The Uncrowded Alternative to Halong Bay - 6 Days

The Uncrowded Alternative to Halong Bay – 6 Days
+ 2
Hanoi → Ninh Binh → Halong Bay


  • Explore Hanoi's charming colonial capital
  • Discover Ninh Binh where the Hollywood Blockbuster "Kong: Skull Island" was filmed.
  • Cruise and stay overnight on Lan Ha Bay - Halong Bay.
Age range
< 18 year olds +4 more

Experience local street foods in Hanoi fascinating Old Quarter, pay a visit to Bai Dinh – the largest glimmering pagoda complex in South East Asia, enjoy breathtaking views of Trang An – a complex ecosystem of mountains, caves, river-valleys, woods as well as cultural and historical relics, and sail in the less visited parts of the World Heritage Site of Halong Bay. All these segments are carefully designed to introduce you the real North Vietnam in this 6 day tour package…


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  1. Day 1: Hanoi Arrival.
    Day 1: Hanoi Arrival.

    Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam’s bustling colonial capital. Your driver and guide will meet you outside the baggage claim of Noi Bai International Airport and take you to your hotel in the city center. In the afternoon, enjoy an orientation walk, visiting some of Hanoi’s main attractions: the Opera House, Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. In the evening, savor a welcome dinner of authentic Vietnamese food at one of Hanoi’s finest restaurants.
    Tip: In the evening, you may wish to take a peaceful stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword), a pretty lake steeped in Arthurian-style legend. On weekends traffic around Hoan Kiem Lake is closed off and the area is transformed into a pedestrian space. But this pedestrian area is so much more than just a haven from the chaos of everyday traffic; it is an important community space. You can find families and couples out for a leisurely stroll, musicians performing to crowds, children (and adults) cruising around on two-wheeled hoover boards or roller skates. It is lively and a great feeling!
    Meals: Dinner.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

  2. Day 2: Hanoi City & Foodie Tour.
    Day 2: Hanoi City & Foodie Tour.
    Day 2: Hanoi City & Foodie Tour.
    Day 2: Hanoi City & Foodie Tour.
    Day 2: Hanoi City & Foodie Tour.
    Day 2: Hanoi City & Foodie Tour.

    Today you have a full day to explore Vietnam’s charming capital. With its wide tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture, peaceful lakes and ancient oriental pagodas, Hanoi is an eclectic mix that offers something for everyone. Your city tour will take you to Hanoi’s key sites: the Ho Chi Minh Complex (Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and stilt house); the Presidential Palace; the nearby One Pillar Pagoda; the Temple of Literature; West Lake; the sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda & Quan Thanh Temple; and one of the city's museums (a choice between the History Museum and the Ethnology Museum). After the sightseeing tour, your guide will take you on a culinary adventure, sampling street food in the Old Quarter. As the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is the perfect spot to stumble upon the best Vietnamese delicacies – but it can be difficult to know where to start with the array of options. If you love local stories, culture, street food and drinks, and the above sounds right up your alley – you will be inspired to seek out those great smells and experience some of the real Hanoi food scene. Now you get a chance to learn about Hanoi’s unique food culture and try local specialties with influences from French and Chinese cuisine. Enjoy a drink in a spectacular night view of Hoan Kiem Lake from a café before driving back to your hotel.
    Meals: Breakfast, Dinner.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

  3. Day 3: Hanoi – Ninh Binh (Bai Dinh Pagoda & Trang An).
    Day 3: Hanoi – Ninh Binh (Bai Dinh Pagoda & Trang An).
    Day 3: Hanoi – Ninh Binh (Bai Dinh Pagoda & Trang An).
    Day 3: Hanoi – Ninh Binh (Bai Dinh Pagoda & Trang An).

    Enjoy breakfast at hotel then drive to Ninh Binh province where presents you an ancient land enriched with cultural and geographic wonders that were recently World Heritage Site listed.
    Upon your arrival at approximately 10:00, you will start your tour by visiting Bai Dinh Pagoda complex, the largest pagoda, not only in Vietnam but also in Southeast Asia. This place is scenically set on the foothill of Dinh Mountain, surrounded by amazing views of the exquisite river valley below, and dotted with limestone karsts, which will take your breath away. The pagoda complexes stunningly boast an array of the most massive and magnificent refined Vietnamese architecture, which will take a full day to explore. With sacred atmospheres and an intriguing Buddhism story told by your guide, you cannot fail to be enchanted. Some of the highlights are:
    - 500 stone statues of “La Han” (Arhats),
    - Two huge bronze bells, one weighs 27 tons, the other 36 tons,
    - Three bronze statues of “Tam The” (50 tons each).
    The visit ends with a walk up the summit mountain to see the 100 ton bronze statue of Buddha Sakyamuni and a chance to enjoy the panoramic view of the picturesque landscape dotted with limestone mountains. After lunch, you will leave for the Trang An Grottoes, an outstanding 20 square kilometer majestic limestone massif, which rises dramatically out from the rice paddy fields. Deep among the towering mountains, are pristine places of mystical valleys, numerous fresh water ponds, and jungle. Embark on a traditional sampan gently rowed down the exquisite river through numerous caves: "Hang Toi" (Dark Cave), "Hang Sang" (Light Cave) and "Hang Nau Ruou" (Cooking Wine Cave). Every passage brings a new hidden inside isolated valleys of tranquility, which perhaps transformed to another world and time. The fauna and flora is rich, and a scene of a goat jumping from one cliff to the other is a common sight. Overnight at Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort & Spa which is set within a prime location on the edge of the Van Long Nature Reserve's jungles.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Ninh Binh.

