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“Mercury Holidays, Wonders of China Tour and Hong Kong”

Ranked #53 of 166 Tours in Hong Kong
Attraction details
Reviewed 19 February 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.

2  Thank RovingRachel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"bullet train"
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"yangtze river cruise"
in 10 reviews
"terracotta army"
in 4 reviews
"local guide"
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"mercury holidays"
in 3 reviews
"tibet hotel"
in 3 reviews
"our tour guide"
in 9 reviews
"lazy susan"
in 2 reviews
"internal flights"
in 2 reviews
"shanghai airport"
in 2 reviews
"tiananmen square"
in 2 reviews
"three gorges"
in 2 reviews
"summer palace"
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"acrobatic show"
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"tea plantation"
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"fantastic sights"
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"day cruise"
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7 - 11 of 48 reviews

Reviewed 13 December 2017

My husband and I wanted to return to China because we didn't see the terra cotta warriors on our previous trip (in 2016). We decided to try SuperChina (now UTO Vacations) because the itinerary looked promising. Price was similar to other tour companies. I sent an email with feedback to them on our return. They've opted not to respond.

My husband and I (early 60s) have travelled worldwide extensively. We are fit, easy going and like to keep busy.

Communication with SuperChina was a challenge due to language barrier. However, email with a follow-up phone call mostly answered our questions. They used China Eastern for our flights. We had a direct flight from Vancouver, BC. The airline's site was not user friendly so we paid SuperChina to preselect our seats so we'd have extra leg room. They managed to do so less than 48 hrs prior to departure. On arrival at our destination, we spotted the agent right away and the group was transported to the hotel. We had been up more than 24 hrs and were happy that nothing was on the agenda.

The guide we had on the 6 day land portion was terrible. Her English wasn't what it should have been, she chatted incessantly about her family etc on the bus mic but rarely gave any history or background about what we were seeing. There was an Asian family of 9 people who demanded that we all stay in the same seats for the entire 6 days and she agreed although some of us weren't happy about it. At each stop they'd take off to parts unknown and not return to the agreed upon meeting spot on time so most of us stood on busy, polluted streets waiting while she ran around looking for them. The majority of us, therefore, didn't have the same experiences as others did. Me and one other woman told the leader she had to be assertive and tell them to keep to the schedule. That didn't happen.

During the six days, there was a lot of shopping (expected) but very little sight seeing in comparison. Early evenings, we were dropped at hotels - it was dark out, in cities of many millions of people, with no one seeming to understand English. Trying to find supper was a challenge. Most nights, most of the people ate a snack in their room that they brought from Canada because they weren't up for the challenge of venturing out.

We then had a 5 day cruise on a Royal Caribbean trip to 2 ports in Japan. Again, a LOT of shopping, little sight seeing. The ship was massive with 4,000 passengers of which approx 150 were not Chinese citizens. We,had been warned by our (Chinese) tour guide that we needed to be prepared for the culture shock of that experience. Honestly, as I said, we've been all over the place and those 5 days were the worst we've experienced. The staff on the ship tried to help the group by pulling us out of lineups to serve us quickly, sitting us in quiet areas of the dining rooms, etc.

On the last day of the cruise, Royal Caribbean told us they'd would arrive in port 3 hours late due to traffic. That set off pandemonium because SuperChina had booked air flights too close to disembarking. During the last 24 hrs on board, many of us were in a back room in guest services trying to get hold of someone to help us. Royal Caribbean said they took no responsibility because they are told when to dock and had no control over that. Our SuperChina guides on board were extremely difficult to find and finally told us the official word was that if the flight was missed we had to pay for a new one on our own dime. Panic started from those headed home to various cities in Canada because they couldn't afford it and they were told they couldn't simply book the next flight, that there was a 3 day wait period. Royal Caribbean finally made arrangements for us to disembark first. It was chaotic but we pushed and shoved our way off and ran for the shuttles to the airport. Someone grabbed the wrong luggage in their rush to go.

