An Amazing Adventure In An Amazing Country.
My friend and I recently returned from a nine day SNA tour of China. SNA tours were amazing and their tour guides were great especially William who was exceptional. The accommodation was more than we expected and we were quite amazed with the quality. The meals were ok but got a bit boring. The tours were very well organised and didn’t disappoint. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend SNA and wouldn’t hesitate to travel with them again.
Good but slightly çlouded by our first experience of a tour guide representative.
China 10 days. Sydney Thursday 6th June, arrival Beijing Friday 7th June.
Booked with Travel Asia via Groupon.
Over all, this trip was better than expected. The positives: I believe we had value for money and the hotels were comfortable. Breakfast/lunch easily catered for most diets. The sights were wonderful and would come back again to see other area's of China. The people on the tour were lovely and created a experience to remember.
Yes, there were numerous additional fees for the tours, but that was made clear in the T&C's.
The tour is full on with a lot of time on the bus/train, however, you are covering distances which would not be practical to do so in any other way. Be prepared for early mornings and late nights.
The negatives: Unfortunately, our first experience with a tour representative Állan' was not favourable.
We relied on him to be able to keep us informed due to the obvious lack of communication with hotel staff. Allan was frankly, very hard to understand and unfortunately most of the group tuned out, because it was so hard to clearly understand what he was saying.
Unfortunately, due to some of the group having their flights changed a couple of days prior the flight, this meant that the first day started off wrong, with waiting almost a full day for the second half of the group to arrive. Following on from this, tours were jammed into one day, instead of over two. For example; In Beijing, the lack of communication in keeping us informed as to what was happening, meant that our trip to the Great Wall and Forbidden City tour was crammed into one very big, long day. Most on the tour felt this day was too long, especially for the more mature people in our group.
In addition, the flights from Australia do not always land directly to Beijing (Peking) but via alternative cities in China. We were not met by a representative, at the initial cities. Arriving very early after a long flight was confusing and slightly uneasy due to the numerous security checks ie. luggage, body, face, hand print and scanning of your passport. This is normal for travelers but after a long flight, was a little daunting.
I personally spent over 3/4 hour on the phone, the previous evening explaining to him that I had already paid for the extra's when I was in Australia. Allan appeared to have very little records of previously paid extra's. At the end of a very long day, this discussion was not welcomed. The lack of organisation /understanding was an indication of our time with Allan as the simple booking of any extra tours took longer than necessary, particularly at end of the day, when people were tired.
We tried to keep positive but the final day with Allan was very disappointing. Paid extra for a porter to carry our luggage from the bus to the train, as we were told 'many stairs', but to only discover that their was a lift which could have easily allowed us to take our own luggage to the train. The luggage was then split up by the porter, causing concern for some of the group who spent time wandering up and down the train looking for their luggage.
Our next tour guide, Barry did try very hard to redeem the good name of the company and had to work extra hard to make up for the loss of the professionalism/organisation by Allan.
Our final tour guide was Mai, was wonderful and a credit to the company. Mai is a highly educated and clearly knows how to make foreign travellers welcomed. We ended the tour on a high and appreciated the extra touches, Mai organised to make our experience wonderful and informative.
Amazing holiday and tour company!
SNA tours was incredible. We went on a tour to China and this tour was brilliant. Everything was booked and organised even on the Yangtze River Cruise, definitely take the VIP dining. We did so much and saw so much. Tour guides were excellent with fantastic English. The best English speaking guides we've had so far. They were also extremely knowledgable of each of the places we visited. Warned us when and where we needed to keep an eye on our valuables which nothing happened to anyone and allowed us to walk around the places on our own after tour when we asked to. They were very accommodating. The hotel stays were amazing the best we've stayed in of all tours that my dad and I have done so far this year which this is our 4th tour. Even when coming home our plane missed connecting flight due to weather, the plane company put us on a flight 2 days later but SNA put us up in a hitel for thos 2 nights and provided us all meals so it didn't put us out of pocket at all. I highly recommend SNA tours, brilliant company, amazing tour guides for a stress free everything organised tour!
China Sna tour
We have just returned from the most amazing Sna tour to China. Can’t recommend this group enough. The itinerary was amazing. The guides even better. So helpful. We had 2 extra days due to cancelled flight home from Xi’an. Our guide for the trip gave us Chinese notes so we could get ourselves up to the huashan mountains. Accommodation and meals were great and optional tours good. Would use them again and recommend to all our friends.