  4. Day 4: Ninh Binh – Hai Phong – Lan Ha Bay – Halong Bay.
    Day 4: Ninh Binh – Hai Phong – Lan Ha Bay – Halong Bay.
    Day 4: Ninh Binh – Hai Phong – Lan Ha Bay – Halong Bay.

    Following the breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive to Hai Phong, where you will board the cruise on an enchanting journey throughout the beautiful Ha Long Bay. On arrival, the welcome drinks, cruise briefing and safety instructions are delivered by the cruise manger followed by your cabin check in. The uniquely designed itineraries allow you to experience the less traveled routes that other cruises simply don’t reach. Apart from exploring the natural beauty of many islets in a leisure pace, the today program also includes more activities such as swimming or kayaking on the vast sea, cooking class onboard to challenge your skills in preparing a very famous Vietnamese dish (activities depend on weather, season and the specific cruise). All fresh seafood meals are on-house as well.
    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
    Accommodation: Overnight on cruise.

  5. Day 5: Halong Bay Cruise – Hai Phong – Hanoi.
    Day 5: Halong Bay Cruise – Hai Phong – Hanoi.
    Day 5: Halong Bay Cruise – Hai Phong – Hanoi.

    Wake up to fresh coffee, doing Tai Chi before cruising back to the shore. En route the junk weaves through impressive rock formations where you can enjoy kayaking (excluded from the cruise package). After having a brunch, disembark to head to Hai Phong City, which is not only famous as a major industrial port city but there is also enormous potential for tourism. It preserved many architectural delights, including traditional architecture such as pagodas, temples and French neoclassical architecture of the old neighborhood.
    The first stop is at Hai Phong Opera Theatre, also called Municipal Theatre, one of three theatres built by the French in Vietnam, the cultural structure typical of Port City. Next to the City Square is the Theatre, Flower Stall & Le Chan Statue – one of the female generals under the command of the Trung Sisters (Hai Ba Trung) rose against Chinese rule in the year 43 C.E. Walk along the tree lined streets of this beautiful city. After lunch, visit “Cho Sat” (Iron Market), a busy city market covering a large area. When being built, the market was made of iron and steel so people call "Cho Sat" to easily remember the name. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything here, it’s still an interesting experience to observe local life in this busy downtown area of Hai Phong. Drive back to Hanoi on one of Vietnam’s the most modern freeways.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

  6. Day 6: Hanoi – Bat Trang Pottery Village – Departure.
    Day 6: Hanoi – Bat Trang Pottery Village – Departure.

    After breakfast, your tour guide and driver will take you to Bat Trang, a pottery village where traditions of producing ceramic items are passed on from generation to generation. Only 30 minutes south-east of the city, this ancient craft village has, over the last few years, transformed itself into an international center for export-quality pottery and ceramics. Take a walk through the streets to see dozens of family-run pottery shops, learn how the village has gained a reputation for Vietnam’s best pottery. Step into a workshop for a hands-on activity, using paint to decorate a piece of local pottery. The one-of-a-kind art work will be left to dry at the studio and delivered later to take home as a souvenir. Depending on your flight schedule, you may have some free time, before your driver transfer you to the airport for your departing flight home.
    Meals: Breakfast.
    Accommodation: N/A.

Detailed services

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  • Accommodation

    Rated Excellent by past passengers

      All the hotels/ cruise are subject to availability and can be changed. In case any of the listed hotels are fully booked, alternatives of equivalence will be taken.
    1. Guide

      Rated Excellent by past passengers

      English speaking Tour guide (other language on request)

    2. Meals

      Rated Excellent by past passengers

      As mentioned in the itinerary: Daily breakfast at hotel, 1 lunch, 2 dinner

    3. Transport

      Rated Excellent by past passengers

      Private Car/Van with Air-Conditioning.

    • Flights

      There is no domestic flight included in this package

      Please note that airfares are subject to availability and to change without notice

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    Price Includes

    • 5 breakfasts, 1 lunches and 1 dinner.
    • 4 nights hotels, 1 night deluxe junk boat (Junk boat: private cabin).
    • Halong Bay Junk boat cruise - opt to swim, kayak and explore caves.
      Airport arrival transfer day 1 and departure transfer day 8.
    • Guided sightseeing.
    • Escorted by an English speaking Vietnamese tour guide.
    • All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles.

    Price Excludes

    • Tipping Kitty: USD$25-35pp, paid in USD or VND.
    • Entrance Fees: USD$30-40pp, paid in USD or VND.
    • International flights and visa.
    • Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
    • Travel insurance.


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