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

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235 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    Best Group Ever

    Though the group, tour leader and support staff were phenomenal throughout the trip and there were many highlights, the rural cycling within Thailand and Cambodia proved to be largely uninteresting, smoggy and garbage was strewn throughout. Mostly we saw different tree plantations of smaller trees for rubber, furniture, etc. and a little bit of off season ground crop areas. On the plus side the accomodation was spotless, the food excellent and the people wonderful. We certainly enjoyed Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and the other temple complexes and Phnom Penh. Also the history of Cambodia during the Khymer Rouge regime, though dark, was extremely educational and offered an understanding of current day Cambodia that we would have not gotten without physically attending the Killing Fields and the S-21 prison. In sharp contrast to what we saw of Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam was very green and lush and our stay at the Homestay on the island, travel on the Mekong and other cultural highlights was amazing. The very best of the trip was getting to know the wonderful group of people the tour attracted and the care our tour guide Chai gave us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Attending the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh (Choeung Ek) and the S-21 Prison (Tuol Sleng) which is now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and meeting two of the 14 survivors from the prison, Chum Mey and Bou Meng.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Chai was beyond superb. His organizational ability, his kindness and concern, his upbeat demeanour, his availability and his sharing of cultural knowledge made the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Slow burner

    It must be said this is a bit dull to begin with - the first three cycling days are not particularly interesting - but it builds and in the end it is a great experience. Cambodia is a fascinating journey from the pomp of Angkor Wat to the rat infested piles of rubbish in Phnom Penh to the anguish of the Killing Fields; I'll never forget it. Vietnam was a complete contrast - colourful, enterprising,confident, resplendent with gold starred red flags everywhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Quite a few: The giant recumbent golden Buddha in Wat Pho The frog sausage with green tamarind salsa from a street vendor near Siem Reap Cycling through the North Gate of Angkor Thum at dusk Being brought to tears by the guide in the Genocide museum Riding through the country lanes and bustle near Chau Doc with all the children shouting "hallo" to us

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai is a great guy - a fine advocate for Buddhism

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is a bit of a side show and this trip is really more about imagining yourself in the heartbeat of another as Sebastian Faulks, I think, said. I felt privileged to have made the journey. The best day's cycling is the second day in Angkor Wat so don't go shopping as some of our party did. It is very hot - take lots of factor 50 sun block. Aside from the frog sausage the best dish was Fish Amok served in a hollowed out coconut - don't miss it

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not for cyclist purists but an adventure you won't forget
  • Reviewed January 2020
    wendy fairhurst

    Great trip overall - a real journey

    Just returned from this trip . Myself , my husband and 3 more friends went on the trip - we are all keen on cycle touring. For myself and my husband, our overall experience was very good . Our guide, Chai was the best we have ever had . He dealt with a varied group with humour, fantastic organisation and always a smile. The group we were with was made up of British , Canadian, American and Australian cyclists . The group was great and bonded well under Chai's expert guidance. Culturally the trip is very interesting - Angkor Wat is fascinating and beautiful and the Killing Fields in Cambodia were life changing. Travelling through the 3 countries and seeing the various levels of development, political situations and living conditions was interesting and sometimes disturbing. However the cycling itself was sometimes disappointing - in the first few days there is rather a lot of cycling along straight, featureless , flat roads in 35 degrees of heat. Being taken out to eat local food in the evenings was very enjoyable and welcome after this. Cycling around Angkor Wat and the various temples which make up the complex was beautiful and the cycling in Vietnam is amazing - cycling through communities , hopping on and off ferries - everywhere a riot of colour and interest.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hearing the story of our young female guide in Phnom Pen give an emotional and personal account of the Polpot regime and life in Cambodia nowadays moved me to tears . Cycling around Angkor Wat Hearing our guide talk about his humane and pragmatic approach to Buddhism Cycling through villages and communities in Vietnam

