Ho Chi Minh City
The 11-day program to tour throughout Vietnam and unveil the cuisine from three regions in this country bearing different colors and creatives in cooking. In Hanoi, you will join a walking food tour in Old Quarter to observe the unique dining etiquette of locals; then observe the buying and selling rituals and have a cooking class with the hospitable host. Halong Bay overnight cruise also offers sampling of fresh seafood and some cooking demonstration. In central Vietnam, there is an eatery of lunch at serene garden house in Hue; and a cooking class in Hoi An when you will buy the ingredients from market and then do cooking at a rural village. Beside discover Ho Chi Minh City’s main landscapes, you will have a savory of sumptuous food on Saigon River dinner cruise and participate in cooking class setting at organic garden not so far from Cu Chi Tunnels.
Welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam is one of the most enticing Asian cities with culture richness, vibrant street life and impressive cuisine. You will have chances to taste local dishes in almost everywhere of the city with street food on the pavements, to beguiling dishes in high-end restaurants and variable types of drinks.
Upon your arrival at airport in Hanoi, you will be greeted by your local tour guide and travel to hotel for check-in.
Late in the evening, delve into the Hanoi local street food tour. Following your local guide, you will sample popular food and let them melt in your mouth. Walking to explore every corners of Hanoi Old Quarter, you will stop time to time to taste the Noodle soup, Vietnamese baguette, steamed rolls stuffed with ear-mushroom and minced pork, Vietnamese spring rolls in deep fried or fresh style or both, local beer at beer hub or a Vietnamese coffee.
In the morning, move to the outer of Hanoi center, you will join with your host and stroll to a local market for the cooking ingredients. Morning is the busiest and most energetic time of the day; also, it’s the time all stalls are filled up in colorful settings. You can observe the local buying and selling rituals and learn of the main cooking style as well as regularly used ingredients and combinations. When having everything ready, you will hand on the cooking class and prepare traditional dishes of Vietnam. The host is happy to escort and share the cooking experience with you. Finishing the cooking, you’ll enjoy your lunch there and return to city center afterward. On the way back, have a coffee break at Serein Café & Lounge with view over streets, city’s pottery mosaic and the Long Bien historical bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel which is in use for the trains, pedestrians and rough vehicles. You then can have a walk on the bridge to cast up-close vision over Red River before returning to your city center.
You will gain a deeper understanding of the city this afternoon. Arriving at the Ho Chi Minh Complex, you will catch the sight of Presidential Palace from front, then the Mausoleum. When treading around, you can visit the former residents of Ho Chi Minh and the One Pillar Pagoda. Next, visit the Temple of Literature renown as the first university of Vietnam since 1070 and a Confucius Temple. Though the premise of this educational sanctuary was shrunk down, the temple protected by surrounding walls still preserve the studious sprits, the cultural architectures and inspiring relics. This makes Temple of Literature one of the most significant cultural place to Vietnamese students. Then on, get to the heart of Hanoi with Hoan Kiem Lake of verdant green water and trees. From there, you will take a traditional cyclo ride and see the other side of Hanoi with Colonial architecture buildings like the Hanoi Opera House, Metropole Legend Hotel, the State Bank, Trang Tien Bridge, etc.
Around 9am this morning, you will leave Hanoi for Halong Bay one of the musts to see in Vietnam. Arriving the bay at noon, you will embark the oriental Halong Bay cruise, have lunch while the boat sailing among towering karst peaks. There are nearly 2,000 islands and islets scatter over the bay some of which dotted with huge caves and grottos. Beside enjoying pleasant time over the serene natures, you can participate in outdoor activities according to cruise schedules like kayaking in water lagoons, sunset break, cooking demonstration hiking to the dried cave and go swimming. After lavish dinner is served on boat, you can chill-out on your own or try the luck on squid fishing.
Early risers will find the freshness and quietness on the bay and capture the sunrise on Halong Bay and do Tai Chi class exercise with instructor on top deck. After breakfast, the cruise’s anchor will be lifted up and carry on the sail for you to see more of Halong Bay. Early noon, the boat will return to the shore. You will disembark the cruise and see your driver for the transfer back to airport in Hanoi and catch the flight to Hue.
Hue is a unique city of Vietnam located in the middle of the country and was the former capital where the last feudal dynasty of Vietnam existed. Apart from tranquil landscape of river, city, and rural villages, Hue is impressed by the Imperial heritances on architecture, history, skillful handicrafts and sophisticated cuisine. Arriving at Hue airport, you will meet with your local tour guide and travel to hotel in Hue for check-in.
