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 October 2018
    Caroline Morse

    Bucket List Bhutan

    If seeing Bhutan and hiking in the Himalayan region is on your bucket list, then the Land of the Thunder Dragon tour is for you! This trip was such a good mix, that it made me really feel like I got to see a good variety and experience Bhutan to the fullest. We got to trek for five days, seeing beautiful scenery, visit two festivals (including a really fun, smaller local one, and a more famous and larger one in the city), and visited many cultural sites. Exodus Travels has an amazing local staff in Bhutan, and the guides were all great. Everything was organized down to the last detail, and the trip was executed flawlessly. I can't recommend this trip enough!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the fourth day of our hike, the clouds cleared and we got to see some of the world's tallest unclimbed mountains!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders, Norbu and Tshering, and they were both excellent. They knew the answer to every question anyone could possibly have about Bhutan! They both had outgoing, fun personalities and worked to make sure everyone on the trip was happy and having a good time.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack warmer clothes than you think you'll need for the hike, and pack modest but cooler clothes for the rest of the trip if you're going in September.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Clair C

    One of the best Exodus trips

    Although the price is high, this is a great holiday and worth the cost. The only thing that could have been better was the weather, as we had two days of rain during the trek, but that made us appreciate all the other days of good weather more. The scenery was fantastic, the itinerary was perfect, and we were very well taken care of. We certainly left with a positive view of Bhutan.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Really, the whole holiday was inspirational. Watching the sunrise during the trek was beautiful and we were glad the guides woke us up to see it. We also visited Punakha Valley even though we were supposed to miss it as we were going to a festival and we were very glad we got to go as it was great. All the dzongs were interesting and the buildings were photo-worthy everywhere we looked.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu was very knowledgeable, attentive, and accommodating. He had clearly been a guide for a long time. Our other guide was also helpful and a very nice man, although his English and his knowledge were not quite as good.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It can be very cold on the trek, especially at night, and very hot in the valleys. You are also likely to get sunburnt on the trek, no matter how much sunscreen you apply. Pillows are provided on the trek. Take cash on the trek for the tips as this will be given to the camp crew at the end of the trek before you get to the hotel in Thimpu. The recommended tip in the trip notes didn't include the main guide on our trip. Take cash -- some people had trouble using cash machines. Leave some clean clothes in Paro before starting the trek. You will get them in Thimpu after the trek. You have free time in Kathmandu at the beginning and end of the trip -- there is nothing organised before dinner. It's not difficult to visit sites on your own but if you are a woman travelling on your own, try to go with someone else. Sole women often get harassed, probably not as badly as in some places, but enough to be a nuisance and, potentially, slightly menacing. People in our group experienced this. For myself, on one occasion I was walking behind my husband so it wasn't clear that we were together and I was followed by a man who wouldn't take no for an answer until my husband turned around and threatened him.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    One of our best holidays!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    virginia morris

    Fabulous country, fabulous trip...go!!

    We did this trip with some fear and trepidation as we would be trekking at altitude for the first time. We were very keen to visit Bhutan before it modernises and we also hoped to see the rhododendron in bloom in the Himalaya. We had done quite a bit of training for the trek and this paid off as we were fit enough for the grade of walk. We loved the country, the people, the Buddhist culture and the government philosophy of 'improving gross national happiness'. This is evident everywhere and seems very genuine. From the minute you land in Paro you know you are somewhere very special. It is quite wonderful to be immersed in their culture for the whole time you are there. The trek was not what we expected as we had snow every night and had to walk on icy surfaces some days and were perhaps colder than we had anticipated. The excellent trip notes had suggested we bring adequate sleeping bags and down jackets, so we were always cosy at night. We did perhaps miss some of the spectacular views because of the weather and the rhododendrons were only just in bud..so if you want to see them you should plan your trek in May rather than April. However, we were able to be a part of the Paro festival and this was fascinating. Exodus puts together a very good and varied itinerary, in comfortable accommodation, with great guides, good transportation and excellent food throughout. You are well acclimatised to altitude and the trekking is not too hard. We were disappointed to have to share campsites with other groups. There are a lot of trekkers on the Druk path and if you want solitude on trek you should go on one of the longer treks. This is a great introduction to trekking in the mountains and we felt extremely well looked after. My gluten free meals were always varied and plentiful. The main food is rice and veggies and many differing ways of cooking them. Breakfast was always wonderful too. We thoroughly recommend this trip and Exodus as a company. Go...you won't be disappointed.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the highest summit and hanging prayer flags.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Norbu was absolutely fabulous. He was calm and confidant and always with a smile. His knowledge was outstanding. He always helped out if anyone was struggling with the trek or altitude.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take adequate warm clothing and a good sleeping bag.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I cannot wait for my next exodus trip
  • Reviewed December 2017
    Tim Brooks

