Flavours of Vietnam - Culinary Delight

11 Days, from AU $2,694

Culinary Delight

Halong Bay

Floating Market, Mekong Delta

Vietnamese Smile

Old Town of Hoi An

Street Food in Saigon

Hue Rocal Tomb

Experience the Flavours of Vietnam and its highlights as you travel the length of the country from Hanoi to Saigon. Enjoy the culinary diversity north to south and from street food markets to the best fine dining restaurants. Your tours starts on the street food market of Hanoi where you get overview of local ingredients by visiting a local food market with a gastronomy expert before enjoying famous Vietnamese art, the Water Puppet performance. Embark on a cruise on the emerald waters of Halong Bay, where thousands of limestone rock sculptures jut dramatically from the sea and delicious seafood will be served. Then discover the citadel and tombs of Hue, the former royal capital and seat of the Nguyen Dynasty, and visit an ancient village, providing a glimpse into this area’s royal past. The owner of the famous ‘garden house’ will personally prepare an extraordinary Vietnamese meal, which will be served in the traditional manner in the private gardens of their home. Then on to the magical merchant town and ancient trading port of Hoi An and enjoy the unique experience to learn to cook local specialties, culinary art. From here it goes to the bustling metropolis of Saigon where you hop on a vintage Vespa and start exploring the diverse street food options before heading to the Mekong Delta and take a boat ride in the middle of the floating markets.  This culinary tour is truly an adventure for every food lover and enthusiast that should not be missed. 

The "Flavour of Vietnam  - Culinary Delight" itinerary covers the key attractions at a relatively quick pace. Enjoy them as they are or extend them to create your perfect holiday. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Hanoi

You will meet your guide on arrival Hanoi airport, be transferred and check-in to your chosen hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Hanoi, answer any questions you have. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.

Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city and home to seven million people. Traditional and refined, with French colonial architecture, tree-lined boulevards, scenic lakes and a bustling Old Quarter, Hanoi has a sophisticated charm. Observe elderly people practicing Tai Chi by the lake, with barbers and food vendors plying their sidewalk trade.

Hanoi has many great restaurants with French, Vietnamese and international cuisines available. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.

Day 2: Hanoi Cooking Class

After leisurely breakfast at hotel, meet with a local Hanoian chef for a market tour who will show you how to select fresh ingredients. Come to the chef’s private residence for a hands-on cooking class of northern specialty foods. Enjoy your own creations at lunch while listening to the chef’s personal culinary adventure.

In the afternoon, visit the Hanoi highlights, The Museum of Ethnology (closed on Mondays).offering a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups.

The Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, to gain an overview of Hanoi culture and ancient Vietnamese architecture.

Enjoy a one hour tour by cyclo, a chauffeur-pedalled tricycle, through Hanoi’s Old Quarter, also known as “36 streets”. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore, especially by cyclo, with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.

Day 3: Honai – Halong Bay

Your early morning departure from your hotel in Hanoi to Halong Bay takes you on a journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta. Observe everyday life of Vietnamese Villages as you see the villagers work the local rice fields, take live pigs to market on bicycles and plough the fields with their large water buffaloes.

Arrive in Halong and board a traditional sailing junk. As the vessel sets sails, you will be greeted by the Crew Team who will aim throughout your stay at providing you with the highest standards of service for a pure pleasure and utmost comfort onboard. Discover some of the treasures disseminated across the Bay of the Descending Dragon during the afternoon: fascinating caves, pristine beaches, picturesque floating villages, fantastic rock formations rising up out of emerald water. While onboard, you can take advantage at leisure of the cruise services; surrounded by a stunning setting in motion, you could attend our chef's cooking demonstration and try your skills in the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking.

Defined to be one of the highlights of your stay, a highly refined, innovative and varied cuisine will be presented for Lunch and Dinner in the elegant dining-room, accompanied by a wide selection of wines and beverages (with extra charge applied) for drink).

In the evening enjoy the entertainment activities as movie night, squid fishing or just enjoying a cocktail surrounded by limestone rocks majestically springing out from silent waters in the night.

Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Danang – Hoi An

Early birds can attend a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck at the break of dawn. Start the day enjoying some delights with a light breakfast and follow by a colorful brunch. Continue exploring Halong Bay sailing across its 2000 islets and visiting some of its major highlights. Your cruise will come to an end at the pier in Halong late morning.

