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Vietnam & Ha Long Bay Cruise with Da Nang Beach Stay

14days from
£3,199*per person

Overview

14 Days - Classic Escorted Tours

North Vietnam promises historic pagodas and temples, charming small cities and white sandy beaches. Journey back through time in Hanoi's Old Town, where the intoxicating colours and aromas of its street markets assault the sense. Journey through the misty mountains and rice paddies of the northern lands and glide past an array of limestone karsts on a Ha Long Bay cruise, before relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Da Nang. This holiday is an ideal introduction to the ancient Vietnamese culture for a traveller who loves stunning natural landscapes, rich history and flavourful cuisine.

Itinerary

  • You’ll arrive at the airport for your overnight flight to Hanoi.
  • On arrival, we check into our hotel with breakfast for a 2-night stay in a five-star hotel. After a short rest, we take a walk around the capital city of Hanoi. Visit Hoan Kiem Lake, the 'Lake of the Restored Sword', the site of a local legend. Surrounded by trees, at the edge of the lake sits the turtle tower, built to commemorate the mystical turtle god from the story. The exploration of the city continues with a tour of Hanoi's Old Quarter, the Hoan Kiem District. The traditional heart of the Vietnamese capital, this historic area offers an insight into Hanoi's long and complex history. An enclave with both Chinese and French influences, there are a plethora of streets to explore, with names that date back five centuries. The 36 streets that make up the majority of the Old Quarter are divided among and named after the trade guilds. A must-see is the colourful Hang Quat street, full of bold red banners for funerals and festivals, and Hang Ma, where paper products have been made for centuries. The day concludes with an included optional visit to Hoa Lo Prison. Created by the colonial French over a period of 15 years from 1886 to 1901, it was colloquially known as the 'Hanoi Hilton' by American prisoners of war during the Vietnam war.   Most of the prison has been torn down, however the thought-provoking museum remains to detail the experiences of POWs like John McCain and Robinson Risner.
  • Today, our tour continues to some of the most interesting sites in the Vietnamese capital. We visit the One Pillar Pagoda, named after its unusual architecture, built on a single pillar. Built in the 10th century to look like a lotus flow, the national flower of Vietnam, it's planted in the middle of a lotus pond. Showcasing a rare example of well-preserved Vietnamese architecture is the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university. Founded in 1070, by Ly Thanh Tong, as a temple to worship the Chinese philosopher Confucius, his son established The Imperial Academy as a royal school for the elite just six years later. There is an included option to visit one of the museums in Hanoi. The Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum, home to a collection of around 2,000 objects and artworks, including 9 national treasures. Or the Vietnamese Women’s Museum showcasing the heritage, culture and the pivotal roles women have in Vietnamese society celebrating female history and empowerment that has shaped Vietnam to what it is today.  Both museums are walking distance from our hotel.  Alternatively, a short journey by taxi is the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology that explores the diverse mix of ethnic groups living in Vietnam (visits are subject to museum opening days). In the evening, we are treated to a traditional water puppet show where the art of puppetry is performed by puppeteers in water, accompanied by music.
  • We depart early this morning as the journey continues. Take photos of the picturesque landscapes as we travel through the countryside of Northern Vietnam before arriving to Mai Chau in the early afternoon.    Uncover the beauty of the Mai Chau district in the surrounding villages of Lac and Pom Coong as we explore on foot. Meandering alongside rice paddy fields and traditional stilted houses, our walk through the area gives a unique chance to observe a way of life that has changed very little over the centuries.
  • Explore Mai Chau in more depth, absorb the picturesque rural areas with verdant valleys and stunning mountainous backdrop as we drive through quaint villages, seeing local markets and pass by the rich vegetation of rice paddies and colourful patches of wildflowers. See ribbons of paths that connect clusters of stilt houses making up the scattered small communities of the Thai and Muong ethnic minorities that inhabit this scenic valley.
  • Today we head southeast towards Ninh Binh nestled in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam. As we approach the area of the Hoa Lu Valley, we visit the temple of King Dinh (or King Le) built in the shape of Chinese characters following a traditional architectural style. This location served as the ancient capital of Vietnam before King Ly relocated it to Thang Long-Hanoi, and it has retained the grey stone architecture for over 1000 years. We stop in the area known as dry Ha Long Bay for a scenic ride in a sampan. Once on board these flat-bottomed wooden boats, sit back and enjoy drifting along waterways powered by paddle. Famed for breathtaking scenery, the dramatic monolith type limestone rock formations spring up from the green rice paddies and wetlands of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Today is a tour highlight as we journey to the coast to Ha Long Bay for a two-night cruise of Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected for its outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity. Arriving early afternoon our cruise ship is moored in Tuan Chau International Marina. The dedicated crew are there to welcome you with amuse-bouche and drinks, show you to your cabin and familiarise you with all aspects of our home for the next two nights. While you relax and enjoy a Vietnamese fusion lunch, we sail towards the southwest of Ha Long Bay. Sight-see around the Cua Van Floating Cultural Centre, described as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Seen by a traditional rowing boat or kayak, discover how the locals live in this stunning location as you glide through the floating houses. The journey continues towards Bai Tu Long Bay passing through Phao Dai Islet. Enjoy a set menu dinner while admiring Vietnamese cultural dances. Spend the evening as you please, whether that's watching a film at the Moonlight open cinema, sipping cocktails on the sundeck or playing board games in the lounge.
  • For early risers, there is the opportunity to rejuvenate your body and soul with an included optional Tai Chi lesson as the sun rises or start your day with a hearty breakfast aboard your cosy floating hotel. We explore Cat Ba Island by bicycle and pedal to the small village of Viet Hai nestled in the heart of Cat Ba National Park. Follow a local guide through an ancient Vietnamese house and learn about the Viet Hai Community Farm and Save the Langurs, two of the ship’s  community projects. Whilst taking lunch on board admire the sights of the beautiful karst towers of Lan Ha Bay. After lunch we take an excursion to the sunlight-filled Trinh Nu Cave. The area covers 2,000 square metres, with an assortment of stalactites and stalagmites. Considered by many locals to be the heart of Ha Long Bay, the cave is said to be the setting for a romantic legend. Here you can choose to explore, take a swim in the azure-coloured water or sunbathe on a tiny beach nestled behind the cave. In the evening, there’s the chance to take part in a culinary experience.
  • In the early morning, explore Sung Sot Cave, the largest cave inside Ha Long Bay. Covering an area of 10,000 square meters, it’s home to thousands of stalactites and stalagmites, and threaded by a 500-meter paved passageway. After a traditional morning Vietnamese Tea Ceremony, it is time to disembark and fly to Da Nang arriving later in the afternoon.
  • You’ll be taken to the airport for your overnight return flight via Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Arrive home.
  • Sit back and relax on Da Nang's vast beach, sample the fragrant street food or take one of the optional excursions exploring the surrounding area of central Vietnam. It’s completely up to you during our 4-night stay in Da Nang, a laid-back coastal city, nicknamed ‘the city of bridges’.   Set against the backdrop of rolling mountains, religious relics and deep blue waters, you'll have plenty of time to reflect on your experiences of this vibrant, ancient culture.  During your free time, choose from a number of optional excursions, including a day visit to the Imperial City of Hue, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on the banks of the Perfume River, Hue offers a rich history as one of the royal capitals. Uncover ancient ruins and engaging museums that educate you on its imperial legacy.  Alternatively take a day visit exploring Da Nang in a morning and a walking tour of Hoi An in the afternoon. Once a trading port, dated from 16th to 18th century, Hoi An Old Town is full of fascinating shophouses and weathered pagodas with a mix of Japanese, Chinese and French architectural features. Or consider just opting for a half day walking tour of Hoi An.  To get a flavour of the outdoors and local life embark on a half day visit to Tra Que Village gaining an insight of rural life with local herb and vegetable cultivating techniques.  Nestled in Da Nang’s Na Ba Hills, 1500 metres above sea level is a 150 metre long walking bridge, ’The Golden Bridge hands’, an architectural breathtaking structural feat.

