Culinary Viet Nam 12 Days
Day 1: Ha Noi Arrival (D)
Welcome to Ha Noi - the historic capital and cultural heart of Vietnam. Set on the banks of the Red River, Ha Noi is brimming with French colonial architecture, historic and religious sights. There and plenty of beautiful lakes, exquisitely arranged to make it one of the most graceful and charming cities in South East Asia. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure. (Note: normal check-in time for hotels is 14:00. Please advise us if you require an early check-in).
The evening begins our culinary journey with a cozy welcome dinner at Indochine restaurant. Set in a quiet road in the Old Quarter, the staff at this beautiful old French style villa will pamper you with delicate Vietnamese cuisine in a relaxing ambiance. The dishes will give you a wonderful first taste of Vietnamese food.
Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 2: Ha Noi – Street Food & City Tour Full Day (B/L)
Hanoi is a vibrant city offering some of the world’s greatest street food and there is no better way to understand Vietnamese culture than through its delicacies. 07:30 Start the tour with a traditional Vietnamese breakfast of pho and xoi, and then stroll to a small sidewalk coffee shop to enjoy the local custom of sitting and drinking. Continue on to the streets of the Old Quarter and Dong Xuan Market to sample some local treats such as bun dau and che. Stroll up some food alleys to see more local food such as ceremonial cake and seasonal fruit. At the end of the tour stop at a local ”pub" for draft beer – locally called bia hoi - and some tasty snacks before returning to hotel. (Note: Please be aware that the standard of street food hygiene may not always be up to the standards of your home country, and we can accept no responsibility for your gastric sensitivities).
Today tour also include visits to Temple Literature - the first University in Vietnam, founded in 1070, Quan Thanh Temple, and a relaxing rickshaw ride (cyclo) through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter - known as the ‘36 Streets’. The Old Quarter is a labyrinth of roads, alleyways and marketplaces, bustling with local activities.
Overnight in Ha Noi.
Day 3: Ha Noi – Ha Long –Overnight Cruise (B/L/D)
This morning a scenic drive takes us to the magnificent Halong Bay, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. On arrival, board our deluxe cruise for an overnight journey into the Bay. As the boat sets sail on the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, prepare your appetite for an enjoyable lunch on deck. Stop to visit the floating fishing village of Vung Vieng - where you'll gain a fascinating insight into the daily life of the floating communities in the bay. During the cruise, there will be swimming and a chance to explore the area by kayak (extra cost involved). Enjoy the sunset over the bay from the sundeck while our boat weighs anchor for the night. Dine tonight on a scrumptious seafood dinner onboard.
Overnight on board.
Day 4: Ha Long – Ha Noi – Flight to Hue (B)
Rise early to enjoy the gentle breezes of the bay. Enjoy the fresh air and greet the day with a Tai Chi class on the sundeck. As our boat weaves slowly through strange-shaped limestone rock formations making its way back towards the port, enjoy a wholesome brunch. There's time to explore a hidden grotto, famed for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites of all kinds before our disembarking at noon. Meet your guide and driver then transfer to Ha Noi Airport for the flight to Hue. Opt to visit a traditional pottery workshop en route (extra cost involved) or return to Ha Noi for a light dinner if your flight schedules late in the evening.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 5: Hue – City Tour Full Day (B/D)
Established as the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, Hue was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. 08:30 Begin the day with a quick stop at Dong Ba market - a great example of a local Vietnamese market. Stroll around to see the daily marketing activities and. Then we depart for the Imperial Citadel and spend time exploring the monument complex. The buildings inside the enclosure were heavily damaged by carpet bombings and bullets during the Tet Offensive in 1969, especially the Forbidden Purple City. Many of them have been recently renovated but not yet finished. Lunch today with Hue’s Cakes (your own account) – a term in general for many types of cakes that sharing some common base ingredients such as rice flour, shrimp; but the recipes and tastes are distinctly different.
Continue your journey on to Khai Dinh and Tu Duc tombs for an insight into the final resting places of the Nguyen Emperors. As the sun slowly sets over the horizon, enjoy the view (weather permitting) from a boat cruising the Perfume River towards the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda. Hop off the boat and finish the day with a last visit through the pagoda. Return hotel.
We dine tonight at a typical garden house of Hue, famous for its beautiful traditional architecture. Most of the garden houses are privately owned and some owners are descendants of the ancient royal family. Savour a sample royal meal in an exceptional dining ambiance. This is truly a once-in-a lifetime experience for all gourmands.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 06: Hue – Da Nang – Hoi An – Walking Tour Half Day (B)
08:30 Take a scenic drive to Hoi An this morning, climbing up to the Hai Van Pass (“Pass of the Ocean Clouds”). Stop en-route to witness the spectacular panorama of the fishing village of Lang Co on the way down. Continue our drive on to Hoi An, passing Da Nang City and stop again to visit the Marble Mountain. Arrive in Hoi An at noon, transfer you for lunch with “Cao Lau noodle” – a foremost traditional food as well as one of the best local dishes in Hoi An (your own account).
