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Culture and Culinary Tours Southeast Asia

The allure of Southeast Asia is in the unexpected blend of stunning pagodas and romantic colonial architecture, the colorful cacophony of market streets where silks and silver are sold next to cilantro and roasted fish, and the terraced rice fields and timeless villages. Experience Indochina on a unique adventure that will adapt each activity to best fit each location!


  • Cooking class in Hoi An
  • Boat trip along Chay River
  • Cooking class in Halong Bay
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Visit the central market of Hoi An
  • Delicious local meals every day
  • 15 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner


15 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: French
Group size: Maximum of 10 participants
Airport transfer included: Noi Bai International Airport
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Three-star accommodations

  • Hanoi: Angle Palace Hotel
  • Sapa: Sapa Relax Hotel
  • Train: King Express Train
  • Hoi An: TNT Villa Hotel
  • Hue: Eem Hue Hotel
  • Ho Chi Minh: Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel
  • Siem Reap: Sokha Roth Hotel
  • Luang Prabang: Villa Chitadara Hotel


Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi

After your arrival in Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), your guide and driver will pick you up and then transfer you to the hotel for check-in. You will spend the night in Hanoi.

Day 2: Hanoi city tour and night train to Sapa

After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up for the full-day tour of Vietnam’s capital city. You will visit the house of Ho Chi Minh, where uncle Ho spent the rest of his life; the One Pillar Pagoda, constructed in 1049; the Museum of Ethnology; and the Literature Temple, a symbol of Hanoi.

Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant to taste local specialites. After lunch, pay a visit to the Hoan Kiem Lake, with its Ngoc Son temple. Enjoy a water puppet show before being transferred back to the station for the night train to Sapa. You will spend the night in a shared four-bed cabin in the King Express Train. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 3: Sapa and trekking trip

Upon you arrival in Sapa in the early morning, your guide and driver will pick you at the train station and transfer you to Sapa Town. After breakfast, you will take a tour through nearby villages, which will include a walk of around four kilometers down to southwest Sapa to visit Cat Cat village, home of the Black H’mong.

There will be time to relax at the foot of the stunning waterfall, which is also the location of the vestiges of a hydroelectric power station that was constructed by the French during the colonial time in Vietnam.

Lunch of local specialites will be served by the side of the river before walking the next six kilometers to Sin Chai, also known as the roof of Vietnam and Indochina, a village located at the foot of Fansipan Mountain. Here, you can enjoy stunning landscapes before your return trip to Sapa, where you will spend the night. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 4: Sapa Market and night train back to Hanoi (other markets on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday)

Today's highlights include a boat trip along Chay River and a short walk to a Tay village. The road is relatively flat from Lao Cai to Bao Nhai bridge; however, after crossing the bridge, you will begin the journey uphill, which offers beautiful views over the valleys.

Situated 20 kilometers from Bac Ha, Can Cau is a small but very colorful market. Opening only on Saturdays, it always delivers a very photogenic display of the ethnic costumes of the Flower Hmong, Black Zao, and Phu La. After spending the whole morning exploring the market, you will go to Bac Ha town for lunch. You'll then be able to savor local dishes.

In the afternoon, you will drive downhill for about 30 minutes towards Lao Cai. There will be a stop on the way before reaching Lao Cai in order to take a short walk to Trung Do, a village inhabited by Tay people. Tay villages are always set up at the foot of a mountain or along a stream and are named after a mountain, a field, or a river. Each village contains about 15 to 20 households and large villages are divided into many small hamlets. The houses are built on stilts or in level with the ground.

You will stop by a traditional Tay house for a cup of tea before taking a boat cruise upstream the Chay River, which offers a beautiful scenery on both sides of it. The boat trip will end at Coc Ly, where your vehicle will be waiting for you for the journey back to Lao Cai. You will spend the night in a shared four-bed cabin in the King Express Train. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 5: Hanoi and Halong Bay

  • Upon arrival in Hanoi early morning, you will move to A25 Hotel near station to have breakfast and relax until cruise shuttle bus comes to pick up to Halong.
  • 08:00-08:30: Your guide will pick you up at your hotel lobby in Ha Noi, being on a modern shuttle bus heading to Bai Tu Long bay, Ha Long city.
  • 12:00: Arrive at Swan office, you have a short time to relax in the office before embarking Swan cruise.
  • 12:45: Warmest welcome drinks from the staffs. Listen to a brief of safety on board then check in your cabin.
  • 13:30: Enjoying delicious Vietnamese for lunch while leisurely cruising to the core of Bai Tu Long Bay.
  • 15:00: Leave the cruise to discover Cap La Island- the beautiful area in Bai Tu Long bay. Enjoy kayaking through the karst and breathtaking nature, swimming and relaxing.
  • 17:30: Get back to the boat and enjoy Sunset Time (enjoy tea and fresh fruits). This time is regarded as “Happy Hour” - “buy two get one free” while the cruise is sailing to the overnight anchorage.
  • 19:00: Sumptuous set-dinner on board.
  • 20:30: Free time for relaxing on the sundeck, listening to music, you may also try your luck with squid fishing.
  • If you want to join in karaoke activity, please contact your tour guide to be supported.
  • Overnight on board on Bai Tu Long bay. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included.

