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Daily Overview

Day Destination Activities
1 Halong Bay EMBARKATION

Scenic cruising around Halong Bay

2 Halong Bay Scenic cruising around Halong Bay

Boat excursions to floating home and caves

3 Halong Bay Morning spent cruising

Set sail for Pha Lai

4 Thai Binh River Excursion to Thanh Ha and water puppet show

Walking tour of Ninh Giang and banh cay tasting

5 Bat Trang Village Explore the ceramic-making village of Bat Trang

Cruise to Hanoi

6 Hanoi Tour Hanoi’s many museums and landmarks

Traditional unicorn and lion performance

7 Lower Red River Visit two little-known pagodas

Explore a carpenter’s village

8 Lo River See where Vietnam’s conical hats are made
9 Da River Scenic cruising passing Ba Vi National Park

Visit UNESCO-listed village of Duang Lam

10 Hoa Binh Boat ride on the reservoir

Discover a traditional Muong village

11 Hoa Binh DISEMBARKATION

Visit to village Muong museum

Note: This program is also available in the opposite direction.

Detailed Itinerary

DAY 1 / HALONG BAY / EMBARKATION* 

Transfer from Hanoi International Airport to Halong Bay, where your luxury riverboat awaits. Cast off in the late afternoon, admiring the awe-inspiring scenery as you cruise the bay. Tonight, drop anchor in a sheltered cove.

 

DAY 2 / HALONG BAY 

With over 1500 limestone islands, dramatic rock formations, and emerald-tinted waters, Halong Bay leaves visitors awestruck. Sail around the bay this morning, admiring forest-covered limestone pillars that date back over 20 million years. Take a local boat to visit a remarkable floating home, and travel by kayak or one of Vietnam’s bamboo basket boats to explore the caves around the bay.

 

DAY 3 / HALONG BAY 

After a morning spent cruising in Halong Bay, enter the river in the afternoon to set sail for Pha Lai. Observe the varied and captivating life on this key commercial waterway.

 

DAY 4 / THAI BINH RIVER 

Spend the morning sailing on the Thai Binh river. Leave the ship for an excursion to Thanh Ha, a village where you’ll see a traditional water puppet show and walk around. Rejoin the ship to continue cruising to Ninh Giang. Here, set off on a walking tour of this pastoral village, where you’ll visit a local market to taste banh cay, a local dessert. Board a coach bus to see nearby Stork’s Island before returning to the ship, where you’ll enjoy dinner.

 

DAY 5 / BAT TRANG VILLAGE 

On the way to Hanoi, discover Bat Trang, known throughout Vietnam for its distinctive ceramics, which feature intricate painted scenes and landscapes.

 

DAY 6 / HANOI 

Arrive in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where you’ll experience this rapidly growing city’s bustling streets on your way to landmarks such as the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the notorious Hoa Lo Prison, which was often referred to as the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs. In the afternoon, visit a café, where you’ll learn about Vietnam’s coffee production industry, a major source of income for the country for the past century. Finally, enjoy a colourful traditional unicorn and lion dance before re-boarding the ship.

 

DAY 7 / LOWER RED RIVER 

Follow the Red River from Hanoi to Viet Tri, a launching point for the highlands of Vietnam. Ashore, see Vietnam’s postcard-perfect, emerald green rice paddies, interspersed with dramatic limestone rock formations. Of particular interest on the way are the little-known Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas, which date back to the eighth and 11th centuries and home to exquisite Buddhist statues carved from jackfruit wood. This afternoon, learn about local livelihoods in a carpenter village. Arrive in Viet Tri, the capital of the Phu Tho province in the northeast region of Vietnam, in the evening.

 

DAY 8 / LO RIVER 

Cruise from the Tien Du ferry station to Gia Thanh, where Vietnam’s characteristic conical hats are made. The sights along the banks of the Lo offer insights into traditional village life. Embark by coach to the Hung Temple, which is considered one of the most sacred historic sites by the Vietnamese people.

 

DAY 9 / DA RIVER 

Admire the Da river’s unspoilt beauty as you sail downstream. You’ll pass the Ba Vi National Park, which is home to a diverse range of tropical and subtropical flora. After arriving in Hoa Binh, visit the UNESCO-listed village of Duong Lam.

