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 March 2018
    Frances Harris

    Thai Indochina Tour

    It was amazing, I did things, saw places and ate food I never thought I would. It was probably the best adventure I’ve ever had and I did it with a fabulous group of people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think it was seeing Angkor Wat, although we didn’t manage to see the sunrise, it was overcast. The temple was something else.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three group leaders during the trip. They were all very good. The tour leader we had for Cambodia was brilliant, she really went the extra mile for us and was so pleasant and amusing.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack a lot lighter than I did, be prepared for more cold weather than you expect, we had it pretty cool for best part of two weeks. Especially when you are on the water. There’s lots of laundry opportunities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The money can be confusing because of the amount of notes, usually about eleven different ones, most places are more than happy with dollars. No coins.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    David Netherwood

    Fantastic trip

    Brilliant trip, great balance between cycling and cultural. Our leader "Is" was wonderful - she stops traffic with a wave of her hand and big smile! We were really well looked after. The hotels vary a bit with most being very comfortable, one or two in out of the way places are just OK. All were clean, en-suite and had air-con. We visited markets, got top try a range of "food" - I'm veggie, so skiped the meat bit (some it had 6 or even 8 legs). As a veggie, Is always made sure I had a suitable meal. The bikes were heavy mountain bikes, in excellent condition in Thailand, less so in Cambodia and Vietnam. The cycling is all flat, there are couple of long days, but we all managed. My advice, book it. Its a great trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many. I love the cycling, with 3 guides we were able to push teh pace a little while no leaving anyone behind. Siem Reap and the temples were great, but so was everywhere else. The killing fields was the most moving. While upsetting, it I do feel it was the right thing to include it in the trip. Weaving through traffic in Siem Reap, its utter chaos, but everyone gives way to each other and somehow it just works. I think the abiding memory will be the huge and warm welcome we got from the locals, the kids hi-fiving us as we rode past, lunch at one of the cycle guide's mum's house (best meal of the trip).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Is, our leader, was tireless, hard working, great fun, and made sure we all had a great time. We owe her a massive thank you, she really made the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I read a lot of other reviews and lot of them mentioned the bike seats. I dismissed them at the time,a mistake. I don't know why, they look OK, but oh my bum! Take Thai Bart, US dollars for Cambodia. In Vietnam there is a good exchange near the hotel that takes £ $ and I guess a lot more.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Garry Smith

    Thai Indochina Grand Tour

    If you want to get a taste of the 4 countries, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, this is the tour for you. The accommodation was brilliant throughout, with a variety from riverside hotels to overnight boat on Halong Bay to homestay and lastly, the most restful of all, the overnight Reunification Express from Hanoi to Hue. The tour leaders were very professional and, in particular in Cambodia, Vanthe was both passionate and knowledgeable about his country. in fact, in many ways Cambodia was the highlight as the scenery, people and places we visited were beyond our expectations. This trip provides an excellent taster of what Indochina has to offer and we are considering revisiting Laos and Cambodia at some time in the future.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment was undoubtedly Cambodia and the way the people have bounced back and proved so resilient from all the recent devastation, both in terms of population and habitat. In addition the passion with which Vanthe spoke about the history and people was both refreshing and eye opening.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 3 different group leaders. All were excellent, in their own way. They were backed up by individual guides in the various places visited, who were prepared to open up their hearts and souls to inform us of their countries and knowledge of the places visited.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do not hesitate. Book the trip immediately.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lynn Simpson

    Great Thai Indochina trip

    Excellent trip for those wanting to see and do as bike rides and kayaking included with the sightseeing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Ha Long Bay stunning. Angkor complex amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Different group leader for each country though Boom covered both Thailand and Laos and was great.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Angkor though the highlight of the trip comes right at the very end when you may be tired and "all templed out".

