Tailor-made Tour 11 days from £2790 per person
Places Visited: Halong Bay, The Kinh Thay River, The Duong River, Hanoi, The Lower Red River, The Upper Red River, The Da River, Hoa Binh, Mai Chau
Explore northern Vietnam on a Pandaw cruise. Navigate the Red River and Halong Bay, and further off-track along the Duong River and Black River, deep into the Vietnamese highlands. On dry land you will visit Hanoi, mountain villages and tribal areas.
About the ship
The sixteen cabin Angkor Pandaw has been specially designed with a shallow draft to get further up river and a low air draft to get under the bridges - This ship can go where others cannot! Finished in brass and teak, the main and upper deck rooms are very spacious at 168 square feet (15.6 sqm).
Cast off in the late afternoon for an evening sailing to drop anchor in a sheltered bay amidst some amazing island scenery.
Morning sail around Halong Bay and beyond with its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations, dating back 20 million years. Visit a floating village, a floating school and limestone caves.
The Kinh Thay River
Enter the Kinh Thay River and moor at Yen Duc Village, a beautiful spot on a charming stretch of river with historical mountains full of sacred legends and relics related to Ly and the Tran dynasty. The village was recognised as a national relic in 1993.
The Duong River
From Dong Trieu town the ship continues towards Hanoi on the Duong River, stopping so you can explore Dong Ho village. Here you can witness the Dong Ho folk painting, dating back to the 11th century, on paper made from sticky rice and oysters. All colouring is natural and made from coal or burned bamboo leaves. Further down you will visit the Bat Trang ceramic village where traditions of producing ceramic items are passed on from generation to generation.
Docked in the bustling city of Hanoi, you will head ashore and visit some highlights of the city, including the notorious Vietnam War prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, a water puppet show, the Temple of Literature and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
Further explore Hanoi with a visit to the Van Phuc Silk Village and free time to explore the Old French Quarter with its café life and many interesting boutiques.
The Lower Red River
Sail through the day from Hanoi up the Red River to Viet Tri, not the most picturesque of towns but an excellent base for going deeper into Highland Vietnam. Leaving the ship behind you will visit Tay village, hardly known, yet with exquisite temples dating from the 8th and 11th century and home to some fine Buddhist statues carved from jack-fruit trees. In the afternoon you can visit an orphanage in Viet Tri. The kids are encouraged to live together with their own responsibilities in manageable family units under a foster parent.
The Upper Red River
The Red River flows down from China’s Yunnan province and has for centuries been a key trade route between these nations. Between Viet Tri and Hoa Ha the mountains loom large and the river narrows and flows fast. The ship will stop at Hoa Ha, a typical riverine village and a pleasant place for a hike to stretch your legs.
The Da River
Enjoy a day sailing downstream through the unspoilt beauty of the Da River. The ship will pass the Ba Vi National Park with its rich and diverse tropical and subtropical flora and fauna, before arriving at Hoa Binh.
Hoa Binh was the site of a major battle in 1951 and 1952 with the French and is home to the Muon ethnic group. Visit a museum and a local village where villagers still wear traditional dresses. The largest power station in Southeast Asia was built here by the Russians between 1979 and 1994 and is still fully operational and, subject to security clearance, tours can be arranged deep inside the mountain where at one point 1,000 Russian engineers toiled. You will also visit a 400-ton statue of Ho Chi Minh which commands spectacular views over the Hao Binh valley.
Early this morning you will head for the sleepy town of Mai Chau, home to the Black Thai and White Thai, an ethnic minority who still live in Thai bamboo stilt houses. In the afternoon the ship will continue downstream towards the town of Viet Tri where the cruise ends and you will disembark.
Tailor-made Tour 11 days from £2790 per person
✓ 10 nights accommodation
✓ All internal transportation and transfers
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Full board on the Pandaw cruise including local beers and spirits, and crew tipping
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
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