Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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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.

Simply use the selector below to search our trip reviews and start reading real feedback from real Exodus travellers who have ‘been there and done that’!

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  • Reviewed April 2018
    Lorna Thomas

    L Thomas

    Wonderful trip. Just the right mixture of wildlife and culture. Can’t describe the feeling when we first saw a tiger at close range. At a loss for words. Sloth bear also made it a fabulous trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger at close range for the first time was awe inspiring. Literally couldn’t speak. X

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vijay was fabulous. Made us feel very safe and helped us integrate with the local people .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a bit more money than you think you will need. Most of our money went on beers each day!!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Fabulous holiday. Go with the flow. Train journey is not as bad as you think it will be. X
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Howard Perkins

    Even better than expected...

    We chose this trip as something that was a bit more special than just trekking in Europe, where we would also be in a completely different culture. It exceeded our expectations in just about every way. There are a number of reasons for that. Firstly, the Wall is simply incredible (in the true meaning of the word). Whenever the Wall headed up some impossibly steep ridge, the question "How did they manage to build this bit?" was immediately followed by the question "Why?". Secondly, we had really good weather with only a few hours of cloud/drizzle on the whole trip. Thirdly, this was one of the best groups I've been part of and finally, the trip leader Jerry was excellent. So I know we were lucky, bad weather and limited views would definitely detract from the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All those views of the Wall following ridge after ridge as far as you can see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jerry was one of the best trip leaders I've ever had. Totally committed to us as a group, but what stood out for me was that he gave us a fascinating insight into Chinese culture, drawing on his own background whenever necessary. But be warned - if you ask a question, be prepared for a very full answer!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes! The daily distances are not very far - but you're either going up or down, usually quite steeply. There is very little flat walking. If you have dodgy knees think carefully. You also need to be comfortable on uneven, steep and exposed terrain, especially where the Wall is ruined. Hands are needed in places. I took walking poles, but didn't use them. Jerry recommended a single walking pole, so that you had a hand free for holding on. A lot of the group wore walking shoes - but I think walking boots are more appropriate. The accommodation outside of Beijng is fairly basic. Some people had squat loos, some had a western style seat. In one homestay, toilet paper goes in the bin and is not flushed. None of the tap water is drinkable (even in Beijing). If that sort of thing puts you off, then this isn't the trip for you. However, every room was en-suite and mostly everything worked. I've stayed in a lot worse. There was very little heating and it was surprisingly cold in the evenings/overnight (2nd week April) to the extent that on one night I slept in my down jacket. The food was a lot better than expected and always plenty of it. I personally don't like spicy food but there was still enough choice. There also seemed to be enough vegetarian options too - although perhaps a more limited choice. It's worth practising with chopsticks before you go or else you might be quite hungry! Jasmin tea is the only drink served with meals - but most places you could buy soft drinks or beer. Coffee or milk are not readily available so if you are addicted, take some sachets. Everywhere advertised wifi - but the speeds were really, really slow. There are also several western sites that aren't reachable. If you can't survive without Facebook (really?), then set up a VPN before you go. Finally, just go with the flow and have a great trip!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Sarah Perkins

    Walking the Great Wall

    Walking the Great Wall far exceeded my expectations. I needn't have worried that the distances didn't look much, as this was offset each day by walking uphill to reach it and down again at the end of our walk. Some days we were off the beaten track, other days on more popular sections and always with stunning scenery in every direction. A great mix of walking, sightseeing and out of the ordinary activities to be experienced. A great group of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Wall and watch towers atop the mountain ridges stretching into the distance as far as the eye could see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Jerry, was superb. Full of knowledge and never weary of sharing it with us. Very conscientious and enthusiastic, always ready with a joke or a funny story. He arranged extra activities to fill any spare time and ensured we all had a great trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you read the trip notes carefully, the wall is on top of the ridges, so to access it you have to walk uphill (and down again at the end of the walk)! Also to gauge what the walking on the Wall itself will be like, check out the video on the website. I found the reviews very useful and I'm glad I read them. As a vegetarian I was concerned about the food but needn't have worried - it was great! If you are travelling in April, the 'homestays' might be colder at night than you expect, there had been snow the week before our trip! Even the locals were wearing their coats in the 'homestays'. Many of our group planned a few extra days in Beijing as well as the Xian extension. If you have time, go for it, there's plenty to see in Beijing and the subway is easy to use. Don't forget your camera.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    My best Exodus holiday yet. Great guide. Great group. Great trip.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    yeenam chow