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was quite simply one of the nicest human beings I have ever met and an inspirational guide and leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the first few days of cycling which are long , scenery is not spectacular and it is very hot. It does get better! We are reasonably strong cyclists and were able to find enjoyment in blasting down the long, straight, quiet roads but still found the heat a challenge. Chai managed it well though and arranged stops every 8-10 miles to re-group and cool down. The team were always waiting with very welcome and delicious snacks and drinks. Go easy on them if you don't want to gain weight. Cycling around the Angkor Wat temples and in Vietnam is lovely. Go out with the guide to eat in the evenings - the local food and experience is fantastic and hotel food often very average. We did not get ill.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was a journey rather than a holiday and overall a very positive experience. Most people on the trip who had never done Exodus holidays before were inspired to do more trips like this. However be prepared for some of the cycling in the heat and seeing the poverty of some of the communities, particularly in Cambodia.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    andrew bole

    An amazing trip, a couple of tips

    This is a really wonderful trip. I would highly recommend it. You get a unique view of the people, country life and see very few other tourists, outside of the big cities! A good balance between cycling and transfers on the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guide makes the difference between a good trip and an amazing trip. Our guide, Nut, was excellent. He was calm, efficient and is vastly experienced so easily managed the large group (18) and so we were all relaxed and could enjoy the trip. Simple things were done very well. We visited lots of different artisans along the way but were never pressured into buying things. They guide handled tipping, meals etc

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some tips not in the trip notes: 1. It is hot and very sunny. Over xmas, there were no cloudy days and no rain. 2. Take lots of high factor sun cream. We used more than expected as you are out in the sun most of the day. You can only buy it in the big towns, Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 3. Wear white or light coloured tops when cycling. Dark colours absorb the heat making it even hotter! 4. You move most evenings, so can only visit the laundry in the big towns where you stay for more than one night, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Saigon. 5. Take a water bottle that fits in a standard bike water bottle holder. 6. We took our own clip in pedals (MTB prob best as in and out of them in the towns), which worked well. The bus is always close by so you can change shoes if you need to walk round a temple 7. To go into most of the temples you need to wear trousers or shorts/skirts that cover the knee. Applies to men and women. You can leave them on the bus, so dont need to wear them when cycling. 8. Take some electrolite tablets for your water, as you are out on the bike in the heat sweating alot!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Spend a bit of time looking at the flight routes/options as there are lots of possible routes you can end up on, which vary considerably in terms of duration and connections.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Mark Billington

    Trying something new in S.E Asia

    I’ve previously been on several exodus trips either hiking or sightseeing ones or a mixture of the two. I thought I’d give cycling a go, I’m not a cyclist at home but keep myself fit. The trip was amazing, the cycling tough in the heat, but you get looked after so well, the bike teams manage the traffic so well and look after your hydration and energy levels. This trip isn’t just about the cycling though, the combination of 3 different countries, with different cultures and foods and fantastic sights and cities you get to see, make this a very memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    You can’t fail to be amazed with the temples around Angkor, it’s staggering to think these masterpieces were put together centuries ago and to see them by bicycle is the perfect way to absorb them.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We couldn’t of asked for a better group leader than IS, so knowledgeable, so helpful, so approachable and within a very short time became one of us, part of the team, a friend to us all. In my experiences all Exodus leaders have been great but a couple have gone above and beyond to ensure your holiday is a memorable one, IS definitely went above and beyond and was much loved and respected by us all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you build up your fitness, preferably with time on your bike, I did a couple of 40 mile cycles just prior to going on the trip, if possible cycle in some traffic as although the roads rarely get very busy, some of the towns have moderate traffic. Take a towel and swimwear, there’s plenty of opportunities to swim and if it’s as warm as it was when we visited you’ll be grateful of the cooling off in the pool. Definitely use the rooftop hot tub in the hotel in Phnom Penh.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really, just to say this holiday takes in so much, there’s never a dull moment or quiet moment so if you like your holidays full on and fun packed, it’s definitely for you.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Patricia West

