12 Days Vietnam Culinary Tour

  • Hanoi - Hue - Hoi An - Halong Bay - Nha Trang - Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta

Hanoi Culinary Tour and Vietnam Experience

Don't miss this chance to visit one of the most diverse cultures and exciting regions in the world! During your trip to Vietnam, you will be delighted by the delicious food, amazing sights, and incredible company. Either cooking some unforgettable Vietnamese dishes, sunbathing on the warm beaches, shopping in the busy markets, cycling through the countryside or relaxing on the boat cruise, this holiday will provide you with a fulfilling adventure with enough beautiful memories to last a lifetime!

Highlights

  • Vietnamese cooking class
  • Mekong Delta cruise and fishing experience
  • Overnight cruise in a junk boat in Halong Bay
  • Visit the underground Cu Chi tunnels and Sung Sot Caves
  • Personal cycling tour of Hue countryside and surroundings
  • In-depth exploration of Vietnam and its culture
  • Dragon boat ride down Perfume River
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • 8 days with instruction
  • English
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Comfort, location, and unique experiences are what accommodation in Vietnam is all about. From the hustle and bustle to serenity, accommodation will focus on contrast and variety to ensure a completely authentic experience. The centrally located hotels and resorts are all about comfort and style with a delicious breakfast every morning to fuel your day of exploration. Also, the special stays will take your Asia experience from ordinary to extraordinary. These will include cute guesthouses nestled amongst the lush countryside and along the rivers edge and a traditional Chinese-style junk boat which will sail you down the waters of Halong Bay.

Day 1

You will start your Vietnam Experience in Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to as Saigon, a cosmopolitan city that combines Vietnamese flair with American influences. The day will be spent at the hotel, where you will get to know your fellow travelers.

Day 2

On the second day, you will start your journey into the Mekong Delta, where you will cruise the Delta on a traditional boat and see Vietnam's major rice producing area. You will also be seeing local fruit farms, floating markets and everyday life on Vietnam's waterways. During your trip, you will learn about the local industry by visiting a rice paper factory, get a taste of tradition at a tea house, and enjoy a typical lunch at a local house. In the evening, you will enjoy the performance of some local musicians as you serve dinner at the local guesthouse where you will be spending the night.

Meals included: lunch, breakfast, and dinner.

Day 3

After an early breakfast, you will head back to Ho Chi Minh City through the Viet Cong's legendary tunnels in Cu Chi, where you will see booby traps, hidden doors and some of the 250 kilometers of tunnels that Vietnamese resistance fighters dug by hand to escape danger and launch surprise attacks from. If you want, you can also go down into the skinny tunnels yourself and experience them first-hand. The evening will be free to enjoy as you wish.

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 4

During the day, you will gain some insight into Vietnam's history during a city tour that starts from colonial times. On the tour you will see the Notre Dame Cathedral, a relic left from French rule, the Presidential or Reunification Palace, the former political heart of the country and you will learn how the loss of this building marked the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Then you will look through the sobering War Remnants Museum and find out about victims of the Vietnam War. In the afternoon, you will fly to the seaside resort town of Nha Trang, famous for its sweeping, golden beach, turquoise waters and fun water sports. Once there, you will be free to experience a mineral mud bath or the hot thermal springs!

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 5

This will be a free day which you can spend by sinking into the laid-back beach lifestyle. Snack on fresh pineapple or other tropical fruits from the area or try a massage and soak up the sun or cool off in the South China Sea. If you want, you can take an optional cruise among the gorgeous offshore islands, with swim stops and snorkeling off the island of Hon Mun, offering a fun way to explore the area. In the evening, you can find yourself a spot on the beach or at a waterfront bar to watch the sun set over the sea, or get into Nha Trangs nightlife with some of the group.

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 6

After a short flight to Dan Nang in the morning, you will drive on to Hoi An. Once there, you will get a real feel for the town as you take a walking tour with your local guide. The afternoon will be free to spend as you wish, either relaxing back at the hotel pool or by exploring the town on your own, maybe getting some custom clothes made at the local tailors.

In the late afternoon, you will head out on a bicycle tour of the local countryside where you will cruise past rice fields and traditional homes before riding along the riverside back into town. In the evening, you will join a Vietnamese cooking class during which you will taste just what it is about the food that gives it such a good reputation. The cooking class will cover 4 traditional dishes, which you will be able to enjoy afterwards.

Meals included: breakfast and dinner.

