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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 May 2019
    Gary Lavin

    Sucessful and Safe

    It was a marvellous trip. Each day was filled with new wonders and excitement. Plenty of wow moments. A visit that was completely safe and rewarding

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The city of Samarkand was full of wonder and genuine WOW moments

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A fantastic and informative tour leader. Very informative and knowledgeable. Exodus are lucky to have him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not miss out. Uzbekistan is a hidden jewel

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Uzbekistan is a very safe place to visit and Uzbeks are genuine, friendly and helpful
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Roxy Hooton

    Unbelievably beautiful Uzbekistan!

    Fantastic trip to a wonderful country! So much beauty it hurts your eyes, and the people are incredibly warm & friendly. Each of the main cities has a totally different feel to it, & I loved them all! Khiva was my favourite though : be sure to wander around in the evening after the crowds have gone home - it’s a completely different vibe to during the day. Some tips: If you climb the minaret in Khiva you need a proper torch, strong knees & no fear!! The view is wonderful but coming down is terrifying! Being Vegetarian isn’t too hard but it’s not very exciting- just check the soup has ‘no meat’ even if it is called a vegetable soup it will often still have meat in.Vegetable kebabs lack imagination - best option is the pasta based dishes. Be willing to have your photo taken by the locals - it will lead to some wonderful interactions Do bother to get up for sunrise in the desert (if the Vodka the night before doesn’t prevent!) - it’s worth it! Do have comfortable shoes & some energy! This isn’t really a leisurely trip - the pace is quite full on, but totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dinner & a cold beer on a roof top terrace with a fabulous view over Khiva as the swifts whirled overhead and the sun set!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Full of knowledge and always ready to help.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See Summary
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Nicola Peers

    a trip along the silk road

    This was a busy trip through three very contrasting countries. Almost a surfeit of historical monuments in Uzbekistan, just a glimpse of Kazakhstan and then the natural beauty of Kyrgyzstan. Some long bus drives but with plenty of "photo stops" and the drives are a great way to appreciate the scenery and see a little of local life along the way. The food was fine, and it was fairly easy to avoid meat, with plenty of delicious salads and pumpkin manti (a type of dumpling) usually available. Also some lovely soups, but often with unexpected chunks of lamb or beef. I did also enjoy the plov and the kebabs, as well as the fresh bread. The people were mostly friendly, welcoming and curious - we encountered no problems.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Kyrgyzstan - especially the yurt stay and the walk, but also the sheep, cattle and horses with their herders on horseback, coming down from their summer pastures.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    For me, both Dilshod and Ermek were great leaders, despite their very different pesonalities.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a small towel for the yurt stay, and reasonable walking shoes. Do your shopping in Bukhara as there aren't many other opportunities. Learn a few words of Russian - it is spoken in all three countries and English isn't widely understood. Be able to carry your luggage a short distance - some of the hotel rooms are upstairs (no lifts) and also you have to carry it across the Kazakhstan - Kyrgyzstan border.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a privilege to visit these countries at this time - go before the tourist industry develops too much!
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Christine Raines

    Varied and Interesting Trip

    A busy and varied trip covering five countries, encompassing a wealth of culture and history, and some amazing scenery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Riding a horse above Lake Song Kul. Beautiful blue and gold ceiling in the Registan in Samarkand. Many encounters with friendly and welcoming local people, especially when we had homestays in the villages.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suzie Grant is one of the best leaders I have come across. The trip would not have been half as good without her. Very well organized, very attentive to the wishes of all her clients, and a lovely personality.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for a busy schedule: you are moving on almost every day, and there are long hours of driving. Bring clothes for all climates: temperatures ranged from 40 Centigrade in Ashgabat to near freezing at night in the highlands. Learn some Russian if you can: it is the lingua franca in all the countries, restaurant menus are usually in Russian, and all our drivers were Russian. Be aware that there is often no internet.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Peter & Pamela Ackerman

