Hello. I have been reading all the wonderful stories, articles and forums here on Travelfish on Halong Bay. I defenitely know that Columbus is the best one. I just visited them and would love to go with them, however, I don't have the budget.
I was offered by Sinh Cafe (the real one)a tour of 3 days, 2 nights, in a "deluxe" boat, 1 night at the junk, 1 night in Cat Ba Island in the Holiday hotel, all meals and transportation included for US$83 per person.
I wanted to know if anyone had done this with this company and think it's OK or does anybody know another midrange company that is recommendable? Up to US$85
Thanks a lot!
#1 rmena21 has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 4
Sinh Cafe (the proper one) is a reputable travel operator.
The correct address & phone for them in HaNoi is:
64 Tran Nhat Duat Str., Ha Noi City - (04) 3 39290394
Please ensure you went to the correct address as there are lots of fakes all saying they are the right place...
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Sinh Cafe don't have boats of their own. They will be acting on behalf of some other operator - who I can't say.
The accommodation at Cat Ba has received some negative reports.
Also, the comments on Halong Bay cruising here on Travelfish (see it under Stories) doesn't talk nicely about the food provided on the budget / mid range cruises.
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I appreciate you've said you've visited Columbus, and sadly haven't the budget. May I suggest you go back to Columbus and tell them you can get a "deluxe" boat trip 1 on water, one on land for $85, and see if you can't bargain them down. Their website is saying that early booking gets a 25% discount, so maybe you can use that as a guide to negotiate a price more to your liking. You never know till you have a go.
Thanks Brucemoon, I went back to Columbus today to see if I could bring down the price explaining them as you told me, but unfortunately all I could negotiate was a U$ 17 discount, sounds fair but I still can't afford the U$ 170, 3 day/2 nights they offered me, I wish I could because the junk looks totally luxurious.
I went today to South Pacific Tours located at 73 Ly Nam De Str., Hanoi, and they are making me a pretty decent offer, a 3 day/ 2 night at U$ 125 p/p (1 night on the junk & 1 night at Cat Ba Island) Has anybody else done a cruise with South Pacific? Any recommendations? I can see that the U$ 80 budget will not provide me decent accommodations.
Thanks in advance for any help!
#3 rmena21 has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 4
After doing my research, looking around, reading and reading, hearing comments from everyone that I could talk to, we decided to go with a completely different option, more on our budget and that received good reviews. It's the Legend Junk, supposedly is luxurious, saw some pictures, and it looks nice, however, I'm not sure if those are the "real" ones. Let's see how it goes. It cost US$100 per person, 1 night at the junk, 1 night at the Holiday View hotel in Cat Ba Island. I will post my testimonial once I've completed the trip. I'm crossing my fingers! Thanks for your help ;)
#5 rmena21 has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 4
I have just got back from a tour of Halong today 3 days 2 nights). I booked with Sihn Cafe after finding their correct address and website, they also have a handy picture of some of the sites they have around Vietnam next to the address of each.
Cost me $65, As BruceMoon says they don't own a boat but overal my trip was fine will very little going wrong (the boat broke down for an hour or so/ mind you anchored in Halong bay for an hour longer than planned is not what I would call stressful) 1st night on the boat 2nd night on the island - I stayed at Sun & Sea Hotel, my room was better than expected but on the 6th floor (no lift) over looking that bay.
The only niggle I could point out is that those on the same 3 trip as me were sent to different hotels.
Any particular questions feel free to ask.
#6 Skimonkey has been a member since 16/4/2009. Posts: 40
I've done two trips to Ha Long Bay, once staying overnight on Cat Ba and the other was overnight on the boat. I can highly recommend the purely boat option as you get to go to further away places, away from the touristy parts and it can be nice and quiet at night. Ours was quite expensive, but intimate and lovely - the Red Dragon (2 days 1 night, US$150). I've heard of the Legend Junk and they're good for the price.