Day 7

On this day, you will travel by coach through the "Pass of the Ocean Clouds", on to the former imperial city of Hue. Once there, you will visit the imperial Tu Duc Mausoleum and your local guide will tell you the story of the "poet Emperor" and of the ancient burial rites as you walk around the intricately decorated pavilions, gorgeous gardens and lotus flower ponds. Your next stop will be at the 7-story Thien Mu Pagoda, where you can learn about the legend behind its construction and the events surrounding the notorious Hue Buddhist massacre.

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 8

This will be a free day, giving you the chance to explore more of Hoi An and its surroundings. During the day, you may visit the ruined Hindu temples of the Champa Empire at My Son by taking an optional excursion. Otherwise, you may look through the local galleries, antique shops, and workshops of the old town. You may also want to shop at the many stalls selling hand-woven baskets, medicinal herbs or other local specialties. If you find yourself working up an appetite, there are lots of beautiful cafs that serve great food as well as coffee and beer.

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 9

After a short flight, you will land in the northern capital of Hanoi. The hotel will be right in the middle of the city's bustling Old Quarter. Your trip manager will take you to some of the 36 trade streets found there, each one specializing in certain products. Afterwards, you can escape the busy streets with a visit to the Temple of Literature, a quiet haven of walled gardens, red-lacquered pillars and golden painted dragons. In your free time, you can navigate to the French Quarter for a change of scenery and walk the wide Parisian-style boulevards. For a real slice of Vietnamese culture, you can sit down at one of the simple draught beer sidewalk bars, pull up a stool, and hang out among the locals.

Meals included: breakfast.

Day 10

In the morning, you will visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, former president of Vietnam. Afterwards, you will go on a drive to the picturesque Halong Bay, where you will board a Chinese-style junk boat for an overnight cruise. The boat will pass hidden cover, sheer cliffs and stunning beaches before arriving at the Sung Sot Caves. At sunset, you will dock at Dao Ti Top where you will enjoy some fresh seafood during a group dinner, before settling in your cabin.

Meals included: lunch, breakfast, and dinner.

Day 11

After a relaxed breakfast, you will take a boat to explore a small, hidden grotto, and perhaps see some of the monkeys that live there. Afterwards, you will cruise back to the port and return to Hanoi to enjoy the rest of the day which will be free to spend as you wish. If you are interested, you can speak to your trip manager, who can help you get tickets to Hanoi's famous water puppet performance.

Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

Day 12

  • After breakfast, there will be some free time to say goodbye to your crew and trip manager before heading back home.

Cruise the Mekong Delta

Discover Cu Chi

Discover the Sung Sot Caves

Dragon boat ride down the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda

Explore Hanoi

Explore Hoi An

Halong Bay cruise

Stop at Dao Ti Top

Stop in Dan Nang

Visit Ho Chi Minh City

Visit Nha Trang

Visit the city of Hue and the imperial Tu Duc Mausoleum

Visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh

Visit the Temple of Literature

Your Vietnam experience will start in Ho Chi Minh City, still referred to as Saigon, a cosmopolitan city that combines Vietnamese flair with US influences post the Vietnam War and one of the most dynamic and progressive cities in Asia, offering great places to eat and drink. The French also left their fingerprints all over this Paris of the Orient, from architecture like Notre Dame Cathedral to the best pastries this side of the Eiffel Tower. Your journey will then take you into the Mekong Delta, Vietnams major rice producing area.

After a short flight to Dan Nang, you will arrive in Hoi An, a pretty little town, with history written all over it. Blending Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and European influences, this former port town is an unusual mix of architectural styles. Hoi An is known for its beautiful cloths and colorful silks and there are loads of tailors ready to whip up some made-to-order threads in record time. The locals here still use traditional methods for pottery, weaving silk and wood-carving and the merchant stalls are full of hand-woven baskets, medicinal herbs and other local specialties.

After a short flight, you will land in the northern capital of Hanoi. Hanoi is completely different to its southern counterpart, Ho Chi Minh City. It combines French flair, Chinese culture, and Vietnamese vitality. This town is a romantic living timeline and open-air museum. The Old Quarter has been Hanois commercial hub since the 15th century and is packed into a tiny square kilometer. A maze of back streets, merchant houses and shops loaded with goods gives the area its special atmosphere, with each street specializing in certain products.

