Hanoi & Halong Bay

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With a fantastic mix of culture, history and magnificent scenery, this mini break is the perfect add on to any adventure in Vietnam. From the pagoda-studded lakes, French-colonial buildings and chaotic traffic of Hanoi, to the breathtaking scenery and clear, emerald waters of Halong Bay, this trip covers it all. Learn about Vietnam's past on visits to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and the Museum of Ethnology. Discover quiet pockets of the city at Hoan Kiem Lake and at peaceful cafes in the Old Quarter. Shop at markets, try tai chi with locals and learn the secrets to Vietnamese cuisine in a cooking class. Then, escape the city and be whisked off to stunning Halong Bay for a cruise past thousands of limestone islands. Enjoy delicious meals cooked on board, dive into the water or discover secret caves by kayak. It may be compact, but this trip is packed with unforgettable highlights.

Itinerary

Days 1-2 Hanoi

With pagoda-studded lakes, French-colonial buildings and chaotic traffic, Hanoi is a city of colour and contrasts. Be collected from the hotel and head off to explore all this capital has to offer. Begin at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, where Vietnam's independence was declared in 1945. Continue to the Temple of Literature, the location of the country's first university. Recharge over a lunch of delicious, local cuisine, then visit the Museum of Ethnology to gain insight into the diverse cultures, customs and lifestyles of the 54 ethnic groups that inhabit Vietnam. End the day with a walking tour of the Old Quarter. Stop by markets to pick up some souvenirs, then relax with a cold drink and chat with friendly locals. The next day, take an early-morning walk to Hoan Kiem Lake and perhaps try tai chi, before feasting on a traditional Vietnamese breakfast of pho and a sweet Vietnamese coffee at a rooftop cafe. Afterwards, head to the local produce market to collect fresh ingredients for a cooking class. In a family-run restaurant, whip up some Vietnamese cuisine, then sit down to a delicious feast. The afternoon is free to explore the city, shop or simply relax.

Day 3 Halong Bay

Travel to Halong Bay. A secluded harbour with emerald waters idyllic beaches, hidden grottoes and thousands of limestone islands, Halong Bay is simply breathtaking. Enjoy a scenic lunch while cruising the bay, then relax on deck, go for a swim or try kayaking. Stay overnight on board and fall asleep to the boat bobbing gently in the water.

Day 4 Hanoi

Enjoy a morning swim before a sumptuous breakfast on board the boat. Raise anchor, then cruise the bay, stopping off to swim or kayak. Afterwards, farewell the tranquil beauty of the Halong Bay and return to bustling Hanoi where this adventure ends on arrival.

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