SNA 14 Day Ancient China Tour Via Scoopon/Travel Asia Tour including Yangtze River Cruise
Travelled November 28, 2018.
As a family we would give this tour 5 stars except that it would give too many the idea that they will have the mythical perfect trip and would therefore be disappointed. Do read all the other reviews..especially the negative ones to give you the best idea of what you personally may think of the tour. As one reviewer said it is "China not a resort"!! However, the whole family felt the trip was tremendous value for money and very enjoyable. China is an amazing place and changing rapidly while still clinging to and re-embracing many of its ancient traditions (although spitting is one of those YUCK!!)
Positives,,, Because we went off season we missed all the hordes of other tourists of the high season. Guides told us the wait times for virtually everything are often into the hours in high season. We knew it would be cold so were not disappointed and in fact enjoyed having snow on one day in Xi'an.
Travel Asia and SNA were good to deal with ..(perhaps because it was off season and they were less busy?)
All transport and transfers worked really well. Although the 2 leg trip to and from China got a bit lengthy. The novelty of a three hundred kph plus Bullet Train journey wears off after 5 hours too.
Guides, Amanda, Johnson, Sofia, Connie and other local guides were fantastic and very helpful and to us, extremely interesting.
We were all very impressed with the hotels and the buffet breakfasts.
Sites chosen were generally very worth going to. Forbidden City and Entombed Warriors did not disappoint and The Great Wall was an experience.
We had a good and small group but if you were stuck with some whiny individuals who expected perfection then it could be very unpleasant. Do expect the group to average over fifty if not sixty in age. My two teen daughters still enjoyed themselves though.
The Yangtze Cruise could disappoint. We really enjoyed it but we heard others complaining about everything including the accommodation, drinks, service and food. Some even complained that "too much Chinese" was spoken on a Chinese Cruise Ship!!! Do read as many reviews as possible so that your expectations are correctly set. It is not like Ocean Cruising on a big liner for example. But it is also a fraction of the price so do keep it all in perspective. Food is largely buffet style. Mostly Chinese, but non-fussy people should find plenty to eat amongst the large number of dishes set out. The beer is low alcohol Chinese beer and you are best having the cocktails as apparently the wine was terrible. Soft drink is only cola or lemonade. We did not think the VIP upgrade was worthwhile but it maybe in more peak season. You will want to go on the optional tours because unless you are happy to just read there is little else to do on the ship. Would recommend the The Tribal Trip option ...we loved it!
You may find the constant sell sell of China annoying e.g. trips to Chinese Herbalist, Jade factory and even the SNA guides to some extent. You may find the need to do optional tours anoying too. And you will want to do many of them because really what else are you gonna do in your free time? Fortunately compared to Australian prices they are not too bad. We can really recommend the acrobat show in Beijing and the Chinese Opera Show in Xian.
The smog in China is as bad as they say and we only saw blue sky on one windy day in Beijing.
So if you have realistic expectations and don't expect resort style perfection you should really enjoy this type of trip.
Feedback on my recent 12-day China Tour taken in September 2018
I would like to give some feedback on my recent 12-day China Tour taken in September 2018.
Here were several concerns during this trip:
1. I felt rushed from the moment we arrived in China. There was no guide to meet us at the International Airport, so we struggled to get from the international to the national airport. The impact this had on me is I felt frightened, stressed and worried so this was not a pleasant experience. Furthermore, our guide did not meet us at the domestic airport but had a taxi driver meet us with a SNA flag. Our first group meet up was the next morning.
2. The hotel in Beijing was dirty in the room, filth in grouting and corners of bathroom and a terrible odour on the entre floor, we complained and were moved to another floor. But not before we were asked to pay additional money, from which I refused as I could barely breath and the odour produced an asthma result for me.
3. We expected and paid for a small group tour of 18 but when we arrived in Beijing there was a huge group of 34 aussies. This was twice the size expected. Such a large group appeared to be unmanageable for the tour operator (1 person). When the first part of the bus unloaded at a spot of interest, they received the instructions and by the time the back of the bus unloaded the first people knew stuff and then the tour operator moved off and we were playing catch up the entire time. It felt to me as if they had combined 2 tours into 1 big group. This had a negative result for the entire bus tour. Feeling rushed, at times lost as the group spreading over a large area and fearing being left behind.
