Love Asian food? Enjoy cooking? Would you like to learn the art of Vietnamese cuisine? This tour combines visits to many of the cultural and historical sights of Vietnam with mouth-watering opportunities to indulge your passion for cooking - and eating! You will not only get a sense for Vietnamese culture and daily life in the country today, but also arrive back home with hands-on experience at making truly authentic Vietnamese dishes, ensuring that, as long as there is a kitchen nearby, your trip will be well remembered.
Day 1: Arrival at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. Chauffeured transfer to your hotel to refresh yourself. Tour Old Quarter by cyclo. Enjoy welcome dinner at good restaurant in colonial building and take in a traditional water puppetry performance. Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: View architectural highlights of the city centre on a guided walking tour. After lunch, visit the Temple of Literature, site of Vietnams first university, and the Museum of Ethnology. Wind up the day with refreshments at the historic Sofitel Metropole Hotel.
Day 3: Drive to visit the traditional pottery-producing village of Bat Trang. Go touring workshops and showrooms. Take a bicycle ride for 7 kilometers along a riverside dike, then drive to Dong Ho Village known for traditional woodblock prints, and Tam Tao Village to enjoy a performance of traditional Quan Ho singing before returning to Hanoi for overnight.
Day 4: Walk to a nearby family restaurant for tea. You then venture to a trip to the local market, and a northern Vietnamese specialty cooking class. In the afternoon, youll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Hue, met and driven to your hotel in central Hue for overnight.
Day 5: Visit the Nguyen Dynasty Imperial Citadel. Cruise up Perfume River to tour Thien Mu Pagoda. Drive to Emperor Minh Mangs royal tomb complex, then learn to prepare and serve classic Hue cuisine in a garden house and enjoy your meal there. Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Drive from Hue past Lang Co Beach and over Hai Van Pass to Danang. Visit Cham Statuary Museum and stop by Marble Mountain before arriving in Hoi An for a guided tour of the Ancient Town. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 7: Take a bicycle ride for 3 kilometers from Hoi An through rural area to visit Tra Que vegetable growing village and join the locals in their daily routine. Return to Hoi An and learn how to make traditional silk lanterns. Overnight in Hoi An.
Day 8: Free time until transfer to Danang Airport for flight to Dalat, where youll be met and driven to your hotel, with the rest of the day free to explore Dalat.
Day 9: Take the cable car up to visit Truc Lam Pagoda and Tuyen Lam Lake. Visit a local artist, view the eclectic architecture of Hang Nga crazy house and learn about traditional Vietnamese embroidery at Da Lat Su Quan. Overnight in Dalat.
Day 10: Transfer to airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Be driven to your hotel for check-in and a rest. In the afternoon, tour the city centre, visiting the Museum of War Remnants, Ben Thanh Market and a lacquerware workshop. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Join a morning cooking class at the cookery center, choosing what you want to prepare from a range of menus featuring all types of Vietnamese cuisine. Enjoy lunch at the end of your class, and your afternoon is free. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 12: Free time until transfer to airport for your departing flight.
Vietnams capital city, Hanoi, is just over half the size of its southern counterpart. Like Ho Chi Minh City, it is expanding. It's more stately and calmer than its boisterous offspring, with tree-lined boulevards and large colonial villas, many of which are now embassies or government buildings, and its prices are more reasonable. It is surrounded by many craft villages, each specialising in a specific traditional craft.
Danang, in central Vietnam, is an expanding port and industrial area: its population is now well over a million. It is an attractive centre for three world heritage areas: Hue Imperial City, Hoi An Ancient Town and the My Son Sanctuary, as well as being very close to some excellent coastal resorts.
Hue is relatively small - less than a third of a million - but enjoys the status of being the ancient Imperial City (and the income from armies of tourists!). It is also a center for visits to Quang Tri Province and the Demilitarized Zone.
On the southern end of the central highland plateau, the temperate climate of Dalat attracts many Vietnamese tourists to swell its 150,000 population. Other small towns further north, such as Buon Ma Thuot, are also important centres for visitors to the Central Highlands.
Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, is by far the largest urban centre in Vietnam. It has a population of around five and a half million, a figure that is expanding rapidly as poor people migrate to the wealth of the metropolis. Saigon is the country's main commercial area: brash, noisy and, in Vietnamese terms, expensive. People seldom seem to be indifferent about it - they either love or hate the place.
The tour is a 12-day trip, but if you wish to extend your odyssey, you may consider our recommended activities and destinations as follows: