One day is not enough...Hanoi must be expierenced at night.
We were in Hanoi during the Tet while the city swelled with a million villagers who had come to the city to join their friends and relatives in celebration of Vietnam's New Year. Festivities were everywhere - on the streets and in the parks. The city was more alive than anyone could imagine. Hundreds of thousands of families riding about on their tiny motor scooters - sometimes up to five at a time - the father driving, the mother behind him, the oldest seated behind her, the middle child standing on the floorboards in front of the dad and the youngest balanced on the handlebars. A Vietnamese family - together. And on the sidewalks, a million people carrying a million miniature kumquat trees, the traditional gift of the season.
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.
After breakfast, check out of the Metrople and meet your guide at hotel lobby. This will be a very special morning with a VIP 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.
- The price of lunch is included, but beverages are not.
- Please contact ShoreTrips for the rate for triple and quad occupancy.
- You are allowed one small overnight bag per person.
- Please contact us if you are traveling between December 20th and January 6th as rates will be different based on peak travel times. Rates are subject to change during other peak travel times. You will be alerted to any rate increases prior to confirmation.
- Please note there is surcharge pricing for all National and New Year holidays as well as peak season. You will be notified of any increased costs prior to confirmation. Contact ShoreTrips with any questions.
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every Monday and Friday throughout the year; all afternoons throughout the year; and late September through December.
- Based on when your cruise ship is in Halong Bay we may adjust the order of sightseeing. For example if you arrive late on the first day you may be driven to your hotel for the night followed by touring all sites on the next day. Please contact ShoreTrips with any questions.
Days offered: 7 days a week