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“Highlight of our 3 week SEA trip” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Handspan Travel

Handspan Travel
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
42 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Highlight of our 3 week SEA trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 May 2014

The two-day trip with Handspan Travel's Treasure Junk in Halong Bay was definitely the highlight of our whole travel, and I simply can't imagine a better ship to take.

The rooms were very clean and nice (we had the superior suite as the price difference isn't that big and it's worth the price), the program simply perfect and the tour very nice: you don't stay on the classic tourist routes through halong bay, you don't see that many other tourist ships and you don't have the feeling of being at such a touristy place. Also, there are not that many rooms on the boat, which is why the atmosphere is very intimate and nothing comparable to the other mass-tourism boats. We quickly got into contact with the other travellers and had a fabulous stay.

The only reason why I only give 4* is the staff. The staff is nice and professional, but you have the feeling that you're just perceived as one of the hundreds of tourists they welcome every month. On the one hand, that's understandable, on the other hand I would expect a different service for the price you pay. Also, the program was strictly organized and you need to stick to the plan every minute (even for dinner), but that's kind of understandable regarding the well organized program.

So for the future I would like to tell them to smile and relax a bit more.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Alex F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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548 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Vietnamese first
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English first
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Halong Bay cruise on Treasure Junk with Handspan Travle”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2014

We had an excellent excursion around Halong Bay on the Treasure Junk and booked through Handspan Travel who I would highly recommend. The whole booking process was very easy and any questions we hade were answered in a timely manner. Our tour guides were friendly and very knowledgeable and made sure we were well looked after. The trip it self was wonderful, we were very well fed and had plenty of time to explore. We did not encounter many other tourist boats as the route chosen is more off the beaten track so you are never over crowded. Our tour included kayaking, beach time, a cooking class and Tai Chi. I would recommend this trip and Handspan Travel 100%!

Visited April 2014
Thank AlanAgnew1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great, but could it be greener?”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 May 2014

We spent 3 days aboard the Treasure Junk in Halong Bay. It was a lovely experience, my only criticism is that I'm not convinced the Treasure Junk is as environmentally sustainable as its marketing materials suggest. The description of it in the Lonely Planet guide as being one of the few genuine sailing boats in Halong Bay is inaccurate. It is not a sailing boat - it runs entirely on its motor, with the sails being just for show (as with all the other tourist boats in Halong Bay). The staff on the boat go to great lengths to give customers a luxury experience - for example, by leaving the lights and air conditioning on after they have serviced passengers' rooms, so the rooms look pretty and feel cool when their occupants return. All very nice - but there is a cost to it, environmentally speaking. Handspan puts a lot of emphasis on doing tourism in a sustainable way, which is to their credit. But in the case of the Treasure Junk, they could do more to put their philosophy into practice.

Visited November 2013
Thank Christofire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Handspan_Management, Manager at Handspan Travel, responded to this review, 13 June 2014
Dear Christofire,

Thank you for having traveling with us on board of the Treasure Junk. We are glad that you globally enjoyed the experience, we strive everyday to provide high and constant quality to all our tours.

About the commitment of Treasure Junk for environmental protection, we totally agree that more could be done. We worked toward better practices in tourism in Halong and across the country in general since the beginning of Handspan. Improvements to bring remain. We are conscious of it and take things forward. But we have demanding clients in both ecology and comfort areas. It is a hard job to keep the satisfaction of both balanced.

About our marketing, we never said that the boat is a sailing boat; and it is written on none of our communication media. We even wrote on the boat’s website that the sails are here for the “folklore”. Our marketing is clear and clean. We informed the Lonely Planet about their mistake for their future edition. If you want to know more about Treasure Junk’s commitment for a more responsible tourism, we invite you on the dedicated page on the boat’s website: http://treasure-junk.com/cruise-responsibly/cruise-responsibly.html. If you want to know more about all the actions and initiatives of Handspan for a more responsible tourism, feel free to contact us.

Thank you again for having chosen Handspan.

Best regards,
Handspan Travel
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Courtenay, Canada
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Handspan Travel is first rate.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 May 2014

We used Handspan Travel on the advice of friends who used them last year and were very pleased. We did a number of tours with Handspan in Vietnam and Cambodia and the guides were all wonderful and 100% reliable. Groups were very small (often just the two of us) so we could change plans as needed and service was personalized. We always seemed to arrive just ahead of large tour groups - our guides were all very adept at keeping us away from crowds and timing our visits perfectly to optimize our time. All were professional, knowledgeable, and had very good English skills and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with all of them. Food provided was all excellent, with attention to food allergy concerns. Transportation was comfortable and safe. We would use Handspan again and highly recommend them.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank jpe1260
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Away from the rest of the tourists!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 May 2014

We just got back from 3 days, 2 nights on the Treasure Junk. Great boat - clean, only two years old, friendly staff and amazing food (although way too much!). The Treasure Junk goes where all the other tourists boats don't (by paying for extra permits) - on our second day we were the only ones on the boat so had a private kayak tour of the Ba Tu Long bay and the caves. Our tour guide Duc was awesome - knowledgeable, passionate and excellent service. My friend is gluten-intolerant and Duc and the crew went above and beyond to make sure there was always a gluten-free option available for her. Far exceeded my expectations!

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Natkats2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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