River Cruise Itinerary for Saigon, Siem Reap, Halong Bay and Hanoi Downstream | Pandaw.com
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SAIGON, SIEM REAP, HALONG BAY & HANOI

19 NIGHTS

Combine the fascinating and varied Mekong River, with its striking cultural contrast between the bustling Vietnam delta and the tranquility of Cambodia, with exploring the key sites of Northern Vietnam by 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. Inbetween cruises spend a day at leisure to explore Hanoi or Siem Reap.

IMAGES

EXPEDITION MAP

YOUR SHIP

EXTENSIONS

PRE CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Pre Tour Hanoi 1 Night

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Pre Tour Sapa & Hanoi 4 Nights

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Hue & Hoi An 4 Nights Pre Tour

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POST CRUISE EXTENSIONS

Saigon & Surroundings (InterContinental Asiana)

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Vietnam's Heritage Road, Saigon - Hue - Hoi An 5 night Post Tour

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ITINERARY

Upstream      Downstream

DAY 1 HOA BINH

Transfer to Hoa Binh, embark your ship at around 15.00 and set sail downstream for sunset and a night on the Da River.

More about Hoa Binh

DAY 2 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 an afternoon boat ride on the reservoir of Hoa Binh power station.

A traditional performance by local hill tribe people is given in the evening.

More about Hoa Binh

DAY 3 THE DA RIVER

In the morning, visit a museum and local village where villagers still wear traditional dress.

A day sailing downstream admiring the unspoilt beauty of the Da River, passing through the Ba Vi National Park with its rich and diverse tropical and sub-tropical flora and fauna before arriving at Trung Ha.

Our chef will share his skills in fruit carving and demonstrate how to create Vietnamese spring rolls.

More about The Da River

DAY 4 VIET TRI

After breakfast by coach through beautiful scenic countryside to the UNESCO praised village of Duong Lam then continue cruising downstream to Viet Tri. Take in the sights and sounds of the bustling river with all kinds of craft and activity.

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

More about Duong Lam

DAY 5 LO - RED RIVERS

Take in the sights and sounds of the bustling river with all kinds of craft and activity. In the morning cruise to Tien Du ferry station to visit the Hung Lo Temple.

Continue by bus to Gia Thanh village, makers of the conical hats (known as ‘non la’). 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.

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

More about Lo and Red River

DAY 6 THE LOWER RED RIVER

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.

Enroute to Hanoi, stop at Bat Trang in the afternoon, a ceramic village (literally: ‘bat’ means ‘bowl’ and ‘trang’ means ‘workshop’). Bat Trang is a seven century-old pottery village, located in an area rich in clay.

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 Thay and Tay Phuong Pagodas

DAY 7 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 8 LUOC - THAI BINH - KINH THAY RIVERS

Observe the lively and interesting life on the river before reaching next destination in the afternoon.

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.

Drop anchor near Hai Phong Port.

The Water Puppets are a tradition which dates back as far as the 11th century, originating in the villages of the Red River Delta. The stories tell the day-to-day life of rural Vietnam with a strong reference to Vietnamese folklore. The puppets are made of lacquered wood, and the performers are in a waist-deep pool hidden behind a screen.

More about Thanh Ha and Water Puppets

DAY 9 HALONG BAY

Cast off early morning along the river before entering Halong Bay’s amazing island scenery with its 2,000 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations dating back 20 million years.

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.

Continue cruise around Halong Bay until dropping anchor in Rang Dua.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 10 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!

More about Lan Ha Bay

DAY 11 HALONG BAY - HANOI - SIEM REAP

Morning sail to Tuan Chau Jetty. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Siem Reap and your hotel, with stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 12 SIEM REAP

Day at leisure to explore Siem Reap.

DAY 13 SIEM REAP

Embark on your Pandaw at Kampong Cham following a road transfer from Siem Reap (Angkor). The vessel will proceed upstream to moor midstream for cocktails and to meet key crew.

More about Siem Reap

DAY 14 WAT HANCHEY, OBT CHIRO VILLAGE & WAT NOKOR BACHEY

Sunrise cruise to Wat Hanchey an important centre of worship during the Chenla period located on top of a hill above the mighty Mekong River with some of the best Mekong views in Cambodia. Visit 8th century structures some destroyed by American bombings during the Vietnam War. Well noted for its bizarre Fruit and Animal statues.

We cruise back downstream to Kampong Cham where after lunch we travel by Bus to the local OBT Chiro Village where the education of local children is high on the agenda. Pre-Hospitality training courses, plastic recycling, bee keeping, farming and handicraft skill projects are set up to improve the skill set of local children. We then travel to the Wat Nokor Bachey dating back to the Jayarvaman VII period. Built completely from Black Sandstone which makes it standout from other temples built during this period. Many legends surround this complex one being it was built by a king who accidently killed his father then married his mother as per Greek legend. This temple was built in penance for his crime.

