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

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  • Reviewed April 2019
    Linda Dawson

    Aptly described

    Against a background of knowing nothing of Bhutan, I found the trip so educational and broadening of my horizons with regard to the country's culture, customs, history, religion, etc. The trip fulfilled my desire to be immersed in the country's culture. I found it so interesting to listen to the two leaders in an effort to learn as much as possible of the country both of whom went to a great deal of time and effort to impart their knowledge and experience. I also enjoyed being amongst like minded people within the group and enjoyed listening to their stories, especially of their travels already made and those planned in the future.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Listening to Valerie Parkinson's descriptions of treks she has completed and generally of her experiences, especially in the Himalayas. She gave me such inspiration and an impetus to tackle more. This against a background of mixing with ladies in my normal life who are generally not very assertive and rather insular.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    2 leaders: Valerie Parkinson & Norbu Tshering: both excellent, both looked after our every need, answered all our queries and, what I appreciated most, were only too willing to take time to impart their extensive knowledge of Bhutan and the Himalayas in general Rinchi, guide, was also excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack Yak Trax if you have them; if not they may be purchased in Kathmandu. This was not on the list of things to take and therefore I did not take my own pair which would have been useful.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Caroline Scraggs

    Paro festival and Druk Path trek

    What an amazing trip which exceeded my expectations. Bhutan has been on my bucket list for many years and I particularly wanted to go on a trip which combined the experience of seeing the Paro festival firsthand, a visit to the Tiger’s Nest monastery and some trekking and this trip does just that. The festival was fantastic and such a wonderful and joyous occasion with the locals in their national dress watching in their hundreds the amazing storytelling through dance. The final day we were treated to a view of the Thangka which was beautiful. It was a real privilege to be able to witness this festival and be part of it. The trek had stunning scenery and was challenging enough I just wish it had been a little warmer at night!. Waking up to snow was a little chilly but the hot water bottles in our sleeping bags at night helped to take the chill off!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing my first glimpse of the Tiger’s Nest monastery. Wow!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu was an excellent group leader, very knowledgeable and also supportive of everyone on the trek.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Thermals, thermals and more thermals! It really was very cold at night. A Nalgene water bottle would have been useful as some members of the group had theirs filled with hot water at night to use as an extra hot water bottle and then used it as drinking water during the day. I don’t normally walk with poles but found them really helpful in the snow and ice. Also if it is going to be cold buy some yak tracks in Kathmandu to help you stay on your feet. I enjoyed the hot stone bath in Paro. It was certainly an experience!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This really is an amazing trip. You won’t be disappointed!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Noreen Jennison

    Amazing, fantastic, loved it

    Loved it, loved it, loved it! I had wanted to visit Bhutan after seeing a film about scientists looking for the Yeti decades ago. Didn't see a yeti but found a country that is so special, with a landscape that is so special and with people that are so special. After the dirty madness of landing in Kathmandu the feeling of peace on landing at Paro airport for the start of the Bhutan trip was very special. Bhutan is a clean, welcoming country at peace with itself. The trek, although not demanding, was lovely and gives a snapshot of a wonderful countryside. The visits to various dzongs and stupas was interesting and the final visit to a monastery where the monks where involved in some of their rituals for a village festival the next day was fascinating. As a vegetarian and an animal lover this country was the nearest to perfect for me. Loved the food and the fact that although there were dogs everywhere (they are mostly cared for by the community or the monks) I never saw any in distress or starving (as I did in Kathmandu).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The explosion of colour at the monasteries, the prayer flags in the mountains, the fact that shop keepers put out food and sacking on the pavements for the street dogs, the peace, the tranquility of the mountains and the humility and care of the support crew on the trek.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Norbu and Ganga were kind, gracious and thoughtful. Norbu's knowledge of his country is excellent. The whole support crew both on and off trek were kind, considerate and looked for ways to help.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Kathmandu is dirty, loud and unpleasant. I was a woman on her own and would not have been happy wandering around after sunset on my own.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip is well with the money . I have travelled a lot and trekked in various countries around the world (sometimes with Exodus but often independently) and I have never been to such a friendly, peaceful country before. The values of the country are what we should all aspire to. The country and its people are inspirational.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Angela Coates

