The programme features the best cooking classes in 3 regions. Savoring the best and authentic food in Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City and learn the cooking hands-in and demonstration with very famous Chef. The tour also includes land excursions to visit wonderful Halong Bay and bustling Mekong Delta as well as other beautiful landscapes of the country.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (Dinner, Guide pickup)
Arriving at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. In the afternoon, you’ll ride a cyclo to visit the bustling Old Quarter, a magnet for visitors – it’s noisy and hectic, but definitely a ‘must-see’ attraction. The Old Quarter is a maze of shopping streets and restaurants with a hotchpotch of architecture - traditional tube houses, religious buildings, artisans’ workshops and cottages, colonial houses and modern concrete edifices.
After that, you will have a chance to enjoy a water puppet show, an art form in which puppets are suspended over water, directed by puppet masters who must sit semi-submerged for hours at a time. The tradition of water puppetry is at least 1,000 years old, originating with peasants in the Red River Delta of the north. The puppets, which the French used to call “the souls of the Vietnamese rice fields,” are made of the water-resistant wood of the fig tree and depict villagers, farm animals, dragons, and more.
In the evening, you’ll have a ‘Welcome’ dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in a restored French colonial building. You’ll spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Cooking Class and city (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
This will be a day to explore Vietnam’s capital city, first escorted and, later after lunch, an opportunity to wander around the city’s Old Quarter and Hanoi’s elegant French colonial buildings and boulevards.
Your guide will take you to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Vietnam dating back to the 11th century, and a popular attraction. Later, a visit to Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, his simple stilt house where he lived and worked, and the museum in his honour demonstrate the reverence held for Vietnam’s greatest politician and champion.
Lunch will be at the ‘Cha Ca La Vong’ restaurant to sample one of Hanoi’s typical specialties: Ca Lang. It’s a type of catfish, fried with herbs and fresh noodles. The dish is so popular that it gives its name to the street.
In the afternoon, you’ll learn to cook some typical Vietnamese dishes representative of the North of Vietnam. Accompanied by a skilled chef, you’ll be driven to a market to try your skills in bargaining and buying among the locals at a local market. When you return to the restaurant, your Vietnamese teacher will assist you to prepare and cook your dinner. Today, you will spend the night in Hanoi.
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Halong Bay. On the way, you will go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town then you embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting cruise will provide you a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way you will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. You will stay overnight on the Junk Cruise
Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi - Hue (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
Greet the day with a morning Tai Chi exercise with an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, you will visit beautiful limestone grotto then back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Your driver will be waiting for you at the pier and drive you back to Hanoi airport to catch the flight to Hue. When arrival, your guide will pick you up then take you to your hotel to check in. This quiet city is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples built under the Nguyen Dynasty. In the evening, you will make your own exploration to see Hue city by night. Overnight at hotel in Hue
Day 5: Hue Cooking Class in a garden house (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
After breakfast, your guide will take you to experience the countryside. - Touring the countryside around Hue is a great way to discover the "real" Vietnam. The cultural, religious, and educational centre of Vietnam, Hue has a lot of historic sites waiting to be discovered. Visit the 500-year old village of Phuoc Tich with its worship halls and communal houses for a taste of ancient Vietnam. And stop at the historic Thanh Toan Bridge, one of two covered bridges remaining in the country and then we will drive to visit handicraft village of Phu Cam - the one of the best-known places for making conical hats for hundreds years. This guided tour will teach you more about these hidden gems and their legacy, as nearly all of them have direct links with the old Imperial Court. The houses are not only attractive, but they also are a great way to learn about the traditional beliefs and rituals of the Vietnamese people.
After lunch, you’ll visit one of city’s ‘garden houses’ where you’ll learn how to cook some Hue traditional dishes. As well as helping you to prepare a typical Hue meal, the owner will explain the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue cuisine. When you’ve finished cooking, you’ll sit down to sample the results of your labours in the pleasant surroundings and a comfortable atmosphere of the owner’s house.
The garden houses are a unique feature of Hue. The houses are traditional, privately owned, and set in attractive formal gardens. Some have connections with the old Royal Imperial Court. Hue traditional architecture has long had close associations with the natural environment. The garden houses reflect this association. Each is highly individual - house and garden, people and scenery, plants, clouds and water co-exist and blend with each other in a harmonious context. The narrow streets and abundant flora give the garden house area a country village feeling.
Day 6: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
After breakfast, you will drive to Hoi An, crossing Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the stunning long sandy beaches and stop at Lang Co to have a short break. When you arrive in Danang city, you will visit the fascinating Cham Museum and the Marble Mountains en route to charming Hoi An. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, Hoi An was one of South East Asia's major international ports and today it still retains that special old-world feel. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure. Hoi An is also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to have a new wardrobe made up, this is the time to do it. You will stay overnight in Hoi An.
