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

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17837 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fresh air, sunshine, mountains - a heavenly February escape!

    Fantastic trip - wonderful walking and scenery - almond trees in blossom, spectacular geology, great company and camaraderie among the group, a very knowledgeable and attentive guide (Jose) who clearly loves his home region and wants to share it with others as well as being a competent and experienced mountain guide, a comfortable family-run hotel with a personal touch in a tranquil location, copious amounts of very good food... We were lucky in having perfect weather in February and it was a tonic to get away from stormy Britain.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The two ridge walks were my favourites, with the 360-degree panoramas across the mountain ranges.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jose is an excellent leader, very personable and kept us laughing and on our toes. He tended to every member of the group and was very aware of people's different needs. I found all he had to tell us about the local politics, history, culture etc. very interesting. He is very well organised and conscientious - I don't underestimate how much hard work his job is but he performs it all with charm. Finally, he clearly places safety and wellbeing front and centre.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you have only done 'moderate' rated holidays before, don't be put off by the 'moderate to challenging' rating of this holiday. Yes, it is challenging at times, but if you are of reasonable fitness and hill-walking experience (read the trip notes on this!) then go for it - it's just a question of pushing yourself a little harder and it pays off in terms of the views and sense of accomplishment. Being a pessimist I couldn't quite believe that it would truly be warm in February and at the last minute ditched several t-shirts and my sunhat from my packing - if you go at this time of year, pack for all temperatures! We had 19 degree sunshine but it does get chilly in the evenings (I appreciated the evening fire in the restaurant). Most people on the free day chose to relax close to the hotel. I went to Altea and Villajoyosa on the coast and had an enjoyable day - transport between the two by tram/train is easy and we even swam in the sea. It was a good way to break up the week and see another side to the region.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only that I would thoroughly recommend this trip. I didn't think that the Picos de Europa week could be beaten within Spain but I enjoyed this one equally - the peacefulness and remoteness of the location is really surprising given its easy proximity to Alicante and the rest of the coast. I would be interested in similar trips elsewhere in Spain - Cabo de Gata looks good, Exodus!
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Busy itinerary packed with highlights

    This is a busy itinerary that covers all the major sights in the 'Golden Triangle' of Northern India, plus two tiger safaris and Varanasi, in only 7 days off work. Most itineraries on offer for this part of the world won't give you so much in such a short time period. This makes it a great option for travellers with little time to spare and who want to see as much as possible of this part of the world. There is little 'down time' and it can feel a bit rushed at times, but for me this was far outweighed by the opportunity to see so much and visit places I simply couldn't have fitted in at all any other way. The trip was very well organised and run and I enjoyed everything we visited.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Taj Mahal was so impressive - it really is worth seeing it in real life. Pictures and TV can't do it justice. The whole trip was worth it just for that. Seeing a tiger in Rathambhore was thrilling especially as many groups aren't that lucky (but the safaris are worthwhile and enjoyable in their own right even if no tigers appear). Varanasi was fascinating and an unexpected highlight for me. Also visiting the Sikh Gurdwara and its communal kitchens in Delhi was a really interesting trip and gave an insight into an aspect of a religion I knew little about.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very well organised and efficient. He did a fantastic job keeping a large group together and getting us through an incredibly busy and tightly timed itinerary in sometimes difficult circumstances. He made the trip run smoothly which must have been a mammoth undertaking.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It really does get very cold in February, particularly on the game drives and sunrise starts. You can't wear enough on the early morning safari to keep warm. So pack accordingly! Layers are best as later in the day when the sun's out you won't need your jackets. Most days you have access to a bus so can leave things like coats. European plug adaptors are the most useful to take and can be used in the majority of the hotels. The train does have power points by the bunks. You can purchase a chain and padlock to secure your bags on the train very cheaply at the station - so if you don't already have one, don't splash out in your home country on one. As with all Exodus trips, a softer, smaller bag will serve you better than a big hard suitcase, particularly when trying to fit it under the train bunk beds. There are a number of optional excursions and these aren't always listed in the trip notes. The cost was generally around 1000-1500 rupees per person for a group of 16. It would be higher for smaller groups. The excursions offered were a cooking demonstration on the first evening, a hot air balloon ride on the second morning (this would be more expensive than the cost above), watching a Bollywood film at a local cinema on the second night (this was about 700 rupees and was well worth it, really enjoyable), a sunrise cruise on the river in Varanasi to see the burning ghats (highly highly recommended), a trip to Sarnath on the second day in Varanasi (miss-able, but does pass the time if you don't want to wait around at the hotel), and a sightseeing trip in Delhi on the last day. You won't necessarily see the standard sights on the Delhi trip but the places we went were well worth visiting, especially the Gurdwara. If you do all the trips and eat with the group, you need at least £200 spending money. The shopping trips can't really be avoided despite what the trip notes say as they are done 'en route' to other things, although you can opt to stay on the bus if you prefer. Take a kindle or phone or something else to amuse yourself if that's the case. The items you see are all high-price and outside the budget of some travellers, so if you're going to have to watch your money and find temptation hard to resist, you might also want to sit these out. If you're a keen photographer or historian, planning ahead for your visits is a good idea as you'll get very little time at some of the sights - in particular, those in Jaipur, and Fatephur Sikri. Reading up in advance will help you make the most of the time you get and ensure you don't miss anything you particularly wanted to see/photograph.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Snowshoeing in the Catalan Pyrenees

