Vietnam Holidays - Halong Bay


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Jewels of the North


Jewels of the North

Vietnam Holidays - Red Dao girl, Sapa

Hanoi2 nights
Halong Bay
2 nights
1 night
2 nights
1 night
1 night



9 days from £1370

International flights NOT included - see below


Explore Northern Vietnam including the mountain region of Sapa with its colourful hill tribes.  You will also enjoy a 2 night/3 day luxury cruise through Halong Bay.


 Recommended flight from London: Vietnam Airlines direct service from London Gatwick (see below).  If you are travelling from a country other than the UK we would be happy to give you guidance on your flight options.


DAY 1 – Arrival in Hanoi.  Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.  Afternoon city tour.

On arrival in Hanoi in the early morning you will be met outside customs by a representative of World Discovery and taken by private car direct to your hotel in time for breakfast.  Later in the morning your private guide will collect you for a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.  In the afternoon enjoy an orientation tour of Hanoi, including the Temple of Literature, Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter.
Meals included: Breakfast.

DAY 2 – Hanoi.

The day is at leisure in Vietnam's capital city.  There are several interesting museums you could visit - the Museum of Ethnology, or the History Museum - or you might simply want to return to the atmospheric Old Quarter with its shops, restaurants and bars.  In the early evening there is the opportunity to watch a traditional Water Puppet show at the Municipal Theatre.  The World Discovery agents can organise any of these visits for you.
Meals included: Breakfast.

Vietnam Holidays - Halong Bay DAY 3 - Halong Bay Cruise.

After breakfast depart from Hanoi for your visit to one of the world's most spectacular natural wonder's - World Heritage-designated Halong Bay, where you will embark upon your selected luxury junk for a 3 day/2 night cruise.  After a welcome cocktail and Asian buffet lunch enjoy the stunning scenery of the bay.  Visit Cua Van floating fishing village, watch a demonstration of Vietnamese cooking, and visit the Tung Sau Pearl Farm.  Round off the day with a sumptuous dinner.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 4 - Halong Bay Cruise.

Rise early if you wish for a Tai Chi session on the sundeck.  There is an excursion this morning aboard the 'Paradise Explorer' day-boat to Cat Ba Island, the largest island in the bay, where you will take a bicycle trip through untouched forests, enjoying the lovely scenery and visiting local villages.  Vietnamese lunch on board the 'Paradise Explorer' before returning to your cruise ship.  You will stay tonight in the area close to Dark Cave and Light Cave. There will be opportunities for swimming or kayaking.
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 5 - Halong Bay Cruise.  Return to Hanoi.  Board the Sapa Train.

Rise early if you wish for a Tai Chi session on the sundeck.  There will be further opportunities this morning for swimming or kayaking, and you will also explore Hang Sung Sot (Surprise Cave) with its amazing rock formations.  Your cruise continues until mid morning when you disembark at Tuan Chau Island.  Return by road to Hanoi where you will have dinner at a carefully chosen local restaurant before being taken to the Railway Station to board the overnight train to Sapa.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.

Vietnam Holidays - Sapa DAY 6 - Sapa.  Walking in the hills.

Arrive early in the morning in the town of Lao Cai.  You will be met and driven to your hotel in Sapa (your room is booked for immediate occupancy).  Sapa was established by the French in the 1920s as a hill station; the scenery is magnificent, with high forested mountains all around, including Vietnam's highest peak Mount Fansipan (3,143m/10,311ft).  After breakfast at your hotel set off on a morning's walk into the hills, following a narrow trail above the east bank of the Mong Sen stream to visit three isolated hamlets of the Black Hmong and Red Dao peoples.  Continue into the stunning Ta Phin Valley to reach the Ta Phin commune in the mid afternoon.  The ethnic hill tribes you will visit are proud of their culture and still maintain their traditions and way of living, including their own language and intricately embroidered, exotic clothing.  The walk ends at around 5.00 p.m., when you will be collected and driven back to your hotel.
Meals included: Breakfast.

Vietnam Holidays - Dao villagers in Sapa

DAY 7 - Sapa.