Exceeded all our expections & then some
My family (2 adults & 2 teenage girls) just returned from a 7 day tour of China & I cannot speak more highly of our experience. The tour guides, the food, the accomodation, the itinery was absolutely incredible. Everything was well above our expectations & we will definitely be using SNA Tours again.
M Marco Victoria
Great Tour of Japan.
My husband and I did a 12 day Japan tour and it was amazing. Our Tour guide was so knowledgable and was very articulate in English. We travelled by coach and the young women driver was fantastic. We felt very safe and comfortable. Our tour guide Ivy showed us the most beautiful places in Japan from Tokyo to Osaka, Mt Fuji and Hiroshima and every other town in between, we saw many beautiful towns and cities. Hotels were very comfortable. The only thing that l can fault on our trip was that we were very rushed when we had dinner reservations at night to finish up quickly. I think this is just the fast pace of Japan.
Would recommend to put Japan on your bucket list of places to see in the world.
And I hope you have the experience of the beautiful tour guide we had named Ivy.
Thank you Ivy for the wonderful experience.
Awesome China Tour
We have just returned from the 19 day SNA China tour and would gladly recommend it to prospective travellers. Our tour included most highlights including our bucket list Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors. Below are some points I hope makes your decision easier.
1) Based on cost the tour was excellent
2) All the hotels were modern excellent 4/5 star
3) Supplied breakfasts were a mixture of western and Asian at each hotel. The quality of food was very good
4) All the guides were very helpful, knowledgeable, friendly and quite easy to understand although we did have a somewhat seemingly inexperienced guide in Chengdu which surprised us after all the other amazing guides.
5) The included tours were very good and provided a good overview of China's highlights.
6) The optional tours were well priced and the choice was ours as to whether we attend them. The only problem however is that it left you a little stranded at places or the hotel if you didn't attend them, although sometimes it was good to have a bit of R and R. We also loved to be able to explore on our own and find restaurants to try.
7) Some of the tours were definitely designed for pressure selling i.e. the herbal medicine tour, tea tour, silk tour and Jade tour. However if you are able to take them in your stride and see the fun side of them it wasn't a problem.
8) The buses were all quite comfortable and the bus drivers were all good drivers.
9) If you are looking for a relaxing holiday, this tour is definitely not for you. Most days started at around 8.00am and didn't finish to late afternoon.
10) Generally the locals were very friendly and hospitable. Don't be surprised if you get some requests for photos with them.
11) Pack for warm weather. We went in May/June and the temperatures were approx. High 20s to high 30s during the days and around 15C during the nights. We wore mostly shorts and t shirts, with a thin jacket at night.
12) we cruised the Yangtze on the Victoria Katarina 4 nights Yichang to Chongching. This was a highlight and loved it, we were offered an upgrade to a better cabin and also VIP dining which we opted not to do, we found our cabin adequate and clean and you were able to store luggage under the bed, we did ask for a bed topper though as beds quite firm, this was done immediately couldn’t fault the service. Dining room was also OK not as bad a rush as we had been lead to believe with a good choice of food for all.
13) Our group was 37 and we all thought the trip well worth it.
Here are also some tips that might help.
1) China does not allow the use of Messenger or Facebook. We used our bigpond email and Skype worked well for us. Although you can buy a China SIM at the airport which with VPN you may get Face Book and messenger.
2)Pack toilet paper and disinfectant wipes in your back pack. Quite often toilets didn't include these and ladies be prepared for squat toilets in public places
3)Type up a small money conversation table which you can keep in the purse or wallet. When you get an opportunity to shop and barter it will come in very handy rather then trying to do the conversion in your head.
Good luck with your decision but like I said earlier, for the price I would totally recommend the tour.
SNA should be FNA
We saw this tour advertised on FB for $1700 but with all the extra excursions that we bought it turned out not to be so cheap. They advertised the Terracotta Warriors and Panda Bears and when they sent us the itinerary they weren't on there and when we asked them about it they made a comment of it was Last years tour.
We caught the plane at 9.15 in the morning and got to Bangkok at about 3.30 in the afternoon then we had to wait for another plane at 8.30 which was going to Phuket then to Beijing. We landed in Beijing at 6.30 the next morning and was so exhausted. We got picked up and was taken to the Holiday Inn and was told that our room wasn't ready. We were advised to go and have some breakfast which we paid for as our tour didn't start until the next day. We payed on some couches in the foyer until our room was ready.
The next day at 12pm we started our tour to Tiananmen Square in which we walked 6Kilometres going through different palaces. We had dinner about 5.30 which was Chinese and they served up two small bottles of beer to be shared to a table of eight and sprite and Coke was put on the table also. If you wanted more beer you had to pay.
