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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 February 2019
    Virginia Morris

    A cycle trip to remember

    This amazing trip has earnt its place as one of the top Exodus cycling adventures. In a fortnight you cover the whole country by bike, bus and train. We combined this trip with the Indochina and Angkor Wat trip so had already cycled from Bangkok to Saigon in the previous fortnight and were acclimatised to the time zone, heat and general chaos of the streets of south east Asia. its a shock to share the roads with so many motorbikes, cars, trucks and people but somehow everyone finds their place. Don't do this trip if you don't like traffic and are looking for peace and tranquillity. We had only a few cycling days through country backwaters but these were outstanding in their beauty. Mostly we cycled busy roads and at a pace which didn't allow for much contemplation. It's a fascinating itinerary with some fabulous stops along the way such as Whale Island, Hoi-An and Halong Bay. I recommend a few extra days in Saigon at the start and also Hanoi at the end as there is much to see and do in both cities. The bikes are mountain bikes so the mileage can seem long at times and the hills tough. That said, I never felt tempted by the bus until the very last day which I skipped to enjoy sightseeing in Hue without sweat. The hotels are all first class and the accommodation on Whale Island and Halong Bay very charming. The overnight train is an 'experience'. Food is fabulous of course and the cycle snacks really amazing especially the home made lemonade. No need to bring anything extra except maybe a bag of muesli (I am a gluten free person and was very well provided for with rice cakes, nuts and fruit at every stop). Our leader was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and great fun. He did push the pace above that stated in the trip notes but we all coped and enjoyed the challenges of the passes and the 'undulating' landscape. The history of Vietnam is gruesome and complex. Meeting the people now and seeing the progress is inspirational. Our photos are awesome and we are looking forward to booking our next adventure. Many thanks Exodus and Tri our leader, for this fabulous cycling holiday. We totally recommend putting the 2 trips together if you have the time and funds available. It's totally worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting to the top of the high pass and then sailing down the other side

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No need to bring snacks along. Leave space in your suitcase for shopping. Think about getting a tailor made item or two in Hoi An.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    DIRCEU BARBANO

    Amazing Vietnam

    I believe that for many people the Vietnam is totally different what they think. This happened with me. Vietnam was a bucolic place in my mind when in the reality is a place where people are in permanent movement across cities and small villages. There are amazing landscapes and warm receptions everywhere you arrive. Every second worth it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are a lot of memorable moments during the trip. The down hill from Dalat and the happy new year in Hoi An were unforgettable. The landscape in Halong Bay is unic. Also, the interaction with the group and local team was perfect.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Chi Nguyen is a efficient and skillful professional. He was able to establish a high degree of interaction with the group and he has always paid close attention to necessities of each person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy the trip and interact with people and places.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No.
  • Reviewed February 2019

    Superb Cycling Adventure and more

    What a trip! We cycled from Saigon to Hue in warm sunny weather with a fantastic Vietnamese Crew headed up by ‘Chi’ who not only looked after us but also imparted a wealth of information on his country along the way. Then via train and bus to Hanoi and Halong Bay. Hotels were excellent, roads were generally good, most of the riding was flat or gently undulating, with two days of more serious climbing and excellent descents. The food was tasty, plentiful and generally inexpensive and the fruit at roadside rest stops was varied and truly gorgeous. But the highlight was the lovely and friendly Vietnamese people who shout ‘Hello’ at you about 100 times a day as you cycle past (mainly children of course). Things to be aware of are the number of scooters - sometimes with families of 4 or even 5 riding together, the apparent lack of any road rules or enforcement, the number of horns being used (generally as a friendly warning it should be said) and finally the amount of general waste on the roadsides (and floating at Halong Bay). But to the Vietnamese who have suffered decades of strife and wars agains western colonial powers, this is seen as a temporary and low priority issue as they try to rebuild their country and improve the standard of living. Vietnam is a communist country but unlike Cuba commerce is encouraged and major investment is visible for all to see. This is a great trip - do it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing my infrequent cycling wife of 62 climb up the Hai Van pass just behind men in their 50s. Personally Hoi An on New Years Eve was fantastic

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Chi really couldn’t have done anything better - capable, professional, knowledgable, humourous and an all round top bloke! All his recommended eating places were excellent too

