I'm looking at booking a trek to sapa & a Halong Bay trip with Sinh. Has anyone used this agency. If so how did you find them. What was the boat on the Halong Bay trip like. Another recommendation has been Handspan which seem to be alot more expensive.i no that you basically get what you pay for but my budget is now really tight which is why im looking at the cheaper option
Any other recommendations welcome,
Unless things have changed in the last two years, booking tours in Vietnam, or anywhere in Asia, is completely luck of the draw.
We had this exact debate when we were booking these trips. Handspan was well recomended and though quite a bit more expensive, we were planning on splurging and seeing if it is better. They had no tour to Sapa on the day we wanted to book so they sent us with another company that they recomended that was slightly cheaper. So we went with them and when we got there we were paired up with a group that had paid much less than us for the same tour.
Same thing with the Halong Bay tour. We went with Sinh Cafe because they were the cheapest and we hadn't heard anything bad about them. When we got on the boat, everyone we were with paid a different price through a different company, including some folks who had paid well over the odds through Handspan. But it was all the same tour and we lucked out by paying the least of anyone.
So really, it doesn't matter. I've heard so many complaints about tours to Halong, but ours was fantastic and we got everything we were promised. The boat was great with comfy rooms and good food, and the hotel booked on Cat Ba was fine as well. It's all luck of the draw. So I would say that unless other travellers that you meet along the way tell you that Sinh has been bad lately, the tour you book with them will be the same that you book with any other company, and it may be bad or good.
You asked about HaLong in another post and the answer is the same. Shop around for best price while in HaNoi. I found Hanh Cafe cheaper than Sinh. Both are large companies and are OK to go with.
Once in HaLong, the tour operators work it out and you get on the boat they assign. Does not matter what you paid in HaNoi. Others on my boat paided more than I did. Same boat, same food. If the water is warm enough to swim, then I vote for a 2-3 day trip. Otherwise, one day is enough.
Get the best price you can, make some new friends on the bus/boat and enjoy your day. Good Luck.