What's Included

Holiday Highlights

  • Stay in Hanoi, Vietnam's beautiful capital city, see Hoan Kiem Lake, the One Pillar Pagoda and the Temple of Literature. 
  • Uncover the scenic valley beauty of the Mai Chau district home to Thai and Muong ethnic minorities. Explore the villages of Lac and Pom Coong on foot.  
  • Take a scenic paddle in a sampan down waterways that meander through dramatic limestone formations, the signature to Ninh Binh province. Visit the ancient temple of King Dinh in Hoa Lu Valley. 
  • Relax on board a luxury ship on our 2-night Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay cruise visiting Cua Van Floating Cultural centre and Cat Ba Island gaining an insight into the ship’s corporate social responsibility projects 
  • Enjoy a 4-night stay on the Central Coast of Vietnam, where you're free to relax and explore at your leisure.

Our Price Includes

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Sole occupancy rooms are available at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
  • 11 nights (9 nights in 3, 4 & 5 star accommodation plus a 2 night small ship cruise)
  • Return flights & transfers 
  • Programme of 12 tours & visits 
  • Daily breakfast, 2 lunches & 3 dinners 
  • Expert Tour Manager 
  • Checked Luggage 
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Accommodation

Mai Chau Eco Lodge -

Mai Chai is located 75 miles from Hanoi, in the area of Hoa Binh, within walking distance of Pom Coong Village. With a backdrop of mountains and paddy fields, this simply furnished eco-lodge features modern rooms and suites with views and free WIFI. It has a restaurant, bar, outdoor pool and in-house spa facilities with complimentary WIFI in public areas. Each of the 43 air-conditioned rooms features a ceiling fan, coffee maker, fridge and a private bathroom with shower and hairdryer.

Melia Hotel - Hanoi -

★★★★★

The five-star Melia Hanoi is one of the city’s premier hotels and its two high-rise towers offer outstanding panoramic views of the city’s parks, lakes, tree-lined avenues and the crowded, crooked alleys of the old quarter. There’s a huge colourful and bustling lobby, an outdoor pool, spa, fitness centre and beauty salon. Dining options include the Deli, with its delicious light snacks, pastries & desserts, the Cava Lounge for afternoon tea or a pre-dinner drink, an all-day dining international restaurant and a specialist Asian/Vietnamese restaurant. All the 306 elegantly decorated and spacious rooms are air-conditioned and include en-suite luxury bathroom, hairdryer & bathrobes, safe, writing desk, wireless internet (extra charge in room, free in lobby), flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and tea/coffee-maker.

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Other Information

Holiday code

R551

Holiday provided by Riviera Travel

BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE: change your booking for free, Covid-19 cancellation protection included as standard and 100% protection with ABTA & ATOL. This holiday is sold and operated by Riviera Travel (ABTA V4744, ATOL 3430). These ABTA and ATOL bonds mean that, when you book a Riviera Travel holiday, you can be 100% sure that your money is safe.

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