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Turtle, Ecuador

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

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5 Reviews

  • 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 December 2019
    Kevin Adrian Fingleton

    An amazing, enthralling, full-on trip.

    This trip is not for the faint-hearted. Despite various lengths being quoted, the traveler is effectively on the road in India for 8 days, and flies home on day 9. But in the 8 days you pack in an incredible number of beautiful, memorable sights. You will (hopefully, like we did) meet a smallish group of nice, decent, funny people that you are happy to travel, eat and drink with, and who look out for one another. Transport is effective and comfortable. You'll struggle to take in the volume of sights, sounds and smells that India will provide. The food is wonderful, hotels are comfortable and all in all, it's hard to avoid the 'trip of a lifetime' cliche.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varanasi - both the night-time 'blessing of the Ganges' ceremony, and about 7 hours later, the dawn boat ride on the Ganges to see the sun rise thru the mists and float past the cremation ghats (at a distance). And in between, the chaotic tuk tuk ride. There were many other highlights, but that one just took my breath away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was truly excellent. Easy company, informed, patient at explaining the culture, history, politics and so on. He was very organised, because this trip is a mini-military-operation. It has to be, to see that many amazing things in 8 days. And he added little touches to enhance the trip (eg flowers to scatter on the Ganges). I wanted to see a step well (If I could) so I asked early on, and we got to see one in Jaipur that was not a tourist sight, by making a short detour. That was another highlight for me.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to get tired. But you can sleep on the bus, the hotel beds are comfortable. And you have the post-trip period back home to look forward to, looking at your (way too many) photographs. It really is full-on, but in a great way. And it seems to match the pace of the places you are seeing - it's not a place to dawdle. Finally, if you are into photography, you'll probably never be somewhere with so many photos 'waiting to be taken'. Bring less clothes - this is not a dressing up holiday - and more camera gear. Last thing, as I think of it. Pollution in Delhi is quite bad - it's just a fact of life. But you are only there for about 48 hours, and even if you get a short term sore throat you recover quickly once you exit the city. It's worth it, I think.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my first ever trip to India. I utterly loved it, from beginning to end. If you want a chill out holiday, look elsewhere. If you want a safe, well-organised, short sharp trip around some of the key parts of India, this is the one for you. Enjoy
  • Reviewed April 2019
    Gabriella Sardi

    Fantastic trip!

    An amazing trip with a very full on itinerary! You’ ll see all the highlights of Northern India, you will do all the must activities like boat ride in Varanasi. Yes, there will be early mornings, but in return you’ll got to see fantastic places during sunrise! Yes, there will be long bus journeys, but you’ll travel through small villages and see how people live and take some amazing photos. Yes, most hotels were basic, but nice and clean with friendly staff. Yes, the overnight train is fun! Read your trip notes to know what to expect, arrive with open mind, ask questions and enjoy this amazing country!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Varanasi! I wasn’t very keen on that town, read lots of disturbing facts. But the morning boat ride on the Ganges was very inspirational.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had the best tour leader ever. Friendly, very knowledgeable, had amazing customer service and went all above and beyond for all of us! Thank you Naveen Bazaz! You are a true treasure for your company!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read your travel notes, they have all the info you need to know! Travel with open mind, ask questions and enjoy!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thank you Exodus! This was an amazing trip! Had an amazing time which i won’t forget for sure!!
  • Reviewed January 2019
    Carolyn (Judy) Howlett

    Highlights of Northern India

    Absolutely superb. Our guide, Ajay Gupta, was out of this world. All Exodus guides are super but he was just amazing. The sights we saw in such a short time, the standard of the hotels, the food - oh my goodness! I cannot recommend this trip highly enough

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Choosing one is difficult. The Taj mahal is of course a major site - chosen as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, and rightly so. But I loved the observatory, partly because it was so unexpected.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amazing. wonderful. Friendly, knowledgable, everything a guide should be , and more. He made the trip the delight it was

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    don't change money at the airport - you'll be charged 10% commission. find an ATM from a major national bank and use that.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Difficult to enthuse too highly about this trip. Incredible India indeed.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Cathryn Shean

    Highlights of Northern India

    Fabulous advice and guidance, ethical and sustainable throughout. The Taj Mahal was amazing and the boat trip on the river Ganges was inspirational an unexpected highlight. The whole trip was well planned, felt very safe as a solo traveller.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing a tiger in a wild was memorable even though there was only a 50% chance.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent tour leader, especially on the overnight train, as the train was on time and the majority of the group were still sleeping, we could have missed the station in Delhi if he was not there. Couldn't have had a better tour leader, as he was indispensable on this trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a small sheet and travel pillow for the overnight train.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Will definitely use exodus again.