: Maria Del Rocio Leon Romero
If visiting Hanoi, you cannot miss Halong Bay. It is truly 1 of the wonders of the world. If you really want to see Halong and get the most out of your experience you need to do it in a 3 day 2 night cruise option. There is just too much to see to do it in only 2 days and don't forget the travel time from Hanoi is 3 hours both ways. We book this trip with Visit Wonders, they responded firmly. We chose the 3 day 2 night cruise on Indochina sails and although a little pricey worth every penny.
You are picked up at your hotel early to start your adventure. We stayed in a deluxe spacious room which had large windows, a great bathroom with shower and a comfy queen bed. The rooms have a safe for valuables. Upon arrival the staff greeted us wearing masks. The boat is equipped with a wonderful dining room with incredible food and a great sundeck to relax with comfy chairs. As you cruise, the sights of Halong Bay are breathtaking. The stop to Titop Island on the first day is worth the climb to see the breathtaking view.
On the second day people who chose the 1 night option return to port on the Indochina Sails boat while tourists staying for the second day are taken by tender to their own day boat. There were only 6 of us so we had the boat to ourselves. Our lunch was incredible with fresh seafood. On the second day you continue to tour further into Halong Bay where fewer boats visit.You have the opportunity to kayak through caves and go in among karsts. We visited a floating village where you are paddled by a row boat around the village. We stopped at a Pearl Farm where you can see oysters be farmed and learn about the process of making pearls. They also have pearl jewellery for sell at their retail store for a good price. Indochina Sail cruise offers some wonderful features to make your stay enjoyable.
There is a Happy hour- 2 for 1 drinks that happens twice a day, a presentation of making spring rolls which tourists get to make and eat, Tai Chi in the morning at 7:00 am, a night movie, and you can even try squid fishing. The staffs are friendly, and hard working to try and make your stay memorable. I would recommend Indochina Sails for an amazing experience. It was our highlight visiting Vietnam.
: Cecile Jezequel
All-in-all, my wife and I were very happy with Indochina Sails and would heartily recommend it to you, our fellow travelers. Booking with Visit Wonders was hassle free, with promptly-returned emails and we actually received the room that we booked, which was a nice outcome! The hotel pick-up in was efficient, the shuttle bus not too crowded and the travel time was as advertised (3 hours with a stop 1/2 way at a sales factory with clean bathrooms), the transfer from wharf to boat was done cheerfully, quickly & efficiently with no lost luggage.
We were assigned boat number 4 called Indochina Premium, which was conspicuously bigger than all other boats in the area and much more luxurious & spacious. It was junk style with folded up sails that were not used, possibly due to the absence of wind. All boats on the bay were white (dress code?). Ours was a sturdy vessel with no rats, as witnessed on other carriers, and with a reliable engine astern & a solid anchor winch at the bow. This boat was reserved for the 3 day, 2 night people so they did not have to double back and return to the dock after the 1st night to drop off the folks that stayed for 1 night only. I would recommend the 2 night stay. Whether you get off ship for every mini tour or not, it was just nice to relax and disconnect with no wireless on this luxurious boat with comfortable public areas inside and on the top open air deck.
My wife & I had a "Honeymoon Suite", which was one of two at the front of the boat on the 2nd floor with a narrow outdoor veranda. Our bathroom was wonderful, with good natural lighting and strong water pressure from the large, rain shower head. Bathtub water was a bit brown and the tub didn't drain properly but we weren't planning on using it anyway.
We did try the massage service, which was good. Air conditioning worked best if you opened the doors in front of the hidden unit to allow freer air flow. The complimentary bottle of red wine on the writing desk was much appreciated. The mini fridge worked well and the in room safe was spacious and easy to use. The king sized bed was very comfortable. Complimentary flip flops & robes provided in the wardrobe. The buffet-style meals were excellent with lots of choices and plenty of food for everyone. There were two Happy Hours each evening, offering 2-for-1 drink deals (not for bottles of wine though).
The destination was interesting enough with a mix between eco-tourism & visits to local shops where the proprietors hope to sell you something. Understandable. You have the option to stay on the boat, so it was fine. Absolutely beautiful scenery, with its famous limestone protrusions out of the sea, which made the kayaking all the more fun.
