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Lion-ised in Hanoi: Pandaw passengers get the warmest of Vietnamese welcomes

It's often hard to tell Pandaw passengers' photos of their experience from those of the professionals paid to provide glossy images for promotional literature. A case in point is Mrs Lex Lees of Sydney Australia, who kindly provided a glowing (and unsolicited!) testimonial (read here) of her Halong Bay & Red River excursion on board the RV Angkor Pandaw.

Mrs Lees is a seasoned traveller who usually travels with her husband, but on this occasion was attracted to our Vietnam river cruise by our highly popular no single supplement policy.

All of her photos deserve a wider audience but we were particularly struck by the series on the Lion Dance, which Lex's party encountered at Bat Trang, a riverside suburb of Hanoi best known for ceramic-making.

Lion Dance 1

"It was where we moored before our time in Hanoi, and the lion dance was a welcome to Hanoi.  The performers were local young men, who were enormously enthusiastic and talented, despite the fact that it was a very hot afternoon."

Anyone with a passing acquaintance with the Far East, or even their local Chinatown, will be aware of the Lion Dance, a celebratory staple of the Chinese cultural sphere, which includes Vietnam as well as Korea, Japan, Taiwan Tibet and parts of Indonesia. Vietnam was under direct Chinese rule, on and off, for a thousand years so the influence of the tradition is not surprisingly deeply embedded here, though the dance is known as the "unicorn dance" [múa lân]. And why not? There are no more lions in Vietnam (or China for that matter) than there are unicorns, and never have been.

Lion Dance 1

The dance, which requires two men to perform and up to 10 others to provide the music, is performed primarily in Vietnam at lunar new year (Tết) and the mid-autumn festival (Tết trung thu) and other special occasions like the opening of a business or – as in Pandaw's experience – as a warm gesture of welcome. Lex's pictures convey something of the excitement, colour and energy of the event, just one of the many vivid features of this popular expedition.

As Hugh Clayson, Pandaw's Director puts it

"We are the only company to cruise from Halong Bay inland on the red river past Hanoi and up into the scenic red river. People who book will be in for a combination of classic, world- class sights (Halong Bay and Hanoi) and some real off the beaten track cruising visiting local villages and passing lush green riverbanks."



River Cruise itinerary for Halong Bay and Red River

Halong Bay and Red River

Halong Bay - Viet Tri

Save up to 10% and No Single Supplement on selected dates

10 nights

from US$3,384

River Cruise itinerary for Halong Bay and Red River


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