    Land of the Thunder Dragon

    Bhutan is a country whose culture and environment are still free from the negative influences of the modern world. It's a quiet even serene place, free from pollution and benefitting from a low population (just some 700,000 people live in this small kingdom). The five day point-to-point trek was well run and enjoyable. It included visits to a couple of fascinating monasteries. The highlights have to be attending the spring festival in Paro and the half-day trek to the world-famous Tiger's Nest monastery.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Although the spring festival in the Dzong in Paro was amazing, it's the unexpected things of most trips which last in my memory. For my trip in Bhutan, this was the welcome we got from the monks in the monastery on the last day of our trek as we headed down the valley towards Thimphu.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Norbu and his team looked after us very well. I hope to go back one day and see more of this lovely country. Norbu informed me that Exodus is thinking about opening a new trek in the high Himalayas in the north-west of the country. I couldn't see this trip as an option in 2018 - but will keep a look out for it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bhutan had been on my bucket list for quite a few years and I was not disappointed. While the cost of the trip is prohibitive, the tourist tax means that there are still relatively few tourists in Bhutan, meaning it's unspoilt. Furthermore, you really don't need much spending money as the tourist tax covers pretty much everything from the accommodation and transport to meals. The only money you'll need is for drinks and souvenirs. This makes the price of the trip more bearable in the overall scheme of things.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go now before others do. We were lucky with the weather on our trek, but others are not so lucky - so go prepared with all weather clothing for the trek. The approach by plane into Paro airport is not for the faint-hearted. However, it's one of the most fascinating airports in the world, rivalling Lukla in Nepal for hairiness. You will be amazed how close the runway is to the mountains. The plane makes a sharp left-turn in its final approach to landing - so have your camera ready for some aerial shots. The terminal building is impressive too with typical Bhutanese painted walls.
  • Reviewed October 2017
    Pam Peers

    Interesting trip to a fascinating country

    A good combination of an interesting, short trek and cultural visits, including the Thimpu festival.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hanging lots of prayer flags at various of the summits. The momos at the end of the trek were very welcome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu and Ganga were excellent guides! Great fun to be with and very informative about the country they are so passionate about. The team as a whole was excellent and looked after us really well

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take gaiters ... we didn't and regretted the omission. The descent on the final day was very muddy. Definitely take walking poles ...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Karaoke bars in Thimpu are well worth visiting , a real insight into modern day Bhutan.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Simon Cuming

    Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon (18Mar16-30Mar16)

    Excellent trip packing in the cultural highlights, a festival, and trekking which is kind of necessary given the daily rate charged by the Bhutanese authorities! So probably the best and most affordable! way of experiencing Bhutan

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    a toss up between the Paro festival and the 5 days trekking

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu was an excellent leader; extremely knowledgeable and helpful in explaining his countries culture and showing us the sights, including an impromptu archery lesson!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For the 5 day trek I would suggest that people prepare for lower night time temperatures, possibly down to -10 degrees C
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Marian Watson

    Trekking with Culture in Bhutan

    Although we had disappointing weather - it rained mostly while trekking - this trip takes you to one of those beautiful places which the majority of people still haven't heard of. And that's the beauty of it. There are few tourists and the Bhutanese themselves are delightful and unspoilt. The Buddhist culture and local traditions are fascinating There is no hard sell and there are no hawkers. They are happy for you just to have a look at their crafts without buying when you go into the shops. This is after all The Land of Gross National Happiness.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    More like highlights, of which there were many. The walk up to the Tiger's Nest Monastery. An out of programme trip organised by our leaders to visit the beautiful dzong in Punakha together with an impromptu visit to a local festival in Wangdue Phodrang. Stories of the Divine Madman and seeing phalluses painted all over the houses which are a sign of good luck here. Watching boy monks dancing in costume inside their dzong. Assisting in a ceremony inside one of the temples. Watching the festival in Thimpu and observing the locals dressed in their best ceremonial clothes, and more mundane things - but not least important! - like hot water bottles at night on trek, solar lamps, delicious pizza and cake made by the camp chef.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Norbu and Karma were excellent leaders. Both were well organised and took great care of the group. Karma took care of the monastic/temples side of the trip explaining everything about the Buddhist religion, whilst Norbu told us more about the politics, royal family and social/environmental structure of the country and how they are striving to get it all right. Both were complimentary to each other. Karma fell over backwards to try and keep us happy......during the rain! He even washed our muddy boots in the river at the end of the trek!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is NOT a trek for BEGINNERS. The altitude is something to be taken seriously (over 4000mts asl) and also physical fitness is an absolute must. Trekking, albeit the foothills, in the Himalayas is hard on the body. However, if you are used to hill walking , you will love it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just that if you do go, try to go over one of the festival periods as it's well worth it. Oh, and if you think you will lose weight with all the walking......you won't! The food on trek is wonderful and loads of it!
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    Bhutan - Land of the Thunder Dragon

    Such an amazing country! The scenery, the people - I've never been to such a peaceful place.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trek from Paro to Thimpu. Through forests and across mountains. The camping was great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader was very knowledgable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just go!
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    Bhutan

    They measure their wealth in terms of Gross Domestic Happiness and I would think they top the league. The most beautiful country where tradition is encouraged, set in the foothills of the Himalayas, beneath the snow capped mountains of the high Himalayas. The trekking was not too difficult in itself, but 16,000 feet of altitude certainly adds an extra degree of exertion. But what views, what Majesty and what a feeling of achievement when you have completed it. I walked in the Himalayas.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    From start to finish everything was different, but the most outstanding feature was the friendliness and happiness of the people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader and assistant leader were excellent. I treated them as friends, well they are.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The altitude does make a big difference. What would have been easy trekking in the UK becomes more difficult at altitude. You can get tablets for altitude sickness. One of our group did suffer but within half an hour of taking the tablets, was well recovering.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bhutan is remote and you fly in through Kathmandu, You get a half day in Kathmandu on the return and it is advisable to make the most of this opportunity. Bhaktapur and the stupa at Boudhanath a well worth a visit. We got Taxis from the airport upon arrival from Bhutan, they stayed with us for the afternoon and did not cost the earth.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    BHUTAN

    Fascinating country, very lovely people, amazing scenery and a very humbling experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Waking up in the morning to the most incredible sunny, white frosty views over a mountain lake.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    very helpful and willing to make our trip as enjoyable as he could.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Always take enough layers - was warm and wet during the day but very cold at night.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Great detox as there is no alcohol while camping!
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