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

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed January 2019
    Hazel and Keith Sexton

    AN UNFORGETABLE TRIP LIKE NO OTHER EXPERIENCED

    When my husband suggested cycling in India, I was to say more than a bit apprehensive but having returned from this 2 week trip I have to say that I have had one of the best experiences of my life that I could possible ever have. The contrasts when cycling were incredible - from the quiet undulating roads through stunningly beautiful tea plantations in the Western Ghats to super busy streets with buses, tuk-tuks, motor cycles, bicycles and cows to navigate around! The cycling itself was of a reasonable challenge with a few ascents but the bikes provided were of a high standard with good gearing and suspension so absorbing some of the "bumpy roads" making the ride enjoyable and rewarding at the same time. The distances cycled on a daily basis varied and even on the longer days (100 km) these were broken up with food stops/rests so nothing felt overly difficult. The food was another highlight and stopping at local "cafes" which were most definitely not on the usual tourist route a great experience and we tried so many new and delicious delicacies cooked at times on open fires by the most friendly of cooks. The accommodation on the whole was a very pleasant surprise with the standard a lot higher than we expected. All the places provided excellent breakfasts and dinners so the main issue was of NOT putting on weight! Finally, whilst the main focus was to cycle from coast to coast, on each and every day there were different cultural sights / experiences to partake of and so allowed us to see and appreciate this beautiful part of India. If you are thinking of doing a cycle trip that allows you a wealth of new experiences and adventures then do NOT hesitate to do this trip as you will not be disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling in Tamil Nadu and when we passed the schools, the children in their beautifully presented uniforms would come rushing to wave to us and smile as we rode past. They made us feel so welcome. Also when we stopped, people were again very welcoming and wanted to have photographs with us and know all about us. The friendliness of the people, who themselves have very little, were so smiley and happy that it made you feel very humble.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Shekar was outstanding! From the moment we met him in Pondicherry to waving us off at Cochin airport, he could not have done more to make this trip so special for our group. He was extremely organised, knowledgeable and listened to what our group wanted and adapted the trip accordingly as he genuinely cared about us having a memorable time in his country. We felt very safe under his direction and he took full control so that when we arrived/departed different places we only had to worry about riding our bikes. He was very friendly and sociable, and worked tirelessly to ensure we had a fantastic trip. In this, he was supported by Abi, Kurian and Franklin and as a team they worked extremely well together so that all of our wants and needs were catered for. Could not ask for any more from any member of this fantastic team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Cycling in India is unlike any other cycling that I have ever done! However, the team looking after us ensured we were safe so listen to what the leader tells you to do and follow any such instructions from the team guiding. On the roads do not hesitate - ride with confidence and you will be fine. Accept that parts of India have real rubbish/pollution problems, but try to see beyond this and in areas like Kerala a real effort is being made to make the region a plastic free zone. Also, embrace every new experience - there are so many - and enjoy every moment of such a trip that will leave everlasting memories.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Indian driving in the towns is best described as "chaotic" with lots of horning beeping and everyone on the road trying to navigate the street at the same time but somehow it works and before long you get used to the horns warning you that another road user is in the vicinity. This trip certainly allowed me to experience sights, sounds, tastes and smells like no other trip and if you are like I was somewhat apprehensive, then I would say to you, "Do It!" and it is something you will remember for the rest of your life.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    lindsey gill

    Indian challenging adventure

    From dipping our rear wheels in the Bay of Bengal, travelling through the largely tourist free Tamil Nadu, over the mountains of tea plantations, through fabulous scenery, down into Kerala, and dipping our from wheels into the Arabian Sea, Abi our guide and his team looked after us with cheerfulness and a sense of humour. We ate amazing food often off banana leaves in places you would never venture into as an unaccompanied tourist, and experienced true Indian live at very close quarters. Some demanding cycling, especially on the roads of the crazily busy towns, and some extraordinary sights made an exciting experience. The Indian cookery class and the heritage home stays made the trip even more special.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing how people struggle to scrape a living together but at the same time are happy, smiling and welcoming to visitors, it is very humbling.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Abi was so lovely caring and happy in his work, he seemed to genuinely enjoy meeting new people interacting and helping them experience his country, and was always happy to adapt to our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We suffered no ill effects but we were careful about using regular hand wash and avoiding drinking the water. We ate largely Indian style food avoiding western style meals and ate brilliantly.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Barry Tiernan

