This Halong Bay & Red River expedition begins in style with a full three days dedicated to exploring Halong Bay. Situated in northeastern Vietnam, Halong Bay is a stunning archipelago of islands and rock formations and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since the early 1990s.
Over the course of the three days you will enjoy a mixture of scenic cruising and cultural discovery; from visiting an authentic floating home to traversing the fascinatingly colourful limestone caves by basket boat. You will also take a trip to Pha Lai, an important commercial hub and a great location to really get a feel for how the local communities use the bay.
After leaving Halong Bay, you will begin a morning journey along the Thai Binh River. During the course of the sailing, you can join an excursion in Thanh Ha to watch a water-based puppet show and to take a stroll around the village before arriving in Hải Dương Province of Ninh Giang in the afternoon.
In Ninh Giang you will visit the local market and have the opportunity to sample tasty treats such as Banh Cai, a cake-based speciality, before travelling by bus for an afternoon excursion to Stork Island which is hosts thousands of herons and white storks who flock to the region to lay their eggs.
Following a day of sailing you will arrive in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam and a thriving metropolis that has made great strides away from it’s war-torn past. Here, you will have the opportunity to visit the city’s most infamous prison, enjoy a walking tour and take in a traditional dance from the deck of your ship.
The next morning will see the beginning of three consecutive days sailing The Lower Red River, the Lo River and Da River. These waterways twist and turn through picturesque towns, glorious rural scenery and waterside communities offering plentiful opportunities to explore. The rivers’ various highlights include the 8th and 11th century Tay Phuong and Thay Pagodas, the beautiful Hung Lo Temple and Ba Vi National Park.
The final two days of your expedition will spent in Hoa Binh, a beautiful province set amongst towering mountains, emerald green valleys and an intriguing cave network. Despite Hoa Binh roughly translating to “peace” in Vietnamese, the province was once the setting of a huge battle against the French in 1950s and can also prove the existence of human life between 10,000 and 2,000 BC – which makes it one of the most ancient civilised lands in the world.
During your time in Hoa Binh you will have the chance to visit the imposing power station as well as travel to a village where you will enjoy a performance by the local Muong people, a minority group which populate the surrounding mountains.