    A pleasant weeks snow shoe walking in the Catalan Pyrenees, although it was unseasonably warm so we had to go quite high to get decent snow. It's a beautifiul range of mountains with lots of traditional villages which are much nicer than the overdeveloped skiing centres in the Alps. The hotel in Rialp was fine, with a comfortable bed and powerful shower. Overall the food in the hotel was very good, although my bathroom could have done with a bit of TLC and the rooms are short of sitting space for couples, although there is always the bar area. Our tour leader was Miguel Ibanez, who's company deliver the tour as a package for Exodus. He has a deep love of Catalan and delighted in showing us the mountains and the local produce from the region.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The final days walk above Espot, where we carried on abve the refuge into a bowl with a frozen lake and mountains all around. I also enjoyed the visit to the little museum in Sort on our rest day where we were told about the WWII refugees and Allied pilots who escaped via the Pyrenees.
  • The most beautiful views I have ever seen...

    ... and I've been to Canada, so that says a lot. Our group was extremely lucky with the weather. You basically walk up and down mountains every day, nothing interesting about that. It is the weather that controls what the views look like. I regret nothing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    When I look back at my pictures, there are two moments that stand out. At the end of our visit to Brasov, we stopped at a viewpoint on our way to the restaurant. That view was epic. It was nightfall, the lights in the city were on and behind it, you could see the mountain, it was breathtaking. The walk to Bran was the most beautiful. I can not put it into words. I enjoyed every second of that walk.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Thomas, the group leader was perfect. He knows the area really well and has a lot of experience guiding groups.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. For some bizarre reason, I hadn't done that and I didn't have the right gear. Luckily I was able to borrow it, but still. I felt uncomfortable doing that, knowing I could break or lose something.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Fabulous introduction to beautiful country

    This was my first time in Vietnam, and I would thoroughly recommend this trip. Lovely people, great food, beautiful beaches and some fabulous scenery to cycle past. Its a full on two weeks, with early mornings and late arrivals, but if you're up for packing in the experiences, then you'll love it. There are a few tough days in the saddle, and some long stints in the bus - but you get to see so much of Vietnam, that it's well worth it and there's nothing I'd really want to have skipped. Our group was fantastic, we got on so well and had such fun together - such a memorable holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There's definitely more than one... making it up the 10km ascent to the Hai Van Pass, snorkelling off Whale Island, cycling through the many roundabouts in Dalat (not for faint hearted!), the colurs and lights in Hoi An and most importantly the warmth, enthusiasm and care of our wonderful guide Tri and his support team - who made our holiday amazing.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Literally couldn't fault Tri and his team - we were incredibly well looked after, and learned so many interesting insights and historical details - that it was a joy to be part of Tri's family.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Expect long days and early mornings! There's a real mix of cycling through busy towns (really busy!) and quiet country tracks, but you do need to prepare for some hectic city biking. I wasn't bothered by stomach upsets or mosquito bites, but it's sensible to be prepared. There's opportunity to get laundry done so no need to overpack, and there are two nights where you need to leave luggage and have overnight bag (Whale Island and boat at Halong Bay). The sleeper train is quite an experience....

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If there's a way to get direct flights, pick that option! The layover in Kuala Lumpur was a bit brutal, and as someone who hates flying I would definitely have preferred less time in the air. Apart from that, this is a great trip and I had an amazing time - so thanks to Tri, the support team and all my travelling companions for a memorable experience.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Best Group Ever

    Though the group, tour leader and support staff were phenomenal throughout the trip and there were many highlights, the rural cycling within Thailand and Cambodia proved to be largely uninteresting, smoggy and garbage was strewn throughout. Mostly we saw different tree plantations of smaller trees for rubber, furniture, etc. and a little bit of off season ground crop areas. On the plus side the accomodation was spotless, the food excellent and the people wonderful. We certainly enjoyed Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and the other temple complexes and Phnom Penh. Also the history of Cambodia during the Khymer Rouge regime, though dark, was extremely educational and offered an understanding of current day Cambodia that we would have not gotten without physically attending the Killing Fields and the S-21 prison. In sharp contrast to what we saw of Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam was very green and lush and our stay at the Homestay on the island, travel on the Mekong and other cultural highlights was amazing. The very best of the trip was getting to know the wonderful group of people the tour attracted and the care our tour guide Chai gave us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Attending the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh (Choeung Ek) and the S-21 Prison (Tuol Sleng) which is now the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and meeting two of the 14 survivors from the prison, Chum Mey and Bou Meng.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Chai was beyond superb. His organizational ability, his kindness and concern, his upbeat demeanour, his availability and his sharing of cultural knowledge made the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    The trip of a lifetime

