A Culinary Journey through Vietnam

14 days from £2990 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.

Day 1 Depart UK

Today depart the UK on the Vietnam Airlines flight to Ho Chi Minh City. (N)

Day 2 Arrive Ho Chi Minh City

Arrive into Ho Chi Minh City where you will be met and taken to the Caravelle 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)

Day 3 Ho Chi Minh City

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)

Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City – visit the Mekong Delta

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)

Day 5 Ho Chi Minh City to Danang – by air
Danang to Hoi An – 30kms

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 at the Anantara Hoi An Resort. (B/D)

Day 6 Hoi An

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)

Day 8 Hoi An to Hue – 130kms

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 at the Saigon Morin Hotel or upgrade to La Residence Hotel and Spa. (B)

Day 9 Hue

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).

Day 10 Hue to Hanoi – by air

This morning fly from Hue to Hanoi. On arrival you will be met and taken by car to the Hanoi Boutique Hotel for a two night stay. 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)

Day 11 Hanoi

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)

Day 12 Hanoi to Ha Long Bay – 165kms

This morning leave Hanoi and travel through the countryside by road to Ha Long Bay to board the Jasmine Junk Boat for an overnight cruise. Alternatively upgrade to the Violet Junk or we can 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)

Day 13 Ha Long Bay to Hanoi – 165kms

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 Hanoi Boutique Hotel. In the evening transfer to Hanoi airport for your return flight to the UK. (B)

Day 14 Hanoi to UK

Depart Hanoi on the Vietnam Airlines flight non-stop to the UK. (N)

 

KEY: N = No meals B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner

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 price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request

What To Do Next?

For further information or to book on this unforgettable small group tour, please call us today. This particular tour has been specially created including specific destinations and experiences, and therefore cannot be amended to suit individuals’ requirements. For alternative tours, which can be tailored exactly to your needs, please call us.

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