Halong Bay's stunning combination of karst limestone peaks and sheltered, shimmering seas is one of Vietnam's top tourist draws, but with more than 2000 different islands there's plenty of superb scenery to go around. Definitely book an overnight cruise and make time for your own special moments on the World Heritage wonder-rising early for an ethereal misty dawn, or piloting a sleek kayak into grottoes and lagoons. If you're hankering for more karst action, move on to the less touristed but equally spectacular Lan Ha Bay.

Day 1 (L-D): Hanoi - Halong Bay

Pick up at your hotel after breakfast. Leave Hanoi at 8:15 am for Ha Long City by a modern bus. Get on Junk to start cruising around the Bay to see the amazing karsts with different formations: Lion, Tea Pot, Toad, Dau Nguoi (Human Head) islet, and then stop for a walk through the Thien Cung cave. Check into your cabin and have lunch of local food.

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