    Coast to Coast

    This is a great holiday covering 2 distinct regions of Southern India, Tamil Nadu and Kerala The cycling was excellent, flat rides for the first week in Tamil Nadu and hilly the second week in Kerala The accommodation was generally very good. The food was excellent, enjoyed by all on the trip. There were only 6 of us on the trip(all friends), on previous tips there were 16. However it worked out really well. We all enjoyed the cycling, potholes and all. Some busy towns but enjoyable to cycle through.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We stayed at a Plantation House in Vagamon, Kerala which was a special moment for all. Such a beautiful house and the family looked after us very well, cooking a magnificent meal in the evening. Were also driven to a rock pool in a Jeep for a swim. All of us would have loved another day here The night on the houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala was also great fun, a nice touch near the end of the holiday

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Abhilash (Abi) was wonderful. He was kind and caring, looked after us very well. Abi was always there to make our holiday enjoyable. The rest of the team, Kurian, Santos, Vipin also worked very hard and we enjoyed their company. This was a truly excellent team

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The food was so good, likely to put a few pounds on!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only bone of contention were the two Abad Hotels we stayed at. The hotels were great hotels from an accommodation and food perspective. However for a group of cyclist, it is often lovely after a long day's ride to have a nice cold beer and a glass of wine at dinner, which was not possible at these two hotels While we could drink in our rooms, its not the same. We are a bit "old in the tooth" to have a sneak a drink hiding out of sight. I do not think a "dry hotel" is appropriate for a cycling group when there were several other resort hotels in the same area. This is my 4th cycling trip in Asia and not come across this before.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Kevin Frazer

    In search of a good cup of tea

    Myself and my wife (Chris) are both keen cyclists and were keen to have a bit of an adventure. This ride looked like the perfect first trip for us as it meet a number of our requirements. It needed to have enough miles to satisfy my cycling needs but not too difficult for Chris. It had to be somewhere a bit different and it had to go from A to B. Also since retiring 4 years ago I have been blogging about the best cafes/tea shops to go to on a cycle ride and this would give me the chance to blog about tea rooms in the capital of tea. The trip surpassed my expectations as we cycled through a variety of landscapes, learned about temples and tea plants whilst I was able to update my blog with news of the tea shop culture. A day to day review with photos is on my blog http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/special-rides-and-trips.html The second week could have done with a few more miles cycling as there were a couple of rather short days. Although the overnight ride on the houseboat maybe a highlight for some I found it a bit dull (after many trips on the Norfolk broads) and would have rather spent it on the bike. I was particularly impressed with the organisation of the team once throughout the trip making the whole experienced very relaxing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I just loved cycling in a completely unfamiliar environment but I was blown away by how friendly the Indian people were. So much waving and friendly chatting it was such a welcoming country. As the number one self appointed tea room reviewer in the whole of Norfolk I also loved going to the roadside tea shops in search of a great cup of tea, although I didn't really find one.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As we arrived at Chennai airport we were not sure what to expect but we were warmly welcomed by Shaker, our tour leader, and from that point until we flew home we didn't have to worry about a thing as all our needs were taken care. I don't think we could have been looked after any better by Shaker and his team and I was really impressed with their friendliness and organisation. I couldn't speak highly enough of them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was very hot when we went so we probably overpacked 'warm' clothes. Also the trip notes advised not to wear lycra and keep shoulders covered although in practice there was no such restriction and most of the party were in lycra shorts and cycle tops. As the support bus is never far away you can keep you cycling stuff (suncream, money, snacks etc) on the bus so just need a pocket for your phone or camera when riding. Don't be afraid to try the different foods on offer. Most of the road surfaces were as good or better than in Norfolk with the exception of one day when it was more of a hard track along the river but nothing to worry about.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was such a good experience we are already looking at what our next cycling trip will be.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    David Waugh

    Coast to Coast - the real India

    I have been to India before with happy memories of Rajasthan in 2015 and looked forward to my trip to southern India. Sadly although I love travel and I am pleased that I went, as always the brochures and glossy pictures on the Exodus website leave out some of the things you will see - The province of Tamil Nadu is generally poor; the cities are overpopulated and crowded. The cities are best described as heaving masses of humanity, the air thick with pollution. The towns and villages lack sanitation, the rivers run thick with waste & rubbish. Cows browse street side piles of aging rubbish in their search of food. Dusty roads choked with constant traffic. The roadsides often choked with shacks that have no running water nor electricity. Kerala, the second half of the trip on the other hand is much cleaner but even so the urban and rural environments still sadden the heart. Two days at Fort Cochin in a hotel surrounded by building sites near a local beach choked with piles of plastic and other waste was two days too long for me. True there were highlights and the landscape ( where there are no people) can be just fantastic. And again the history, religion, and the people are very friendly & so welcoming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Arriving at a small village surrounded by paddy fields ; a family group, complete with a new born baby sitting on white plastic chairs outside their home/hut, surrounded completely by strewn piles of rubbish.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Stay in Kerala or pick another trip in another country.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Geoff Beale

