Halongbay-cruises.com

mouse overthe photo to enlarge

Hanoi City Tour 2 Days 1 Night


ABOUT HANOI


Hanoi is a hectic collage of sights, sounds and smells. Masses of motorbikes roar down roadways, and bike and car horns are constantly honking. Women wearing traditional conical straw hats carry poles with baskets on each end, small shops overflow with colorful embroidery, food vendors sell cooked pigeons with their heads still on, and signs cover buildings.

For more than 4,000 years, from a humble fishing village to a busy seaport, the city has thrived along the banks of the Red River in Northern Vietnam. The seaport was given the name Ha (river) Noi (in) by King Minh Mang in 1831. Hanoi is the country's intellectual and cultural heart that draws the best and brightest artisans from around the country. Many streets in the old district are named after the products made there at one time, and you can still come across shrines here and there dedicated to an artisan's god.

As the northern capital, Hanoi was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War. Still, there are reminders of the past, including French colonial architecture and 1,000-year-old temples and pagodas. The capital city, home to 6.5 million people, boasts parks with gnarled banyan trees and many lakes, some peppered with swan boats. The Hoa Lo Prison or "Hanoi Hilton" where U.S. Sen. John McCain was imprisoned as a POW is now the site of a high-rise. Really nice hotels and high-end shopping also beckon tourists.

Most cruise travelers reach Hanoi via Halong Bay where most of the large cruise ships anchor. The bay itself is one of Vietnam's most celebrated attractions, with about 2,000 limestone islands that make up a spectacular natural UNESCO World Heritage site.

A trip on the water of the bay is the kind of awe-inspiring experience travelers crave. Sit in a Vietnamese junk (boat) on silk couches and drink green tea or local beer as you cruise into the mist of the large bay, past giant, craggy limestone formations protruding from the sea.

According to legend, a dragon sent by the gods to help the Vietnamese fight Chinese invaders, fell into the bay and formed the islands. In fact, these islands have seen their share of warring -- the bay is in the Gulf of Tonkin, where Vietnamese and U.S. forces first fought.

The islands are mostly uninhabited, and many form odd shapes -- one looks like a man's face in profile, another like two roosters fighting. Their sheer cliffs and otherworldly presence has inspired writers, poets and artists. And it's easy to see why. The place is magical.

Day 1: Halong Bay - Hanoi
Your guide will we waiting for you at the cruise ship pier ready to tell you stories about life in his beloved country. Hanoi is about 3.5 hours away - just enough time to get you prepared for an extremely memorable experience. You'll spend the day touring this wonderful city with its ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes. Hanoi is charming. Its French-Asian.

One of your visits will be to the Temple of Literature, which was the 1st University in Vietnam. During 1076 - 1779, 2,313 doctors graduated. In 1484 Emperor Le Thanh Tong started the tradition of printing the names of the laureates of the university on stone steles, which were placed on top of stone turtles.

We will also take you to the Lake of Restored Sword and Ngoc Son Temple. The Lake of the Restored sword (Hoan Kiem Lake) is the site where King Le Loi is said to have been handed a sword by a turtle, and gone on to use this sword to vanquish invaders, before the turtle came and took the sword back and returned to the depths of the lake. Turtles are still occasionally spotted surfacing in the lake. The lake is also home to Ngoc Son Pagoda, a charming small pagoda on an island in the lake, accessed by a small footbridge. It is rumored that Ho Chi Minh once attended this pagoda disguised as a cyclo driver during the French occupancy.

Your afternoon will be jam-packed. A short drive out of Hanoi brings you to the serene Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays) that offers a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. Drive back to central Hanoi for an hour cyclo tour through the Old Quarter to enjoy the bustling local life, then cap off the day with a show at the water puppet theater - a uniquely northern Vietnamese art form depicting scenes of rural life and episodes of national history.

At this time, probably about 5pm, you will be taken to one of the finest hotels in the world, the Metropole for a restful evening.

Day 2: Hanoi - Halong Bay
After breakfast, check out of the Metrople and meet your guide at hotel lobby. This will be a very special morning with a visit the historic Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, an imposing monument where the preserved body of “Uncle Ho” resides. (Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday & Friday, all afternoons and from late September until December). Behind the Mausoleum, you can see Ho Chi Minh's House. The simple house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked is made of wood and enjoyed a tranquil setting, with a view of a lotus pond. Ho Chi Minh’s belongings are on display and you can walk up the steps of his house to see his bedroom. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda – resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water.

You will then be transferred back to your cruise ship. Perhaps, if you like, we'll arrange an afternoon of boating through the picturesque Ha Long bay prior to reboarding your ship.

What is includes
• Private transfers and touring with a guide and a driver
• One night at the prestigious Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel... a deluxe room, double occupancy
• Lunch at the deluxe Wild Rice restaurant, featuring fine Vietnamese cuisine
• A very special visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum
• A once in a life time one hour cyclo tour through Hanoi's old city
• Time in the evening for a leisurely stroll around nearby Hoan Kiem lake.

Book this tour now

HANOI OFFICE

Add: 442 Bach Dang Street, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tel: +844 66874272
Fax: +844 66874273
Urgent: + 84 903242222