Pam and I would like to say that having travelled with Riviera Travel on numerous holidays, this has got to be one of the best! The “wows” are exactly how you would expect them to be and more. Walking on the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Pandas, Yangtze cruise and Shanghai! - where do you stop? It’s a busy and exciting holiday and the people… Well, we have never felt so special. Not a day went by without having our pictures taken with the locals and someone wanting to speak English with us!
The logistics of getting from one “wow” to another are taken away from you and you just enjoy the experience. Chris was our Tour Manager and he was brilliant. Chris ensured we knew where we needed to be, by when and what was happening. We were never late for a flight, train or attraction and sorted out the domestics at each hotel perfectly and with ease. What more can you ask? The local guides ensured we experienced the best of every location with their extensive knowledge and obvious passion.
If you ever felt like visiting China, but have held back in the past, don’t wait any longer! This Riviera Travel holiday is for you!
Review by: John & Pam Moorfield on 28/10/2016
A great trip despite snow on the Great Wall and near constant rain.
Lots of unexpected little extra touches that really added to getting to know China and the culture. Well done Chris
Review by: Julie Gomersal on 08/03/2016
Having just returned from this trip I must commend the tour manager Chris together with the various Chinese local guides who all helped to make this trip really memorable. Whilst there is a lot of traveling involved the sightseeing is well worth it when you get there and the organisation by Chris and his team getting the luggage sorted and all the passengers checked in made the travelling really easy.
The hotels used were all good, especially the ones in Xian and Shanghai due to their location. The optional trips offered were good, especially the kung fu show and visit to water village, and the trip on Maglev train was fun too even though it only lasted 8 minutes. Both Xian and Shanghai were really chilled out places with lots of squares and people watching opportunities, and the Bund at night with its illuminations and the dancing and fountain show in Xian square not to be missed.
Some highlights of the tour were the Great Wall where we were lucky enough to have a great view on the day we visited and it’s well worth paying to come down on the toboggan slide when you have finished and the terracotta soldiers. When visiting the pandas in Chengdu I would suggest going back to the baby panda enclosure after lunch as they seem to have returned from having photos taken at that time and you will get the chance to see five or six baby pandas playing together which was a joy. I also visited the Reed Flute Cave independently whilst in Guilin and the Wild Goose Pagoda whilst in Xian which should not be missed, especially for views from top of pagoda. The trip to water village was also lovely, weather great, nice shopping hassle free before returning to Shanghai for last afternoon.
Visit to Lonshen rice terraces was disappointing due to the bad weather and visibility as it was a long way to drive in a steamed up bus only to glimpse a brief view of terraces when rain stopped for about ten minutes. The lunch served here was probably the best of whole tour but apart from that the day was a bit of a washout but I am sure in good weather this would be a highlight of tour looking at images of area.
Review by: Debra Roberts on 09/05/2016
This was a fascinating but exhausting tour - at least for a geriatric like me. First, I would like to give huge thanks to Chris, our tour manager who was well informed, very competent and always helpful. The travel arrangements were faultlessly organised. The hotels were comfortable and I particularly remember the Garden Hotel in Xian - a beautiful Chinese garden in the middle of the hotel with ducks, peacocks and a variety of birds. I would say however, that all of the hotels would be improved if they could provide more simple ‘coffee shop’ meals/snacks. Twice we resorted to room service as the only way to get a light meal. The Chinese guides were generally interesting and informative, not only giving historical information but also pictures of life in China post Mao.
Review by: John Watt on 10/06/2016
What a fabulous tour, it was very full on, but I can’t believe we saw so many fabulous sights. Chris our tour manager was a star and all the Chinese guides spoke good English and were very knowledgeable about their local areas.
Highlights of Beijing were the Great Wall (and the Toboggan ride down) and the Temple of Heaven, the park was full of locals playing mahjong, knitting, dancing, a real taste of Chinese life. Be prepared for the traffic though, it is very congested.
The Terracotta Warriors were something to behold, and we took the opportunity to walk to the Muslim quarter on our own after visiting the city walls, had great fun bargaining for things on the many stalls and found the mosque, which was an oasis of calm in a busy city. I never knew you could have so much fun trying to order dinner, I recommend you learn the Chinese signs for rice and noodles! The Hotel was well located but not the best quality,
Guilin highlight was the River Li Cruise. We did the evening boat trip which was a bit China does Disney! Very touristy and not for you if you are not up for singing jingle bells and silent night. We visited the rice terraces but visibility was mostly zero, so a bit disappointing, but good fun walking up through the village and the food was the best of the whole tour.
Chengdu we ventured out for dinner alone and managed to avoid duck beak and starling on a stick! Jing Li St was good fun, but absolutely packed as it was a national holiday. The Pandas were cute, but it was again very busy and more like a zoo than I was expecting!
The train journey to Chongquin was very smooth and the station better than most English airports!
