8 Days in Vietnam Hanoi and Ha Long Bay Itinerary

Tour Hanoi and Ha Long Bay / Cat Ba Island 8 Days 7 Nights


Summary of Our Experiences

Date of Tour : 21 Sep – 28 Sep 2014 (Summer)
Days Spent : 8 Days  ( Sunday to Sunday )
Airlines: Silk Air
Flight Hours: About 3 hrs
No. of Travellers : 2 adults & 1 child (6 yrs old)
No. of Locations Visited : 4 (Hanoi Old Quarters, Hanoi City Area, Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Island )
No. of Places Visited : 14
No. of Homestay B&B / Hotel Stayed in : 2 ( Calypso Suites Hotel  / Bhaya Cruise Ship’s Room )

Helpful Links for Trip Planning

Where We’ve Been


(Click the Links to Read ‘Our Travel Experience’ Posts! *List to be updated when post is published)


{Post} : Highlights of Vietnam Trip with after thoughts and photo moments.

:: Our Vietnam Itinerary ::

{ Click the links for the details – Scroll Below For TIPS }

Day 1 – 21 Sep (Sun) [ Arrival Vietnam / Water Puppet Theatre ]

1323 —   Arrival at Noi Bai International Airport to Hanoi Old Quarter
1410 — Check-in Hanoi’s Calypso Suites 
1320 — Late Lunch – First try of Hanoi Spring Rolls at Yin & Yang Restaurant (Ma May Street)
1650 — Walking and Shopping around Hanoi Old Quarter’s 36 streets
1850 — Dinner – Pho at 40 Cầu Gỗ (small coffeeshop near to Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre)
2000 — Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
2105 — Walk A little of the Weekend Night Market
2120 — Back to Hotel / Rest

Day 2 – 22 Sep (Mon) [ Vincom Mega Mall / Indoor Water Park / West Lake ]

0800 — Breakfast in Hotel
0925 — Taxi to Vincom Mega Mall Royal City
0948 — Reached Vincom Mega Mall Royal City
1000 — Enter Vinpearl Water Park Royal City for a few hours of play
1310 —    Lunch at BBQ restaurant in Vincom Mega Mall
1400 — Explore and Shop in Vincom Mega Mall
1640 — Back to Hotel
1715 — Taxi to Westlake to catch sunset
1740 —  Sunset Barely / Explored the Chùa Trấn Quốc (A Buddhist Temple) and Westlake
——–    Taxi back to 1 Hang Manh , Hang Gai where Dac Kim is
1855 — Dinner – Bun Cha at Dac Kim
2120 — Search and Found Viettel Shop to get local SIM card for internet
Shopping in Hang Gai for handcrafted goods.
Back to Hotel / Rest

Day 3 – 23 Sep (Tue) [ Museum Visits / Temple / Hoan Kiem Lake ]

0850 — Breakfast in Hotel
——–  Taxi to Museum
1100 — Arrival at Vietnam Museum of Ethnology / Explore the Outside Displays of the Museum
1330 — Lunch – Hoa Sua School Restaurant
1425 — Explore the Inner Halls of the Museum
1453 — Visited the Museum Shop and bought something. Sales Proceeds help the local community.
1515 — Explore the Temple of Literature
1635 — Left the Temple of Literature and Walk to Hoan Kiem Lake
1705 — Reached the entrance of temple in Hoan Kiem Lake
——– Walk one round along Hoan Kiem Lake
1800 — Finished exploration and headed to Ma May Street for dinner.
1855 — Dinner – Cafe Nola
2000 — Back to Hotel / Rest

Day 4 – 24 Sep (Wed) [ Ho Chi Minh / Museum Visits  ]

0815 — Breakfast in Hotel
1000 — Arrival at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum / Walk to Presidential Palace
1015 — Presidential Palace Gardens
1020 — Ho Chi Minh’s House on Stilts
1100 — Left the Mausoleum and Walk to Vietnam Military History Museum (However staff say it’s closed for 2 hours during lunch hours)
1330 — Back to Hotel and Lunch at Nearby Thanh Hop Coffee Shop for Bun Cha
1400 — Arrived by taxi at Vietnam Military History Museum
— Coffee break at Cafe in the Museum Compounds
1700 — Left Museum and Back to Hotel
2010 — Dinner – Thanh Hop Coffee Shop again
——– Rest

Day 5 – 25 Sep (Thur) [ Starting 3 Days 2 Nights Cruise on Ha Long Bay ]

*NOTE: Itinerary is totally planned by Bhaya Cruise. We just had to follow their timing for the activities.
0730 — Breakfast in Hotel
0835 — Mini Bus to Ha Long City
1000 — 30 minutes stop-over at Souvenirs & HandiCraft Center
1030 — Proceed to Ha Long Bay Marina
1155 — Reached Ha Long Bay Marina
1240 — Boarded the Au Co Cruise
1310 — Lunch on board / Observing the Scenery on the Top Deck
1515 — Swimming and kayaking at Vung Ha Beach
1730 — Cooking Demonstration
1800 — Happy Hour
1915 — Dinner
——– Rest