Whether having a fancy dinner at the Sailing Club in Nha Trang or sitting on a tiny plastic bench in Hanoi, Vietnamese food will always delight you. The cooking class will feature 4 traditional meals which you will enjoy after the class.

Cruise to offshore islands to swim and snorkel while in Nha Trang for 20 USD

Cycle through the surroundings

Enjoy a mud bath excursion for 15 USD

Enjoy the delicious Vietnamese cuisine

Enjoy the nightlife

Get custom clothes made at Hoi An

Group photo at Hues Imperial Citadel for 6 USD

Guided tour of the My Son Temples for 18 USD

Relax at the beach

Shop at the local markets

  • 3 dinners
  • 3 internal flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang and Hoi An and from Hue to Hanoi
  • 3 lunches
  • 11 breakfasts
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • An experienced and professional trip manager and English-speaking local guides
  • Cooking class
  • Cruise the Mekong Delta
  • Cyclo ride to Hue's Imperial Citadel
  • Explore the underground tunnel network in Cu Chi
  • Ground transportation
  • Live with a local family on an overnight stay
  • Local taxes, payments, and service charges
  • Mekong Delta fishing experience
  • Overnight cruise in a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay
  • Sightseeing tours of major cities plus orientations in all other destinations
  • Take a dragon boat down the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda
  • View the Notre Dame Cathedral, General Post Office, and Presidential Palace
  • Visit Hoi An's Old Quarter and Japanese covered bridge
  • Visit the Temple of Literature
  • Visit to 3 world heritage sites
  • Visit to the War Remnants Museum
  • Airfare for arrival and departure from Vietnam
  • Extra meals
  • Gratuities
  • Insurance
  • Optional activities
  • Personal expenses

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport is Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN).

For information about the booking conditions, please send Contiki an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Zachary
    9 out of 10

    "My contiki experience was not quite what I expected....it was so much better! I would have never been able to experience 8 different european countries in 15 days by myself. For me, the best part was being able to experience all this with other people my age. I'm really glad contiki has the age range limitations. Because of it, our contiki family was super close and got along great! We all hung out, stayed out, maybe got a little too drunk, and definitely had too much fun. The trip is very fast paced, lots to see in 15 days. The accommodations were fine, not 5 star, but not shit holes either. You're rarely even at the hotels/hostels anyway.. The coach is really nice. You do spend a lot of time on the coach driving from destination to destination. You'll learn to appreciate the time you have on the coach because it means you can catch up on SLEEP! I didn't mind the coach days. Even if you can't sleep on the coach there are lots of other people on the coach with you to keep you entertained during the drive. Plenty of charging stations on the coach, and they offer a limited amount of free WiFi. You can opt to purchase additional WiFi if you want. I wouldn't recommend it though because every accommodation we stayed at offered free WiFi. The food was fine, but I'm not a foodie so I'm not the best person to comment about food. You will meet tons of cool people from all over the world (this is my favorite part). I learned heaps about Australia from some mates on the trip.. Probably headed to Australia next! I'm not sure how contiki does it but the itinerary is spot on! You get to see all the biggest tourist attractions, have just enough time to yourself, keep your belly happy, your social media updated, and then off you go to the next destination. The timing and how everything fell into place was perfect! Amazing how they make that happen. Lastly I want to mention our Trip Driver Darius and our Trip Manager Britt. Driving in Europe is so different from the USA. I really don't know how Darius switches from driving on the left side in the U.K. straight to driving on the right side once we got off the ferry in France. From the crazy lane-less roundabouts to the narrow streets in Italy somehow Darius got us safely through 8 different countries without so much of even putting a scratch on the Coach. Props to Darius! He definitely earned my trust! Our Trip Manager Britt was honestly what made my trip what it was. Not only was she also in the same age range, she was super knowledgeable. From culture questions, to transportation frustrations- Britt seemed to have all the answers. In addition she didn't just send us on our way at each destination. She actually hung out with our contiki crew the whole time. She attended all the dinners, came to the bar with us, she even drank with us! You could tell this wasn't a job to Britt: it was a passion. Would I recommend a contiki trip: ABSOLUTELY! I have no regrets at all about booking this trip. Great Job, Contiki!"

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by ERINNM
    9 out of 10

    "This was such an amazing trip! The cruise was so lovely and the drinks package was even better. Worked out about $120 AUD for unlimited drinks for the whole duration of the cruise. The food was great and the activities were fun! Santorini was really nice and The accomodation was in a pretty good location allowing us to walk everywhere. Our tour guide Steve was really great and took us everywhere and was very willing to help. Met some amazing people on this tour and absolutely loved it!! This is more of a slow paced tour which was nice but I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see the Greek islands! I would even do it again!!!"

