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Overview

In the past few years Vietnamese food has become more and more popular around the world. With its long history and colonial influence, its own appropriation of the middle and southern regions, and its varied regional geographies, Vietnam provides diverse food culture and interesting dining etiquette. Savour the flavours of Vietnam from Saigon to Hanoi on this tasty discovery.

Trip Highlights

Culinary Delights of Vietnam

South to north foodie discovery of Vietnam

Explore interesting culinary scene from coffee to craft beer to street food by vintage vespa.

Culinary discovery of Hoi An

Visit a family-run organic farm and engage in a ‘from farm to table’ hands-on cooking experience with a nutrient expert in Hoi An.

Private dinner in the home of celebrity chef

Enjoy an interactive family home meal while understanding Vietnamese cuisine in the home of a celebrity chef in Hanoi.

Itinerary

1

Arrival Saigon

HCMC airport – HCMC center (12km) : 30 minutes

Upon arrival, your private guide and car will meet you outside and transfer to hotel for check in.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Saigon.

2

Ho Chi Minh City

This morning at 09:00 meet the guide and engage in a leisurely  2km walking city tour passing the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of famous French architect Gustave Eiffel, it is now considered a symbol of Saigon and one of its most famous landmarks. Walk along Dong Khoi street, formerly La Rue Catinat and pay a visit to Gia Long Palace – Ho Chi Minh City Museum for its beautiful architecture and listen to its history through times. Then stroll through Ben Thanh market to enjoy the hustle and bustle of daily life .

Enjoy a welcome lunch at the cozy Secret House with authentic family shared style meal in the village feel ambiance. Remainder of the afternoon is free at leisure.

This evening be picked up from the hotel at 19:00. Hop on a small and colourful Citroen car (2CV or La Dalat dating back 1969-1975) and delve into Vietnam’s nightlife and booming craft beer culture. Meet and mingle with the locals while enjoying locally brewed beer and snacking on gourmet tapas. Then get a taste of the broad range of flavours from the impressive craft beer scene in this vibrant city. Enjoy the beer while a representative at each brewery venue shares knowledge, stories and the actual brewing process with unique ingredients to understand and appreciate the taste of their creations. Pay a visit to the independent brewers who still produce small homemade batches of beer, to the more famous brand of craft beer and cider in town. Apart from multiple tastings of the best beers, each place also offers a variety of delicious and elaborate food pairings including gourmet tapas and some Vietnamese inspired bites. Raise a glass and toast to a night out alongside locals before returning to the hotel around 22:30.

Overnight in Saigon.

3

Saigon – Hoi An (Flight)

HCMC – HCMC’s airport (12km) : 30 minutesDanang airport – Hoi An (40Km) : 50 minutes

This tour begins at 08:30. Meet with the guide and walk through different corners of the city to explore Saigonese’s morning habits and the importance of coffee drinking in Vietnamese's culture.

Start with a stroll through a buzzing local residential area and delve right into local life while browsing the street café, watching people enjoying their morning coffee and reading news or chatting with each other. Locals usually drink coffee after having breakfast. Do the way locals do by ordering ‘bun thit nuong’ consisting of fresh noodles topped with grilled pork at an eatery. Walk around to observe the bustling street eats scene and try another piece of sticky rice or hollow donut. 

Carry on to discover an 80-year old stocking coffee shop where they have unique ways of making coffee and listen to coffee tales.

Conclude the tour by heading to Barista Saigon coffee studio. Meet with a certified barista to get an introduction about Vietnamese specialty coffee and learn expert coffee brewing techniques. Choose from a variety of courses, focusing on espresso, latte art or professional ways to judge the quality of coffee. Transfer back to your hotel around 11:30 for checking out.

Later this afternoon, transfer to the Saigon airport for a flight to central Vietnam.  From the Danang airport, it’s a 30-minute drive to the ancient port town of Hoi An. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the center of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday.

Overnight in Hoi An.

4

Hoi An

Today, leave the hotel at 09:00 for a short ride to a family-run organic farm today. Located quietly away about 3km from the Old Town center, this farm is established by love for food and local cuisine of the founder, a nutrient expert and her teammates. Be greeted by her team start the unique experience!

With the varied landscape of Vietnam, the country’s cuisine contains a brilliant balance of aromatics, heat, sweetness, sourness, and fish-sauciness. As with other Asian cuisines, it's all about the yin and yang; the sweet and salty, the cooling and the heat, the fresh and the fermenter. Follow her to explore the farm while listening to her inspiring stories about how to use food and vegetables as a cure for health. Pick up some ingredients and head to the lovely kitchen right at the farm to make some dishes.

There are five dishes to learn to cook. Take a chance to get hands-on on how to make rice flour with the old stone grinder, rice paper with copper vessels and invent a personal organic juice recipe. Once ready, sit down and feast on a delicious meal of authentic local cuisine. After filling up on these home-cooked delights, return to Hoi An in the afternoon.