4. When we rushed and moved to the front of the large group to alleviate the practical effect mentioned earlier there were multiple complaints from the more louder and forceful elder members group ( now I work with the elderly so generally get on very well with them) but for the 12 of the loud and forceful ones who demanded the best seat at the tables and ten proceeded to dictate who was allowed to sit on the available seats, whether that be on the on the bus or at the table dining, so it didn’t matter where we sat there seemed to be a not very friendly or polite tourist who took it upon themselves to be self-appointed leader as such were bossing around more quieter ones. The group dynamics were much of the time hostile and several times I was verbally abused by several members of the group (I think due to the extremely large size of the group), Having 1 tour operator for 34 tourists is too large and not what we booked for. Had the group sizes been 18 as we were led to expect there would have been less stressful, small group more manageable, less rushing, quicker time getting on and off buses and all tourists would have felt included and not left out. My husband and me are quiet people who generally get along very well with people having travelled vastly over the years. However, this tour was so disappointing and I feel didn’t live up to the advertainment. Stress is a number 1 killer so being under such stress for a sustained period of 14 days was exhausting, unhealthy and literally the ultimate china holiday was a huge disappointment, one that my husband and me did not enjoy for the above-mentioned reasons. This was not a holiday would go on again. Again, I reiterate, ensuring smaller groups of up to 18 as expected would have minimised the incidents and its ill affects being in such a large group had.
Very disappointment TVSM customer.
Rhonda and Damion
Terracotta Warrior - 9 day China Tour
Just returned from this tour, it exceeded all expectations. Our English speaking guides Ellie (Chongqing), Wilson (Beijing and Tianjin) and Johnny (Xian) were individually knowledgeable and passionate in sharing their local history. The logistics were good but the very early flight out of Chongqin to Tianjin was a bit of a struggle after jam packed active days. The price was fantastic and the value exceptional. Thank you Ellie, Wilson and Johnny for making our trip really special. Would recommend this to everyone as the experience of a life time!
A relaxed way to see China
I've just completed a 2 week tour of China with SNA, visiting Chengdu, a Yangtze River Cruise, Xian and Beijing. We had a good experience, but also there were some things to watch out for.
The good - We were picked up at the airport and transported everywhere with English speaking guides. We didn't have to worry about anything during the tour, such as transport and hotel bookings etc.
- All hotels were excellent. Far better than I would have booked for myself.
- The guides were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their local areas.
- The trips to the Terracotta Warriors in Xian and The Great Wall in Beijing were absolute highlights.
- Transport between cities was on fast bullet train, which was an experience in itself. Although this did take 3 days in total due to travelling, it had to be done to see all the highlights we wanted. They are comfortable and a different experience.
- SNA also provide bottled water each day, so you don't have to worry about finding safe drinking water at each location.
- Each day ran smoothly and according to plan.
The average - The Yangtze River Cruise wasn't as good as I had hoped. I'm not sure if this is SNA's fault, but I could easily skip this. Our cabin was consistently 29.5 degrees as they refused to switch the air con mains on. They put it on only one afternoon during a 4 night cruise. Had I not done every offshore activity I would have gone crazy on this boat. I upgraded to the better dining room, but I'm not sure it's actually worth it. Both dining rooms were identical in size and we were all told different reasons to upgrade. I was told it was less crowded, but you have assigned seating anyway so not a problem. Buy the drinks package when booking if you can, as it's not available on the cruise and drinks are really expensive on board.
The bad - I'm sure all tour companies do this, but you are taken to lots of shopping trips or "factories" that are a total rip off. The Silk one is only good if you are planning on buying a silk quilt already as it's not cheap. The Terracotta factory is very overpriced and I could have bought the same items later that day for much less. The Jade factory is super expensive. And the foot massage/spa/traditional Chinese Medicine place is an attempt to sell you hundreds of dollars worth of pills. If you are going to this place, research it online first and get a checkup by your preferred doctor first if you think you'll fall for their "diagnosis".
