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

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643 Reviews

  • Reviewed March 2020

    Fabulous Holiday

    Everything about this holiday was excellent from the arrangements and information prior to the holiday through to the sights visited, food, accommodation, tour leaders and the people of Vietnam & Cambodia. A truly memorable holiday!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Vietnamese people and their whole attitude to life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both tour leaders were excellent. Their knowledge, friendliness, competence, efficiency & their personable nature couldn't be faulted.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't rely on being able to use your bank cards everywhere & make sure you have US dollars if you haven't bought your visa for Cambodia in advance.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is my 1st Exodus holiday & I will definitely be using the company again for other trips.
  • Reviewed March 2020

    Exceptional!

    This is my first Exodus Trip and 4th international cycling tour. This was one fantastic trip. Our Tour Leader, Long, was an absolute joy. The cycling is hard. I did have to sag a couple times, there was a 5 mi stretch that never got less than 13% (and got as staggeringly high as 26%!) and it was hot. But my god was it stunning - the vistas were absolutely incredible. The accommodations were good (with the exception of one which I believe has since been removed.) Having the extra night staying on a boat in Ha Long Bay was phenomenal as well. Really, if you like a challenging cycling trip, do this - don't wait.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Strangely seeing an old woman on a bicycle carrying a HUGE (5x or more her own body volume) load of who knows what up a mountain road - she smiled at us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Long is a great guy! I believe he is the owner of the local company that Exodus books this tour for. He is unerringly positive, engaging and funny. He clearly also looks for staff that are similar. We got to learn that undulating hills means largely uphill :)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do be sure that you're ready for this level trip - I thought I was and for the most part was, but some climbs were daunting - but I wouldn't take them off the route if I could.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A Brilliant Trip

    We have been on a couple of cycling trips before and this one was probably the best. Tri our guide was outstanding and all our fellow cyclists were a great bunch of people. We got a real flavour of life in Vietnam. Lots of interesting food.The meals were good and plentiful. Thought we would lose weight but didn't! Good Hotels. Many highlights but a couple or so to point out,Whale Island and Hoi An, the 30km exhilarating downhill ride and cycling in city centre traffic...... great fun but leaves your heart racing. It is quite full on which leaves you wanting to spend more time in some of the places visited. The usual pattern is arrive at 5 - 6 pm, leave at 7.15 next morning. However we did find time to swim in the hotel pools. Overnight train was great fun ....all part of the adventure. To cover the length of the country there are some longish times in the bus but the bus was comfortable but great chance to talk with your fellow travellers. This also gives you time to see more of the country and people watch. Staggered us how much could be piled on a scooter! The bikes were ideal for the road conditions as well as being clean and very well maintained. At the frequent refreshment/rest stops there was lots of juice, water, fruit, nuts and biscuits. The driver and bike mechanic were very friendly and very competent. Great organization, things happened when Tri said they would.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The local people were very friendly and were very welcoming. They seemed to have put the past behind them and were striving to build a modern country with no rancour about the past. We had four Americans and a Frenchman on our trip and they experienced no animosity. I accept this is the view of a short stay holiday maker looking at things through rose tinted spectacles but the people smiled a lot and the little children shouted greetings and wanted to high five you.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tri our group leader was outstanding. He was highly organised and efficient. He instilled confidence and was always cool, calm and collected. Tri ensured we were always well briefed. He and his team ensured our safety was paramount at all times. Tri had a lovely sense of humour and made things enjoyable. He was a great ambassador for his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.Get your self into reasonable shape but if you have any doubts about your fitness hire an electric bike........you will have a much better experience. Go with the flow. Learn some basic Vietnamese, it goes a long way if you can say good morning/evening and thank you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip made by having a superb group leader and a bunch of fellow travellers who all gelled together.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A good trip but.....

    Good points. A very varied trip. Plenty of cycling but other things too. A taste of real life in Vietnam as well as tourist destinations. Lots of interesting food. Interesting culture Good Hotels Highlights are whale Island and Hoi An Bad points Too fast paced to spend quality time in some of the places visited - Arrive at dusk, leave at dawn. Trip notes are full of things that there would never be time to see or do. Overnight train is a low point! Too much cycling in dangerous city centre traffic. Lots of time in the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 30km descent on day 5. Also the general friendliness of the local people considering all that the country has been through over the years.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tiet was a real joker who tried hard to make sure everyone in the group got what they needed from the tour. Nothing was too much trouble and he took us to some great dining experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to take a small overnight bag for whale Island in particular, but also the hideous sleeper train.
  • 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

    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 December 2019
    Fiona Savage

    Best holiday!

