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
    Susan Read

    Trip of a lifetime

    A two week experience which will inspire and live in your memory for years to come

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Taj Mahal bathed in the softest of lights as day broke brought tears to my eyes. Moving closer and contrasting the pale marble against the dep and dynamic colours of the saris worn by Indian women was simply stunning

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Exceptional...a ‘one off’....but I do love a blue shirt!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If possible fly out a day or two before the trip starts in order to acclimatise and recover from any jet lag

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you like shopping, travel lightly with a large suitcase. Listen to your guide and follow his/ her advice.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Stephen Smith

    Classic Rajasthan - including Holi Festival

    An absolutely super trip which gives the traveller a good introduction into Rajasthan. If you are interested in old palaces, hill forts and the exploits of the Maharajas prior to the arrival of the British then this could well be for you. You take in the sights, sounds, taste and yes, smell of northern India very little of which is unpleasant. The hotels used are of a good standard and vary between old palaces with plenty of character to modern, more clinical establishments. If you enjoy (British) Indian food then the real stuff will make your taste buds explode with delight. The food tends to pack flavour, not heat as per the Indian Restaurants in the UK. I use to always go for meat dishes but being a predominantly Hindu faith country there is a greater selection of vegetarian dishes on offer and they are wonderful - even dahl. The most important thing to remember is that this is India. Keep an open mind and be patient.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Holi Festival is wonderful bit of fun but you are going to get covered in coloured powder - and some will not come out of your clothes! Our guide Ajay took use to a family friendly temple event where there were young children and then onto an official event located in a park area. Both were safe and had a very friendly atmosphere. It is not recommended that you 'play' with the locals as anything goes. In contrast a sterile hotel event where they provide white coveralls and loud 'bangin music' bears little resemblance to the real thing. Go in old clothes and expect to throw all or most of them away afterwards. Ladies, don't wear expensive underwear the coloured powder gets everywhere especially if you are wearing a low necklinedue to the heat. Blond hair is unusual in India so this atracts colour. Expect to get covered (sunglasses are useful in keeping some or most out of the eyes). Protect your photographic equipment but most of all enter into this with open eyes and accept it for what it is. A very friendly and colourful event which you hopefully should treasure for years.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay Gupter is one of the best guides we have ever had on holiday. His English is excellent, he projects his voice making it easier to hear and understand him in a noisy environment - and most places visited are! His sense of humour is very good and is happy to share a joke ( especially about British cricket and Geoffrey Boycott). Most important though are his leadership and tour management skills. He does try to please everyone all of the time and it is generally we tourists who make this hard for him if we start expecting to all do different things - at the same time. Ajay will go out of his way to massage the itinerary to ensure the maximum can be gained from the tour and will. Whilst shopping he will endeavour to watch over everyone's safety, financial and physical. Overall I would rate him as exceptional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is India, not America, Caribbean, Far East or Mediterranean. The culture, safety and accommodation standards are different. Do not expect everything to be pristine, to work immediately or to happen quickly, if you want that then go somewhere else. That said India does have a wealth of culture, sights sounds and tastes to excite your palate. Here is a simple example: Some of the hotels are modern, comfortable, marbled floured with comfortable beds. Great, you'll get this anywhere in the world - I find them clinical, noisy (marble does echo) and uninteresting. However you will also stay in some fantastic old forts and palaces. Some are 350 years old, have bits falling off, not as comfortable a bed, dodgy electrics but are absolutely magical. Where else can you lie in your bed and see old pictures, patterns and frescos which where painted on the ceiling and walls to adorn your ex-harem room? Wi-Fi is available in most hotels but even in the modern ones it can be slow/limited. Live with it! Drinks may take slightly longer to arrive at the pool side or on the terrace - live with it. Go with an open mind and don't be in a rush. If you embrace the country for what it is then you will take the most away from this trip and look back with very fond memories.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would encourage Exodus and all would be travellers to keep up the drive towards sustainable and responsible tourism. The meeting of families and school children - arranged by Ajay was well worth it.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Ros Newnham

