Embark on a gastronomic adventure through some of the highlights of Vietnam, indulging in real, authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Experience the best of the country’s culture, history and cuisine on a tailor-made journey from North to South, sampling everything from tasty street food to gourmet fusion dishes, learning the skills to recreate these along the way. Uncover the secrets behind Vietnam’s mouth-watering morsels with visits to fresh markets, hands-on cooking classes and time with a local food blogger.

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Exclusive dinner party in Saigon.

Interact with a local family in Hoi An.

Cook with local residents in Hanoi and Saigon.

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Day by day Itinerary

Flavours of Vietnam

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Day 1

Arrive Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi, meet your guide and transfer to your downtown hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure to recover from your flight.

Day 2


This morning travel to Chef Ai‘s House for the start of an exciting Hanoi cooking class. Meet with Ms Ai, who is passionate about Vietnamese cuisine, with 15- years experience and a Master Chef Vietnam participant.  Together, head to the neighbourhood’s wet market, walking distance from her house. See the variety of goods on offer, learning from the chef about their uses in traditional cuisine and purchasing items for the day’s cooking class. The marketplace is a fabulous place to observe local ways of life and learn about how Hanoi’s residents shop for fresh produce. Armed with the necessary ingredients, return to Chef Ai‘s home, where your chef will share the secrets behind North Vietnam’s most popular foods. After observing and assisting in the preparation, sit down and feast on the home cooked meal bringing the culinary adventure to a close.  
After lunch, heading to the fascinating Ethnology Museum (closed on Mondays). Browse the informative exhibitions to learn about Vietnam’s remarkably diverse ethnic groups and view the traditional costumes on display. Stroll the tree-lined boulevards to get a sense of the old days, wander the Old Quarter to uncover ancient temples and a rich, religious culture or head to the Temple of Literature, an oasis of calm right at the heart of Hanoi. Enjoy a walking tour through the bustling Old Quarter and later, enjoy a meal at KOTO restaurant. (B)(L)(D)

Day 3


Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3.5 hours drive to Halong Bay. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. Admire the thousands of limestone islands the Bay is famous for.

In the afternoon, enjoy an island visit and/or activities (depending on your boat’s itinerary) or just spend time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations.

Dinner is served on board. (B)(L)(D)

Day 4


Enjoy your morning on the bay - as the sun rises on Halong, you may wish to take a tai chi class on the deck, or just admire the scenery before your on board brunch as you cruise back to the port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to Danang.

On arrival In Danang, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Hoi An. You are free this evening to select your own dinner venue – Secret Garden, Morning Glory and Mango Room are just a few amongst a choice of wonderful and affordable culinary venues in the town. (B)

Day 5


Leave Hoi An by bike for a short, scenic ride into the countryside. Pedal along quiet laneways passing by water buffaloes lazing in the fields and other scenes of rural life.

Arrive at a farm and meet with a local family in their typical rural house. The guide and host family will give an introduction to the different steps of rice cultivation, explaining the cycle from start to finish. Then head into the fields to join local farmers in the rice paddies. Depending on the season, the activities may vary but, as growing rice is a year-round process, there is always something to do. During the time in the fields, chat with the farmers to discover more about Vietnam’s fascinating rice cultivation.

Return to the house and learn how to cook rice in the traditional way. As well the hosts will show how to prepare tasty local pancakes. Having worked up an appetite in the fields, a home cooked lunch is served before returning to Hoi An early this afternoon. Free at leisure the rest of the afternoon. (B)(L)

Day 6


In the morning, discover Hoi An with a walking tour. Discover the charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, former merchants’ homes, the town’s iconic 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colorful market where an array of fresh ingredients are on offer. 

Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before crossing Hai Van tunnel and dropping down to the photogenic fishing village of Lang Co. Arrive in the former capital of Hue, and check into your hotel before a free evening. (B)(L)

Day 7


Delve deeper into Hue’s rich culture with a hands-on cooking class. After shopping for ingredients at a fresh market, join a local chef at her family’s traditional garden house. Learn the secrets behind Hue’s ‘Royal Cuisine’ and discover ancient heritage while preparing a delectable lunch.

