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.

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  • Reviewed November 2018
    Elizabeth Coles

    Annapurna Guides, Porters and Sherpa - Easily the best!

    The trip was made by a combination of two excellent guides, a wonderful hard working team of porters and a cheerful experienced Sherpa. They all work incredibly hard in their respective roles and simply made the holiday. Always encouraging, helpful and cheerful. Nothing was too much trouble for them. Easily the best guides of all my many Exodus trips, they were devoted to their role. It is incredible how the porters manage to carry such loads. Tourism is a major economic force for Nepal and without them tourism would cease in its current form. They are the unsung heroes and must be supported including financially as it is a dying skill, sad for Nepal and for those of us who loved our trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walks were so varied. I personally loved the walk down the gorge after our early morning walk to see sun rise over Poon Hill. It was the most beautiful grove with stupas. The views and scenery were tremendous. A very spiritual place. We had a free day in Kathmandu and I thought it was great, fantastic trip in a rickshaw. A big plus is that I was not hassled at all in either Pokhara or Kathmandu, a big contrast to my experience in India and in particular Delhi. Of course the result of reaching Annapurna Base Camp has to be mentioned. We did it!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Easily the best guide from all my trips. You can safely promote Nepal with confidence due to Prasant. he was always cheerful, helpful and considerate. Behind the scenes he quietly was observing us particularly in respect of health issues. This trip was physically the hardest I have done and his observational skill was much needed and valued. I was concerned about one girl who was quietly feeling unwell with AMS, she told me she was feeling unwell, outwardly nothing apparent. He straightaway went to see her, talked and cheered her up and thereafter made a point of seeing how she was. He was the most professional of all the guides of all the many trips I have been on, both Prasant and Hari were good family men and were mature and responsible. I got ill on my trip and Hari kindly offered to carry my day sac. It made a huge difference to me. I was nervous of the suspension bridges and they helped me over, in the event there are 10 not 5 bridges as per your trip notes. One is a 5 minute walk and they helped me get over them. From the trips I have done, Prasant work as a guide was the most demanding with the most responsibilities and therefore by definition his role is that of a senior guide for Exodus. You are in safe hands! They were a great team who had known each other for many years: their friendship and harmony really showed and benefitted the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take US dollars for the tourist visa. The cost is USD 25, compared to GBP21, not a good exchange rate! Take exact money for this visa, my till didn't have any change. Easiest to change money at the hotel, less hustle and stress after a long journey and a calmer atmosphere. Just a slight difference in the rate but worth it. Very easy to change money at Pokhara. It is very much a tourist town. Make sure you spend/donate your Nepaiese money, the Government only give you 15% back I understand. Take lots of layers, you need to cope with the heat of Kathmandu and the day walks with the cold at the base camps.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are 10 suspension bridges, not 5. When I rang you advised short bridges. Actually one bridge is new and a five minute walk, it is incredibly long. Please update your notes! The guides were great and helped me over, especially the long bridge. But it might be difficult if a number of the trip are nervous of bridges. Just thought I should mention this. I am glad I did the trip and didn't want the bridges to stop me going. I went well stocked with medicines but the food without exception at all the tea houses was good simple nourishing food with an amazing menu every time. There simply wasn't one bad meal. How they manage to cook such quantities and bring it out swiftly to our group would leave many a UK chain ashamed! The team worked so hard, from our early morning cup of tea to attending to our every need at mealtimes and beyond eg organising hot water bottles, more drinks, hot chocolate, extra pillows. And nothing was too much trouble and always with a smile.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Filip Hanzak

    Great time in great mountains

    The Annapurna Sanctuary trek was well organized and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. It can be physically challenging at times (e.g. climb 3000 stairs in one go at the end of a walking day), but completely doable without many difficulties.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The night sky at the Sanctuary was as expected - the clearest and brightest I've ever seen. You almost can't see the asterisms for so many more stars are visible in between the main ones!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader, Chandra, was excellent, always helpful in good mood and full of laughter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some training beforehand and get walking poles if (like me) have problems with your knees. Going down the many stairs which are higher than usual can get very painful. Pack a lot of versatile layers as the temperature varies between +32 in Pokhara to -7 at the Base Camp. I went in October and did NOT have a down jacket and could just about manage at the base camp while wearing literally all the layers I had with me - no need to pack unnecessary extras.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    James & Kay Crawford

