The company I wanted to use for our tour of Ha Long Bay was completely booked for our dates (my fault for being a procrastinator) and they recommended V’Spirit. Overall, I was not that impressed. I see that the other reviewers here had a more positive experience, but i can only comment on what it was like for us.
The boat was much dingier than I expected. The outside was full of peeling paint, and the life vests we had to wear in the small “back and forth” boat were covered in mildew. And our bathroom didn’t feel completely clean – a state not helped by the fact that nothing every got dry in there, due to the fact that the shower was just a nozzle coming out of the wall and draining through the floor. (Yes, I’m aware this is the case in many bathrooms in developing countries – but I make a point of avoiding such bathrooms, so I was a little taken aback.)
The food on the boat was very mediocre, which was such a disappointment after being in Vietnam for a week and a half and having some really amazing food. Everything they served us was just bland. I realize they may do that on purpose for us tourists, but it was a real disappointment for us, since a huge part of the travel experience for us is about food. Additionally, they brought out these comically large platters (everything was served family style) and at every single meal more than half the food was left over. Such a waste.
Additionally, the itinerary felt very “canned.” Go here and kayak for one hour, then go there and tour a cave for one hour surrounded by other groups touring said cave… just not my kind of thing. But then again, I somewhat expected this, and I’m not sure how else they could do it, given how popular Ha Long Bay is. But I could certainly do without the stops on the way to and from the bay, at a warehouse/souvenir shop, where we waited for half an hour while the bus got washed and the driver took a break. It just felt very ”here, buy something since we’re forcing you to hang out here.”
On the plus side, the staff/crew on the boat were amazing. Just the nicest, most helpful people you could imagine. Always friendly, always concerned about how they could make things better for you. I wasn’t feeling well when we boarded and everyone was very concerned and tried to find ways to help me. We couldn’t have asked for better service.
Wasnt sure about this trip though I might be bored but it was great. V Spirit cruise was fab- the food was amazing and so much of it. Included a good mix of things not just seafood. Also included was trip to the caves, the beach, kayaking and a cookery demo. Thoroughly enjoyed it and it was great value drinks were extra but they were reasonable prices. Our guide May was brilliant and very funny. 4 hour bus journey to get there from Hanoi was long but ok too. Staff were all great and safety seemed good. Thanks for a lovely birthday cake too
Not only did we get to see amazing views of Holong Bay we also had amazing food and an amazing staff that went above and beyond. This was the highlight of our 9 day trip to Vietnam. We had our 22 month old son with us and they were more than accommodating with him. I would recommend this company to anyone who goes to Halong Bay. This is where we'll go again if we go back.
|How helpful were the directions to the property?||How easy was key pickup/access to the property?|
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Booked on the 2 day 1 night trip. It was great but I do wish I had booked for longer, it just is nt long enough!
The journey itself to Halong Bay is long. Although you are told 3 1/2 hours this does nt include picking everyone up at the hotels and your stops or traffic so it is closer to 5 1/2 hours :-(
However once you get their it is beautiful. You gently cruise though the magnificent cliffs, admiring the scenery, lots of activities are included such as the cave excursion- amazing, beach stop off, hike to top of Islands, Kayaking but to be honest I would of still be perfectly happy just watching the scenery go past!
The boat I stayed on was lovely. It did nt look amazing from outside, but inside it was top notch. I got one of the best cabins which was at the back, and as well as a huge room with 2 walls of windows I had a private balcony too, really clean, nicely decorated and great bathroom too.
The food was really good, being vegetarian they catered amazingly for me. Although one big frustration I had is we were told where we must sit for all meals which was nt good- I was put on a table of Spanish speakers who could nt speak English and I cant speak Spanish. Another slight frustration with meals is as they serve the whole dining room dish per dish meal times can be quite long, first you have to wait till everyone from every table is there, and also you may get full on the earlier stuff then realize more and more is still coming!! but the meals are really good and they put a lot of effort into the quality and presentation of it.
Unfortunately one thing you will notice in Halong Bay is the litter- Although other reviewers have blamed the locals it was mostly tourists I saw sadly doing this, shameful when there are bins everywhere (Penguin bins!!) I did also see plenty of small litter boats that were going out collecting it, but we can all do our bit to help!! :-)
We had Kong as a tour guide and he did a really good job in looking after us.
A great trip and highlight of Vietnam.
Just returned from a 2day/1 night trip with this company. Peter was our guide- fun guy, great English. Boat value for money. Not luxury by any means but good mid range. Cockroach in cabin an unwanted guest though! Good food -amazing, so fresh & so much of it. Kayaking through caves fun but very busy with all the other boats doing the same.... Would be amazing to visit if you on your own.... Halong bay beautiful destination but very "touristy"- counted at least 45 other "junks" around us at any one time.... Sad to hear government moving fishing villages onshore in order to try & clean up bay... these people now have to relocate & adapt their way of life. Long, insanely bumpy road , 3 plus hour bus trip from Hanoi - air conditioned though.
Overall worth the visit. Thanks peter & Thu & crew for tour.