All the hotels we stayed in were lovely but the breakfasts were always cold. Sometimes we had to wait for a table to come up as they were always full then when we did get one we had to search for some cutlery.
This was a fourteen day tour but you can take 5 days off for travelling.
The places we visited like the Green Tea Growers Jade Palace and the Chinese Herbalist always had a flog flog at the end of it. The Chinese Herbalist got a bit agro if you didn't buy anything from them.
We caught three bullet trains that travel at 340 KMH and you only had three minutes to get on and off but the locals never waited for you to get off they used to push their way in. One train we went on I had to sit for six hours with a case in front of me so I had four inches to move my legs. We caught a sleeping apartment train so three of us sat one side and three the other with our luggage above. The seats were very deep so when you sat right back your legs used to dangle. There were no cushions at the back and we had to sit like this for seven hours.
We travelled too much in such a short time so you were exhausted all the time.
The meals consisted of Chinese every day so by the time I got home I was glad to have a home cooked dinner. We had to carry our own luggage everywhere. We left one station and it was pouring with rain which they didn't tell us so we all got soaked as we had to walk quite a way to the bus.
The boat trip up the Yangtze River was supposed to be a four night three day cruise but it turned out to be a two day four night as the boat which looked like a sheep boat was stuck in dock for a day as they were doing different excursions.
They had a great array of cereals for breakfast which consists of two like tupperware containers which was oatmeal and another with wheat rings in them. The milk was warm . Breakfast was Chinese but you could have an omelette made if you wanted. The bread was very sweet so you didn't enjoy the toast.
Don't get me wrong with this tour as we saw some lovely places but with all the travel and the rushing it spoilt the whole trip. When we got off the boat we had to walk up over 100 steps and the people who had walking aids were struggling to get up there. The luggage was carried on the shoulders of some men they paid balancing a case on each end of a stick across their shoulders. I felt sorry for them. Some of the tour guides were lovely but the first ones we had cost me to lose a bag of souvenirs because of not looking after their group properly.
I wouldn't recommend this tour to anybody especially the elderly because you are struggling with walking too much and dragging your luggage.
Went to Canada last year and it is like chalk and cheese.
Chendu Yangtze cruise Hong Kong. Far too much time wasted in travel, too far away from tourist sites. Nothing to do at hotel. Pandas lovely, shishuan opera great. Did not cater for older folk. Too many steep steps.
Webjet exclusives SNA China Tours
Do not buy at the Chinese Medical Centre it is a complete fraud. Our bus spent over 10000 AUD on Boxed generic herbs after a 5 minute consultation from a "DR". The lady on my bus just had received 9 months of extensive medical testing as she was to donate a kidney to her daughter in the next few months she was given the all clear. After her consult with the chinese herbal "dr"he said your liver and kidneys are DAMAGED. Wrote a 3 word prescription and wanted to charge 1900 AUD. The herbs come generically boxed not individualized. We had an oncologist professor on our bus she was incensed. Taking advantage of vulnerable people don't get hoodwinked it is a wrought. They asked me to leave after l laughed at their 934 dollar prescription for me "You disrespectful you leave". The rest of the tour is fantastic there is lots of selling at Jade factories and to add tours dont be persuaded if you dont want but for the price it is amazing and the great wall a bucket list. Remember it is cheap there are lots of changes don't expect your itinerary to be set in concrete it varies everyone on the tour has bought different but similar tours. Food is the same but varies not alot of options. Toilets are an experience take wipes. Long long long day s 7 to 9pm lots lots and lots of walking. Trains buses and automobiles. Accommodation ranges from spectacular to average as does the food. Chinese people are not polite there are 3.4 billion of them they stare they push because that is part of their culture. We had a ball take a breath and expect what you pay for remembering that the guides are on commission and so are pushing for tours.
Absolutely fantastic trip to China.
Everything went to clockwork. The random tour group of 26 people was great company. The tour guides that met us at each airport were excellent. The meals were big and delicious. We never got sick. The accommodation was superb. The place we stayed at near the Great Wall was the grandest place I have ever stayed in my life. During the Beijing Winter Olympics it will probably cost at least $2000 a night to stay there. I did have troubles contacting Hainan airlines over the phone, email and chat. SNA makes you contact the airlines for seating etc but the airline turned out to be pretty good.
Margaret and Kevin
Margaret and Kevin
This was the worst tour we have ever been on
This was the worst tour we have ever been on. We were promised English speaking tour guides, some could not speak English well and were unable to understand us. Some guides were very unorganised and I would say very badly trained with very little knowledge about the sites we were passing. There were times when not only did we not know what was happening, the tour guides did not know what was happening. Favourite reply to our questions was "maybe" and "later", They just wanted to sell optional tours.
