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 May 2019
    Mojgan N.A.

    Beautiful trip

    I really enjoyed this trip. Wira (our guide) and the support team worked very hard and ensured it all went smoothly. I had little knowledge about Indonesia and I feel that this trip has opened a new world to me. I learned a lot about the culture, history and customs of this beautiful country and Wira contributed a lot to this. Bali is covered with temples and statues and for me it felt like an open museum. Another interesting point that caught my eyes were the architecture of the mosques in East Java. It has influences of temples and shows that the two cultures have been integrated which was very interesting to see. Everywhere we went people were very friendly and smiling and greeting us. There were some tough rides, a few nasty uphills, some very steep and rough downhills and off roads which made this trip even more interesting. Wira explained the detail of the route and what to look out for which was very helpful. The hiking up the Ijen volcano and watching how the sulphur miners work was the highlight of the trip for me. The other activities such as hot spring, snorkelling and swimming (pool and the sea) were all very enjoyable. Most hotels had a swimming pool so swimming after a hard cycling day under a hot humid condition felt like heaven! :)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing the Ijen volcano. The landscape was beautiful and the view of the lake from the top was simply stunning. Seeing the sulphur mine workers carrying such heavy loads on their shoulders up that steep route was simply an eye opener. Riding on the old lava field (very rough off-road) was quite amazing too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira was an excellent leader. He was always calm, friendly and carried a beautiful smile. He was very knowledgeable and explained to us about people/farmer's lifestyle and customs. Every day he explained to us how the route would be in terms of points of interests as well as the challenging parts. The support teams also contributed to the success of the trip. They were very helpful and every little detail was taken care of, eg every time we had a break, they would fill up our water bottles without us even noticing it which was a nice touch.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you do your homework ie training! :) There are some tough uphills as well as very steep downhills with sharp corners and also some quite rough off-roads.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend this trip.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Alexandrina Duncan

    Unique

    An amazing and varied cycling adventure spent with a really lovely group and a fantastic local support team. This trip is filled with cycling challenges while riding both up and downhill on various terrain, cultural stops at temples and through villages as well as well deserved downtime by beautiful beaches. Wholeheartedly recommended to the adventurous curious minded cyclist.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it to the top of Mt Ijen, camping under the starry skies

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira is calm, knowledgeable, organised, always motivating and giving us notice before treacherous or difficult stretches. His team were perfect, worked very well together, cooking delicious lunches, preparing refreshments, fixing bikes and catering for our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train before this trip and expect to cycle in temperatures of 30-35C on a daily basis. The accommodation was very good standard, however be prepared for very basic facilities at camping and homestay sites.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go for it!
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Kay Rutherford

    One of my favourite trips

    This cycling trip is up there as one of my favourites. There are some challenging sections of cycling but you are rewarded by great views as you cycle up volcanoes, through coffee plantations, past rice fields, and watch farmers harvest spices with the pungent smell of cloves as they are dried on the roadside. The mix of other activities makes the trip a real holiday adventure. Snorkelling off Mengangan Island was fantastic, with the colours and variety of fish breathtaking. We even were lucky enough to see a turtle. The.camping on the beach at Rajewesi Beach was a highlight, watching the sun set and rise over the beach was magical. Wira and his team were extremely well organised, cooked lovely food, very encouraging on the tougher sections and nothing’s too much trouble for them. Their love of their country is very evident.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sun rise over Rajewesi beach

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira is an excellent leader. Organised, knowledgeable, handles whatever incidents thrown at him with expertise and sensitivity. He also makes the trip great fun.be

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for basic facilities at the beach and coffee plantation home stay but their locations more than make up for it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just go on the trip.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Jo Griffiths

    Beautiful Bali ..

