River Cruise Itinerary for Halong Bay, Red River and Laos Mekong | Pandaw.com
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PANDAW COMBO RIVER CRUISE

HALONG BAY, RED RIVER & LAOS MEKONG

21 NIGHTS FROM US$7,012.80
SAVE UP TO 10% ON SELECTED DATES

For the first-time travelers will be able to explore the key sites of Northern Vietnam by river ship traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting the wonders of Halong Bay with the excitements of down town Hanoi, and then on into the interior, well off the beaten track. This is a combination of scenic beauty, lively and interesting (sometimes industrial) life of the river and exploring rivers where no other tourist craft operate.

Combined this with a three-country expedition as we will traverse Laos to touch Thailand and Burma at the once notorious Golden Triangle. From Vientiane, the old French capital, and so redolent of L’Indochine, beyond Luang Prabang, Pandaw is the first river expedition since prewar days to cross all Laos.

This trip included flight between Hanoi and Vientiane or v.v. with a one-night hotel stay.

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21 NIGHTS FROM US$7,012.80
SAVE UP TO 10% ON SELECTED DATES
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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Pre Tour Hanoi 1 Night

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Hue & Hoi An 4 Nights Pre Tour

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

The Rachamankha Hotel, Chiang Mai Post Tour

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The Hill Tribes of North Thailand Post Tour

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OPTIONAL PACKAGE ADDONS

Private Dining

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Pre-Bookable House Wine Package

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Free Flow Drinks

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Free Flow Drinks & Wine Package

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 HALONG BAY

Transfer from Hanoi International Airport or meeting point to Halong Bay to embark your Pandaw ship with a stop for lunch en route. Cast off late afternoon with a welcome cocktail for an evening sail, dropping anchor in a sheltered bay amidst the beautiful island scenery.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 2 HALONG BAY

Morning sail around Halong Bay and beyond with its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations, dating back 20 million years.

We make a stop at Viet Hai Village and continue our journey by mountain bike or electric buggy to visit the village’s vegetable farm and typical village houses. It is a breathtaking trip along a small road winding its way through the limestone rocks.

In the afternoon we will continue cruising towards Lan Ha Bay for a visit to a floating fishing house.

Weather dependent, we will end the day with cocktails at a beautiful beach in Halong Bay.

DAY 3 HALONG BAY

Our exploration of Halong Bay continues and we stop at the so called “Dark and Bright Cave”. Take a kayak or a local basket boat rowed by fishermen and enter this remarkable cave into an enclosed area similar to a crater. Bats can be heard in the cave and massive stalagmites hang from the ceiling.

In the afternoon, we leave Halong Bay and are enter the river where we drop anchor near Hai Phong.

DAY 4 THE KINH THAY RIVER

Observe the lively and interesting life of the Kinh Thay river, a key commercial waterway.

Afternoon excursion to Thanh Ha Commune with village walk and a private water puppet show set under shade by a beautiful pond of lotus and lilies.

We continue cruising until late evening and drop anchor midstream.

More about The Kinh Thay River

DAY 5 DAY RIVER

This morning we will sail on the Lower Red River and Day River. Afternoon visit the famous stone cathedral of Pat Diem. Cruise on Day River towards Ninh Binh City.

DAY 6 NINH BINH

In the morning we will visit Tam Coc, taking a rowing boat ride to visit the so call "Halong on land" in Ninh Binh. In the afternoon we visit the quaint village of Pham Phao where guests can walk around the village visiting a host family where musician instruments have been made and repaired for generations. Listen to the owner who plays every instrument within his family run business. We visit local Woodworking Artisans who produce items for local and international markets. We visit a century old covered bridge and take the chance to taste fresh BBQ Pork Skewers and Rice Cake Rolls at the village markets if the weather permits us.

DAY 7 THE LOWER RED RIVER

In the morning we sail upsteam on the Red River to Dien Xa village where we will walk to the bonsai village and meet with local artists and share their bonsai experience. We then continue on the Red River to Hanoi.

More about The Lower Red River

DAY 8 HANOI

Dropped anchor in the bustling city of Hanoi, passengers will visit some highlights of this Asian metropolis, must see’s like the notorious Vietnam war prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, temple of literature where Confucius did his thinking and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Afternoon walking tour of Hanoi including a visit to a coffee shop where we learn about Vietnam’s famous coffee making industry. Before returning to your ship you will enjoy a traditional unicorn and lion dance at the jetty.