    Great walks/hiking trails

    Enjoy the different walks/trails which were all not too difficult for if you do not have a problem with steps. Walking poles were available to used from the hotel (free of charge) making the walks easier. Great coastal sea views and trips to both Pompeii and Mt Vesuvius vast crater walk.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Mt Vesuvius (optional) walk up the vast crater was well worth the extra payment for the guide. The Villa Climbrone with landscaped gardens at Revello was wonderful sight too. On the free day, visit to Herculaneum was also a highlight for me as I found it more interesting and smaller then Pompeii.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Vania De Paoli, has been a great group leader. She would looked up and helped us with any of our travel requirements. It has happen a few times with me when I mentioned to her once about some travel arrangement and she came back looking for me with the information. Also she changed the route on day 5 to start from Ravello in the morning (less tourist in both the town and Villa Cimbrone) and walked down towards Amalfi to end the day which we found it a better route as the other Exodus walking group found (and confirmed) the route set as in the notes (Amalfi to Ravello) harder and more tourist and less enjoyment when they had to climbed up to Ravello at the end of the day. Vania, is forward thinking and she tried to make the trip enjoyable and change things if required if it can be better for all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have knee problems then the steps going down towards Amalfi can be trouble some and hard work.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Faith Morgan

    Everest Expedition

    I'd dreamed of seeing Everest for as long as I can remember, but somehow managed to arrive in my 40's having never quite got there. As soon as I saw this Exodus trip which encompassed two nights camping AT ACTUAL BASE CAMP I knew this was the trip for me and pressed 'book now' there and then! I wasn't disappointed and the whole trip was organised faultlessly from the moment I pressed the enter key on the laptop, to the moment I landed back in the UK. If you've read the books and watched the films and dreamed of walking in the footsteps of legends this is the trip for you. It hasn't only achieved a dream for me - it's inspired me to do more!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to spend two nights camping at Everest Base Camp amid the buzz of teams setting up their camps in preparation for summit attempts. Waking up under a frosty yellow canvas, pitched impossibly on boulders and unzipping the tent to reveal spectacular mountain views in every direction,. Watching the final rays of sun go down behind Everest! Getting to walk on the Khumbu Icefall was also something I never dreamed possible!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Valerie Parkinson is a vastly experienced and inspirational leader. What she doesn't know about the Himalayas isn't worth knowing, and she kept the group engaged with her in depth knowledge of the area, and enthralling stories of her incredible achievements. Nothing was too much trouble for her or the local guides, and she ensured the whole trip ran smoothly from the moment we arrived. I would book a trip with Valerie as leader again without hesitation!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you've got Everest Base Camp on your bucket list this is the trip for you. Don't just visit the rock -spend 2 nights there.......Book now!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was the first I'd travelled with Exodus, but definitely won't be my last......Can't wait to book my next adventure with you! Thanks for a great experience.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Kathy Stockton

    Basking in the afterglow

    What's not to like about this trip? Loved it all- the itinerary, the people, the culture, the food- and surprise bonuses like cherry blossoms, bullet trains, robots, and electronic toilets.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved every moment of my trip. Two aspects of Japanese culture stood out for me. First, on Miyajima where I visited a temple dedicated to children and babies who had been lost. This temple insured that these children would not be forgotten and always looked after. It featured different statues of babies in various activities. Someone had knitted caps and scarves for each of them. I found it very sweet and touching that the Japanese love children so much. Secondly, I loved the stay at the roykan in Takayama. Our hostess, Sazuko, was so sweet and hospitable. I absolutely fell in love with her.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kazu was wonderful. He led a large diverse group through a very demanding itinerary without ever loosing his cool. Because he was very detail oriented, things always ran very smoothly. On our free activity days, he told us about places of interest and gave detailed instruction on how to get there on our own.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This trip covers a lot in two short weeks. You will be constantly on the go and at a fast pace. Be prepared. My I-phone app. showed I walked an average of 25,000 steps a day while on the trip. Do take comfortable walking shoes- preferably hiking boots or sandals- non-skid, waterproof, and warm. Comfort trumps ease of slipping shoes on and off as we actually, visited very few sights where we actually needed to take off our shoes.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Wendy Tomes

    What a fabulous way to explore these countries

    This was our first Exodus trip and I have to say we had a few reservations before we left . We have been on many of our own cycling holidays but never on an organised one . We were worried there might not be enough cycling or that we might have to wait ages for others or hold others up. However Roberto our leader was brilliant . We all cycled at our own pace but he kept us all together at regroup points and everyone was happy . What I loved about the holiday was the opportunity to do something we like -the cycling but also to do sightseeing and explore places I know we would not have seen if we were on our own . Everything was so well organised even down to our lunch being booked in advance and we pay at end of the week . I liked being in a group we had such a laugh it was like a two week party and those on their own were looked after well. I wish we had started looking at Exodus holidays before , I will certainly go on another

