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A Culinary Journey through Vietnam

13 days from £2585 per person

Vietnamese food is fresh, fragrant and flavourful and draws visitors to the country from all over the world. With its distinctive style and influences from China, Japan and France, this itinerary combines the south and north of Vietnam in a trip of culinary discovery. Starting in bustling Saigon, enjoy a cooking class and memorable visit to the floating markets of the Mekong Delta before heading to central Vietnam and the excellent restaurants of Hoi An. The journey ends in Hanoi – location of the best street-food in the country – for a final cookery class and visit to beautiful Ha Long Bay. Please note that this is a private journey, not a group tour, and as a result there is no set departure date.

Route: Ho Chi Minh City – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Hanoi

Itinerary Highlights

A melting pot of peoples and cultures, Ho Chi Minh City is home to some of the very best food in Vietnam. Try Banh Mi baguettes and also learn to cook dishes popular in Saigon.

Visitors to pretty Hoi An are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. During your stay in the town try local specialities and also attend a class at the Red Bridge Cooking School.

Hanoi is famous throughout Vietnam for its street-food. The best place to experience this is at Bia Hoi – a Hanoian institution serving locally brewed beer and delicious snacks.

Itinerary: A Culinary Journey through Vietnam

Today depart the UK on the Vietnam Airlines flight to Ho Chi Minh City. (N)
Arrive into Ho Chi Minh City where you will be met and taken to your hotel for a three night stay. Renamed at the conclusion of the Vietnam War, the city is still known to many as Saigon. Growing from a small 15th century Khmer trading port, today Ho Chi Minh City is the modern face of Vietnam – a bustling dynamic metropolis of crumbling colonial buildings, chaotic streets, colourful markets and informal pavement cafes. In the evening enjoy the street food of Saigon including the Vietnamese favourite Banh Mi baguettes. (D)
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City: Majestic Hotel
Upgrade option: Caravelle Hotel
Alternative upgrade option: Park Hyatt Saigon
This morning visit Ben Thanh Market which is considered by many to be the heart of Saigon. Here you will be helped to choose ingredients for your cooking class then head to the Mai Home Cookery School for a hands-on cookery lesson where you will create some typical Vietnamese dishes. For lunch enjoy the dishes you have made then take a private tour of the city. Places of interest include the Presidential Palace, General Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral. End the day with a walk down Dong Khoi Street to the Opera House – a street that featured prominently in Graham Greene’s famous ‘The Quiet American’. (B/L)
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City: Majestic Hotel
Upgrade option: Caravelle Hotel
Alternative upgrade option: Park Hyatt Saigon
Leaving the city, today drive south to the Mekong Delta and Cai Be to board the Cai Be Princess, a traditional sampan made from bamboo, wood and rattan. Before roads were improved, boats such as these were an essential means of transport and even today they are a handy means of reaching the delta’s isolated river communities. From your sampan see the colourful life of the river and make stops to visit some local riverside communities. End your cruise with a river-side lunch at a colonial villa, before returning by car to Ho Chi Minh City. (B/L)
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City: Majestic Hotel
Upgrade option: Caravelle Hotel
Alternative upgrade option: Park Hyatt Saigon
This morning fly to Danang in central Vietnam and on arrival transfer by car to Hoi An – a quaint, picturesque town of winding cobbled streets, pretty wooden merchant houses, pagodas and silk merchants. Around two-hundred years ago Hoi An was a bustling little port home to Chinese traders and with a strong commercial link to Japan. Tonight dinner is included at the Morning Glory Restaurant in Hoi An – a restaurant that focuses on street food and the traditional dishes of this region. Highlights include the pork-stuffed squid and shrimp mousse on sugarcane skewers. Stay for two nights in the old town. (B/D)
Accommodation in Hoi An: Vinh Hung Emerald Resort
Upgrade option: Anantara Hoi An Resort
