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

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21 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2020
    Jonnie Treharne

    Annapurna, Thorong La and Excellent Guide

    Completed the Annapurna Circuit in December 19, as I had previously done the EBC trip and was aware of just how great Nepal is. The ACT did not disappoint and I was again amazed by the scenery, wildlife and the friendliness of the local people. The trek uses tea houses for accommodation with hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhora at the start and finish of the trip. All of these provide good accommodation with acceptable amenities and I could not fault the food. 3 weeks in duration, it contains about 17 days of treking. Despite being graded “tough” it is the crossing of the Thorong La pass at 5,416m that gives it this rating. The trek to Gohrepani and Poon hill are less difficult as they are not at altitude. Therefore, it is eminently achievable, even if you are not that experienced at altitude. Most days are between 5-8 hours treking, but the pace is sedate enough to allow you to acclimatise and get the most from the environment. Our guide - Dorjee Sherpa was outstanding. A young man full of enthusiasm and knowledge Who enhanced the entire experience

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing the Thorong La pass. This is a demanding climb if starting from Thorong Pedi (base camp) and can be made more difficult by the weather conditions. Therefore the sense of achievement in attaining the pass is well deserved. It should be tempered by the realisation you still have 8 hours of treking left to reach Muktinath!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Dorjee Sherpa was a very knowledgeable and capable guide. He fostered an excellent relationship with all of the group and also facilitated the development of relationships between the group and porters. He was hard working and ensured the experience of each individual within the group was enhanced. He provided an excellent service at each and every tea house ensuring that the needs of all were met. He imparted his knowledge of the area, fauna/flora, religion and legends and was simply outstanding. He conducted dynamic risk assessments when required and I even witnessed him carry the rucksack of a struggling tourist across the pass! He has a bright future in this field and I cannot sing his praises highly enough. Well done!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring snacks for the long walking days - despite good food and multiple tea stops I could have done with carrying more carbohydrate/energy bars such as H5. I would carry a few travel squashes as you need to drink a lot of water which becomes boring Read the trip notes concerning tipping and allocate the appropriate funds for this - this is only moral and just for the work that has been done to support you. Bladders and tubes will freeze so Nalgene bottles are essential

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The strength of any tour company is in its people, particularly those indigenous employees who deliver the holiday and enhance the experience through their knowledge, approach and good nature. Dorjee Sherpa and his team were second to none and without them the ACT would not have been the success it was. They were outstanding and should be given just recognition for their efforts from Exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2020
    Euan Stanwix

    Absolutely Amazing Scenery

    This was my first trip to the Annapurna region and chosen because I'm not sure what it will look like in even 5 years time with all the road development going on. Yes, there are a couple of days where you're walking on a dirt road which used to be the trail but the lasting memories are of the spectacular scenery, the fantastic Nepalese people, the great camaraderie in our group and our leaders who were superb organisers and really good fun as well. The first time you catch sight of the Annapurna range is just awe-inspiring as the snow-capped peaks tower above you. You could never tire of that amazing panorama. Other obvious highlights are crossing Thorong La pass at 5,400 metres (it got tough above 5,000 metres!), the sunrise on the top of Poon Hill and the numerous river crossings on suspension bridges. However, I will also take away the warmth of the local people, the great food, the little insights you get into Nepalese village life as you walk through the mountain villages and a better appreciation of the people and their culture. They have far fewer material possessions than people in the UK but seem to smile a lot more - a lesson in there I think. I would recommend this trip to anyone who has a love of mountains and different cultures but don't wait too long because the 'development' of the Annapurna Sanctuary area continues at a pace so the landscape is changing, and not necessarily for the better if you like your trekking without too much traffic.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of Thorong La pass at 5,400 metres. We got up at 2:30a.m. at around 4,500 metres and set off with head torches for the top of the pass. After a tea stop at 5,000 metres it started to get tough and our group had a collective feeling of relief and achievement when we reached the top of the pass in glorious sunshine. How people climb 8,000 metre peaks without oxygen I do not know. The trek is very well organised inasmuch as you gain altitude slowly in the 8-9 days before Thorong La and so most of the party didn't need Diamox and only had occasional headaches which is quite normal. The sunrise at Poon Hill also deserves a mention as it is absolutely spectacular and not at all arduous compared to Thorong La.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Tsering Dorjee Sherpa. I've been on numerous organised tours with various travel companies and I can say that Dorjee was one of the best leaders I've had teh pleasure of meeting. He was mature beyound his 23 years, extremely well organised, very passionate about Nepal and his Sherpa heritage and went out of his way to ensure the trip ran smoothly and that everyone enjoyed it. He was ably backed up by other guides and a team of porters, all of whom interacted with our group and collectively we had a great experience. If you're lucky enough to have Dorjee as your guide you will have a great trip and will learn a lot about Nepal, it's people and its culture.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    (1) Changing money in Kathmandu - the Himalayan bank will give you a much better rate if you bring new £50 notes. Any used £20 notes were scrutinised and any with writing on, slight rips in etc. were not accepted. It's also difficult to change the Rupees back to Sterling in Kathmandu so leave time to go round a few bureau de change. The rates are pretty similar across the bureaux de change (2) Most of the tea houses have power of some description to charge electrical items (USB or Mains) but power banks to charge phones / camera batteries are useful. Take a bag to put all your batteries in and put it in your sleeping bag at night to prevent them losing charge (3) The Exodus sleeping bags / down jackets tend to be on the heavy and bulky side and as weight/bulk is at a premium it's good to bring your own if you can. We had sleeping bags rated down to -2c (comfort) which were fine coupled with merino baselayers at higher altitudes (4) We had a Steripen, as did a number of our group, and they are the best thing for these types of trips as they probably cost the same as all the chlorine dioxide tablets you would need instead but you don't get the nasty aftertaste of tablets. Be sure to bring spare rechargeable batteries and a fast charger to keep the batteries charged. (5) We bought diamox in Kathmandu (£1 compared with £30 for a private prescription in the UK). We didn't need them in the end but we did use Ibuprofen for the occassional headache. Drinking lots of water is essential and a number of the group thought the garlic soup of the trail may have helped alleviate altitude issues

