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

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259 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    A Brilliant Trip

    We have been on a couple of cycling trips before and this one was probably the best. Tri our guide was outstanding and all our fellow cyclists were a great bunch of people. We got a real flavour of life in Vietnam. Lots of interesting food.The meals were good and plentiful. Thought we would lose weight but didn't! Good Hotels. Many highlights but a couple or so to point out,Whale Island and Hoi An, the 30km exhilarating downhill ride and cycling in city centre traffic...... great fun but leaves your heart racing. It is quite full on which leaves you wanting to spend more time in some of the places visited. The usual pattern is arrive at 5 - 6 pm, leave at 7.15 next morning. However we did find time to swim in the hotel pools. Overnight train was great fun ....all part of the adventure. To cover the length of the country there are some longish times in the bus but the bus was comfortable but great chance to talk with your fellow travellers. This also gives you time to see more of the country and people watch. Staggered us how much could be piled on a scooter! The bikes were ideal for the road conditions as well as being clean and very well maintained. At the frequent refreshment/rest stops there was lots of juice, water, fruit, nuts and biscuits. The driver and bike mechanic were very friendly and very competent. Great organization, things happened when Tri said they would.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The local people were very friendly and were very welcoming. They seemed to have put the past behind them and were striving to build a modern country with no rancour about the past. We had four Americans and a Frenchman on our trip and they experienced no animosity. I accept this is the view of a short stay holiday maker looking at things through rose tinted spectacles but the people smiled a lot and the little children shouted greetings and wanted to high five you.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tri our group leader was outstanding. He was highly organised and efficient. He instilled confidence and was always cool, calm and collected. Tri ensured we were always well briefed. He and his team ensured our safety was paramount at all times. Tri had a lovely sense of humour and made things enjoyable. He was a great ambassador for his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes carefully.Get your self into reasonable shape but if you have any doubts about your fitness hire an electric bike........you will have a much better experience. Go with the flow. Learn some basic Vietnamese, it goes a long way if you can say good morning/evening and thank you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great trip made by having a superb group leader and a bunch of fellow travellers who all gelled together.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    A good trip but.....

    Good points. A very varied trip. Plenty of cycling but other things too. A taste of real life in Vietnam as well as tourist destinations. Lots of interesting food. Interesting culture Good Hotels Highlights are whale Island and Hoi An Bad points Too fast paced to spend quality time in some of the places visited - Arrive at dusk, leave at dawn. Trip notes are full of things that there would never be time to see or do. Overnight train is a low point! Too much cycling in dangerous city centre traffic. Lots of time in the bus.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The 30km descent on day 5. Also the general friendliness of the local people considering all that the country has been through over the years.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tiet was a real joker who tried hard to make sure everyone in the group got what they needed from the tour. Nothing was too much trouble and he took us to some great dining experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be sure to take a small overnight bag for whale Island in particular, but also the hideous sleeper train.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    David Hindley

    Excellent, probably the best yet.

    This was an amazing trip. Totally fell in love with Vietnam, We did so much in such in two weeks. The cycling, somehow. only felt like a small part of the experience as there were so many other things that we did. Each day was full on, exceptionally well organised, great food, etc Been on a few cycle trips, and I think this was the best one so far.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many, how could I choose? I'd always wanted to go to Hoi An and the Hai Van pass. Both did not disappoint. The whole trip was inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Linh was a perfectionist in all he did. There was no waiting around for buses to turn up, bikes to be made ready, trains to catch, boats to board, meals to eat. etc Everything was there at the time stated or when we just happened to turn up. He was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the places we visited. A great leader. The support team was great too, fixing my puncture on one occasion, and replacing the whole gear system on another. Just great, great and great!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I stayed an extra day each end, and depending on how you counted my stay, I was in Vietnam for 15 or 16 days (if you counted the part days at each end as whole days). I asked Exodus if I needed a Visa, they said no. I emailed the Vietnam Visa website also, but got no reply. Vietnam Airlines, flying from Paris, did see this as a problem, and I needed to sign a disclaimer form before they would let me fly taking all responsibility. The Visa counter in Ho Chi Minh also saw this as a problem, where I was questioned at length, but they did eventually let me in. Personally, I would have preferred to have paid the Visa, so I did not have this uncertainty. Others in the group, staying the same length of time, did not have the same problem. So your choice if extending your stay, but you may want to be aware that some see 15 day visa as counting a part day, as one whole day! The accommodation throughout was excellent, but I found the "1st class" train compartment very claustrophobic and far too hot and spent some of the night sitting on a small plastic chair in the corridor. The 2nd/3rd class carriages were far cooler and more spacious. I would probably decamp there if I did this again.
  • Reviewed December 2019
    Terry Knowles