The cruise provided a much needed break and was very relaxing. Cabins were good size and of a good standard. The mini Gorges were spectacular and the views through the Wu gorge as the sun was setting was beautiful. We went though the ship locks at 1 am and that was something worth staying up to experience! Always chance for a snooze on a bus or plane later!
They saved the best Hotel to last and we loved Shanghai, it is a beautiful cosmopolitan city, far more relaxed than Beijing. The Bund is breathtaking and fabulous when all lit up at night. We had dinner for two for less than £3 in a local noodle bar, so splashed out on the last night and had champagne cocktails in the roof top bar of the Roosevelt building on the Bund overlooking the beautiful view.
Topped it off with a trip to the airport on the Maglev at 431km/ hr
A great time, with a great group of people, I am sure we will be back for more.
Review by: Richard and Fiona Ware on 11/05/2016
Our second tour with Riviera, we visited India & Nepal last year, and this tour totally justified our decision to choose Riviera again. Brilliant tour, with Chris proving to be the consummately professional Tour Manager, not fazed by anything and a great sense of humour to boot.
The tour covered most of the sights that we wanted to see (would have liked to go to Hong Kong as well, but you can’t do everything), and all worked as clockwork, making the whole experience relaxed, whilst also being fairly “full-on” in terms of what we covered.
Highlights: well there were so many, the Great Wall, Terracotta Army, Pandas, Li River scenery, 3 Gorges, but most of all for me the Chinese people! Had half expected a downtrodden communist populace, but it’s not like that at all - some of the friendliest, funniest, most dynamic people you will ever meet, loved every minute, and by the way, also felt totally safe in all the cities we visited, certainly more so than almost any Western European or North American city I can think of!
Lowlights: very few - the hotel in Beijing wasn’t great and I would recommend that Riviera review that for future tours, it smelt smoky and location meant long trips to the main sights.
All the other hotels were really good, especially liked the Xi’an Garden and the Central Hotel in Shanghai (when they say Central they really do mean it), and the rooms (or at least ours) were beautiful.
If you’re thinking of booking this don’t hesitate, just do it.
Review by: Andy & Sylvia Dell on 13/05/2016
Our seventh Riviera holiday, and again it exceeded our expectations. What an amazing country! I endorse comments made by others above, so won’t repeat them apart from praising Chris for being the perfect tour manager. Meeting us in the queue as we booked in at Heathrow set the standard which he maintained throughout. Not having to worry about suitcases, checking into hotels, passports etc made a full-on tour surprisingly relaxing. Thanks, Chris!
One highlight not mentioned was the Han emperor’s tomb on the way to the airport at Xian, which was as wonderful as the Terracotta Army, and we were the only people there. Another was the meal in the restaurant in Chengdu, where I went with the group early before the evening entertainment, photographed the courses I fancied, and returned later with my wife to eat them (photos being better than language to order!). We were the only non-Chinese in the restaurant, so objects of much amusement, but the food was delicious, would have served 6 people, and with beer cost less than £8. Spending the last day in Shanghai, walking the streets to the French Concession, Chou En Lai’s house, the bronzes and ceramics in the museum, and the Bund at night… so many memories, and such a good natured group to travel with!
Review by: Rob Hudson on 20/05/2016
Wow!! What a fabulous time we had. The organisation was superb, everything ran smoothly and our tour manager Chris was fantastic. All the local guides were great, speaking English well and very knowledgeable. We were lucky that we had a great group of fellow travellers- everyone got on well and there was a great sense of camaraderie and fun throughout the trip.
We were a little disappointed with the hotel in Xian, although well situated, as our room was shabby and smelled musty.
We visited so many cities, saw so many wonderful sights and loved every minute! The tour was very full and needed high energy levels but when we got to Shanghai we certainly had our batteries recharged! A fantastic city and a fantastic end to a pretty fantastic tour! Thank you Riviera!
Review by: Eileen and Brian Barnes on 27/05/2016
Fabulous tour and tour manager, Chris, terrific in all respects. Food a little repetative - rice & noodles do loose a little after 16 days but it is China. Highlight has to be the Terracotta Army, quite overwhelmed by the first sight but then what a wow factor seeing all the detail and, yes, we have bought one!! A very full on tour but it did all that we expected and do recommend it.
Review by: Eddie & Polly on 28/05/2016
My wife and I recently went on the “Grand Tour of China” trip with Riviera Travel
I just want you to know how much we both enjoyed it.
Chris, the Tour Manager, was excellent throughout the trip and ALL of the Chinese Guides were very good providing us with all sorts of information. Some did have a slight accent - but all were perfectly understandable.
The food was great in all of the places that we stayed and ALL of the hotels and staff were wonderful.
Surprisingly, one or two of the other guests did mention a few issues - but both my wife and I thought that there complaints were all unjustified (i.e. typical British abroad expecting everything to be the same as back home).
But we both had a wonderful time - it was a holiday of a lifetime with dozens of happy memories.
Review by: Andrew & Maureen Godfrey on 12/06/2014