After breakfast you will be driven south to the Muong Hoa Valley, famed for its extensive terraced rice paddies. Your day of walking begins in an area of ancient petroglyphs whose meaning has baffled both local and foreign researchers since their discovery in 1925.  From here you will follow a dirt trail downhill to a rattan bridge, a waterfall and the Giang Ta Chai village of the Red Dao people. This portion of the walk offers stunning views of the Muong Hoa Valley as well as giving you the opportunity to visit a local Red Dao house.  Continue towards the Black Hmong village of Su Pan then up to main road where your car is awaiting to take you back to the hotel.  In the afternoon, head downhill to Cat Cat village.  You will walk through terraces, past many traditional huts, with views of local people working in the rice fields and children playing. Upon reaching a waterfall and a hydroelectric station, take a short rest before continuing through an area still covered by rain forest under the protection of Hoang Lien National Park.  Arrive in Sin Chai village before climbing back up to where your vehicle is waiting.  Today's walk is moderately paced with some descents into valleys of cascading water.
Meals included: Breakfast.

DAY 8 - Cao Son market.  Board the train to return to Hanoi.

Today is Wednesday, the day of the Cao Son market, one of the most colourful in the Sapa region.  The journey from your hotel to Cao Son takes you through the most stunning part of Lao Cai province via tea plantations and pine forests.  In the late afternoon transfer back to Lao Cai town for dinner at a local restaurant before boarding the overnight train back to Hanoi.
Meals included: Breakfast, dinner.

DAY 9 - Hanoi.  Depart for home.

Your train arrives in the early morning.  Transfer to your hotel.  The rest of the day is free.
Meals included: Breakfast.

DAY 10 - Depart.

In the morning transfer to the airport for your homeward international flight.
Meals included: Breakfast.


Vietnam Holidays - Sapa terraces


If the days of operation of the Victoria Express to Sapa are not convenient, or if you simply prefer to travel by road, we can design an alternative itinerary for you.  The road conditions in the mountains have improved considerably in recent years and the journey times are no longer prohibitive. 



International Flights

We recommend the direct services of Vietnam Airlines from London Gatwick on Tuesdays (arriving Hanoi on Wednesdays). Current timings (subject to possible change) are as follows:
Gatwick/Hanoi. Depart at 12.00; arrive Hanoi at 06.40 (next day)
Hanoi/Gatwick.  Depart at 11.55; arrive Gatwick at 06.20 (next day)
For other days of the week, Thai Airways International via Bangkok offer the best schedules.

You can book the flights yourself on the Vietnam Airlines website, using the 'multi way' option, or on the Thai Airways International website, using the 'Multicity' option.  Alternatively World Discovery can book the flights for you (we levy a service charge of £25 per person for this service).


Vietnam Holidays: Jewels of the North (Reference: WDVT003)
2018 Departures
Price per person based on a minimum of two persons travelling together:

Arrival in Hanoi
on Wednesday*



Jan to Apr



May to Aug



Sep to Dec*



* Wednesday has been chosen as offering, in our opinion, the best schedule for the journeys on the Victoria Express to and from Sapa.  The train operates 6 days a week but some trains have no dining facilities.

** Supplements will apply during the Christmas and New Year periods.

Standard Hotels
Hanoi - Silk Path
Halong Bay - IndoChina Sails
Sapa - Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa

Superior Hotels
Hanoi - Sofitel Metropole
Halong Bay - Paradise Cruises

Sapa - Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa

Single Room Supplements on request.

The price includes:

  • Hotel accommodation as listed above in twin-bedded rooms with private facilities.
  • 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners as shown in the itinerary.
  • Overnight sleeper train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (Sapa) and v.v. sharing in a 4 berth Superior Cabin.  Upgrades to a 2 berth Deluxe Cabin can be made (subject to availability) at a price of £78 per person for the return journey.
  • Private transfers throughout with an English-speaking driver.
  • All sightseeing as shown (unless indicated as ‘optional’), including English-speaking guides and entrance fees.

Not included in the price:

  • International flights (see our recommendation above). We are happy to discuss the flights with you and give you further guidance.
  • International airport taxes.
  • Optional sightseeing. The World Discovery representatives in each city will be pleased to organise any sightseeing you may wish to include during your stay.
  • Tipping. We will be pleased to give guidance in this often sensitive matter
  • Visa for Vietnam.  For visits of up to 15 days there is currently a visa waiver in place for British citizens; this runs until 30 June 2018.  If your plan is to stay for more than 15 days in Vietnam you would need to obtain a visa in advance (we will send you details accordingly).

A deposit of £250 per person is required at the time of booking, plus the cost of the international airfare and service charge if World Discovery is booking the flights on your behalf.  The balance of the price for your Vietnam holiday must be paid at least 8 weeks before your departure date.

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