Welcome to Hanoi, one of southeast Asia’s most charismatic cities with just the right amount of colonial charm and modern commotion with mopeds zipping along narrow streets lined with traditional houses and shopfronts. On your arrival at Hanoi’s international airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in (available from 2pm onwards). The remainder of the day is at leisure so you may wish to head out and explore Hoan Kiem Lake.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Today’s sightseeing tour takes in the best of Hanoi, kicking off with Ba Dinh Square where the squat granite mausoleum of Vietnam’s most famous leader – Ho Chi Minh – is laid to rest. Close by is the attractive and well-preserved stilted house where Ho once lived, now surrounded by well-tended gardens. Next up on the itinerary is the historic Buddhist temple known as the One Pillar Pagoda.
Touring continues with the Temple of Literature, the first university to have been built in Vietnam back in the 11th century. The complex features pagodas, courtyards, ponds and ancient trees making it a lovely spot for a little wander. Get to know Vietnam’s colourful ethnic groups at the absorbing Museum of Ethnology. A highlight of your visit is sure to be the full-scale village houses arranged in the garden of the grounds.
Later this evening discover Hanoi’s historic heart and soul as you head out on a walking tour of the Old Quarter where you can sample some of the city’s tastiest snacks and street food from noodles to pancakes. The final stop of the day is the lively ‘international corner’ where locals and visitors alike gather to enjoy a cold beverage watching city scenes play out in front of them.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Hanoi –Haylong Bay
This morning depart Hanoi and transfer to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the jewel in Vietnam’s scenic crown. Board a traditional junk boat for a cruise among the karst islands, carpeted with vegetation and rising dramatically from the vivid green waters of the bay. During your cruise you’ll pass striking rock formations and sample a delicious lunch of freshly caught fish and seafood.
In the afternoon there will be the chance to swim in the waters, watch a cooking demonstration out on deck or simply relax on one of the loungers enjoying the incredible vistas. The day ends with a gastronomic feast with the other guests on board.
Overnight in Halong Bay.
Start the day with a calming Tai Chi lesson, often accompanied by an amazing sunrise and the quiet breathtaking beauty of the bay’s landscape. It’s the perfect way to start your day. On the way back to the harbour the boat will pass many beautiful spots, stopping for the chance to explore Surprise Cave, one of the bay’s many impressive caves that have been illuminated with neon lights to reveal a magical landscape of mineral formations.
Returning back to dock you will be met and transferred back to Hanoi by car where the remainder of the evening is at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Today marks the end of your touring arrangements with a departure transfer to the airport in time for your onward departure flight.
Hanoi – Vietnam’s charming capital with French colonial glamour and Asian spirit
Museum of Ethnology – fascinating displays on Vietnam’s colourful ethnic groups
Halong Bay – UNESCO Listed region with thousands of beautiful limestone peaks and islets
Ba Dinh Square – home to Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and the One Pillar Pagoda
Old Quarter – atmospheric narrow streets with traditional shop fronts and busy cafes
Junk boat cruising – a night spent on board with time to relax on the sundeck
4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
3 nights superior hotel (standard and deluxe options available) and 1 night on board a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay
Airport arrival transfer on day 1 and departure transfer on day 5
Entrance fees to included sites
Guided sightseeing on day 2 conducted by an English-speaking local guide
Activities on day 3 and 4 on shared basis on a shared junk boat
All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
International flights and visa
Laundry, drinks, items of a personal nature
Tipping – an entirely personal gesture