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware of the minor negatives that you will experience in a developing country like Vietnam. And read up/watch documentaries about the Vietnam War. Check out weather profiles - we had hot, dry and sunny weather in late January/early February.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Michael Barrett

    cycling vietnam

    Cycling In Vietnam-12-26th January-Michael Barrett It was my first view of Asia,Ian and Sandra taught me how to walk across a street with a few hundred motorcycles hurtling towards us,a leap of faith I guess and I’m still standing as the song goes.An assortment of fellow travellers from Australia,America Puert Rico,Canada and the Uk assembled on the first night to express their hopes for the trip to our genial Vietnamese host LD who explained the ground rules and structure of the trip.My attention had been drawn by 2 friends who had completed the trip and my mind on Vietnam as a place was largely a blank canvas , I had been keen to avoid any programmes such as Top gear to prevent any Clarkson like judgements. Comfortable accommodation and a support crew of vehicles and guides explained how to operate our sturdy mountain bikes.New to this type of tour I was keen not to be left behind and set off with the same vigour as a young Wayne Rooney ,but the first day was reasonably easy , a chance to stretch and ease off the jet lag which didn’t thankfully afflict me.A trip to the Chui Chui tunnels was an early reminder of the war that had blighted this country in the 1950’s and 60’s with French and American bombardment of this strikingly beautiful country.Gliding through small villages we couldn’t help but notice the open hearted nature of the schoolchildren who hurtled hello’s with great excitement as our pelaton crossed their homes, The tunnels were a timely reminder of the resourcefulness of a guerrilla army faced with a mighty enemy ,but the difficulty with which I crawled down the tunnel after our Vietnamese guide made me thankful this was a holiday and not warfare as my chance of survival would have been below zero. The first few days were reasonably warm and the carefully arranged stops with the welcome site of our support buses and healthy sustenance from fruit and drinks enabled us to continue our progress from Saigon(Ho Che Minh) towards the eventual target of Hanoi.Evening meals were a chance to relax after a days cycling and mingle with a vast array of personalities all willing to engage .Any special events such as birthdays were accommodated, Whale island being a decent spot and even the loss of an iphone only served to show what a decent gang of people I was travelling with. As we travelled further north rain became part of our days and my bandana decided it was time to change my hair from blonde(maybe grey?) to purple much to the joy of my fellow cyclists .Even damp days were transformed by sun and lunch among local people that our guides arranged, eating great local food with local people was a personal highlight along with cycling off road among the rice fields and observing the marvellous flexibility and postures of women shaped by years of hard work(sorry, can’t stop thinking like a physiotherapist) I had trepidations as a single guy travelling but the nature of the group meant all characters were accommodated even people with my off the wall sense of humour.I guess the masochistic nature of cycling the beautiful Hoi van pass (we believe it is? ) in heavy rain and mist created a team ethos and a determination to finish which strips us all of cool and pretension.I even remember keeping pace with our Vietnamese guide a racing cyclist as my legs became more powerful and my clothes soaked in rain.I remember when he put the back burners on and had to stop when water buffaloes blocked our path, thank god for water buffaloes I said or maybe expletive deleted. On a long trip the guide needs to be able to raise flagging energy levels and the long night train journey from Hue to Hanoi was my first introduction to Kareoke and believe it or not gin and tonic.Thank you LD for your rendition of Delilah which will always remind me of Vietnam, and Katie Bush came from somewhere , and I even gave a fair rendition of the Mountains of Mourne or maybe not, and even some pogues, albeit with teeth Andrew . Well onto Hailoon bay a lovely tranquil place but the journey to it demonstrated a country in transition from a largely agrarian society to a more industrial society with its attendant effects on the environment.Hanoi appeared to be swathed in smog and I was thankful our trip had taken us through more idyllic unspoilt places.My last memory before the flight back was a taxi ride with a young man who seemed willing to take every available risk ,I decided it was best to shut my eyes and we arrived at departures thank god. Flashing memories of being hugged by a saleswoman in Hoi ann to try to effect a sale and the sight of disabled victims of agent orange ,could not counteract the positive energy gleaned by this journey of enlightenment through modern day Vietnam on a bicycle.My last day in Hanoi and a walk around the lake was welcomley(is there such a word?) interrupted by parents keen to get their young offspring talking English to me, their politeness and desire to learn truly humbling. I need to read up on this country . Thanks everyone for making this a memorable trip and I’ve booked my trip to Italy in May, so Ciao for Niao Mike

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Many intertwine and built up as we took in the nature of the war and then observing the energy and optimism of the young children that welcomed us as we cycled through their villages.The importance of education was transparent when I was asked to speak English with young children in Hanoi by their parents

    What did you think of your group leader?

    excellant,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    bring some waterproofs and gloves and aerated cycling shoes are a good buy .