    Breathtaking Bhutan

    This is a trip of a lifetime to the most beautiful place on the earth. Such beauty from the people, the environment, the culture and from the expert care of the team who show you their fantastic country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We were lucky enough to go on the Thimphu Festival departure - and were even luckier to get to the Gangtey Monastery to see the festival up in the glacial valley - it was spectacular! To have been able to see the festival in Thimphu, to learn and understand more about the culture - to then be lucky enough to experience another festival high in the mountains was just a magical and beautiful occasion - we then walked through the valley back to the hotel. This was the best experience during the trip, but a trip of epic experiences, included of course was the walk to the Tigress Nest Monastery, all of the Dzong's which I adored and just learning and seeing this great country.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kemey was wonderful. Patient, knowledgable, flexible and very very kind. He made the trip for all of us, he packed the days with so many activities and made sure we had everything we needed. Thank you Kemey for showing us the heart of Bhutan.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The September trip was certainly not cold in any way - so don't pack too many warm clothes, instead take lots of layers as you move from high passes to tropical valleys in the same day. Change more money than you think you need at the start, there is very little opportunity to do this during the trip (or if you do the rate is very bad). Sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery - the team will take care of you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are thinking about this trip and are not sure I would urge you to book it and just go. This is a magical land, with the most friendly beautiful people - I want to go back again for more festivals and for the flowers in spring.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Caroline Morse

    Bucket List Bhutan

    If seeing Bhutan and hiking in the Himalayan region is on your bucket list, then the Land of the Thunder Dragon tour is for you! This trip was such a good mix, that it made me really feel like I got to see a good variety and experience Bhutan to the fullest. We got to trek for five days, seeing beautiful scenery, visit two festivals (including a really fun, smaller local one, and a more famous and larger one in the city), and visited many cultural sites. Exodus Travels has an amazing local staff in Bhutan, and the guides were all great. Everything was organized down to the last detail, and the trip was executed flawlessly. I can't recommend this trip enough!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the fourth day of our hike, the clouds cleared and we got to see some of the world's tallest unclimbed mountains!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders, Norbu and Tshering, and they were both excellent. They knew the answer to every question anyone could possibly have about Bhutan! They both had outgoing, fun personalities and worked to make sure everyone on the trip was happy and having a good time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack warmer clothes than you think you'll need for the hike, and pack modest but cooler clothes for the rest of the trip if you're going in September.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Clair C

    One of the best Exodus trips

    Although the price is high, this is a great holiday and worth the cost. The only thing that could have been better was the weather, as we had two days of rain during the trek, but that made us appreciate all the other days of good weather more. The scenery was fantastic, the itinerary was perfect, and we were very well taken care of. We certainly left with a positive view of Bhutan.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Really, the whole holiday was inspirational. Watching the sunrise during the trek was beautiful and we were glad the guides woke us up to see it. We also visited Punakha Valley even though we were supposed to miss it as we were going to a festival and we were very glad we got to go as it was great. All the dzongs were interesting and the buildings were photo-worthy everywhere we looked.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu was very knowledgeable, attentive, and accommodating. He had clearly been a guide for a long time. Our other guide was also helpful and a very nice man, although his English and his knowledge were not quite as good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very cold on the trek, especially at night, and very hot in the valleys. You are also likely to get sunburnt on the trek, no matter how much sunscreen you apply. Pillows are provided on the trek. Take cash on the trek for the tips as this will be given to the camp crew at the end of the trek before you get to the hotel in Thimpu. The recommended tip in the trip notes didn't include the main guide on our trip. Take cash -- some people had trouble using cash machines. Leave some clean clothes in Paro before starting the trek. You will get them in Thimpu after the trek. You have free time in Kathmandu at the beginning and end of the trip -- there is nothing organised before dinner. It's not difficult to visit sites on your own but if you are a woman travelling on your own, try to go with someone else. Sole women often get harassed, probably not as badly as in some places, but enough to be a nuisance and, potentially, slightly menacing. People in our group experienced this. For myself, on one occasion I was walking behind my husband so it wasn't clear that we were together and I was followed by a man who wouldn't take no for an answer until my husband turned around and threatened him.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of our best holidays!
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Graham Brodie

    Brilliant biking in Bhutan.

    A wonderful trip through some amazing and unexpected countryside, with plenty of hills and friendly people, and a very rich culture.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Descending from misty heights of the Dochula pass into almost tropical conditions through the forests below.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were very fortunate in almost having two leaders, a very new leader who worked hard to make our trip good, and we were accompanied by a senior Exodus guide on the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were concerned about altitude sickness on the trip, but the maximum ascent of 4000m didn't seem to cause a problem, there were plenty of "snack breaks" on the way up the climbs. We were also concerned about dogs, and potential "rabies" threat. There were many dogs but during the day they seem to be docile , sleeping and uninterested, but after dark, in both town and countryside, they seem to hoard and then yelp and bark all night long, so you'll need quality ear plugs!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip was pricey, but that's how the country raises money for its social and healthcare systems, and pretty much everything was include, we felt well looked after.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Rosie Wych

