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VIETNAM – Gastronomy – 11 Days / 10 Nights

• A private culinary tour is an in-depth exploration of Vietnam
• Vietnam, the gourmet’s paradise, well-known for its exotic cuisine
• Amazing tastes and flavor from South to North
• Experience a Vietnam culinary tour with cultural highlights, cooking classes and dining in gourmet restaurants

 

Day 1: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City
You will be welcomed by your local guide at Ho Chi Minh City airport and travel by air-conditioned vehicle to the city and your hotel. The balance of the day will be free at your leisure.

Meals included: Meals on your own account
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: Hotel rooms will be at your disposal from 14:00

 

Day 2: Cooking class – Ho Chi Minh City tour – Street food tour after dark on a Vespa
The morning will be devoted to discovering the culinary delights of Ho Chi Minh City. Your cooking class will begin with a stroll to the market to select your ingredients. Going to the market will also be a good chance for you to experience the daily life of the Vietnamese people. After that you will learn to cook some local dishes with the assistance of the chef. Lunch will give you the opportunity to taste what you have just made and to sample additional dishes prepared by the cooks.
In the afternoon, visit some of the historic sites of the city: including Cho Lon and Thien Hau Pagoda, the former Saigon Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Opera House.
In early evening, drivers with their Vespa scooters will pick you up from the hotel for a street food tour in the city. First stop will be Café Zoom to sit and “watch the world go by” while enjoying a cocktail and appetizer before adventuring to some favorite local eating spots. You will then ride to a part of Chinatown and head on to District 4 through busy streets and alleys to enjoy street sea-food and cold drinks, at places that other foreigners won’t be found. Leaving district 4 to district 3 the tour will pass through downtown district 1 to take in the sights on the way to trying banh xeo, a specialty of Saigon, and other southern food with the locals. Then the tour will continue to a hidden Vietnamese-style coffee shop to have a taste of Vietnamese music (live). After this, you will be brought to a lively bar to enjoy a drink with more live music.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and street food dinner
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 3: Ho Chi Minh City – Mekong Delta
You will be taken from Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Thia Canal in Cai Be District, where you will start your excursion deep into the Mekong Delta area. Feel the daily rhythm of life and the peaceful atmosphere by experiencing the many activities that the locals are used to doing, such as taking local ferries to cross small canals and rivers. You will then begin cycling for about 2 hours on small lanes passing by a local church, local market, a brick kiln and lush orchard gardens. Stop en-route at a local house where you can sample seasonal fruit along with tea and honey and even local wine. By the end of morning, take a boat trip to another local house to enjoy lunch.
Then you will experience a leisurely rowboat trip along the small Cay Da canal and further explore the area. Later in the afternoon, you will travel to Can Tho by road.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Distance: 120 kilometers – 2 h 30min

 

Day 4: Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh City – Hue
The morning will begin with an early trip to Ninh Kieu Quay where you will board the Mystic Mekong (non-private vessel) for a cruise to the lively, colorful floating markets of Cai Rang. During breakfast, enjoy the scenery of local daily life on the banks, thanks to the broad view and the spacious accommodation on the Mystic sampan. Leaving the floating market, the Mystic sampan will take you to a husking factory where you will have a chance to discover how rough rice is transformed into white rice in Vietnam. Or you may pay a visit to a local orchard instead for fresh fruits. Then the Mystic will cruise back to Can Tho city to arrive at the old market in mid-morning. Upon disembarkation you will be picked up and then continue to Vam Xang where you will start a bike ride along small roads and lanes of the local villages. Discover a lush fruit orchard with more than 50 different types of fruits; your guide will invite you to taste some seasonal fruits. You will witness the daily life of the locals while pedaling past an orchard, smithy, nursery…
Take a short rest before heading to Ho Chi Minh Airport for a brief 1-hour flight to Hue. You will stop en route to visit a Cao Dai temple. Upon arrival in Hue you will be driven to the hotel for check-in.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Distance: 180 kilometers – 4 h 30min

 

Day 5: Hue
In the morning, you will pay a visit to the impressive Imperial Citadel of Hue. Following the visit, start cycling towards Phu Mong village, which was the Mandarin’s and features traditional, charming architecture. After that, you will continue your ride in the shaded and cooler atmosphere towards an ancient garden house called Xuan Vien Tieu Cun, built in 1894; it is preserved intact with a venerable design. This house was originally the residence of Pham Huu Dien (a minister of Rite under the Nguyen dynasty), and has now been passed down to his granddaughter – Mrs Pham Thi Tuy. She is a woman who reflects the spirit of the house with her simple beauty, just like that of the Hue women in ancient times. With a cup of green tea, fresh fruits from the garden and stories full of humor, you may feel an invisible thread pulling you back from leaving the house and continuing on your bike journey. However, once back on your bike, you will continue to a nice local restaurant and enjoy lunch.
In the afternoon, visit Minh Mang tomb – one of the most beautiful tombs in Hue. Finish your day with a walking tour around Dong Ba Market, to discover the typical local foods of the Hue people. It will be a great chance for you to explore and taste the central Vietnam culinary specialties. You will be back at your hotel in the late afternoon and spend some free time at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Distance and duration of cycling: ~13 kilometers – 3 hours