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    not really
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Michael Barrett

    cycling vietnam

    Cycling In Vietnam-12-26th January-Michael Barrett It was my first view of Asia,Ian and Sandra taught me how to walk across a street with a few hundred motorcycles hurtling towards us,a leap of faith I guess and I’m still standing as the song goes.An assortment of fellow travellers from Australia,America Puert Rico,Canada and the Uk assembled on the first night to express their hopes for the trip to our genial Vietnamese host LD who explained the ground rules and structure of the trip.My attention had been drawn by 2 friends who had completed the trip and my mind on Vietnam as a place was largely a blank canvas , I had been keen to avoid any programmes such as Top gear to prevent any Clarkson like judgements. Comfortable accommodation and a support crew of vehicles and guides explained how to operate our sturdy mountain bikes.New to this type of tour I was keen not to be left behind and set off with the same vigour as a young Wayne Rooney ,but the first day was reasonably easy , a chance to stretch and ease off the jet lag which didn’t thankfully afflict me.A trip to the Chui Chui tunnels was an early reminder of the war that had blighted this country in the 1950’s and 60’s with French and American bombardment of this strikingly beautiful country.Gliding through small villages we couldn’t help but notice the open hearted nature of the schoolchildren who hurtled hello’s with great excitement as our pelaton crossed their homes, The tunnels were a timely reminder of the resourcefulness of a guerrilla army faced with a mighty enemy ,but the difficulty with which I crawled down the tunnel after our Vietnamese guide made me thankful this was a holiday and not warfare as my chance of survival would have been below zero. The first few days were reasonably warm and the carefully arranged stops with the welcome site of our support buses and healthy sustenance from fruit and drinks enabled us to continue our progress from Saigon(Ho Che Minh) towards the eventual target of Hanoi.Evening meals were a chance to relax after a days cycling and mingle with a vast array of personalities all willing to engage .Any special events such as birthdays were accommodated, Whale island being a decent spot and even the loss of an iphone only served to show what a decent gang of people I was travelling with. As we travelled further north rain became part of our days and my bandana decided it was time to change my hair from blonde(maybe grey?) to purple much to the joy of my fellow cyclists .Even damp days were transformed by sun and lunch among local people that our guides arranged, eating great local food with local people was a personal highlight along with cycling off road among the rice fields and observing the marvellous flexibility and postures of women shaped by years of hard work(sorry, can’t stop thinking like a physiotherapist) I had trepidations as a single guy travelling but the nature of the group meant all characters were accommodated even people with my off the wall sense of humour.I guess the masochistic nature of cycling the beautiful Hoi van pass (we believe it is? ) in heavy rain and mist created a team ethos and a determination to finish which strips us all of cool and pretension.I even remember keeping pace with our Vietnamese guide a racing cyclist as my legs became more powerful and my clothes soaked in rain.I remember when he put the back burners on and had to stop when water buffaloes blocked our path, thank god for water buffaloes I said or maybe expletive deleted. On a long trip the guide needs to be able to raise flagging energy levels and the long night train journey from Hue to Hanoi was my first introduction to Kareoke and believe it or not gin and tonic.Thank you LD for your rendition of Delilah which will always remind me of Vietnam, and Katie Bush came from somewhere , and I even gave a fair rendition of the Mountains of Mourne or maybe not, and even some pogues, albeit with teeth Andrew . Well onto Hailoon bay a lovely tranquil place but the journey to it demonstrated a country in transition from a largely agrarian society to a more industrial society with its attendant effects on the environment.Hanoi appeared to be swathed in smog and I was thankful our trip had taken us through more idyllic unspoilt places.My last memory before the flight back was a taxi ride with a young man who seemed willing to take every available risk ,I decided it was best to shut my eyes and we arrived at departures thank god. Flashing memories of being hugged by a saleswoman in Hoi ann to try to effect a sale and the sight of disabled victims of agent orange ,could not counteract the positive energy gleaned by this journey of enlightenment through modern day Vietnam on a bicycle.My last day in Hanoi and a walk around the lake was welcomley(is there such a word?) interrupted by parents keen to keen to get their young offspring talking English to me, their politeness and desire to learn truly humbling. I need to read up on this country . Thanks everyone for making this a memorable trip and I’ve booked my trip to Italy in May, so Ciao for Niao

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    probably climbing Hoi van Pass in rain with all the team spirit engendered in group

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A great boost having LD as our guide who had ability to explain Vietnamese history and at the same time ensure an energetic and rewarding bike journey ,through rice fields and among the fisherman he was able to act as a conduit for the group.His energy was unflagging when tiredness kicked in.On a long trip he managed to maintain everyones enthusiasm and among those who had done other trips they were unanimous that he was at the top of the tree.I must get a karaoke machine

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Not really just follow exodus advice and maybe add a couple more look rights and left when crossing the road in saigon and Hanoi

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Vajrin (aka Adam) Malin

    Vietnam Cycling

    Good overall.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Managing traffic in some busy spots through towns!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Positive: Good. Very friendly. Very frank and sensible about describing the country. Areas for improvement: Good give more choice about eating out in some places. For example, Dalat was fabulous but the hotel was a 10 min taxi ride. He said eat in the hotel or go out to eat with group. Tour around Hoi An should be less shopping and more history. Fine to show the shops but not dwell to allow people to buy.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I've blogged the trip - https://cyclingvietnam2019vajrin.blogspot.com/2019/01/day-1-saigon.html
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Kate Ferguson

