Turtle, Ecuador

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

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  • Reviewed November 2018
    Stephen Yaxley

    An incredible, stunning, strange and wonderful experience

    The organisation and support from the entirely local team running the trip was absolutely exceptional. NK, the group leader, was faultless - calm, fun, supportive, organised, knowledgeable, entertaining. He led an exceptional team of drivers, cooks, mountain bikers/mechanics/guides, who all made the trip utterly fantastic. Breathtaking scenery, well maintained bikes, a good variety of routes - grassy Steppes, mountains, lakes and rivers. Gorgeous camp locations. Fascinating visits to a nomadic family, the capital and the ancient capital. It was a wonderful trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is really difficult to choose one - the most inspirational moment was often every single morning, setting off after a hearty breakfast to (usually!) crisp blue skies, early morning sun, herds of animals across the Steppes, distant ger tents. Just magical. Staying up late one night to see the stars on a very clear night was very special. The lamb roasted in the traditional way with hot stones from a fire one evening was very special too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NK was himself an inspiration. He truly was mindblowing - great fun, extremely knowledgeable. methodical, efficient, well organised. I was in awe of him! Can’t thank him enough for making the trip so amazing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It got very cold at night on this last tour of the season... down to -5 on occasions. But still up to 20 degrees sometimes in the day. So being equipped for the temperature change and range is critical for your enjoyment of the trip - I was pretty cold at night, and setting off in the morning I was dressed up like for skiing, and then rapidly had to strip off layers as the temperature shoots up in the mornings.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Steven GITTENS

    The land that time forgot

    This was simply a magnificent holiday in a wonderful country. Cycling eleven days in a row is a bit tough and the terrain can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. The landscape is vast and photographs cannot do it justice. I never tired of seeing herds of horses, running free in this never ending scenery. On the practical side, the tents were of top quality, the bikes were of equally good quality, the crew of 8 were brilliant and the group of cyclists were great company. The meals were well balanced and a credit to our cook. NK our leader was probably the best group leader I have experienced in my many Exodus adventures. We even had a shower tent with warm water when possible. September brought us varied weather conditions, with cold mornings, some rain, snow on the mountains, hail, high winds and plenty of sunshine. I would recommend this holiday especially if you want to get away from busy cities and experience real peace and quiet.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I never tired of the horses running alongside us. The herds of yaks and cows and enormous flocks of sheep and goats are equally impressive. Large birds of prey can be seen regularly. The night skies are incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    NK was magnificent. His organisational skills, his pleasant manner and his love of Mongolia is inspirational. My luggage failed to arrive when we landed at Ulaan Baataar, but NK assured me that the luggage would arrive before we boarded the overnight train. He arranged this and my luggage arrived. The excellent Gala Dinner on our last night was a very pleasant surprise. Our team consisted of NK, two other cyclist guides, three drivers, a cook and cook's assistant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a good quality sleeping bag. The camping is very good and nothing to fear. We all became very slick at erecting our tents and taking them down.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    When wild camping, toilets can be a bit of a worry. In Mongolia we had a western style toilet in a tent.
  • Reviewed September 2016
    Steve Hall

    Big skies and teeming herds

    A great trip in stunning landscape. A good mix of easy riding with time to enjoy the views and more challenging ups and downs. It is quite something to see herds of horses running beside you while you ride, to watch eagles soaring above you as you camp by a pristine stream. If you are happy on a bike and in a tent I can think of no better way to see Mongolia than this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick just one, but all these are great memories: watching the sunset over lake from our camp site, running herds, herdsmen on horseback, the "performance of contortion by springy girls" in Ulan Baatar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip leader was young but very good, with excellent communication skills, thoughtful and engaging. This was his first trip as leader, though he had assisted on many more. The rest of the support team were clearly experienced and very good at keeping the trip on track, both on the road and at the overnight stops.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Compared with our only previous Exodus cycling trip (Myanmar in 2014, level 3) this trip had much more cycling and less sightseeing. When we booked it was level 3 but has since been re-graded from level 3 to 4. We found the trip notes were pretty accurate, but beware the short days - less distance but plenty of height gain. The trails were generally pretty good, but variable surface conditions (slippery mud, sand, rocky descents) added an extra element of challenge in places, and a strong headwind made for slow progress at times. Expect wet feet - there are lots of river crossings. The general description of "undulating with a few short steep climbs" is fair, but before the short steep climbs there is often a long not-so-gentle climb. The tents and bikes were very good, both in terms of specification and condition. We were happy to see that, having read about issues with bikes and tents in a review of an earlier trip. The support team checked all our group's bikes over regularly, most if not every evening. The sleeping mats provided were OK but not fantastic. If you have a good one that you trust, then bring it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bugs were not a major problem in the evenings but bug spray is essential, and we found a solar charger handy for keeping our cameras, etc. in service.