Day 6 – 26 Sep (Fri) [ Day 2 Cruise to Cat Ba Island ]

*NOTE: Itinerary is totally planned by Bhaya Cruise. We just had to follow their timing for the activities.
0700 — Breakfast
0900 — Visit Vung Vieng Fishing Village by traditional boat rowing (1 hr)
1115 — Wheel House and Engine Visit
1200 — Lunch
1345 — Biking on Viet Hai Village – Cat Ba Island
1600 — Kayaking and Swimming in the Lagoon
1700 — Happy Hour
1915 — BBQ Buffet Dinner
——– Rest

Day 7 – 27 Sep (Sat) [ Cruise – Cave Exploration / Weekend Dong Xuan Night Market ]

*NOTE: Itinerary is totally planned by Bhaya Cruise. We just had to follow their timing for the activities.
0700 — Breakfast
0745 — Guided tour of Sung Sot Cave (Surprise Cave)
0930 — Check-out time
0945 — Tea Ceremony presentation
1045 — Disembark at Tuan Chau Pier
——– 3 hours ride back to Hanoi
——– Hotel Check-in again
1450 — Lunch at Thai Express
2040 — Shopping and Dinner at Hang Dao – Dong Xuan Weekend Night Markets
2240 — Back to Hotel/ Rest

Day 8 – 28 Sep (Sun) [ Cathedral Visit/ Flying Back ]

0725 — Breakfast in Hotel
0805 — Arrival at Saint Joseph’s Cathedral
0822 — Left and Back to Hotel
——– Check-out and Airport Transfer (abt 1 hour)
1018 — Reached Noi Bai International Airport
1235 — Departure from Hanoi
1710 — Arrival in Singapore


Exchange rate:

The Currency is Vietnamese Dong

At the Airport: 100 SGD = 1.64 Million VND

Hanoi Shop & Travel Agencies: 1.6

Hanoi Jewellery Shop (“Black Market”): 1.65

Remember in Heart: 100,000 VND equals SGD$6.10 ~ $6.25. (to gauge costs of stuff you are buying)

Cost of Transport

Flight Costs:

  • Silk Air Promotion “2 to Go”: SGD$1400  (3 Adults )

Taxi Transfers:

  • Airport Transfers to and fro Hotel (1 hr): USD$19 each time (Total: USD$38 = SGD$50.50)
  • Shuttle Bus from Hotel to Ha Long Marina Centre: (Inclusive in the Tour Package)

Taxi Fares:

  • Hotel (Hang Bac) to Military Museum: 32,000 VND (SGD$1.99)
  • Hotel (Hang Bac) to Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: 48,000 VND (SGD$2.99)

*We took Taxis throughout our stay, to the different places of interest but didn’t note down fares of many of them. Cheap Fares.

Cost of Food

  • A Bowl of Pho Ga (Chicken Rice Noodle Soup) costs around 30,000  – 45,000 VND (SGD$2.75).
  • A Bowl of Pho Bo (Beef Rice Noodle Soup) costs around 40,000 – 50,000 VND (SGD$2.75).
  • In Restaurants, A Bowl of Pho costs around 60,000 to 65,000 VND.
  • A Bowl of Bun Cha (BBQ Meat with Rice Noodles): 35,000  – 60,000 VND
  • Hanoi Spring Rolls in Restaurant (4 rolls): 68,000 – 75,000 VND
  • Cafe Coffee: 29,000 VND
  • Canned Drinks: 15,000 VND (SGD$0.91) – 20,000 VND each.
  • Bottled Lemon Green Tea: 10,000 VND
  • Tiger Beer: 30,000 VND
  • Fruit Juice: 35,000 – 45,000 VND (SGD$2.75)

Cost of Mobile Internet

  • Viettel Sim Card: 50,000 VND (SGD$3.05 )
  • Sim Card Top Up: 50,000 VND (SGD$3.05)

Total on Mobile Internet for 1 week: 100,000 VND (SGD$6.10)

Cost of Activities

  • Indoor Waterpark : 2 Adults – 340,000 VND  / 1 child – 100,000 VND = Total: 440,000 VND (abt SGD$27.38 )
  • Water Puppet Theatre Show (First Few Rows Seats) : 100,000 VND each (SGD$6.10) – Total: 300,000 (SGD$18.30)
  • Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: 2 Adults – 40,000 VND  (SGD$ 2.40) / 1 child – 10,000 VND + Photography Fee: 30,000 VND (SGD$1.85) = Total: 120,000 VND
  • Vietnam Military History Museum: 30,000 VND (SGD$1.87) + Photography Fee: 20,000 VND (SGD$1.22) = Total: 50,000 VND
  • Temple of Literature: 5,000 Each = Total: 10,000 VND  (SGD$0.61) (Child free)

Total on Attractions and Activities Spent:  940,000 VND / (abt SGD$58.50 )

Cost of Accommodation & Cruise 

  • Calypso Suites Hotel: $300 USD ($75 per night) – Inclusive Breakfast for Three  *Special Offer: 5 Nights Stay pay 4 nights

  • Package with the Hotel:Bhaya 3 Days 3 Night Adventure Cruise: $800 USD ( 2 Nights)
    • Full-board dining; meals and activities all inclusive. Plain Water / Tea /Coffee complimentary. Pay for Beer and Fruit Juices.
    • Break-down – 2 Adults: $590 USD total and Kid: $210 USD
  • NOTE: We were upgraded to the Au Co Cruise on arrival which is a more luxurious cruise of the Bhaya Cruise company.