This morning visit the local market before taking a boat along the Thu Bon River to the Red Bridge Cooking School to enjoy an informal cooking lesson. Your chef will explain the secrets of popular Hoi An specialties such as Cao Lau, a medley of a yellow noodles, pork slices and pickled hot peppers, and Mi Quang, a noodle dish featuring quail eggs and baked rice cakes. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax and enjoy Hoi An. (B/L)
Accommodation in Hoi An: Vinh Hung Emerald Resort
Upgrade option: Anantara Hoi An Resort
Leaving Hoi An follow Highway 1 as it winds its way over the Hai Van Pass. This is one of Vietnam’s most beautiful stretches of road and there are fabulous views along the coast. With one foot planted firmly in the past, Hue is a city of infinite charm and personality. Home to the powerful Nguyen dynasty, Hue once sat at the centre of a vast Vietnamese empire. Despite the damage caused by the 1968 Tet Offensive, much of this magnificence remains and later travel by boat down the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda – one of the oldest religious structures in the city. Stay for two nights in Hue. (B)
Accommodation in Hue: Pilgrimage Village Hue
Upgrade option: La Residence Hotel and Spa
This morning drive out of the city to the village of Phuoc Tich, noted for its ‘Nha Ruong’ – traditional houses with unique gardens. Visit one of the houses and try making Banh Gai It, one of the traditional cakes of Hue, with your host Mrs Kieu. Afterwards continue by car, or cycle the 30kms, through the countryside to Tam Giang Lagoon for a seafood lunch. Before returning by car to Hue take a boat on the lagoon stopping to meet some of local families who live by the riverbank. (B/L)
Accommodation in Hue: Pilgrimage Village Hue
Upgrade option: La Residence Hotel and Spa
This morning fly from Hue to Hanoi where you will stay for two nights. A handsome city of tree-lined boulevards, temples, lakes, parks and a frenetic, vibrant old colonial centre, Hanoi’s charm lies in the preservation of a distinct North Vietnamese culture and way of life distinct to that of the south of the country. This afternoon visit Ngoc Son temple then travel by cyclo through Hanoi’s old quarter. End the day here trying street food with the locals, sampling the local beer at Bia Hoi then trying flame grilled Vietnamese barbecue beef, chicken, tofu and vegetables. End the night with dessert from Hanoi’s best-known ice-cream parlour. (B/D)
Accommodation in Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel
Upgrade option: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
Start the morning by visiting colourful Chau Long, one of the city’s main produce markets, then head to the Hanoi Cooking Centre where your teacher will explain the basics of Vietnamese cuisine. Create a variety of Vietnamese dishes and then enjoy these at lunch. This afternoon you will be at leisure and in the evening go for dinner at one of the city’s traditional restaurants to try ‘Cha Ca’, a local specialty of grilled fish, dill, peanut and vermicelli rice noodles. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel
Upgrade option: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
This morning leave Hanoi and travel through the countryside by road to Ha Long Bay for an overnight cruise. There are a number of different junk boats that operate on Ha Long Bay and we can also organise a private charter cruise. At Ha Long Bay over 3,000 limestone-karst islands protrude from the sea to create a labyrinth of channels, secluded beaches and yawning caves. The scenery here is unlike anywhere else in the country and spend the remainder of the day cruising the bay. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Ha Long Bay: Dragon Pearl Junk Boat
Upgrade option: Jasmine Junk
After breakfast visit a beautiful limestone grotto then climb back onboard for a final view of Ha Long Bay while cruising back to the dock. Your car will be waiting for you to transfer you back to Hanoi where you will have a short stay room at the Silk Path Hotel. In the evening transfer to Hanoi airport for your return flight to the UK. (B)
Accommodation in Hanoi: Silk Path Hotel
Upgrade option: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel
Depart Hanoi on the Vietnam Airlines flight non-stop to the UK. (N)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with local English speaking guides

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Meals unless specified

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

01892 515 966 Request a Quote

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