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

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17796 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Sarah Morrow

    The real Myanmar

    This trip covers all major aspects of Myanmar and gives an incredible insight into the country. This is an excellent trip, suitable for anyone, as any of the more physically demanding activities can be avoided if you like (although none are very demanding for one of any age with basic fitness) We covered a good distance and all the major sights thanks to efficient use of internal flights (which were probably also a safer way to travel considering the state of some of the roads)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Far too many to mention - except it was a real highlight to catch a glimpse of the river dolphins during our boat trip down the Irrawaddy.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was incredible in all respects. He had an obvious love and pride for his country, and gave us the best possible insight into all aspects of life and culture. His knowledge was comprehensive, and he always ensured that we were in the right places to see everything at its best. He ensured that, in return, we contributed as much as possible to the local economy, benefitting most those at the lowest levels. His efficiency at handling transfers between hotels was amazing - you left your bag outside one room, and however we travelled, bus or air,it magically appeared at the next, without any worries at all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Myanmar does not receive the best of press at the moment, but please do not let that put you off visiting. The country feels entirely safe, open, and incredibly welcoming and your tourist pound goes a long way to improving their economy at a beneficial level. All the optional excursions are really worth taking - none of them are at all expensive but they contribute hugely both to their economy and your overall experience of the country. This trip exceeded my expectations in all respects.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Howard Reece-Smith

    A Mixed Bag

    First things first,this is hard cycling,long and steep gradients,and hot weather. The team of Paolo,Gustavo,Jonathan,Hernan and Caesar were sensational.Helpful informative,kind,supportive and excellent cyclists. The accomodation was patchy with the Mirador hotel in Ansema easkly the wlorst.Tiny double bed suitable only for 2 midgets.The bed rock hard and the room tiny and airless.Whoever could have approved it had obviously not spent a night there. The Food was cheap and often excellent but could fall to earth with a bang,when a tepid lasangne was served still in the silver foil.Unsxurprisingly one of our number spent the night vomiting with food poisoning.No suggestion of bubbling hot there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Achieving the climbs

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As above, a paragon of virtue,as were the whole team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be ready for a very hard ride or accept that you will have to take the bus,sometimes.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The scenery is spectacular,the roads vary from sublime to ridiculous.Some of the wayside trips are very good ,but English is pretty much not spoken.
  • 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
    David Hindley

    Excellent, probably the best yet.

    This was an amazing trip. Totally fell in love with Vietnam, We did so much in such in two weeks. The cycling, somehow. only felt like a small part of the experience as there were so many other things that we did. Each day was full on, exceptionally well organised, great food, etc Been on a few cycle trips, and I think this was the best one so far.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many, how could I choose? I'd always wanted to go to Hoi An and the Hai Van pass. Both did not disappoint. The whole trip was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Linh was a perfectionist in all he did. There was no waiting around for buses to turn up, bikes to be made ready, trains to catch, boats to board, meals to eat. etc Everything was there at the time stated or when we just happened to turn up. He was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the places we visited. A great leader. The support team was great too, fixing my puncture on one occasion, and replacing the whole gear system on another. Just great, great and great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I stayed an extra day each end, and depending on how you counted my stay, I was in Vietnam for 15 or 16 days (if you counted the part days at each end as whole days). I asked Exodus if I needed a Visa, they said no. I emailed the Vietnam Visa website also, but got no reply. Vietnam Airlines, flying from Paris, did see this as a problem, and I needed to sign a disclaimer form before they would let me fly taking all responsibility. The Visa counter in Ho Chi Minh also saw this as a problem, where I was questioned at length, but they did eventually let me in. Personally, I would have preferred to have paid the Visa, so I did not have this uncertainty. Others in the group, staying the same length of time, did not have the same problem. So your choice if extending your stay, but you may want to be aware that some see 15 day visa as counting a part day, as one whole day! The accommodation throughout was excellent, but I found the "1st class" train compartment very claustrophobic and far too hot and spent some of the night sitting on a small plastic chair in the corridor. The 2nd/3rd class carriages were far cooler and more spacious. I would probably decamp there if I did this again.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lynda Branch