 

DAY 10 / HOA BINH 

During the First Indochina War, fighting against the French took place in and around Hoa Binh from 1951 to 1952. Home to the Muong ethnic group, Hoa Binh is also home to the largest hydroelectric dam in all of Southeast Asia. This morning, take a boat ride on the dam’s reservoir and visit a Muong village. Tonight, enjoy a traditional performance.

 

DAY 11 / HOA BINH / DISEMBARKATION 

Disembark in the morning, the learn about Muong culture through a visit to a village museum. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before arriving at the hotel from which point you will continue your onward journey.

 

*Note: This program is also available in the opposite direction.

Dates & Prices

Itinerary Code
(Name of Itinerary)
 Itinerary Start Date  Ship Name  Route Duration (Nights) Main Deck Pricing PP Upper Deck Pricing PP
RRAS-08
(Halong Bay and Red River)
5/9/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200
5/20/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Hoa Binh/Halong Bay 10 $4,230 $5,200
6/23/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200
7/4/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Hoa Binh/Halong Bay 10 $4,230 $5,200
8/6/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200
8/17/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Hoa Binh/Halong Bay 10 $4,230 $5,200
9/19/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200
9/30/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Hoa Binh/Halong Bay 10 $4,230 $5,200
10/11/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200
10/22/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Hoa Binh/Halong Bay 10 $4,230 $5,200
11/2/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200
11/13/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Hoa Binh/Halong Bay 10 $4,230 $5,200
11/24/2017 RV Angkor Pandaw Halong Bay/Hoa Binh 10 $4,230 $5,200

Prices are per person based on double occupancy.

RRAS-08 Port Charge: N/A

RRAS-08 Single Supplement:

  • Main Deck: 20%
  • Upper Deck: 20%

*Note: No single supplement applicable between 9-May-17 and 19-Sep-17 start dates

Terms and Conditions 

Inclusions

  • Entrance fees
  • Guide services (English speaking)
  • Gratuities to crew
  • Main meals
  • Drinks include locally made soft drinks, local beer and local spirits, jugged coffee, mineral water and selection of teas and tisanes
  • Transfers between ports of embarkation and Hanoi International Airport at the start and end of the voyage.

Ship Details

RV Angkor Pandaw

BuiltLengthDecksCabinsPassengersCabin Size
201242.25m2163216m²More Details

Travel Tips

The Red River

Travel Documents / Visas

1. Passport

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the last date of travel to Vietnam. While uncommon for most of our guests, technically you may need to provide evidence of ‘sufficient funds’ for your stay. Some cash and credit cards normally suffice.

Citizens of other countries should consult with their travel agent or our office.

2. Visas

Vietnam: A valid tourist visa is required for Canadians. It must be obtained in advance and details for this can be found here.

 

Packing List

A handy checklist of what to bring on your trip can be downloaded here.

 

Insurance

We very strongly recommend the purchase of appropriate travel insurance for any trip outside of Canada. Information on travel insurance options can be found here.

           

Smoking

Not permitted anywhere indoors. There are designated areas on the outside decks.

 

Weather

January to March & December:

  • Daytime temperatures usually in the high 10s.
  • Evenings are cooler in the low to mid 10s.

April and October:

  • During the day in the mid 20s. Evening is the low 20s.

May to September:

  • During the day in the low 30s. Night time lows in the high 20s.

Precipitation:

  • May through September is ‘rainy season’. You can except periodic rain every day although seldom continuous downpours.
  • January to April and October to December are the dry season where there is a low likelihood of rain.

 

Arrival / Departure

Upon booking, we will provide detail instructions on where your pickup point in Hanoi is on embarkation day. If you have not made any pre or post tour arrangements with us, you will have to arrange your own transportation to and from this pickup point. We are happy to provide advice or to assist in arranging transfers.

The cruise will finish in the morning (usually around 8-9am) on the final day. It is necessary to have settled your onboard account well before this time as instructed by the cruise director on the day before. You will then be transferred by coach to the designated point for return trip to Hanoi.

 

Money

The currency of Vietnam is the Dong (VND).

Credit cards are acceptable for larger purchases in retail shops, but generally not in restaurants or cafés.