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You don't need to be super-fit to do the Annapurna Circuit as most days don't exceed 12 miles but the altitude can be debilitating. As you can't train for altitude just ensure you have a good base level of fitness, your boots are well broken in and you are very familiar with all your gear. For the photographers I took my Canon EOS with a 10-22 and 70-300 lens. Yes, the long lens weighs a fair amount (1 kg) but you get some fantastic close-up photos of the Annapurna range. Also make sure you take a polarising filter because the glare can wash out your photographs.
  • Reviewed May 2019
    Susan Goodrich

    Amazing adventure

    This was the most wonderful trip. Words really can’t describe it. The Himalayas are awesome, the walking wonderful. Going over the tharong la pass was immensely challenging and we all made it. We saw wonderful sights, a baby vulture still with its white down, magnificent mountains, the sun rising over Poon hill, isolated villages where we were welcomed as we walked through, temples and monasteries. The food was freshly cooked throughout. The only down side was that some walking involved going along the road which is being build along the trek. If you’re thinking of going on this trek, I would recommend going sooner rather than later as this road continues to be built. It was lovely walking in the company of like minded people and we had a lot of laughs and supported each other throughout. Gun, our leader and his fellow guides could not have done more. They were kind, supported where needed, acted as nature leaders, made sure we had everything we needed. One final point. This is graded at a level 5 and it feels harder than that. We had 19 days walking, starting usually at 7.30am (usually up by 6.15-30 ..... Gum only let us have an extra 30 mins sleep after crossing the tharong la pass 😀😀) and finishing at 4-5. So in summary. Tough and extraordinarily wonderful !! Go for it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole thing. Seeing a baby vulture, the mountains, eating a lovely Dahl baht in a mountain village, the wonderful walking, crossing the tharong la pass, the laughs in the group, the fun. I could go on ......

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He could not have done more to make the experience better. He was knowledgable, instilled confidence as we were going over the pass, generous with his time, fun. I have nominated him as a guide of the year.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As I said above I think this trek should be rated higher as it is far harder than others I’ve been on, also rated 5. So get fit as you’re walking for 19 days up / along challenging terrain. We crossed the tharong la pass in snow and it took 11 hours. Don’t get too hung up about toiletries, tablets, loo paper. It can be bought most of the way around. There’s plenty of time when you get to Nepal to change money / get permits.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Dorothy Brockway