Another couple that we met on the trip was going on to Xi'an to see the terra cotta warriors, as we were. For some reason, although only 4 of us were heading there, we were booked on two different flights. We had to wait 2 hrs for our flight and they had to wait for us at the other end for 2 hrs because the agent was driving us all to the hotel.

The trip did end on a high note - the guide and driver were excellent. The guide was fluent in English, extremely knowledgeable about Chinese history and, since our return flights home were changed at the last minute by SuperChina, he suggested an extra tour for the 4 of us and we agreed.

Our flight to Nanjing was late (no word as to why) and we had to run (literally) to get our luggage and check in for the second leg of the trip home. I don't know why our luggage (and us) could not get checked through. The food on the flight home was not edible, it was really gross so we dipped into our dwindling supply of snacks.

Apologies for the length of this post but this is just the highlights - the detail is too depressing to revisit. I rarely use the word "never" but I would never use this company again.

1  Thank WillowVancouver_BC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 December 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.

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

Thank RAFOB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 November 2017

Returned from our Wonders Of China 16 day trip with Mercury holidays. Had a brilliant time and i would like to think that all 31 of us mixed very well from the start. Have read the previous reviews of this holiday and would heartily agree with them all and only have a few comments to add. It was disappointing to find that the Admin side of Mercury were a little lax to say the least. After booking this holiday i had to ring them to get a confirmation e-mail to say i had paid a deposit. I was told that we would receive our tickets within fourteen days of departure. Needless to say no tickets arrived. Rang again and they said they were very busy and that i would get the tickets within 10 days. Still no tickets and actually got them 5 days prior to departure ( over a weekend) . Its a shame because its nice when all runs smoothly. Spoke to other folk on the trip and one couple got them 2 days before and another via email. I suggest they get there office staff sorted. Its no good telling me they are busy - i expect them to be busy as they are running a travel agency!! I decided to upgrade for the river cruise on the Yangtze and after having to ring twice i actually got an email to confirm the upgrade. Later on the tour the guide - Richard - had no knowledge of our upgrade and had to get in touch with the office to confirm our booking.Again not good enough. I found the hotels to be a bit of a mixed bag and the last one at Beijing was terrible. Had to go to the main desk to complain and was satisfactorily given another room. Not a very good hotel (Raddison blu) and we were there for four nights. One drawer and a very small hanging space. Minor issues really i suppose but things like this can mar an otherwise brilliant time. Of course there was a Conference going on at the time and it does mention in the 'blurb' at the bottom of the itinerary that hotels may be changed. We had to fly back to Shanghai from Beijing for the journey back to UK which is a bit of a 'pain' however there must be a good reason for this. For future holiday makers on this trip back to Shanghai please note that although you will still be air-side you will still have to travel thro security again prior to your flight back to UK. When we disembarked the Beijing flight you continue thro the airport with your guide. At some point he will have to leave you and then you will need to head for the J area on the third floor to go thro security again. On another point i would add that the rest room facilities on this trip were excellent. There were plenty of toilets around (although some of these are squat) and very clean as well. Our tour guide was very good in letting us know where and when the toilets were so no need to panic. There was a four hour coach journey and again we stopped twice en route for rest breaks. The trip on the Yangtze was very enjoyable. and of course not really within the control of Mercury Holidays. It would be wise to take a few bottles of drink with you as there is no where else to get them. The drinks are expensive on the cruise
and there does not seem to be a restriction on the alcohol you may take on board provided you drink them in your cabin. You will find that you are unable to go ashore at any time unless you are on an organised tour - which i find is a bit of a shame. Our tour guide - Richard - was very knowledgeable and was able to answer most questions put to him however i felt rather than know what was going on in the first second and third dynasty then it would have much more interesting to be told what was going on right outside the coach window. Verbal diarrhea methinks ! Nevertheless a brilliant holiday - good food- good company and would not hesitate to go with Mercury Holidays again. In fact i am just looking at there Vietnam holiday.

6  Thank Alan J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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