You have the option to visit a pottery workshop on the trip back to Hanoi before flying to Danang in the afternoon.

You have the option to visit a pottery workshop on the trip back to Hanoi before flying to Danang in the afternoon.

Vietnam Airlines: Hanoi – Danang (Flight schedule TBA)

You will meet your guide on arrival Danang airport, be transferred and check-in to your hotel in Hoi An. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Danang & Hoi An, answer any questions you have. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.

Situated along the south central coast of Vietnam, Hoi An is an outstanding example of a well-preserved ancient town that has been designated a World Heritage Site. Known as Faifo in the past, it was a major port town that boasted multi-cultural influences from the 16th – 18th centuries. Today, it is a quaint and picturesque town that can be easily explored on foot.

Day 5: Hoi An

Start your morning with a leisurely drive through the countryside, heading to Tra Que vegetable village which is named after a sweet scented herb they grow and use to flavour Hoi An specialties like Cao Lau noodles. Upon arrival, learn about the history and custom of this charming village. Experience an organic discovery tour with the local farmers. Have an opportunity to chat with the friendly farmers to learn the traditional gardening methods and how they cultivate vegetables, etc... Bid farewell to your host family and transfer back to town.

Continue the day activity with the walking tour of Ancient Town. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a major and prosperous Asian trading port. Hoi An’s architecture and relaxed lifestyle have changed little over the years. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrianized streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past.

The narrow lanes are ideal for a guided leisurely walking tour. There is plenty to visit including the old merchant’s houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colourful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.

Enjoy included lunch at nice local restaurant.

Then after lunch, have your free time. Return to hotel and relax or ask your guide to take you to visit some interesting places processing traditional crafts like lantern marking, social enterprise and/or silk & clothes making.

Day 6: Hoi An – Cooking Class

We invite you to come and experience this unforgettable culinary event! This tour offers you a unique experience of cooking local specialties. Leaded by a Vietnamese chef Ms. Van/ Thom who is perfect hostess with a deep knowledge about Vietnam and what is most interesting to foreigners, the class gives a fabulous insight into Vietnamese culinary skills in a friendly and relaxed setting. This wonderful course is suitable for both experienced chefs wanting to learn new techniques or amateur cooks who simply want a fun day out. The tour includes a market visit giving chance to interact with the local sellers, showing you how to select good fresh ingredients and purchasing some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson. Getting back at the school (home) where, there is about one and half hours spent on explaining the art of Vietnamese gastronomy and the use of special ingredients. You will make a preferred dish that will first be demonstrated and then you make them. Enjoy lunch of the dishes you cooked. (Note: maximum 12 pax join-in only, private tour is on request with extra fee)

Return to hotel after the class and rest of the afternoon is free at leisure.

Day 7: Hoi An to Hue

You will leave Hoi An for Hue via Danang, the guide and driver will take you over the beautiful Hai Van Pass - Vietnam's geographical and psychological boundary between north and south. The peak of the pass lies perpetually shrouded in clouds. Stop en-route in Danang, you will visit the Marble Mountains, five sacred hills containing dozens of Buddhist shrines.

Arrive Hue, a classic Hue light lunch with some Hue specialties, bún bò Huế (beef and vermicelli noodle soup), a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli (bún) and beef (bò) and/or other local specialties like “Bánh ươt” and “Bún thịt nướng”… before embarking on our tour of the city’s imperial monuments.

Continue to visit one of the famous traditional garden houses of Hue. These houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in large and attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court and the house’s traditional architecture has long been associated with the natural environment and the ancient belief of ‘feng-shui’. Next stop is Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument, which stands on the riverbank with its impressive seven storey tower.

Check in the hotel and refresh. And this evening, enjoy an exclusive dinner at Y Thao Garden restaurant.

Day 8: Hue – Fly to Saigon

You will meet your guide on arrival Saigon airport, be transferred and check-in to your hotel. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in southern Vietnam is a sprawling metropolis of ten million people. Formally renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam-American war, locals still refer to Saigon. With thousands of motorbikes zipping past luxury cars, French colonial buildings dwarfed by modern skyscrapers and traditionally dressed school girls riding bicycles past trendy city workers, Saigon is an exciting city of contrasts.

