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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Sep 25, 2018 - Help! I need a defibrillator!

No! This can’t be happening! This morning, we received an email from Luxury Escapes telling us that all Sinorama tours were cancelled! The email went on to say that Luxury Escapes was doing all it could to replace our cancelled tour with something even better - but could they possibly do this is less than 24 hours?!! We are supposed to leave home tomorrow! A couple of frantic phone calls and emails to Luxury Escapes and everything has turned 180 degrees - again! Turns out, all Sinorama tours from 1 October onwards have been cancelled, but...

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Trip Journal


A Chinese Odyssey

Sep 18, 2018 - A positive step

Nine days to go and our final itinerary and travel info have arrived! Our Tasmanian fellow-travellers have also received their final package. What a relief! It does seem as though we are going to be OK, even though many around the world are suffering the consequences of Sinorama’s gradual shutdown. We can only hope they at least get the refunds they deserve. We have also received further invitations to participate in a couple of optional tours. Despite the background sense of possibly throwing good money after bad, with our greater...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Sep 12, 2018 - Still a bit worried - and hopeful!

We have been following - on TripAdvisor - the fortunes of Sinorama clients across the world, with some trepidation, mixed with a sense of optimism. While many are in the throes of cancellations and refund applications, Australian and New Zealand passengers seem to be OK for the moment. We are following a couple of Aussies who are presently on tour and things seem to be going all right. In a slightly sneaky effort to get more info, we asked Sinorama to advise the luggage restrictions for our domestic flight from Chongqing to Xi’an (info we...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Aug 25, 2018 - An unwelcome surprise

This tour is now looking decidedly shaky! Last night I spent a couple of hours on various TripAdvisor fora, to get a good sense of what we can expect for a Sinorama tour to China, which is now only a month away. The first 15 pages were pretty good - there were the usual gripes that amounted to not getting platinum service for bronze pricing, but most comments were realistic and positive. Then, around page 16, came the bombshell - Sinorama is going out of business!!! First hit were clients in Quebec, then others in other Canadian...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Aug 21, 2018 - A very disappointing development

We have just received a big setback for this tour. Sinorama has written to us today to advise that our Yangtze River cruise has been cut from 10 days to just four, citing ‘sailing schedule confliction’ - whatever that means. We haven’t actually lost six days from our tour, overall, they will just be spent on coaches, a train and in hotels, instead of on a river boat, on the Yangtze. This is a major disappointment for us, as we were looking forward to 10 days without repacking, and we enjoy cruising anyway! We considered cancelling but,...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Jul 27, 2018 - A close call!

Whoops! We nearly stuffed up, here! Amidst our slew of visitors (from Ireland and the USA) over the last few weeks, we missed an email from Sinorama reminding us to apply for our Chinese Visa! Fortunately, we found the email a few days ago and have now applied for the visa. We are lucky enough to live fairly close to Sydney - a couple of hours by train and only $2.50 for Seniors! - so we travelled to the Big Smoke today, to apply in person. I have to say, the Chinese Visa Service is very efficient - we were in and out in 15 minutes! We...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Jun 29, 2018 - Refining the tour

This trip is getting closer and starting to feel a little real! We have been asked by Sinorama to select any optional tours we may be interested in. We have decided to go for the dinner and acrobatic show in Shanghai, but skip the other offers for Xi’an and Beijing, for now. Happy trails! RandA.

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A Chinese Odyssey

May 20, 2018 - Time to update our research

We are just back from a family trip to the UK and our thoughts are returning to our next trip - our 20 day China Odyssey. We have done some trawling through TripAdvisor fora to get a sense of what we might expect of our tour of China with Sinorama. Generally, it seems we can expect to be lodged in hotels in the distant outskirts of the major cities - meaning early starts, long trips to city centres and little in terms of nearby attractions. I guess we could pay more to minimise those shortcomings but, when you are budget-conscious, you...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Mar 16, 2018 - Adventure buddy

We are enjoying the hospitality of friends in Australia. We are being shown around, fed, housed, and advised. We have gone from being tourists to travelers to guests, and we could not be more grateful. It happens that March 16 is our wedding anniversary. 33 years of all that goes into a relationship. And look where we are. Our second around-the-world trip in three years, in the company of excellent people. We had dinner last week with Nicole, a young Australian woman whom Mo met in Peru. I asked Nicole what it was like to travel with Mo -...

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Second Time Around

Mar 14, 2018 - Perspectives

We have been on the road for about two and a half months. We've been in Australia for nearly two weeks. We like that we are not confronted daily with American political news. However, when we do take note of political news from home, it is painful. Our President is truly irrational, impulsive, ignorant, and insensitive. In short, not fit for office. American gun laws are irriational; and, while explainable, completely embarrassing. Not that politics here or in Greece or in Thailand or in Morocco are any less irrational or insensitive. One...

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Second Time Around

Aug 8, 2017 - Admin issues.

The past couple of weeks have been mildly annoying. The Sinorama NZ office seems to be having a bit of trouble getting our surname right and we are being a bit paranoid about it. Each time the Confirmation Letter was sent to us, there was a different problem with the spelling of our surname or some other detail. We are very conscious of our outlay on this trip and do not want it to be fouled up over some minor clerical detail, so we are perhaps being more paranoid than necessary. Still, we don’t want any issues on departure, so we want to...

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A Chinese Odyssey

Jul 25, 2017 - First change of plan!

We have just experienced our first moment of doubt - or maybe it’s validation? The tour operator, Sinorama, has contacted us and advised that our chosen departure date is not available as it is fully booked. 14 and a half months out and sold out already? We figured this was probably a good thing as it shows the tour is popular, so should go ahead. We have looked at the alternative options and have chosen to take the reverse route - Shanghai to Beijing - commencing on 27 Sep 2018. So, the trip is suddenly two weeks closer! 𯘀 Happy...

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A Chinese Odyssey

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