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 April 2008
    Anonymous

    HILLTRIBES OF VIETNAM

    North Vietnam is a fantastic place full of variety and colour. Culturally a fantastic experiene. However, the trip notes and the inital experience offered differed greatly and it took persuasion to ensure all experiences were fulfilled.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Sitting by a river near a more remote village watching the locals go about their daily life, from logging bamboo, fishing, laundry in the river, children playing, etc.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The group leader Tuiy was a nice enough guide but lacked any enthusiasm for the role and did the minimum necessary. There was no extra information given about the cultures or places we were visiting, and I did join the back of another group at one point in order to find out more information of the site we were visiting.  Fortunately the guidebooks are also very informative and on the trek our local guide was superb, with amusing tales and inofrmation about tribal life.  Although we had had to push to walk the more difficult routes and more remote routes. His itinery also seemend very different to the one we received from Exodus and not because changes had to be made due to weather etc.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    People will try to sell you things and establishing what a fair price would be is best using the guide books or guide if and when available. Do not go on the trip to the minority village on your first arrival in Sapa, this is $14 for you then to be surrounded by Red Dzao ladies who will then insist you buy from them.  You will pass many more tribal villages, so will not miss out if you don't go.  If you do decide to go remember you do not have to buy - even though they may make you feel like you do. Shop around for the trips offered - e.g. the Perfume Pagoda - we paid way over the odds going through the Exodus appointed agent.  THe hotel may be able to arrange at a better price or one of the many tour agents available in Hanoi.Do not be suckered into the guide taking you to an overpriced Lau Seafood Restaurant with very poor service, just because he knows the owner and his friend's are there on a night out - there are many fantastic restaurants in Hanoi that are worth a visit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The otonery suggests that you will be walking for up to 8 hours and on the other days still have full days walking - this is not at all accurate and you are lucky if you get to walk for 5 hours. The spending money suggested should be reviewed and a guideline for the price of optional trips should also be included. A boat trip for 7 people on return from Bac Ha cost $84 as the GDP, this cost was not passed onto the boat owner, who would normally transport produce down the river in his rusting vessle. The average earnings would not even come anywhere close to this in rural areas. The trip should be included in the itinery as you do not have any alternative at this stopping point other than sit in it's one and only cafe for 2 hours. THe river trip itself is worth going on though. Bac Ha is a wasted trip - again we left fairly late as Tuiy needed his sleep!! By the time we arrived we had an hour in the market before being carted off to a cafe for lunch - the market had cleared up by the time we escaped back to it. The afternoon then is wasted in Bac Ha as there is little to do - other than wait for dinner A meagre affair of tiny potions to share - whilst the guide tucked in to large portions of the same. The walk the following morning could have been fitted in the day before.Perfume Pagoda $47 through Exodus agent - $20-$35 through other operators!!
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