    Best Trip

    Just did cycle trip Nov 8-23...what a fabulous time!!!. I am not a cyclist and was worried about being able to do this trip, but it was amazing. The group was large (18) with a mixture of couples and singles all around 25-69 yrs in age. I did fall off the bike on the first day and ended with a slight sprained wrist and cuts and bruises. 2nd day fell off again lol. Our guide looked after me well. I did ride the bus in places I did not feel comfortable with. Cycling was pretty decent, around 12-15km/hr for most of the group, the faster riders went ahead. Bike teams were fabulous and kept the equipment well looked after, snack foods plentiful. The heat and humidity was incredible, but after 3 days I was fine. Crossing boarders was easy. Visited many markets along the way and tried Grasshoppers, Silk Worms, Beetles, Snake, Tarantula, Scorpion and many other delicious Asian dishes. Visiting the Killing Fields, S21, War museum was very eye opening. The home stay was amazing! what a beautiful experience, got to help with dinner prep, beds were comfy, out door shower relaxing. The only thing I would say is if travelling single it is worth the extra cost to book single supplement. Spending 24/7 with the group is great but its nice to have time alone. I took the advice of reviews and packed light...took a back pack and carry on and I did fine, you can wash clothes in the sink and it dries quickly or laundry is cheap.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational part of the trip for me was visiting the killing fields, S21 and War museum.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was IS....what can I say …. she is the BEST!!!! We all fell in love with her. what an amazing woman and friend. She had us on time and kept us safe,When I fell she was right there taking care of my wounds, showed us how the people live, shared many foods with us. She went above and beyond her job! If you are fortunate to have her as your guide you will truly enjoy your trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    make sure you are a seasoned cyclist, doing just spin classes wont be enough. The cycling is long, the first day is short, but the next 2 days will be about 80-90k the heat and humidity will be high! it was high 30s and humidity was around 72. Be sure you are very comfortable cycling in the city as the traffic can be quite heavy and very different from normal city cycling, I took the bus near the cities as I was totally not prepared. Bring some type of cream for the bottom lol. I did not care for Vietnam $$ so I changed it back into US currency as most places will take US dollars. I took about $100.00 US for each country and that was sufficient but if you want to drink alcohol and buy items then you would need more. For the Temples you would need to bring clothing that covers below the knees. As I mentioned before, if travelling solo then its worth the extra $ to book a single room.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an amazing trip. I am so glad I did it. I would totally recommend doing it and this is coming from a non cyclist lol. By the 4th day I was told I had improved and actually looked like a cyclist . Exodus is the only company I would book with, its a little more expensive but they look after you top notch!.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    David Barnewell

    Outstanding trip, wonderful experiences every day

    Great organisation, team, guides and Leader; Chai, we experienced people, food, culture and daily life in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Saw most wonderful temples in Angkor, deeply moving visits to the Killing Fields and the Vietnam War Remnants museum and the great buzz of SiemReap, Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh cities

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick a single event. Every day brought something new and different. The Temples of Angkor are simply stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai was outstanding. He did a great job showing us new and different aspects to daily life in all three countries. His team of drivers, cyclists, mechanics and local guides were superb.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Research what you will see and visit in advance so you get the very best out of the trip. Bring comfortable cycling clothing, but not too much, laundry is easy. Make sure you bike size is correct and confined ahead of travelling. Get some miles done on the bike before travel so you’re fit enough to enjoy the scenery and not struggling

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to try new and unusual food and experiences
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Coralie Cubitt