    I loved this trip, Bali and Java are fabulous destinations and although cycling doesn’t always lend itself to achieving a full appreciation of local cultures, this trip certainly whet my appetite for a return visit. The accommodation was excellent, even those classed as basic had a certain charm and I enjoyed the coffee plantation ‘homestay’, it was in a great location, if a little lacking in amenities. The trip allowed for some welcome downtime sat around the pool or on the beach, but each day was packed full of great food, awesome scenery, fun and laughter, cultural insights and physical activity.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Snorkelling off the Coast of Menjangan Island, it was fabulous! Also camping on Rajewesi Beach and the lovely dinner we enjoyed under moonlight was special, looking out onto the horizon with the soft lights of the lobster boats twinkling in the distance. Magical.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira is an absolute gem. Organised, knowledgeable, smiley, patient, great fun, unflappable, fit, and an excellent cook! The way he handled the earthquake we experienced on our first day and subsequent aftershocks demonstrated exceptional leadership. Ably assisted by Wayan who single-handedly kept me alive when cycling through busy city streets, anticipating all dangers and guiding me safely to our final destination. The whole crew were brilliant, sorting out our luggage, repairing the bikes when required, preparing snack breaks and picnic lunches, filling water bottles. A great team!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I found the cycling hard; some days were fast paced and I felt that the group I travelled with were quite competitive. This was my first cycling holiday and I wasn't prepared for the culture of cycling compared to my usual hiking holidays. Some sections of the countryside, including fabulous photo opportunities simply passed by in a blur. I sat out of 4 or 5 sections over the length of the trip. Not just up hills, but very steep downhills and some off-road sections. Wira was very supportive of my decisions, however in hindsight I was far too ambitious choosing to do a ‘moderate’ graded trip for my first outing on a bike. I consider myself to be fit, however my fitness level did not compare favourably with some other members of the group. This in no way affected my overall enjoyment of the trip, but it is worth considering before booking.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you enjoy souvenir shopping, especially clothing and textiles, don’t leave it until Canggu, the road leading up to Banjar Hot Springs had a far better selection of goodies.
  • Reviewed July 2018

    A Little Gem

    This is an absolute gem of a cycling trip. There is something for every cyclist; from undulating and flat roads to tough climbs up two volcanoes (particularly the 2nd climb up Mt Ijen); plus a little off-road riding thrown in, most interestingly through an old lava field (from the 1963 eruption of Mt Batur). Every day was something different and interesting. Outside the South East corner (Denpasar area), Bali is a beautiful island, lush and vibrant, with flowers and tropical plants abundant everywhere. Some of the hotels we stayed in were incredible. I particularly liked the ones in Ubud and Menjangan (quiet location, infinity pool, hot tub, great food, etc), but all the accommodation was very good quality bar a couple of exceptions that could not be avoided. Plenty of opportunities to swim in volcanic hot pools, swimming pools and the sea. We went in May and experienced a couple of rain showers. Fortunately, most days were cloudy and ideal for cycling, as the sun near the equator is very strong. Indonesia is a lovely country to visit and quite a revelation.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The challenging climb up to the crater rim of Mt Ijen was rewarding, and inside the volcano the acid lake and steam were impressive as was the sulphur mining by some exhausted locals. The Snorkelling was great and I was amazed they provided a mask for short sighted people like me so I could actually see all the various tropical fish. Overall it was the people of Bali and Java that stood out, very friendly, always smiling, so kind.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira was outstanding. An excellent communicator, extremely informative about all the flora and fauna, politics, etc; and a great sense of humour. This was my 8th Exodus cycle trip and Wira is the best Tour leader I have met Indeed, the whole Indonesia team were faultless, as though they had done it hundreds of times (even though it was quite a new trip). Everything ran very smoothly. They were the A-Team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The climb up Mt Ijen is tough so get in some hill miles unless you want to take the bus. Snorkels and masks are provided (even for short sighted people) so you don't need to bring them. Take some toilet paper. Also, swimming gear, as there are numerous places to take a dip. You will sweat a lot as it is very hot & humid.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is one of the best Exodus trips I have been on and one of the few that I would happily do again
  • Reviewed June 2018
    Richard Hopkins

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    The trip was slightly different from previous Exodus cycling trips I've been on in that the distances travelled were shorter than usual. As a result, there were plenty of opportunities to stop off at local shrines, hot springs, cottage industries, climb craters, cycling the many downhills, cycling across a river etc. as well as regular welcome breaks from the heat. There was more off road cycling than usual. I don't usually like off road cycling but I coped with it OK, especially with the advice and encouragement I got from the cycling team. The group was smaller than usual (6 only) which meant that we all had a lot of time to get to know each other and enjoy the uphill challenges together! The overnight hotels varied from the luxurious to the very basic.. The Dutch homestead in East Java had a toilet but no toilet paper or towel. It was situated quite close to a mosque which celebrated Ramadan using loud speakers to summon the faithful for hours on end, including during the night. There was one very long day in a bus (over 9 hours) which was unavoidable given the itinerary but which was not the most pleasant experience in my life.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing up the Ijen Volcano to see the blue acidic lake and the sulphur miners at work. The glorious beaches in Java and the sunsets over rhe beach at Kuta (after the trip was over)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira was an excellent leader fitting in well with the various personalities on the trip. He was cheerful throughout with a sense of humour which we could all appreciate. He had an exceptional knowledge of the route we cycled each day. His local knowledge about Bali/East Java, both current and the past, was extensive. He managed the other members of the team with skill to provide a seamless trip for us without any hitches or unforeseen circumstances. Wayan, his no 2, was a superb, gentle giant of a man with an astonishing grasp of Balinese legends as well as infinite patience in dealing with me when, from time to time, I was bringing up the rear of the " peleton" Wira and all his team contributed significantly to the enjoyment of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some fairly hard (for me) cycling both uphill and on the extended, quite technical downhills.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I appreciated the opportunity to visit East Java. It provided an excellent cultural contrast to Bali. We did, however, seem to be zig zagging all over the place. This resulted in a very long last day in the bus travelling from deep in East Java to southern Bali. The constant loudspeaker activity celebrating Ramadan was intrusive. A trip to Java outside Ramadan would have made it much more enjoyable.
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Debbie Crich

    The best cycling trip I've done!