Early evening, pick up from hotel. With all its hustle & bustle, Saigon is a city on the move! Discover what this thriving and exciting metropolis can offer in terms of street food, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. After a briefing at your hotel lobby about the logistic, be introduced to your driver and start the journey. Stops include dinner and drinks at Saigon's best authentic street food, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Drive to District 4 to taste various snail dishes which are very popular in Saigon. Then it’s back to District 3 to sample a southern Vietnamese specialty – Banh Xeo (rice pancake with pork and prawns). Finally, head to a local Vietnamese style coffee shop and annoy a long slow coffee – the local way.

Day 9: Saigon – Cooking Class and City Highlights

This morning, a local chef will accompany you to the vibrant central market, introducing to let you understand more about Vietnamese ingredients and its substitution and also guiding you selecting some fresh vegetables, spices and other ingredients. Proceed to the local restaurant, get to know about the "Corner of Vietnamese Traditional Kitchen" while enjoying the welcome drink. Then start the hands-on cooking class. Participate to "Food preparation" with Chef and you will receive a detailed explanation of the ingredients and utensils often used in the Vietnamese kitchen. The chef will demonstrate the preparation of typical Vietnamese traditional dishes before you “become the chef” as you prepare and sample the dishes you and your fellow classmates create. This is an excellent opportunity for you to use your artistic flair and to prepare your favourite Vietnamese dishes. This cooking class truly offers authentic Southern Vietnamese cuisine. Each participant receives a manual and certificate upon completion of the course.

Complete the cooking, continue the day with further visit the city. Visit the landmark Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. It was towards this modern building that North Vietnamese resistance fighters tanks (Viet Cong) rolled on the morning of April 30, 1975 as Saigon fell. This fascinating building is filled with history still fresh in the minds of many.

You may also like to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight into the Vietnam-American war from a Vietnamese perspective. Next stop is the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick building with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris, then head across the square to the Central Post Office designed by the French architect Gustav Eiffel.

In the evening, attend a special dinner in the dark at NOIR local restaurant.

Day 10: Saigon Mekong Delta

This morning, drive to visit Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum, the FITO Museum, displaying an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs, objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine can be seen in the galleries.

Head out of the city centre on a short 15 minutes drive to District 5 to visit Thien Hau temple, built by the Cantonese congregation in the early 19th century to honour the Goddess of the Sea. The temple’s ornate interior courtyard is always full of life as worshippers from the local Chinese community come to offer their prayers. Take time to make a wish, write it on a small card and attach it to one of the incense coils in the local custom.

Leave Saigon for about 3 hour drive heading south west of Saigon. The Mekong Delta, is known as the rice bowl of Vietnam. You will notice lush rice paddies and fruit farms emerging alongside the highway as you leave the city behind for the peaceful Mekong Delta. On arrival, check in the resort and refresh.

16:00 Follow you chef visiting the local market and also discover how the local people of the Mekong making their life in the market and their culture of eating… Then return to hotel and take part in the cooking activities and enjoy the dinner of what you cook.

Day 11: Mekong Delta Visit – Saigon Departure

Embark on your private charming wooden boat, a wooden motorboat, which will help you get closer to daily life and agricultural activities along the Mekong River. Visit the small colourful Cai Be floating market, experience how people exchanging goods, fruit and many other commodities on their boats.

Take a walk along country roads and be rowed in a sampan along the small canals surrounded by typical coconut palms. Stop by a tropical orchard garden of a farmer for a tasting session of honey and some exotic fruits and a traditional folk song performance... Engage in a casual chat with your host and stroll through the garden to get an insight into daily farming life.

Visit a family-run business. Visiting some locale home factories that produce rice paste, rice popcorn and coconut candy. Proceed to evergreen islands among the Mekong River through a large network of meandering tributaries, crisscrossed with countless arroyos.

Enjoy included light lunch at local restaurant, taste some local delicacies before returning to Saigon in the afternoon and transfer to airport for late afternoon or evening departure flight home.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Superior:from AU $2,694
Deluxe:from AU $3,191

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

Inclusions:
  • All breakfasts at your hotel each morning
  • All airport transfers
  • All internal airfares and transport on tour
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits
  • Halong Bay private cabion on join-in boat cruise
  • Rickshaw ride
  • 2 domestic flights
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities
Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

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