We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and will be recommending it to our friends. Our tour guide Brian was knowledgeable and helpful. The hotel was excellent and well placed in Bruges with some lovely restaurants close by. The trip was well organised without being too organised and we had plenty of free time to explore Bruges. We will definitely be using Riviera again.
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Our first holiday with Riviera Travel proved to be excellent, as our friends who are regulars had predicted. It began, however, with a warning about Typhoon Haiyan that had devastated the Philippines and was possibly heading our way. In the event, it mercifully changed course and went to China. It nevertheless gave us a rainy and windy first evening in Hanoi, but even that failed to dampen our enjoyment. We had an excellent room on the 22nd floor of the Melia Hotel, with a splendid view of Central Lake and the Red River; an intriguing and entertaining visit to the Water Puppet Theatre; and a satisfying meal at a local restaurant, the first of many such that were recommended to us by our tour manager. A trip to Halong Bay was in doubt at first, because of the typhoon, but it went ahead - to our great pleasure. It was worth the long coach journey there and back, through the paddy fields and other features of the countryside, such as water buffalo standing alongside the graves of the farmers’ ancestors, to see the amazing tree-covered islands of the bay from a chartered boat - a version of a Chinese junk - and to enjoy the meal we were given on board, especially the fresh seafood. Our local guide Thao was first rate, as were all those who came after her, particularly when speaking of their own and their families’ and friends’ experiences of war, its aftermath and the subsequent commitment to peace. The combination of extremes was one element that made this holiday extra special: the bustle of streets full of motorbikes in Hanoi set against the calm of a boat trip to Coconut Island and a stroll through a local village; firsthand accounts of the devastating effects of the Vietnamese War alongside details of Ho Chi Minh’s inspirational leadership and the country’s hopes during its more recent recovery and its opening to the outside world; the early morning glories of the temple at Ankor Wat in Cambodia following a soul-searing visit to Pol Pot’s notorious Detention Centre in Phnom Penh, where we were privileged to meet one of the seven sole survivors; the dignity of the old Kmer capital of Hue versus the thriving bustle of Saigon, viewed from a safe distance from the sunlit skyway on the 49th floor of its Lotus Building; the intense and interweaving traffic of Hanoi, experienced in full from a ride round the old market on the front of a “cyclo” (a type of rickshaw), compared with the luxury of our air-conditioned rooms and the incredible variety of breakfast dishes on offer in our range of four-star and five-star hotels; and then the fascination of an entire floating village on Tonle Sap Lake following the eeriness of an early evening encounter with the treeroot-wrapped stonework of the overgrown temple featured in Tomb Raider. We were also impressed with the way our group of 36 fellow travellers mixed and quickly became friends; and with the extensive, but unassuming knowledge of our tour manager, Tony. His commitment to the welfare of us all was perhaps most ably demonstrated on our journey home, when there was a hold-up because of a last-minute change to the baggage check-in systems at the airport at Phnom Penh. Tony had caught the cold that had sadly been going round the group during our fortnight together and he had all the signs of a debilitatingly queasy tummy as well. Despite that, he persisted at the check-in desk until things were as sorted as they were ever going to be, and thus earned my full admiration. We shall definitely be using Riviera travel again.
We returned on November 20th from a brilliant tour of Vietnam and Cambodia. This is an area that had been on the list for years and it certainly exceeded my expectations. I have to say I had reservations about an organised, guided holiday- having never been on one before - but it was a hugely enjoyable, very varied group of people. I think it would have been impossible to have visited as many places in the time, had we had to organise trips once we were there and I very much doubt we could have done the same trip, staying in the same excellent hotels, for anything like the same cost.
Our excellent and very professional tour guide, Martese, was always very concerned that everyone was happy - and healthy! I, for one, was in need of medical assistance on two occasions and Martese insisted on the best medical centres. She worked tirelessly, despite being under the weather herself, and she also managed to arrange, with head office, for us to avoid Typhoon Haiyan - which saved us staring at it from hotel windows for two or three days.
Martese is very knowledgeable about the places we visited and the local guides were fabulous. I was full of admiration that they could all speak for maybe 20 - 30 minutes at a time about their own city and country in such interesting and articulate detail, with humour and candor in a language that was not their first one. Though their talks were clearly very well planned they were not rigid and all the guides were able to respond flexibly to our questions or to whatever we saw from the coach etc.
If Vietnam and Cambodia is on your list, go on this tour!
Returned from a short break to Bruges at the weekend. My wife and I had a wonderful short break. Comfortable city centre hotel, terrific organisation - without being over organised - interesting excursions, wonderful tour guide, Sue. This was our first trip with Riviera and won’t be the last. Well done.
Having returned on the 21st November form South Africa we would like to say how impressed we were with your representative Richard who was always available and extremely helpful at all times enhancing our enjoyment of the wonderful holiday.
We have just returned from the India with Shimla add on. We travelled from 4th -18th November. We had a wonderful time. Everything was so well organised. All our hotel transfers and transport was seamless an there was always the right transport and guides available. Even the weather was marvelous which is beyond your control. The hotels were absolutely fabulous.
This is the first time we have travelled with Riviera and would certainly recommend you. We have booked to go to Venice with Reader Travel and it turns out it is with Riviera! Your tour guide was very patient as some fellow travellers were quite demanding.
have just passes a Riviera brochure to a friend!!
Thank you once again
Mr & Mrs Lally have expressed all our sentiments. A truly fabulous trip to South Africa which was made even better by the tour guide Peter, drivers Pete & Chris, and Richard, our Riviera rep. Also the camaraderie between all the other travellers made this holiday one of the best. South Africa is a beautiful country and hopefully this will not be our last visit.
A little apprehensive about my first holiday with Riviera but there was no need to worry. This is one of the best holidays I have had - the diversity of South Africa is amazing from the Kruger National Park to the townships of Cape Town. Visiting the Zulu battlefields puts a different perspective on the film! Out tour leaders, Mary and Stuart, went out of their way to ensure everything and more and their knowledge provided a wonderful insight into the country and its people. All the hotels are of a high standard and the food very good. If you have ever considered South Africa I cannot recommend this holiday highly enough.
Our first time with Riviera, and on an escorted tour. We found it very exciting, action packed, and extremely well run. Matt looked after us exceedingly well, and Bhanu (in India) was outstanding, with a great sense of humour, and Vivek in Nepal was very knowledgeable. The elections in Nepal caused problems with transport and a museum to be shut, but our guides worked round all this. Well done Riviera - will go with you again on another escorted tour. From 2 OAPs!
Wow !! An extremely intense holiday full of the most incredible experiences. The whole trip is an assault on the senses…in the best possible way… and was certainly in keeping with the usual high standard of Riviera’s tours. This was our 5th holiday with the company and we are already planning several more. It would be unfair not to mention the tour manager Susan who helped enhance the overall holiday with her professionalism and friendly attitude, also the local Nepalese guide Deepak was a joy to spend time with. If you are considering booking this holiday don’t hesitate…do it.