    Fantastic historical tour with India insights

    Great tour of royal palaces and forts, staying in very comfortable hotels including former maharajahs palaces. Lots of opportunities to see local life and interesting school visit. Wildlife and flowers a bonus. Delicious, mostly cheap food.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Numerous but Fatehpur Sikri, Udaipur's Lake Pichola and City Palace, the Mandore Gardens, the Jodhpur Hotel's garden grounds & wildlife (Balsamand Garden Retreat), meeting the school children and their teachers stand out, as well as the wild animals, birds and flowers and Sitar players in garden restaurants.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader got us round most of the itinerary, with comfort stops on most drives every 2 hours. But I and several other group members were rather disappoimted that his explanation of the history of places was rather superficial. He also underestimated the drive time to Deogarh, (we arrived at 5pm, not 2.30pm, without road congestion) and the evening coach drive to the Delhi restaurant. And insisted we leave the hotel on the last day at 0400 for an 0650 flight as the airport would be crowded - it was deserted when we arrived! I also felt he was poor on practical aspects of some sites - eg where there were handrails to go up forts, whether you needed an umbrella for shade on the Lake Pichola's boat trip - if doing it in the middle of the day you DO for the boat queue and your time on the island. He also did 't give us an overview of the day's plan and likely timings at the start of each day, (unlike other tours /treks I've done.) Eg on one day we had an unexpected 2nd lunch stop. He didn't fully explain what would happen on the school visit, which was rather chaotic. But for this, I would have unreservedly given the tour a full 5*.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    1. May be obvious but check expected weather (eg it was 34 deg in Udaipur by 27/02/18 - so April is likely to be very hot) and check if there are any Festivals it would be worth extending your stay to experience. 2. Seriously consider flying out a day early, to recover from the journey. 3. Jet Airways seating is rather cramped and due to the return Group flight times (meaning you have to get up at 3.15 for an 0650 flight), then have a 4+ hour gap between flights at Mumbai and are travelling overall for 24 hours to Heathrow - check out other flight options. Eg visiting Mumbai, returning via Delhi and with other flight providers & their premium economy options 4. Take energy bars and buy bananas and oranges from stalls for pre breakfast visits, should lunch be late, to avoid eating at road side restaurants or when you don't want a large lunch. 5. Take sandals and walking shoes with vibram pattern soles (walking boots and poles not needed). Beware slipping on wet marble paths, where gardens have been watered. A small scarf to tie over your mouth and nose may be helpful against pollution (Delhi) and dust (on game drive). 6. Take a guidebook, eg DK, to read just before you visit a site, plus book/kindle & music for the drives. 7. Minimise clothes you take - washed out, they're dry by the middle of the night! Most ladies toilets at sites are 'sit down'. 8. All hotels have kettles and free wifi. 9. If staying in Delhi at the Jaypee Vasant Continental, just 3 minutes to the R the Basant Lok shopping precinct comes alive in the evening and includes fruit stalls, the 'Asia Kitchen' and another restaurant offering reasonably priced N Indian and Oriental food and the tiny 'Krips' eatery with the tastiest, cheapest food. (see TripAdviser for Basant Lok). The restaurant suggested by the Guide, '25-30 minutes' coach drive away, is actually 40+ minutes in Delhi's evening rush hour, PLUS return drive! If wanting a snack or meal outside mealtimes after flight arrival, 'BL's' McDonalds(!) offers indian alternatives and is far cheaper than the Hotel's 24 hour brasserie. 'BL' has an ajoining green area, relaxing to walk around, after a flight and see local life. 10. It was helpful to visit Delhi's Red Fort, with its audio guide, to understand forts' usual components, on our pre-tour day, (accessed via tuk tuk, metro & cycle rickshaw) 11. Deogarh is a good place to buy narrow, long silk scarves from shops near the hotel - we bargained to 200 Rupees Enjoy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus customer support was oustanding, especially re the Indian e-visa. The trip notes were mostly accurate, but where they say 'afternoon free' may well be 5pm plus. The school does not accept monetary donations due corruption risk. The coach has good air con, but only 17 seats, so if your Group has 16 members some will have to sit on the back seat, which has poor suspension - indian roads can be bumpy in places! Spending money - I spent just £350 (without drinking alchohol) and including £34 on gifts and an extra day & visits in Delhi & 2nd L. Pichola boat trip (300R by 2pm). Changing money - the guide recommended changing only £50 at the Delhi hotel. ATMs may have no money left, especially on Sundays.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Mary Anthony

