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“Panorama of China and Yangtze Cruise sponsored by Sinorama”

China Holiday Tours
Ranked #61 of 193 Tours in Hong Kong
Attraction details
Reviewed April 4, 2018

Our party of three retired and nearly retired couples made this 20 day tour in late November, early December 2017, beginning in Beijing and ending in Hong Kong. We obtained the required Visas ourselves over the internet with Sinorama’s assistance.

Generally we found our trip well organized, interesting and educational; however, one couple found the full schedule taxing. Our reasons for choosing this tour was the itinerary and the affordable price, which included the Great Wall, Terra Cota Warriors, Pandas (Chongqing zoo), high speed train and south eastern area. If you are looking for a flexible itinerary (daunting due the language), a sun holiday or needing the comfort of accustomed surroundings, I would suggest finding an alternative. The brochures accurately described our program and schedule. Should you be interested in learning a little of the history and life of the Chinese, a culture and way of life likely much different than your own, I encourage further investigation. In addition to the primary objectives noted above, other highlights for us were the Beijing Olympic site, Forbidden City, Water Village, excursion on Shen Nv Stream, Three Gorges Dam/locks, Shanghai acrobatic show, Impression Sanjie Liu, Guilin Pagodas, Guangzhou doughnut building as well as the Chen Academy, Hong Kong sampan ride, observing daily life, architecture and the night time lighting.

Due to the off season, we had a total tour group of 12 Canadians. The weather for the northern portion was cold – as low as 5 degrees Celsius; however, the small group enjoyed the roomy coaches and the guides’ attentiveness.

With the exception of one, our more than a dozen guides were fluent in English, knowledgeable, considerate and made every effort to make the trip enjoyable, including adjusting the schedule to suit the group’s desires. These individuals discussed politics, economics, challenges and lifestyle with us. They meet and accompanied us through airports, hotels and transfers. The Hong Kong guide, Patrick, was the most knowledgeable, entertaining and humorous guide we have encountered on our 15 international trips.

Our hotels were spacious, clean, well-supplied and comfortable but generally dated and located outside the city hub. The mainland Chinese tourists have limited respect for non-smoking areas, which sometimes results in heavily perfumed non-smoking rooms. Alternative rooms were arranged. One needs to become accustomed to the large window, with a blind, between the washroom and the bedroom. The hotels provided a huge assortment of delicious hot and cold breakfasts, including bountiful Asian and Western style cuisine. The other meals became tediously similar to a number in our group. However, none of us experienced any ill effects from the food or beverages. There was no weight gain on my part!

Our transportation by land, air and rail was agreeable. We experienced no major delays as some reviewers reported. Our biggest disappointment was the Yangtze River cruise aboard the Yangtze Gold 3. My comments pertain to our cabin but conditions appeared similar in the other cabins and the suite we visited. The cabins are a practical size, with a huge comfortable bed and a wonderful shower. Paper was not permitted in the lavatory. The floors are uneven and there is little sound proofing. There is limited storage in the room. The diesel fumes on the 3rd and 4th floor aft were nauseating and couldn’t be alleviated due to the inoperable rear doors. The carpet was slightly worn and filthy, particularly near the walls. The rich wood trimmed furniture was badly abraded and in need of repairs. There is limited temperature control, other than opening the balcony door. The linens are clean but grey. The buffet contained food with a local character (frequently chicken, pork, fish and duck, little beef; spiced to suit Western tastes) and little variety. We would have appreciated interspersing with more Western style foods. The dining room service was excellent. While all 12 group members recalled Sinorama advertising beer and wine included with lunch and dinner, the group was unable to counter the hotel manager who abruptly demanded “Prove it!” Beer was $3 and wine $60 CAD per bottle. The cruise excursions included some spectacular scenery and were well organized with great guides. The on board entertainment and lectures were marginal at best. Four of the twelve persons at our table had an inflated bill on checkout. The staff were friendly in the common areas.

The ship had an unfavourable exchange rate. Hotels and banks are the preferred locations to exchange funds. Bank notes with marks or gashes are rejected.