: Lorena Garcia Bruna
Indochina Sails did a terrific job start to finish: organization, food, touring, the works. All their staff were pleasant, helpful, and professional. The cabins were quite lovely, well-appointed and comfortable, if a bit small. But what do you expect on a cruise? If you want more space, book the upper deck, which has larger cabins and even a bit of outside balcony space.
On the longer cruise, you get to spend one full day on a smaller day boat, which really gets you away from the crowd. There were only 4 guests on teh smaller boat, and the staff was highly attentive. As this came at the end of a fairly grueling three weeks on the road, the chance to just sit back and drink in the beauty of Ha Long Bay whil being spoiled was really delightful.
Only the highest praise for indochina Sails from me.
: Milva Francia
There are a lot of cruises for Halong. This is within the top 3 and could not fault it. Food, service, comfort and on board prices for drinks. Accommodation is very good with all facilities, even a safe! However, go for 2 nights as you will see much more on your second full day, kayaking, swimming, fishing village, caves, oyster farm and have more time to relax and take in the beautiful scenery.
You will visit Tip Top Island and the views from the top are great. However, there are 426 steps and a German tourist sadly died from a heart attack at the top. Don't attempt the climb unless you are fit or stop at regular intervals. The journey from Hanoi is a pain, 3 and maybe 5 hours if you are unlucky but if you have a good guide and driver (we used vid tours) then it will be more interesting.
It can be a bit alarming when you set off and see so many boats but it gets quieter apart from some popular stops. The big disappointment is the communist government has ordered all boats to be painted white! Spoils the character and no one likes it! It has been suggested it was only done as there were backhanders involved with paint companies. Not surprising here I guess.
: Concha Saez
The highlight of my trip was the Halong Bay Cruise. Indochina Sails really got it right with a Professional team of all Vietnamese crew, well maintained boat with comfortable spacious bathroom and the most delicious food. A pity the sky was overcast (no clear day for an impressive view) but cruising through the many limestone karsts was quite amazing. Compliments to the chef, I am most impressed by the quality and variety of food served. It was indeed a pleasant overnight stay on board. Nice to mingle with the other passengers (about 30 altogether). Everyone was friendly. There was a wine tasting before dinner which had a good selection at reasonable price of $16. They served a set lunch upon boarding the boat and 2 buffets (dinner and breakfast). One feels really relaxed and pampered on board. The crew really takes good care of you. The kayaking option is more fun than the boat option which they offer to see the caves. Brace yourself for 2 climbs up steep 100-120steps to admire the caves. Good workout after all that food. Towels and water are provided for you to swim at the bay near Titop Island.
: Andrea Giardi
Indochina Sails did a great job. The boat was in good condition with a lovely, clean room and plenty of hot water in the shower, which was key after kayaking in the bay. Food wasn't 5-star, but it was hot and satisfying. Cruise director and staff provided excellent service--up until the end of the cruise when we walked off the boat to the end of the pier, and had to fend for ourselves to find our van back to Ha Noi. But, we just flagged down a staffer and they got us back on track. That was the only real misstep in the 3 day, 2 night affair. Ha Long Bay is beautiful, but there are about 100 other boats out there. Next time, I might charter a boat with friends to explore more remote parts of the bay.
: Antonio Alvaro Blasco
We booked with Visit Wonders, a very well organized company with smooth arrangements. Payment and confirmation online was good with quick e mail to arrange hotel pick up. There is a pleasant waiting room at Halong and before long you are on the tender and on the boat. Staffs are very good and smiling, food and drink excellent - even for special diets. The cabin is wood panelled, good air con and very clean. Worth the extra for larger room. It’s amazing to lie in bed and watch the islands pass by! The itinerary is good and the islands are beautiful. Transfer to the day boat for day two, the day boat is actually quite big. Kayaking and swimming an option although look out for the jelly fish in the spring. The island with the beach was a bit crowded and was a bit surprised the water wasn't so clear or so blue as expected. The onboard safety is good, main risks are during foggy spells, having read some of the past events were well prepared and sought out lifejackets, flotation gears and exits. Don't bother with the one night cruise, its simply not sufficient time, two nights is the best option and you see so much more as well as not having to endure the car journey on two consecutive days. Indochina appear to be, quite rightly, one of the Halong cruise leaders and are well recommended.