    Annapurna Circuit in cold December

    Wonderful scenery, amazing mountains but this was a lot tougher than a grade 5. (I've done an easier 6 than this). Whilst Exodus does attempt to make the traveller aware of the often primitive conditions of the tea huts, the EXTREME cold encountered on Dec trips is not emphasised enough. Those huts which did have wood burners in the dining area seemed reluctant to Light them other than when we were having our paid meals. Despite requests, we were forced to spend a lot of time in our beds and sleeping bags. The meals were good but the only prepaid meal, breakfast could have been better. It became apparant most tea huts were offering free accommodation if evening meals were purchased. Most days we were only offered porridge and toast despite eggs etc being available. A little mean of Exodus,

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The La Thorong Pass and Poon Hill

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Absolutely excellent. Prem. And his assistant Hari could not do enough for us. As well as making our safety paramount and doing everything in their power to help us achieve our goals on the mountains, they also paid attention to the smallest details, noticing our every need and trying to fulfil them. Just brilliant.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Respect the cold and perhaps consider a Feb or March departure. (I did The Sanctury in March and It was nowhere near as cold).
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Ken Plumb

    Wonderful Trip

    A more varied trip than the Everest trips I have done. The whole trip was amazing - great group of trekers - great leadership - wonderful support staff - epic scenery. Every day brought something different - from rice fields to baron high mountain areas - from 25 degrees to minus 12 ! - from high mountain views to flat valley landscapes. So, so glad I did this trip

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Crossing Thorang La Pass at over 5400m was a wonderful day - long, tiring but epic. A landscape so unlike anything in Europe coupled with the physical effort of walking uphill at high altitude. We all made it thanks to our great Nepali team.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kumar was a real star. He seemed to anticipate our every need and organised his staff superbly. He looked after people when that has problems during the trip. He was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We were so lucky to have him. A really top class Exodus leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Layers of clothing are the answer form temperatures which varied so much. Take a pillow case - almost no weight and more hygienic than just using the pillows which may not have been cleaned for a while. Steripens are recommended and work very well. Be very careful with your hygiene - many people had a day or 2 with 'issues' but I was fine - hand gel is the key ! Be reasonably fit - you do not have to be superfit. Take antibiotics and Diamox with you in case you need them. Use suncream a lot - the sun burns you at high altitude. Take your time on the trek and enjoy the views - take a good camera. Take a buff for use on the dusty roads you sometimes have to use.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you can afford the time, this trip has a bit of everything for someone with a bit of adventure in their soul ( or even sole! ) , Nepal is a wonderful friendly, inspiring place ! Go for it.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    John Sutton

    Smashed it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Delightful fellow trekkers, a brilliant leader, the smiling Nepalese and amazing scenery made this the trek of a lifetime. We had no rain and much of the time walked in brilliant sunshine, which really lifts the spirits when you are feeling a bit knackered. The team dynamic really works. We all got on and helped each other. Now consider myself a leading expert on veg. noodle soup, tomato soup( both home made, of course ) along with egg and veg noodles and apple pie ! It felt a real privilege to visit this very poor country and see how the very tough Nepalese live. It makes you realise just how very fortunate we are with all the amenities we take for granted, which in Nepal would be a luxury.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting up at 3 am and climbing for 5 hours with head torches to reach the Thorang La pass by 9. Watching the sun rise and then descending about 5,400 ft . Views that just took your breath away. The desolation up there and freezing cold too. And the sense of achievement that the whole group made it. Poon Hill was amazing too. Another early morning start to get up there but you really did feel on top of the world. And all those other trekkers up there too, like us, waiting to see the sun rise. The way the light caught the mountains was just magical and presented great photo opportunities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    If you said name me the perfect group leader, it would be Prim ( and I know others in the group thought the same) He constantly watched over us (but not in an intrusive way) ensuring everyone was OK. Safety was paramount. Sorted out all our meals, was very knowledgeable about the mountains, had a great smile, was very courteous. A true gent. Nothing was too much trouble. He took away any anxiety with his calmness. He had Pasang and Lappa helping him too. They were both excellent. And lets not forget the porters - delightful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take plenty of hand gel. Reduce your risk of tummy bugs - take probiotics before and during walk. Whilst it can be very cold as you go up, its also very warm when the sun is out, even when high up. So have a good mix of winter and summer clothes. Jelly babies , boiled sweets and chocolates bars keep you happy !

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just a big THANK YOU. Wondering how I can top that. I have definitely got the bug for another one.
  • Reviewed December 2018
    Julie Reynolds

    A great trip!