DAY 15 SILK ISLAND

Sail down the Mekong/Tonle River convergence to visit Koh Okhna Tey, or ‘silk island’ to study the entire silk making process from worms to weavers. There will be a demonstration of the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator. Return to ship and cruise downstream towards Phnom Penh. Evening lecture on Angkor and Khmer culture.

DAY 16 PHNOM PENH

Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvellous collection of Angkorian statuary. Afternoon optional visit to the Killing Fields and Genocide museum or take a tuk-tuk to explore the riverfront and finish with High Tea at Raffles Hotel. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and night life.

More about Phnom Penh

DAY 17 VIETNAM BORDER

Early sailing to the Vietnam border for formalities and during this stationary period there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck. Afternoon, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.

DAY 18 CON PHUOC ISLAND

In the morning sail up a small canal to moor off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by tuk-tuk seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church and local woodworking artisans.

After a short cruise downstream in the afternoon we take a short coach trip where we visit Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to take us to see the principal nesting areas.

DAY 19 BEN TRE

After breakfast the ship moors off Cho Lach island for pot making and further glimpses of Delta life, agriculture and local Viet hospitality including a culinary lesson in making traditional Banh Xeo. Upon return to the boat we take a cruise downstream to Ben Tre. Where we travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. In these local artisans are at work and are invite visitors into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in bird life and on our return journey we travel by local transport through the lush countryside.

DAY 20 MY THO TO SAIGON

Moor at My Tho for road transfer to Saigon.

More about Saigon

DAY 1 VIET TRI

Transfer to Viet Tri, embark your ship and set sail downstream for sunset and a night on the Red River. Tonight we enjoy a traditional dance on board.

More about Viet Tri

DAY 2 THE LO RIVER

In the morning transfer to Gia Thanh village and visit the conical hat making village. Then continue by bus to visit Hung Lo Temple where we will enjoy a UNESCO recognized "Hat Xoan" performance. In the afternoon will moor in Minh Chau to visit a carpenter village and smith's village in Vinh Phuc province.

DAY 3 UPPER RED RIVER

We will visit the UNESCO praised village of Duang Lam, then sail downstream on the Red River and visit a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies punctuated by lime stone rock formations. Of particular interest are 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.

DAY 4 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. Welcome back to the ship by Lion Dances.

DAY 5 THE LOWER RED RIVER

In the morning going off shore to visit Bat Trang ceramic village followed by a Unicorn Dance. Sail down the lower Red River to Dien Xa Bonsai village.

DAY 6 DAY RIVER

After breakfast we visit Dien Xa Bonsai village followed by lunch. In the afternoon, visit the famous Phat Diem stone Cathedral and a local house where they make rice wine. Back to the ship then sail up the Day River to Ninh Binh.

DAY 7 NINH BINH

In the morning we will visit Thung Nang, taking a rowing boat to the so called "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 8 LUOC - THAI BINH - KINH THAY RIVERS

Observe the lively and interesting life on the river before we reach our next destination in the 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 drop anchor near Hai Phong Port, the gateway to Halong Bay. 

DAY 9 HALONG BAY

Cast off early morning along the river before entering Halong Bay’s amazing island scenery with its 2,000 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations dating back 20 million years.

Exploring Halong Bay, 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.

We continue our cruise around Halong Bay until we drop anchor in Rang Dua.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 10 HALONG BAY

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 11 HALONG BAY - HANOI - SIEM REAP

Morning sail to Tuan Chau Jetty. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi Airport for your flight to Siem Reap and your hotel, with stop for lunch at a local restaurant.

More about Halong Bay

DAY 12 SIEM REAP

Day at leisure to explore Siem Reap.

DAY 13 SIEM REAP

Embark on your Pandaw at Kampong Cham following a road transfer from Siem Reap (Angkor). The vessel will proceed upstream to moor midstream for cocktails and to meet key crew.

More about Siem Reap

DAY 14 WAT HANCHEY, OBT CHIRO VILLAGE & WAT NOKOR BACHEY

Sunrise cruise to Wat Hanchey an important centre of worship during the Chenla period located on top of a hill above the mighty Mekong River with some of the best Mekong views in Cambodia. Visit 8th century structures some destroyed by American bombings during the Vietnam War. Well noted for its bizarre Fruit and Animal statues.

We cruise back downstream to Kampong Cham where after lunch we travel by Bus to the local OBT Chiro Village where the education of local children is high on the agenda. Pre-Hospitality training courses, plastic recycling, bee keeping, farming and handicraft skill projects are set up to improve the skill set of local children. We then travel to the Wat Nokor Bachey dating back to the Jayarvaman VII period. Built completely from Black Sandstone which makes it standout from other temples built during this period. Many legends surround this complex one being it was built by a king who accidently killed his father then married his mother as per Greek legend. This temple was built in penance for his crime.

DAY 15 SILK ISLAND

Sail down the Mekong/Tonle River convergence to visit Koh Okhna Tey, or ‘silk island’ to study the entire silk making process from worms to weavers. There will be a demonstration of the ancient Khmer martial art of Bokator. Return to ship and cruise downstream towards Phnom Penh. Evening lecture on Angkor and Khmer culture.