SNA Tour of India including Delhi, Jaipur & Agra
This was my second SNA tour which lived up to and exceeded my expectations for being exactly as presented. It was excellent value with no hidden costs on tour. Our tour guide Gopal, his excellent driver and assistant on the bus did a great job. Gopal was good-humoured and very knowledgeable and we learned a lot about Indian culture and the historic places we visited from him. He also offered helpful advise on making purchases at the jewellery, carpet, silk and marble businesses we visited. The hotels were excellent and the staff could not have been more helpful. The food in the hotels was very good and we had two wonderful dinners in the restaurant on Level 1 at Crown Plaza Rohini in New Delhi. I added the optional two days to my tour and it was great having the extra time to settle in and shop on the last day. There were 32 people in our group in September/October, it was in the low thirties most days but we all managed to stay hydrated and interested. We asked Gopal if we could see a live show (with dancing) in Agra and he arranged for us to see 'The Saga of Love' which told the story of the Taj Mahal and it was excellent. I loved my trip to India with SNA and I am planning to do another tour with them in 2019.
PS (Applying for the Indian e-Visa is a real test of your patience even when you are well prepared with all the information required including the digital photo scaled to size). It costs about $112 AUD.)
Good and Bad for the Gold 6 river cruise
I will start this review with all land based tours SNA do are excellent, the accommodation is first class and the tours are well run. We finished the tour on the Gold 6 Yangtze River cruise. Before we got on we had to upgrade to a better room, around $355 aus as the rooms on offer were tiny (much like a Formule One Motel). The picture they showed on the add on TVSN as the room everyone gets was the upgrade room of which there were only around 10 on offer. All standard rooms only had single beds and only just enough room to put a suitcase down. Before I left home I paid for all the tours only to find 3 more to pay for. The drinks package for $20 a night only applied if you booked and paid before China which I paid and got. Only trouble is the Beer on offer was low alcohol Chinese beer, a choice of 6 cocktales or one bottle of wine and a Coles style coffee from the bar only. Soft drinks was Coke and Sprite only. Thats it. People without the $20 package which were most were forced to pay between $8 and $18 au for their drinks which meant the bar at most times had very few people if any and around 200 vacant seats. There were 400 passengers on board. The coffee shop in the foyer had $10 cappuccino's. Not busy either. Getting on to the food well we upgraded to VIP dining $20 a day and got the same service and food as the normal canteen. All was buffet style of which most was inedible unappealing slop all with bones fat and gristle. Soup was watery with chicken necks and feet for flavour or pig trotters. This by the way was called the western servery. All rooms were heated and set at 26 degrees. No air cond despite it being 23 most days. All Aussies I spoke to chose to turn it off but found it back on after the maid did their room. Despite all this the tour guides were exceptional and the tours were good but rushed. Advice do all the other tours SNA have and avoid the river cruise.
Amazing China Tour!!!
I joined this 7 days China tour with SNA going to Chongqing, Beijing and Tianjin. I should say that this tour is good value for money and exceeded my expectations and I was so surprised by the quality of airline, hotels and above all, the service of the tour guides. I took Sichuan Airlines, which for me is excellent, stayed in Ramada Encore Chongqing, Crowne Plaza Huaia and Radisson Blue Tianjin, which are all excellent and of course my tour guides - Ellie in Chongqing and Amanda in Beijing - both are the best and 5 star (out of 5) guides!!! I will definitely recommend this tour.
Fantastic! Above my expectations!
I’ve just returned from the 9 day China tour, I must say this tour exceeded all my expectations. Our tour guides, Ken, Wilson and Johnny were all terrific, all very knowledgeable and passionate about their culture, country and heritage. Everything was very well organised and the value for money was unbelievable. We stayed in top hotels, felt very spoilt! Our group of 17 were all lovely people. I highly recommend this tour.
pandamodium tour the pandas good food crap recycled cold too many stairs could not complete or do some of the paid tours did not meet our expectations only seen towns going through on bus
Our 10 day tour started in Guangzhou then to Chongqing then Tianjin then Beijing then Xian.
From the moment we arrived at Perth airport the fantastic experience started with China Southern.
The airline put us up at a 5 star hotel after a SNA rep cheerfully met us at Guangzhou.
Then SNA properly took over and I can't praise this company enough.
Every hotel they promised us was a 5 star.
Every tour they took us on was brilliant and could not have been better considering the no in our group.
We had a self organised Yangtze mini cruise with newly met friends from Perth as we had a free day in Chongqing which I would suggest everyone to take if time permits..Our tour was sightseeing packed and perfectly full on and took in The Great Wall. Terracotta warriors. Tianenmen square. Bullet train even a 2 day stay in hot spring hotel and much much more.Tour guides all the way were brilliant and nothing..absolutely nothing was too much trouble.
Anyone can complain about anything. Some people will complain about it being too wonderful in paradise.