    Although this is a relatively new trip, its extremely well organised and the tour leader and support team were incredibly friendly. The cycle grading is accurate and although two days have some challenging hills included, the team were always there for anyone who did not want to continue. I had never really ridden a mountain bike before off road, but I felt like I had achieved something by the end of the two weeks. There are some roads with broken tarmac but the leader always lets you know when these sections are coming up. The rest of the roads were in really good condition. Most of the hotels were a really good standard compared to other trips I have done and Indonesia is a beautiful country to cycle through.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Making it to the top of the Ijen cycle climb!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Karin Barter

    Fabulous!

    This was a fantastic trip, one of the best that I've done. I'd always (wrongly) been a bit dismissive of Bali, thinking it was a place of resorts. How wrong was I?! We went to some beautiful places in both Bali and Java. The scenery was incredible, the people lovely, the food great. It is quite hilly with some very demanding climbs on the 2nd and 7th day but the support vehicle is always there. I've done a number of cycling trips and would say that this is more moderate/challenging. Even the trek up Ijen was a toughie but with spectacular views and the most toxic lake in the world at the top. On the second day there was an optional cycle around Batur which was off road. I think this needed to be explained how difficult it was, as unfortunately one of the group had an accident. Maybe an optional activity could be arranged, such as boating on the lake. I'd been diagnosed with a condition before leaving which has caused some mobility issues but the team couldn't have been more considerate or caring, from lowering the saddle when I stopped so I could swing my leg over, to helping me on and off the bus and down steps - all without asking; even giving me a push up the hills when it was too uncomfortable!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many. Each day had inspirational moments, as the scenery was so spectacular. We visited a number of temples which were beautiful and interesting. Really enjoyed the Holy Hot springs. The Ijen trek was incredible at the top. We stayed in some lovely hotels and the beach camping with BBQ was lovely. I've never seen such a beautiful beach - deserted! The Homestay with the walk to the waterfall and hot springs was fun.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Wira was fantastic. Very knowledge about his country, very approachable, very caring. He couldn't do enough. The whole team were a well-oiled machine. Wayun, the sweeper, was incredible too, helping whenever I got uncomfortable. The drivers and support produced fantastic lunches in the middle of nowhere!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'd strongly recommend this trip. Just be aware that there were hills in the heat and quite a lot of off-roading. The last day had a very long transfer.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Put it at the top of your list of next trips!
  • Reviewed May 2018
    Franziska Marcheselli

    Fantastic trip!

    This is a fantastic cycling trip around Bali and Java - two beautiful islands in Indonesia. The Exodus team of guides/driver were brilliant and ensured that everything ran very smoothly. They often went above and beyond. The cycling is great - each ride different but equally stunning. Be prepared for a lot of uphill climbing, but this also means a lot of very fun down hill rides! Some of which are very steep. Because of how many climbs there are on this trip (especially day 2 and day 7 that are very difficult), I would argue this trip should be graded as Moderate/Challenging. There are also a few off-road rides (mostly on the last day). There is an optional ride in the afternoon of day 2 around Batur volcano; our expectations of the challenging terrain on this ride were not quite set accurately enough. Although beautiful, it is incredibly challenging and was harder than expected. It should be made clear that this is definitely optional and should only really be done if you are an advanced cyclist. Cycling 9 days in a row without a rest break is quite tiring, but each day brings a new highlight. The itinerary, overall, is very good. Trekking up to the top of Ijen volcano is amazing, as is snorkelling in northern Bali. Every accommodation is amazing in its own way - camping on the beach was absolutely incredible! An experience I won't forget. This was one of my favourite cycling trips and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Trekking up to Ijen crater (and down again) was more difficult than expected (being very steep), but a real highlight of the trip. Snorkelling from the boat in Bali was beautiful, I even saw a turtle! In general the islands are absolutely stunning and seeing the culture, temples, people and natural beauty was great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader (Wira) was fantastic - his knowledge is extensive and he is very friendly and approachable. There were 5 people part of the team and all of them were very caring and made the trip brilliant.
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