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

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623 Reviews

  • Reviewed February 2019
    Peter & Liz Rooke

    Discover Sri Lanka review

    This is an enjoyable trip with a good variety of activities. If you have been to India before you will find Sri Lanka surprisingly different. If this is your first trip to the sub-continent it is an excellent introduction. We didn’t climb Adam’s Peak, but the other activities on the trip were all good, including the traditional Sri Lankan games that we had been apprehensive about, but which were great fun. The accommodation was generally good apart from the Giritale Hotel which is undergoing building work and our initial room was unfinished. At Nuwara Eliya the group didn’t stay at the Hill Club, but at the Mirage King’s Cottage, which was very pleasant and a little way out of town with lovely fresh air and gardens. The food on the trip was fine, we particularly liked the midday meal on the cycle ride day. Exodus arranged for the group to refill our water bottles from a large container on the minibus, which worked well and helped minimise plastic waste.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were a lot of good moments on the trip. The ones that particularly stand out are: climbing Lion Rock, white water rafting and the Temple of the Tooth ceremony. Also, we enjoyed the cave temples at Dambulla and the optional boat ride through mangrove swamps.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was a lovely chap who got everyone smiling. Douglas, our driver, and Amal, the Driver’s Assistant, were both excellent too. Nalaka was very caring and dealt with any issues promptly and effectively. He made us aware of the need to be courteous to hotel staff and the beach ladies at the Insight Resort; many of the staff are boys from local farms who are doing their best to be helpful.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Insect repellent isn’t listed under Essential Equipment in the Trip Notes, but you need to take some. Binoculars aren’t listed either, and these are very useful for the wildlife trips. Horton Plains: the walk is harder than it sounds, it’s partly on uneven ground and involves some ascents and descents. We were fine, but a couple of people in our group really struggled and ended up missing lunch and nearly missing the train too. Whale watching: we paid a bit extra to have a private boat just for the group and this was well worth it. The boat pitches and rolls quite a lot out once out at sea and we recommend you take sea sickness pills. The cycle ride was good fun, easy going on level ground, but do take time at the start to find a bicycle that suits you both in the height and length of frame – some are more adjustable than others. Lastly, we found some of the hotel bathroom and shower floors were very slippery – take care!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take an open mind and try all the activities, this trip covers a wide range of activities, and some of the ones we weren't wild about were other group members' highlights. If you've been to India, Sri Lanka is similar but different: generally cleaner, with less hassle and more organised. If you haven't visited the area before then this trip provides and excellent introduction. Oh, and although we saw lots of elephants and other wildlife we didn't see a leopard, remember, it's not guaranteed.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Margaret Lawson

    Exceeded all expectations

    Loved this trip, made extra special by our tour guide, Ruwan, whose thoughtful additions to the standard trip made the whole experience even more memorable. There was a good balance of visits to temples, encounters with local people, walking, information about Sri Lanka, its history and culture and seeing wildlife.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a leopard and lots of beautiful green bee-eaters in Yala NP.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstandingly good - well organised, gave us just the right amount of information, thoughtful, always available and clearly proud of his country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Chris Murray

    Sri Lanka a delightful discovery

    The tour leader Sujee; the driver Madhawa and assistant Kalinda made this 15 day holiday and experience never to be forgotten. I for one will never forgot the moments when the bus would suddenly stop to speak to the ladies picking tea, the farmers drying the sweet corn on a road; visiting the potter and his wife; buying and trying fruit from a young lass who was watching the stall for her father, who wants to go to university; to watching the wild life and views. Listening to Sujee telling us about the country, the people, the wonderful education system, the rural areas, the cities and the religions. Stopping on route to get lunch from a local person or place, simple and lovely. Visiting Temples, walking up to Lions Rock early in the morning going through the water gardens. Going to Hurulu Eco Park, on an Elephant Safari, fabulous well worth paying that little extra. The walks, just brilliant, particularly the Horton Plain, worlds end 6 mile walk, down ravine like paths, waterfalls, views and yes it was warm. It did take me a few minutes to realise I had to pace myself as the air goes get bit thinner at 14,000 feet. The cycle ride along the rivers, seeing people working, stopping off for tea etc; Kandy was lovely and we did get free time to wander and enjoy the sights ourselves including a ride on Tuk Tuk and 'fried' ice cream (wow). Oh and the Spice and Herb Garden with back massages at the end! Up into the highlands of Sri Lanka and the stay at a rather quaint old colonial gentlemans club. Then down the Indian Ocean for a couple of days swimming and relaxation. Finally the food, just fabulous mind you we were catered for and they did dumb down the chilli, beautiful flavours and the Samosa we had in a tiny place in the middle of no where was one I will never forget A highly recommended trip and no I didn't do Adams Peak, I enjoyed my nights sleep instead:)

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the people, enjoying the scenery and being able to bring those memories home

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sujee was very good and passionate about his country and all it has to offer. He was also grateful that people visit his country and the benefits it brings to the people. And believe me we saw plenty of evidence of this on our trip..