    Wonderful experience

    This was our first organized cycling trip, and it was very enjoyable. The group was larger than I expected (18, whereas I had thought we would be about 12), but everyone got along well and our tour leader, Tung, was very efficient and attentive, friendly, patient and entertaining. There was also more city riding than I expected, through some rather hairy motorbike traffic and roundabouts. Tung and Lee, our tail gunner, shepherded us through them, but it took some guts at first to weave through the scooters and cars and buses. Note that red lights apparently don't apply to motorbikes; they just sail on through. We got used to it after a couple of times and in the end it was rather exhilarating. Some riding on main city streets and bridges, too, and through towns and suburbs. All in all the tour was a bit more urban than I'd hoped. But I suppose if you want to see all aspects of Vietnam... Riding through the rice paddies and the countryside and along back lanes, on the other hand, was quite enchanting. Little children ran out to call "Hello!" everywhere. I see this tour is rated as 3/9 for activity level. I would say more 5/9, and that's without the (very enjoyable, if you're up for it) 10-km uphill ride one day. On the other hand, the bus is always available and there was no shame in taking a day off. We missed the Whale Island tour because of a typhoon, but Tung and Exodus rearranged everything seamlessly. The Halong Bay overnight boat tour was a real delight, as was the overnight train to Hanoi. And Hoi An and Hanoi were wonderful, particularly the pedestrian streets (no motorbikes!) on the weekend in Hanoi. We could easily have skipped the boat trip to the overcrowded beach and hike up to the viewpoint on Halong Bay, however, and the kayaks were uncomfortable, at least for the person in the stern with no back support. The meals were good, even for us vegetarians, the bikes were clean and very well maintained, and there was lots of juice and water and fruit provided at the frequent rest stops. Nice that they didn't insist on handing out plastic bottles of water! The bus was comfortable and the driver and bike mechanic were friendly and very competent. Definitely a 10/10 for organization.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One day they drove us up to the top of a mountain and let us off to ride 35 km downhill. Just fantastic!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tung was terrific. Tireless, funny, patient, informative, enthusiastic and efficient.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    See above regarding the activity level. Take a look at the distances to be covered every day and make sure you're comfortable with that. You may want to bring a small bike bag (e.g. to fit on handlebars or under the frame) for suntan lotion, camera, etc. Padded bike shorts a must, although they provide optional extra padding for seats.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The (very intense) War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is worth a visit, and cooking classes in HCMC or Hanoi, if you have the time, are always fun.
  • Reviewed November 2019
    Mark Springthorpe

    We didn't have a great experience

    Our experience was that there were a number of significant issues with this Exodus tour; - The tour lead was quite poor and we had issues with poor communication, being rushed from place to place, pressure to cycle quickly and therefore unable to enjoy the sights/views. - Bikes provided were basically 'end of life' and we had issues with poor gear changes. It contains quite a bit of bus time (4-5 hours at a time) and you feel like you are being rushed around all the time - the result is that it isn't very relaxed, and we were frustrated that we didn't have time to enjoy many of the places we visited/went through. We were told that demand for this tour meant that Exodus had increased from 1 to 4 tours/week, but it looks like the bike maintenance/replacement hadn't taken this into account, and possible why we ended up with a Tour Lead who was below par (as they didn't have enough good tour leads). We think Exodus need to take a good hard look at this tour and make sure that the quality is massively improved.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The inspirational moments didn't happen on any part of the Exodus tour, but in the extra days we booked ourselves in Saigon and Hanoi - basically because we had time to relax and enjoy the places.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nice bloke, but very lacking in confidence and lacking the core management skills, e.g. clear communication, managing the group, managing his team etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check before you go what you are going to get in terms of condition of the bikes, and what feedback has been for the tour lead you are going to get - make sure you get the 'A' team. Definately book 1-2 extra days in Saigon and Hanoi if you can - the hotels are cheap, they are fascinating cities and the tour just doesn't give you any time to explore them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Been on lots of Exodus cycling tours, and sad to say that we'd heard great things about the Vietnam tour - just unfortunate that it seem like the tour has become a victim of its own success. Hope Exodus can sort this out.
  • Reviewed November 2019

    Good 'ole Exodus!

