Halong Bay, Red River & Laos Mekong - 22 day Combo Expedition Cruise
From Vientiane To Pak Lai, Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves, Pak Beng, Hou Ayxay, Chiang Saen, (Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, FLIGHT, Halong Bay, Tuan Chau Island, Gia Luan, Kinh Thay River, Thai Binh River, Than Hai, Luoc River, Lower Red River, Hanoi, Red River, Ly Nhan Village, Viet Tri, Hanoi - 21 Nights
- Departing from:
- Pak Lai, Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves, Pak Beng, Hou Ayxay, Chiang Saen, (Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, FLIGHT, Halong Bay, Tuan Chau Island, Gia Luan, Kinh Thay River, Thai Binh River, Than Hai, Luoc River, Lower Red River, Hanoi, Red River, Ly Nhan Village, Viet Tri, Hanoi
- 21 Nights
- This trip includes a flight between Hanoi and Chiang Mai or Vientiane with a one-night hotel stay. Departures December to March each year. Ask us now for 2024.
- Tour Operator:
- Cruise Traveller,Pandaw
- Reference Code:
Price per person
If you really want to immerse yourself in the rich culture and beautiful surroundings these countries have to offer, why not embark on a 21 night river cruise where you will not only discover Halong Bay, the Red River and Hanoi in Vietnam, but also Vientiane where you will embark on a cruise on the Mekong in Laos.
For the first-time travellers 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 pre-war days to cross all Laos.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
DAY 8 PAK BENG
Morning visit to a local Khamo village. Sail upstream on the Mekong passing Pak Beng towards Pak Sit.
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.
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.
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).
DAY 12 HALONG BAY
Transfer from Hanoi International Airport or meeting point to Halong Bay to embark your Pandaw ship followed by lunch on board. Cast off in the afternoon with a welcome cocktail for an evening sail, dropping anchor in a sheltered bay amidst the beautiful island scenery.
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.
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.
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.
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
If preferred, 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 metres).
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
Registration at hotel lobby 09:30. Coach departs from Pan Pacific Hotel Hanoi at 10.00. Arrival in Halong Bay at 13:30.
DAY 22 VIET TRI
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).