Vietnamese cuisine can be divided into three categories, each pertaining to a specific region. As North Vietnam is the cradle of Vietnamese civilisation, many of the country’s most famous dishes (such as pho) have their birthplace here. The North’s cuisine is more traditional and strict in choosing spiciness and ingredients. The cuisine of South Vietnam has been influenced by the cuisines of the Khmer people and thus Southerners prefer sweet flavours in many dishes. The cuisine of Central Vietnam is quite different from the cuisines of both the Northern and Southern regions, not only in presentation but in flavour as well. Central cuisine is served as a course of many small side dishes, and compared to its counterparts it has a distinctive spiciness.
Day 1: Arrive Hanoi – city tour (D)
Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam! The land of unique culture and stunning natural view.
Upon your arrival, your local tour guide will welcome you at the airport then escort you to hotel with private car. Visit the Mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, and visit the former president’s house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. Continue on to the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading back to the hotel. Next is the Temple of Literature, the first university of Vietnam.
Head into the city to visit Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as the ‘36 streets’. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small business and shopkeepers.
Hanoi – Noi Bai airport (38km): 1 hour
Day 2: Full day cruising Halong bay – Overnight on board (B/L/D)
Overnight on Halong Bay.
Hanoi – Halong (200km):3.5 hours
Day 3: Cruising Halong bay – Hanoi (Brunch)
Afternoon and evening at leisure.
Day 4: Hanoi – Flight to Danang – Hoi An (B/L)
A walking tour is the best way to see this marvellous town, paying visits to the former merchants’ homes, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge, and the colourful market.
Enjoy lunch at Morning Glory Restaurant. Situated in an elegant traditional style building in the heart of Hoi An’s old town, Morning Glory offers ‘Street Food’ on the ground floor of the restaurant featuring Hoi An specialty foods. The upstairs balcony is perfect for small group as the views are excellent over the street.
Evening at leisure.Distance & journey times :
Danang airport – Hoi An (40Km) : 50 minutes
Day 5: Hoi An cooking class (B/L)
Continue on to Red Bridge Cooking School for a chance to freshen up before the class. Working together with the resident chef, learn the traditional means of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch. Using the day’s fresh ingredients, cook four famous dishes, including the national dish, Pho.
After preparing the meals, sit down to enjoy the day’s creations along the tranquil Thu Bon River of Hoi An. After the meal(s), enjoy a dip in Red Bridge’s swimming pool. The meals of the day will feature:
1. Beef Noodle Soup (Pho), includes the making of fresh rice noodles
2. Clay Pot Fish with Fresh Dill (Cha Ca)
3. Lemongrass Shrimp grilled in Banana Leaves (Tom Nuong La Chuoi)
4. Grilled Chicken and Banana Flower Salad (Goi Hoa Chuoi Ga Nuong)
* Lunch includes all of the above meals
The experience will finish around 14:00. Transfer back to Hoi An and enjoy the remainder of the day free at leisure.
Day 6: Hoi An – Hue – Capital of Royal cuisine (B/L/D)
Embark on the 3-hour drive from Hoi An to Hue. The scenic route passes through Danang, where a visit to the Cham museum is in order. Continue the drive over the Pass of Ocean Clouds, dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.
No culinary tour of Vietnam would be complete without a visit to Hue.
Lunch at Ancient Hue restaurant
Pick up from hotel by cyclo and head to dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake (a former emperor holiday spot). Continue by cyclo to Tay Loc Market, located in the northwest part dai noi. This market is mostly for locals and is rarely visited by tourists.
From here transfer by vehicle to 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).
Dinner this evening will be held at the ‘garden house’ known locally as ‘nha vuon’. This traditional style house, which is set in a large and attractive formal garden, has connections with the ancient Hue Royal Imperial Court. A traditional Vietnamese greeting will be encountered on arrival, followed by an extraordinary meal prepared by the lady of the house. Meal is served privately in the traditional manner in the private gardens of the home.
Distance & journey times:
Hoi An – Hue (150km): 3 hours
Day 7: Hue (B/L)
The morning starts with a visit to the Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Also located within the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous during the 1963 self-immolation of a resident monk, one of the most famous images from the American War. Continue the visit to the tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
For lunch, sample some of Hue’s specialty food at Huynh Anh Kim Long. Frequented only by locals, this restaurant serves banh uot, a steamed rice pancake stuffed with delicate, finely chopped pork and bun thit nuong which is a rice noodle dish served with grilled meat.
