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$7,630.00

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$7,630.00
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IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

The Plain of Jars - Pre Cruise Upstream Laos

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Post Tour Hanoi 1 Night

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Post Tour Sapa & Hanoi 4 Nights

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Hue & Hoi An 4 Nights 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 VIENTIANE

PLEASE NOTE: The itinerary for this expedition is indicative only and subject to reconnaissance. As we travel to remote areas, changes to the itinerary will inevitably occur. A flexible approach is required if you book this cruise.

Embarkation 12.30, followed by lunch and afternoon exploration of the delightful French city including visits to the golden Pha That Luang Stupa, Sisaket Temple, the President’s Hall, Wat Prakeo Temple and the Phatouxay monument. Set sail late afternoon, enjoy a welcome dinner on board and overnight near Vientiane.

More about Vientiane

DAY 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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, 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 HALONG BAY

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

More about Halong Bay

DAY 13 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.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 14 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. 

More about Halong Bay

DAY 15 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. 

DAY 16 DAY RIVER

This morning we will sail on the Lower Red River and Day River. Afternoon visit the Dien Xa Bonsai Village where we will walk to the bonsai village and meet with local artists and share their bonsai experience. Cruise on Day River towards Ninh Binh City.

DAY 17 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.

DAY 18 THE LOWER RED RIVER

In the morning we sail upstream on the Red River to Phat Diem Cathedral visit the famous stone cathedral of Pat Diem. We then continue on the Red River to Hanoi.

DAY 19 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.

DAY 20 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 21 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.

DAY 22 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 Hanoi airport or drop off point Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi.

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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 VIENTIANE

Transfers included from airport or hotel in Vientiane. We suggest an early morning arrival. Any late arrivals will also be transferred to the ship but you might miss lunch and/or the afternoon excursion. If staying at a city hotel in Vientiane you will be picked up between 11.00 and 12.00. Our representative will call you on the evening before or leave a message with the hotel to reconfirm the exact pick up time.

Please note: There is a surcharge for private transfers, and pick up and drop for Udon Thani if you are not able to meet us at above scheduled pick up times.

Vientiane Jetty - Land River Transport Enterprise, Thadeua Road km4, Sisattanark District.

DAY 11 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.

You will reach Chiang Rai at 15.30 and Chiang Mai at 17.30

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 12 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 VIET TRI

DEPARTURE TRANSFER
After lunch at local restaurant departure for Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. Estimated arrival at Hanoi Airport at 14:45 and continuing to Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi, arriving 15:30. Your flight out of Hanoi airport must be after 16.00pm (domestic) or 17.00pm (international).

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