Returned on 28th November from Riviera Travel's 32nd tour this year to Vietnam and Cambodia. We thought it was an excellent tour, well organised, nice hotels and a great way to experience the main highlights of two country's in just two weeks. This was our first experience of an escorted holiday and we would have no hesitation in using Riviera Travel again in the future.
We met some fantastic like minded people in the group of 39 which together with a packed itinerary lead to an amazing holiday.
The holiday of the initiator of this thread, rickus, was over many months ago so the thread really has run its course and any further recommendations are redundant.
Interestingly rickus has not returned to report on his/her experiences of the company in question but has since been active in other forums and written reviews of holidays taken since. Obviously her/his holiday with Riviera Travel wasn't memorable enough to warrant a follow-up. Food for thought.
Hi - The initiator of this thread here returning to report on his/her experiences of the company in question. Sorry for not reporting back earlier but have been busy being active in other forums having taken holidays since.
I think the thread is still valid as it now contains a number of reports from those who have enjoyed the tour and from one who had reason not to.
Apologies for not reporting earlier - laziness on my part.
My wife and I enjoyed the tour a great deal and are glad we chose to go with Riviera - a company we had previously travelled with to South Africa and would certainly use again. They provide well thought through tours at a reasonable price with good accommodation. Our tour manager on this trip was not as dynamic as the one we had in South Africa - that was OK by us but it can make a difference to the overall experience.
The very good aspects of the tour are covered above so I won't go into those to avoid repetition. Some points to bear in mind for those thinking of going:
- The say trip to Halong Bay involves a 3-4 hour coach drive each way along a not very scenic road. It would have been worth it but unfortunately our weather was poor that day so we did not see Halong Bay at its best.
- There are several internal flights. Vietnam Airlines seemed to shunt us around a bit so we ended up with some very early starts at (earlier than on the published schedule). Personally I regarded that as a bonus as it gave you more time later in the day. The short hops in and out of Cambodia are international flights requiring arrival at the airport 3 hours in advance. There was a very long stopover in Saigon after arriving from Cambodia before the flight back to the UK - you are not allowed to leave the airport .
- The hotel we had in Saigon was some way out of the centre and we did not find a lot of interest in its local area. The hotel provided a shuttle bus. Overall Saigon was my least favourite city on the tour. Others might feel differently but I did not think the centre had a great deal of character. My wife and I went for what we thought would be a leisurely stroll to a pagoda and along the riverside in the late afternoon. It ended up being a couple of hours finding ways to cross roads - one took us 20 minutes and as the rush hour(s) started many of the bikes started to use the pavement to avoid waiting at traffic lights!
- Riviera had changed the hotel in Angkor Wat. The original had been out of town on the strip. Our new hotel was excellent and much better placed a few minutes walk from town.
- We went in April and had not realised it would be quite so hot and humid then. Would recommend going earlier.Edited: 07 December 2012, 08:54
With all your prognostication's on Riveria and its awards, sounds like a person on their payroll.
An interesting opinion - but ill conceived, incorrect and illogical. Would have made a far better job of it if I was being sponsored to do so. Cannot recall mentioning any awards.
Have no axe to grind, just trying to be helpful. Not always the case on this forum.
We had an excellent trip with Riviera Travel on their Vietnam and Cambodia tour and highly recommend the tour and Company. Yes I read all the negative comments about Vietnam Airlines before our trip. Our experience was that the flights took off and landed on time, smooth flights, service was ok and food was fine. The only negative was the in-flight entertainment system. We basically had two english speaking films on the way out and the SAME films available on the return flight. As both flights are night flights this didn't bother us too much. Definitely an inconvenience but not big enough to stop us from using them again in the future.
Hope this help's. Let me know if you need any further info.
After reading the reports on VA, I was a little worried. But I'd prefer a book to an old film, although with a night flight perhaps a sleep would be more in order. Having done a trip with Riviera before, I'd be happy with them organising a first class trip.
I recently went on this holiday and thought it was very interesting and well organised. The hotels were good and the flights on time. The area is both beautiful and safe, and the history is heart rending, especially when the local guides tell their stories of what happened to their own families during the Vietnam war and the Khmer Rouge era. So, overall a good holiday BUT - and it's a big one for me - the tour group was simply too big. At 39 it was just too huge to move at anything like a reasonable pace and for everyone to be able to hear what the guides had to say at any one time. As usual, the same people found their way to the front and others were constantly unable to hear what was said. I fed these views back to Riviera and haven't yet received a reply, neither has my review been posted on their website. I only did this quite recently so maybe they haven't had time to reply yet. So overall, a good holiday but the group size was just too big and this would put me off travelling with Riviera again unless a group size promise was made, and kept.
Just to update my review...I still haven't heard anything from Riviera, despite my sending them another email. Also, my review has still not appeared on their website even though reviews posted on a later date have been published. The latter reviews were nothing but positive. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.