We arrived after a 30 hour trip from New Zealand tired and hungry, all the guide was interested in was selling optional tours.
It was not a holiday, rushing from train to bus, train to bus. One day we spent 7 hours on a train. By plane would have been 1 hour. Our group had 39 in it. We were given 2 minutes to board the trains as well as carrying our luggage then stowing it as the train moved away from the station.
Friday the 12/04/2019 we should have had 3 meals. Our guide offered us 30 Yuan each to buy a meal =
The last night on the cruise [Gold 6 ] myself and several of the passengers got food poisoning. The food that was delivered to the dining room was not up to the two previous nights standards.
As the river level was low the ship could not berth at Chongqing meaning we had to disembark up river, climb up one hundred steps to board a bus, catch a train, another bus to the airport to start our 33hr trip back home to New Zealand.
Most of the toilets were disgusting as you had to walk in the urine on the floors.
The hotels were excellent but we did not spend much time in them as our days were 12 to 13 hours long.
The tours were great but very rushed and no time to enjoy.
It was a waste of time going to the Shanghai Museum as we were given half an hour to view it, we spent 15 minutes in the que, 10 minutes inside then had to get back to the bus.
We will never book a tour like this again.
Chinese Boot Camp is more appropriate...
Returned today 20/04/2019. China 8 day tour. Nowhere near expectations. Late night flight arrivals (11pm), hotel arrival 1.30AM with no dinner, you don't get told to buy water as you can't use the tap water in ANY of the hotels, depart at 7am to go back to airport to pick up other groups. Guides moved at incredible pace, older people had difficulty keeping up the pace...not much time to appreciate the views as whole tour was 'chop chop hurry hurry' no strolling at tianamen square for our group. Optional extras not worth expense except for the kung fu show. Tang dynasty show & dinner on last night not worth 300 yuen, and to have wait staff trying to sell you things whilst we were still eating dinner omg, costumes pretty but that's all, to have unknown meat on table (disgusting) not finding out till next day that it was donkey made me feel sick!!! Having to byo toilet paper everywhere you go, including the restaurants is disgusting!!! Most chinese people extremely rude, guides making rude comments to people about their size - appalling!!! Sna tries to cram in too much in too short of a time frame. I have done many holidays overseas but I felt like it was more like a contiki tour, have never been so excited & happy to go home. Will never go back and probably won't use sna again. Pay cheap receive cheap. Not impressed!!!!!! Not a good holiday for older people. One highlight was the people in our group were lovely!!!
P.S. Cathy (li) tour guide in xian was a genuine person who did everything she could to make it memorable for us all.
So glad Australia is my home!!!
This was the worst tour we have ever been on
This was the worst tour we have ever been on. To start off with we were promised English speaking tour guides, they not only couldn’t speak very good English they could not understand English, they were every unorganised and I would say every badly trained with every little knowledge about the sites we were passing. There were times when not only did we not know what was happening the tour guides did not know what was happening. They spent most of their time trying to sell us optional tours, it was just selling, selling, selling.
At every change they tried to get more money out of us, at one stage we were all guided into a option that none of us wanted, with out telling us what was happening if we had not insisted we would have missed seeing The Forbidden City which we had to pay for, which when we booked the trip that was part of the tour. The whole trip was rushed we had no down time it was full on. The meals that we had were unbelievably poor and one day we were supposed to have breakfast, lunch and dinner missed both lunch and dinner because the guide was so unorganised, we then arrived at our hotel at 8.45pm by which time the restaurant was closed. We had no help with our luggage and on the Bullet Train it was just unbelievable they were so badly organised, we were all piled into one carriage WITH OUR LUGGAGE with only two minutes to get on the train and two minutes get off the train. I know that is the time table for the train but for 70 people and their luggage to get on it was a nightmare.
When we arrived for our River Cruise the price of the upgrade had increased from $60 per person to $87 per person. We enjoyed our cruise as the guides on the cruise were very good and seemed to know what they were doing. Their English was very good and they were every pleasant.
I blame Panda Tours which is the company that was in charge of our tour for the most unpleasant tour we have ever been on. I would never ever go on a tour that this company is in charge of. I know we did not spend a lot of money for this trip and you get what you pay for, but we did not get what we paid for, all we got was stress, frustration and pressure. The only stars I would give this tour is 3 for the hotels each one was very good.