This afternoon, take a 1.5 hour walking tour - the best way to see this marvelous town. Visit the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and appreciate remarkably well-preserved traditional merchant houses that have withstood more than 200 years of weather and war.

Then spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure to explore the hidden corners or return to the hotel to rest.

Overnight in Hoi An

5

Hoi An - Hue

Hoi An to your chosen hotel in Hue (150km): 3 hours

Spend the morning at leisure. Check out of the hotel at noon and then take a 2.5 hour transfer to Hue via Hai Van tunnels.

Arrive Hue and check-in to the hotel. This late afternoon at 16:00,  go on an exhilarating and fun vintage Vespo experience to discover Hue. The old imperial capital of Hue is popular not only for its attractive historical monuments of the Nguyen Dynasty but also for its richness in culture and cuisine. There’s no better way to explore the nightlife of Hue and its tasteful flavors than sitting on the back seat of a Vespa for an adventure through charming streets.

Get a great chance to learn about Hue’s gastronomy and local culture. First, visit a vintage Vespa collector and taste food with the family. Then ride to some hand-picked local family-run venues that serve the best authentic local foods. Immerse in a world of Hue specialties, including bun bo hue (Hue beef noodle soup), ‘banh khoai (sizzling pancakes), sweet soups and a variety of Hue green leave cakes. With a full tummy, take a leisurely ride back on the Vespa to the hotel.

Overnight in Hue

6

Hue

Meet the tour guide at 08:30. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. From here take a cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax; full of lotus flowers in summer there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.

Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Constructed in 1601 the 21-metre tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous in 1963 when a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime.  The photo of his self-immortalisation was captured and is one of the most well-known images of the war.        

At noon, visit Dong Thien Pagoda then experience the vegetarian lunch prepared by the nun. The Pagoda also runs some kindergartens for poor children and the visit will contribute directly to children in these classes.  Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.                                         

Overnight in Hue.  

7

Hue - Hanoi

Hue to Phu Bai Airport (17km): 30 minsNoi Bai airport - Hanoi (38km): 40min

This morning, take a flight and head to the next city, Hanoi, the heart of Vietnam.

Today’s tour begins at 14:00. Visit the famed Temple of Literature. Wander around this incredible compound which was constructed in 1076. Become fascinated with the stories of the building and get a glimpse of the past when it served as a university and temple. Walk through Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter. This area of 36 narrow streets is a lively place to walk around while seeing and learning about Vietnam’s traditional ways of life. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure.
 

Overnight in Hanoi.

8

Hanoi

This late morning at around 10:30, be met at the hotel and transferred to a local family’s home whose host is a mini celebrity chef. This is an exclusive chance to meet a top 5 contestant on a reality cooking TV programme. This evening, get a distinctive feeling of traditional Hanoi families where long established dining etiquette has been passed down through numerous generations.

Gather around a typical family meal with a shared tray of food in the center and enjoy an interactive talk with the chef about dining practices including and some interesting dos and don’ts. For example, younger members always have to wait for the elders to eat first, or a woman always needs to sit right next to the rice pot.

Then get hands-on to prepare a traditional Hanoi family meal tray which normally includes the five fundamental tastes - spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet that also represent the elements such as metal, wood, fire, water and earth in Vietnamese culture. It is common to also find eggplant pickles that is a must for every meal. If feeling adventurous, take a sniff of the strong flavour of typical fermented shrimp paste.

Once ready, take a seat and practice the dining etiquette that was just learned while indulging in the meal and tuck-in just like how a traditional Hanoian does. Bid farewell to the host with a little hand-made souvenir gift.

Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Wine pairing dinner with fusion cuisine

Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with wine-pairing. Be served a fusion menu at the relaxing ambiance of Colette’s 32 restaurant. The ultimate food and wine pairing is when the flavours of both are good on their own, but together they make a blockbuster combination and accentuate the best in each other.

Overnight in Hanoi

9

Hanoi Departure

Hanoi - Noi Bai airport (38km): 40min

Today is departure day. The private car and guide will be at disposal to enjoy some free time for last-minute purchases or simply relax before the transfer to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport for the onward flight.

Important Information

OUR SERVICES INCLUDE:

  • Hotel accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Tours and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles with English-speaking local guide
  • Entrance fees for all visits  mentioned
  • Boat trips as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Special arrangements as specified above
  • Fast track airport on arrival and departure
  • Two way private charter to and from Hai Au Seaplane Hanoi and Halong  (flight schedule set by airlines)
  • Bottled water in the vehicles

OUR SERVICES DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • Drinks and other meals not mentioned
  • Domestic flights if not mentioned in inclusions
  • Price extra for Camera / Video
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
  •  Visa & Visa stamping fee to Vietnam
  •  International flights if not mentioned in inclusions
  •  Gratuities to guides, drivers, boats staff, servants…
  •  Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, …)
  • Any services not mentioned in the itinerary

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