Discover Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay and the pristine Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Much of Vietnam’s stunning coastline, hundreds of miles long, is seen mostly by local fisherman. Small-ship adventure cruising, however, is a way of experiencing not only the must-see limestone scenery of Halong Bay, but also those destinations most travellers haven’t discovered yet. The star of this particular show is Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, an unspoiled haven of cliffs, mountains, rivers and impossibly long caves that were discovered barely a decade ago. Add in historic Hue, vibrant Hanoi and the important war sites of Vinh Moc and Khe Sanh, and this becomes one unforgettable week of leisure and discovery in Vietnam.


Start
Danang, Vietnam
Finish
Hanoi, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Comfort
Theme
Adventure Cruising
Code
TTMH
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 48

Why we love this trip

  • Go where few tourists have gone – to the astounding Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, where caves as long as 30 kilometres were discovered only recently

  • The Vinh Moc tunnels and Khe Sanh Combat Base provide an eye-opening insight into the history of the America-Vietnam war

  • Be enchanted by the dreamlike scenery of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam’s must-see natural wonder of limestone islands

  • Witness the great scene of early morning ritual at Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi. Here you might encounter anything from laughing yoga to ballroom dancing

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is a small ship adventure cruise, which means you’ll be sailing on a yacht with 30–50 other people. The boat is spacious and comfortable, but it focuses more on the destination than onboard activities. Instead of a pool, we have the sea itself. Instead of a casino, we’ve got board games and a good book. There’s also no formal dress code to worry about. Wi-Fi is available for a small charge.

  • Our ship moves under engine power, rather than sailing, so all cabins will experience light engine noise when the ship is moving (and occasionally when we drop anchor). It’s probably worth packing earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

  • If you’re concerned about seasickness, there are seasickness tablets on-board. The ship will experience some roll and pitch in choppy conditions, however all of our ships come equipped with stabilisers to minimise movement. Most of our departures run in peak season, when the seas are calmer. Your crew will do all they can to minimise any discomfort.

  • There are no lifts (elevators) on-board our ships, so you’ll have to navigate a few steep flights of stairs. Handrails are always available.

Itinerary

Welcome to Vietnam. Arrive at the hotel in Da Nang for your transfer to the port. After a welcome meeting and safety briefing, enjoy a welcome dinner. spend the night at port.
Included Activities
  • Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Depart at 9 am for the short sail to Chan May. From there, take a bus to Hue, the former imperial capital and hub of Vietnam's historic past. Here the group will split up into smaller groups for a tour of the city with local guides. You will visit the Thien Mu Pagoda (an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601) and enjoy tasty vegetarian fare for lunch. Also visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, with its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees. Later, return to the ship for dinner, and set sail at midnight for Vinh Moc.
Included Activities
  • Vegetarian lunch at Hue Pagoda
  • Guided Walking Tour of Hue
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Visit the intriguing Vinh Moc Tunnels today. These were built to shelter local communities in the Demilatarised Zone that separated North and South Vietnam during the war. As you'll learn, the the tunnels grew in sophistication as well as depth, and many families resided in this underground village in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Some 17 children were born underground in this period. Today you'll also visit the Khe Sanh Combat Base, where the bloodiest conflict of the Vietnam-America conflict took place. Sail overnight toward Hon La.
Included Activities
  • Khe Sanh Combat Base visit
  • Vinh Moc Tunnel site visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Arrive in Hon La at around 9 am, then transfer by bus to the unspoiled Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park. Spanning 885 square kilometres and boasting some of Asia's most ancient limestone karst landscapes, this chunk of land is one of the last true paradises of Vietnam. You'll visit the Thien Duong cave, also known as Paradise Cave, which is an astounding 31 kilometres long and was only discovered in 2005. Later, set sail for Halong at 7 pm.
Included Activities
  • Thien Duong Caves Visit
  • Phong Nha National Park Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Settle into a full day's sailing, heading north towards Halong, which is located just north of Na Trang. Take the opportunity to relax with a drink, play some board games, chat with fellow travellers, or curl up on a comfortable chair on deck with a good book as the sea streams by.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Note that local laws require a security guard to be on board the Panorama II while you're in the Halong area.
Transfer to a smaller local boat today for a tour around beautiful Halong Bay. Embarking at Bai Chay (Halong City West), soak up the views of this World Heritage-listed beauty and its pretty limestone islands. You'll also visit a cave in the area. During the warmer months your leader will discuss the option for swimming from Ti Top Island. Kayaking along the bay is another great option.
Optional Activities
  • Kayaking from the Panorama II - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Disembark after breakfast, then transfer by bus to Hanoi, arriving around midday. Your leaders can offer suggestions for lunch. In the afternoon, embark on a walking tour of Hanoi, which includes a visit to a traditional water puppet show. Your host Liem invites you into his home, a small-scale theatre that continues a long running family tradition passed down from generation to generation. Witness not only the show itself but gain a behind-the-scenes insight into how the puppets are made and animated. For the final night of the trip, head out on the town with fellow travellers for a farewell dinner, and retire to a local hotel.
Included Activities
  • Farewell Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Those feeling active can rise early for an optional leader-led walking tour this morning. This includes 'laughing yoga', tai chi, and other lakeside activities enjoyed by Hanoi's local population. The trip comes to an end after breakfast at the hotel.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Small cruise ship, zodiac, bus

Accommodation

Small ship cruise 7 nights

Included activities

  • Welcome Dinner
  • Vegetarian lunch at Hue Pagoda
  • Guided Walking Tour of Hue
  • Khe Sanh Combat Base visit
  • Vinh Moc Tunnel site visit
  • Thien Duong Caves Visit
  • Phong Nha National Park Visit
  • Farewell Dinner

Dates & availability

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Important notes

BOOKING CONDITIONS
Adventure Cruising trips have a deposit of A$600 per person (different amounts apply in other currencies) and the balance is due 90 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 90 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 89 and 31 days before departure - the cancellation fee is 50% of the total booking cost, or the deposit, whichever is greater.
if a booking is cancelled 30 days or less prior to departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a voyage.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS
Rooming on this trip is twin-share. Single travellers will share a Twin room with another traveller of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single cabin supplement is available at an additional charge.
Please note, it is not possible to share with a stranger in any double cabin category (as bedding in these cabins is one double bed).

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.