Day 7: Hoi An Cooking Tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
In the morning, you will start a day with a market tour with Chef, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. You will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later then back to the The Morning Glory cooking school, it has garnered a well-deserved reputation over the years for its classes and was the first cooking school established in Hoi An. The owner and founder Ms Trinh Diem Vy is a third generation chef and native of Hoi An whose cooking classes have featured in various publications around the world. A highly passionate individual, Ms Vy has created six cooking class programs to suit all types of interested gastronomes; from beginner, to amateur, to professional. In the afternoon, you will be free at leisure to explore the ancient town of Hoi An or shopping at tailor shops. You will stay overnight at hotel in Hoi An
Day 8: Hoi An – From Farmer to Fisherman Tour (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
The day starts with cycling the narrow roads through the countryside, passing by rice paddy fields, water buffalos, bamboo bridges and local farmers on their daily work. You’ll then board a boat to the mouth of the Thu Bon estuary where the river meets the Cua Dai Sea and cruise along the coastline observing the lives of the local fishermen.
After joining the fisherman to try your hand at catching fish in a traditional ‘Thung Chai’ basket boat, you will meander through the water palm coconut canal. During the American War, Viet Cong soldiers made use of this area as a highly effective hiding place from enemy attacks through their long struggle. Following an insightful visit to a local fishing village, you’ll be free to relax and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch before cycling back to your hotel.
Thung Chai Basket boats, similar in style to coracles in use throughout the ancient world, are widely used throughout Central Vietnam, and are highly suited to the local terrain and lifestyles of local fishermen due to their relative light weight and portability, often doubling as a carrier for various handy items. Circular and constructed of bamboo and tarred for waterproofing, these small boats can typically carry up to five people, and represent a fun-filled opportunity to touch the authentic rural soul of Vietnam. As a precaution, life jackets are provided for your safety during this excursion.
Day 9: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Guide)
You will be free after breakfast until the driver arrives to take you to the airport for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Arriving at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll be met and driven to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will discover the story of Ho Chi Minh City (formally Saigon) and hear about the history of the city from the days of French colonial rule to the tragedy of the Vietnam War. You’ll visit key locations such as the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and The Museum of War Remnants provides a very partial, but riveting, perspective of the ‘American War’: not for the squeamish! The Binh Tay market and the China Town are worth a stroll to explore the local daily life and the culture mix. You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Vinh Long Homestay (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Guide)
Today you’ll venture beyond the thrum of the city to Cai Be for a sampan cruise to the colourful Cai Be floating market. You’ll then visit local handicraft villages to see the manufacturing of rice-net for spring-rolls, fish and Soya sauces, cooking salt and the sewing of coconut-leaves for use in weather-proofing cottages. Later, a rowing boat will carry you through the maze of the Mekong Delta’s myriad channels to connect with the real life of the local people, visiting the nursery garden of celebrated farmer, Mr. Tiger, to enjoy the fresh fruits of his orchard and listen to live music performed by local artists. You’ll spend the night at the Enthusiastic Homestay, where you can prepare dinner with your hosts or wander the gardens enjoying the peaceful serenity of rural life on the delta.
Day 11: Cycling in Vinh Long - Ho Chi Minh City (Breakfast, Lunch, Guide)
Today you’ll board a boat for a short cruise on the Mekong River, and visit the brick-kilns to observe the techniques used in the making of pottery from locally sourced clay. You’ll then call at Vinh Long to visit the town market. Once you seen as much as you wish, your bicycle will be waiting for your ride along shadowy zigzagging paths passing canal-side villages, orchards and the many small and narrow bridges that are such an iconic feature of the area. You’ll see rice fields and visit a vegetable farm with an opportunity to join in the daily work of the farmers, planting and watering vegetables*. After lunch, you’ll return to Ho Chi Minh City, where you’ll spend the night.
*If your trip coincides with the rice harvests, which occur annually during February, June or October, you’ll join the farmers reaping the rice in the fields.
Day 12: Attending a cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City and departure (Breakfast, Lunch, Driver pickup)
You’ll be joining a cooking class in the morning held at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cookery Centre. Firstly, you’ll visit a local market to learn how to purchase fresh ingredients, followed by an introduction to Vietnamese culinary culture.
Following this cultural mise-en-bouche, guests get busy in the kitchen under the careful supervision of a Vietnamese, English-speaking cook. There is a whole range of menus to choose from – one for each day of the week! Each has been developed specially to give an all-round flavour of Vietnamese cuisine.
You’ll have lunch with the dishes that you’ve cooked. After lunch, you will be free until the driver arrives to take you to the airport for the departure flight.
- Free Vietnam Visa invitation letter.
- Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
- Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
- Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
- Domestic flight tickets: Hanoi – Hue, Danang - Ho Chi Minh City, including domestic airport taxes.
- The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary
- Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
- Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants and full board on the boat in Ha Long Bay.
- All sightseeing tickets.
- VAT and other taxes
- 24/7 hotline support guaranteed
- International flight tickets and airport tax.
- Lunches and dinners, except as specified above.
- Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
- Travel insurance
- Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
- Vietnam visa stamp fee
- Other services not mentioned above.