    A wonderful trek in the very heart of Nepal's Annapurna

    Annapurna Sanctuary is 14 days of an excellent trek, which is very well organised, with excellent and attentive guides. It is great scenery, with such majestic and magnificent Mountains. You stay in sustainable, if frugal, Tea Houses offering great sustenance, which is all part of the fun experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finally, due to the inevitable early monsoon seasons low cloud down in the valleys, those very clouds parted and we saw the splendid neck racking elevations of the massive Annapurnas ringed around us like the teeth of a fierce canine!. We saw the very hill villages, from which the famous Gurkhas set off as young men, to join the British Army. No wonder they are so fit and agile seeing the number of steps and steep slopes they work for a living in their homesteads. The Nepalese are delightful, friendly and a credit to their country. The fabulous Tea Houses provide great food (from their kitchen gardens), and rooms which did ticked all the right boxes for comfort and shelter, considering the logistics of the place. We saw the Bamboo forests, Rhododendron and Magnolia trees in full flower, and whole hill village communities farming their tropical to temperate agriculture spread out on their terraced fields.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Pashant was a very experienced and competent leader, who took delight in answering all our questions and observations, while being very informative about his country Nepal, its people, places and especially these Annapurnas. His team of cheerful, articulate and hardworking guides and porters were a credit to him and his management style. I would take him, and go on any trek with his team any time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its right that the Exodus Annapurna Sanctuary trek uses the Tea Houses to the maximum, as this provides for a sustainable visit by tourists to a fragile part of the earth. It is allowing the residents of those poor hill villages employment and a sensible source of income. Treking can be a low impact activity, so make sure you avoid the quick way to the top by road (or even helicopters!) and trek up and down to fully enjoy the views, the experience and the Nepalese people; they are seriously inviting you into their mountains! Safe sterilised and filtered water, from UV sterilisation or reverse osmosis, is at all the tea houses, so you don't need to bring in any bottled water, or fizzy drinks for that matter! Stick to a vegetarian diet as you consume from the local economy as well as eat a very tasty dishes, which does sustain you for the whole journey.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Expect to carry a lot of Nepalese Rupees as you only pay cash on the trek, so make sure your security/cash bag is big enough. There is, within the 11 days of serious trekking, opportunities to shower for @£1.50 every second day and so you can limit your clothing to two changes of outer clothing and 3 sets of socks/underwear. You can charge your cameras and iPhones for as little as @£1.50 a day so you don't need so many batteries (these batteries you bring in, you take out). You do need a 4 seasons sleeping bag and down jacket for the 2 days you are up at the top of Annapurna Sanctuary as it gets below freezing, so pack those rather than extra changes of outer clothing. Walking with poles is advised as the multitude of steps up and down make serious demands on your knees. Asian squatting lavatories are by far the more plentiful and simple to use. They are the better option, as you don't need to touch any surfaces. But have plenty of small hand Gell dispensers around your kit to cleanse hands before and after such and before feeding.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    James & Kay Crawford