    Outstanding Trip

    We have been on a number of Exodus trips and without doubt this is one of the best we have undertaken. Uzbekistan is a stunning country with wonderful buildings and monuments and incredibly friendly and polite people. Our guide was the best guide we have had on an Exodus trip, he was so enthusiastic about his country you could not fail to enjoy your time there. Kazakhstan could really be missed from the trip with the time saved being spent in the other two countries, we just saw lots of open plains and a big busy city in Almaty. Kyrgyzstan is a stunningly beautiful country with wonderful scenery. Some days involved long drives and perhaps driving all the way around Issyk Kul may be a little excessive but you get great views of the snow capped mountains and have the opportunity to stop at various sites along the way. The food overall was very good though the service in all three countries is very slow, haphazard and random. Whilst the dominant religion in each of the countries is Islam they are open to western culture and dress and therefore provided you offer the usual respect in mosques etc. there is no issue regarding the suitability of clothing

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Eagle hunter in Kyrgyzstan Registan Square in Samarkand The people of Uzbekistan

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader in Uzbekistan was outstanding

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If possible only take a rucksack with your overnight gear to the yurt.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Jacqueline S

    A long and hard road.

    The trip travelled through Uzbekistan, Kazestan and Kirgizstan. We have been on many Exodus tours before but felt this was the least well designed and involved the most travelling for little outcome. The first week in Uzbekistan travelling to the silk road cities was excellent. Lots to see and do and some ability to wander as well as being led. When we got to the other two countries there were several consecutive days on the coach for 5 to 8 hours. The night in the Yurt was just that; we arrived at 6 pm and in the morning had a 2 hour stroll before setting off again. This was the one place where a full day walk and an extra night in the yurt would have been preferable to travelling all the way around Issyk Kul Lake. No surprise that everyone was coughing and a cold was quickly transmitted around the tour participants. During the whole tour we only stopped at two hotels where we could walk out of the doors and go into the town. All the other hotels were a bit out of town and needed transport to get anywhere. The food was great and most hotels good. Though why choose a hotel next to a railway line with trains that went past every half hour of so all night? The night in the Club resort was bizarre. it was empty except for us and a Dutch couple who had booked for three nights but were leaving after one. You could not walk to the town so you were stranded. The facilities such as tennis or the pool were closed. The meal was the worst we had and the bar closed at 9.30. This was our last night as the next night we would have to be up at 4 am to get to the airport. No last night party for us. Exodus please think again.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Samarkand

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshop in Uzbekistan was brilliant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Unless you like sitting on a bus a lot just go to Uzbekistan for the Silk Road don't try to combine too many Stans.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Keris Mcdonald

    Two Out of Three Aint Bad

    We did this trip as a private group of friends. We're all keen on history and museums - we'd also managed as a bonus to book tickets for the closing ceremony of the World Nomad Games, which coincided with our visit to Kyrgyzstan. The Islamic monuments of Uzbekistan were breathtaking, and the natural scenery of Kyrgyzstan was lovely. Both countries are clean and well-ordered and felt safe. I enjoyed the yurt camp far more than I expected too - it had the best beds of the trip ;-) Kazakhstan I cannot recommend. It's the only country I've *ever* been to that I'd consider not worth the effort. It feels like going back into the Soviet era - there was a plainclothesman lurking outside our hotel reporting on arrivals for example - and the police are flat-out corrupt. One of our number was held at the Kazakh border for 7 hours on the way out - there were strong attempts at intimidation (though luckily he kept his cool) and it all ended with him slipping a £100 bribe to an officer to get out of the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finding out about Ulug-Beg and his astronomy was inspirational. Bukhara is wonderful - a golden jewel of a city. Samarkand's mausoleums are unforgettably beautiful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders - Tahir in Uzbekistan and Ermek for the rest of the trip. Both were conscientious and flexible, and were willing to put in extra hours to take us to museums we wanted to see that weren't in the official itinerary. Ermek stuck with our detained friend right throughout the crisis - he was our hero.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    All three countries on this tour are police-states to some extent. Mostly this means people are well-behaved in public, but BE REALLY CAREFUL. In Uzbekistan you will not be able to avoid tourist shops as they are literally set up within every corner of every historical monument. Don't feel hassled to buy anything - there isn't any hard-sell. Do take the opportunity to shop in the food markets though - and buy the smoked cheese strings, they are awesome! Kyrgyzstan is the opposite - if you want souvenirs you might well have to ask your guide to find you a shop. In Kazakhstan DO NOT SMOKE IN PUBLIC - the police are looking for a chance to shake tourists down. DO NOT BUY A SOUVENIR KNIFE AT ANY POINT ON THE TOUR, even if the vendor tells you it is certified to be allowed across the borders. It isn't. If you do get detained, stay absolutely calm despite every provocation; they're just trying to pressurise you so that they can extract more money. And remember to refer to your guide only as your "translator." PS: Take Enterosgel with you. It's better than imodium.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a very diverse tour - Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan are real contrasts and we enjoyed visiting both immensely. I'm afraid I think they should drop Kazakhstan out of the itinerary altogether in future, as the place has little to recommend it and the risk is too great.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    John Cross

