8. Hanoi: 3-Day Ninh Binh - Ha Long Bay, Cave, kayak, Swimming
After being collected from the Hanoi Old Quarter, you will embark on your 2.5-hour journey to the Ninh Binh Province. You will eventually arrive at the Bai Dinh Pagoda complex, where you'll see the largest pagoda not only in Vietnam, but also in Southeast Asia. Leaving the pagoda, you will then climb up to the summit of the mountain to see the 100-ton bronze statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni. Once there you will take a rest whilst enjoying panoramic views of the picturesque landscape, dotted with limestone mountains.
Following lunch at local restaurant, you will take a boat trip to explore the cave complex in Trang An. This is a spectacular landscape of limestone karst peaks permeated with valleys, many of them partly submerged and surrounded by steep, almost vertical cliffs. You will later spend the night at a home-stay/hotel in Ninh Binh.
Following breakfast on the second day, your bus will pick you up at your accommodation for the 4-hour transfer to Halong Bay. Upon arrival at the Halong Wharf, you will have time to stretch your legs and take some photos. You will then board your cruise boat for a welcoming drink and cruise briefing, before enjoying lunch whilst cruising to Bai Tu Long Bay and admiring the fascinating rock formations along the way.
It will then be time to transfer by tender boat to Thien Canh Son Cave to visit the cave which boasts many interesting stalactites and stalagmites in different amazing shapes. After about half an hour visiting, you will go back to the tender and return to the boat to relax, sunbathe, or to enjoy a cool drink on the sundeck. You may also like to spend half an hour kayaking to discover first-hand some of Bai Tu Long Bay's landscape.
Following all these activities there will be the opportunity to join the fun with an onboard cooking class. After you've worked up an appetite, you will enjoy a Vietnamese-style set dinner which will be served on board. To end the evening you may like to spend some time chatting in the bar or enjoy some night fishing, before you stay overnight on the boat at a peaceful anchorage.
After breakfast and enjoying the sunrise on the third day, you will visit the ancient Vung Vieng floating village. Here you will not only be immersed in the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, but will also be surrounded by the limestone mountains as you are transported by a small bamboo boat for an hour. Following that, you will return to the cruise for some relaxation and lunch. The boat will then return to the Halong Wharf for disembarkation and your return to Hanoi by bus, where your trip eventually ends.