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

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  • Reviewed May 2019
    Grant Sykes

    The full Vietnam Experience

    This was a great trip, taking in a multitude of sights across the length of Vietnam, right from Hanoi in the north down to the Mekong Delta in the south. The guide was excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly, helpful and funny. The food was amazing, the hotels all comfortable. The sleeper train is quite an experience. Don't expect luxury - just a hard mattress and a bumpy ride. My group were well looked after the entire time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Just walking around the cities and seeing how people live a totally different lifestyle half a world away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Very knowledgeable, friendly. Helpful, always ready to give recommendations on food options, restaurant choices or optional sights to go and see.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't book unless you can cope with high heat and humidity, and don't expect comfort and modernity from the sleeper train. Be prepared to go for some periods of time without access to a shower and for long walks. But it's all worth it to see the sights.
  • Reviewed May 2019

    Vietnamese

    This trip lived up to what it promised from the start to the end. It was excellent value for money and provided a real insight into this wonderful country and it's people. Our group consisted of 16 people, some couples, some travelling independently with a range of ages from the UK, USA and Spain. By the end of the two weeks we were all good friends. The weather started pleasantly warm, although very cloudy, in the north and steadily became hotter and sunnier the further south we travelled. Our group leader Anh Tran, who we knew as Viet, also helped to make this trip special as he worked hard throughout to provide us with information and guidance about the places we visited.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling through the Vietnamese traffic in Hue was daunting but very rewarding once we had survived unscathed. This was due to the support of the additional leader and Viet who ensured the group were able to safely negotiate the large number of scooters and other vehicles which weaved their way around us. The visit to the Cu Chi tunnels was also fascinating and it was good to hear about the Vietnam War from a different perspective and witness the conditions that these people had to live in. Seeing the good nature of the Vietnamese people and how they make the most from the limited resources they possess makes you realise how fortunate we are.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Viet was full of enthusiasm and was always keen to share his extensive knowledge of his country and it's culture to the group or to individuals. As we travelled from place to place Viet had everything in place at the right time ensuring the smooth running of the trip. He even provided us with additional hand written notes of recommended places to visit or eat in our spare time. Throughout he displayed a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The train was a really good experience and although the noise and movement of the train was not an issue we did find the beds were very hard and the day that followed very long,

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only things that we thought could have been better were that after the meal on the boat in Halong Bay, it would have been good to encourage more socialising with some music or card games... This was also the case after the meal at the homestay on the Mekong Delta. The long day after the train journey could be better arranged. Perhaps, after going to the Citadel, it could be arranged to go to the hotel to relax by sitting around the pool or going for a swim as it would not be possible to check into the rooms at that time. Then have lunch at the hotel before going to the other places of interest later in the afternoon. The optional family meal could then be switched to the following evening. This would make it less tiring.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Jane Holdsworth

    Awesome

    A very busy trip that gave us a taste of so many parts of Vietnam and an opportunity to understand about the culture and food in the north and south. A good mixture of history, sightseeing and a variety of travel modes. Hotels were of a high standard and the customer service from people who served us in all of the accommodation, on buses and in restaurants was first class. As tourists we were welcomed with open arms. We enjoyed the energy and optimism of Vietnam and the sense of humour and pride in the country

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cruising through Halong Bay was breathtaking and dining and sleeping over on the boat

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nga was an absolutely awesome leader. She was full of enthusiasm, knowledge, great care for each individual and wonderful sense of humour. I really missed her early morning positivity on returning to the UK. She made the trip for us and gave us a great insight into Vietnamese culture

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a busy schedule. In retrospect I would have planned in some down time immediately after the travel. Take into consideration that there are a lot of optional trips/activities as well as the main ones
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Carol Nolan

    Amazing and hot!

    Vietnam is everything you think it may be and everything you can never imagine! So opposite to your life in the western world, the country is a beautiful, absolutely chaotic, in your face and also serene at times. This is an extremely well organised trip and you will definitely get a flavour of Asia. Food is beyond amazing and our tour guide was unbelievable and a wonderful human!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On a boat travelling down the Mekong river wearing traditional hat and savouring the quiet!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Joilee was beyond wonderful and professional and was also pretty funny! She cared for us in the group like her own and she was the most wonderful representative for her country of Vietnam

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring lots of loose clothing, laundry wash as you will be changing your clothes a lot! Don’t bother with any make up or stuff for hair, within a day that all goes out of the window! Enjoy your rest afternoons relaxing, the tour is pretty full on and will get tired otherwise. And close your eyes at times, savour what you are experiencing

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just do it! The price is very cheap for everything you get to see and experience and spending money is even hard to spend as everything is so cheap. I loved this country and it has set off my new love of adventure!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Laurene Tubb

