This 10 day tour takes us from North to South Vietnam while taking in a myriad of culinary delights in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. The tour begins in Hanoi with a city tour and a cookery lesson in the heart of Hanoi’s old quarter. We continue on from Hanoi to the world famous Halong Bay to enjoy an overnight cruise with Vietnamese seafood feasts. A short flight to Danang in central Vietnam takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An, one of the most charming and beautiful towns in Southeast Asia. Here we can enjoy glorious food at many of Hoi An’s superb restaurant, but it is also near to Hoi An where we learn all about the cultivation of rice in a local village, as well as learning the art of pancakes at a local home. From here we head north to Hue, another beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site where we enjoy a wonderful cookery lesson but also an Exclusive Dinner Party at the lovely Tha Om Garden House. The tour ends in Ho Chi Minh City, previously known as Saigon, for more excellent dining opportunities and incredible street food.
Start this day with a visit of the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.
Then, explore the Temple of Literature. In 1076, Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past.
After lunch, continue to the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), and visit the former president’s house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading back to your hotel.
In the afternoon, take part in a hands-on cooking class in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter also known as the ‘36 streets’. Visit a neighborhood ‘wet’ market to learn about Vietnamese ingredients before proceeding to the home of a true Hanoian who learned her culinary skills from her grandmother, a former chef who once served the French elite, in the 1930’s. After visiting a local market to buy the day’s ingredients, learn how to prepare and cook true northern Vietnamese cuisine before sitting down to enjoy a delectable meal. Overnight in Hanoi.
Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board. Overnight on Halong Bay.
- Bhaya Classic Cruise
- Violet Cruise
Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to Da Nang. Being transferred to Hoi An.
- Almanity Hoi An
- Palm Garden Resort
When you think Asia and food, rice is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This is not surprising as rice is a major staple in the diet of many Asian countries, especially in Vietnam. You may have seen rice growing in Asian paddy fields. However, it is likely you do not know the sequence of Vietnamese rice cultivation. It is still a secret unbeknownst to most western tourists.
Start the day with a hotel pick up at 8:30 am. Begin your journey with a short bicycle ride through rice paddies to the countryside (a vehicle can be arranged for those preferring not to cycle). Arrive at a farm where you will be warmly welcomed with tea by a local family host. You will have the chance to visit their house. Your guide will explain the different steps of rice cultivation. Don traditional farming clothes and conical hats for sun protection. Then, start the fun part of the tour. Because learning is way better with practice, you will experience rides on a water buffalo and learn the how to plough, rake, carry water into the rice field, sow, pull up the rice seedlings, transplant rice, etc. Prepare yourself for a unique experience, and try not to fall into the mud! Afterwards, return to the house and learn how to make pancakes that you will be able to enjoy. Additionally, learn how to cook rice in the traditional way. Enjoy lunch with the host family before riding back to the hotel. Free at leisure the rest of the afternoon. Overnight in Hoi An.
Note: This tour is non private and operated on a join in basis.
- Ancient Faifo
- Aubergine49 Restaurant
In the morning, discover Hoi An with a walking tour. Discover the charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, former merchants’ homes, the town’s iconic 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colorful market where an array of fresh ingredients are on offer.
In the afternoon, drive through Da Nang and climb over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and drop down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before visiting the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world.
Enjoy an exclusive private dinner at the lovely Tha Om garden house. A Hue “nha vuon” usually consists of a main and back entrance, and a small wall, rockwork and plants in the front yard and in the house itself. In the middle of the garden, a binh phong (brick wall) rises in front of the house, serving as a defense and protection of the altar in the main room of the house. The path leading around the wall from the entrance gate is lined with tea bushes or apricot trees. The typical house is made with a timber frame and roofed with brick tiles. The whole house stands on big pillars placed on a round or square stone base, which is sometimes decorated. The altar of the family’s ancestors occupies the central room. Overnight in Hue.
- Pilgrimage Village Hue
- La Residence Hotel & Spa
Main Attraction(s) today: Hai Van Pass, visiting Fishing village of Lang Co, Cham museum, Tha Om garden house
Formerly the capital of Vietnam and the Kings’ City, Hue has a strong royal heritage. Hue food is unique to Vietnam and Hue offers a variety of “Royal” restaurant cuisine. Get a hands-on experience with a cooking class and enjoy the taste of Hue’s local delicacies such as Hue pancakes. Learn how to prepare delicious Hue recipes in the beautiful, traditional Garden House of Y Thao. Set in a lush green garden near the Citadel, Y Thao is a charming ancient house filled with collectibles.
Start an exclusive cooking class where you will learn how to prepare a Hue “Royal” meal. You will prepare 4 or 5 courses ranging from traditional Vietnamese spring rolls to a delicious banana leaf salad. The cooking class takes approximately 2 hours. Finally, enjoy the delicious and beautiful dishes you just made. With this tour, gain a deeper knowledge and feeling of Ancient Hue.
In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of this beautiful city. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. The ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern (the Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war) but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today.
From here take a cycle through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax; full of lotus flowers in summer there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument, depart to the tomb of the former emperor Khai Dinh which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. Before heading back to your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide. The market is another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life. Overnight in Hue.
Hue Destination(s): Joining cooking class, visiting Hue Imperial Citadel, Tombs of Nguyen' Kings, Dong Ba Market
After breakfast transfer to Hue Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel.
In the afternoon, depart your hotel for a tour of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. Your program includes the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace it was towards this modern building that North Vietnamese tanks seized on the morning of April 30 1975, as Saigon fell. This fascinating building is filled with history still fresh in the minds of many. From there stroll (your vehicle will be available at all times) to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall. After this historical visit continue to the War Remnants Museum where exhibition halls display imagery of both the French and ‘American’ wars. Continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda located on the fringes of district 1. Dating from 1909 and built by Cantonese Buddhists this quiet oasis was designed using feng shui principals showcasing ornate statues and effigies.
After having experienced the frenzy of Saigon by day, discover the lively local streets by night. Join local people and enjoy an authentic Vietnamese evening. Start the tour at around 6:30 pm. The first stop is a public park where local people enjoy some dancing exercises. They gather here when the sun goes down to socialize and dance together. It is up to you to dance with them or just watch. Then, after a short walk, try your first meal of the evening. “Banh xeo” is a large rice pancake filled with vegetables, shrimps and pork. Hidden in a small alley, this local street restaurant has become very famous and serves some of the best “banh xeo” of Saigon. The second stop is a street food place located near Tan Dinh Market. There, enjoy a delicious local soup, inspired by Chinese recipes. After another short walk, it is time for a tasty “com suon non nuong muoi ot”, a local dish from HCM with rice and pork ribs. After crossing a busy intersection, indulge yourself with a delicious dessert and a Vietnamese café. Finally, after 10 minutes walking, enjoy the end of this evening at a live music café playing piano or Vietnamese songs. At the end of the tour return to your hotel (around 10:30 pm). Free at leisure. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint
- Villa Song
Main Ho Chi Minh's Attraction(s): Saigon Post Office, City Hall, Dong Khoi Street, Opera House, City Hall, Jade Emperor Pagoda
Free at leisure the rest of the day to explore Ho Chi Minh City at your own pace.
Departure day. At leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight.
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