Day 1: Hanoi arrival. Our representative/tour guide will meet and greet you at the airport in Hanoi City. Rest of the day at your own leisure. Overnight at hotel in Saigon. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 2: Cooking and Tours in Hanoi private. Morning cooking class: Today’s class begins with a walk, accompanied by the Chef to the local market, where participants get a chance to learn all about Vietnamese ingredients. After that, everyone rolls up their sleeves in the kitchen to prepare a proper Vietnamese meal. After the class lunch will be served to sample all the different dishes prepared during the class. This afternoon you will discover Hanoi with an English speaking guide.
Part of your tour will include sightseeing by cyclo, a bicycle type taxi, by which you’ll discover the Old Quarter made up of the so called "36 streets," most of which are named after the crafts or merchandise traditionally sold there. Dinner tonight at another of Hanoi’s fine restaurants. Afterwards enjoy a performance of a traditional water puppet show. This fantastic art form originated in northern Vietnam and is best seen in Hanoi. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi City
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay. Morning depart for Halong Bay, we go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town we embark on a luxury junk boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting cruise will provide us a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. Stay overnight on the Junk Cruise. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi. Waking up and enjoy the sun rising over the Bay. After breakfast, visit beautiful limestone grotto then back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Transfer back to Hanoi. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi City. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Hanoi - Hue. In the morning, we will take a flight to Hue - Hue served as Vietnam's capital under the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 and the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the walls of the Citadel and the Imperial City. Touring the ancient Imperial Citadel and visit Thien Mu, a beautiful pagoda located right on the bank of Perfume River. Then we will drive through countryside and visit Tu Duc and Khai Dinh Royal tombs. Back to Hotel and the rest of time at your own leisure. Overnight in Hue. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Cooking Tours in Hue. The morning begins with a hands-on cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien restaurant, highlighting the regal flavors of Hue cuisine as we prepare our own midday meal. In the afternoon, we take boat trip on Perfume River to visit Thien Mu, one of the ancient beautiful pagoda and Ming Mang Emperor's Royal Tomb. Transfer back to the hotel. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Hue - Danang - Hoi An. This morning we drive to Hoi An, we will cross Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the China Sea. Stop at Lang Co to have break. Visit the fascinating Cham Museum, famous China Beach and the Marble Mountains en route to charming Hoi An. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. At leisure for the rest of time. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Hoi An. If you have ever known Cao Lau, the famous dish of Hoi An, you also should know that one of the keys to its flavor is fresh raw vegetables from Tra Que. This small village is located on the banks of a lagoon, and for generations the locals have been raising vegetables that end up in chefs’ kitchens all over the country. Today you will spend the whole day living and working among the villagers in Tra Que, learning how they raise and prepare vegetables.
You will cook together and then have a lunch of Vietnamese dishes with the family. Back to Hoi An where you will enjoy a late afternoon cooking lesson At Brother’s Café. First you’ll travel by boat with the chef from the restaurant to the market to pick out ingredients for the lesson. Then it’s back to the restaurant by cyclos where you will prepare three classic Vietnamese dishes. Enjoy dinner after the lesson. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 9: Hoi An - Saigon. Transfer to Danang and we will take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, which is formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a sprawling metropolis that is home to over 5 million people and a fast-paced city full of contrasts as street vendors selling fruit and vegetables can be seen next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques. Saigon’s history is only 300 years old. In 1859 the city was captured by the French and became the capital of Cochin China.
From 1956 until its dramatic demise in April 1975 it was the capital of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam. Today, Ho Chi Minh City is very much the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurs. And yet the city still retains its connections to the past, particularly in Cho Lon, Saigon’s Chinatown. Here dozens of elegant temples and pagodas can be seen. The French also left their mark with some fine colonial-era buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Saigon. Aimed at the enthusiastic non-professional, this course is an initiation into the Art of Vietnamese Cuisine. It provides the opportunity not only to taste Vietnamese delicious dishes, but also, by actually cooking them under the friendly guidance of our professional chef, to learn how to reproduce them after returning home. Chefs, MC and staff in Vietnamese traditional costumes will be welcoming guests at the door of our lovely colonial style villa.
Whilst guests take place at their personal cooking station and prepare their dishes, have fun cooking them, our MC will tell tales, stories and anecdotes to explain how the Cuisine and the Culinary Art of Vietnam have developed throughout the years. The MC will also detail the roots of the Cuisine prevailing in each of the three main regions of Vietnam, explain the set up of an original Vietnamese kitchen, the traditions the Etiquette as well as the historical influences on Vietnamese food. In the afternoon, you will visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the best examples of classic French colonial architecture and where every single stone used to build it has amazingly travelled from France!
You will also have the chance to see the countries largest Post Office, another fine example of French Colonial architecture. Next. you will visit Hau Temple devoted to the Goddess of Mothers and Newborn Babies, the most attractive feature is the roof packed with figurines. The tour concludes with a visit to the vibrant atmosphere of Ben Thanh Market. Here you can find a wide selection of goods ranging from fake Nike trainers to beautiful silk Ao Dais. Back to the hotel. Dinner at Lemon Grass restaurant in the city. Overnight in Saigon. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 11: Saigon - Cai Be Floating Market - Vinh Long. Leave your hotel at 7.30 for a 3-hour drive to Cai Be with stop en route at Trung Luong Bonsai garden for a tea break. Upon arrival, board Cai Be Princess or Mekong Queen. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes of coconut palms, sugar-cane groves and fruit orchards from the vessel as you head to the Cai Be floating market.
Here you can cruise through the colorful barges full of fruits and vegetables and then proceed to local home factories such as rice paste making, rice pop corn, coco candies. The trip continues along the Mekong canals to Dong Hoa Hiep Island located between Vinh Long and Cai Be. Along the way you will find the local people engaged in their daily tasks and see brightly colored Khmer pagodas. Stops on the way can be made upon request for particular visits or photos making.
These evergreen islands among the Mekong River still remain unknown to many people. Lunch will await you at Le Longanier, a superb Indochinese villa located in a lush tropical garden by the river, surrounded by fruit orchards. After a short walk along a beautiful canal, the excursion will end at approx. 3:30 pm at Ba Bon Bridge where your own private transportation vehicle will await you to transfer you back to Saigon City. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12: Saigon Departure. Free at leisure until transferring to Tan Son Nhat airport to take departure flight onward. Home Sweet Home. End of service. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Vietnam Local Culture Cultural Journey Food & Wine