    Another exciting adventure with Exodus

    Another exciting adventure with Exodus. Our trip was at the end of April/beginning of May and it was very hot !!!! I'm told June/July is even hotter. Phew !!!! Despite this I loved every minute of it. It was a very busy trip but extremely well organised. I very much liked the additional drink stops as it was so very hot. Home made chilled lime was just the thing. I also very much liked Lam pre-booking the meals and us all going together. He found some wonderful places and we had delicious fresh food. There just isn't time to find somewhere yourself. This really worked well. We were lucky to be with a super group of people. Everyone happy and smiling and enjoying every moment..................well................except a few of the group who did get a bit sore. Please do get yourself some chamois butter and padded pants. It works a treat. It worked well having all the cycling in the beginning. The train was much better than I had expected and I slept like a log !!! Whale Island and Halong Bay were real treats and I would have loved more time there. But, overall, the trip was perfect for timing as it kept us within the 15 day Visa limit and we saw and did so much. Despite being informed in writing by Exodus that our big holdalls/suitcase stays with us all the time......this was not the case. You do need to have a rucksack or flat pack bag big enough for the one and two night stays (Whale Island and Halong Bay). In fact......it works very well to just take small luggage. Much easier to do once you get your head around it. I found the cycling easy compared with other trips I've done but I do feel it is right to be called a Level 3. Everyone cycles slightly differently and there is always a bit of a mix of abilities........which makes for a good group cycle I think.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved feeling at one with the rural landscape and the villages............although it was exciting to see the hustle and bustle of the cities too.........especially with all their motor scooters. I love their driving system and felt very comfortable when cycling amidst it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam. Well......what can I say.......such a lovely young man and always happy and smiling. He is the most organised leader I have come across but at no time did you feel you were being organised. He and his crew looked after us extremely well. He anticipated everything and made us feel special. Not always easy to do when you have one group after another after another. I do hope he wins Leader of the Year. He deserves it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do go. It's such fun..............and what an experience !!
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Bridget Slater

    Hill tribes of Vietnam

    Excellent trip well off the beaten track. Our leader, Loc, was exceptional

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful climbs, challenging, but incredibly rewarding. Views to die for

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Forst rate. Thoughtful, organised, committed - couldn't fault him

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get fit
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Lesley G

    Vietnam Adventure

    I had high expectations for this trip and I was not disappointed. The trip was perfectly described in the brochure and offers an unforgettable experience of this fascinating country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were lots from watching in disbelief as mopeds carrying everything weave between each other in Hanoi, to the mysterious Halong Bay, to the beautiful lanterns in Hoi An to the vibrancy of Saigon. I particularly enjoyed being part of a group to share the whole experience with. And of course having a Vietnamese guide who gave us such an in depth insight into this country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Tan Nguyen, made the trip. He gave us such an insight into the life and culture, as well as share some wonderful stories with us. His knowledge of Vietnam and his spoken English was excellent and everything was always done with a smile. We were never disappointed with his restaurant recommendations. On numerous occasions he guided us safely across the busy roads. Anyone who has been to Vietnam will know that this is no mean feat!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is a hectic schedule with some early starts and a lot of travelling including the overnight reunification train. There is also plenty of walking in hot humid conditions. But if you want to see and really experience this country, I cannot think of a better way of doing it. Taking a silk sleeping bag liner for the train is very useful and a pack of cards to pass the time away with fellow travellers! Also, when changing cash in Hanoi, they much preferred new notes. They weren’t keen on my crumpled £20 notes!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was impressed with how well organised the trip was from the moment I made an initial enquiry, to the wealth of information before the trip (the trip notes are invaluable) to the picking up at the airport and the organised excursions.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Alison Bourne

    An amazing trip

    We have just returned from the Cycle Vietnam holiday and had a wonderful time. We were slightly apprehensive having never done a group holiday or cycling holiday before, and I was worried that we might not be able to keep up. However, the tour was so well planned and organised that we were fine. The tour is graded a 3, and that felt right to us. It was challenging at times to us as recreational, 50 something cyclists, but not impossible. Our group consisted of 12 people - two couples, 4 lone men and 4 lone women, and that worked really well. We all got on and had a great time together. Our tour leader, Son, was incredible. He ensured we all had a good time and kept reminding us that we were on holiday and there to enjoy ourselves. He also arranged stops for us in little out-of-the-way places, which we would never have seen otherwise. The heat was gruelling - high 30s but with humidity it felt like low 40s. Someone in our group was from Puerto Rico and he found it too hot, so it wasn't just us Brits! The support truck and bus were there is you needed it - some people chose to only cycle in the morning and get on the bus for the afternoons, and that was fine. The only time I had to give up was on a 10km climb where the heat got to me after 8kms. I was picked up by the support truck which was always there if needed. Also, although the bus usually met us every 20kms with water and fresh lemon juice, on very hot uphills the stops were 10kms apart and at one point 5kms. Cycling through the small hill villages is incredible, all the children shout out to you and some of them want to touch you. Everyone was amazingly friendly. Our only regret is that it was often quite difficult to stop to take photos. As well as the cycling itself, we got to go snorkelling on Whale Island which was lovely. There is no air conditioning in Whale Island so be prepared for hot nights there. However it was stunning. Snorkels and flippers are provided but my husband took his own snorkel and mask. The trip to Halong Bay was also incredible, staying out on the boat overnight under a full moon took some beating. Our group had the boat to ourselves, and the staff on board couldn't have been more helpful. They also made great cocktails! I hadn't realised before we got there that you're not allowed to swim there, which I was a bit disappointed about until I saw the size of the jellyfish and then was relieved! We kayaked in the bay which was really good fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was all amazing but for me, the ability to cycle in areas we would never have gone to on a bus or car trip was so special, coupled with the friendliness of the people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son was incredible, as were the support team. He spent time encouraging us, telling us the history of Vietnam, negotiating for us with local people, and showing us the hidden side of Vietnam. He was also brilliant about sorting out things like getting our laundry done locally rather than using the hotel laundry, and arranging for us to order pizza delivered to the train for the overnight journey