    The must see's of the Five Stans

    This is my 17th trip with Exodus and this has been one of the best so far, if not the best. There is so much to see, though there is quite a lot of travelling to enable this to happen. However the scenery, mostly deserts and mountains, are delightful. The accommodation ranged from the sublime (A Sheraton!) to the plain and simple, homestays, which gave us an even better chance to interact with local people. If you have the time to do this trip, do it, the scenery is stunning and the history of this region is the history of the civilised world. Brilliant!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Gur E Amir (Timur's tomb) during the day and then again by Moonlight.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Suzie Grant's organisational skills are simply outstanding. Her experience and endless patience ensured that we all had a fantastic, trouble free trip, without feeling rushed or manipulated in any way. Don't ever let her go, your company will be much the worse for it

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go on this trip and maybe read John Frankopan's 'The Silk Road' first?
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Ros and Peter Buck

    An Incredible Trip

    An incredible journey across a region that has not always been easy to visit.The trip encompasses grand landscapes, huge distances and wonderful opportunities to learn much from the local guides. Bek in Uzbekistan and Aibek in Kyrgyzstan/ Kazakhstan particularly endeared themselves to the group, bringing knowledge, consideration and enthusiasm to the task. The trip endeavours to give wide and varied experiences and "gets off the worn track" with inclusions such as Termes, Uzbekistan near the Afghanistan border.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Expect to be amazed ! ... From bizarre Ashgabet, historically dense Bukhara and Samarkand, roadside interactions with local herders in their Yurt camps to stunning high altitude lakes.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    For a trip such as this, which encompasses moving almost every day, 5 currencies , many meal arrangements and visa challenges at borders, an extraordinary guide is paramount for success. Our guide Alejandro (Alex) was without doubt the reason for the smooth progression of the trip. His positive manner, perceptive nature, great humour and organisation skills endeared him to us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Beware: The trip is exhausting (particularly with temperatures averaging around 40 degrees celsius in August for much of the trip) even though much of the time is spent sitting in the vehicles. Pack light but include extra layers for high altitude. Be very sure your visa arrangements are correct.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will meet interesting people. Our group was well travelled, very interested to learn more of the region and well informed. It was great to share the experience and fun with them.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    S M Turbett

    Fantastic trips

    This is a really fascinating, busy, exhausting and quite unique trip across 5 countries in just over 3 weeks. Go with an open mind and you will enjoy the most amazing experiences, see incredible sights, meet really lovely people and learn so much.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My favourite time was in the yurt camp at Son Kul lake. After a really hectic couple of weeks this was a brilliant place to relax and chill, walk and ride local horses. There are very few places in the world with no phone or internet access and no sound of roads, planes or trains - but this is one of them. I would have stayed another week here just to unwind and enjoy the spectacular surroundings if I could have.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Alejandro, was quite exceptional - his patience, calmness, kindness and good humour kept us all together as a group for this long and quite intense trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip requires a really small wardrobe in order to manage a lot of one-night stopovers, with very cool lightweight, easily washable clothing for the incredibly hot places (Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) and a down jacket, hat, gloves and thermals for the much cooler places (Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan). If you take the Astana extension - just make sure your free day is NOT a Monday, when everything (yes, literally everything!) is closed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Please ensure you take bucket loads of patience and good humour, along with hours and hours of reading/podcasts/music for the long bus journeys.
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