    This was my first trip out of Europe and really glad I picked Exodus to do it with. The trip was well organised, plenty of places to visit and things to do, a great range of included and optional activities (which are all well worth doing!). Our group leader was Phuong Le - she was amazing, gave us a lot of information about each place we visited, plus teaching us about the history and some of the language. 100% recommend this trip if you want to visit Vietnam!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the local families and restaurants for lunch/dinner, and seeing Halong Bay in real life!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing! Phuong Le was great, couldn't have asked for a better group leader. She gave us so much information about each place we went, taught us some of the language and took us to some amazing local restaurants.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Angela Lawes

    Very good trip

    We both enjoyed this trip which more than lived up to expectations. There was a good balance between activities and leisure time with options available for those who wanted more. Angela did a lantern class in Hoi An, for instance, which did not feature on the itinerary. Excellent and patient instructors - could provide an apron though as glue was involved! The boat trips were good - though wish use of non-plastic straws had prevailed throughout . Great cookery class at Red Bridge restaurant - we hope to reproduce some of the recipes over Christmas. The Halong Bay trip with a boat to ourselves was amazing as was the visit to all the temples in Cambodia especially Ta Promh with its sense of nature taking over. Excellent photographic opportunities.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For Roderick the visit to the Ta Prohm temple. For Angela the overnight visit to Halong Bay.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nam (Vietnam) was a very good group leader with a fine sense of humour once he got to know us. He had good knowledge of the places visited from historical and cultural aspects to advice on footwear, toilets etc. He added personal touches such as telling us of his family and presenting a rose to a group member who had a birthday. Boray (Cambodia) was similarly a very experienced group leader, who managed to fit in a great deal into our very short visit to Cambodia. Particularly notable was his obtaining return flights for two group members who had a family emergency, for which he is to be commended.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Suitable footwear for climbing steps, uneven ground and slippery conditions. A range of clothing to suit tropical and cooler conditions. Carry a few sheets of toilet paper. Water can be carried onto internal flights in Vietnam.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Possible inclusion of rail journey Hanoi - Da Nang to visit Hue would have been a welcome addition for us and others on this tour.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Martin & Margaret W

    Vietnam Adventure

    A good start with the best coffee i've ever had by the lake nr Hanoi Hotel The holiday was extremely varied, showing so many aspects of Vietnam - chaotic cities with 'formation dancing' motorbikes ignoring most traffic lights but managing never to collide - the peace and quiet of Halong Bay and the Mekong Delta. The hotels and their buffet breakfasts were all top class, the 'homestay' was more like a basic 'eco hotel' , was in a peaceful spot and had bikes you could borrow. The original itinerary bike trip in Hue was discontinued, but made up for in Hoi An, with a ride plus a coracle and boat trip and the bonus that bikes could be kept for the rest of the day. I took advantage of this whilst Margaret went for the best massage she has ever had! The Reunification Express was very comfortable and could only be improved on if you were allowed to hang out of the doors or ride on the roof.! I could have done without the CuChi tunnels and would have preferred a 2/3 hr walk in quiet, scenic countryside as an option. All in all - A great holiday with a great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bits of every day really

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phuong Le (pronounced 'Ful') was lovely - excellent English, always there and approachable, great sense of humour. Her organisational skills were outstanding - Bus, boats, train, bikes,restaurant tables, takeaways, always appeared as if by magic. She even managed to time the odd heavy downpour for when we were under cover. She gave us in-depth talks too, on subjects like driving, marriage etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our group used many different airlines, so check the options. We used Thai Airlines via Bangkok which looked considerably quicker than others.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go for it !
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Terry Knowles

    Wonderful experience

    This was our first organized cycling trip, and it was very enjoyable. The group was larger than I expected (18, whereas I had thought we would be about 12), but everyone got along well and our tour leader, Tung, was very efficient and attentive, friendly, patient and entertaining. There was also more city riding than I expected, through some rather hairy motorbike traffic and roundabouts. Tung and Lee, our tail gunner, shepherded us through them, but it took some guts at first to weave through the scooters and cars and buses. Note that red lights apparently don't apply to motorbikes; they just sail on through. We got used to it after a couple of times and in the end it was rather exhilarating. Some riding on main city streets and bridges, too, and through towns and suburbs. All in all the tour was a bit more urban than I'd hoped. But I suppose if you want to see all aspects of Vietnam... Riding through the rice paddies and the countryside and along back lanes, on the other hand, was quite enchanting. Little children ran out to call "Hello!" everywhere. I see this tour is rated as 3/9 for activity level. I would say more 5/9, and that's without the (very enjoyable, if you're up for it) 10-km uphill ride one day. On the other hand, the bus is always available and there was no shame in taking a day off. We missed the Whale Island tour because of a typhoon, but Tung and Exodus rearranged everything seamlessly. The Halong Bay overnight boat tour was a real delight, as was the overnight train to Hanoi. And Hoi An and Hanoi were wonderful, particularly the pedestrian streets (no motorbikes!) on the weekend in Hanoi. We could easily have skipped the boat trip to the overcrowded beach and hike up to the viewpoint on Halong Bay, however, and the kayaks were uncomfortable, at least for the person in the stern with no back support. The meals were good, even for us vegetarians, the bikes were clean and very well maintained, and there was lots of juice and water and fruit provided at the frequent rest stops. Nice that they didn't insist on handing out plastic bottles of water! The bus was comfortable and the driver and bike mechanic were friendly and very competent. Definitely a 10/10 for organization.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One day they drove us up to the top of a mountain and let us off to ride 35 km downhill. Just fantastic!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tung was terrific. Tireless, funny, patient, informative, enthusiastic and efficient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above regarding the activity level. Take a look at the distances to be covered every day and make sure you're comfortable with that. You may want to bring a small bike bag (e.g. to fit on handlebars or under the frame) for suntan lotion, camera, etc. Padded bike shorts a must, although they provide optional extra padding for seats.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The (very intense) War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is worth a visit, and cooking classes in HCMC or Hanoi, if you have the time, are always fun.