Transport: Car, flight
Hotel: hotel, junk
City & around
HCMC - Mekong Delta - Danang - Hoi An - Hue - Hanoi - Halong Bay
Update: 11/7/2013 Hits: 1225
Day 1 - Arrive Ho Chi Minh City (D) Arrive in to Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to by some as 'Saigon', and get ready to experience the exquisite cuisine of Vietnam. As you take an orientation tour, soak in the wonders of the colonial buildings and vibrant boulevards. Enjoy the flavors of southern Vietnamese cuisine tonight at dinner before returning to your luxury hotel. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City (B,L,D) Let the cooking begin! Begin your culinary discovery of Vietnam with a specially-led cooking class with a local chef who will take you through the local market first to shop for fresh ingredients. Then head back to their house for a hands-on demonstration which will help you gain insight into the diversity of the Vietnamese cuisine. After indulging in your creations, take a walk through the quieter neighborhoods of Ho Chi Minh City to discover small markets, winding laneways, and unique buildings. End your day with a a local style restaurant and one of the city's most popular eateries.Overnight at Park Hyatt, Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City (B,L) Head south to the Mekong Delta, where evergreen islands stand amidst the intricate network of meandering rivers. The Cai Rang floating market is unlike any you've ever seen, with the vendor's wares being displayed as they hang from large poles on the bow of the boat. Lunch in a superb colonial villa nestled inside a quaint village before returning by boat and car to the big city. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 4 - Ho Chi Minh City - Danang - Hoi An (B,L) Step back in time as you fly from the buzzing, modern city of Ho Chi Minh to Danang and on to the quiet former trading town of Hoi An. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the centre of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday, and a walking tour takes you through the historical vestiges of the town. Spend your morning along the town's waterways, learning about the traditional fishing techniques still used by Hoi An's residents. This afternoon culinary excursion takes you to the small village of Tra Que, located on the banks of a lagoon with fertile soil known for harvesting the country's best vegetables. Spend the morning working among the villagers, learning how they grow vegetables and cook traditional Vietnamese dishes. Gather together with the family to share the delicious meal you have just prepared. Overnight at Life Resort, Hoi An.
Day 5 - Hoi An (B,L) This morning you will be introduced to one of Hoi An's most energetic and up and coming eating establishments, the Mango Rooms. Meet with Chef Duc Tram who will be your host and teacher for the day, guiding you through Hoi Ans' bustling markets before leading hands on cooking class in the restaurant kitchen where he will impart the secrets of his signature dishes. After your morning of cooking, relax at the town's beach or spend your time browsing for souvenirs in Hoi An's art galleries and silk shops. Overnight at Life Resort, Hoi An.
Day 6 - Hoi An - Hue (B,L,D) What better way to spend a day than on a food tasting tour. Today put down the cooking utensils and warm up the taste buds to prepare for an epicurean journey through the cuisines and markets of Hoi An. Stroll through the wet market and take the opportunity to ask about those ingredients you may not recognize, navigate with your guide through the back streets and alleys of the town where you will taste local foods and learn in more depth about the history and intricacies of Vietnamese food.
Following your tour depart Hoi An for a scenic drive past spectacular beaches to the former imperial capital of Hue. Not only is this photogenic city graced with the Perfume River and enigmatic emperors' tombs, but it also home to the 'Royal Cuisine'. Tonight you will have a chance to sample this famous cuisine this evening within the premises of one of Hue's unique garden houses. Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa, Hue.
Day 7 - Hue (B,L) Start your day with a cyclo tour to the Old City of Hue. Continue to a very local market which is rarely visited by tourists. As you wander through the aisles abundant with fresh produce, learn more about these local ingredients that are infused in to the region's foods. Explore the rich culture of Hue with visits to the elaborate mausoleums of the Nguyen Emperor, the Imperial Citadel and iconic pagodas and tombs of the former Emperors of Hue. For lunch try some Hue specialty food at Huynh Anh Kim Long. Frequented only by the locals and serving banh uot, a steamed rice pancake stuffed with delicate, finely chopped pork and bun thi nuong which is a rice noodle dish served with grilled meat. At the end of the afternoon head back to your hotel.Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa, Hue.
Day 8 - Hue - Hanoi (B,L,D) After your flight to the country's capital, take a very unique insiders walking tour of Hanoi with a local food blogger. Indulge yourself in the finest food Hanoi has to offer with a local expert who shares his passion and knowledge on the country's delicacies. Taste regional delicacies and unusual foods while strolling along 'food alley' in the heart of Hanoi's main market. This gastronomic day will leave you hungry for more and give a real insight into the colorful lives of the Vietnamese people. Tonight dine at La Verticale which is located in a charming villa which dates back to the 1930's. The cuisine is considered as artistic, uncluttered at the same time extremely diverse in flavor. Overnight at Sofitel Metropole, Hanoi.
Day 9 - Hanoi (B,L,D) Today will take you on a culinary journey through Hanoi, with a full day street food and cooking class with an American chef and food writer. Start the day with the locals with Hanoi's celebrated beef and rice noodle soup, Pho. Continue to a local market within the city to learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine and to watch the buying and selling rituals of a Vietnamese market. Lunch at one of Hanoi's best bún ch? establishments, Bún Ch? Chanh, open only a few hours in the afternoon, Very few foreigners ever find this eatery so it is a very special treat. A final stop at one of Hanoi's renowned Bia Hoi, where they serve fresh draft beer and tasty snacks. Tonight dine at La Verticale which is located in a charming villa which dates back to the 1930's. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 10 - Hanoi - Halong Bay (B,L,D) The journey to Halong takes you through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Board your cruising vessel, either a traditional junk boat or a replica of a classic steamship. Have lunch as you cruise among hundreds of dramatic limestone karsts to discover unspoilt pockets of Halong Bay. Visit a cave, go swimming, kayak, take part in a Vietnamese spring roll cooking demonstration on the sundeck, or simply relax as you wind through the Bay. Overnight on Halong Bay.
Day 11 - Halong Bay - Hanoi (B,D) As you return to Halong City, enjoy a wholesome brunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations. Upon disembarkation, your driver will meet you for the transfer back to Hanoi. Enjoy your afternoon and evening at leisure.Overnight at Sofitel Metropole, Hanoi. Day 12 - Hanoi Departure (B) Today is departure day. Your private car and guide will be at your disposal to enjoy some free time for last purchases or simply relax before your transfer to Hanoi's Noi Bai Airport for onward flight.