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I was the only one from our group who did the optional activity at Ock Pop Tok of a day learning about natural dyeing and weaving. It was a great day and perhaps this option should be pushed more.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    GRAHAM CLUCAS

    Super Sample of Indochina

    This trip does exactly what it say on the tin. Fantastic 30 day tour through the Golden Triangle and parts of Laos,Vietnam and Cambodia. Well honed programme covering many of the top spots in the region with great guides,food,transport and hotels. I went in the wet season but din't get too damp. Was it humid, hot at times and were there insects? 'Course! That's expected in the tropics. Did I get bitten? Hardly. Have stomach issue? No. was the scooter traffic manic? Sure, but you get used to it. When in Rome cross through the traffic at a stready pace. Did I get a great insight into this part of Asia? Certainly!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me, it was the local market at the end of a local cycle ride. The produce, the people and the way they interact are fascinating.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Each of the 3 leaders, one in every country was top notch. Knew his stuff, always helpful, patient and attended to requests immediately.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to get a taste of SE Asia in a relatively leisurely way, this is the tour for you. Bring plenty of deet, slap and drink plenty of water. Eat local food but don't go extreme unless the guide eats it. Don't denigrate local customs, this is Asia not Ascot.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Get out there soon. The whole area is changing rapidly and the current popular spots like Halang bay and Ankor Wat will be probably be Disneyfied and overrun with tourists once new airports,train links etc are finished in the next couple of years. These countries need the money, but are in danger of killing the golden geese sites they hold.
  • Reviewed August 2017

    A wonderful adventure through former Indochina - exceptionally well managed.

    This is a fascinating and compelling trip through a region with a long, complex and at times dark history. It's a fast moving holiday, with sustained levels of interest. Astonishingly, absolutely nothing went wrong with the planned itinerary, despite the numerous planes, boats, minivans and of course the overnight train from Hanoi to Hue. Amazing value for money, and first class administration throughout - very well done to Exodus and its local agents. A trip of this nature will always be more successful with a cohesive group - we were lucky to be a well balanced, agreeable and fairly easy going group of nine, which I think we would regard as an ideal number. The days are long and the weather very warm, so a sense of humour and an easy going nature is helpful!! We thought the hotels were fantastic in terms of value for money and location and (in contrast to one reviewer) we thought that all the breakfasts were really good - there were always freshly cooked eggs, fruit, good strong coffee and an array of interesting local dishes. I'm curious as to exactly what that reviewer was expecting!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Difficult to pick just one! We loved the slow boat down the Mekong, adored the craziness and vibrant culture of Hanoi - but for me, Cambodia is a stand-out destination. The gruesome, haunting history of the Khmer Rouge era is comparable to the holocaust in its inexplicable raw and senseless brutality (this part of the trip is strong stuff, and definitely not for the squeamish). That said, the ongoing recovery of the Khmer spirit is a shining example to all who go through terrible hardships and war (incidentally, we recommend the circus performance in Siem Riep). And the finale of the trip is the truly world class temples of Angkor Wat - a staggering engineering achievement for an advanced civilisation over a thousand years ago.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The three main leaders (Nat, "Bak" and "Bun") were all excellent, as were the subsidiary guides hired for parts of the trip. The administration of the trip - eg liaison with hotels, restaurants, temples etc - was quite superb. We should just add (not as a criticism, just an observation) that whilst the leaders spoke good English, it was in each case quite heavily accented and at times (especially when describing the history of temples, monuments, etc) rather difficult to follow. Our recommendation is that travellers do their own homework with good quality guide books rather than relying on very detailed explanations from the leaders. Overall, though first class leaders who are a credit to Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too many clothes - in fact one strategy would be to take no clothes at all and buy them locally at extremely cheap prices (if you bargain hard!!). You can start at the Bangkok night market... I bought a superb suit and a blazer in Hoi An at a fraction of UK prices - made to measure. It's fun, it aids the local economy and you get a bargain! Take a massive memory card for your camera - its a photographers paradise (wi fi is everywhere on this trip - Asia puts BT to shame). It's stating the obvious I guess but you need to have an interest in Asian food - which is delicious and very different. There are "creepy crawlies" in various places, so be prepared - but nothing that we saw that could be harmful. Health wise, there are plenty of pharmacies for minor ailments, but some areas are remote so more serious medical conditions would necessitate a flight to Bangkok or Saigon. Tummy upsets are to be expected, but these were generally mild and did not last. We did not take anti malarials as we judged the risk to be slight - but you should take a good spray. Money wise, I strongly recommend the new pre-pay credit cards such as Revolut or Monzo who have no FX charges. There are plentiful ATM's. Take dollars for Cambodia. Food/drink is cheap everywhere but you do need to budget for a month of eating out for dinner. Everywhere feels totally safe, with just a caveat that Phnom Penh has a bag snatching problem at present (which I witnessed first hand on a tourist in front of me on a pavement). You can easily safeguard against it and it should't spoil your enjoyment or restrict your freedom.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It's clear that the region is developing rapidly, and attracting very large numbers of tourists. Inevitably this means that some places that might once have been "sleepy", or off the normal tourist beat, are now much busier and perhaps less authentic for the discerning traveller. Opinions of people who take this trip may vary, but in our view the itinerary might benefit from some revision. Our personal preference would be to slightly reduce the time spent in Laos and Vietnam and to expand the Cambodian itinerary into regions that are less touristy, yet extremely interesting. One other reviewer questioned the Halong Bay trip - we too thought this had become extremely "trippy" even though the quality of the boat that we had was high. We would have preferred a more leisurely two night trip with more opportunity to swim and move into areas with fewer tourists. If this were not possible, we think this part of the itinerary might be sacrificed to allow more time in Cambodia (and the Mekong delta homestay and river market trip could just as easily have been done in Cambodia). That is a personal view - others might not agree. In similar vein, we were not particularly impressed with Vang Vieng in Laos which is a favourite of backpackers. Again, we would have sacrificed this for more Cambodia. I should stress that these are relatively marginal considerations in the context of a long and hugely enjoyable jaunt around Asia!!
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Douglas Barlow

