: Anne Wilkowski
We did an overnight junk tour on Halong Bay and enjoyed everything about it. The staff on the junk were friendly, our room was excellent and clean and our excursions away from the junk were outstanding. Our first lunch on board was exceptional, but the evening buffet and breakfast buffet were quite good although not memorable. Halong Bay is a magical place and anyone visiting the north of Vietnam should make a point of seeing this World Heritage place.
: Jean Marie Pons
We took the 2D1N cruise with Indochina Sails. We love our cruise and the companion, a total of 22 of us, on the same cruise. The food spread is plenty and delicious and we always have more than enough. The service onboard is excellent and the staff is always ever ready to help.
Room – We had a superior double bed cabin (#106) on the 1st deck and we were lucky (thanks to Ms. Cham) that our room is away from the engine. The cabin is clean but not very spacious. Still it’s ok as we were only in the room to shower and sleep as we were occupied with activities most of the time. Our room had two big windows to look out.
Shower/Toilet – Water pressure in shower is great and hot water is constant. However waste suction in the toilet bowl is poor as it cannot discharge the toilet paper. In the end, we did what the locals do, discard the toilet paper into the dustbin instead.
Hanoi-Halong transfer – Our van came on time at 7.45am. There were only 5 of us in the van so everyone has good space to stretch out for the long bumpy 3.5-4hours ride. We had one 20mins stop at some marble carving, sewing/stitching outlet amidst the farms. Toilets here are clean and toilet paper is supplied. We did not buy anything as everything is expensive. Upon arrival, we had to wait in a lounge for other guests on the same cruise.
Halong Bay is beautiful and no words can describe her beauty. It was a misty/foggy morning when we heading out to Halong Bay. That helps put a mysterious look on Halong Bay. The sunrise the next day was so lovely and divine that it took my breath away!
: Cyril Magnon
We took the 2 day/1 night cruise booked by our overland agent who had informed the company that we were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on this holiday. The trip runs for approximately 22 hours from around 1pm to 11am. We were upgraded to one of the upper deck cabins which had a 6 foot bed, just enough space to get round and a more than adequate size bathroom. We were also provided with water and a basket of fruit.
Lunch consisted of a set menu served soon after setting sail. During the afternoon we stopped off numerous times for visits until the boat set anchor around 6pm. Dinner was buffet style and had a wide range of choices. Like almost all places nowadays, the wine was way overpriced so we made do with beer.
The 'fishing' that was available after dinner consisted of dangling a spinner type lure over the pack of the boat. Though it was in interesting experience, I doubt that many people caught a squid, or indeed any fish at all!
For our anniversary, the crew presented us with flowers and chocolate. After the evening entertainment which was a video of Top Gear's tour of Vietnam by scooter, most people drifted off to bed around 10pm ready for an early start the next morning.
Morning starts early around 6:30 with coffee and cakes. No chance of a beautiful sunrise though as it was still raining. Another visit to a series of caves was possibly the highlight of the visits before we returned for a more substantial mid morning breakfast, and returning to our departure point.
What a pity that it never stopped raining and we were only able to see the bottoms of the rocks in the bay.
: Florence Verdi
I booked Indochina Sails via Visit Wonders. I need not have worried as Indochina Sails has both wonderful staff and an great boat.
I booked the 2 day/1 night package. Given how long it takes to get from Hanoi to Halong Bay I would suggest a strong consideration for the 3 day/2 night cruise. Please though do check the typical weather for when you book. We went in March and it was misty with some drizzle. It did not affect our enjoyment but it did mean that some of the views that you may have seen pictures of were not holy visible.
On joining the cruise we were shown to our cabin. It was spotlessly clean. A little cramped - but it is a boat. The showers had plentiful hot water.
The food on board was wonderful.
I would highly recommend a trip to Halong Bay and to cruise around it with Indochina Sails. Do think about the weather before you book and do think about the 2 night cruise. The road from Hanoi is very long and a second night would have been great.