    Cycling in Laos

    This trip delivered everything it promised and more. The scene was set on day 1 with our warm-up ride around Chiang Mai and a visit to to monastery where our guide, Rit, had spent 10 years as a Buddhist monk. We travelled through some breathtaking landscapes - kart mountains, jungle, paddy fields and wonderful villages where delighted children would run out to greet us. Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang were charming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The undulating landscapes in northern Laos especially on the Udomxai to Pak Beng day. Having breakfast in Pak Beng as we watched elephants bathing on the other side of the Mekong. Walking through the small streets of Luang Prabang.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rit is an exceptional and inspirational group leader. His training as a Buddhist monk is evident in his calm and thoughtful approach and his endless patience. He responded to our endless questions with clarity, honesty and humour. He is an excellent cyclist but encouraged us to enjoy the ride and cycle at our own pace which alleviated any stress.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You do need to be reasonably fit to enjoy this trip. The most used word in the group was ‘undulating’ which was how Rit would always describe the next section we were to ride. It is quite hilly and the weather was often hot and humid. However, there was no shame at all about taking time out in the minibus. It is a wonderful trip and covers a lot of ground.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are one or two sections on very poor roads with a lot of lorries travelling between Thailand and China. We had been warned about this. Whilst those sections were sometimes unpleasant it is the only way to see the remote areas as there are few roads - and this is the reality of modern-day Laos.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Coralie Cubitt

    Cycling in Laos

    This trip delivered everything it promised and more. The scene was set on day 1 with our warm-up ride around Chiang Mai and a visit to to monastery where our guide, Rit, had spent 10 years as a Buddhist monk. We travelled through some breathtaking landscapes - kart mountains, jungle, paddy fields and wonderful villages where delighted children would run out to greet us. Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang were charming.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The undulating landscapes in northern Laos especially on the Udomxai to Pak Beng day. Having breakfast in Pak Beng as we watched elephants bathing on the other side of the Mekong. Walking through the small streets of Luang Prabang.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Rit is an exceptional and inspirational group leader. His training as a Buddhist monk is evident in his calm and thoughtful approach and his endless patience. He responded to our endless questions with clarity, honesty and humour. He is an excellent cyclist but encouraged us to enjoy the ride and cycle at our own pace which alleviated any stress.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You do need to be reasonably fit to enjoy this trip. The most used word in the group was ‘undulating’ which was how Rit would always describe the next section we were to ride. It is quite hilly and the weather was often hot and humid. However, there was no shame at all about taking time out in the minibus. It is a wonderful trip and covers a lot of ground.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are one or two sections on very poor roads with a lot of lorries travelling between Thailand and China. We had been warned about this. Whilst those sections were sometimes unpleasant it is the only way to see the remote areas as there are few roads - and this is the reality of modern-day Laos.
  • Reviewed August 2019
    Susanna Buckley

    Wonderful family holiday

    A busy but well organised trip. This was the first time we'd done a trip like this and we don't regret it. We saw so much in the 14 days - I don't think we could have done and seen so much if we'd organised it on our own. Our two children (16 and 18 years old) had a great time. They made friends with the other young people on the trip and this made it easier and enjoyable for everyone. Everything was organised in a family friendly way and the guides were excellent. It was also good to see the way local communities can be supported by responsible travel.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to say - so many lovely memories. The sampan trip on the Mekong Delta and the stay at the homestay were great. The trip to Angkor Wat was amazing - the scale of the place is breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 2 leaders - one in Vietnam and one for Cambodia and Bangkok. Both were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You need Vietnamese Dong for Vietnam. In Cambodia you can use US Dollars but sometimes it's easier to use Cambodian Riels. ATMs in Cambodia dispense US Dollars and Riels. For Thailand, you'll need Thai Bhat (our guide stopped just before the Thai border so that we could exchange). For visas, you need to pay cash in US Dollars. We found that we needed mainly cash - some of the restaurants didn't accept cards or some places (eg supermarkets) have a minimum spend before using a card and, if you only want a drink, that doesn't come to the minimum spend. Also, if you want to buy in the markets, you'll need cash. There were ATMs near all the places we stayed (except Mekong Delta). Pack light, cotton clothing, you don't really need activewear/trekking wear. There are local laundry services available in Cambodia - around USD2or3 per kg.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Wonderful holiday, wonderful memories. Everyone in the family had a great time.
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