No complaints from us and well done SNA. We will definitely travel with you again. How you can provide such a fantastic, luxury all the way tour of a lifetime for such a bargain price baffled everyone on our tour. Long may you continue.
Gary and Christine
SNA 9 Day China Tour
I travelled on this SNA tour off China in the tour group with fellow traveller 'Paul O', The Value for money was Expecional with flights, very good hotels and the Sights and experiences of China with Great caring Tours guides in Judy, Amanda and Sue doing there best to please all on this trip of a life time to the Wonders of China, its Culture ,People and History. My memory of this tour which started with Ajanta doing my booking in Sydney to Visiting China , the Beautiful people on the tour,and Returning by Hainan Airlines to Australia, Will last for ever. Thank You , SNA Tours it was a Great Adventure. Ray Anderson Sep 21,2018
The Best China Trip For Such a Bargain Price.
We have just completed the 9 Days 7 Nights China Tour taking in Chongqing, Beijing, Tianjin and Xi'an.
I have read other reviews before booking and have to admit there was some difficulty in communication by phone with the Sydney office. I did have to visit the office in person to ensure that I was receiving a legitimate Travel deal. All information is subjective to change until the week before departure. I suppose this is how the tour is so cost effective. The flight and hotel deals are sponsored by the airlines themselves to promote the new Sydney - China routes by Hainan Airlines.
I was sent further information after paying the full amount for the trip. This included an informative 'All about China' booklet, an itinerary of the tour plus a list of accommodation for VISA purposes only. The real 'finalized' hotel lists are emailed a week before departure. Thank you to Ajanta and Freya in the SNA Sydney Office for advising and answering all my questions in regards to the trip. You were most helpful.
Moving forward to departure day, everything went smoothly. The Hainan Airlines flight from Sydney to Haikou, Hainan was excellent. A four hour transit in Haikou before boarding another flight on Hainan Airlines to Chongqing.
All internal domestic flights on Sichuan or Tianjin Airlines were good. We also had the option of travelling on a bullet train between Beijing and Tianjin for an additional cost instead of travelling by coach. This was a great experience!
The hotels SNA Tours use are all of 4 star rating. We were very pleased with our accommodation, especially the new Ramada Encore in Chongqing which was only a few months old. The Wyndham Hotel Xi'an, was the best hotel of the trip. We even scored an upgrade to a Superior Room.
We were really pleased with our entire tour itinerary.
We got to travel and see all the major Chinese tourist attractions: The Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and of course the amazing Terracotta Army in Xian.
A special mention to our Tour Guides Ellie and Judy in Chongqing, the lovely and very well spoken Amanda in Beijing for three days and finally Sue in Xi'an. All our Tour Guides went out of their way to ensure we had the best experience possible.
The price for this tour is unbelievable including airfares, 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 dinner with all admission prices to the major tourist sites listed on the itinerary.
There are some optional extras not published - but these can be bought at a minimal charge. These included: The Summer Palace Tour, Beijing Acrobatic Show, Peking Duck Dinner in Beijing or the Tang Dynasty Cultural Show and Dumpling Dinner in Xi'an.
Negatives: There were only a few to mention!
1) Hotels are not able to cope with the number of guests wanting breakfast at the same time. Replenishment of food and table clearing is a problem - especially at the Beijing Chun Hui Yuan Resort.
2) Flight details (domestic Travel) are given at last minute, but this is why the travel is so cheap!
3) Visiting time at most places is usually for only 1 - 2 hours - meaning you are rushed around to see everything. Remember this is a fast paced tour!
4) Be prepared for early morning starts. Breakfast for 6:30am and on the coach for 7:30am departures. One morning we had to depart at 4:30am to catch an early morning flight at 7:00am.
5) Not a negative if you are fit and a good walker! Get practicing climbing stairs and exercise walking before you decide to come on this trip. The stairs of the Great Wall of China are grueling. There are many uneven, high and some narrow steps with steep inclines in some places. Most of my group only walked a few watch towers before returning to the coach.
Overall, we highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants value for money and a great trip to China.
The bonus is also we made a new small group of nice new friends.
