Luxury Sapa and Northern Vietnam Cruise

Posted in In the North

For the first time travellers will be able to explain the key sites of Northern Vietnam by Luxury Train and river ship traversing the Red River delta and its main tributaries, connecting the wonders of Halong Bay with the excitements of down town Hanoi, and then on into the interior, well off the beaten track. Sailing deep into Highland Vietnam we will discover the mountain villages and a number of tribal areas. We will go as far as is navigable up the Song Red River and then down the little known Da or Black River.



  • Day 1: Hanoi – Lao Cai station for Sapa
  • Day 2: Lao Cai – Sapa (B/L)
  • Day 3: Sapa – Lao Cai – Viet Tri (B/L/D)
  • Day 4: The Upper Red River (B/L/D)
  • Day 5: Da River (B/L/D)
  • Day 6: Hoa Binh (B/L/D)
  • Day 7: Mai Chau (B/L/D)
  • Day 8: The Lower Red River (B/L/D)
  • Day 9: Hanoi (B/L/D)
  • Day 10: Further explorations of Hanoi (B/L/D)
  • Day 11: The Duong River (B/L/D)
  • Day 12: The Kinh Thay River (B/L/D)
  • Day 13: Halong Bay- Hanoi (B)

Meal note: B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner



  • 8 July 2018
  • 8 August 2018
  • 8 September 2018
  • 8 October 2018
  • 28 October 2018
  • 17 November 2018
  • 27 December 2018
  • 16 January 2019
  • 5 February 2019
  • 25 February 2019
  • 16 March 2019


Day 1: Hanoi – Lao Cai for Sapa
Our luxury adventure trip starts with an overnight train journey from Hanoi to the border town of Lao Cai. Our TravelSapa English assistance will pick up & bring you to the Hanoi Station at 120 Le Duan Str., Hanoi for getting on the Victoria Express departure at 21:55-08:00.

Day 2: Lao Cai – Sapa
The Victoria Express train arrives at the Lao Cai train station at approximately 6:00am. There will be a vehicle from Sapa Travel Company waiting to transfer us to Sapa. The drive to Sapa is only 33 km but it takes around 1.5 hours. Once at Sapa, we will check into Victoria Resort and Spa (Early check-in subject to availability) and have breakfast at the Ta Van Restaurant of Victoria Resort and Spa and then enjoy a free morning to explore around town. Meet your guide from Sapa Travel in the hotel lobby at 14:00 for a walking tour to the hilltribe villages of Cat Cat, home to the H’mong ethnic minority peoples. As you walk to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, you will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. In the village you have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with the families that live in the area. Overnight at Victoria Sapa Resort and Spa.

Day 3: Sapa – Lao Cai – Viet Tri
Following breakfast, we explore the Sapa market and then set out on our 3-4 hour trek that will take us along buffalo paths and trails and through several hilltribe villages of Lao Chai and Tavan, home to the H’mong, and Dzay people. This is an absolutely spectacular walk through stunning scenery inhabited by some of the friendliest people you could ever meet. Stopping for a picnic lunch on the way to a family home in Ta Van village. Transfer to Viet Tri via Lao Cai to embark the Pandaw luxury river cruise. Set sail upstream for sunset and a night on the Red River.

Day 4: The Upper Red River
The Red River flows down from China’s Yunnan province and has for centuries been a key trade route between nations. Between Viet Tri and Hoa Ha the mountains loom large and the river narrows and flows fast. Hoa Ha is a typical riverine village and a pleasant place for a hike ashore.

Day 5: Da River
Enjoy a day sailing downstream admiring the unspoilt beauty of the Da River. We pass the Ba Vi National Park with its rich and diverse tropical and sub tropical flora and fauna before arriving at Hoa Binh.

Day 6: Hoa Binh
Hoa Binh was the site of a major battle in 1951 & 1952 with the French and is home to the Muon ethnic group of. We visit a museum and a local village where villagers still wear traditional dresses. The largest power station in South-East Asia was built here buy the Russians between 1979 and 1994 and is still fully operational and subject to security clearance tours can be arranged deep inside the mountain where at one point 1,000 Russian engineers toiled. We will also visit a 400 ton statue of Ho Chi Minh which commands spectacular views over the Hao Binh valley.