    Cycling coast to coast Southern India

    A excellent trip that samples two very distinct states. You need to be fairly fit for this trip, there are some very long days of 100km in the saddle and some very stiff climbs in the middle of the tour which scale some 1200metres in the day. Initial impressions of India were the noise of the traffic horns, the anything goes rules of the road, there aren’t any but it seems to work, but you do need to be comfortable cycling in chaotic traffic. The rubbish everywhere and the cows, goats and dogs in the road and in the towns were an eye opener. Cow dung and holes on the pavements were part of the adventure that you needed to watch when walking around. Most people seemed to smile a lot and the kids always shouted welcome to these crazy white people cycling in the heat. Kerala was clearly very much more affluent than Tamil Nadu and the contrast was clear in that there was less rubbish and the drivers were a little more aggressive to everyone. You get used to the horns blasting all the time, it’s more I’m here, be aware of me. The food is an experience, interesting, very tasty and varied but always spicy. You need to like curries.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was an inspiration and if you’ve never been to India before it gives you an eye opening experience to the real India. In the saddle you get to sample the sights, sounds and smells you would miss on any other type of holiday. Everywhere we went there was agriculture, acres and acres of rice paddies and in the mountains the tea plantations and factories. The markets were full of produce some of which we don’t see in the UK, there didn’t seem to be any shortage of any kind. The people were friendly and full of smiles. The side excursions added to the experience, food markets, temples, palaces, tea plantations and factories, and the backwater houseboat stay and cruise near the end of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shakar was excellent as tour leader and his team made the trip memorable. They were so helpful and were always out to ensure our wellbeing. His knowledge and recommendations were invaluable and his and his teams enthusiasm second to none.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fairly fit, there are some long distances mostly flat initially for the 100km legs but also long steep climbs after the 5th day cycling. I clocked over 15,000 feet of climb over the whole trip on my gps. If you like adventure this is a great trip to experience Southern India. A great achievement once you’ve dipped your wheels in the Gulf of Bengal at the start at Pondicherry and at the end, the front wheels of your bike in the Arabian Sea just south of Cochin. It’s a tough trip but on reflection well worth it. If you enjoy cycling and adventure, go for it. If your Jabs are up to date you do not need any extra. No need for malaria tablets either. You will need lots of deet mosquito spray for day and evening. Even with it you will get bitten depending on whether the bugs like you or not. I only got 3 or 4 bites but some of our group got dozens. Don’t let that put you off though. Take plenty of sun cream, you will need it. We took UK pounds with us and changed some but mostly used ATMs for anything else. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels but not all but our tour leader was able to point us to the nearest ATM and advise on how to get the best cash exchange rates. As usual don’t change cash at hotels you get a poor rate. We only changed an initial £20 to give us a bit of cash till we knew the score.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The group we were with gelled really well considering the age gaps from 31 to 70. It tended to split into youngsters and oldies but we all mixed very well and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company and fellowship on the trip. This was our sixth Exodus cycling trip and would recommend it for those with a sense of adventure.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Mandy Boak