Day 6: Halong Bay and Hanoi

  • 06:30: Freshen up your new day with by doing Tai Chi.
  • 07:00: Breakfast will be served in Western style and furthermore with Vietnamese traditional food. Tea and coffee is available.
  • 08:00: Explore Thien Canh Son cave. Your guide will explain the history of Ha Long Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay and this Cave, made by Mother Nature.
  • 09:30: Back to your boat by tender then finish packing. Please remove all of your belongings from your cabin, you may leave heavy luggage outside of the cabin (staff will transfer directly to the pier).
  • 10:30: Cooking demonstration is organized by your guide at this time. You have a chance to make Vietnamese cuisine by yourself.
  • 11:00: Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese lunch.
  • 12:00: Disembark in Hon Gai pier.
  • 12:30: Say goodbye Halong Bay then return to Hanoi.
  • 17:30: End of Bai Tu Long bay adventure of 2 days and 1 night. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 7: Hanoi and flight to Hue

Breakfast will be served at the hotel until 07:00, when your driver will come to pick you up for the flight to Hue. Upon your arrival in Hue, you will be taken to the hotel to check in.

Day 8: Hue, Danang, and Hoi An

After breakfast at the hotel, your guide and driver pick up you to take you to visit Minh Mang Tomb and Hue Citadel, then move to Hoi An.

On the way, you can stop to visit the Cham Museum and Marble Mountain. Once there, you can spend your time walking around the historic town or exploring the many Chinese assembly halls and fascinating ancestral homes, some of which have been occupied by the same family for fifteen generations.

The riverside market is also a perfect option, as it is always a hive of activity; especially in the early morning, when the day’s catch arrives. One thing is for sure, there is no shortage of things to do in this town! You will spend the night in Hoi An. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 9: Hoi An city tour

This morning, you will join a cooking class and enjoy the delicious food you made. In the afternoon, you will go on a walking tour of Hoi An, a World Heritage Site. Along the way, visit the Japanese covered bridge, which features a Buddhist pagoda attached to one side, as well as the town's most famous landmark, a beautiful Chinese assembly hall built in 1740 as a meeting place for all Chinese residents of the town. The hall is lavishly decorated with murals and a replica of a Chinese ship, as well as the Phuoc Kien Pagoda, also called Kim Son Pagoda, built in 1697 by Chinese Phuoc Kien merchants at Hoi An.

Your tour will end at the central market, where you will find everything from fruits and flowers to tailor-made clothes and silk lanterns whose flexible bamboo frames are designed to collapse, making them easy to be taken back home as a souvenir. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 10: Hoi An and flight to Ho Chi Minh

Breakfast will be served at the hotel until 08:15, when your driver will come to pick you up for the flight to Ho Chi Minh City. The flight number is VN117, lasting from 10:15 to 11:40. Upon your arrival in Ho Chi Minh, you will be transferred to your hotel to check in. Your lunch will be in local restaurant to taste the local specialties.

In the afternoon you will take a half-day tour of Ho Chi Minh, a bustling metropolis filled with numerous shopping areas and sidewalk cafés, contrary to its northern counterpart. Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many locals, offers many interesting places to visit, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, the old Saigon post office, and a lacquerware factory. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 11: Ho Chi Minh and Mekong Delta

Today, you will be picked up at your hotel between 07:30 and 08:00 to start a full day exploring the Mekong Delta. For those with just a short time, this trip provides an overview of typical Vietnam in a three-hour drive. On the way, you can see the green paddy fields stretching towards the horizon.

After your arrival in Cai Be, you will go on board for an exploration of the Mekong Delta, where you will find lush vegetation and the lively floating market buyers bargaining. A rowing boat ride along the maze of shady canals will take you to a local orchard, where you will see the daily activities and handicrafts of local people.

Enjoy lunch at the fruit garden, afterwhich you will take a boat along the Mekong River to Vinh Long, a center of tropical fruit. Stop in for a short visit to Vinh Long market, go across My Thuan suspension bridge, and drop by Mekong's rest stop before going back to Saigon. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 12: Cu Chi Tunnels and flight to Siem Reap

Today, you will visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. This network of tunnels, which stretched for over 200 kilometers, became legendary during the 1960s and played a vital part in the U.S. and Vietnam war, as they allowed the Viet Cong to control a large rural area only 30 to 40 kilometers from Saigon.

At its height, the tunnel system stretched from Saigon to the Cambodian border. The network, parts of which were several levels deep, included innumerable trap doors, specifically constructed living areas, storage facilities, weapons factories, field hospitals, command centers, and kitchens.

Today, the remaining tunnels have become a major tourist attraction, giving visitors a unique experience and feel of what underground life during the war must have been like. The tunnels have been widened as otherwise one would not be able to enter them. For those interested, there is even the opportunity to try an AK47 or MK16 at the nearby rifle range.

