Hanoi and Halong Bay
Hanoi and Halong Bay
5 days / 4 nights
This short journey offers visitors the chance to experience the highlights of Northern Vietnam over a long weekend. We explore the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, venturing deep into the Old Quarter to see the heart of this historic city. Enjoy a leisurely tour by cyclo before seeing a lively performance of the unique water puppets. Later we see some of the most famous landmarks in the city, including the sobering Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the elegant Temple of Literature and the stimulating Museum of Ethnology. We then travel east to Halong Bay, ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, and a maze of breathtaking natural stone sculptures. We enjoy an extended cruise through the bay to discover more of its magic and leave the daytrippers behind. Overnighting on the junk, we have the chance to explore some lagoons by kayak and can feast on sumptuous seafood. This will be a definitely be a long weekend to remember.
- Day 1: Arrive Hanoi. Old Quarter Tour and Water Puppets.
- Day 2: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Museum of Ethnology.
- Day 3: Hanoi to Halong Bay. Lunch and Cruise Aboard Traditional Style Junk.
- Day 4: Exploring Halong Bay. Overnight on Junk.
- Day 5: Cruise in Halong Bay. Drive to Hanoi to Connect with Flight.
Day 1: Arrive Hanoi. Old Quarter Tour and Water Puppets.
We arrive in Hanoi and transfer to our accommodation. We explore the burstling Old Quarter on foot. We walk through the vibrant street market before exploring a real hidden tube house. We take a rest and enjoy a tasty Vietnamese coffee while enjoy the fascinating view of the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem lake from the terrace of the house.
This evening, we attend a water-puppet theatre performance. The art of water puppetry began a thousand years ago, possibly in the flooded rice fields of Vietnam. Puppeteers today stand in waist-high water and manipulate their puppets in such a skilled way that you can’t help but be captivated by the performance. Music accompanies the action, including the dan bau, an instrument made from a dried watermelon rind that produces haunting sounds.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Temple of Literature, Museum of Ethnology.
You’ll have the whole day to explore Vietnam’s capital city. Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction, as is Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his modest stilt house where he chose to live and work. We will also visit the museum dedicated to his memory.
In the afternoon, we will proceed to the most beautiful of Hanoi’s museums, The Ethnology museum. This showpiece provides a fascinating insight into the histories and lifestyle’s of the 54 ethnic groups of Viet Nam.
Day 3: Hanoi to Halong Bay. Lunch and Cruise Aboard Traditional Style Junk.
We make an early morning departure from Hanoi and drive through the Red River Delta on our way to HaLong City. Upon arrival, our crew will greet us with a refreshing welcome drink and then our cruise begins! As we navigate our way through the emerald waters and limestone islands we are served a delicious lunch of fresh seafood (vegetarians are also catered for). As we cruise through Bai Tu Long Bay we marvel at the amazing karst scenery with different formations, such as Dragon Islet, Kissing Chicken Islet, Tourtoise Rock, Vung Oan Islet. Halong Bay is littered with hidden caves and grottoes and we’ll take some time to explore some of these. For those feeling active you can explore by sea kyak. After our first evening’s dinner, night fishing is available upon request. Most will probably opt to relax on deck under the stars before retiring for the night in your cozy cabin.
Day 4: Exploring Halong Bay. Overnight on Junk.
Early risers can enjoy the sunrise and the quiet breath-taking beauty of Halong Bay’s landscape. After breakfast we cruise to the Cong Dam area for exploring hidden lagoons and karst formation. Again there is the chance to explore at your own pace by kayak. We’ll make a stop at a beach where we can take a stroll, swim or simply relax before enjoying our BBQ lunch. Well fed and rested we return to our trusted vessel and cruise to a nearby floating village. Here we have the opportunity to meet with the local fishermen and their families. We can make a short tour of the village by local rowing boats while our crew pick up some fresh fish for our dinner. We then Cruise back to the overnight spot with more time for swimming or kayaking around. Alternatively just relax with a cool drink and enjoy the sun set in this enchanting bay. Our final evening dinner will be served on board and then there is time to enjoy one final night under the stars.
Day 5: Cruise in Halong Bay. Drive to Hanoi to Connect with Flight.
We wake with the sun and enjoy a light breakfast before visiting Thien Canh Son Cave or Vung Vieng floating village. Once back on the boat we cruise back to the harbour of Halong City. There will be one last chance to swim in the bay en route. Lunch will be served on the way back and we expect to reach the Jetty by 12.00. Bus transfer directly to Noi Bai airport for your onward flight.