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the humidity. It hadn't occurred to me that on non-cycling days we might get through 3 changes of clothes in a few hours! Don't eat the food on the overnight train. As well as it not looking very appetising you have to go to the dining car which is the only place on the train where smoking is allowed. It's not pleasant!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would thoroughly recommend this trip if you are a competent cyclist, you don't have to be amazing but you probably do need to have a fair level of fitness.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Karen Healey

    Brilliant holiday... let by a brilliant tour leader/guide

    This was my first holiday ever to the East, beyond Europe. Vietnam is a truly amazing country and having been back two weeks now, I still can't believe I was there. From start to finish of the tour, it was an amazing holiday and experience and one I will never forget, as one as hopefully one day I would like to repeat. The tour is full-on... early starts, long days and always lots to see and do (north to south in 10 days with sights). There was not a lot of free time to yourself and only when we were in Hoi An or on the last day in Ho Chi Minh City before the night flight home, did we manage to get any real chance to do any shopping, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. A perfect holiday left by a perfect guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You see those lovely pictures in books, magazines and brochures of the exotic and the simple rural areas of Vietnam with the locals going about their daily lives in fields, or on a sampan on a narrow waterway with their conical straw hats, and actually being in the middle of it all was an amazing experience, one I still can't believe I was amongst it all. Being on a boat in the middle of Halong Bay amongst the limestone rocks was magical, especially staying overnight. Hoi An was brilliant and picturesque. The cycle ride to Cam Kim island was an experience not to be missed - very rural with villagers showing us their crafts and giving us an insight into their lives... though I found cycling on the main streets in Hoi An to get there a bit hairy (all part of the experience!). Also learning about the country's turbulent past and visiting places of great significance was so interesting.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phat was amazing, I took care of us and made sure we were all OK every step of the way. He went out of his way to make sure we could do the things we wanted to, such as lay on a short mini tour of the mausoleum area of Hanoi before departing the city, which was not on the itinerary, so we could see the sights there and nearby that we otherwise would have missed due to time restraints (all at a very low supplement). Optional extras you could take part in, or not, as you wish, and nothing was too much trouble for Phat. His personality and sense of humour, as well as knowledge of everything we needed to know or acting as a guide at historical sights, was second to none. Before I went I felt like I was a bit out of my comfort zone, travelling somewhere so far away and so different to what I was used to, but the moment we met our tour guide (Phat), he really made me (and others) feel more at ease in Vietnam.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I was a bit hesitant to book it at first, not knowing what to expect, but so glad I did. Book it now... live the dream like I did.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotels we stayed at were very good and comfortable, no complaints at all, and some at a pool. The farmstay was lovely, a sheer delight, and again had a pool. The cabin on the boat on Halong Bay was comfortable and pretty. The only downside to any of the accommodation we had was trying to sleep on the overnight train from Hanoi to Dong Hoi... I don't think any of us got any sleep, but again, an experience not to be missed (just as well I never got any sleep!).
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Cindy Cochrane

    Exceedingly Good Trip

    it was a fantastic holidays exceeding all our expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 2 cycling trips in Hui and Hoian were exciting and memorable. Cycling in busy Hui city was an experience compared to non. Visiting the organic farms in Hoian demonstrated the fundamentals and the source of the freshness and originality of the Vietnamese cuisines. The trip to Me Son visiting the Champa kingdom and seeing the ruins gave me a different historical and religious perspectives about the country which I knew little about before the visit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Quan was an excellent tour guide and group leader. He provided second to non travel customer service. Travel and visits were arranged like a well oil engine, everything went smoothly. Although the itineraries were structured he listened and tapped into the needs and desires of our group and would alterer to suit. He was very generous with information. Apart from the factual historical facts he also accompanied these with his social commentaries giving a personal and fascinating perspectives into the country from someone who has lived through the tremendous political and social changes of his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Fabulous and worthwhile experience for first time visit to Vietnam as the journey from Hanoi to Saigon gave a very comprehensive exploration of the country geographically, culturally, historically and politically not to mention the different and changing cuisine during the travel.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I am a serious foodie so perhaps the comment here only applies to people who seriously seeking eating experience during the trip. I found personally my foodie experience wasn't sufficiently challenged. Quan did make excellent eating recommendations which were highly appreciated by majority of the group. But I found the places we went to cater a more European fusion type palate and not sufficiently authentic for me. But i did found some exceptional places to indulge my eatings.
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