Day 7: Mai Chau
Early morning we will take a coach trip to Mai Chau through staggeringly lovely scenery. The sleepy town of Mai Chai is home to the Black Thai & White Tai, an ethnic minority who still live in Tai bamboo stilt houses. In the afternoon we return downstream to the town of Viet Tri. In the afternoon we visit an orphanage, set in lush gardens, in Viet Tri where the children are encouraged to live together with their own responsibilities in family units under the care of a foster parent

Day 8: The Lower Red River
In Viet Tri we visit a timeless Arcadian Vietnam with emerald green rice paddies punctuated by limestone rock formations. Of particular interest is the Tay village, hardly known, yet with exquisite temples dating from the 8th and 11th century and home to some fine Buddhist statuary carved from jackfruit trees. We then sail on the Lower Red River to Hanoi.

Day 9: Hanoi
Docked in the bustling city of Hanoi, passengers will visit some highlights of this Asian metropolis, must see’s like the notorious Vietnam war prison known as the Hanoi Hilton, the water puppets show, temple of literature where Confucius did his thinking and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Day 10: Further explorations of Hanoi
Further explorations of Hanoi visiting the Van Phuc Silk Village with personal time to explore the Old French Quarter with its café life and many interesting boutiques

Day 11: The Duong River
From Dong Trieu town we continue the expedition towards Halong on the Duong River. Here we will explore the Bat Trang ceramic village where traditions of producing ceramic items are passed on from generation to generation and then on to Dong Ho village, where we can witness the Dong Ho Vietnamese folk painting, dating back to the 11th century, on paper made from sticky rice & oysters. All colouring is natural, from materials such as coal for burned bamboo leaves.

Day 12: The Kinh Thay River
Enter the Kinh Thay River and moor at Yen Duc Village, a beautiful spot set amidst poetic scenery on a charming stretch of rivers with historical mountains coupled with sacred legends and relics related to Ly and Tran dynasty. The village was recognised as a national relic in 1993. Continue to enter Halong Bay to drop anchor in a sheltered bay amidst the amazing island scenery.

Day 13: Halong Bay
Morning sail around in Halong Bay and beyond with its 1,500 dramatic limestone islands and extraordinary rock formations, dating back 20 million years. We will visit by local boat a floating fisherman village, a floating school and limestone caves. Disembark late morning for transfer to Hanoi. End service in Hanoi.


– Yen Duc Village:

– Halong Bay:

The Pandaw Angkor Ship information:

– Travel agency in Hanoi: a trustful travel agent in Vietnam


IN USD per person in twin sharing cabin/room

Period Main Deck Upper Deck
Jun- Sep 2015 US$ 3,260 US$ 3,570
Oct – Dec 2015 US$ 3,390 US$ 3,750
Jan- Mar 2016 US$ 3,430 US$ 3,760
Apr- Sep 2016 US$ 3,260 US$ 3,570

Single Room supplementary: please contact First Choice Travel for details

The above rate is per person and at least 2 persons to join. Please contact Sapa Travel (First Choice) if you travel solo.

Compulsory meals at Victoria Sapa
Christmas’ Eve Gala Dinner: US$ 90/person
New Year Eve Gala Dinner: US$ 100/person

Victoria Express Train is provided only for Victoria Sapa Resort’s in-house guests. No extra bed is available in Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa. No extra bed is at Pandaw Cruise

Child policy: Infants below the age of 5 years may sleep in their parent’s cabin without extra charge but the company cannot guarantee the availability of a cot. Children above 5 years must solely occupy a bed.


  • Victoria Express train ticket one way Hanoi- Lao Cai
  • Accommodation at Victoria 1 night
  • Entrance fees
  • Guide services (English language)
  • Gratuities to crew
  • Main meals as mentioned (B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner), locally made soft and alcoholic beverages, jugged coffee and selection of teas and tisanes, mineral water.
  • Transfers between ports of embarkation and Hanoi International Airport at the start and end of the voyage.


  • International flights
  • Port dues
  • Airport transfers
  • Laundry
  • All visa costs
  • Fuel surcharges (see terms and conditions)
  • Imported beverages such as wines, premium spirits and liqueurs, fancy soft drinks like Perrier, espressos and cappuccinos at bar.


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