Watch my experience on You Tube titled -
SNA China September 2018 HD
Stay away (scam )
We booked a china trip with these people 4 weeks ago, They were extremely quick taking the money from my credit card, and four weeks later i have not heard a word from them. I've tried calling many times. The calls get diverted to a call center that take message for them.I've also sent emails, to get NO REPLY & no return calls. I thought it was a bit strange when i booked this trip, how quick the woman was wanting to get payment from me. Now as I've said, one month later I've heard NOTHING. I would stay right away from this business and look else where. I now need to get in touch with my bank and try and get my money back.
12 days China and Yangtze River cruise
We booked with SNA Travel, the land component was very good but the four night river cruise was rubbish. We only cruised for three nights and then left late at night for the first part of the cruise, it is NOT A GOOD CRUISE.
China 12 day Beijing, Luoyang, Zhengzhou & Yangtze River Cruise
I booked this tour thru TVSN deal and it was amazing. The tour guides are very friendly, speak very good English and the hotels were 1st class. There is a lot of walking so if you are over weight or not very fit maybe look at another type of tour. The lunches and dinners are very ordinary and repetitive. SNA really need to reacess their restaurant choices. I would have rather had a discount for the food component and found my own meals as the meals in the street restaurants where much better. Make sure you book the extra tours, drink package and dinning room upgrades for the cruise prior to departing for your trip as they book out early. Also allow extra funds for additional tours, head set hire, photographs and buggy hire. Last bit of advice read all the documentation that SNA provide as its all there but many people on our tour just didn't read it and where complaining about the extra costs. Over all excellent value for money and China will just blow your mind.
SNA Best of VIetnam Tour
Just returned from Best of Vietnam SNA Tour and I can honestly say the whole family loved it. The accommodation was outstanding and all the staff at the hotels were obliging and helpful. Our three tour guides were all informative,knowledgeable and amusing with plenty of tips on where to go to eat and shop. Must say everything
ran like clockwork with a good balance of things to see and some free time to relax. Highlights of the trip for me were a seaplane trip over Halong Bay (optional) ,the Mekong Delta trip and beautiful Hoi An. Thoroughly recommend this tour.
We found this tour on the Scoopon website and what a find it turned out to be!
The tour turned out to be exactly as described in their advertisement.
The land arrangements were excellent and the guides were very good too.
This is one of the best tours we have booked on and recommend it to anyone wanting to go.
Well done SNA!
We have just got back from a great China 12 day tour and added a 4 day Shanghai trip to it.
If you don't like walking don't go !! We enjoyed all the walking but some ( unfit) didn't ..... 5 star hotels great local food and excellent guide tours . Any phone calls I made prior to trip was followed up, Visa and tickets were sent 10 days before trip and I was worried but they assured me there would be no problems and there wasn't .... We can recommend SNA.
try another tour company
Just returned from the Best of Vietnam tour. Terrible customer service: they asked if I oked the flights. I said no. I got those flights. Thought I was shorted a day. After a month of trying I gave up....went to a supervisor even. They did not answer any other questions until I told them I had not received any tour information and my address was changing. The information arrived 2 days after I left. (2) I asked the seat to be changed. no change (3) I was called my first day in Hanoi and was told my flights would be changed to a direct flight to Seattle. They would email the agenda. After 4 days I asked the guide. He checked and said I was going to Vancouver. I asked the next guide as his English was horrid. I was told I was going to Vancouver and he checked with the Australia office. I did receive an email from them with the flight information. Why the call? When I arrived in Vancouver I found my flight to Seattle had been canceled. (4) We could not understand the first guide. (5) SNA said all tips were prepaid. not so (6) the hotels were very good, the shuttle air conditioned and the food good (7) the guide in Saigon definitely did not like Americans (8) we had the worse routes on China Southern...complete with a transit hotel which was definitely not 4/5 stars, which is what I was promised (7) we had too much leisure time and TOO MUCH TIME FOR SHOPPING IN THEIR SPONSORED BUSINESSES (8) this is my second and last tour with SNA...very, very disappointed
Wonderful trip and excellent tour guide
SNA Tour is a wonderful company. We had an 18 - day tour of Chongqing, Chengdu, Beijing and Yangtze River in March 2018.
We traveled Chengdu on 3/18-3/24/2018. Chengdu was one of the remarkable trip. Our tour guide was Kiki Chen. She did a fantastic job. She was knowledgeable, and informative. During the tour, she introduced us culture, history, poetry in each applicable place. She sang songs. We were never bored. We had fabulous time. We are appreciative of her kind hospitality and patience. Her performance as tour guide is highly recommendable.
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