In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Siem Reap. Upon your arrival in Siem Reap, your guide and driver pick you up and transfer you to the hotel for check-in. The flight number is VN 813, lasting from 16:30 to 17:30. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 13: Siem Reap tour

After breakfast at your hotel, start your sightseeing tour of the Angkor area. You will spend a full day exploring the wondrous ancient ruins within the South Gate of Angkor Thom, which is famous for its series of colossal human faces carved in stone, the impressive Bayon Temple, the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephant Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King, and the largest and the most complete temple of Angkor Wat.

This architectural masterpiece was constructed in the 12th century and covers an area of about 210 hectares. You will stroll around this massive edifice, seeing the many galleries with columns, libraries, pavilions, courtyards, and ponds full of water reflecting the towering temple and the jungle covered temple of Ta Prohm; a truly incredible sight.

There, you will also find enormous fig trees and gigantic creepers which go around the stone foundations of the structure, giving the impression of man's creation being reclaimed by the powerful forces of nature. You will spend the night in Siem Reap. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 14: Siem Reap and flight to Luang Prabang

Breakfast will be served at the hotel today. Later, you will visit the floating village of Chong Khneas, located 10 kilometers south of Siem Reap. You will take a trip in a traditional wooden boat on the Tonle Sap Lake, the Great Lake of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia. You will spend the rest of day visiting the Chantiers Ecoles - Les Artisans d'Angkor, which provides training to young Cambodians in an effort to revive the ancient Khmer traditions of stone carving and wood sculpting.

Then, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight to Luang Prabang. Upon your arrival in Luang Prabang, you will be taken to the hotel. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 15: Luang Prabang, Pake Ou Cave, and Khoangsi Waterfall

After breakfast at your hotel, you will visit the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roofs sweeping low to the ground representing classical Laotian architecture. You will then board a cruise upstream the Mekong River, which will give you a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. You will also go on an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves; two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by the pilgrims.

En route, you will stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the rice wine is produced. Once back in Luang Prabang City, take a drive to visit the local villages of the Lao, ethnic minority groups, at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. Time permitting, you may also wish to drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall, where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths.

In the late afternoon, you will return to Luang Prabang and observe the sunset at Wat Phabath. Today, breakfast and lunch are included.

Day 16: Luang Prabang and departure

An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of the saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession.

From there, you will visit the morning Phosi Market, where you will see diverse offerings, such as dried buffalo skin, local tea, and saltpeter, among the chickens, vegetables, and hill-tribe weavings. You will then visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of the Lao culture, dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. The central market is not to be missed. Finally, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight. Today, breakfast is included.

Please note that this is a private tour. The itinerary and accommodation can be changed to suit your needs and preferences.

Included excursions

  • Explore the Mekong Delta
  • Explore the mysterious Pak Ou Caves
  • Half-day tour of Hue
  • Hanoi city tour
  • Siem Reap tour
  • Spend some time in Chantiers Ecoles - Les Artisans d'Angkor
  • Splash around in the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall
  • Tour of Hoi An's central market
  • Trekking trip through Sapa, Cat Cat village, and Sin Chai
  • Visit the Cham Museum and Marble Mountain
  • Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels
  • Visit the floating village of Chong Khneas
  • Visit the local villages of the Lao
  • Visit the magnificent Wat Xiengthong
  • Visit the morning Phosi Market
  • Visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace
  • Visit to Sapa Market


This culinary holiday will take place in Southeast Asia, in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.


During your holiday, delicious meals at local restaurants are included as indicated in the itinerary. Breakfast and lunch are served daily; except on the arrival day, where no meals are included, and the departure day, where only breakfast is included. On day five, dinner will also be offered. Special requirements, such as vegetarian or other diets could be arranged upon request.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Other dietary requirements on request
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

On day 12, you will have the opportunity to try an AK47 or MK16 rifle range near the Cu Chi Tunnels. Additionally, on day 16, an optional early start will give you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of the saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents.

What's included

  • 1 dinner
  • 1 Tai Chi class
  • 2 cooking classes
  • 14 lunches
  • 15 breakfasts
  • 15 nights accommodation
  • All activities as specified in the itinerary
  • All transportation
  • Boat cruise in Halong Bay and kayaking
  • Cool water during tour
  • Domestic flights from Hanoi to Hue, Danang to Ho Chi Minh, Ho Chi Minh to Siem Reap, and Siem Reap to Luang Prabang
  • Entrance fee to any applicable tourist sites
  • Round trip train to Sapa
  • Services of an English-speaking guide

What's not included

  • Compulsory gala dinner and December 31
  • International flight ticket
  • Late checkout
  • Laundry
  • Other expenses
  • Other meals not mentioned
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa on arrival letter to Vietnam - 9 USD per person per single entry (The stamp fee at airport is 25 USD per person)
  • Visa stamps to Laos
  • Visa stamps upon arrival in Cambodia - 30 USD per person

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Indochina Best Travel will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Noi Bai International Airport Airport transfer included: Noi Bai International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 30% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
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