Day 1: Saigon Arrival. Pick up upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City. Transfer to the hotel for check-in. Free at leisure. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 2: Saigon. Morning discussion of Vietnamese cuisine with the hotel chef, followed by hands-on cooking class. Enjoy your creations for lunch. Afternoon tour of Saigon's historic landmarks including the Old Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, former Presidential Palace. Visit Ben Thanh market to see the abundance of spices, fruits, and foods used in Vietnamese cooking. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 3: Saigon - Mekong Delta. Heading out of the town, we travel by roads to the Mekong Delta, Vietnam's largest rice bowl. On arrival in My Tho we embark on a boat navigating around the intricate small canals in the delta region, which is a great way to observe the local lifestyle close-up and catch a view dotted by many islands. The exciting excursion will pass the lush green vegetation before arriving at the famous Unicorn Island. Here we have opportunities to stroll around an orchard, taste many seasonal fruits and enjoy wonderful traditional music.
The next stop of our trip is Ben Tre Province to visit some fascinating local industries. After feasting on a huge lunch we return to Ho Chi Minh, stopping off along the way to see the beautiful Ving Trang Pagoda and the Cho Lon, Saigon's Chinatown, which is crammed with sacred temples and mysterious, narrow lanes. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 4: Saigon - Da Nang. An early morning transfer to airport for a flight to Danang. On arrival we are greeted and driven a short distance to Hoi An which was originally a Cham seaport but has been influenced down centuries by a myriad of traders from various cultures. There are plenty to see in this tranquil and delightful town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, the Pottery Museum, the 200 years old Tam Ky House, the Chua Ong Pagoda and the vibrant market. We visit these sights on an enchanting walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls which reflect the town's multi-cultural past. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 5: Hoi An. We start the day with a drink at a Cafe - our meeting point. Visit Hoi An's colourful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy. On arrival, we have a chance to explore the cooking school's herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An's and Vietnam's well-known dishes. The cooking class is an interesting and fun way to learn about the local cuisine, and includes demonstrations from the school's chefs as well as the chance for us to help prepare some dishes. Included in the demonstration is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the cooking class, you will be free at leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 6: Hoi An - Hue. Morning depart Hoi An for Hue, the capital of Vietnam under the Nguyen Dynasty of emperors from 1802 till 1945. The scenic route passes through Danang before climbing over the Mountain Clouds Hai Van Pass where a spectacular panorama of the central coastline can be viewed at the summit, dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co located on a sand dune line. Enjoy a fresh seafood lunch at Thanh Tam restaurant in Lang Co village before continuing driving to Hue. Upon arrival check in your hotel. Afternoon, take city tours to visit Imperial Citadel, Forbidden city and Royal Place. Free walking to visit Dong Ba market. Overnight in Hue.
Day 7: Hue. In the morning, we will visit a local restaurant and meet the chef, Leave the restaurant to a local market, where the chef gives an instruction on how to choose food for our cooking lesson at the restaurant. Lunch is the food we prepared. In the afternoon, travel by Dragon Boat on the romantically named Perfume River to Thien Mu pagoda standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower. Overnight in Hue.
Day 8: Hue - Hanoi. After breakfast we explore Hue on our own until transferring to the airport for a short flight north. Ha Noi, Vietnam's capital, is a stylish and gracious city that retains an unique old world charm and some Asia 's most striking colonial architecture. The relaxing atmosphere is also a highlight of Hanoi. After checking into hotel, we have time visiting the beautiful lake of Hoan Kiem with its sacred temple, the picturesque West Lake and the Dong Xuan Market. A perfect way to finish the day is to enjoy a short cyclo excursion through the bustling old quarter streets named after the specific goods once offered for sale at these places. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 9: Hanoi. Morning market tours with the hotel chef and cooking demonstration at the Hotel. Having lunch at the restaurant. Afternoon city tours to visit the city's landmarks such as Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Once Pillar Pagoda, The Temple of Literature, a cyclo tours around Hanoi old quarters and enjoy the traditional water puppetry show. Transfer back to hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10: Hanoi - Halong Bay. Morning drive to Halong, 180 km east of Hanoi. On arrival, board on dragon boat and have buffet lunch on board. Discover Halong Bay, listed as a World Heritage Area of outstanding natural beauty. "Dragon descending to the sea" as it is known in Vietnamese, picturesque Halong Bay has more than 3,000 limestone islets rising from the clear emerald water, many of them containing beautiful grottoes. After 5 hour cruise, we come back to the boat station and transfer back to Hanoi. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 11: Hanoi. Free at leisure until transferring to the airport for departure flight. End of service.
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