More about Hanoi

DAY 9 HANOI

Morning going off shore to visit Bat Trang ceramic village then sail through 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. Going a shore we visit a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies punctuated by lime stone rock formations. Of particular interest is the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas, hardly known, yet with exquisite temples dating from the 8th and 11th century and home to some fine Buddhist statuary carved from jackfruit trees. We will arrive in Vinh Phuc in the evening.

DAY 10 THE UPPER RED RIVER

In the morning we go ashore to visit the UNESCO praised village of Duang Lam. In the afternoon, visit the carpenter and smith village of Ly Nhan. We sail upstream on the Upper Red River to Viet Tri. Enjoy traditional dances on board.

More about The Upper Red River

DAY 11 VIET TRI

Disembark after breakfast and visit the conical hat making village of Gia Thanh. By bus we continue to Hung Lo Temple, Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, followed by a transfer to Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi.

More about Viet Tri

DAY 12 HANOI - VIENTIANE

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. After arrival, transfer to your Pandaw ship.

DAY 13 CRUISING THE MEKONG

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 14 PAK LAI

Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February.

More about Pak Lai

DAY 15 BAN PARK BOR VILLAGE

Morning visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle. In the afternoon pass through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.

DAY 16 BAN MOUANG KHAI VILLAGE AND LUANG PRABANG

In the morning visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai. Afternoon sightseeing by minibus visiting the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.

DAY 17 LUANG PRABANG

In the morning explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own. Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 18 PAK OU CAVES

Early morning walking tour to see the alms offering by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Passengers are invited to join in with offerings we provide for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves and Elephant camp, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Evening cocktails on a sandbank. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo.

More about Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River

DAY 19 PAK BENG

Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.

More about Pak Beng

DAY 20 BAN HOUAYXAY

Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.

DAY 21 CHIANG SAEN

Cruise upriver to the Town of Chiang Sean for border crossing at the Golden Triangle. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

More about Chiang Saen

DAY 22 CHIANG SAEN

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Sean and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).

More about Chiang Saen

DAY 1 HALONG BAY

Transfer from Hanoi International Airport or meeting point to Halong Bay to embark your Pandaw ship with a stop for lunch en route. Cast off late afternoon with a welcome cocktail for an evening sail, dropping anchor in a sheltered bay amidst the beautiful island scenery.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 2 HALONG BAY

Morning sail around Halong Bay and beyond with its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations, dating back 20 million years.

Stop at Viet Hai Village and explore on mountain bike or electric buggy, visiting the village’s vegetable farm and typical village houses. It is a breath-taking trip along a small road winding its way through the limestone rocks.

In the afternoon continue cruising towards Lan Ha Bay for a visit to a floating fishing house.

Weather dependent, end the day with cocktails at a beautiful beach in Halong Bay - bring your swimwear!

DAY 3 HALONG BAY

Exploration of Halong Bay continues with a visit to the so called “Dark and Bright Cave”. Take a kayak or a local basket boat rowed by fishermen and enter this remarkable cave into an enclosed area similar to a crater. Bats can be heard in the cave and massive stalagmites hang from the ceiling.

Depart Halong Bay and enter the river to drop anchor near Hai Phong.

In the afternoon, our chef will share his skills in fruit carving and demonstrate how to create Vietnamese spring rolls.

DAY 4 THE KINH TRAY RIVER

Observe the lively and interesting life of the KinhThay river, a key commercial waterway.

Meet your guide in the dining room for a lecture on Vietnam, its history, geography and the boat people.

Afternoon excursion to Thanh Ha Commune with village walk and a private water puppet show set under the shade by a beautiful pond of lotus and lilies.

Return to ship and continue cruising until late evening, dropping anchor midstream.

More about Thanh Ha and Water Puppets

DAY 5 BAT TRANG VILLAGE

The day is spent cruising towards Hanoi. Enroute, stop at Bat Trang in the afternoon, a ceramic village. On the way back to the ship watch a traditional unicorn and lion dance at the jetty.

This dance originated in China and spread over Southeast Asia.

More about Bat Trang

DAY 6 HANOI

Drop anchor in the capital and bustling city of Hanoi to visit some highlights of this Asian metropolis. Must-sees include the notorious Vietnam War prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, temple of literature where Confucius did his thinking, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Afternoon walking tour of Hanoi’s old quarter,including a visit to a coffee shop to learn about Vietnam’s famous coffee-making industry.