    Simply sensational

    My husband and I had an amazing time on this cycling trip. From the start in Mysorevisiting stunning temples and cycling through manic traffic to the backwaters of Kerala and the tranquil pace to the national parks and tiger and elephant sightings it was a wonderful experience. Safi and his team were first class guides - there to help in every way they could and to enhance each experience and always with a smile on their faces. Nothing was too much trouble and the added extra of being impromptu guests at an Indian wedding was an experience we’ll never forget. The cycling was accessible to us as occasional cyclists and sometimes challenging. Climbing the hill to Ooty was certainly physically demanding but we had plenty of time and support on route and the midway tea point provided some much needed respite. The roads are, as described in the trip notes, mostly good but with some rough patches but taking our time we all navigated these without too much difficulty. It’s hard to pick out the top highlights because there were so many varied and different experiences but for us the night on the houseboat (where we all dressed in traditional outfits) and seeing a tiger at close range were two. The food was also exquisite. However, it’ll be the smiles of everybody we met and the hospitality of people who couldn’t do enough for us that we’ll remember. We can’t recommend this trip highly enough,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having lunch in a family home where we tasted a huge range of local delicacies all served by every member of a lovely family. We loved it so much that we went back for a cookery class.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Safi was incredible. From start to finish nothing was too much trouble - he anticipated our needs even before they were apparent to us. His local knowledge added hugely to the trip and he knew every local place to stop at, the best places to eat, where to shop, local craftsmen who demonstrated their skills. If anybody needed anything - e g medication, insect cream - he took care of it all. He gently guided us on the cycles - always around if we needed him but happy for us to go at our own pace as well. A big shout out should also go to this two assistants - Vypin and Santhosh - who were also fantastic. As a team of three they couldn’t have been better and added hugely to our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that there’s some cycling in traffic so practice this before going. Pretty much everybody had a bit of a funny tummy - not enough to stop us cycling - so hand gel essential and supplies of Imodium.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Sarah Nicholas

    A wonderful holiday

    This was our third cycling trip in India and lived up to all expectations. There is a great sense of achievement in cycling Coast to Coast from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. It is wonderful cycling through the countryside, villages and towns and seeing and meeting people going about their daily lives.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I most enjoyed the friendliness of the people we met. I enjoyed seeing the cottage industries of the coir rope maker and coir mat maker. I love the chaos of India and the heightening of all your senses with all the sights, smells and noises.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Shakar was excellent. His love for his country was obvious. He introduced us to many 'everyday' people and showed us many places on route. He is friendly and fun and got to know and involve the whole group in the trip. He made sure we were safe throughout the cycle trip. He was ably supported by Bevan, Franklin and Jenni who made sure our water bottles were always full and any issues with our bikes were quickly sorted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cycling is a wonderful way to see India. Don't be put off by some of the long distances - the route is generally flat and there are frequent breaks for water, snacks and coffee. Cycling in the towns can be challenging but being in a group helps. Don't think you'll loose any weight as the food is delicious!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As other reviewers have said - this is a wonderful trip - go for it!
  • Reviewed January 2020

    Great extension to the Vietnam trips

    Five days is not really long enough to explore this fascinating country but our two bases gave a quick snapshot and a desire to know more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In Siem Reap: 1) The sunrise over Angor Wat; which was really quite spectacular. 2) Wandering down a street away from all the bright lights and restaurants on Pub Street, finding eateries where the menus were not in English and realising why the dish we'd selected was called ginger with pork and not the other way around. A plate full of what we had thought were noodles turned out to be shredded ginger with a few bits of pork. Delicious, very warming and possibly not one for the English dinner party. In Phnom Penn: 1) Seeing the evidence of the Khmer Rouge activity, which we had heard of in the 70's at home but not realised the full extent of their effect on the country nor how long it had taken to finally defeat them. Also hearing our guides personal family experience. 2) Eating at the rooftop restaurant of our hotel over looking the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both were helpful and informative. In Siem Reap Darath was great at explaining the history of the temples and the Angkor Empire, whilst delivering a great series of jokes and knowing all the best spots to take photos from. In Phn om Penh Chanchesda was informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can afford the extra few days at the end of a busy holiday then this is an extension not to be missed.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    David Kempson