    Private Classic Rajasthan

    This trip was organised with great trepidation after persuading a family group to join us on our adventure in Rajasthan. There were several in the party who had concerns about travelling in India and were only going due their persuasive wives. We decided on a private tour and were delighted by the help of the team at Exodus. Our trip was similar to the normal Exodus trip with some minor alterations, selecting our hotels, trying to reduce the time in the minibus and 2 days in hotels where possible. We started with a homestay in Agra, The Coral Tree, thus avoiding the day in Delhi. A beautiful family run hotel sited in a wonderful garden walking distance from the Taj.The family joined us for dinner and were so welcoming the group began to ease into their adventure. We travelled through Rajasthan staying at wonderful palaces, country hotels and homestays. It was a brilliant holiday from visiting forts and temples, to being guests of honour at a wedding in Bikaner, to a wonderful train ride through the Aravalli hills, to receiving a blessing on the Pushkar Ghats. The jewel in the crown for us was a stay at Chanoud Garh, a 300 year old palace in a village in the Aravallis. The old palace was being brought back to life by the family, the thought that had gone into the renovation meant the rooms were beyond anything we had stayed in. The pride and enthusiasm in making our stay memorable was heart warming with wonderful home cooked meals, tea and cake with the father on the roof top watching the sun go down, safari to the salt flats with the brothers picking up shepherds on the way and trips around the village. So much thought had been put into every activity, we were given pictures of the villagers and were asked to find them and give them the photos. This encouraged talking to all around and we felt an inclusion in the daily lives. We visited the village school to present the new uniforms and were included in a sing a long. The father took us along to the hospital he is trying to set up for the locals. It was a brilliant view of Rajasthan that we never expected to be invited to experience and it made our holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Chanoud Garh-as above
  • Reviewed November 2017
    DeeAnn Bowater

    Classic Rajasthan Premium

    This is a lovely trip of 15 days thru the central and Western part of India, including many crowded places but with glorious forts, mosques and temples and excellent accommodations and GOOD FOOD. YOU NEVER had to fear any food problems , and especially if you drank their good Kingfisher beer to tamp down the wee bit of spice.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed the feeling in the air of the Sikh temple in Agra. There are hundreds of volunteers EVERY day who cook and serve those who need food-without any pay. This was a wonderful experience. I know some would say the Taj Mahal jolted their senses the most, but the Sikh temple did it for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I am going to go out on a limb here-but the BEST part of the India trip was knowing Ajay Gupta, our leader. If I had never seen India, and only heard about it from him, that would have been enough. (But I'm glad I did see India.) Besides being so knowledgeable about all the sites that we saw, and being such a good communicator, he gave us a plan for the future of India. He is full of hope and offered us so many ideas and ideals that , if accomplished, would make India a heaven on earth -the way it started 5, 000 years ago. I can't say enough about his kindness and humanity. A remarkable young man.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As a red head, I wore my hat all the time and always wore long sleeved light cotton blouses. I wore skirts, too, to avoid the tangle around my ankles when using the squat toilets-tho they weren't as horrible as I was led to believe. In fact, most places were just fine. Drink as much water as you can hold. It is hot and you will need it. Enjoy the beer,(not for lunch ,tho) but don't bother with the wine.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I think I needed to be aware of the acceptance of trash more than I was. There are just so many people, and not enough of an infrastructure to take care of the trash...so that was a bit hard to see-also the street dogs-cows I knew were coming.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Susan Allen

    Rajahstan was fantastic

    A brilliant tour, a small group of just seven of us in a comfortable airconditioned bus with a terrific driver and helper. Our guide, Harish was knowledgeable, professional, helpful and friendly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many but seeing the Taj Mahal at sunrise takes some beating of course! Our hotel at Deogarh was magnificent and my room was truly stunning. The train ride! Dinner on the ramparts at Khimsar Fort. Udaipur and the boat ride on the lake. .....and so much more....