    Thai Indochina Grand Tour

    Four very different countries full of extremely nice people. Unbelievable scenery, incredible adventures.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Walking along Nguyen Thai Hoc street in Hoi An one evening. We walked under thousands of Chinese lanterns of all shapes and colours while fantastic food was being prepared and served along each side of the road. Breathtaking.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our first tour leader, Gung, was with us through Thailand and Laos. She is an amazing leader, very professional and extremely knowledgeable. She led and cared for her group. Our second tour leader, Jay, was with us throughout Vietnam. Again, professional and knowledgeable. Both Jay and Gung were very approachable and helpful when deciding where and what to eat. Our third and final tour leader, Dino, was with us for the Cambodia leg. A friendly chap.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The tour leaders always directed us to reasonably priced, quick turnaround laundry services wherever we stopped. No need to pack so many clothes. Good walking shoes was excellent advice. We always found a shopping mart for basic necessities. Mosquitoes were not a problem in January/February.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    You will see some unusual edible items on display in the markets. Spiders, frogs, rats and grubs. The Ladies selling their wares are doing the best they can to support and sustain their families. Some members of our tour were verbally very disrespectful whilst thrusting a camera in the faces of these Ladies. Taking such people to the market is not a good idea, certainly not responsible tourism.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    John Orchard

    Indo China in one month

    Over one month we visited four countries. During this time we caught seven flights, took countless coaches/minibuses, four different river boats, one ferry, stayed in twelve hotels and participated in many excursions. During this time we suffered not one problem, delay or misadventure. Can you imagine how much focus and organisation this must have taken? There are many organisations that should take lessons from Exodus. Oh and we enjoyed every minute of the trip which was both exhilarating and intellectually stimulating.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to list including the general goodwill and hospitality we found in each of the countries and the depth of history and culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had three group leaders, two were excellent and one every good. Not only did they organise everything excellently but they took the time to explain in depth the culture and thinking behind each of the nations and tribal groups we were travelling through. We learnt geography, history, religion, culture and regional relationships in each of the countries we visited. The group leaders were strongly committed to the Exodus philosophy towards responsible travel and giving back to the communities we visited.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Four weeks in a tight group of travellers requires everyone to commit to making the tour a success. If you do so you will have an enriching experience to look back on with great pleasure.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Mary Gallagher

    Grand Indochina Tour

    An excellent trip. Well organised and all the guides were very helpful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Feeding the monks in Luang Probang