    Truly amazing

    This was our first time in India and the first cycling trip we've ever done. We were a group of 12, plus Shakur our leader, Kurian our driver, Franklin our back-up man and Anil, driver, water-supplier and all-round cool guy. The group were of mixed ability which worked fine - we had loads of coffee stops, happy bushes breaks and although there were about 5 long days of cycling on the trip, from 8 till 4.30, it was all quite manageable. The route of this trip is superb. Using mainly backroads, then the odd venture onto main roads and into the busier towns, we saw such a diversity of scenery and got a great insight into the daily lives of the local people. All of it was so enjoyable, so fascinating. Weaving your way through full-on Indian traffic is exhilarating and hilarious but somehow or other it all works and we all got through the experience unscathed. The backroads do have quite bad potholes in places and can get a bit bone-shaking but they're worth it, honestly. The accommodation is all of a really good standard I felt. I got the impression from more seasoned travellers in our group that this is one of the better trips in that respect. And the food! Oh my god! Fantastic & in abundance - only regret was I couldn't eat all of it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights it's difficult to choose. From the first morning when we did a circular route to Auroville, we were hooked. What a way to see a country and what a country! We were like wide-eyed kids with the biggest grins on our faces all through the journey - the sights, sounds and smells, the colours, the smiling friendly people, the beautiful children, the dogs, goats, cows - there was something amazing down every street, round every corner. It was a morning we will honestly never forget, just wonderful. And the people all smiling and waving, so friendly, cheering us on our way. And the food!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shakur and his team did a great job and looked after us so well on this trip. You could see that the more we enjoyed ourselves the happier they were. There were a couple of occasions when the route had to be changed or certain excursions cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, ie a strike on the day we were supposed to visit the tea plantation factory! But Shakur would get on his phone and next thing it was all organised and we still managed to visit the factory although it wasn't up and running. We left an ipad in one of the hotels - they rang Shakur, got on a motorbike and met us en route about 40k down the line. Every time we stopped Kurian or Anil would fill our water bottles, make sure we all got our coffees and teas just how we liked them. They didn't rest until they were sure we had everything we needed. Franklin cycled at the back all week, taking care of the slower members of the group and helping anyone with bike problems. We couldn't fault these guys, they were just great and helped make the holiday such an enjoyable experience. Thanks guys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bib shorts aren't practical for these trips - best would be a couple of pairs of thin liner shorts with some fast-drying over shorts. We had a couple of serious downpours en route and I wished I'd taken a second pair of shoes to cycle in - some people cycled in sandals. Gel seat - cheap one off Amazon - proved v useful. We did need to wash clothes now and again - take a decent travel wash or use the hotel laundry - quite cheap. American Express travel card was only accepted once, best off with Visa or Mastercard. Money exchange in airport offered us a much lower rate than anywhere else. ATM's sometimes run out of money so taking some pound notes out with you is quite handy, there are loads of "foreign exchange" places. Practice your camera face - many Indians we met wanted to have a photo taken with us - funny but true?! Our group ranged in age from 46 to 73, everyone coped well with the cycling, although there are so many photo opportunities that go whizzing by, a Go-Pro would have been quite handy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This will certainly not be our last trip to India, or our last cycling trip. We absolutely loved it. It was very well organised, the route was really well planned and we got to sample all the highlights that Tamil Nadu & Kerala have to offer from the tea plantations, to cookery lessons, houseboat trips, temples, palaces - you name it. Loved it.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Anne King

    Southern India coast to coast ride.

    This was a lovely trip, taking in a lot of the sights and sounds of rural India which we could not have discovered for ourselves. We also visited many of southern India,s foremost sights. The cycling was as billed and very enjoyable, mostly on quiet back roads, although the chaotic traffic in the cities should not be underestimated.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the top of the hill at Thekkady!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader didn't communicate plans very clearly and didn't always do what he said we would do. For example he promised a stop near a lake in three kilometres which I looked forward to as I'm a keen bird watcher, we didn't stop. He described a morning ride as undulating, it was a 12 kilometre climb. The deputy, Abi, was absolutely excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy! Take plenty of money, the costs add up, tipping kitty is a substantial sum.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip notes need to be clearer. As it transpired that the tips kitty wasn't for tipping the support team I find it very hard to know what the money, over £50 per head, was spent on. That's an awful lot of snacks and cups of tea at Indian prices!
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Barbara Groves

    Cycle India coast to coast

    An excellent trip with good leaders, brilliant cycling, excellent food, amazing sights and a really friendly group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the local people who were incredibly friendly and welcoming Scary cycling in some towns/villages Cooking our own meal under guidance! Staying in a plantation owner's family house Exploring vegetable, flower and spice markets Cycling from door to door with only 1 transfer

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Seaker was a really good, knowledgeable leader who adapted the schedule to allow for the particular interests of the group. He was able to give confidence to those of us slightly worried about the amount of traffic in a few of the places we cycled through although we were mainly on very quiet roads. He found us brilliant places to stop for tea breaks and lunches at small local restaurants and made us feel that we were truly seeing the "real" India

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Respect local traditions, pack light, go with the flow, make sure you get your visa sorted and join the right queue at the airport in India!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have been on 3 cycling trips over the last 2 years (2 with Exodus) and this was by far the best.
  • Reviewed January 2017
    Teri Bennett

    India Coast to Coast

    India Coast to Coast on a bike is the way to go. The people in the countryside were so lovely, friendly and their big smiles really made my day. This is a great way to see a country and meet the people. The best food was always the little hole in the wall places along the bike route. We stayed at some incredible places, especially in the countryside.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people! The people waving at me with a big smile, there is nothing like that!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All of the staff were great! We had a leader in the front and another guide at the back of the bike riders and then two vans..one in the front, one in the back and they were there for us every step of the way making sure that we were having a good time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most days were 60 miles or 80 K, so be in shape for it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't skip the cooking class, it was really fun. Bring a gel seat for the bike.
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