Superb tour of China
HAVE just returned from a week-long SNA tour of China, visiting Chongqing, Tianqin and Beijing. A top-value holiday during which we saw giant pandas, climbed the Great Wall of China, strolled through Tiananmen Square, visited the Forbidden City ... and more. We even took a ride on a bullet train. Our four and five-star hotels were fabulous. We had a thoroughly good time and were greatly impressed with tour guides Alice and Gina, who constantly went out of their way to ensure our group of eight intrepid travellers were well looked after. Most of our meals were included in the price. Well done SNA. We would certainly travel with you again.
Sna... ok but not for me
Having only traveled previously with an other tour company which is 14 people max on several occasions, knew this might be different however I found it not to my liking. Very rushed everywhere.
Fanny, our guide was great. Very tired though which was noticeable.
I do feel, as many more of us discussed, guides need to know more about the places, cities, landmarks, trivial but interesting places we pass by on a very long 3 to 4 hour bus drive, as there were many.
You also need a introduction of the group on the first night or maybe hand the microphone around on the long journeys.. as there were many down moments, to introduce ourselves.
Flights were horrifying, late night and many of, us with different connecting from different countries.
I did love Japan xo
All in all, you get what you pay for.
Great budget holiday.
Have just flown back in from 9 day 7 night China Tour. Literally just returned, this morning in fact.
Firstly dealings with SNA within Australia were excellent even down to booking our choice of seats for arrival and departure flights.
There were problems on arrival in China getting from International terminal to domestic. I feel SNA should state that you must change terminals in their iternerary as there are very, very few English speakers in China.
Accomodation in Chongqing, Beijing and Xian was top notch. The only downer was in Beijing were the hotel was 90 mins out of town adding to an already busy schedule.
But on saying that for $1000 it is a great tour.
Our guides Amy, Leon and the wonderful Kevin were outstanding.
This is a fast paced, full on tour. We ( four of us went together) walked 79 kms in 7 days.
Go and enjoy.
SNA Dazzling China - 8 Days 7 Nights China Tour and Yangtze River Cruise on-board the President No 7.
Definitely value for money and the cabins were very clean, but you need to know some things you may not like such as you can only get off the cruise boat if you pay for a shore excursion even when you are docked all day in a city. The Cruise boat staff claim it is SNA Tours policy and SNA claim it is the Cruise boats policy. Who knows? They also don’t advise that some transfers are 5 or 6 hour train rides and then another hour further travel by coach, so you can say goodbye to a couple of days during transfers. We were also advised whilst on the first transfer to the cruise boat that we could not purchase the shore excursion on-board and needed to pay cash before we arrived. We waited until we got on-board and found we could purchase the shore excursions with our credit card, all except one shore excursion “Shibaozhai Pagoda” which we paid cash for to the SNA rep on-board the cruise boat. I have to praise the cruise boat staff as my wife got sick and we had to cancel two shore excursions on the day just before departing. They gave us a cash refund without me having to ask and we were very grateful. The local tour guides were wonderful. Brewed coffee is served at breakfast along with juice but Coffee Latte cost AUD10.00, Capuccunio cost AUD8.00 and Green Tea cost AUD10.00 per cup. Beer and soft drink are free in the dining room. Some passengers complained they paid for VIP dining bur disappointed it was the same food just upstairs in a different dining area. You have to pay to use the pool watch a movie. We flew Air China from Sydney to Chengdu, Xi’an to Beijing then Sydney and could not fault the airline. Flight attendants were very polite and helpful, the food was ok and better than what I have experience on some Qantas flights. All in all other then what I mentioned above we had a great time.
Not Guaranteed Tours
We booked a 9 day tour through TVSN to go to china and paid in full for the tour last year June. We received an email from SNA in June last year saying your booking is Guaranteed and confirmed to arrival in China on 19th April 2019. Last week we send an email to SNA and ask for the flight details and they got back to us saying that they are unable to find flights for the 19th so we have to leave on the 20th morning and have to go via Shanghai and transit time 4 hrs and we arrive Chonggoin at 10.50pm and the tour starts next day morning. They said this is the only flight they can offer otherwise we have to get our money back from TVSN. Though they say its guaranteed that is a lie they change the booking. We want to go on a holiday and not a rush tour so we cancelled the booking and awaiting for the full refund from TVSN.
China Tour 9 days
This trip was better than expected. It was excellent value for money and we could not fault the beautiful hotels and tour attractions that were organised for us. The tour leaders were very professional and friendly and the tour buses were very comfortable. All flights, domestic and international, were clean, punctual, friendly staff and comfortable to travel in. So many things were included in our price that we didn't expect eg breakfast every day, most lunches, professional tour leaders, 4/5 star hotels.
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