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8 Days Culture and Culinary Vacation in Northwest Vietnam

Annam Legend Hotel, 27 Hàng Bè, Hàng Bạc, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Cultural and Culinary Tour Vietnam

This tour is an in-depth exploration of the culture, people, and landscapes of northern Vietnam. Leaving the graceful boulevards of Hanoi behind, you will explore Mai Chau's nature and the amazing limestone landscape of Tam Coc by bike and by boat, and visit Ancient Capital. Continue to Sapa and take a step back in time to visit remote hill tribe villages surrounded by rolling green hills and mountain streams overlooked by dramatic limestone karsts. The trip's grand finale is at Halong Bay. You will stay overnight on a comfortable junk to enjoy the showcase of the cultural and scenic charms of northern Vietnam!

Highlights

  • Evening street food tour
  • Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi
  • Visits to scenic cultural sites in Ninh Binh
  • Cruise along Halong Bay and enjoy sightseeing
  • Bicycle ride and visits to rural villages in Mai Chau
  • Transportation and English-speaking guide
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners
  • 7 nights' accommodation

Styles


7 days with instruction
Airport transfer included: Noi Bai International Airport
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Accommodation

You will stay in various accommodations prepared by Paradise Indochina Travel. During your stay in Hanoi, you will be accommodated at Annam Legend Hotel. On one of the nights, you will stay onboard on a cruise along the Halong Bay.

Program

Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi - evening street food tour

Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you to your hotel. After freshening up, you’ll meet with your guide in the hotel lobby. Your guide will take you on a culinary adventure, sampling street food in the Old Quarter. It’s a great opportunity to try all those weird and wonderful foods you see but just aren’t sure what they are! Start your "Hanoi Street Eats" tour at Bia Hoi corner to try the local brew, a draft beer that traces its roots to Eastern Europe. Do as the locals do and pull up a stool and enjoy a drink while watching the world go by.

Continue through the old quarter’s narrow streets as your guide points out a range of tasty noodles, bread, and snacks. At night, the sidewalks are packed with locals perched on stools, amongst sizzling woks and bubbling pots. These small pop up restaurants are a nightly feature that all but disappear during the day. Sit down and enjoy a flame-grilled Vietnamese barbecue of beef, chicken, tofu, and vegetables on skewers. End the night with a dessert from Hanoi’s best-known ice-cream parlor before getting a good night’s rest.

  • Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Hanoi - Ninh Binh - Hanoi - Road transfer

In the morning, the driver and tour guide will pick you up at your hotel then depart for Ninh Binh. Arrive in Hoa Lu Ancient Capital and visit two temples of King Dinh Bo Linh and King Le Hoan. Then, the driver will transfer you from Hoa Lu to Tam Coc to have lunch in a local restaurant in Tam Coc and enjoy famous specialties of the ancient capital area.

In the afternoon, take a five-minute walk to the wharf and start the two-hour boat trip to visit three caves: Hang Ca (First Cave), Hang Hai (Second Cave), and Hang Ba (Third Cave). Each cave owns a unique scenery which will dazzle you as you get in. Afterward, cycle for an hour to Bich Dong Pagoda and sightsee beautiful scenic pagodas, lush paddy fields, mountains, river, and caves. Then, get on bus and the driver will take you back to Hanoi. When you arrive in Hanoi, you will be dropped-off at your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 3: Hanoi - Mai Chau - Road transfer

In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel and head to Mai Chau by van with a short break along the way. Midday, you will arrive in Mai Chau and enjoy welcome drink. Then enjoy traditional lunch in the village (vegetarian available). In the afternoon, have a bicycle ride with your tour guide to see farmers working in fields, locals weaving scarves, and visit surrounding peaceful villages. Then you will have free time for bicycling, walking, shopping. Late afternoon, return to the accommodation. Enjoy the outdoor BBQ party in the garden and watch the Thai’s traditional dance and drink the traditional liquor “ruou can”. Overnight in the communal stilt house or Valley View Bungalow.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 4: Mai Chau - Hanoi

After breakfast, go with a local tour guide to visit more remote rural villages Na Meo and Na Mo villages to understand more about their culture and customs. Midday, back to the homestay for lunch and check-out. Free time for shopping and relaxing. At 15:00 to 15:30, say goodbye to the family to get on the bus to drive back to Hanoi (3.5-4-hour drive). Arrive in Hanoi, drop you off at your hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 5: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Overnight on cruise

Halong Bay is listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage and voted as a Wonder of Nature by the New7Wonders Foundation. You will have a night stay in this world-famous bay. After breakfast in Hanoi, you will depart the capital for the 3.5-hour drive to Halong Bay. Arrive to Halong City’s jetty (around noon) and proceed with check-in formalities. After a welcome onboard, lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay. In the afternoon, enjoy some sightseeing, onboard activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary), or just spend some time relaxing on the vessel. Towards the end of the day, the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 6: Halong Bay - Hanoi

Wake up the next morning at sunrise and you are invited to practice Tai Chi on the sun deck. Enjoy the feel of the early morning salt water scent and bask in the early sun rising from behind the mountains. Continue sightseeing in the wonderful bay and enjoy brunch on board while cruising back to mainland. Arriving at the harbor, you will be picked up for transferring back to Hanoi. Drop off at your hotel in Hanoi and overnight.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 7: Hanoi cooking class

The cooking class provides an immersive experience in traditional Vietnamese cooking and culture. In fact, two of these are inextricably linked. The sounds, sights, smells, and tastes found in a typical Viet market are emblematic of daily life here, shaping the contours of Vietnamese cuisine. To help you well understand about Vietnamese cuisine, Paradise Indochina Travel offers market and “xich lo”(rickshaw) tours. You will have a chance to be familiar with the special spices and ingredients; additionally, a “xich lo” will drive you through old corners to have one idea of street vendors life which has partially formed Vietnamese traditional life.

This exciting program is the ideal way to enjoy an authentic cultural and culinary experience. It’s also perfect for the serious home cooks who want to learn how to cook Vietnamese healthy food for their family and friends, for spouses accompanying husband or wife on a business trip, or the adventurous travelers wishing to explore more than just the sightseeing of the great city.

Students will learn how to prepare and cook the top famous Vietnamese dishes from the extensive list of recipes, typically pho (noodles soup with beef or chicken), bun cha (BBQ pork with noodles and fish sauce), and nem (fried spring rolls). At the end of class, students will enjoy their own cooking. The meal is even more hearty with other special food from the professional cook together with local wines that you have never tried before.

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Day 8: Flight out off Hanoi

After a good night rest and breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport.

  • Meals: Breakfast

Location

This culinary tour will let you explore some scenic, beautiful areas in Northwest Vietnam, such as Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Hoa Lu, Tam Coc, and Mai Chau. You will also get the chance to enjoy sightseeing on a cruise along the Halong Bay.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

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

What's included

  • Evening street food tour in Hanoi
  • Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi
  • Cruise along the Halong Bay
  • Visits to scenic sites and villages in Ninh Binh and Mai Chau
  • 2-hour boat trip to Hang Ca, Hang Hai, and Hang Ba
  • Transportation with AC
  • In-tour stationed local English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees for Vietnam attractions
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners

What's not included

  • Hotel early check in and late check out
  • Peak season surcharge and compulsory dinner at the hotel (if any)
  • International flights to or from Vietnam with taxes
  • Visa or passport fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips, laundry, and gratuities
  • Meals not marked on itinerary and water during meals

How to get there

Recommended Airports

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 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
8 days / 7 nights
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