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Marvellous!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take the group leader's advice - he really does know best!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A couple of downsides: 1) our flights on Jet Airways were not at all good, I think that Exodus should consider using another airline for their Premium holidays. 2) don't like being taken to places where they try a hard sell! Loved visiting the co-operative set up by a Swiss couple who genuinely cared about the local women. We saw them making textiles and clothes, no hard sell there so, without any hassle, we bought several lovely things.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Salma Nishar

    Classic Rajasthan - Premium

    We had such a wonderful time on this tour, every day was filled with interesting sightseeing, amazing food and so many new experiences! We were a group of 16 and our guide, Mr Wahab Khan (aka Mani Ji) really helped get the group together, he was excellent, very knowledgeable about the sites we visited. The itinerary was perfect, we fitted in so many experiences and everything went as planned. The highlight of the tour would have been visiting the Taj Mahal - one which we will never forget!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Having coffee on the mountains of Khimsar and waiting for the sunrise!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was fantastic and made this trip really special for us. He took really great care of everyone and took note of all our small requests...it is the small things that matters and he was superb at it!
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Philip Brown

    Phil and Sarah Brown

    This was a holiday that just kept on giving. Everyday Indian culture, history, religions, politics, landscapes, cuisine gently revealed... An inspiring trip full of variety, contradictions, colour, noise, exotic tastes and smells.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The time in Pushcar camel fair was priceless, all of our senses were called upon, colours bright oranges and fuchsia pinks, glittering sparkly bangles and anklets, street food spicy hot from the kadai bowls, hooting cars and camel wagons, huge big steel wheel carousels, screaming out for customers, neon lit after dark. Memories emblazoned in our minds.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide, Mani, had an open and friendly manner and he went that extra mile every day to inform the group and share his own experiences. We would unreservedly recommend him to continue as a group leader. He dealt admirably with the rupee notes crisis when we were away and we would not have managed without him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    With the current problem with rupees 500 and 1000 notes suggest travellers only exchange 100 and 2000 and check their change so that they are not given old notes in change. Also used Bimuno pastilles and we did not get Delhi belly.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is our third trip with Exodus and at every point we have been pleased with the service and set up. Thank you for helping us create memories.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Glen Locke

    Classic Rajasthan

    I wonderful tour filled with all sorts of memories

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Taj Mahal is truly a wonderful splender.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The best group leader I have ever had. Lots of extras and information about the area and the culture of India.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is a little hot when you go in March/April and the area is not as green as it is earlier in the year. We had no problem getting our laundry done so no need to pack too much.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The overnight flight going out makes can lead to a droggy start, you may want to look at going out the day before to rest up before starting the trip.
  • Reviewed March 2016

    Classic Rajasthan

    This was a fantastic trip from beginning to the end. Every day was an adventure with new experiences - from the colours, sights, the food, the customs & not least the friendliness of the Rajasthani people. And not forgetting the crazy crazy driving on the roads shared by many modes of transport - human, mechanical & animal!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Sikh temple in Delhi & obviously our first sight of the Taj Mahal was breathtaking. We also enjoyed the visit to the school where the children were proud to show us their work books & sing to us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ajay was a superb leader. We could relax knowing we were in very good hands. He was kind, helpful & full of stories to give us an insight to the Indian way of life. He was very knowledgeable and it was clear he was passionate about India and its people. We could not have hoped for a better leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Keep an open mind and just soak it all up. Every day really was an adventure.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip covered many miles but it was worth it as a lot of sights were packed into the itinerary. I agree with previous comments that for a first timer to India it was an excellent introduction & we would certainly look forward to returning to India in the future. The organisation by Exodus & our guide Ajay was superb. I must also mention the standard & variety of the hotels which were without exception all excellent. They just got better & better. The size of the group (15) was just right too. It was lovely to share the experience with such lovely new friends.
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