: Christine Carette
My girlfriend and I did the 2 day-1night cruise with Indochina Sails. Even though the weather was a bit foggy throughout the 2 days, Halong Bay is beautiful and worth seeing at least once in your life. The boat we stayed on was one of the newer and larger boats in their fleet. Our room was about the size of a small hotel room with a large bathroom containing a separate shower and jacuzzi tub. The sights were beautiful, the crew was friendly and the food, although not gourmet, was good. Overall, we had a great time on the tour and I would recommend Indochina Sails as a luxurious option when traveling to Halong Bay.
: Jesus Jorge Moral
Did 2 day tour with Indochina Sails. Ship only half full so plenty of personal staff attention and service. This is an amazing experience and highly recommended. Unfortunately Halong Bay was smoggy so great scenery couldn't be fully appreciated. Food was amazing and the cabins are very well appointed. Don't take a big suitcase as there is no room for it (we left ours at our hotel overnight storage at no cost). The ship is lovely and the drinks are very reasonable; happy hour (2 for 1) is 21:00 to 23:00. We gave it a pretty good hammering and total drinks bill was only US$31. A young couple drank cocktails all day/night and their bill was US$81. As per other reviews, the off-boat excursions (hidden lagoon, hilltop lookout-swim, big cave) are a bit of a sausage machine with too many other tourists, so next time would skio them and stay on the boat. Overall a great experience.
: Any Brenugat
I would recommend this company to any of my friends. We did the 2d 1n tour around the bay on Indochina Sails 1.
A lot of people warned us to try and avoid the 'party' boats. As it is peak season for Aussie travellers we seemed to be lucky enough to get a boat full of about 14 Aussie couples who were great fun. In this price bracket I wouldn't expect you would get many young backpackers looking for an all night bender.
At night there is also happy hour (2 for 1) which is a nice touch, however as I said above nobody was there to inhale 100's of beers (although I did try my best).
Everything was included except drinks which was fine as the drinks prices weren't too outrageous for a tour of that sort. The meals, that were a combination of set menu and buffet, were sensational. I have included some pictures of what we ate to my review.
Our room was nice and had windows (no balcony or TV) but we seemed to spend most of our time up the top taking in the sites.
Our guide (KOAY?) who accompanied us to each attraction as well as gave us regular updates on where we were going and a lot of background on the area was very knowledgeable and friendly. His local background really added to experience.
All in all it was a great cruise and a fantastic way to see a sensational part of the world.
The tip for this one would be to wake up early and do the Tai Chi on the top deck in the morning.
: Danielle Green
We had a fantastic two-night cruise on the Indochina Sails Premier boat in December. We paid for the largest room size, and had a spacious cabin with a large bathroom, including a jacuzzi tub. The staff took excellent care of us, both on the main boat and on the "day boat" - which is also well appointed - that we were using during the day on the second day for excursions around smaller coves. The food was on the whole quite good. The boat was spacious, with a pleasant room for reading and playing games, and a spacious outdoor deck. My only minor complaint with the boat service itself is that you are charged for almost all beverages, including non-alcoholic ones, which seems petty given the overall cost of the cruise. The transfer from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes a long time (3-4 hours), which is not within their control, but I think that the process of handling the transfer at the mainland could be improved. We had to wait about 45 minutes in a rather sad restaurant room for our transfer to the boat, and then over an hour for our shuttle back to the city at the end of the cruise, and communication with staff over when we would be leaving wasn't great. But the cruise itself was wonderful and extremely relaxing, in beautiful scenery.
: Sebastian Wagenblast
Having chosen Indochina Sails from among the many companies that take you to Halong Bay, what comes next? Here is an example from late November.
First, the transfer from Hanoi. We were picked up in the same lobby at 8:15, filling out a second van, and we departed for Halong Bay immediately, for a total travel time of 3:45 minutes. The road traveled will be familiar to those who know the outskirts of both developing and developed industrial cities around the world—it’s a reasonably depressing sight.
The boat is well captured in Indochina advertisements and can only be praised. Our room was clean, the beds firm, the sheets soft, and our bathroom larger than expected. Those staying for two nights are treated to a complimentary bottle of quite agreeable red wine.
Are the karst formations worth it? Yes. They don’t disappoint, from start to finish. Are you in a long line with other passenger boats? Yes. Do you notice much and does it matter? No. The scenery is the star.