    Probably the best holiday we have ever had

    The whole trip was inspirational, from the pilot pointing out 'the smoke that thunders' - Victoria Falls original name - as we made our descent, through camping at fabulous sites by rivers and in the desert, seeing the Falls close up, the vast National Parks, the Namib desert, kayaking 13km down the Orange River, meeting the Himba people, chatting to locals in a Namibian village (very handy that English is the official language there) and ending up walking over the cliffs at Cape Horn.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being the first group up Dune 45 in the desert at Sesriem on Boxing Day morning, owning the sunrise over the dune. Christmas morning with thousands of flamingoes at Walvis Bay. Enjoying Timon's brilliant braai cooking of our Christmas meal. Experiencing Victoria Falls as a rainforest with electric blue swallowtail butterflies fluttering around. Watching hippos and crocs from dugout canoes. Seeing so many types of birds on a rivertrip on the Chobe. Watching lions and hyenas, catching sight of an African wildcat hunting, as well as a rock lizard and a water monitor. Dancing with our guides and the locals at Marcos African Place in Cape Town on New Years Eve.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Timon was brilliant, really well-organised and very knowledgeable about every aspect of the tour, from the administration necessary to cross three borders in the most trouble-free manner, to the ability to explain and illustrate local politics, economics, and social issues, animal and bird spotting, and helping and instructing in the practicalities of camping. Best of all, he is the most magnificent cook, able to provide marvelous vegetarian food as well as catering fantastically for carnivores. Further, he ensured that he, alongside Malifie, our principal driver, and Jonathan, our additional guide/back up driver, worked seamlessly and tirelessly as a team to give us the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The standard tours are Cape Town to Victoria Falls, but the reverse itinerary, which we did, enables you to finish in a lovely guest house, which is a much better place from which to sort yourself out for flying home than camping at Victoria Falls Rest Camp. The tents are great (and you don't need to bring a mosquito net, as the fine meshes on the door and windows mean that the tents provided effectively have integral mosquito nets so long as you keep them zipped up) but with two beds inside them, you don't have much room, and we found that the less room we had, the more difficult it was to find anything or to sort ourselves out.
  • Reviewed January 2020

    A Fascinating trip

    Fast paced trip from north to south Vietnam yet with time to explore the places we stayed in. We slept in a great variety of places from lovely hotels to sleeper train via three great homestays and overnight on a boat and enjoyed the varying sights and tastes of the country as we travelled.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say; there were so many. Experiencing the street life in Hanoi where traders carried their wares on paniers balanced on their shoulders as they wove between the traffic. Sharing a long house with all the other members of our group on only the second night of the trip. Wondering why there was a large boat travelling towards an end of the Da River reservoir and then later finding in moored by our homestay and discovering it was the mobile supermarket; stocked with almost anything you might wish to buy. Kayaking amongst the rocks in Ha Long Bay. Eating in a restaurant across the road from our hotel in Hoi An where we were the only western diners, live fish swam in plastic bowls at the side of the restaurant and we enjoyed the best seafood noodles of the trip (and we had enjoyed quite a few) Trying the many variations of Pho. The cooking lesson in Hoi An and helping to prepare dinner at our wonder Mekong Delta homestay ……………………………...

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tuyen was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. He opened his country up to us with great enthusiasm and supported all of us throughout the trip. The mix of history, culture, food and personal experience was amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I ignored advice from other travellers to take your own bike saddle and regretted it as I couldn't cope with the narrow saddles and had to give up after a few miles; which was a shame as I had been very much looking forward to the bike rides.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Expect some hot weather and some humid. Take lightweight waterproofs for the occasional wet day, we had one but it was a great day nevertheless, and then enjoy it's a great trip.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Lucy Hockenhull

    Extraordinary landscapes and fabulous snowshoeing.

    Loved the snowshoeing. Each of the walks held interest and the challenges increased as the week progressed. We enjoyed the opportunity to sled down from Taistner Alm near Lutterkopf. Hotel Adler is wonderful with a lovely spa, fabulous 4 course dinners, picnic packed lunches and extensive breakfast buffet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every walk was unique and had its own appeal, but we especially enjoyed Monte Piano as the weather and views were superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Jenny had extensive mountaineering experience but was new to this area and trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Anyone with reasonable fitness can enjoy the walks but you really do need to be pretty fit to make the most of this trip.