More about Hanoi

DAY 7 THE LOWER RED RIVER

Morning 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.

Go ashore to visit a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies punctuated by limestone rock formations. Of particular interest are the Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas.

Afternoon excursion to a carpenter village famous for exquisite carvings and wood work techniques.

Evening arrival in Viet Tri.

More about Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

DAY 8 LO RIVER

In the morning cruising to Tien Du ferry station to the village of Gia Thanh, makers of the conical hats (known as ‘non la’). Take in the sights and sounds of the bustling river with all kinds of craft and activity.

The ‘non la’ are handmade with palm leaves and bamboo. There is no machinery available to create this work of art. Their origin dates approximately 3,000 years back.

By bus continue to Hung Lo Temple.

More about Lo River

DAY 9 THE DA RIVER

Day sailing downstream while admiring the unspoilt beauty of the Da River. Pass through the Ba Vi National Park with its rich and diverse tropical and sub-tropical flora and fauna before arriving at Hoa Binh then visit the UNESCO-praised village of Duong Lam.

In the afternoon, take a tour of the ship including the galley, crew area and engine room.

More about Duong Lam

DAY 10 HOA BINH

Hoa Binh was the site of a major battle with the French in 1951 & 1952 and is home to the Muong ethnic group.

The Hoa Binh Dam at the Black River is the largest hydroelectric dam in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Take a morning boat ride on the reservoir of Hoa Binh power station and visit a local village. A traditional performance by local hill tribe people is given in the evening.

More about Hoa Binh

DAY 11 HOA BINH - HANOI

Disembark after breakfast (08.30am) and visit a museum and local village where villagers still wear traditional dress.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant, followed by a transfer to the Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi.

DAY 12 HANOI - VIENTIANE

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. After arrival, transfer to your Pandaw ship.

More about Vientiane

DAY 13 CRUISING THE MEKONG

Cruise upstream on the Mekong, passing lush jungle scenery and tiny riverside villages. Morning presentation on the Lao language. Afternoon cooking demonstration on the upper deck. Arrive in Ban Xanakham to moor overnight.

More about Cruising The Mekong

DAY 14 PAK LAI

Afternoon visit to the French administrative town of Pak Lai with many colonial buildings and a bustling local market. This town boasts the largest elephant festival in South East Asia, usually in February.

More about Pak Lai

DAY 15 BAN PARK BOR VILLAGE

Morning visit and walking tour to Khamo tribal village, a typical village, set on the banks of the Mekong amidst lush jungle. In the afternoon pass through the Xanyaburi Hydro Electric Power Plant.

More about Xayaburi Dam

DAY 16 BAN MOUANG KHAI VILLAGE AND LUANG PRABANG

In the morning visit a Hmong village and continue upstream to the village of Ban Mouang Khai. Afternoon sightseeing by minibus visiting the jungle pools and dramatic Khaung Si waterfall then on to a butterfly garden. Arrive in the heart of the temple city of Luang Prabang where there is a buzzing night market and many great cafes and some good local restaurants.

More about Kuang Si Waterfalls

DAY 17 LUANG PRABANG

In the morning explore by tuktuk this well-preserved and unique world heritage site with its many Buddhist temples, libraries and royal palace. Visit the National Museum and have the afternoon free to explore the beauty and unique atmosphere of Luang Prabang on your own. Enjoy traditional Laos dancing on the upper deck late afternoon. Moor overnight in Luang Prabang.

More about Luang Prabang

DAY 18 PAK OU CAVES

Early morning walking tour to see the alms offering by the local people to hundreds of monks who walk around the city every morning. Passengers are invited to join in with offerings we provide for the alms giving. Morning sightseeing by local boat exploring the unique Pak Ou Caves and Elephant camp, a Buddhist sanctuary with spectacular limestone cliff faces. Evening cocktails on a sandbank. Sail upstream on the beautiful Mekong towards Ban Bo.

More about Pak Ou Caves and Nam Ou River

DAY 19 PAK BENG

Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.

More about Pak Beng

DAY 20 BAN HOUAYXAY

Early morning walking tour in a Khamo village then cruise through stunning scenery to the border of Laos and Thailand. The night is spent on the Lao side in the Huay xay area where we take a late afternoon village walk.