Begin the nice day in Hue with Imperial Citadel for a brief on histories of Nguyen Dynasty, royal rituals and stunning ornate carvings. Afterward, visit Thien Mu Pagoda on a hill facing the Perfume still river. Here, you will find the iconic seven-story pagoda and historical facts of Buddhism during the war time. You then visit exquisite Tha Om garden house, a fascinating place to learn about the traditional house in geomancy rules. Touring around the house and admire its serenity and have a cup of tea with the host to hear more stories of his house. Then have scrumptious at the Tha Om Restaurant.
In the afternoon, travel to Tu Duc Tomb nestled on luxuriant hill and designed by himself before his death. The tomb showcases impressive Vietnamese arts and scenic views over the pavilion on lotus lake and winding paths on the hills. Then on, head to Chuon Lagoon distanced around 11km from Hue center. Meet up with a local people, you’ll hop on local wooden boat and sail to the endless lagoon of fisheries to enjoy the striking sunset. You also can observe and experience local fishing styles. Learn more about the life of fishermen and enjoy snacks with a local beer in Hue.
This morning is at your leisure. At noon, have unique journey lunch of Royal dish Rice with Salt with Mrs. Nhu Huy, a famous Vietnamese and Hue gastronomy artisan. She will introduce the dish, the special combination and the stories of the dishes. It requires perfect combination and time to create those dishes will bring high quality flavors of salts. After lunch, leave Hue for Hoi An in nearly 3-hour drive passing by the pristine Lang Co Beach and over Hai Van Pass. Have a break on the coastal mountain pass, overlook to the bay with panoramic view. Arriving in Hoi An late afternoon, you will check-in hotel in Hoi An and relax till rest of the day.
This morning, you will meet with the chef of the Red Bridge cooking school; together stroll to Hoi An central market to get fresh ingredients for your cooking lesson. Then board the boat crossing Hoi An River to a herb garden to begin your cooking class with a lunch afterward.
Afternoon, get back to center, you will ramble around Hoi An Ancient Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The attached houses of 2 or 3 floors are attached to each other designed in unique architectures of the combinations between Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese and French elements. Call at the Japanese pagoda bridge, the Fujian communal house, Chinese houses, Pottery museums, etc. you will find the details and reveal the development of the port town.
This morning is on your own leisure to chill out at hotel or take a bicycle and traverse to the countryside of Hoi An or pristine beaches.
After check-out, travel to airport in Da Nang for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon your arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, the most developed city in Vietnam, you will see your local tour guide and have transfer from airport to Ho Chi Minh City center.
In the morning, embark on a city tour of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called Saigon, a city with strong influence of colonial and Chinese cultures. Pay a visit to main attractions of the city like the central post office, one of architecture designs of Gustave Eiffel, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, Ben Thanh market and walking street of Dong Khoi.
This afternoon, you will visit the Chinatown of Saigon since 1778. During Vietnam War, the area became black market for US soldiers to trade some of supplies. You will stop to see the Thien Hau Pagoda and Binh Tay Market to feel the ambience of Chinese community in Vietnam.
For dinner, enjoy chilling time on the Bonsai Cruise with opening kitchen and interactive dining stations. After welcoming cocktail, you will sample the rustic Indochina delicacies on board while enjoy traditional shows.
In the morning, travel around one hour to an organic garden in vegetable village. The host will welcome and introduce to you their large gardens with variable organic vegetable types. Then, start your cooking class making three dishes and enjoy lunch. After lunch, travel to nearby Cu Chi Tunnels. Dug by the Viet Minh resistance force during Indochina war, Cu Chi Tunnels is comprised of underground tunnels network which was then extended larger during Vietnam War up to total length of 200km and around 3-4m deep. Under there, you can find full necessary equipment like meeting room, kitchen, weapon stores, offices, clinic, etc. Before experience the tunnels, you will watch a documentary about the tunnels and the war during 60s – 70s. You then will drive by land back to Ho Chi Minh City in around 1.5 hours.
Have free & easy time after breakfast at hotel till good time, you will see your tour guide and take private transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to the airport.
Accommodation in double/twin sharing basic
Daily breakfast at hotel and meals as indicated in the program
Private air-conditioned transfer
Excellent English-speaking guide (other language on request)
Cooking classes and street food tours as mentioned in the program
Entrance fee, boat trip, cycling for sightseeing as mentioned
2 bottles of water per person per day
International and domestic flights
Tips and gratuities for guide, driver, etc.
Personal expenses and services not mentioned
19 days 18 nights
6 days 5 nights