cruising halong bay and the red river - halong bay
cruising halong bay and the red river - rice terraces
cruising halong bay and the red river - red river cruise
cruising halong bay and the red river - RV Angkor Pandaw
cruising halong bay and the red river - northern vietnam

Cruising Halong Bay and the Red River

An exciting and pioneering itinerary allowing one to explore the unchartered waters of the Red River in northern Vietnam on board Pandaw Expeditions' latest vessel, RV Angkor Pandaw. Spend 10 nights enjoying a passenger to staff ratio of 2:1 as you explore the stunning scenery and peaceful rivers bordering China and Vietnam in the hands of expert guides and culinary genius.

Built in 2012, RV Angkor Pandaw has 16 cabins split between the main and upper deck, each spanning 170sq ft, and finished in teak and brass. The upper deck includes six premium staterooms, a spacious open-air lounge, air-conditioned dining room, observation deck and a library stocked with contemporary and classic literature. The main deck is home to 10 staterooms. Dining is exemplary, with a local master chef heading an experienced international culinary team who will cater for every passenger's taste; and the boat also has a very well stocked cellar including some of the finest wines and premium brands.

FURTHER JOURNEYS IN VIETNAM  brown-arrow-right.png

Sailings are either upstream from Halong Bay to Mai Chau or downstream in reverse. Below is a description of the upstream journey.

Day 1 - Halong Bay
Transfer from Hanoi International Airport to Halong Bay (around 4 hours) and board RV Angkor Pandaw to start your cruise. After the first of many delicious lunches to come, you will cast off and sail to a remote, sheltered bay to drop anchor for the night. Enjoy sundowner cocktails on the upper deck as you drink in the panoramic view of awe inspiring limestone karsts, symbolic of northern Vietnam. 

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 2 - Halong Bay and Archipelago
After a hearty breakfast, sail around Halong Bay and its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands, getting close to extraordinary rock formations dating back 20 million years.  Transfer to day boats and explore a floating fishing village, a floating school and limestone caves.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 3 - The Kinh Thay River
Step back in time to the Ly and Tran dynasty as you sail into the Kinh Thay River and explore Yen Duc Village, finally recognised as a national relic in 1993. The poetic scenery combines quiet stretches of river with historical mountains that have given rise to sacred legends.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 4 - The Duong River
Continue your expedition towards Hanoi, stopping en route to visit Dong Ho village - famous for its Vietnamese folk painting on paper made from sticky rice and oysters, dating back to the 11th Century. Later, explore Bat Trang and see how the traditional art of ceramics has been passed from generation to generation.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 5 - Hanoi
Today the RV Angkor Pandaw will arrive into Hanoi, the bustling Vietnamese capital and the country's second largest city after Ho Chi Minh City. Images of Ho Chi Minh ('Uncle Ho') are everywhere, and a visit to his imposing mausoleum is always fascinating. Other highlights include the picturesque Temple of Literature - the country's first university that now teaches only the philosophies of Confucianism - and the remains of the notorious Vietnam war prison,  Hanoi Hilton, which contain an interesting museum.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 6 - Hanoi
Visit the traditional silk village of Van Phuk, 8kms south west of the city, for an insight into the fascinating process of silk making, from its creation by silk worms to the finished product of fine, tailored clothing. A traditional cyclo tour is the best way to explore the colourful narrow streets of Hanoi's Old Quarter with its café culture and endless shops selling everything one could possibly want. 

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 7 - The Lower Red River
Enjoy a full day's sailing up the Red River to Viet Tri, the base for exploring Highland Vietnam. Witness a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies and a backdrop of limestone karsts, and explore 8th and 11th Century temples within the barely known Tay village, home to incredible Buddhist statues carved from Jackfruit trees. Finish at an orphanage in Viet Tri, amidst lush gardens, and see how the children are taught to live independently with the help and care of foster parents.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 8 - The Upper Red River
Continue on up the Red River, which has for centuries been a key trade route between China and Vietnam. The scenery starts to change as the mountains loom large and the river narrows and flows at a faster pace. Stop at Hoa Ha, a typical riverside village, and enjoy a hike through the surrounding, beautiful scenery.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 9 - The Da River
Sail downstream on the Da River absorbing peace and tranquillity and breathing in the unspoilt beauty. Pass the Ba Vi National Park, rich in its diverse tropical and sub-tropical flora and fauna, before arriving in Hoa Binh.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw

Day 10 - Hoa Binh
Hoa Binh is home to the Muon ethnic group, who still wear colourful traditional clothing. It was also the site of a historic battle with the French in 1951 and 1952; you will learn more at the local museum. The Russians built the largest power station in Southeast Asia here in Hoa Binh between 1979 and 1994, and - subject to security clearance - tours can be arranged deep inside the mountain where 1,000 Russians once toiled.

Overnight: RV Angkor Pandaw 

Day 11 - Disembark in Mai Chau
Departure day sees a coach trip through awe inspiring scenery as you had towards the sleepy town of Mai Chau, home to the Black Thai and White Thai ethnic minority who still live in bamboo houses on stilts today. Return to the boat and sail downstream to Viet Tri where you disembark for your onward journey.


From £1,465 / $2,340 per person*, based on two people sharing a cabin. On board the RV Angkor Pandaw all your meals, excursions, coffee, tea, mineral water and tips for crew are included.

*10% early booking discounts available. Please speak with one of our specialists regarding the specific cruise you are interested in

See here for pre and post cruise suggestions or contact our Vietnam holidays specialist, Melissa Mattthews, to discuss your own requirements on +44 (0)1242 787804.




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