    Bhutan

    Tremendous trip from start to finish. Fantastic country which was a privilege to visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    No one thing as many aspects were memorable - some major like the scenery, buildings etc but rounded off by the friendliness of the people, dogs, lack of traffic and for a vegetarian - wonderful food.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All the Staff were great - it was a bonus to have both Valerie and the excellent Bhutanese leader - supported by the 2 drivers whose smiling support with endless tea and snacks along the way made cycling easy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is hard work but can be done at an easy pace. The trip notes were being reviewed during the trip and will benefit from the update with accurate route details and other advice. Warm clothing certainly needed for long descents.Hotels were surprisingly good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A very different type of Asia to the preconceived notion of poverty and squalor - brought home by passing through Kathmandu on the way home.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Glynis Howe

    Bhutan March 2018

    Bhutan is a beautiful country, the air is very fresh and the in the main is very clean - an antidote to Kathmandu! This is a trip that takes in the cultural highlights of Bhutan as well as letting you see and walk in the beautiful countryside. The people are friendly and welcoming - browsing the shops and markets is easy -if you have been to India you will know what I mean ! There is no hard sell! There is a fair ammount of travel but this is quite relaxing and there are plenty of stops. Food is always buffet style and becomes very monotonous - you could try asking for an a la carte menu and pay extra, otherwise it is noodles, rice, veg and, if you are not vegetarian some rather poor quality meat dishes - and you get this twice a day! My food highlight was a large bowl of scrambled eggs at the Tigers Nest! Take snacks!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to name one, I loved the festival, the climb to Tigers Nest Monastery and being blessed by the head Lama there, discussions with our guide Kunzang who was so knowledgable and informative about his country, the walks in the countryside, all of the Dzongs, nunnery......too much!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kunzang was the most amazing guide I have had on an Exodus trip, he was a very gentle man, caring, considerate and very knowledgable. If we made a request he would try his best to ensure it was achieved, for example he managed to get the hotels to make dhal for the vegetarians amongst the group! Also he just looked after everyone so well. I must also say that our driver, Yeshay was excellent, and also joined in with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As I said, take snacks, also, the weather was in the main bright and sunny and I know some people had taken lots of warm clothing - however it did get cold in Gantey and so you will need something...maybe layer up. Also do not forget something with long sleeves for the monasterys. In Kathmandu our guide took us to a cultural show with food on the 1st night and this was very poor value and to be avoided - he also took us to a place called the Ship on our last night and this was not brilliant! The food in the hotel is much better if you do not want to go out and there are lots of places in Thamel - research it and make a suggestion to the group!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bhutan is amazing and I would recommend a vist - the flight into the airport is not for the feint hearted!!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    virginia morris

    Fabulous country, fabulous trip...go!!

    We did this trip with some fear and trepidation as we would be trekking at altitude for the first time. We were very keen to visit Bhutan before it modernises and we also hoped to see the rhododendron in bloom in the Himalaya. We had done quite a bit of training for the trek and this paid off as we were fit enough for the grade of walk. We loved the country, the people, the Buddhist culture and the government philosophy of 'improving gross national happiness'. This is evident everywhere and seems very genuine. From the minute you land in Paro you know you are somewhere very special. It is quite wonderful to be immersed in their culture for the whole time you are there. The trek was not what we expected as we had snow every night and had to walk on icy surfaces some days and were perhaps colder than we had anticipated. The excellent trip notes had suggested we bring adequate sleeping bags and down jackets, so we were always cosy at night. We did perhaps miss some of the spectacular views because of the weather and the rhododendrons were only just in bud..so if you want to see them you should plan your trek in May rather than April. However, we were able to be a part of the Paro festival and this was fascinating. Exodus puts together a very good and varied itinerary, in comfortable accommodation, with great guides, good transportation and excellent food throughout. You are well acclimatised to altitude and the trekking is not too hard. We were disappointed to have to share campsites with other groups. There are a lot of trekkers on the Druk path and if you want solitude on trek you should go on one of the longer treks. This is a great introduction to trekking in the mountains and we felt extremely well looked after. My gluten free meals were always varied and plentiful. The main food is rice and veggies and many differing ways of cooking them. Breakfast was always wonderful too. We thoroughly recommend this trip and Exodus as a company. Go...you won't be disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the highest summit and hanging prayer flags.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Norbu was absolutely fabulous. He was calm and confidant and always with a smile. His knowledge was outstanding. He always helped out if anyone was struggling with the trek or altitude.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take adequate warm clothing and a good sleeping bag.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I cannot wait for my next exodus trip
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