    The trip of a lifetime! My son and I joined twelve other people for this utterly amazing experience. This was our first adventure type holiday but after this experience it most certainly won't be our last. Our group bonded really well and, steered throughout the whole trip by the quite superb Roberto Aguilar, we were treated to spectacular wildlife, natural world and culture. Blessed with stunning weather for the most part, we were blessed on the two occasions that it rained as we were sitting under cover eating lunch or fast asleep in our hotel! The hotels are generally of an excellent standard. Food and drink were plentiful and pretty good as well. If I have one negative comment to make about the trip it is that I would love to go again but daren't as the first time was just too good to be able to replicate.!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many. A day out in a boat from Bocas Del Toro watching dolphins, snorkelling, lunch outdoors with the sea lapping under us and the last couple of hours on Red Frog beach. The ride from Hotel Mystica in the mountains alongside the lake...just gorgeous. Chocolate Road Panama Canal. Looking into an active volcano a the lava bubbling away two hundred metres below. Sloths Toucans Raft trip

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As stated earlier, Roberto is the ultimate guide. Endlessly patient. Totally organised. Cheerful. So well informed about all the areas that we travelled through. A good, strong cyclist as well, so that if you want to push yourself, he'll oblige by keeping up and pushing you too!! I find it hard to believe there could be a better guide.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were advised early on in the trip to 'surrender' to the itinerary and accept the regular, early starts in order that this allows you to see as much as possible during the two weeks.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I miss it
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Slow burner

    It must be said this is a bit dull to begin with - the first three cycling days are not particularly interesting - but it builds and in the end it is a great experience. Cambodia is a fascinating journey from the pomp of Angkor Wat to the rat infested piles of rubbish in Phnom Penh to the anguish of the Killing Fields; I'll never forget it. Vietnam was a complete contrast - colourful, enterprising,confident, resplendent with gold starred red flags everywhere.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Quite a few: The giant recumbent golden Buddha in Wat Pho The frog sausage with green tamarind salsa from a street vendor near Siem Reap Cycling through the North Gate of Angkor Thum at dusk Being brought to tears by the guide in the Genocide museum Riding through the country lanes and bustle near Chau Doc with all the children shouting "hallo" to us

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chai is a great guy - a fine advocate for Buddhism

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The cycling is a bit of a side show and this trip is really more about imagining yourself in the heartbeat of another as Sebastian Faulks, I think, said. I felt privileged to have made the journey. The best day's cycling is the second day in Angkor Wat so don't go shopping as some of our party did. It is very hot - take lots of factor 50 sun block. Aside from the frog sausage the best dish was Fish Amok served in a hollowed out coconut - don't miss it

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not for cyclist purists but an adventure you won't forget
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Brilliant Trip

    This is the fourth consecutive year my wife and I have done this trip, initially in Trins, then Seefeld and now Achenkirch. Despite some inclement weather for the Alps this was probably the best trip of all. Great group who gelled together, nice hotel and great food. As usual all the mountain huttes were a real treat. A really nice mix of walks and the treat of a toboggan ride after great coffee at the hutte at the top of the run.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    After using the Karwendel lift the views of Achensee and the mountains from the top.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The third year Paul McDermott has been the group leader. Terrific leader, nothing is too much trouble and always a smile. Joins in the evening cards which was great fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Good waterproofs as we walked for a day in torrential rain.
  • Reviewed February 2020

    Stunning trip

    I was well impressed with Sri Lanka - charming people, friendly and calm perhaps due to the widespread effect of Buddhism. Our well planned route took us inland, through the mountains and round the south coast with expert guide Nalaka, so we got a great overview of the island. Lovely hotels, most with pools, and superb food - buffets with the chance to try everything mixed with home cooking on banana leaves. We had the opportunity to travel in different ways - rafts, bikes, jeeps and trains; we saw wildlife close up, especially elephants of course, crocodiles, monkeys and a wide range of birds; and we explored some incredible historic sites. A very memorable and fun trip with a lovely group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I was particularly inspired by the view from the top of Sigiriya rock in the early morning mist, the folk museum and the life of Martin Wickramasinghe and the cheek of the monkeys!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was an excellent tour guide - charming, well organised, informative and helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No real need for adaptors - most hotels have sockets which take UK plugs. Walking boots are pretty useful - the Horton Plains track in particular is rough. And 'temple clothes' are needed - even just a sarong which can cover the legs or shoulders and old socks to wear on the hot rocks.
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