 

Day 6: Hue Cooking Class – Hoi An
In the morning, travel to the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda. Afterwards escape from the busy city of Hue to a beautiful and quiet spot on the river, Hue Inn Side Out, a charming cooking class in Thuy bieu Village on the bank of the Huong River, with an open mini bar and a beautiful Thanh Tra garden. You will enjoy the cool breeze and the stunning view of the iconic Thien Mu Pagoda overlooking the garden. For the cooking class, you will put your culinary skills to the test by way of Hue style cooking. This will be a hands-on cooking experience from start to finish culminating with the opportunity to enjoy your handy work in the garden setting.
After the class you will depart for Hoi An via the scenic Hai Van Pass to view one of the most beautiful panoramas in Vietnam as you look out over the central coastline. You will also stop at the quiet, white sandy beach of Lang Co. You will arrive in Hoi An in the late afternoon and proceed to check-in at the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Distance: 125 kilometers – 3 hours

Option: Dinner on a bamboo raft
Later in the afternoon, you will have a chance to experience a short basket boat trip on the Co Co river to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery and a stunning sunset in Hoi An on the way to The Field Restaurant & Bar. Upon arriving in your basket boat at the restaurant, fresh local vegetables will be prepared as appetizers on a private bamboo raft on the Co Co river bank. Dinner will be served with fresh food and the daily catch from the river. Afterwards, you will return to your hotel for relaxation.

 

Day 7: Hoi An – Street food tour
Wake up in the early morning to discover Hoi An, and appreciate the true value of this legacy of over 800 historical monuments, listed as UNESCO World Heritage town. You will try some of the local food along the way. Then enjoy a cup of coffee or tea at Reaching Out – a special teashop where all the waiters and waitresses are deaf staff who are given a chance to have a self–reliant life and integrate into the community by being professionally trained to work there. It will be a peaceful moment for you to enjoy the silence and savor the taste of the coffee.
In the afternoon you will make your way back along Hoi An’s streets, which are filled with a myriad of street food carts, stalls and vendors. The street food tour will be an introduction designed to give you the opportunity to enjoy a few of the Hoi An specialties cooked up by our family friends. Meet the faces behind the stock pots who will teach you how the Hoi An locals deal with those condiment trays! You will be taken on a journey through the old town and its outskirts and you will get to chow down with the locals at stalls you’d never find on your own. The tour will end at a street-side coffee, admiring the sunset over the Thu Bon river, giving you the choice to stay in town to end the evening or return to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, street food dinner
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 8: Hoi An – Danang – Hanoi
In the morning, take a boat trip to Cua Dai (approximately 30 minutes). Upon arrival, you will join in the daily activities of the local fishermen. Afterwards, take a coracle (round basket boat) for a tour to the mangrove forest of coconut trees. You will disembark in mid-morning and spend the rest of your time in Hoi An exploring the town.
According to your flight time, you will meet up with your guide for the trip to Danang Airport and your brief flight to Hanoi. Here you will be welcomed and driven to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 9: Hanoi – Street food tour
You will experience a full-day tour of Vietnam’s capital city, including the Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his traditional stilt house and the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature, also known as the “First University of Vietnam”.
In the afternoon, pay a visit to the Museum of Ethnology to learn about Vietnam’s diverse culture (54 ethnic groups in all). After that you will take a walking tour to explore the Old Quarter of Hanoi.
In the early evening, discover the street food of Hanoi while walking through the Old Quarter streets. It will be a perfect chance to eat all street food in the most exciting way, as locals do. Stepping along sidewalks, now mainly used for motorbike parking and outdoor makeshift shops, you will surely find the answer to the question: what is special about the Old Quarter of Hanoi? You will taste all the Vietnamese specialities such as banh cuon (the traditional Vietnamese rice pancake), banh mi (the famous Vietnamese sandwich), pho (special Vietnamese noodle). You will then stop at the bia hoi corner near Ta Hien street and first-hand experience the Vietnamese fresh beer, which is so popular for both Hanoian and the visitors.
Walk along Hoan Kiem lake and enjoy a tasty dessert in a Vietnamese ice cream place.

Meals included: Breakfast, street food dinner
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note:
– Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is closed on Mondays and Fridays
– The Museum of Ethnology is closed on Mondays

 

Day 10: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Leave Hanoi in the morning and head straight to Halong Bay, a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site with its 3,000 islands of towering limestone dotting the bay and Gulf of Tonkin. Upon arrival in Halong, you will board a beautiful boat for an overnight cruise in the bay with an excellent menu of fresh seafood.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Overnight on board
Distance: 180 kilometers – 4 hours

 

Day 11: Halong Bay – Hanoi departure
Wake up early in the morning to enjoy the aquamarine waters of the bay at its best. After tea/coffee and pastries have been served, the boat will continue to cruise quietly through the spectacular limestone formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy this more isolated part of the bay’s spectacular and unique islands. You will return to Halong harbor after a very hearty brunch on board for your trip back to Hanoi Airport for your departure flight.

Meals included: Breakfast, brunch