ATM’s accepting most international debit and credit cards can be found in Hanoi but once on the river it will become more difficult. It is suggested to stock up on Dong before embarking on the cruise.

Gratuities (Tipping)

Gratuities for the ship’s crew are included in your cruise fare. If you feel the desire to reward specific members of staff for extraordinary service, you are at liberty to do so. In this case, please put the funds in a small envelope and hand it to the person discreetly.

Tips for services provided onshore are at your discretion. Typically USD$1 or 2 per service rendered (eg. Taxis, pedicabs, porters, etc.) would be considered very fair.

Laundry

A laundry bag is provided in each stateroom for your laundry needs. Laundry is collected each morning when your room is made up and will be returned to you by the following day. We regret that dry cleaning services are not available.

 

Excursions

Most of our programs include a full complement of excursions. Some additional excursions may be available on board at an extra cost. Please check with us or consult the purser onboard for additional information.

Excursions will usually involve a lot of walking, often on dirt roads and through stone temples. If you have difficulty walking any distance or up and down a lot of stairs, please let us know in advance and we will advise how best we can accommodate you.

Etiquette

South-East Asians are generally tolerant and easy going. Please try to avoid political discussion and remember that the Vietnamese national hero “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh enjoys near divine stature and any disrespect shown to his name or memory can cause extreme offence. Despite opening the door to capitalism, Vietnam remains a fervently Communist society with a dominant Communist Party.

Activity Level / Strenuousness

Light to Moderate – The ship will often dock on a riverbank with a gangplank. It is necessary to be reasonably sure-footed as walking will be on dirt roads and paths. Temples often have many stairs which are mostly not obligatory to climb, but for the full benefit you will need to. Note that the high temperatures and humidity in the summer months may also make participation on this trip more strenuous than you may be accustomed to compared to the climate at home.

Food

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in your cruise fare so you shouldn’t be too hungry. It is worthwhile to sample the local cuisine though.

Plenty of complimentary bottled water is provided on board and for your shore excursions. It is not safe to drink water directly from the taps.

If you get the chance, a Vietnamese favourite (available in more and more restaurants here at home) is “Phở” or, basically noodles. “Phở Ga” is essentially the local version of chicken noodle soup but once you’ve tried it, you may never go back.

“Gỏi cuốn” are scrumptious Vietnamese spring rolls with pork, shrimp and vegetables in a rice paper wrap. If you don’t get them aboard the ship, order some along the way.

Language

Your shipboard staff all speak English of course, but when you are wandering through the shops in small villages, your chances of being understood are minimal. Bring along a phrasebook or keep your local guide in sight for assistance.

Medical Facilities

There are no medical personnel onboard the ship. However, the purser can contact onshore medical people for emergency and non-emergency situations and rapid evacuation can easily be facilitated in the most urgent cases.

Phone & Internet

There is a phone in each cabin. As is typical, the charges for overseas calls are relatively high.

Free Wi-Fi is available in the main public areas of the ship but not necessarily in all cabins. As internet is provided through a mobile network, bandwidth (speed) will vary depending on the number of concurrent users, the proximity to a cell tower and other factors.

If you would like to have regular data and phone connection, we suggest either arranging an overseas roaming plan with your mobile operator, or pick up a local SIM card if you have an unlocked phone.

 

Health / Vaccinations

Although, there are no vaccinations required to travel to Vietnam, we recommend that you consult your physician or a travel medical clinic with any specific concerns in regard to the itinerary in this program. Malaria is prevalent in some areas at some times of the year and you may wish to consider a prophylaxis.

Safety & Security

The general situation for tourists visiting these countries is good.

Crime is generally limited due to harsh penalties, particularly when tourists are affected. However, petty theft and pickpocketing is definitely something to be aware of, particularly in the larger cities and around large groups of people.

It is always prudent to be constantly aware of your surroundings and to not take unnecessary valuables with you. Leave your passport, extra money and any other belongings you do not need during the day in the safe in your cabin.

Please refer to the following information for specifics:

https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/vietnam

Suggested Reading

Changing Worlds: Vietnam’s Transition from Cold War to Globalization

Culture and Customs of Vietnam

The Quiet American