This trip follows immediately after our Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River Gay Cruise, January 3 - 15, 2018. It’s a splendid way to extend your exotic expedition, but can also be purchased on its own. We’ll spend two nights exploring Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and home of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, followed by three days cruising Ha Long Bay in a traditional wooden boat. Peppered with thousands of limestone islands in many shapes and sizes, there’s no doubt why the bay became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chào ban! Welcome to Vietnam! If you’re joining us after the Mekong River Cruise, you’ll be flown in from Ho Chi Minh and transferred to the hotel. If not, Hanoi is your official starting point.
This will be a lazy day, giving those from the cruise a chance to recuperate, while new recruits can ease into their escape. Tonight we’ll be treated to a water puppetry show, followed by a group dinner at an esteemed restaurant in a colonial French villa.
After breakfast at the hotel, immerse yourself in this bustling city with a tour that covers many must-see sights.
Beginning at the Ho Chi Minh complex, where the revolutionary leader declared Vietnam's independence in 1945, we’ll visit both House 54 and the Stilt House – where he lived – along with the Presidential Palace, which he refused to live in because of its colonial history.
We’ll also visit the One Pillar Pagoda and the the Temple of Literature, both built by Emperor Ly Thanh Thong.
After a traditional Pho noodle soup for lunch, we’ll move on to the Museum of Ethnology, which celebrates the nation’s 54 ethnic groups, and explore the chaotic old quarter by foot for an authentic taste of life here.
To end the afternoon, you can grab a beer at Bia Hoi corner (where you may meet locals eager to practice their English with you).
We’ve left the evening free for you to dine and explore on your own, before a major change of pace tomorrow.
After an early breakfast and checkout, we’ll travel four hours to Ha Long Bay. We’ll board the Bhaya Classic, a traditional wooden boat, and sip some libations over our intro and safety briefing.
Lunch will be served as we cruise to Cua Van, a floating village we can access by kayak or bamboo boat.
Once we return to the main vessel, savour some sun or splurge on a massage. 2-for-1 drinks start at 5PM in the bar, followed by dinner in the restaurant. Spend the evening watching movies, or try your hand at squid fishing as we overnight near Lom Bo Island.
Get your moving meditation on this morning with a Tai Chi lesson on the sun deck, or sleep in a bit longer until breakfast.
The boat will venture towards Bai Tu Long Bay, and we’ll visit Ho Ba Ham. This trio of connected lakes, hidden on an islet, is almost completely cut off from the rest of the bay, so it can only be accessed by kayak or bamboo boat.
After returning to the vessel for a mellow morning, lunch will be served as we venture towards a surreal grotto known as Surprise Cave. This is followed by a swim or hike on Titov Island, named in honour of the Soviet cosmonaut who visited in 1962 with Ho Chi Minh.
Another 5PM Happy Hour awaits aboard the boat, with a traditional cooking demo and flower carving on the sun deck to follow. After another delicious dinner, enjoy more movies or squid fishing during our overnight anchor at Ho Dong Tien (which is, fittingly enough, also known as Fairy Lake).
Start your day with more Tai Chi before breakfast as the boat returns to port, or sleep in one last time. From here, we’ll visit Luon Cave (again by kayak or bamboo boat), before we check out, enjoy brunch, and disembark.
This afternoon you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight home. We can also reserve a day room near the airport if you've booked an evening flight.