Kayaking in Halong Bay

Mar 22nd, 2006, 08:25 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 80
Kayaking in Halong Bay

Has anybody taken a kayaking tour of Halong Bay? What tour operator did you use? I'm looking for a 3-4 day trip in the late-December/early-January timeframe with overnight stays on a junk with a respectable tour operator. Thanks!
pebbles13 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 11:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Yes, I did this in October 2004 with Handspan tours. We stayed on the Dragon Pearl, a lovely chinese junk. It was a wonderful experience! The accomodations were excellent, as was the food. We needed the kayaking to burn off some of the calories from the fine food we ate! This was a highlight of our month long trip to Asia.
dperry is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Thanks for the info dperry! I googled Handspan tours and found their website. The itinerary looks find and the price is great! (For those that see this thread and are wondering, the URL is <http://www.handspan.com/?opt=tour&cId=1&tId=5>, and it's currently $138/person in 2006.) Just a few questions: did you specifically ask for the Dragon Pearl, or is that the junk you happened to get? I didn't see anything on that site other than the 2-day/1-night cruise that specifically said the name of the boat. I wonder if they have others since they have tours that leave every day. Also, did you stop at Titop Island? I see that it is a stop on almost every 2-day/1-night tour, but the 3-day/2-night tour goes to Cat Ba Island and doesn't mention Titop Island. Just wondering if I will be missing anything if it skips Titop. What was the hotel like on Cat Ba? Thanks for your info!
pebbles13 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 05:24 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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We didn't specifically ask for the Dragon Pearl, it was on Handspan's website. I did some research into the junk, and read positive reviews of it. I thought it was significantly nicer than the other junks we saw in Halong Bay. There is another junk, I believe it's called Emeraude, that is supposed to be very nice, but I didn't see that one on my trip. Handspan probably uses several junks, as they have many trips going on concurrently. I don't remember Tiptop island, unless it was the island that had what looked like a ranger station on the top-what a hike! You may want to email Handspan with questions, I found them to be very responsive. I'm sure that you will be pleased with whatever trip you take. We really loved it.
dperry is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I was told Handspan is the most costly one.
Near to their office, a few others that charge very much less and provide the same trip and service.
Simpletravelling is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 11:03 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 671
yes, I have heard this as well. But we were really pleased with the accomodations and the trip in general. If the price is very important to you,there are many companies who offer trips to Halong Bay. I'm sure you'll find something that is right for you!
dperry is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Particularly in VN, you get what you pay for. As you may know, there are many "travel agencies" with the same name as well as many hotels, etc. There are often complaints about an agency that shares the same name with another but has no relationship to it. So if an agency says they do the same trip for a lower cost, there are reasons the cost is lower.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 04:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Kathie is correct. What I meant to say in my last statement was that while you can find something that costs less than the handspan trip on the Dragon Pearl, you will be making concessions.
Ultimately, your budget will determine your choice, but in this case it is worth it to pay a little more.
Let us know what you decide!
dperry is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 88
We did a 2-day, one night stay on Jewel of the Bay, run by Buffalo Tours, and it was just lovely! I'm pretty sure that they have a longer trip listed on their website - if you search, I'm sure you'll find them. We booked it a couple of months in advance and they were wonderful to deal with. Food was good, stateroom was fine, and the staff was really helpful. It didn't hurt that the other people on the boat were really fun and we got along well. My husband went kayaking - I decided to stay onboard the junk and enjoy the beautiful scenery from the deck.
sharon212 is offline  
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