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by Paul

    "As an individual who loves to travel and explore, I have to say that going on this tour was probably the best decision I have ever made. Vietnam was the most incredible country I have ever visited in my life. This adventure had absolutely everything you could ask for: culture, history, tradition and modernity, amazing food and tons of heavy duty exploring. This was my second time going on a Contiki Tour and all I can say is that Contiki by all means never disappoints. All Contiki does is make sure you have life changing experiences and that you transform into a world class traveler.I travelled alone and met people from all over the world. There were travelers from Canada, the U.S., the U.K, Scotland, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Everyone bonded very well and became friends for life. I must say that every day I miss all the wonderful people I met. Our tour manager, Danny, was the best. He went out of his way and worked tremendously hard to ensure we all had the greatest experience of our lives. He arranged dinners, lunch and cooking class in Hoi An, biking tours, museum tours and took care of everyone's requested accommodations very courteously."

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by a traveler

    "I had the most amazing trip and made friends for life. Our tour guide, Magdi, was amazing. I would recommend Contiki to anyone. You will never regret going and you will have the best time of your life!"

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by Hollymarie

    "I had an amazing time on this trip! It was downright amazing, but you should be ready to drink. The family I made was amazing and the food was brilliant. The trip itself was worth every cent."

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by Gail

    "I can't begin to express how much fun I had on this tour. One of the best decisions of my life was booking it and I don't regret a second of it. Our tour manager and bus driver were second to none! They put a lot of effort into our tour with every little thing they did. Also, the friends you make are probably some of the best you'll ever have. This tour is fast-paced but you really make the most of it. I would totally recommend this tour."

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by Justin

    "The trip was awesome. I went all the way through Vietnam. Contiki was great! During the trip, I met many people, did a lot of activities, got harassed and ripped off by locals, stayed in good hotels, saw the War Museum and VC tunnels, shot guns, rode scooters, had a mud bath, went to a lot of interesting places and a boat tour, swam in the river and dived off the boat and snorkeled. I also got clothes made at Yalys, rode bikes around, went to a cooking class, visited the imperial palace and local temples and pagodas, did karaoke, bought more stuff and went to Halong Bay and kayaked. Great trip!"

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by a traveler

    "The trip was well-rounded. First of all, a confession: I'm older than the usual Contiki crowd (33) and not much of a party guy, so I was a bit afraid I would not fit well with the group, given its reputation. I was completely wrong, though: the group was diverse and there was time to party but also to learn about the culture and explore the amazing sights of Vietnam.If you have the same doubts, do yourself a favor and give it a try. I must say that a lot of the success of our tour was due to our amazing tour manager, Az, who made everyone feel awesome basically the whole time, even on long drives after long nights. He is a rock-star and you would be lucky to have him on your tour."

    Contiki website, edited

  • Review by Gregy

    "This was one of the best vacations I have ever been on. I was a bit skeptical about it at first, especially after reading some reviews which made it sound like the tours were only about drinking and partying, but this trip definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a perfect mix of nature, culture and nightlife. I don't like getting wasted every night, though I do enjoy the occasional bar night here and there, however I still fit in with the group perfectly. Everything was great and Vietnam is very different from Western Countries.In particular, I enjoyed Nha Trang beach and the boat cruise, the My Son temples, driving through the Pass through the Ocean Clouds, as well as walking around crazy crowded Hanoi and getting 25-cent beer among the locals. Of course, my favorite place was Halong Bay. That place was amazing and I got to kayak and see monkeys, swim on the beach as well as visit a big cave. Another great thing about Vietnam is the food. Prior to going, my coworkers told me the food is amazing, and they were proven right. My favorite was Bale Well in Hoi An."

    Contiki website, edited

London, United Kingdom

Contiki is a coach tour company which offers holidays in Europe, Russia, Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, North America, South America, and Asia.

from --

12 days / 11 nights

Availability

This vacation is available all year round, please select an arrival date below.

 

Low season
  • February 9, 23, 2016
  • March 8, 2016

 

Regular season
  • April 2016 - April 2017

 

High season
  • February 13, 16, 20, 27, 2016
  • March 1, 5, 12, 19, 26, 2016

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