14:00, We take a walking tour through the narrow streets of the ancient town visiting the Chinese Assembly Hall, the 200-year-old Tan Ky house, and the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge. The tour will give you a glimpse of Hoi An’s prosperous past - a bustling international trading port dating back to 16th century. Today, Hoi An is a quiet riverside town, renowned for its quaint architecture, delicious fusion cuisine and excellent 24h tailor-made service. It is a world heritage site listed by UNESCO.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 07: Hoi An – Cycling to Tra Que Herb Village – Gardening & Cooking Tour (B/L)
08:30 A delightful cycling and cooking tour on the rural outskirts of Hoi An town will reveal the secrets of Hoi An’s cuisine and its traditional gardening methods. This morning, we hop on our bikes and travel to the organic village of Tra Que which is named after a widely used sweet scented herb. Walk through the herb gardens, where we'll have the opportunity to interact with local farmers and join them in their daily gardening activities. Rest and enjoy a special herbal drink before we get to know how to make "Cao Lau" and "Tam Huu" for today lunch. Finish the cooking session, sit and enjoy your own creations, then a leisurely cycle back to hotel.
(Note: None-biking program can be arranged if required).
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 8: Hoi An – Cooking Class Half Day with Chef Vy– Free At Leisure (B/L)
Morning Glory was the first cooking school opened in Hoi An many years ago. It built its reputation with passionate dishes that preserve the traditional taste of Hoi An’s cuisine and bring local recipes to life. Ms Vy, our teacher, is a third generation chef and also the owner and founder of the school. She will take us for an orientation visit to a local market to see different herbs, spices and raw ingredient on offer. On our return to The Market Restaurant, tour the street food counters, seeing live cooking demonstrations whilst enjoying a welcome drink. During the 4-hour cooking lesson, Ms. Vy will teach and inspire you with her deep understanding of Hoi An's cuisine. After class, we sit down and savor our own creations with unlimited drinks and sweet treats. Afternoon is free for leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoi An – Da Nang – Flight to Ho Chi Minh – City Tour & After Dark Vespa Tour (B/D)
After breakfast, we leave Hoi An behind and fly to the bustling and dynamic city of Ho Chi Minh. The locals still prefer to call it Saigon. It is the economic hub of the country with a huge variety of things to see and do. Upon arrival, transfer to hotel for check in. This afternoon, enjoy an orientation tour of the city's famous sites, including the sobering War Remnants Museum, the historic Reunification Palace, once the symbol of the South Vietnamese government until a tank crashed through the main gate and put an end to Vietnam War, and some of the colonial-era landmarks such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office. Finally, we visit the iconic Ben Thanh market, one of the city's oldest landmarks. This bustling market is a great place to buy local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs.
As it’s getting darker, we continue to explore the city's nightlife and its authentic street cuisine in a truly local way on the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. Our thrilling journey begins with an introduction to the scooter team at Ben Thanh market. Then we ride through crisscross streets and make several stops to sample local street food, such as banh xeo (rice pancake with pork and prawns), and wok-fried snails. Finally, we wrap up the evening at a Vietnamese-style coffee shop with live music.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh – Cai Be Boat Trip – Binh Tien Farm Stay (Mekong Delta) (B/L/D)
Leaving the city behind, we journey two hours to the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be where we embark on a traditional wooden boat for an enchanting cruise. The tour begins with a visit to a local floating market where you'll see local products hung on an offering pole in front of boats. Then our boat continues the cruise through a meandering network of lush back waterways, pausing en-route to visit some local home factories. We’ll disembark and watch villagers making traditional rice paper, pop rice and coconut candy. Then we hop on a bike for an 8km ride along narrow shady paths through some villages. After crossing the river on a ferry, we carry on cycling and visit a brick factory. Next, we head to a local ancient house for lunch of Mekong specialties. After lunch, relax and enjoy a leisurely rowing boat trip along small canals back to the boat. We cruise back to mainland where our vehicle will transfer us to Binh Tien Farm Stay.
There is no better way to experience the real living of local people in Mekong Delta than staying a night with the local family, Binh Tien Farm Stay offers you a chance to explore absolute non-touristy places, to see real daily activities of the local people and to enjoy local dishes as authentic as you can get.
We’ll arrive in Binh Tien Farm Stay at around 11:00 where the Host Family will greet you with hospitality, lovely smiles and a homemade herbal drink! After getting to know the Host Family, you can take a rest by the pond, watching ducks swinging and surfing over the water lily or go discover the luxuriant garden with many types of tropical fruit trees, vegetable and flowers.
Later, pick up your bike we’ll cycling around the village passing vegetable farms and a fish pole store to see the daily lives of local people. We go back to the farm and help the hostess pick up vegetables for dinner. She will show you how to cook the dishes, and the menu will be different everyday depending on which ingredients available in the garden at that time. Dinner is one of the best opportunity you’ll have to sit down and have an intimate chat with host family about their lives over cups of rice wine.
Overnight in Binh Tien Farm Stay.
Day 11: Binh Tien Farm Stay – Ho Chi Minh (B)
This morning, rise early and join your hostess to the local market buying some fresh ingredients for daily meal. On the way to the market you may see some small kids crying for their parents on their first day at school in front of a kindergarten. Return the farm for breakfast. After breakfast you can either go fishing, collecting cassava fruit, or try planting/harvesting the rice crops (seasonal activities), or simply relax on one of the hammocks that scattered around the farm in peaceful atmosphere. Life couldn’t get much better!
10:00 we’ll check-out and say farewell to your friendly host family and then head back to Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll have chance to travel on a local transportation called “Daihatsu” – a mini truck that preferred by local merchandisers & pupils. Travel with a Daihatsu is not only a much funny & enjoyable way, but also a great idea to have a better experience into the local life. We return to Saigon at noon.
The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Note: Should you would like to visit Cu Chi Tunnel in the afternoon, please contact us for arrangement. (Extra cost involved)
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
Day 12: Ho Chi Minh Departure (B)
Today free at leisure for last minute shopping or sightseeing until transferring to airport for onward flight. We wish you a pleasant journey ahead and hope to see you soon.
END OF PROGAM