After many readings and pondering, we decided on Sinh Cafe because we thought that it is reliable, trustworthy among travellers.
We signed up a 2d1n package with the real Sinh Cafe at 52, Luong Ngoc Quyen St. It turned up to be a dsssapointed one. Their service was bad and it was really an awful experience for us.
There were only 11 people in the trip. (6 from my group) At the jetty, the tour guide collected our passports and held for the entire journey. The tour guides and crews were not friendly. They were impatient and kind of 'cold' attitude.
6 of us checked in to 3 twin sharing rooms after boarding. One of our room's key was broken when we attempted to open the door. My female friend inserted the key and it was broken when she turned the door knob. We reported the case to the tour guide. The crews insisted we pay USD20 for the broken key. It was ridiculous so we refused to pay. The door was forced to open. They did not change room for us neither. My two girl friends have to sleep inside the unlocked room. In fact another room also encountered problems with the door. Apparently the junk was old and lack of maintenance.
The next day, after checked out and getting ready for return, again we were asked for USD20. As we refused to pay, the captain turned off the engine. He stopped the junk in the middle of the gulf. We negotiated but with no results. We told them we would make a police report but they seem like not afraid. We called a local friend at Hanoi but was told not to put any hope on the local police.
The captain restarted the engine an hour later. They refused to return our passport if we don't pay. After arriving Halong town, we have no choice but paid USD15 to get back our passports. The captain brought the passports to the restaurant where we had lunch.
We exchanged our passports outside the restaurant. My friend was trying to snap using her camera but the tour guide quicky covered up the captain by blocking her lens.
Please be careful when you deal with them in Hanoi. Try to go for other travel agents if can. I believe there are many good and reliable travel company in Hanoi but definitely not Sinh Cafe.
#1 doraemon has been a member since 3/3/2008. Posts: 12
They are not the real Sinh Cafe that is why
#2 jockeygirl has been a member since 23/11/2008. Posts: 1
It is the Real Sinh Cafe! I ve got the website from Catba and went to their office in Hanoi
#3 doraemon has been a member since 3/3/2008. Posts: 12
You can check the address from the website
some bad comments as well from LP and you may see below link
#4 doraemon has been a member since 3/3/2008. Posts: 12
Same experience here...booked a tour in HCMC; guides are uninterested and pretty much useless....
#5 Lawoat has been a member since 29/6/2009. Posts: 59
You must have gotten them on a bad day. I spent 11 days with Sinh travel and had an absolutely great experience.
#6 NYTim has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 106
I've read lonelyplanet's recommendations on Sinhcafe Travel and it was pretty good only that we are given the options to discern the original from fake ones. I bet the prices and services of real Sinhcafe will be much better as described after this. Look at Bali after the bombing, everything went down and the place was quite safe for tourists. The same thing with travel companies after the storm prices and services will be better than usual. I love this kind of posts! I can negotiate better.
#7 29lovelyme has been a member since 20/11/2009. Posts: 13
I've found what LP calls 'the real Sinh cafe' extremely variable. My experience in HCMC and Dalat was great but in Hue and Dong Hoi it was pretty terrible. I suppose it depends a lot on the personnel.
Part of the problem too may be how little we pay. Prices don't seem to have gone up in years but inflation has made ordinary life for Vietnamese much more expensive. I don't think we pay enough for maintenance of boats and vehicles. I know people who spent the better part of a day finding the cheapest trip and saved themselves 2 or 3 dollars. It's easy to lose perspective on money in Vietnam.
#8 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 152
we used them twice in saigon and they were ok - u get what u pay for. We got rushed thru sites at times and your experience really depends on the guide u get - we had two fantastic guys and then one who was friendly but did not give any kind of presentation or local history at all. The holding of passports thing is pretty common here - not sure u can get around but sometimes they accept a photocopy. That sucks they charged u for the key but im not surprised as we were told on our cruise u break anything u pay for it - so when the window on our junk was stuck open we made them come and fix it straight away. i was afraid if we tried we would break it and have to pay as u did. Rearding how much you pay - service doesnt always increase with cost either so its a case of luck, trial and error and lastly just making the best of it and remembering this beats the hell out being back home at my desk job! ;)
#9 xquisitecorpse has been a member since 17/10/2009. Posts: 14
It's amusing to see comments of those who are so sure they got the REAL Sinh and how blatantly some companies make that claim! If you are looking for the guy who started it all and made the name Sinh worth copying or claiming to be the "Original" look up this link http://sinhbalo.com/guest_comment_lpg.html Navigate your way from there. The name is now SINHBALO. You can google that and check out the "About Us" for the guy who started it all. I am tropixblue. Tell me if I am wrong.
#11 tropixblue has been a member since 3/4/2011. Posts: 5