Proceed in the afternoon to the 500 year old weaving village of Bao La, on the road to Thanh Toan Bridge. Bao La villagers work hard to meet the demands of foreign and domestic market and are proud of their dexterity, creativity and passionate expressions.
Take the hour drive north to the 500-year-old village of Phuoc Tich. Once famous and prosperous for its pottery, the village has dozens of homes that date back 100 to 200 years, in addition to several old temples, pagodas, worship halls and communal houses. The religious culture of the village is seen via families, which have their own ancestor worship halls, each worshiping five direct generations.
At the end of the afternoon head back to the hotel. Evening at leisure
Day 8: Hue – Ho Chi Minh city (B/D)
After a morning of leisure, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Upon arrival, a guide and private car will provide transport to the hotel for check-in.
Step off the beaten track in the afternoon into the oldest quarter of the city. Explore Saigon’s well-kept secret, Antiques Street (Le Cong Kieu), followed by a visit to the Beaux-Arts Museum, a superb neo-colonial building home to various modern arts.
Top off the visit with a taste of Ho Chi Minh City’s best ice cream. Fanny’s serves everything from durian ice cream to lychee sorbet in its French-parlor setting.
SAIGON AFTER DARK: 18:00 – 22:00
Experience the nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter!
Begin at 18:00 with a pick up from the hotel before hitting the buzzing streets. The first stop will be a varied sampling of light evening snacks before continuing to a traditional quan (bia hoi) for dinner and drinks. Complete the evening out just like the locals- with a visit to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. The night adventure finishes at 22:00 with a transfer back to the hotel.
+ It’s best to not eat or drink before the food tour!
+ All clients sit on the back of Vespas to travel from place to place
+ Guides/Drivers are from the Vespa Team
Day 9: Cu Chi tunnel– Saigon city (B/L)
Enjoy a free morning at hotel. Transfer to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels . The Cu Chi tunnel was built during the war time by the Vietnamese for fighting with enemies, but nowadays it has become an interesting and fun place for tourists.
Enjoy lunch at Dong Pho restaurant.
After that we driver back to Saigon to visit the flower market entrance. Open day and night, this market sells flowers from all over Vietnam. Walk through small alleys and meander through countless flower stalls, taking time to learn the flower names, smell their exhilarating perfume, and interact with the vendors. Exit the quiet freshness of the flower market and delve into a bustling local market. Discover different types of local products such as vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, rice, clothes and jewelry. This tour is a wonderful, non-touristy glimpse into daily Saigonese life.
Day 10: Saigon – Mekong tour (B/L)
Head out of the city in the morning for the 2.5 hour drive to the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be. Upon arrival, board the Victoria boat. Modelled after traditional sampans, these are the perfect way to see the Delta. The tour starts with the visit of Cai Be’s colourful floating market. Proceed on to visit some local industries crafting rice popcorn and coconut candy. The day’s journey continues with an excursion to Dong Phu, Binh Hoa Phuong, and Anh Binh islands. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River bring about large networks of meandering rivers, crossed with countless arroyos. Lunch awaits at a superb colonial style villa located in a quaint village. The specialty of the Mekong, ‘elephant ear fish’, will be served, grilled and wrapped in rice paper together with fresh herbs.
Following the meal, it’s back on board the boat to discover the beautiful landscapes along the river. After crossing the Co Chien River, the boat will dock and the trip will continue back to Ho Chi Minh City via road. The evening is free to discover the vibrant southern city.
Distance & journey times:
HCMC – Cai Be (120km): 2,5hours
Day 11: Saigon – Departure (B)
Free time for shopping or optional visit before transfer to the airport for flight back home.
It’s time to say goodbye, we thank you for travelling with us and warmly welcome you to come again.
TOUR COST PER PAX IN USD (Valid from 1stApr 2017 to 31st Dec 2017, except peak season, holiday)
|Ranks||2pax||3-4 pax||5-7 pax||8-10pax||Single Supplement|
- Private transportation through the trip
- Shuttle bus Hanoi – Halong bay – Hanoi
- English speaking tour guide during tour
- Accommodation with daily breakfast base on twin/double room
- Daily bottle of mineral water 2 bottle/day/pax
- Entrance fees for tourist sites
- Meals as dedicated in the itinerary
- Travel Insurance
- Visa fee
- Personal expenses
- Tipping for guide & driver
- Others not mentioned nor specified above
- International & domestic air ticket