First thing’s first – it was amazing! Total for two people was around 400 USD. It was definitely worth it because of reliability, quality, and the views… we were constantly fed and watered, and nobody seemed to be pushing you to do the activities. The waters were clear, and surrounding boats only added to the overall feeling of being somewhere in a different world. The whole day the colours of the water and the sky changed so often, it incited very different feelings and brought various memories from childhood.
INDOCHINA SAILS TOUR:
Every service here starts by giving you a wet towel to wipe your hands. That’s nice. A few hours drive brought us to a massive pier full of tour boats. We were just guessing if ours was one of the nice ones we saw on the way. It was interesting to see our backpacks taken from the van as “checked-in baggage” and then find them waiting for us next to our room on the boat. The tour followed a pretty busy itinerary but was nicely organised. It felt rushed at times, but purely because we were taking photos and videos all the time. Literally all the time. Of all the hours we spent on the boat we only actually relaxed for like 10 minutes.
The views were stunning, the room was nice, and the shower had marbled tiles! We spent over 24 hours on the boat, and the green peaks sticking out of the water didn’t end… simply amazing. We had read some negative comments about rubbish floating in water, loud engines and so on, but we didn’t experience any of that. It was so nice to just chill out on the top deck of a big boat surrounded by misty karsts and a few other boats in the distance.
The service was impeccable. I have never felt as much of a superstar in my life, as much as I have received VIP-treatment for being a vegetarian on this boat! Everyone was having a buffet meal and the attendant came up and said that the chef was making something just for us. Four. Bloody. Courses. They kept on bringing one dish after another… We were so flattered! But the breakfast was the tastiest. English breakfast just can’t be beaten!
On our way back we stopped for a visit to Titop island and climbed up to the viewpoint overlooking the bay. It was pretty similar to the experience we had in Angthong Marine Park in Thailand – they expect you to run up in 10 minutes, snap a 2-second selfie, run back down and “enjoy” the beach for like 5 minutes. The view up there was nice, but personally we preferred the view from the deck of our boat. Ooh, also, there was a Tai Chi session in the morning!
A fun-filled van ride (squeezed between suitcases feeling every bump of the road) back to Hanoi and we were lurking around the train station. No scams. You can drink beer on the train, and the vendors actually offer bottles of wine before you board!