    A wonderful trek in the very heart of Nepal's Annapurna

    Annapurna Sanctuary is 14 days of an excellent trek, which is very well organised, with excellent and attentive guides. It is great scenery, with such majestic and magnificent Mountains. You stay in sustainable, if frugal, Tea Houses offering great sustenance, which is all part of the fun experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Finally, due to the inevitable early monsoon seasons low cloud down in the valleys, those very clouds parted and we saw the splendid neck racking elevations of the massive Annapurnas ringed around us like the teeth of a fierce canine!. We saw the very hill villages, from which the famous Gurkhas set off as young men, to join the British Army. No wonder they are so fit and agile seeing the number of steps and steep slopes they work for a living in their homesteads. The Nepalese are delightful, friendly and a credit to their country. The fabulous Tea Houses provide great food (from their kitchen gardens), and rooms which did ticked all the right boxes for comfort and shelter, considering the logistics of the place. We saw the Bamboo forests, Rhododendron and Magnolia trees in full flower, and whole hill village communities farming their tropical to temperate agriculture spread out on their terraced fields.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Pashant was a very experienced and competent leader, who took delight in answering all our questions and observations, while being very informative about his country Nepal, its people, places and especially these Annapurnas. His team of cheerful, articulate and hardworking guides and porters were a credit to him and his management style. I would take him, and go on any trek with his team any time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Its right that the Exodus Annapurna Sanctuary trek uses the Tea Houses to the maximum, as this provides for a sustainable visit by tourists to a fragile part of the earth. It is allowing the residents of those poor hill villages employment and a sensible source of income. Treking can be a low impact activity, so make sure you avoid the quick way to the top by road (or even helicopters!) and trek up and down to fully enjoy the views, the experience and the Nepalese people; they are seriously inviting you into their mountains! Safe sterilised and filtered water, from UV sterilisation or reverse osmosis, is at all the tea houses, so you don't need to bring in any bottled water, or fizzy drinks for that matter! Stick to a vegetarian diet as you consume from the local economy as well as eat a very tasty dishes, which does sustain you for the whole journey.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Expect to carry a lot of Nepalese Rupees as you only pay cash on the trek, so make sure your security/cash bag is big enough. There is, within the 11 days of serious trekking, opportunities to shower for @£1.50 every second day and so you can limit your clothing to two changes of outer clothing and 3 sets of socks/underwear. You can charge your cameras and iPhones for as little as @£1.50 a day so you don't need so many batteries (these batteries you bring in, you take out). You do need a 4 seasons sleeping bag and down jacket for the 2 days you are up at the top of Annapurna Sanctuary as it gets below freezing, so pack those rather than extra changes of outer clothing. Walking with poles is advised as the multitude of steps up and down make serious demands on your knees. Asian squatting lavatories are by far the more plentiful and simple to use. They are the better option, as you don't need to touch any surfaces. But have plenty of small hand Gell dispensers around your kit to cleanse hands before and after such and before feeding.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Ann McNulty