2  Thank SeeLDee51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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in 6 reviews
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in 8 reviews
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in 14 reviews
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"optional excursions"
in 4 reviews
"summer palace"
in 4 reviews
"forbidden city"
in 4 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 10 reviews
"chinese food"
in 5 reviews
"shanghai airport"
in 3 reviews
"three gorges"
in 3 reviews
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in 3 reviews
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in 3 reviews
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in 2 reviews
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22 - 26 of 64 reviews

Reviewed February 26, 2018

We did the Cinerama holiday tour starting in Beijing and handing in Shanghai. The tour was unreal the lodging was great the crew ship was good and the sites were amazing. The best food was at hotels that we stayed in. I wouldn’t scream very much about the restaurants that we were taking two they weren’t that good but the food was edible.

Thank Garry P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed February 19, 2018

Late leaving a review, but better late than never. We went on Mercury Travel's 19 night tour of China and Hong Kong in June 2017 and had the most amazing time. Mercury travel have put together an excellent value for money tour; the travel arrangements are good, the hotels excellent, the guides (tour guide Max and local guides) professional and charming and the excursions and trips breath-taking. I have to admit we did get rather sick of the food, most of which was included. The same dishes most meals in gloopy sauce and lots of 'sticky rice'. We thought twice about the Hong Kong add-on but I'm so glad we did it. If you do it, don't go on the organised tour just do your own thing. Hong Kong is small and easy to navigate. We had a guide book with the 'must see' highlights of Hong Kong and we did them all. Others who went on the organised tour missed out on many highlights.

The biggest frustration was not having enough time at the main sites, such as the terracotta army and the Great Wall, but that's the nature of the beast and can't really be helped when you are on such a tight schedule. Our day at the Forbidden City was the most frustrating. The weather was terrible (which can't be helped) and we basically marched from one end to the other in our complementary plastic ponchos only stopping briefly here and there. We didn't get to visit any of the galleries, chambers etc. etc. Beijing has so much to see, we are planning to return to do it justice, including a full day at least at the Forbidden City and a return trip to the Summer Palace which, again, we only scratched the surface of. The great Wall was a real highlight, and it's good that this tour takes you to a quieter section of the wall, at Mutianyu. Our guide Max said that other sections can be ridiculously busy, and "instead of seeing Great Wall of China, you see Great Wall of black hair." Once on top of the wall we had 2 hours, so we walked for an hour one way and then back again.

This is the first organised tour we have ever been on and we had some major reservations about being in a group situation, but on the whole it wasn't a problem and we all got along very well.

We would certainly recommend Mercury Travel and this tour, and intend to book with them again in the future.

3  Thank RovingRachel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 8, 2017

We had a wonderful 15-day trip with Sinorama Tours which began in Beijing, then did a 5 day cruise down the Yangtze through the Three Gorges, to Yellow Mountain, and then ended in Shanghai.

We wouldn't have asked for a better experience. I've read a few less-than-positive reviews from others about this ship and Sinorama in general, but I disagree. Sinorama is a discount travel agency and they provide EXCELLENT service for the price you pay. I suspect the grumpy raters were expecting "champagne receptions for beer prices", as they say.

Our tour guide, Mary Li, was phenomenal. She was with us the entire trip and was personable, interesting, and not only gave us historical information but also shared cultural insights which helped us all relate to her and the fabulous country of China. We had additional, local guides in several of the cities we visited who were also very good and often excellent. They all had very good English skills. Zoey from Beijing, in particular, had an excellent American accent.

In all, we would highly recommend Sinorama to anyone who wants to experience China on a budget. We really feel like we got more than we paid for.

9  Thank sweetseraphim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed December 2, 2017

Just returned from a 15 days tour in China (golden China) by Sinorama Hollidays.
Excellent a very comprehensive tour, visites, Shanhai, Jonzhing, Chonquing, Xian, Pekin, Excellent Hotels, everything very well organized, we visited the main sites of historic/touristic interest in China, the Guides were very helpful, Meals were doverse and good, Yangtze river cruise a Plus to be able to vosit little towns with historical sites.
Sinorama people were too responsibles, our Guide Nick was great, excllent relation Quality/price, it surpases my expectatives, w/0 the guidance of the tour could not be possible to visit all the places we visited, the local Factories we visited offered very good products with a hight quality. Thanks Sinorama

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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