    An interesting blend of Vietnam from north to south including an o/n sleeper train. The success and enjoyment of these trips is usually down to the blend of fellow travellers and team leader and this one was no different. The weather,early season, was mixed with a little more rain and cloud than hoped for but did not detract from the enjoyment but a little more sunshine would have enhanced the countryside. A read of the brochure and trip notes will give a very accurate picture of the breadth and variety of the trip. The daily riding distances are mainly governed by the fitness of the participants and their ability to cover the miles in a reasonable time and for the first time in my experience of 7 trips we were delayed by some participants who frankly were not cycling fit and I wonder if they had read and understood the pre - trip advice!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    What I like about Exodus is that they come up with a blend of tourism and cycling that is inspirational itself. The Viet Cong tunnels from the war and the brief visit to the 'museum' were highly informative as was the knowledge of the tour leader which was outstanding. The visit to Halong Bay was outdtanding too - I'd seen films and photos of the huge 'Rocks' in the Bay but to cruise among them was vividly fascinating - although I could have passed on visiting one of the islands with a tiny overcrowded beach on a Sunday afternoon!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was excellent. An educated, well informed local person. He constantly referred to us all 'as my family' and I think most of us bought into his philosophy. As I noted earlier we had 2 'difficult' participants who were not up to cycling the distance within the required timings but understandingly felt that they had a right to complete the same distance as everone else. A conundrum that requires careful management that took a while to resolve. Presumably Exodus has a policy to address this but it was somewhat absent early on.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    A really fascinating, interesting and at times challenging trip - BOOK it!
  • Reviewed July 2019
    Chrissie Carey

    Vietnam

    The trip was great and our leader, Lam, was exceptional. With the assistance of his exceptional team he made the trip a very special one. His attention to detail and safety is without fault. A ***** Star experience on wheels! Thank you Exodus and Lam & his team for making this a lasting memory!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling to the top of the pass and Hulong Bay

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam is an absolute asset to Exodus. I have never met anyone with such dedication. He was always smiling and no request was too much. I felt safe and cared for at all times. What an amazing man. Even arranged a birthday cake for a group member's birthday......now that is what I call dedication!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of sunscreen and keep on taking in liquids!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Lam and his team is AMAZING!!!!!!🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Laurene Tubb

    Another exciting adventure with Exodus

    Another exciting adventure with Exodus. Our trip was at the end of April/beginning of May and it was very hot !!!! I'm told June/July is even hotter. Phew !!!! Despite this I loved every minute of it. It was a very busy trip but extremely well organised. I very much liked the additional drink stops as it was so very hot. Home made chilled lime was just the thing. I also very much liked Lam pre-booking the meals and us all going together. He found some wonderful places and we had delicious fresh food. There just isn't time to find somewhere yourself. This really worked well. We were lucky to be with a super group of people. Everyone happy and smiling and enjoying every moment..................well................except a few of the group who did get a bit sore. Please do get yourself some chamois butter and padded pants. It works a treat. It worked well having all the cycling in the beginning. The train was much better than I had expected and I slept like a log !!! Whale Island and Halong Bay were real treats and I would have loved more time there. But, overall, the trip was perfect for timing as it kept us within the 15 day Visa limit and we saw and did so much. Despite being informed in writing by Exodus that our big holdalls/suitcase stays with us all the time......this was not the case. You do need to have a rucksack or flat pack bag big enough for the one and two night stays (Whale Island and Halong Bay). In fact......it works very well to just take small luggage. Much easier to do once you get your head around it. I found the cycling easy compared with other trips I've done but I do feel it is right to be called a Level 3. Everyone cycles slightly differently and there is always a bit of a mix of abilities........which makes for a good group cycle I think.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved feeling at one with the rural landscape and the villages............although it was exciting to see the hustle and bustle of the cities too.........especially with all their motor scooters. I love their driving system and felt very comfortable when cycling amidst it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lam. Well......what can I say.......such a lovely young man and always happy and smiling. He is the most organised leader I have come across but at no time did you feel you were being organised. He and his crew looked after us extremely well. He anticipated everything and made us feel special. Not always easy to do when you have one group after another after another. I do hope he wins Leader of the Year. He deserves it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do go. It's such fun..............and what an experience !!
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Alison Bourne

