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3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

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3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

I am wanting to go to Halong Bay in May 2014, for 3 days, 2 nights with my husband. We don't have any particular budget.

I have heard good things about both Au Co and Indochina Junk from friends. It seems like Au Co is much newer, more luxurious and spacious whereas Indochina Junk's Dragon Pearl is more traditional looking and the itinerary sounds a lot better - several chances to go kayaking (which I'm keen on) and a dinner in a cave!!!

I have read through all of the negative reviews for Indochina Junk (there are none for Au Co yet) and I'm worried about the company changing the itinerary - I'm hoping this is something that only tends to happen in low season or bad weather... I'm also slightly worried about the age of the Dragon Pearl Junks and small rooms compared to Au Co - though if they stick to the itinerary, I won't really be on the junk that much!

...So please help me to pick one! OR if anyone knows of a new boat that has a better itinerary than Au Co and lots of positive reviews, please let me know!

Pennsylvania, USA
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1. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

Au Co is almost double the price. A more appropriate comparison would be the Bhaya (same company as Au Co) and Dragon's Pearl. You are likely to have nice weather in May and can take advantage of water activities such as swimming and kayaking, which the itinerary on the Dragon's Pearl gives you more opportunities for. I just don't find cabin size an important consideration given you spend so little time there- most of your time you will be out and about or sitting on deck enjoying the beautiful scenery. Itineraries are pretty fixed, and are filed beforehand, and even in low season I havn't experienced a change.

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2. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

Thank you very much for your prompt reply! I couldn't find anything on Indochina Junk's website about prices for Dragon Pearl so I didn't realise it was that much of a difference.

I think I will go with Dragon Pearl then - and with all the activities (thanks for the added confidence re. weather and itinerary not changing), we would be barely spending any time in our room. Whereas with Au Co, it seemed like there would be some on board 'activities' we'd probably prefer to hide in our rooms for!

leicester
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3. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

I have only done the one trip on Dragons Pearl so can't compare but we had a fabulous three days and the cabins were above what we expected. Food was good quality, the activities were fun and interesting and overall it was superb value for money.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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4. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

Hi Pocketmay,

In term of itinerary, no other cruises can compare with Dragon's Pearl. If you have decided on booking Dragon's Pearl, you should book soon as the cruise is often fully booked months ahead.

Have a great Halong bay trip!

Halong Bay Legends Travel!

Hanoi, Vietnam
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5. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

Tecalli is correct. Au Co cruise is the best. The Au Co features the state of the art design in safety and luxury as well as represents Vietnamese and Oriental culture at its best. Each ship has 32 spaciously-designed private cabins, boasting luxurious bathrooms and panoramic balconies.

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

I am also going in May and trying to pick a boat. Does Au Co have the same problem with the crew giving you a hard time for tips and positive reviews.

Hanoi, Vietnam
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7. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

I love to travel with Au Co Cruise as it goes to Lan Ha bay and visit Viet Hai fishing village. Excilent!

Adelaide
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8. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

Dragon Pearl was just fabulous, and the dinner in a cave an unforgettable event. There are actually 3 Dragon Pearl junks, all nearly identical. Obviously Dragon Pearl III (which we were on) is the newest.

Cabin were pretty impressive, with your own ensuite, and size is more than adequate, food was great and plenty of it, and service outstanding. They are also much smaller boats than Au Co, with a maximum of 20-22 pax. Not sure on Itineraries for Au Co, but the Dragon Pearl junks all go to Bai Tu Long Bay, where there is a whole lot less traffic, and the water is clean. Scenery is just as breathtaking; just a whole lot quieter.

Brisbane, Australia
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9. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

Thanks

Did they move you to a smaller boat during the day or did you get to stay on the same boat. Also how were they in regards to pressure for tips at the end of the trip

Perth, Australia
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10. Re: 3D 2N cruise - Au Co or Indochina Junk Dragon's Pearl?

You dont change boats with Indochinajunk (Dragons Pearl or Red Dragon) that is with the companies who have great big boats.

Also in response to someone else - you will go the fishing village with Indochinajunk too. One thing worth mentioning also is the fact that you get lunch both days (as you arrive and as you depart with indochinajunk and nearly all of the other companies do not do this - they only provide lunch when you arrive not before they take you back to port.

Almost every type of tour you do in Vietnam will expect some tipping. I think after a few days on Dragons Pearl or Red Dragon you would want to tip the staff. As we all know they get paid very little in Vietnam compared to most of us and they certainly look after you on these boats in every way possible, so why wouldnt you? Tip what you can afford and what you think is appropriate, it doesnt have to be a lot! We gave an envelope as a group so no one knows what each individual contributed. Recommend Indochinajunk highly, it is worth the cost and the fact that they go to a part of Halong Bay that all the other boats don't go to makes it much nicer and quieter too.