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“An incredible experience”
Review of Handspan Travel

Handspan Travel
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Since 1997 Handspan Travel Indochina has been owned and staffed by people for whom travel is not simply an interesting job, but an all-consuming passion of exploring and understanding the world and the diverse cultures that inhabit our planet.We believe that tourism is fundamentally about connecting people and that the differences that separate us can be bridged with the span of an extended hand.Since our founding, we have grown into a family of more than 70 members, and have earned our solid reputation by delivering quality hospitality service, by maintaining small group sizes, and by exploring new destinations off the standard tourist path - all while remaining true to the principles of responsible tourism.We offer a variety of small group tours throughout Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, have multiple office locations throughout the region, and offer a range of travel services including private tours as well as bookings for hotels, airlines, and rail tickets.We can also design customized tour packages according to your needs and interests. We will arrange private, custom tours for your group of any size, and can focus your tour on nature-based activities, village homestays, educational themes, or volunteer opportunities. Handspan also offers you the chance to experience Vietnam in ways that ensure that your impacts on local environmental, social, and economic contexts are positive ones. Our expert knowledge about the places we visit and the local challenges they face, enables us to design and operate tours that promote a balance between the need for economic development and ecological preservation. We do this through working closely with local communities, partnerships with NGOs and development organizations, and ensuring our guides are highly trained in ecotourism principles
Reviewed August 16, 2014

We we're greeted at the Handspan office by a friendly group of staff, from there we began our 3.5hour journey towards Halong Bay, our guide Thuy was fantastic, he had a great sense of humour and provided rich history at the beginning on our coach ride.

Once we arrived onto the Treasure Junk we were given our itinerary for the day and then we had chance to settle into our rooms before lunch. My friend and I decided to splash out on the suite room, we were not disappointed, it was spacious, had it's own balcony at the back of the boat and a superb bathroom.

The food was outstanding throughout the trip, they catered for non-fish eaters and I enjoyed all my alternative options. My friend loved the sea food options. As well as the food being of an extremely high standard, there was also plenty of it, we certainly didn't go hungry.

We were taken away from the normal tourist routes and often found ourselves alone, immersed between limestone rock formations able to soak in all the beauty. We took a kayaking trip around, not once seeing another tourist boat in sight, it was unbelievable. This was the same throughout our other activities which included a rowing boat tour around a floating village. At night we were given options for squid fishing or a film in the restaurant. We decided to try squid fishing, although we failed miserable we did catch a crab and the experience was fun.

All of the staff on the treasure junk were extremely friendly, they definitely seemed to appreciate it when you tried (however badly) to speak in Vietnamese too. We felt very relaxed and comfortable around all members of staff on the trip.

I would not hesitate in recommending the trip to anyone, although it's on the more expensive end of the tours, it really is worth it.

2  Thank Miche H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 16, 2014

We took a two day, one night tour of Ha Long Bay, which was fantastic. It is disappointing that we return to port so early on the second day, we wished that we could have had two full days on the boat. But the staff and quality of the boat tour were excellent, including the kayaking. What made it special was that the boat went to a beautiful location not visited or crowded by hundreds of other tourist boats. So we really felt like we had a unique and special experience. The visit to the pearl farm was also super. All in all, an excellent choice, Handspan was recommended by a work colleague and now I will recommend it to others as well! They also helped facilitate our visas on arrival, and were extremely efficient and helpful in making our arrangements. The one drawback I could cite is that they do not seem fully informed on all of the train possibilities to Sapa, which was our next destination after Ha Long Bay. It seems different travel agencies have different specialities, and perhaps the overnight trains to Sapa are not one of Handspan's specialities. However, this is a minor point - you could book your trains elsewhere, but you can definitely count on Handspan 100% for professional assistance, customer service, and a high quality vacation!

1  Thank Mark S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2014

Ha Long Bay 3D/2N on Treasure Junk. We were collected from the Handspan office in Hanoi and taken by bus up to Ha Long Bay. The drive takes just under four hours, including a 20-minute stop at a craft centre midway.
The boat is well-maintained and clean. Since it was our wedding anniversary, we splashed out on a suite located on the main deck (there are only two suites on the boat) which was spacious, with incredible views out over the water and a private balcony out the back. The bathroom is well appointed with a spa bath and large shower, and all the goodies you'd expect. We really appreciated the fact that the junk tries to steer clear of the more touristy, crowded parts of Ha Long Bay, so the only tourists we saw were the ones on our boat. At night the boat anchored in secluded, peaceful bays with no other boats in sight. Our friendly guide took us on some awesome kayaking trips and we also visited a fishing village and pearl farm. The food was incredible, and we do hope for the sake of future guests that the chef is not snapped up by someone else. It got us to thinking how important the standard of food is on a trip like this ... if it's poor, you can't pop round the corner to somewhere else, and the whole experience is ruined! All drinks are at extra cost (including tea and coffee).
The only negative: the second day's programme was a morning of kayaking followed by lunch on a smaller junk which would ferry us back to the Treasure Junk afterwards. The food served was not up to scratch, especially when compared with the first class meals on Treasure Junk. We also spent quite a few hours on this much smaller junk with nothing to do; we really seemed to be wasting time. This is probably because the Treasure Junk is back in the harbour collecting more guests, and there are rendevous issues. Handspan need to think of something to fill up this time.

All in all though, we were SO grateful that we had booked two nights, and felt quite sorry for those who left after just one night! Our experience with Handspan was excellent and they would be our first choice if we returned to Vietnam.

2  Thank ZimKiwiTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2014 via mobile

We took the two days one night Saigon to Phu Quoc Mekong Delta tour. It was by far the best organised tour we've ever taken anywhere in the world (and we've taken a few!). Why?

The guide: AJ, our guide, knows A LOT about every place we went (and others). He wasn't beyond asking during market visits whether we knew certain exotic food or not — and if we didn't, he bought some for us to try. So we got to try lotus flower seeds and even grilled mouse.

The organisation: Eveything from planning to paying to the tour itself was smoothly organised. There was a lot of program, but it all fit together.

Just what we experienced: We were a small group of 4 tourists, our guide and a driver. It was perfect paying more to have it like that with Handspan! Everybody got to try everything, be it food or how food is made, and when we visited families, we could really interact with them.

If we ever do Vietnam again, we'll book everything organised with Handspan, no exceptions!

2  Thank Marcel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2014

Terrific tour. Beautiful boat. Interesting international people. Well organized, fun tour with english speaking guides. I especially liked the Kayaking trip, and floating fishing village. I don't think I have a single complaint.

1  Thank shawnyapa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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