The buzz of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the sublimely peaceful rural landscapes of Pu Luong, the breathtaking waterways of Ha Long Bay and Tam Coc, and the delicious local cuisine are all part of this loop around the popular Red River Delta.

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Why We Love It

Explore historic Hanoi , Vietnam’s thousand year old capital, including its iconic Old Quarter.

Relax on a 2 night cruise of spectacular Halong and Lan Ha Bays, with thousands of stunning limestone islands and coves.

Explore the beautiful region of Ninh Binh, taking a small boat along the waterways of Tam Coc and staying in a scenic hilltribe valley at Pu Luong.

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Day by day Itinerary

Authentic North Vietnam

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Day 1

Arrive Hanoi

On arrival you will be met and transferred to downtown Hanoi and your hotel. The rest of the day or evening is at leisure.

Day 2


Today will be all about exploring the incredible history and culture of Hanoi, one of Asia’s most enthralling and distinctive cities, with over a thousand years of history.

Begin with a visit to the sixth-century Tran Quoc Buddhist Pagoda, on the shores of serene West Lake, one of the city’s many lakes which are such a loved and unique feature of the city.

Next, take a short drive to visit the famed Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university, also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite, for an incredible 800-years. 

Continue on to the Vietnam Women’s Museum.  Highly acclaimed, the museum displays highlights of Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and the significant role women have played in Vietnamese society.

Following the visit of the museum, rest over a well deserved lunch in one of the city’s many great restaurants.
Also visit Hanoi’s iconic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum complex.  The site is fascinating yet expect queues and long walking distances (Note the Mausoleum is closed Mon and Fri, and for maintenance June to Aug). 
Join the long queues before continuing on foot past the Mausoleum to learn about the life and legacy of the nation’s founder. Continue to the ‘house on stilts’ where ‘Bac Ho’ resided from 1958 to 1969. Stroll around the tranquil grounds before completing the circuit at the One Pillar pagoda; built in 1049, the symbol of Hanoi is a unique representation of the city.

Mid-late afternoon, continue the exploration with a stroll through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. A maze of alleyways and hidden treasures, learn about local life in the ‘36-guilds’ as you weave through the frenetic streets on foot.
To conclude the day, step back in time to the 11th century and experience the ancient art of water puppetry at the famed Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre. (B)(L)

Day 3

Hanoi - Halong Bay

This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for the 3 hour drive to Halong Bay. After check-in and a short boat transfer, you will be taken to your cabin, home for the next 2 nights as you cruise the spectacular waterways of Ha Long and Lan Ha Bays. Lunch will be served as you commence cruising, enjoying superb vistas of the thousands of limestone islands.

This afternoon’s touring usually includes a visit to Trung Trang Cave on Cat Ba Island, and later on there may be a chance to swim in one of the secluded coves of the Bay.

Enjoy a delicious dinner on board, with views of the Bay from the deck beforehand. (B)(L)(D)

Day 4

Lan Ha Bay

Start your day with sunrise views or a tai chi class on deck, or rise later for breakfast on board. Then transfer to your day boat for an excursion to Cat Ba Island, where we cycle (or bus) through tropical hills to Viet Hai village. Relax at the village and learn about local life here before returning to the boat. 

This afternoon you may wish to take a swim or kayak at Ba Trai Dao, before relaxing back on board before a cooking demonstration and dinner. (B)(L)(D)

Day 5

Lan Ha Bay - Tam Coc

Take tai chi on deck, or just a leisurely breakfast admiring the views. Afterwards there is another chance to kayak on the bay, before beginning the return cruise to port. Transfer to Ninh Binh province, famous for its incredible limestone landscapes – a landlocked continuation of the formations you have admired in Halong Bay. , arriving  mid-afternoon.

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the setting and perhaps take a swim at your beautiful local resort, set in the greenery of rural Tam Coc.  (B)

Day 6

Tam Coc - Pu Luong

This morning enjoy a leisurely start before checking out and making your way to the waterways of Tam Coc. This is a very different experience to any other in Vietnam, as your little boat takes you through a spectacular natural landscape of rice paddies, into limestone caverns and along hidden limestone valleys.

After exploring this natural wonder, drive on to your home for the next two nights in the lush hills of Pu Luong. Check in to your charming hillside bungalow with its local décor and style, before relaxing and taking in the wonderful views and rural surrounds of one of Vietnam’s most beautiful hill country regions.  (B)(D)

Day 7

Pu Luong

This morning you will explore some of the surrounding villages and hillscapes of this spectacular region by foot.

Walks here vary according to the season, but take in villages of the local Muong and Thai ethnic minorities, and provide an insight into their rural lifestyles and cultures. In the afternoon there is free time to relax by the retreat’s infinity pool, take in the peaceful valley views, or independently explore more of the surrounding countryside. (B)(D)

Day 8

Pu Luong to Hanoi

This morning after breakfast you will transfer back to Hanoi, a journey of about 4 hours through hill country and intensively farmed provinces . On arrival, take lunch at KOTO. This not-for-profit social enterprise provides hospitality training to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, with over 1200 young people graduating since founder Jimmy Pham launched the enterprise in 1999. It also serves up some of the most delicious local food in Hanoi!

You have the remainder of the day at leisure to further explore Hanoi, do some last minute shopping, or relax at one of the city’s myriad charming cafes and watch the city life go by. (B)(L)

Day 9

Depart Hanoi

After breakfast, your tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

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