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a different group leader for each country that we visited. Boom was our leader in Thailand and Laos. She was very explicit with all her arrangements and passing on. information. She was supported by two local guides, Tui & Key. Cong was our leader throughout Vietnam. He was unbiased and very good at giving factual information about the Vietnam war. He was knowledgeable and informative about all aspects of Vietnamese culture, the country and its people. He waited with us for over an hour at the Vietnam/Cambodia border until our Cambodian guide, who had been delayed, turned up. In Cambodia our guide was Dino and he like Boom, was supported by two local guides. One on the Homestay and our visit to the Mekong Delta and another while we were in Phnom Penh and visited the prison and the Killing Fields. Dino was very helpful and supportive.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of scams in Bangkok which are perpetrated by random strangers around the vicinity of the Grand Palace/tourist areas, tuk tuk drivers and even taxi drivers! s! One variation is that taxi drivers or tuk tuk drivers will tell you that the grand palace is closed today for some special/Buddhist ceremony while you are still on the cab/tuk tuk. They will then advise you an alternative location such as the Sitting Buddha/Lucky Buddha/Marble Temple and claim that it’s only open once a year which happens to be today !!!! Listen to them and you will end up at some jewellery or tailor shops where you might be coerced into buying overpriced crap. Some of them might lock you in the shop until you start buying.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I did two days in Bangkok before the tour actually started but we were given no information about a meeting with our local guide etc even though I asked at Reception. I overheard another receptionist telling someone who had just checked in that there was an information Board on the First Floor of the Hotel and that she would get information there about Exodus and a group meeting.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Judy Ransley

    Thai Indochina Grand Tour

    A full-on exploration of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia with a couple of days in Thailand thrown in. Be prepared for some early mornings (3 @ 5.30 in first week I seem to remember but it got easier) and lots of long days travelling by various modes of transport. Trip centres mostly on cities so don't really get an in-depth feel of the countryside but with only 4 weeks to see everything the trip certainly covers all the main sites.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyone's different of course but for me, spending a morning helping a young Lao monk at a literacy project in Luang Prabang. I knew very little about Laos before the trip but I loved it. I also enjoyed giving alms of sticky rice to the monks early in the morning, it made you feel a bit connected to their traditional way of life. As regards trip highlights I would list the 2 days drifting down the Mekong in Laos, The Mekong Delta with homestay, the Cu Chi tunnels and, in general, learning about the different conflicts that have affected the area and its people over the last few decades.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had 3 main leaders - Thailand/Laos; Vietnam; Cambodia as well as various other local guides for a day or two each. All were great especially Boom from Thailand and Dino in Cambodia. A couple of the local guides were superb. All did everything in their power to provide the best experience possible.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't take too much luggage. Virtually everybody bought clothes of some description and laundry is available at several places en-route. Almost all hotels provided toiletries/hair dryer so don't bother with those. We were advised to take a towel for the homestay but, again, it was provided. We didn't find it necessary to use a sleeping bag liner on the train which was very basic but clean. Lightweight trainers or sandals are all that is necessary for any walking - this is essentially a fairly sedentary trip. An umbrella is very useful for showers/sun. Ladies need to cover their shoulders (shawl not acceptable) and knees for temple visits. Men can wear shorts as long as they nearly touch the knee. If you are interesting in helping/getting involved in charitable projects ask your local guide in Laos as there is a publication listing a lot of options in Luang Prabang. Take school supplies and pass them on in Laos. This is a really good whistlestop introduction to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The time spent in Thailand is very limited and doesn't add that much to the overall trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't expect "adventure tourism". This is essentially a city-based tour using large, generic hotels with little local feel about them (with a couple of exceptions). However, in order to cover the distance in the time given it works as well as can be expected. Although I enjoyed the majesty of the limestone karsts in Halong Bay I was dismayed at how many boats there are in a very small area. Don't expect seclusion - although we were on the boat for 20+ hours we actually only motored out of port for a couple of hours and then anchored in sight of 40 other boats. The boat was lovely but, for me, this was a bit of a disappointment - I know others think differently.
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