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My advice would be to have a certain level of fitness for the walking and cycling. You do need to be fit for Adams Peak.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Catherine Stothart

    Wonderful wildlife, great food, friendly people and a lovely group

    We wanted a holiday where there was plenty of opportunity to see wildlife, and this lived up to our expectation. Whale watching (saw blue whales and pilot whales), lots of colourful birds, mammals and reptiles too - the bio-diversity, especially of birds, was staggering. We had a naturalist with us who was really good at spotting and identifying birds - that really made a difference. The hotels we stayed in were all different with their own character, and with one exception, were of a high standard. Loved staying in the rainforest and doing yoga at the beach. Enjoyed Sri Lankan food and especially having tropical fruit every day and fresh fruit juices. The group of people we were with were all great.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Looking across a lake and seeing herons, cormorants, pelicans, storks, crocodiles, water buffalo, kingfishers.......just so much to see, all in one place. Hearing the birds and frogs in the morning. Seeing orphan elephants running to be fed. Doing yoga looking at the sunrise over the sea.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was excellent - knowledgeable, organised, helpful, friendly, sense of humour. He told us bits about Sri Lankan history and society, which were really interesting and took care of all our needs.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take binoculars - it's much easier to appreciate the birds if you can see them properly!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Robert Parker

    Fantastic experience

    What a wonderful way to experience the wonders and beauty of Sri Lanka. Days spent visiting cultural sites, wildlife safaris were we got up close to elephant, sadly we didn't see the elusive leopard. Visits to isolated villages were we enjoyed local food cooked and eaten in the Sri Lankan way Cycling through the countryside seeing the local way of life. So many experiences that made sure you never had a dull moment. Plus a guide, Nalaka, who gave us such wonderful insight into the cultural past and the present way of life in Sri Lanka. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the island then this is the trip for you.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Basically too many to pick from it s difficult to pick one they just kept coming every day. From cycling through the countryside to playing traditional Sri Lankan games, what a plethora of mind blowing days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nalaka was excellent , he was so passionate and knowledeable about his beautiful island. His care and attention he gave to all the 16 tourists in his care was exemplary making sure we were always safe and that the activities were within the capabilities of all.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't worry about buying a plug adapter as all the hotels have sockets which take the english three pinned plug. Sterling can be exchanged everywhere as well as the airport and several places would accept sterling as payment. ATMs are available and reliable in all the destinations used.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Be prepared to be blown away with the beauty of the island and the friendliness of the people. Be prepared to meet wonderful people in the most remote areas visited.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    James Clarke

    A Sri Lankan Odyssey

    A good mix of cultural and historical experiences with a beach holiday thrown in for good measure.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sri Lanka is a calmer version of India; the cultural and historical sites are as grand but the hassle is much less. The caves at Dambulla with their frescos and statues, the climb to Sigiriya and the remains at Polonnaruwa are spectacular; Kandy is probabaly the most frantic of all the stops but interesting all the same with the visit to the Temple of the Tooth and the Botanical Gardens.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tirikiri was caring and considerate if a little slow on picking up on group members needs e.g. money exchange, appropriate footwear but overall a nice enough chap and quite willing to share his obvious love for Sri Lanka.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Two things: 1. The cycling was more of a challenge than expected; female members of the group found the universal bikes hard to manage - do not be afraid to take advantage of the support vehicle to follow the cyclists. 2. The Horton Plains experience was of mixed value. The paths were not all easy with deep ruts, serious roots and steep inclines - appropriate footwear is essential. The views at World's End were obscurred by cloud mist inspite of an early start to avoid it and the absence of any wildlife rather negated the reason for the trek. Following the trek the train journey to lower levels proved to be a really challenging experience; crushed onto a train, standing in confined spaces with open doors for 90 minutes was not fun and no chance to see the much vaunted views of the cloud forest and tea plantations rather defeated the purpose of this part of the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Chris Burden

    Highlands of Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka is a very beatiful island with loads of natural and cultural highlights, The tour is descrfibed as walking and treking. If you read the detailed notes it's fair to say that, yes there are walks, but nothing that I would describe as treking. The walks are comparatively gentle; the jungle walks a bit like Lakeland walks underfoot - but in forest. The climb up Adam's Peak certainly got the heart pumping, although with the crowds of pilgrims all around there were plkenty of enforced spots where you rested. There was a lot of travel time in vehicles. All as described in the trip details -

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sigiriya was magnificent, beautiful, and unique in my experience. Well worth the well-protected stairs up the rock face to the top. The Adam's Peak pilgrimage to see the Buddha's footprint and sunrise from the summit was a great experience, being a fierce stairway climb shared with grannies who could scarcely move from one step to another, and younger aduklts carrying their babes in arms. Not your usual climb to a summit.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Neelaka, our group leader was excellent, as were his team. Neelaka had a great knowledge, particularly re wildlife. H ekpetr us well informed always with great charm and humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Look carefully at the details. But I'm glad we didn't. Coach tours are not usually our thing - but this one was excellent.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Brian Harris

    challenging, but great

    great mix of types of activities. culture, geography, local colour and adventure. some aspects quite physically demanding. needs a couple of extra days to make a bit more relaxed

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    temple caves at Dambulla,, Polonnaruwa and Kandy. also white water rafting

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic! very organised, caring and knowledgeable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    get more info on Horton Plains - its tougher than it sounds - plain is far from flat and the route is rough pathways. I only made it with extra support from the tour leader!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    overall very good, but a bit rushed in places. Hotels are generally excellent, but most isolated so no option than eat dinner in the hotels. would be good to be able to eat more local
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Margaret Curran

    Varied and interesting trip

    Well organised tour and great tour leader and with plenty of activities and reasonable accommodation. Offers lovely scenery and some challenging hikes, recommended!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hike up Adam's Peak

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you're fit!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The train journey would be better and more enjoyable with a seat!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Eric Bradley

    Kenyan safari @ Kicheche

    This was an excellent trip, full of amazing wildlife and beautiful scenery. The accommodation, food and facilities were also top notch, as were all the staff. I cannot fault this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was all good but watching cheetah, lion and leopard cubs playing (not together, I might add!) were definite highlights.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The guides are amazing and know their environment supremely well. Paul, the group leader, was excellent as usual and needs no further plaudits from me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to eat a lot of excellent food.
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