DAY 16 PHNOM PENH

Morning orientation of Phnom Penh by cyclo visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by the National Museum with its marvellous collection of Angkorian statuary. Afternoon optional visit to the Killing Fields and Genocide museum or take a tuk-tuk to explore the riverfront and finish with High Tea at Raffles Hotel. Overnight in Phnom Penh city port with its lively bars, restaurants and night life.

More about Phnom Penh

DAY 17 VIETNAM BORDER

Early sailing to the Vietnam border for formalities and during this stationary period there is an optional tour of the working ship and fruit carving classes on deck. Afternoon, explore the labyrinthine canal system around Tan Chau to visit a Taoist temple where the monks will read fortunes. Continue through local villages by Xi Loi stopping off to help locals tend their fields before stopping off to visit a fish farm and earn merit by releasing fish back into the Mekong.

DAY 18 CON PHUOC ISLAND

In the morning sail up a small canal to moor off Con Phuoc Island and go ashore to explore the island by tuk-tuk seeing basket production and visiting a 100-year old Catholic Church and local woodworking artisans.

After a short cruise downstream in the afternoon we take a short coach trip where we visit Gao Giong ‘green oasis’ with its bird sanctuary. Here a diverse selection of water birds and egrets that gather in the tens of thousands across the Duong Tharp Muoi or ‘Plain of Reeds’. Rowing boats traverse the canals to take us to see the principal nesting areas.

DAY 19 BEN TRE

After breakfast the ship moors off Cho Lach island for pot making and further glimpses of Delta life, agriculture and local Viet hospitality including a culinary lesson in making traditional Banh Xeo. Upon return to the boat we take a cruise downstream to Ben Tre. Where we travel by sampans through mangroves and bamboo groves to the fruit orchards of Ben Tre. In these local artisans are at work and are invite visitors into their homes for tea, fruit and honey products made from their own honey. This is an area rich in bird life and on our return journey we travel by local transport through the lush countryside.

DAY 20 MY THO TO SAIGON

Moor at My Tho for road transfer to Saigon.

More about Saigon

EXPORT ITINERARY AS PDF Go

WHATS INCLUDED

TRANSFERS & JOINING

DAY 1 HOA BINH

TRANSFER FROM HANOI AIRPORT
We pick you up at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport – Seat in coach. Last departure is no later than 12.00 noon. 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 Hoa Binh jetty at 15.00.

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

Registration at hotel lobby 11.00. Coach departs from Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi at 12.00 noon. Arrival at Hoa Binh Jetty at 15.00.

PASSENGERS WITH OWN ARRANGEMENTS
Please arrive at Hoa Binh Jetty (behind AP Plaza Building) for embarkation at 15.00.

DAY 11 HALONG BAY - HANOI - SIEM REAP

Disembarkation at 10.00 Tuan Chau Port at Halong Bay. After lunch at local restaurant departure for Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. Estimated arrival at Hanoi Airport at 15.30 PM and continuing to Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi, arriving at 16.10 PM. Your flight out of Hanoi airport must be after 16:30 (domestic) or 17:30 (international).

DAY 13 SIEM REAP

Registration Details
VICTORIA ANGKOR RESORT & SPA
Registration is at 09.00.
Central Park,
Siem Reap Town,
Kingdom of Cambodia.
Tel: +855 63 760 428

Morning transfer by coach from the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa to your Pandaw moored at Kampong Cham. Transfer will depart 10.00 and takes approx. 5 hours.

DAY 20 MY THO TO SAIGON

Early morning coach transfer to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel, arriving around 10.30.

DAY 1 VIET TRI

TRANSFER FROM HANOI AIRPORT
We pick you up at Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport – Seat in coach. Last departure is no later than 12.00 noon. 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 16.00.

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: 11.00am
PAN PACIFIC HOTEL HANOI
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh District
10000 HANOI
VIETNAM
Tel +84 4 382 38888

Registration at hotel lobby 11.00am. Coach departs from Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi at 12.00noon.

DAY 11 HALONG BAY - HANOI - SIEM REAP

Disembarkation at 10.00 Tuan Chau Port at Halong Bay. After lunch at local restaurant departure for Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport. Estimated arrival at Hanoi Airport at 15.30 PM and continuing to Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi, arriving at 16.10 PM. Your flight out of Hanoi airport must be after 16:30 (domestic) or 17:30 (international).

DAY 13 SIEM REAP

Registration Details
VICTORIA ANGKOR RESORT & SPA
Registration is at 09.00.
Central Park,
Siem Reap Town,
Kingdom of Cambodia.
Tel: +855 63 760 428

Morning transfer by coach from the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa to your Pandaw moored at Kampong Cham. Transfer will depart 10.00 and takes approx. 5 hours.

DAY 20 MY THO TO SAIGON

Early morning coach transfer to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel, arriving around 10.30.

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