The first stop for all Day One passengers is Titop Island, by small boat transfer. The steps up to the overlook are indeed challenging, varying in height from six to eighteen inches. Our guide did little to explain just how significant the climb would be, though most were up for the challenge. Rainy weather meant that we had the spot almost entirely to ourselves, and the quiet scene at the top is a true reward, even in fog. The descent, even for the fit and able-bodied, is unnerving in the absence of banisters and the regularly irregular or broken step.
Almost immediately upon return back to the ship, passengers transfer again to a cave tour by bamboo boat or kayak. Jetlagged, we declined in favor of an extended nap, something that proved a worthy tradeoff given the fuller kayaking program on Day Two.
Food onboard the ship itself is quite good. Day Two with a more thoughtful breakfast and a truly fine lunch on board a separate, smaller touring boat. Again, scenery, and not food, is the star of the show. In the evening, passengers brought their free wine bottles round to the tables or, when extinguished, purchased tub-sized glasses for a reasonable $5.
For us, Day Two was a revelation. What sounds like a forced march to get you off the boat so that a new crew of one-night passengers can be brought on board turned out to be the highlight of the trip. The day boat has a spacious downstairs lounge with showers and bathrooms, and a well-equipped upper deck with chairs and blankets. The day included some truly staggering kayaking where you are entirely on your own in stunning caves and private coves, almost two hours’ worth. Following some swimming, we voted to take in the obligatory fishing village view from the top deck of the boat under blankets while others took in the hour-long view from rowboats along the shore. An excellent lunch and a brief visit to a floating pearl farm followed. Again, information might have been improved. Some mentioned that they would have brought along cash or credit cards had they known of the pearl farm stop, never mentioned in print or on board in advance. Neither is it pointed out that the kayaking, for all its charm, is quite strenuous.
Finally, although most visitors are armed to the teeth with guidebooks, a map of the bay on board ship would have been helpful. Knowing the reverse route, the road back was easy and smooth. All a pleasure.
: Lisa Friedmann
We did the 1 night, 2 day cruise. All the Indochina Sails do the same route every day. I think the 1 night cruise is probably about right. Relaxing and enjoyable. If you do the 2 night cruise you leave the original boat to transfer to a day boat, and then return to the main boat in the next evening when there will already be the new guests in place for the next 1 or 2 night cruise. We had a great bunch of people and everyone bonded and we chose to have one big table for dinner. It's down to luck who is on your cruise and if you strike it off but most people seem very happy to mix. Cabins were lovely, staff very attentive and the company's manager toured the boats in the evening (as your all anchored in the same bay) to check all was well. Overall a very well run company.
: Huber Dagmar Josef
We did 2 days/1 night. The crew are helpful and our guide was wonderful chatty and wanting to help anyway he can. The food is amazing especially the 5 course lunch you have just after you board. The boats are relatively small so there are max 20 people on board. We were lucky with the people we shared with being friendly and chatty. The views are spectacular and although the beach on day 1 is a bit crowded and over used but the sights do make up for it. Be prepared for lots of other tours following each other around so the places they take you are a little crowded. Make sure you bring plenty of bottle water with you on board - they have a few complimentary bottles but they aren't enough.
: Sananikone Family
After thorough research, my husband booked us at the IndoChina sails. We would suggest the 2 day and 1 night stay for tourists that want to club outdoor activities with some quite relaxed time inside the cruise. The cruise is excellently maintained, absolutely comfortable bedding, tastefully cooked food. Mild mannered staff. The wine tasting , kayaking and tai chi experiences were fun. The cruise mgmt charts out a good schedule of activities - try and get around to doing it. Good fun. To sum up, exclusive luxury at a very affordable price !
Indo china sails made our 1st wedding anniversary memorable, we'd probably head there for our 10th too :)
: Danielle Beaudoin
Mum and I recently had the pleasure to go on Indochina Sails Premium deluxe room. WOW ! how fantastic, the rooms are a comfortable size, beds comfortable and a huge lovely bathroom with great windows to view the sights whilst having a laze. The food was fantastic and the included itinerary worked well. We met some really nice people and none of us wanted to leave the boat.
Now I understand when people say do 2 nights - 1 is not enough. I'm sorry we didn't do 2. The staff were attentive and the prices for cocktails a reasonable price. I totally recommend this company and this boat. If you can do 2 nights:)