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling along the lake and seeing all the wildlife The views were amazing Also staying on a Caribbean island in Panama

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Brilliant He made the holiday special and created the team ethos

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you can go a day earlier and stay a day later it is worth it so you see more of Panama and Grenada
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Helen Rogers

    A beautiful island

    Walking is a great way to see Madeira. The paths were in generally good condition, and the drops were not as daunting as I had expected - although you definitely need to look where you are going! The weather in Madeira is much more localised than I had realised - if it's important to you, make sure you look at the forecast for specific places. The mountains were rainy, and colder than expected - be prepared for anything! Most of the group went whalewatching in Funchal - this wasn't mentioned in the trip notes, but was great fun. No whales, but several dolphins - also a great way to get a view of Funchal from the water.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed all of the walking. The cherry blossom above Funchal was superb.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Add me to the Andre fan club. Very sociable, generous with his time and knowledge. He had to substitute a couple of walks due to weather and rockslides, and we were not disappointed, even though we had been looking forward to the published itinerary. He's an excellent walking guide, well aware of everyone in the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Most of us used trekking poles, and were glad of them. Be prepared for anything - the weather is the boss of the itinerary. Most of the hotels were very pleasant, one was slightly disappointing - but the obvious place to stay given the itinerary.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's a beautiful place, well worth the visit.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Glynis Howe

    Bhutan March 2018

    Bhutan is a beautiful country, the air is very fresh and the in the main is very clean - an antidote to Kathmandu! This is a trip that takes in the cultural highlights of Bhutan as well as letting you see and walk in the beautiful countryside. The people are friendly and welcoming - browsing the shops and markets is easy -if you have been to India you will know what I mean ! There is no hard sell! There is a fair ammount of travel but this is quite relaxing and there are plenty of stops. Food is always buffet style and becomes very monotonous - you could try asking for an a la carte menu and pay extra, otherwise it is noodles, rice, veg and, if you are not vegetarian some rather poor quality meat dishes - and you get this twice a day! My food highlight was a large bowl of scrambled eggs at the Tigers Nest! Take snacks!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to name one, I loved the festival, the climb to Tigers Nest Monastery and being blessed by the head Lama there, discussions with our guide Kunzang who was so knowledgable and informative about his country, the walks in the countryside, all of the Dzongs, nunnery......too much!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kunzang was the most amazing guide I have had on an Exodus trip, he was a very gentle man, caring, considerate and very knowledgable. If we made a request he would try his best to ensure it was achieved, for example he managed to get the hotels to make dhal for the vegetarians amongst the group! Also he just looked after everyone so well. I must also say that our driver, Yeshay was excellent, and also joined in with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As I said, take snacks, also, the weather was in the main bright and sunny and I know some people had taken lots of warm clothing - however it did get cold in Gantey and so you will need something...maybe layer up. Also do not forget something with long sleeves for the monasterys. In Kathmandu our guide took us to a cultural show with food on the 1st night and this was very poor value and to be avoided - he also took us to a place called the Ship on our last night and this was not brilliant! The food in the hotel is much better if you do not want to go out and there are lots of places in Thamel - research it and make a suggestion to the group!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bhutan is amazing and I would recommend a vist - the flight into the airport is not for the feint hearted!!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Daphne Partridge

    Amazing people and architecture

    This holiday gives a great overview of the country and it's history visiting cities along the Great Silk Road, each with their own amazing buildings and stories

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We had been to many squares, mosques and madrassas but Registan Square in Samarkand topped them all and one of the final highlights of the trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dilshod was excellent - friendly, extremely helpful and incredibly knowledgeable of his country and it's history and also adaptable to our requests.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Everything was incredibly cheap and we struggled to spend $200 on food and drink and trinkets in the twelve days! Take dollars which can easily be exchanged for Som. Women travellers wear sleeved tops and crop trousers/trousers or skirts., and have a scarf handy for the couple of mosques. Don't worry about the night in the yurt - very pleasant with proper framed beds and and an electric light! To avoid disappointment, if you see something you like then buy it.... some items are only local to that city and you won't see them again. The food was good with salads, soups and meat dishes, some almost European style, but also plenty of local cuisine to try.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared for quite a lot of long journeys - the tour bus was fairly basic and the roads bumpy (1600 km travelled in total). Tourists are still quite a novelty in Uzbekistan and everywhere we went people wanted to have their photos taken with you or to talk to you and practise their English. Everyone was so friendly and we were treated like VIPs.
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