and do at Koh Kong. I also think Exodus need to re-look at some of the stops e.g. silver shop - as here they are selling, by weight, what is said to be silver but is, in fact, silver plate and sold in the local markets of Siem Reap at much reduced prices. Its not made by the local craft people.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Carol Taylor

    Discover the real Cambodia.

    A great trip with huge variety showing you the best of this beautiful friendly and historic country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    A visit to the genocide museum showing the shocking brutality of the Khmer rouge regime became the highlight when we met one of the survivors of the prison and spent time talking to him. Un extremely humbling experience that will always be one of the highlights of all my travels where life takes me. The temples of Angkor did not disappoint and the cycling trip around them is a great way to get away from the crowds for a while. Getting up for sunrise is a must to see Angkor watt at it'so best and to get in before it gets too crowded. If you get chance to have an extra day in spam reap it is very easy to hire a tuc tuc to take you back to any temples you want to spend more time at or get to some.of the smaller and quieter templesthat are more atmospheric due to the lack of crowds and the unspoilt nature of these less frequented temples.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great knowledgeable leader who managed to some how always meet the variety of needs of our group. Always had a smile on his face and dealt with problems (illness, lost luggage, lost group members) without any fuss and bother. Willing to share his and his families experiences of the recent genocide in his country. Always new where to find great food and drink.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Stay an extra day in Siam Reap at the end and get a tuc tuc for your own personal trip around the temples. Take part in the bike rides despite the heat, it's a great way to get out into the countryside and meet the locals and at Angkor a great way to get away from the crowds.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cambodia is much poor than its neighbours but the people are friendlier and give tourists a warm welcome. The hotels, facilities and transport are basic but provide all the essentials. Get to Cambodia before it becomes a mecca for tourists.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Helen Clews

    Cambodia Adventure

    This holiday was my first experience of a third world country and as such was extremely interesting. In spite of some poverty, all the hotels were built in recent years and were of a high standard. Our experiences were varied: chaotic traffic in the cities, visits to country villages, two days on cycles, boat trips, learning about the history of Cambodia's civil war and how the country if recovering, trekking up a mountain and seeing mangroves. We enjoyed visiting the famous temple at Angkor Wat and several lesser temples in the region. The people were friendly and welcoming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the day cycling round the vilages to see rice paper being made, bamboo tubes being filled with sticky rice, tropical fruits being sliced and dried in the sun, fish being processed (very smelly but interesting). All the local people worked long days for little money, but were very smiley and welcoming. At one stop we had a lovely snack of tropical fruit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was excellent, and able to give us plenty of information. He took care of us very well. We had a few 'incidents' such as a flat tyre and one member of the party being unwell, but he coped very efficiently with everything. He guided us to good restaurants and was always on the watch, making sure we were all there and happy. His own family had been badly affected by the civil war, so he was able to talk knowledgeably about Cambodian history - particularly when we visited the 'Killing Fields' and a Khmer Rouge prison. His English was fluent, though he had quite an accent. However, this was no problem as we all quickly tuned into it. Like so many Cambodians he was small, smiley and unflappable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the advice you are given to guard your belongings carefully. For example, wear a money belt or use a concealed pocket. Wear bags across your shoulder and hold them. (We had a couple of 'incidents'). We were not too plagued by mosquitoes, but I would advise using DEET whenever outside. Carry some toilet paper to use in the squat toilets. These are usually clean enough and often have running water, but often lack paper.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday and the variety of experiences we had. As I've mentioned, I loved the first cycling day, but the second one was round the lesser temples and we were cycling on busy roads with vans, motorbikes and tuk-tuks everywhere. I found it scary and fumey. I did have the option to ride in the bus, so I'm not complaining, but I wonder if Exodus should re-think this day. THANK YOU EXODUS FOR A GREAT HOLIDAY IN LOVELY SUNSHINE - We came home to snow!
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Angela Redfern

    Cambodia Adventure

    I cannot recommend this trip highly enough. It provided a fascinating glimpse into life in Cambodia. Such a wide variety of experiences: river boat trips, crafts people sharing their life stories with us, being welcomed into the home of one family for dinner, markets, schools, processions, dancing displays, acrobats, musicians, royal palaces and, of course, the world-famous temples at Angkor, Thom etc. Everywhere we went people greeted us with a beaming smile and a generosity of spirit that will live long in the memory. Food was delicious and hotels very good, way beyond my expectations - most even had swimming pools - and staff were always delightful, efficient and extremely helpful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Perhaps it was the resilience of the Cambodian people after such a traumatic recent history - a lesson to us all.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chana was excellent , not just because of her command of the English language, but also because of her general enthusiasm, her sense of humour and her knowledge of her country's culture and history. She organised everything to perfection - nothing was too much trouble for her.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some distressing moments at the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cambodia deserves a helping hand from tourism so I would encourage folk to go there!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Brigitte Hease

    Cambodian Adventure

    An excellent trip which combined awesome historical sites, modern cultural encounters, fun activities in great natural surroundings all with fantastic food shared with great people, an excellent guide and a steady driver to hold it together.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Aside from the chilling poignancy and reflective moments of the killing fields in Phnom Phenh, cycling around the Battanbang countryside, meeting farmers, strolling around local market and trying bamboo rice on the roadside as well as enjoying a delicious homestay lunch. In the evening watching millions of bats leaving their cave was a natural wonder. Although Angkor Wat was impressive because of its size, Banteay Srey Wat's amazing intricate stone carvings, Ta Prohm and Banyon were astounding. Don't miss the $20 day trip to Koh Kong island's deserted tropical beach with an amazing lunch cooked by the boat crew.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lee was a very knowledgeable, patient, easy going and a fun leader who took our group to excellent restaurants allowing us to sample delicious Cambodian food. During the course of the trip he shared his culture and told us much about the ancient and recent history of his country and some of the experiences of his family. A perfect combination of efficiency and cool!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For an easy life, don't bring cash Pounds or Euro's. Almost everything is priced in US dollars, and most cash machines dispense US dollars. Shops and restaurants all have lots of small denomination dollars, or will give small amounts of change in Riels.