    Comfortable trek with beautiful scenery

    This is the third trek I've done in Nepal, the fourth in the Himalayas. I enjoyed the trek, found it easier than Everest Base Camp, the Annapurna Circuit and Ladakh- the Markha Valley. Yes, the numerous stone 'staircases' were a bit tough at the time, but very do-able and we were not rushed but had plenty of stops to catch breath and drink water. The tea-houses were OK (I always find the basic level of accommodation, especially the toilets & showers, also the rooms a tougher personal challenge than the actual walking) - the food they offered was OK (I didn't get sick!!), if a bit repetitive. The scenery was beautiful - big mountain landscapes, valleys with rippling streams and waterfalls, small villages and families farming their terraces using water buffalos and wooden ploughs. Always, the high snowy peaks were in the background. Add to that the colourful rhododendron forests and tiny bamboo bridges. When we first arrived at the Annapurna Sanctuary, I was a bit disappointed as there was no snow on the ground....and muttered to my friend 'Oh no, just a load of old rocks!!', but then, as we arrived at ABC, it started snowing heavily...and snowed and snowed all afternoon. The next morning, we trekked back across the flattish section between ABC and MBC and it was stunning - a perfect 'winter wonderland' and everything i'd hoped for. This trek reached a lower altitude than I had experienced on my previous Himalayan treks and I was fortunate not to experience any symptoms of altitude sickness at all (whereas I did have some (manageable) symptoms on the previous ones. Sunrise at Poon Hill was also a delight. I'd experienced this once before when on the Annapurna Circuit, but, unfortunately, on that occasion, although we climbed the hill, there was no view to be had - it was all obscured by clound. However, on this occasion, Mother Nature decided to reward my persistence and we were greeted by beautiful views of the mountains.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The walk across from ABC to MBC in the snow! Also, sunrise at Poon Hill (yes, I love snowy mountains!!)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Prasant was an excellent leader. He was always upbeat, very bubbly and full of fun, and nothing was too much trouble. He was very informative and constantly worked very hard to please everyone, always very professional regarding his responsibilities as a tour leader, but ever mindful that we were on holiday and our personal enjoyment of the trip was very important. There was one occasion when a member of the group was suffering quite severe altitude problems in the middle of the night at MBC. Prasant was woken up and he immediately went into action to help her with oxygen etc. We were very impressed with the professional way in which he and his team dealt with this - they had obviously all been trained very well in this and it made the rest of us feel that we were all in very safe hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    With a strong possibility of snow at ABC this time of year (end of March), yak-trax and gaiters are worth taking. Both can be purchased very cheaply in Thamel (1 mins walk from hotel), the only thing is that you may not have time to do this, arriving at about 5pm, then a trek meeting straight away & dealing with trek-related issues after meeting. (Shops will be open until about 8pm, but....) I didn't take bug spray and anthisan with me, being convinced that it would be too cold for mosquitoes (!!)...however, you are walking through forests, close to water....I got quite a few bites - so take these products with you! It is cold at both MBC and ABC, so ensure you have all the usual cold-weather gear with you, plus good waterproofs just in case it's (not easy to dry out wet stuff in a cold, unheated tea-house!) I wished i'd taken a sarong with me to cover myself when I dashed between my room and the shower! (Often no hooks in shower for hanging clean or dirty clothes on.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Yes, I'd really like to heap some praise on the whole of the Exodus team working in Nepal. As mentioned, I'd done some other treks in the region in recent years, but with all the people doing this, I never expect anyone to remember me - but they do!!! It's a wonderful feeling to roll up at the Royal Singhi and the door opens and out spill people with the Exodus T-shirt, beaming smiles and 'Hello - you've come back - do you remember me?!' - it felt like meeting up with old friends, asking after & receiving news on previous trek leaders and colleagues... Even our Sirdah, Hem, I'd met previously on the Annapurna Circuit, and it was wonderful seeing him again and spending another holiday with him. The whole of the Nepali Exodus team are a lovely bunch of people and very special....(I hope this gets conveyed back to them).
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Peter Hodge

    Peter Hodge

    I am aged 62 with a decent overall level of fitness but no previous experience of trekking and limited day hike practice. I found this trek very 'do-able' and a fantastic way to experience the marvellous scenery and huge peaks of the Himalayas. The pace was very steady, the acclimatisation gradual; and the combination of group encouragement and the novelty of the scenery made the walk a pleasure. The tea houses were basic but clean and comfortable and the food wholesome.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Not a moment as such, but the soaring mountains were an incredible sight through the trek.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Prasant was a great group and team leader. He led the group with great patience and good humour, balancing leadership with friendliness and always willing to go the extra mile to make our tour a success. He was knowledgeable, competent, and happy to share his knowledge of the country, its people, and wildlife.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Discuss your requirements with Exodus in advance to see if there are ways in which the package can be tailored to meet specific requirements such as flights, extensions.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The organisation in Nepal was excellent. A combination of the experience of Exodus and Prasant, our leader, enabled us to see as much as possible - for example, the bus drive to trek start to see the countryside and the flight back from Pokhara to allow time in Kathmandu. It also enabled us to get the best of the weather on trek, through early morning starts and mid-afternoon finishes.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Andy and Ann Walsh

    Awesome

    Fantastic in all respects. The trails were good, ascent and descent almost entirely stepped, nice and quiet . Views were spectacular and the surroundings changes with the climatic zones (subtropical to alpine), plant and animal life was varied and interesting which prevented the trekking from becoming monotonous. The level of care given by the Guide, Sirdar and porters was excellent. Gum Hari RB were well informed and happy looking after us. Accommodation was as good as could be expected once on the trails (a long way from modern development), hotels in Pokhara and Kathmando were excellent. The change from 2 days in Kathmandu to 2 days in Pokhara was a very good choice and indicative of the consideration exodus paid to the enjoyment of its clients. We intend to go again this year we were so impressed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Standing at ABC amongst the giants of the world. Walking in the footsteps of previous mountaineers/heros