    An amazing trip

    We have just returned from the Cycle Vietnam holiday and had a wonderful time. We were slightly apprehensive having never done a group holiday or cycling holiday before, and I was worried that we might not be able to keep up. However, the tour was so well planned and organised that we were fine. The tour is graded a 3, and that felt right to us. It was challenging at times to us as recreational, 50 something cyclists, but not impossible. Our group consisted of 12 people - two couples, 4 lone men and 4 lone women, and that worked really well. We all got on and had a great time together. Our tour leader, Son, was incredible. He ensured we all had a good time and kept reminding us that we were on holiday and there to enjoy ourselves. He also arranged stops for us in little out-of-the-way places, which we would never have seen otherwise. The heat was gruelling - high 30s but with humidity it felt like low 40s. Someone in our group was from Puerto Rico and he found it too hot, so it wasn't just us Brits! The support truck and bus were there is you needed it - some people chose to only cycle in the morning and get on the bus for the afternoons, and that was fine. The only time I had to give up was on a 10km climb where the heat got to me after 8kms. I was picked up by the support truck which was always there if needed. Also, although the bus usually met us every 20kms with water and fresh lemon juice, on very hot uphills the stops were 10kms apart and at one point 5kms. Cycling through the small hill villages is incredible, all the children shout out to you and some of them want to touch you. Everyone was amazingly friendly. Our only regret is that it was often quite difficult to stop to take photos. As well as the cycling itself, we got to go snorkelling on Whale Island which was lovely. There is no air conditioning in Whale Island so be prepared for hot nights there. However it was stunning. Snorkels and flippers are provided but my husband took his own snorkel and mask. The trip to Halong Bay was also incredible, staying out on the boat overnight under a full moon took some beating. Our group had the boat to ourselves, and the staff on board couldn't have been more helpful. They also made great cocktails! I hadn't realised before we got there that you're not allowed to swim there, which I was a bit disappointed about until I saw the size of the jellyfish and then was relieved! We kayaked in the bay which was really good fun.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was all amazing but for me, the ability to cycle in areas we would never have gone to on a bus or car trip was so special, coupled with the friendliness of the people

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Son was incredible, as were the support team. He spent time encouraging us, telling us the history of Vietnam, negotiating for us with local people, and showing us the hidden side of Vietnam. He was also brilliant about sorting out things like getting our laundry done locally rather than using the hotel laundry, and arranging for us to order pizza delivered to the train for the overnight journey

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the humidity. It hadn't occurred to me that on non-cycling days we might get through 3 changes of clothes in a few hours! Don't eat the food on the overnight train. As well as it not looking very appetising you have to go to the dining car which is the only place on the train where smoking is allowed. It's not pleasant!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would thoroughly recommend this trip if you are a competent cyclist, you don't have to be amazing but you probably do need to have a fair level of fitness.
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Sharon Burton

    A fantastic journey through Vietnam

    This has to be a trip of a lifetime. Cycling through a country that is unspoilt, dramatic countryside, mountains, lakes, coast, busy, manic towns and cities where the traffic stops for no-one. It is a country like no other and needs to be experienced to be believed. Be prepared to never come up for air. The people are so friendly and helpful and the food so delicious. Our group bonded well which made for the trip and our support team looked after us well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Whale Island and being blown away by its remoteness and uniqueness Cycling up the Hai Van Pass. Cycling 30km down a mountain pass where the temperature ranged from feeling like being in a fridge to feeling like being in a sauna. Finally, Halong Bay Cruise. Cycling through the craziness and mayhem of towns and cities but being expertly guided through safely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tong was good fun, very knowledgeable and knew his stuff. He was also very fit and cracked the whip every day. He was also very motivating and inspirational and kept us on our toes. He also looked after our health and safety implicitly.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long days in the saddle, intense heat and to get very sweaty. Please try and get fit before you travel as it would be a shame to miss even 1 hour of cycling. The scenery is so varied, the towns are manically busy so be prepared for some hairy moments but the guides ensure you are safely taken through the craziness of it all. It has to be seen to be believed.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will not be disappointed with this trip if you go with eyes wide open. It certainly exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect the cycling to be so difficult and I am a fit person so it helps to even do some cycling before you go. Be prepared to see a lot of rubbish as the country doesn’t seem to have got its head around recycling yet and it’s a shame to see the countryside and coastal areas littered with rubbish. However, that is a minor criticism in what is a beautiful country. My memories will live with me forever from this trip.