    Vietnam Cycling 12th January 2019

    The wonderful thing about being on an exodus trip is the feeling of being completely "looked after". Vietnam is a fascinating, beautiful, busy, crazy place - seeing the country and finding all the best bits is all taken care of and the stress of travelling is completely taken away. We had a fantastic group of people and amazingly all got on really well even though we were different ages and from different parts of the world. The combination of exercising, getting out on the bikes, getting to see this beautiful country, eating amazing food, coming into contact with the local people, made a perfect holiday. The cycling was very well planned so that for the dull bits / heavy traffic we were transported on the comfortable air conditioned bus, leaving the fun / interesting bits for the cycling. The support team were always one step ahead, manning every junction so we couldn't get lost and setting up the drinks / snacks table at regular intervals (including the best fresh tropical fruit you've ever tasted!). We packed in an amazing number of things, including exploring the cities, countryside, snorkelling, kayaking, finding out about the history and culture, and lots of eating and drinking, A truly wonderful trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Doing things you wouldn't normally do - e.g. meeting a woman who had worked in the rice paddy fields for over 45 years, and her showing me how to plant rice - getting shoes off and wading out feeling my feet sinking into the mud!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader "LD" was the most wonderful person, we all agreed he made the holiday for all of us - he was constantly smiling, so enthusiastic and his love of his country came across as he fed us bits of information about Vietnam, the people, customs, language and history. He was very knowledgable, and got the balance right re: amount of information. Nothing was too much trouble, he really looked after us and had a great sense of humour. He kept us safe, translated for us and took us on walking tours of the cities to show us around

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a padded seat cover for bike, some travel wash and be prepared for lots of packing and un-packing. There is lots of moving around, it is not a relaxing holiday but an amazing experience
  • Reviewed February 2019
    David Pike

    Great trip

    Fantastic group holiday. Excellent group leader and supporting team of 3. Pleasantly surprised by the quality of the hotels and very good breakfasts. Lunch stops in a variety of town and country settings. Interesting excursions aside from the cycling. Good quality bikes with suspension and disk brakes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Enjoyed the 10k climb up to the Hai Vann pass summit despite getting drenched on the way up and down. Also the Cu Chi tunnels, Whale Island and Halong Bay Cruise.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tung was an excellent host and looked after the group well. He worked exceptionally hard and was usually successful in resolving any minor difficulties. Particular mention is necessary for his efforts when our overnight train broke down shortly after leaving Ho Chi Min City. Alternative arrangements had to be made quickly and he successfully guided the group to Hanoi so we were on time for our Halong Bay visit.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Didn’t need my travel kettle as every hotel had a kettle in the room but if you like real tea take some teabags. Lipton tea normally available at breakfast occasionally hot but always very weak but not always in the rooms. It was usually possible to request a jug of fresh milk from reception. In Hoian 9 of the group visited the Hioanian Wine Bar and Restaurant in the top 20 restaurants on Trip-advisor. Ambience, staff and food all excellent. We were offered a complimentary glass of Prosecco and a small appetiser. Great menu of local dishes but I chose an Australian rib-eye steak which was divine. Cost for the main course including a beer and tip was less than £15. Generally cycled on quieter country roads but occasionally in heavy traffic. I would describe the driving as predictably chaotic. Traffic manoeuvres around other cars, motor cycles and scooters and pedestrians regardless of which direction they are going in. Motor cycles and scooters sometimes ignore the rules of the road and frequently go through red lights. Fascinating to watch.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Felt the group bonded well and looked out everyone.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Neil herbert

    From Saigon to Hanoi

    In a party of 17 people we were led and supported by 4 incredible Exodus staff. Individually and as a team they way exceeded my expectations. Taking us places we would never have found indepently and taking so much care. We experienced the true Vietnamese way of if life and learned so much. All of the travel arrangements, hotels and cycling was faultless.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably experiencing the extreme friendliness of the local people especially in the south.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Way exceeded expectations. Professional, communicative, hard working, nothing was too much trouble for Lam.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Decide on the bike. Exodus supply decent mountain bikes but a lighter gravel, touring or cyclo-cross bike would be even better, but you would have to take your own. Don't be tempted to take a fragile road bike though.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Think about the weather and the seasons and pick the best season.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Terry Lowe

    satisfactory

    A wonderful holiday thanks to very helpful, knowledgable leader Lam and his backup team. Cycles were cleaned frequently, any adjustments requested incorporated immediately. Refreshments available at frequent (necessary) intervals. A five star experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The group assembling at top of Hai Van Pass.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Lam took great care to keep us informed of any possible problem - road condition, hilly or otherwise route.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ask for Lam Nguyen to lead.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A thoroughly enjoyable experience thanks to Exodus.
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