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely fantastic. Great guy . Really cared for the group. Organised everything for us - made life easy and enjoyable Gum the guide

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The fitness is important - you can complete the trek, but how do you want to feel at the end of each day and the beginning of the next. 10 days moving some quite long. Make sure you have the right gear and you have tested it and know it. Dont believe you can wash and dry clothes - you cant. A sigg bottle is really useful - buy boiled water for drinking after the evening meal just before bed - a lovely hot water bottle for cold feet ! (helps local economy and tastes better than the chemical treated, sis tablets added - lemon) Be prepared to have a cold wash or no wash especially high up, be smelly everybody is in the same situation.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Food was good considering the location and plenty of it. Sincere thanks to Gum, Hari RB and the porters Thanks to Exodux staff for a smooth and pleasant/informative booking experience
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Karen Wells-West

    Annapurna Sanctuary & back!

    11 days of wonderful walking through farmland, forests -the mountains were the bonus! Fantastic wildlife, views to die for, with a soundtrack of rushing water a constant companion.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having made it to Annapurna Base Camp, having quiet time alone to try to absorb the sheer beauty and unpredictable power of the landscape. Also following the river back down again - amazing waterfalls everywhere!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bikash was brilliant, helping this very novice trekker achieve her goal to make it to 4,000m, with lots of laughs and singing on the way. He never made you feel you were too slow - he encouraged everyone to walk at their own pace, but kept a quiet eye out for problems & difficulties, and calmly dealt with them.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although I knew there were stone steps, I and others underestimated how many! There are times when you are walking up steps for several hours, so finding a good, comfortable pace is essential - not fast, but steady. We walked in November where the days were hot - T shirts & shorts, but the nights are down jacket & thermal time. I had packed loads of thermal gear, but not enough summer layers. Also, be warned that on the flight back the luggage allowance is 10kg hold and 5 kg cabin - not 15kg hold as most of us thought, which meant there was a frantic unpacking at the last minute, and I left things I needed on trek back in Kathmandu. Safe drinking water was plentiful, so I didn't need my purification tabs, but take some just in case...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our guides Durga & Soraj were equally wonderful, but we were pushed off the bus into the hotel so quickly at Pokhara that I didn't have chance to thank them properly for all their help, entertainment, and knowledge. They were always smiling - even at 5am, and their singing at ABC was a special moment. Our porters were also smiling and cheerful - even after carrying our kit up a mountain!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Peter Watkins

    Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

    Spectacular scenery! Blessed with very good weather which helped a lot. Trek was significantly harder than expected with much more daily ascending & descending. Local support staff; guides, porters, etc were excellent. (The rest of the group were a pleasure to be with). A very memorable trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Poon Hill! Sunrise over the Annapurna range I will never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent! Always seemed to have everything under control - even when group members needed last minute changes. Unflustered and always smiling.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The trip notes are inconsistent. There are a LOT of steps to ascend and descend in a significant number of the days. This makes for some long and arduous days & is not indicated adequately in the trip notes. Although only a couple of the group failed to complete the complete trek, the general concensus was that it was harder than the rating indicated.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Some of the TECHNICAL information provided by the UK headoffice was inadequate; need for poles, level of fitness required, etc.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Jamie Neggers

    Annapurna Sanctuary Trek

    This was by far the best trip I have taken in yet. Nepal was stunning and I only wish I knew how amazing it was before and I would have definitely spent even more time there. Exodus were great and made sure the trip lived up to my expectations.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip was amazing. Nepal is such a special place, when we saw a double rainbow in the morning at Annapurna Base Camp photos could not even come close to capturing the beauty.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tsheten was great, young guy who knew his stuff and has a great sense of humor. Looked after us very well.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take more spending money than you think you will need, the price of things do go up as you go up the mountains and also when you are in Kathmandu it is very easy to pay for things with a credit card.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It went flawlessly and the organization made it so I could just show up and enjoy my trip rather than having to run around co-ordinating things. It was the first trip I did with Exodus but will definitely not be the last.
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