Best of Hanoi and Ha Long Bay: 6 Days Itinerary

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Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)

Vietnam is a South East Asian country on the eastern coast of the Indochina Peninsula. It is famous for its scenic landscapes, bustling cities, exotic religious structures and colorful culture. Its most prominent cities are Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Hanoi in the north is the political (capital) and cultural centre of Vietnam, while Ho Chi Minh City in the south is its economic hub.

Many foreign tourists are drawn to Hanoi for its rich centuries-old architecture styles/cultures, and its antiquated narrow streets filled with archaic shop-houses. In addition to exploring the city, most Hanoi visitors will throw in a visit to nearby Ha Long Bay, a picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site and Vietnam’s top tourist draw.

In this travel blog, we’ll provide you with the perfect 6 Days Itinerary for your Hanoi and Ha Long Bay trip. We’ll also provide links to our detailed write-up on the places to see in Hanoi, how to plan your Ha Long Bay trip and why an accompanying trip to Cat Ba Island is highly recommended. How do we know all these? Because we’ve personally undertook this trip in Mar-2017!

Finally, we’ve even thrown in the approximate trip expenses for this trip. Enjoy!

 

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Best of Hanoi and Ha Long Bay: 6 Days Itinerary

Sights around Hanoi city (Vietnam)
Sights around Hanoi city (Vietnam)
Day#1 (Hanoi):
  • Arrive in Hanoi
  • Transfer to Hanoi city (via Bus 86; 1hr)
  • Check-in accommodation
  • Hoan Kiem Lake (Hoàn Kiếm Lake):
    • Small lake in the middle of Hanoi city.
  • Old Quarter:
    • Hanoi’s core business district filled with antiquated narrow streets and old-school shop-houses.
  • Hanoi Night Market:
    • Makeshift open-air shopping street (within Old Quarter) that springs up every Friday/Saturday/Sunday after 7pm (open till late).

(link to Hanoi images)

 

Day#2 (Hanoi to Cat Ba Island):
  • Transfer to Cat Ba Island (4hrs)
  • Check-in accommodation and rent motorbike
  • Hospital Cave:
    • Vietnam War era military hospital built in a limestone cave.
  • Cannon Fort:
    • Small coastal gun emplacement built during Second World War. Offers panoramic views of Lan Ha Bay and excellent sunset spot.

(link to Cat Ba Island images)

 

Day#3 (Ha Long Bay; day cruise):
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
Ha Long Bay (Vietnam)
  • Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay day cruise (from Cat Ba Island, 8am to 5pm)
    • Bay area filled with stunning limestone karsts and islands. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Includes: Monkey Island, kayaking in the bay, swimming on natural sand beach and cruising in the fishing villages.

(link to Ha Long Bay/Lan Ha Bay images)

 

Day#4 (Cat Ba Island):
  • Cat Ba National Park (hike to Ngu Lam Peak):
    • Hour-long hike to Ngu Lam Peak for magnificent 360-degree views of the limestone karsts on Cat Ba Island.
  • Cat Co Beach (1/2/3)
    • Main swimming beaches on Cat Ba Island. Offers great views of Lan Ha Bay.

(link to Cat Ba Island images)

 

Day#5 (Cat Ba island to Hanoi):
  • Transfer to Hanoi (4hrs)
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh):
    • Ho Chi Minh’s embalmed body is kept in the mausoleum’s central hall.
  • Ho Chi Minh Museum (Bảo tàng Hồ Chí Minh):
    • Dedicated to recording and presenting Ho Chi Minh’s life and his efforts in leading Vietnam.
  • One Pillar Pagoda (Chùa Một Cột):
    • One of Vietnam’s most iconic temple.
  • Presidential Palace (Văn phòng Chủ tịch nước)
  • Dong Xuan Market (Chợ Đồng Xuân):
    • The largest indoor wholesale market in Hanoi.

(link to Hanoi images)

 

Day#6 (Hanoi):
  • Free and Easy
  • Transfer to airport (via Bus 86; 1hr)
  • Return flight

 

 

Trip expenses

Total: Approximately USD264 for 2 persons.

  • Excluding airfare and food
  • Based on 6 days, 5 nights
  • Based on our trip in Mar-2017
  • USD1 = 22,700VND (May-2017)

 

Expenses breakdown:
Day#1 (Hanoi):
  • Data SIM card. Unlimited data (Viettel): 200,000VND (USD8.80)
  • Bus 86 from airport to Hanoi City: 30,000VND/pax (60kVND; USD2.60 for 2)
  • Accommodation: USD24 per room/night (Hanoi Tomodachi House)

 

Day#2 (Hanoi to Cat Ba Island):
  • Transfer from Hanoi to Cat Ba island: USD18. Per pax. Per way. (USD36 for 2)
  • Accommodation: USD25 per room/night (Le Pont Bungalow Hostel)
  • Motorbike rental: 100,000VND/day (USD4.40)
  • Petrol: 35,000VND (USD1.50)
  • Hospital Cave entrance fee: 40,000VND/pax (USD3.50 for 2)
  • Cannon Fort entrance fee: 40,000VND/pax (USD3.50 for 2)

 

Day#3 (Ha Long Bay; day cruise):
  • Ha Long Bay day and Lan Ha Bay day cruise 8am to 5pm (lunch inclusive): USD16/pax (USD32 for 2)
  • Accommodation: USD25 per room/night (Le Pont Bungalow Hostel)

 

Day#4 (Cat Ba Island):
  • Motorbike rental: 100,000VND/day (USD4.40)
  • Petrol: 35,000VND (USD1.50)
  • Cat Ba national park entrance fee (Ngu Lam peak): 40,000VND/pax (USD3.50 for 2)
  • Accommodation: USD25 per room/night (Le Pont Bungalow Hostel)

 

Day#5 (Cat Ba island to Hanoi):
  • Transfer from Cat Ba Island to Hanoi: USD18. Per pax. Per way. (USD36 for 2)
  • Accommodation: USD24 per room/night (Hanoi Tomodachi House)

 

Day#6 (Hanoi):
  • Bus 86 from Hanoi City to airport: 30,000VND/pax (60kVND; USD2.60 for 2)

 

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