DAY 21 CHIANG SAEN

Cruise upriver to the Town of Chiang Sean for border crossing at the Golden Triangle. Farewell cocktails and Thai traditional dance on board for your last evening.

More about Golden Triangle

DAY 22 CHIANG SAEN

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Sean and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, explore the Golden Triangle including a visit to the opium museum. Continue to airports or city hotels in Chiang Rai (2 hours) and Chiang Mai (6 hours).

More about Chiang Saen

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WHATS INCLUDED

Cruise Price Includes: One overnight at Pan Pacific Hotel (Hanoi) or Ansara (Vientiane) or similar, one flight from Hanoi or Vientiane or v.v., entrance fees, guide services (English language), gratuities to crew, main meals, local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes. Transfers between ports of embarkation and Hanoi International Airport at the start and end of the voyage.

Cruise Price Excludes: International flights, port dues (if levied), laundry, all visa costs, fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions), all beverages except local mineral water, jugged coffee, teas & tisanes and tips to tour guides, local guides, bus drivers, boat operators and cyclo drivers.

TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 HALONG BAY

TRANSFER FROM HANOI AIRPORT
We pick you up at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport – Seat in coach. The coach will leave the airport no later than 10:30 (Unless there are any delays with your flight). A Pandaw representative will be waiting for you with a Pandaw Sign at column No12. On the right hand sided of the international arrival exit. Arrival in Halong Bay at 14.00.

Please note: Guides and drivers are not allowed inside the terminal building. We will be waiting for you outside with a Pandaw sign. Hanoi Airport has two exits; if you don’t see us, please try the other exit on the same level (30 meters).

TRANSFER FROM HANOI CITY
For passenger already in Hanoi the night before, please meet us at the Pan Pacific Hotel lobby at 09:30

PAN PACIFIC HOTEL HANOI
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District
10000 HANOI
VIETNAM
Tel +84 4 382 38888

Registration at hotel lobby 09:30. Coach departs from Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi at 10.00. Arrival in Halong Bay at 13:30.

PRIVATE ARRIVAL AT HA LONG BAY
For passengers already in Ha Long Bay on the night before, please come to Tuan Chau International Jetty. Embarkation time will be between 12:00 to 14:00.

DAY 22 CHIANG SAEN

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Sean and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, we will visit the Halls of Opium and the Golden Triangle before we transfers you to Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai hotel or airport.

If you decide to fly out the same day then please note that your flight shouldn’t leave earlier than 15.00 from Chiang Rai or 19.00 from Chiang Mai.

If you leave Chiang Mai by train then book a departure at 18.00 or later. Private transfers will need to be arranged at an extra cost. We suggest to book a hotel in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai after your cruise.

DAY 1 HALONG BAY

TRANSFER FROM HANOI AIRPORT
We pick you up at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport – Seat in coach. The coach will leave the airport no later than 10:30 (Unless there are any delays with your flight). A Pandaw representative will be waiting for you with a Pandaw Sign at column No12. On the right hand sided of the international arrival exit. Arrival in Halong Bay at 14.00.

Please note: Guides and drivers are not allowed inside the terminal building. We will be waiting for you outside with a Pandaw sign. Hanoi Airport has two exits; if you don’t see us, please try the other exit on the same level (30 meters).

TRANSFER FROM HANOI CITY
For passenger already in Hanoi the night before, please meet us at the Pan Pacific Hotel lobby at 09:30.

PAN PACIFIC HOTEL HANOI
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District
10000 HANOI
VIETNAM
Tel +84 4 382 38888

Registration at hotel lobby 09:30. Coach departs from Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi at 10.00. Arrival in Halong Bay at 13:30.

PRIVATE ARRIVAL AT HA LONG BAY
For passengers already in Ha Long Bay on the night before, please come to Tuan Chau International Jetty. Embarkation time will be between 12:00 to 14:00.

DAY 22 CHIANG SAEN

Disembark by 8.30 in Chiang Sean and group transfer to hotel/airport. En route, we will visit the Halls of Opium and the Golden Triangle before we transfers you to Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai hotel or airport.

If you decide to fly out the same day then please note that your flight shouldn’t leave earlier than 15.00 from Chiang Rai or 19.00 from Chiang Mai.

If you leave Chiang Mai by train then book a departure at 18.00 or later. Private transfers will need to be arranged at an extra cost. We suggest to book a hotel in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai after your cruise.

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