Get a taste of traditional Vietnam with a Hue cooking school experience. Start the day at Dong Ba Market. Meet with Mrs. Thu, a local resident with a passion for her city’s rich heritage. Together, browse the market stalls, discovering an array of fresh vegetables, herbs and other ingredients used in Hue’s traditional ‘Royal Cuisine’. The market also provides a great opportunity to learn about the daily lives of the Hue people and their culinary culture.
Travel to Mrs. Thu’s serene garden house, a specific type of heritage buildings found only in Hue. Take a short tour, hearing how these garden houses were designed to create harmony between architecture and the natural environment.

Following the tour, it is time to start cooking. Learn about Royal Cuisine, which is believed by many to be the pinnacle of Vietnamese gastronomy. More than just following a recipe, this cuisine requires a precise way of using spices and careful attention paid to the harmonies of taste and colour. Using these traditional techniques and heritage recipes, prepare 4-5 dishes alongside Mrs. Thu. Enjoy the delicious, home-cooked dishes while surrounded by the home’s tranquil gardens.

In the afternoon, enjoy a tour of this beautiful city. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. The ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern (the Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war) but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today. From here take a cyclo through dai noi ‘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.

After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument, depart to the tomb of the former emperor Khai Dinh which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.

Before heading back to your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide.  The market is another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.  (B)(D)

Day 8


After breakfast transfer to Hue airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to your downtown hotel.
In the afternoon, start with a visit to the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of French architect Foulhoux, it is the creation of a unique vaulted ceiling with wrought iron beams and columns reminiscent of industrial architecture, which 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 Museu, famous for its beautiful architecture and listen to its history through times.

Next, stroll through the old central market before arriving at the city’s oldest colonial-era apartment, built in 1886, and see what the young creative Vietnamese are up to from their funky boutiques and coffee shops. Sit down at one of the stylish coffee shops and interact with a local resident who moved here in 1975.

Leave the compound and have a look at the building on the other side, which used to be ‘Banque de l’Indochine’ (Indochina Bank) during the 1920s. It’s a stunning example of the ‘Indochinois’ east/west fusion style of architecture that this area is known for. After this last stop, head back to the hotel.

This evening take an unforgettable night out in Ho Chi Minh City. Meet with a passionate foodie and walk through hidden corners of the city to discover the city’s best street food while experiencing its local culture.
Start with a stroll through a residential area where locals gather after work for dinner. Mrs. Nhung’s Home Restaurant serving banh xeo, or Vietnamese pancakes and fresh spring rolls.

Continue on foot to a small alleyway and observe the daily life at sunset -the dining, the drinking and socialising. A popular nearby street restaurant serves up the city’s best local clams. Grab a stool and dive into a few plates of delicious cooking.

Carry on to discover the area’s contrasting architectural styles. Tucked away is an unassuming stall selling delicious bot chien, or pan fried rice cakes with green papaya salad. While tasting the flavourful dish, the guide explains its origins.

Move to the next stop and see friends gossiping over an evening snack called banh trang nuong –a Vietnamese version of pizza baked in a traditional oven. Sit alongside the locals and order some of their savoury treats.
Find a typical Vietnamese café to end the evening. Take some time to recap the tour, enjoy a drink and listen to Vietnamese music. (B)(D)

Day 9


Leave the busy streets and modern buildings of Ho Chi Minh City behind on this day trip to the verdant Ben Tre province in the Mekong River Delta. Drive 2-hours south of the city to this land of coconuts. On arrival in Ben Tre Province, board a local boat for a first glimpse of life inside the Mekong Delta’s maze of waterways, fertile green terrain and its family-run cottage industries such as coconut candy making.

Take a hand-rowed sampan journey under the shadow of the water coconut trees and hop on a Lambro motor-tricycle which was once the iconic vehicle and main means of transportation in Southern Vietnam dating back to the 1960s. After lunch at a riverside restaurant with Mekong Delta specialties, cruise passing bridge toward the pier for a drive back to Ho Chi Minh. (B)(L)

Day 10

Depart Ho Chi Minh City

This morning is at leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight. (B)

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