    The annapurna circuit has been on my wish list for a long time and having finally got to do it, it did not disappoint! The scenery is fantastic and ever changing with something new to look at, at seemingly every corner.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting drinking fresh apple juice as a golden eagle flew just over our heads. Seeing the mountains against the cloudless blue skies time and time again from all different angles. Getting over the pass!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kumar was excellent. I really do not think we could have asked for more in a guide. Everything was well organised and nothing was ever too much trouble for him. I think he put a lot of effort into ensuring everyone in the group was happy and had what they needed and to just making sure we were having a good time . He worked extremely hard as did the other guides and the porters and we were very lucky to have such a great team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take lots of warm layers for the evenings. Despite being in tea houses it is very cold, even in the communal areas. Don’t go on this trip unless you can cope with squat toilets, often not very clean, communal facilities and dodgey showers!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are stretches where the walk is on roads which are very dusty and not very pleasant. Its definately wise to have a face mask or buff for these parts.
  • Reviewed November 2018
    William Harvey

    Annapurna Circuit

    Descriptions or photographs cannot do justice to the dramatic scenery as

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The ascent other Thorong La Pass, the climb from Totopani to Ghorepani and of course the dramatic scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good leader however a little authoritarian, demanding (not recommending or advising) the clothing I should wear rather than accepting that I have the experience and awareness of my tolerances to climate conditions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The accommodation, wind and dust can pose challenges however if you can embrace these issues as being part of the Annapurna Circuit you'll enjoy the experience to its maximum effect.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Iain Black

    Annapurna Circuit

    This trip was excellent-the first Himalayan experience, a highly thought-of trek through brilliant mountain and remote scenery in mostly ideal weather conditions with a great mix of fellow trekkers all led by a delightful knowledgable guide. The first week was spent trekking up the Marsyangaki River from to the remote high pass of the Thorong la then the circuit was completed by descending down the deep gorge of the Kala Gandaki surrounded by the high mountains of the Annapurna range. A euphoric feeling developed at the end of the circuit in Pokhara !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the crossing of the Thorong-la It’s a big long day with an early start and potential problems are weather and altitude. Just standing by the prayer flags in the sun and snow 17000 feet up with the group and thinking how we’d all got there was very moving.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What a cheerful knowledgable unflappable person! Faced with 11 disparate souls from entirely different backgrounds, he led, cajoled, and encouraged us throughout the walk. He was very proud of his country and did a very good job of explaining the cultural differences and challenges of Nepal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect a good days walking most days. Expect to be breathless on the higher sections -the air though clear is much drier and thinner,and use sunscreens to protect against UV skin damage. Take your time ascending. Expect stomach upsets - some of us got more than we expected! Even with antibiotics

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’ve got a real issue with your Steripen advice.... ok I may have been unlucky, but when I got home mine wouldn’t function at all so I returned it. I was deeply suspicious throughout that it may not have been working but I had no way of knowing bacteriologically, just blind faith in your advice. I’d like to have tried bottled sterilised water to see if it made a dufference
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Iain Black

    Annapurna Circuit

    This trip was excellent-the first Himalayan experience, a highly thought-of trek through brilliant mountain and remote scenery in mostly ideal weather conditions with a great mix of fellow trekkers all led by a delightful knowledgable guide. The first week was spent trekking up the Marsyangaki River from to the remote high pass of the Thorong la then the circuit was completed by descending down the deep gorge of the Kala Gandaki surrounded by the high mountains of the Annapurna range. A euphoric feeling developed at the end of the circuit in Pokhara !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely the crossing of the Thorong-la It’s a big long day with an early start and potential problems are weather and altitude. Just standing by the prayer flags in the sun and snow 17000 feet up with the group and thinking how we’d all got there was very moving.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    What a cheerful knowledgable unflappable person! Faced with 11 disparate souls from entirely different backgrounds, he led, cajoled, and encouraged us throughout the walk. He was very proud of his country and did a very good job of explaining the cultural differences and challenges of Nepal.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect a good days walking most days. Expect to be breathless on the higher sections -the air though clear is much drier and thinner,and use sunscreens to protect against UV skin damage. Take your time ascending. Expect stomach upsets - some of us got more than we expected! Even with antibiotics

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I’ve got a real issue with your Steripen advice.... ok I may have been unlucky, but when I got home mine wouldn’t function at all so I returned it. I was deeply suspicious throughout that it may not have been working but I had no way of knowing bacteriologically, just blind faith in your advice. I’d like to have tried bottled sterilised water to see if it made a dufference