Halong Bay Holidays

Sample Itinerary - REF SOUTHEAST ASIA 313

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Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 1: Hanoi

Good morning Vietnam! Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport you will be met and transferred to your city centre hotel. Known as the ‘Paris of the Orient’, Hanoi is the charming capital and cultural heart of Vietnam. Spend the remains of the day at leisure.

A street in the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

Transfer us to one bustling local market to get the overview of Vietnam ingredients and local food. On a local family arrival, the friendly and enthusiastic host shows us her beautiful house and herb garden before learning some of Vietnam’s well-known dishes such as Banh cuon, Nem ca. Then it is your turn to roll and cook the ingredients into delicious meals. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided city tour of Hanoi. Sightseeing includes the Museum of Ethnology and the Temple of Literature.

The Huc Bridge

Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay

Transfer to Halong. Check-in at our private cruise center in Tuan Chau and embark on Bhaya Classic for a welcome cocktail followed by a cruise briefing. Savor a delicious Vietnamese buffet lunch as Bhaya Classic heads to Bai Tu Long Bay passing Oan Lagoon, Mat Quy (Monster Head) and Am Tich (Teapot) Islets and Vung Vieng fishing village. Visit the fishing village by local rowing boat (01 hour). The vessel cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage near Ho Dong Tien. Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck. Sumptuous set-dinner onboard. Enjoy the movie or join our staff at the reception for squid fishing.

A junk sailing past a limestone peak in Halong Bay

Day 4: Halong Bay

Start your day with Tai Chi on the sundeck. Bhaya Classic weighs anchor to cruise the Bay. Early breakfast in the dining room. Transfer to Bhaya Spirit for Lan Ha Bay excursion. Cycling on Cat Ba Island if weather permits or guided kayaking and swimming at Three Peach Beach, a pristine natural beach lapped by the turquoise waters. Fresh seafood lunch is served onboard. Continue your discovery of Ho Ba Ham Islet, the most remote point in Lan Ha Bay and bordering the Gulf of Tonkin. Possibility of kayaking through an amazing tunnel under a karst mountain if time permits. Return to Bhaya Classic. The vessel cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage near Ho Dong Tien. Happy Hour & Vietnamese cooking demonstration on the sundeck.

Halong Bay at sunset

Day 5: Halong Bay - Sapa

Start your day with Tai Chi on the sundeck while complimentary tea & coffee are served. Bhaya Classic weighs anchor to cruise through the Bay passing beautiful spots like Trong (Drum), Trinh Nu (Virgin) and Me Cung Caves, Coc Ngoi (Toad) Islet, etc. Explore the Surprise Cave (Sung Sot). Return to Bhaya Classic. Buffet brunch is served onboard. The vessel cruises leisurely back to harbor. Disembark at our cruise center in Tuan Chau. (hotel for day use before the night train is included ( from 3pm to 6pm)). This evening at approx 9pm, board an overnight express sleeper train from Hanoi to the border town of Lao Cai (soft sleeper berth cabin). Overnight - Sleeper Train (4 berth shared cabin)

A lady from one of the hill tribes near Sapa

Day 6: Sapa

The train pulls into Lao Cai at approximately 06:00am this morning, transfer to Sapa for breakfast. Located 1500m above sea level, Sapa is a former French hill station, nestled in the rugged Tonkinese Alps and surrounded by lush valleys and verdant rice paddy fields. This morning take a light trek to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, Ta Van and Cau May. Walking to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, you meet some of the local ethnic minority people on their way to and from Sapa. These minority people, including the Red Zao, Hmong and Tay people, walk to Sapa to trade at the markets. Tonight you spend the night at the hotel in Sapa town.

A local child in Sapa

Day 7: Sapa - Hanoi

Hotel check-out at approx. 10am. Free at leisure in Sapa before returning to Lao Cai to board the overnight train back to Hanoi. Overnight - Sleeper Train (4 berth shared cabin)

Vietnamese Water Puppets

Day 8: Hanoi

Upon arrival at Hanoi station, you will be picked up and transfer to hotel for check in. Free for the rest of the day.

Women practising Tai Chi by Hoan Kiem Lake

Day 9: Hanoi - Hoi An

This morning, you will take the flight from Hanoi to Danang. Upon arrival, our guide and car will pick you up and transfer to the riverside town of Hoi An. In the afternoon, enjoy a half day walking tour through the narrow winding streets of the Ancient Quarter visiting Chua Ong Pagoda, Assembly Hall, 200-year-old Tam Ky house and the Japanese Covered Bridge.

Men sitting on the street in Hoi An in conical hats

Days 10-12: Hoi An

Spend the next few days at leisure independently on the beach or having clothes made by one of the expert, inexpensive tailors that Hoi An is famous for. In the evening, you might want to stroll Hoi An's romantic, silk latern lit streets and dine in one of its fantastic riverside restaurants.

An old lady farming at Tra Que Organic Farm near Hoi An

Day 13: Hoi An - Saigon

Around noon, transfer to the airport and fly to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the remains of the day at leisure in this lively and cosmopolitan metropolis with its gleaming sky scrapers, expensive restaurants, bars and designer shops, which stand in stark contrast to the ancient pagodas, colonial era landmarks and ramshackle markets.

Ho Chi Minh's Notre Dame Basilica Cathedral at night

Day 14: Saigon

City tour of Saigon including our first stop is at the Reunification Palace, nearby Notre Dame Cathedral, War Remnants Museum, Giac Lam Pagoda and Ben Thanh Markets.

A street trader in Saigon

Day 15: Saigon

Take the drive to Cao Dai Temple in Tay Ninh, which is refered to a “Walt Disney fantasia of the East”. Explore this fascinating site and attend the colorful noon mass held by the Cao Dai followers. It is an experience not to be missed.

A street trader in Saigon by William Cho

Day 16: Saigon

SAIGON - CAI BE 8:00 Pick-up at the hotel in Saigon. Transfer to Cai be by shuttle bus 10:00 Bicycle tour on back roads around Cai Be or walk in a small village along the Mekong canals, or sampan rowing in small canals around Cai Be 11:30 Boarding of the Dragon Eyes Cruiser and check-in 12:00 Panorama cruise and lunch on board 16:00 Guided land excursion 17:00 Return to the boat for refreshment and to enjoy the sunset on the top deck 19:00 Dinner on board, night on board

A boat on the Mekong Delta

Day 17: - Can Tho

CAI BE - CAN THO 6:30 Morning cruise and morning tea break served until 08.30 8:30 Sampan excursion to Cai Rang floating market, optional bicycle trip 10:00 Return to the boat and cruise towards Long Xuyen 12:00 Lunch served on board 16:00 Visit of Bang Lang bird sanctuary or a mushroom growing/mat weaving village 19:00 Dinner on board, night on board

A woman rowing a boat to Can Tho floating markets

Day 18: Can Tho - Chau Doc

6:30 Breakfast cruise towards Chau Doc 8:30 Side trip (optional) to Tra Su or floating fish farm/Cham village (surcharge payable locally) 16:00 overnight at a hotel in Chau Doc

Day 19: Chau Doc - Saigon

Shuttle transfer back to Saigon and the remainder of the day is free.

The Peoples Committee Building at night in Ho Chi Minh

Day 20: Saigon

After breakfast and hotel check out, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.