Grand total of Accommodation : USD $1100/2 adult and one kid (abt SGD$1407)

Tips on Travel in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay

We had written an entire post with details on getting around in Hanoi’s Old Quarters where we stayed.

Please read: “Hanoi Tips and Experiences

Miscellaneous Stuff:

1. Time & Visa

Hanoi’s Time is 1 hour behind Singapore Time. Singaporeans need not apply visa for entry into Vietnam.

2. Food & Drink

  • Range from cheap roadside stalls to restaurants. We tried 3 restaurants – Yin & Yang, Cafe Nola and Thai Express.
  • International food is available at the building next to Hoan Kiem Lake – with the Prominent “City View Cafe” on top.
  • Eat where the locals eat (Small Coffee Shops) and a bowl of Pho Ga / Pho Bo (Beef Rice Noodle Soup) costs around 45,000 VND ~ 2.75 SGD.
  • Charges for Pho, Beer and Drinks are much higher in restaurants.

3. Clothing for Walk

  • Sunny Hat for protection against the heat. Hanoi’s Old Quarters Streets are relatively shaded with nice trees for a walk but the attractions are mostly large, open spaces with no shelter.
  • Wearing shorts /bermudas are fine for women as the locals are no longer as conservative. Even Hanoi’s young ladies wear shorts, sleeveless tops and short skirts.
  • For Attractions: Advise ladies not to wear short shorts, revealing tops for Temple of Literature and other temples visit. Shoulders should best be covered. (I wore a half-sleeve and normal shorts as I was visiting other attractions too but no one chased me out. )
  • For Cat Ba Island: Was advised to dress modestly while visiting the villagers. Best not to do a beach wear on land.

4. Trip to Ha Long City

  • FOOD: Best to prepare some snacks on the bus to and fro Ha Long City or eat a simple meal/ buy snacks at the 30 minutes stop-over Souvenirs Centre. It takes 3-4 hours to reach from Hanoi. The stop-over is also for toilet breaks. We ate breakfast at the hotel before we started the journey so it was not necessary for us. Lunch was provided on cruise after we arrived. Return journey – We got hungry during the journey due to physical activities in the morning. Ate some snacks to ease our stomach.
  • COMFORT: There was nothing to do so we slept some parts of the journey. An inflatable travel neck pillow helped to ease the comfort.
  • SOUVENIRS: If you have no time to get handcrafted souvenirs (crafted jewellery boxes, embroidery painting, silk scarves, silk clothing) while in Hanoi Old Quarters, the stop-over Souvenir & Handicraft centre is worth checking out. Quality is quite high and looked great to me, but more expensive than what you can find in Old Quarters.

5. Waterproof

  • Get a waterproof casing bag for your phone accessories or camera so you can take pictures while kayaking! Well, we brought it but *facepalm, forgot to use it when it was time!

6. Get A Travel Insurance

  • Remember that we are cruising in Ha Long Bay. Anything can happen in the middle of the open waters, on a boat or on a ship. We just heard an account of how someone was involved in a small boat collision (their boat was hit by another). They didn’t have insurance and the costs to transport the injured back to Singapore was in the ten thousands. Travel has its risks and we are there to enjoy without worrying too much. So, always be safe not sorry!
  1. ZJ March 31, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Hi, I will be visiting Hanoi in about 2 weeks time as well and I found your post really useful.
    Coincidentally, we booked the same boutique hotel too! 🙂
    I’m interested in the Halong Bay/Cat Ba Island itinerary you went on, would you mind sharing the package name & how much per pax you paid?

    Thank You.

    1. Cat April 1, 2015 at 12:22 am

      Hi Zj,
      Glad you found the post useful!

      The name and cost of the cruise was listed under “Cost of Accommodation” in the post. You might have missed it. Scroll below the Day by Day Itineraries. The itinerary of the activities start from “Day 5-7”.

      1. ZJ April 1, 2015 at 10:59 am

        Oops. I was too focused on the itinerary that I totally missed out that section!
        Thanks for the reply!

  2. Angie November 12, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    May I know is the exchange rate from USD to Vnd at their airport good rate?


    1. Vin November 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Angie,

      Yes the rates at the airport are comparable with those at Old Quarter, but we found it more convenient to just do the exchange right at the airport upon arrival.

      You may find the advices we shared in this post useful: http://www.travelsnapstories.com/2014/10/hanoi-tips-and-experiences/

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