HANOI – NINH BINH – HALONG BAY DISCOVERY
Day 1: HANOI – ARRIVAL (D)
All guests are warmly welcomed upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport by our local guide then transfer to enjoy a walking tour through the Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 streets’. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It’s a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you. End the day with a Water Puppet show. This is a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes from rural life and episodes of national history. Dinner at D’Lion Restaurant (Halal). Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: HANOI – NINH BINH (B, L, D)
Hanoi to Hoa Lu (100km): 2.5hrs. After breakfast at hotel, you will start the day with visit The One Pillar Pagoda, which was founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049. This structure is one of Vietnam’s smallest but most iconic temples. Close by is the Mausoleum of the historic Father Figure of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and the Former President’s House on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary.
(The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed Mondays & Fridays and from Oct.-Nov, you will view from the outside).
Tour continues, you will enjoy the journey to Ninh Binh for the 2.5-hour drive through rural northern Vietnam to the site of Vietnam’s first capital, Hoa Lu. Visit temples dedicated to Emperor Dinh Tien Hoang of the Dinh Dynasty (968-980), and Emperor Le Dai Hanh of the Le Dynasty (980-1009). The ancient Hoa Lu Citadel, most of which has since been destroyed, once covered an area of three square kilometers. After visiting Hoa Lu, if time and energy levels permit, choose to take a half-hour walk up one of the surrounding limestone karst hills. The climb is rewarded with spectacular views. In the late morning, depart for Tam Coc Town to enjoy a Vietnamese lunch (no pork, no lard). Along the way, stop to take pictures of local villages and the stunning landscape. After lunch, visit Trang An Landscape Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a relaxing boat ride on a peaceful river passing through a series of caves. Trang An is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, some of which are submerged, and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cli s. As the boat gently slices through the water, notice the enormous limestone karsts jutting out from the green rice elds giving rise to other name, ‘Halong on Land’. Officially designated as an ‘eco-tourism’ area, the only interruptions here are the sound of birds and the gentle paddle of the oar upon the crystal clear river. Then transfer back to the hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Dinner at local restaurant (no pork, no lard). Overnight in Ninh Binh.
Day 3: NINH BINH – HALONG BAY DAY CRUISE – HANOI (B, L, D)
Ninh Binh to Halong Bay (200km): 4hrs. Following an early breakfast, leave Ninh Binh for a 4-hour (approximately) drive to Halong Bay, Vietnam’s most popular UNESCO World Heritage site! The name ‘Ha Long’ means ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’ and owes its origins to a Vietnamese myth. The towering limestone karsts represent the dragon’s back, surrounded by jade green water creating an unforgettable site. There are more than 1,600 limestone islands and islets with different shapes jutting out from the sea.
Arrive at the Halong Bay jetty around noon and embark then start a relaxing in a wonderful cruise through Halong Bay, passing bizarre rock formations. You will discover Halong Bay, listed as a World Heritage of outstanding natural beauty, known in Vietnamese as “Dragon descending to the sea”. The picturesque Halong Bay has more than 3,000 limestone islets rising from the clear emerald water, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. You will visit Thien Cung Cave situated on the south-west side of the bay, 4 km from the wharf outside of Halong City. The way to Thien Cung grotto is covered on both sides by thick forest. After entering narrow gate, the grotto’s 130-meter-long girth opens up. Getting in you will be more astonished in front of the very animated and splendid beauty which is made from the stalactites. On the east wall of the grotto, there is a grandiose and imposing picture with characters of tales. Going out of the Thien Cung grotto, you will have a sensation of just watching a unique, meticulous, interesting fine-art museum which is made by nature. This grotto is one of the most beautiful ones in Halong Bay. Legend has it, that beautiful young lady named May (cloud), caught the eye of the Dragon Prince and he fell in love with her. They were betrothed, and their wedding lasted seven days and seven nights in the very centre of the grotto. During the boat trip fresh seafood lunch will be served for your delights. Disembark and transfer back to Hanoi. Dinner at Red House Restaurant (Halal). Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 4: HANOI – DEPARTURE (B)
Breakfast at hotel and free at your own leisure until transfer to Noi Bai International Airport for your international flight home. We hope you had an exciting holiday with us. Making it an affair to remember!