Uncover the true Flavors of Vietnam 10 Days as you travel from the farthest corners in the north to deep in the south. Create lasting memories as you meet the people, taste the food and embrace the culture. Stay in French colonial boutique hotels and cruise the waters on traditional junks and converted rice barges.
On arrival at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport. Viet Expert Travel guide will greet you and transfer by private car through the city to your hotel.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Begin the morning with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum and hear about the man who led Vietnam’s campaign for independence from French colonial rule. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, Ho Chi Minh died in 1969 and his body was preserved for posterity. Every October the mausoleum is closed for a month and Uncle Ho is given a bit of a spruce up! Then wander the grounds to see the one pillar pagoda and the presidential palace. Next, visit the 11th century relic, the Temple of Literature, which was built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius.
Enjoy a delicious lunch at Koto Restaurant, close to the Temple of Literature.
Start your afternoon with a visit to the Ngoc Son temple set on a tiny island on the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake. The temple is reached by crossing the Huc Bridge which literally means the ‘Place Touched by Morning Sunbeams. Hear the legend of an emperor, a magic sword and a giant turtle, and how the lake took its name.
Take a breezy cyclo ride through the Old Quarter’s 36 streets, a place where Hanoians buy everything from noodles to light fixtures to Buddha statues. The quarter’s 36 streets were named for the products that were sold from their shops. Today, vendors on Tin and Bamboo Streets still sell the same wares.
Then your guide will take you on a culinary adventure, sampling street food in the Old Quarter. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are! Start your Hanoi Street Eats tour at Bia Hoi corner to try the local brew, a draft beer that traces its roots to Eastern Europe. Do as the locals do and pull up a stool and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.
Continue through the old quarter’s narrow streets as your guide points out a range of tasty noodles, breads and snacks. At night the sidewalks are packed with locals perched on stools, amongst sizzling woks and bubbling pots. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day. Sit down and enjoy a flame grilled Vietnamese barbecue of beef, chicken, tofu and vegetables on skewers. End the night with dessert from Hanoi’s best-known ice-cream parlour. Overnight in Hanoi
Depart from Hanoi and travel about four hours to the port of Halong Bay. Take a small tender boat to meet your junk, which will be anchored just offshore. After a short safety briefing, set sail to the outer reaches of Bai Tu Long Bay, passing by stunning limestone karsts jutting out of the jade waters. Explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son cave before relaxing on a white sandy beach or taking to the water for a spot of kayaking. In the evening join in a cooking demonstration before a pleasant evening on board.
Overnight in Halong bay
Start a new day with Tai Chi on the sundeck with a beautiful morning view of Bai Tu Long, followed with a cup of tea or coffee. Have breakfast in the fresh air while cruising to the Cong Do area. Explore the well- hidden Thien Canh Son Cave, one of hundreds in the Halong area, before enjoying a final example of Halong hospitality with an early buffet lunch on the way back to the harbour. Transfer to Hanoi airport for your short flight to Danang. Upon arrival, meet with our guide and transfer to hotel in Hoi An. Overnight in Hoi An.
Take a boat trip from "Vy's Market Restaurant" to Hoi An's colourful central market. Tour of the market with an English speaking guide followed by an interesting and informative tour of Vy's Market Restaurant, watching live cooking demonstrations with actual involvement and many food tastings. Two hour hands-on cooking class, lunch, recipes a Vietnamese cooking utensil to take home.
After breakfast, leave Hoi An for Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. In Danang visit the Cham Museum, before climbing over the ‘Pass of Ocean Clouds’. Arrive in Hue and transfer to hotel. Our half day tour starts with a trip to the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace. The Citadel was closely modeled along the lines of the Forbidden City in Beijing. After that, we will set out on a tour to see the final resting place of the Emperors by visiting Tu Duc Royal Tomb.
The former imperial capital of Vietnam, Hue has a strong royal heritage. Hue’s cuisine is unique to Vietnam and the city offers a variety of “Royal” restaurant cuisine. Get a hands-on experience with a cooking class and enjoy the taste of Hue’s local delicacies such as Hue pancakes. Learn how to prepare delicious Hue recipes in the beautiful, traditional Garden House of Y Thao. Start an exclusive cooking class to learn how to prepare a Hue “Royal” meal. Prepare 4 or 5 courses ranging from traditional Vietnamese spring rolls to a delicious banana leaf salad. The cooking class takes approximately 2 hours with a delicious (self-made) meal to follow. In the afternoon, enjoy a city tour. Start at 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. From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument, depart to the tomb of the former emperor Khai Dinh which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue. Before heading back to the hotel, take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with the guide. Overnight in Hue.
Transfer to Hue domestic airport for the 40-minute flight to Saigon. Upon arrival in the afternoon, start with a visit to the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of famous French architect Gustave Eiffel, it is now considered a symbol of Saigon and one of its most famous landmarks. This evening get set for a culinary adventure in downtown Saigon, away from the tourist areas and into the heart of the city, where the locals go to eat. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are. Pull up a stool and taste a selection of different types of Vietnamese favourites from tasty banh mi baguettes, noodle dishes and flamed grilled barbecue skewers, maybe even rice paper pizza! End the night with dessert from one of Saigon’s best little place for sweet soups. This is a great, fun night out where you will discover the people and the culture of Vietnam through its food! Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Your culinary adventure begins at the busy Ben Thanh Market, considered by many to be the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. Sitting across from some of downtown’s tallest buildings, the market hosts vendors selling everything from blue jeans to raw fish. In the produce section you will pick out all your ingredients to use in your class, but don’t worry your chef will on hand to guide you through all the weird and wonderful vegetables and herbs. With your ingredients bagged, head to the Mai Home cooking class for a hands-on cooking lesson in a large traditional home. Vietnamese food is healthy and simple to cook, using many local fresh herbs, spices and vegetables. The class is designed for personalised attention and lots of fun. Try your hand at creating some typical dishes like fresh spring rolls or a claypot! After all the dishes have been made, sit down to lunch and taste your handiwork. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Your guide will meet you at the hotel for transfer to airport.
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