10 Days Flavors of Vietnam Culinary Holidays

  • Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Hue - Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam Cooking Holidays

Get ready to discover Vietnam, as any traveler should. Immerse yourself in the culinary and cultural aspects of this amazing country. Visit some of the most interesting Vietnamese cities, taste the local flavors and absorb the cultural essence. From land to water, each place is unique with its own history, values, cuisine and traditions. Enjoy a morning breakfast while cruising along the Halong Bay, sample some street food in Hoi An, and prepare a royal meal in Hue. The activities to do and the sites to see are endless.

Highlights

  • Hoi An walking tour
  • English and/or French speaking guides
  • Traditional Vietnamese cuisine cooking class
  • A short bicycle ride through rice paddies to the countryside
  • Learn how to prepare a traditional Hue royal meal
  • Transfers to and from airports
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 8 days with instruction
  • English
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While on your tour of Vietnam, you will have different options when it comes to choosing accommodation. Each option varies in price and amenities.

Hanoi

  • Superior option: Hilton Garden Inn - standard room
  • Deluxe option: Intercontinental Westlake - superior room

Halong

  • Superior option: Bhaya - deluxe room
  • Deluxe option: Paradise Luxury - deluxe room

Hoi An

  • Superior option: Almanity - My Mind Town View room
  • Deluxe option: Hotel Royal Hoi An - deluxe room

Hue

  • Superior option: Premier Indochine Palace - Palace Deluxe room
  • Deluxe option: La Residence - Superior River View room

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Superior option: Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint - deluxe view room
  • Deluxe option: Sofitel Plaza Saigon - superior room

Day 1 - Arrival in Hanoi

You will arrive in Hanoi, be welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel in Hanoi, which is located 35 kilometers or 60 minutes from Noi Bai Airport (HAN).

The rest of the day is at your leisure to recover from your long flight.

You will spend the night in Hanoi.

Day 2 - Hanoi

Start this day with a visit to the highly acclaimed Vietnam Womens Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers a wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women. It displays Vietnams vast cultural diversity and educates on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. You will learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality, and more.

Explore the Temple of Literature. In 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins, and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnams past.

Eat for a good cause and have lunch at Koto Restaurant, close by the Temple of Literature.

Continue to the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and visit the former presidents house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary.

Visit the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading back to your hotel.

In the afternoon, take part in a hands-on cooking class in the heart of Hanois Old Quarter, also known as the 36 streets. Visit a neighborhoods wet market to learn about Vietnamese ingredients before proceeding to the home of a true Hanoian who learned her culinary skills from her grandmother, a former chef who once served the French elite in the 1930s. After visiting a local market to buy the days ingredients, learn how to prepare and cook true northern Vietnamese cuisine before sitting down to enjoy a delectable meal.

You will spend the night in Hanoi.

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 3 - Hanoi and Halong Bay

Following breakfast, leave Hanoi for a 3 hour and 30-minute drive to Halong Bay, including a 20-minutes stop on the way.

You will 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.

In the afternoon, depending on each boats itinerary, enjoy some visits and / or activities or just spend some 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.

You will spend the night in Halong Bay.

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4 - Halong Bay, Hanoi, Danang

Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay. The sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast or brunch is served while the vessel cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port.

Disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to Danang.

In Danang, you will have a short transfer to your hotel located in Hoi An.

You will spend the night in Hoi An.

Meal plan: breakfast.

Day 5 - Hoi An

Start the day at 08:30, when you will be picked up from your hotel. Begin your journey with a short bicycle ride through rice paddies to the countryside. If you prefer not to cycle, a vehicle can be arranged.

Arrive at a farm where you will be warmly welcomed with tea by a local family host and you will have the chance to visit their house.

Your guide will explain the different steps of rice cultivation, Don traditional farming clothes, and conical hats for sun protection.

Because learning is way better with practice, you will experience rides on a water buffalo and learn the how to plough, rake, carry water into the rice field, sow, pull up the rice seedlings, transplant rice, and much more. Prepare yourself for a unique experience, and try not to fall into the mud!

Afterwards, return to the house and learn how to make pancakes. Additionally, learn how to cook rice in the traditional way. Enjoy lunch with the host family before riding back to the hotel.

Enjoy free time at leisure for the rest of the afternoon.

You will spend the night in Hoi An.

Meal plan: breakfast and lunch.

Day 6 - Hoi An to Hue

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 towns iconic 400-year old Japanese Covered Bridge, and the colorful market where an array of fresh ingredients are on offer.

In the afternoon, drive through Danang, climb over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and drop down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before visiting the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world.

Enjoy an exclusive private dinner at the lovely Tha Om garden house. A Hue nha vuon usually consists of a main and back entrance and a small wall, rockwork and plants in the front yard and in the house itself. In the middle of the garden, a binh phong rises in front of the house, serving as a defense and protection of the altar in the main room of the house. The path leading around the wall from the entrance gate is lined with tea bushes or apricot trees. The typical house is made with a timber frame and roofed with brick tiles. The whole house stands on big pillars placed on a round or square stone base, which is sometimes decorated. The altar of the familys ancestors occupies the central room.

You will spend the night in Hue. The distance from Hoi An to Hue is 150 kilometers or 3 hours.

Meal plan: breakfast and dinner.

Day 7 - Hue

Start an exclusive cooking class where you will learn how to prepare a Hue royal meal. You will prepare 4 or 5 courses ranging from traditional Vietnamese spring rolls to a delicious banana leaf salad. The cooking class takes approximately 2 hours. Finally, enjoy the delicious and beautiful dishes you just made. With this tour, gain a deeper knowledge and feeling of ancient Hue.

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 cycle through Dai Noi Old City to Tinh Tam Lake where the emperors used 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 that 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.

You will spend the night in Hue.

Meal plan: breakfast and lunch.

Day 8 - Hue to Ho Chi Minh City

After breakfast, transfer to Hue Airport (HUI) for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to your hotel. The distance from Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) to your hotel is 8 kilometers or 30 minutes.

In the afternoon, depart from your hotel for a tour of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. Your program includes the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. It was towards this modern building that North Vietnamese tanks seized, on the morning of April 30, 1975, as Saigon fell. This fascinating building is filled with history still fresh in the minds of many.

Stroll to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street, the Continental Hotel, the Opera House, and the City Hall. After this historical visit, continue to the War Remnants Museum where exhibition halls display imagery of both the French and American wars. Continue to the Jade Emperor Pagoda located on the fringes of district 1. Dating from 1909 and built by Cantonese Buddhists, this quiet oasis was designed using feng shui, showcasing ornate statues and effigies.

After having experienced the frenzy of Saigon by day, discover the lively local streets by night. Join local people and enjoy an authentic Vietnamese evening. Start the tour at around 18:30. The first stop is a public park where local people enjoy some dancing exercises. They gather here when the sun goes down to socialize and dance together. It is up to you to dance with them or just watch.

After a short walk, try your first meal of the evening. Banh xeo is a large rice pancake filled with vegetables, shrimps and pork. Hidden in a small alley, this local street restaurant has become very famous and serves some of the best banh xeo of Saigon.

The second stop is a street food place located near Tan Dinh Market. There, enjoy a delicious local soup, inspired by Chinese recipes.

After another short walk, it is time for a tasty com suon non nuong muoi ot, a local dish from Ho Chi Minh City with rice and pork ribs. After crossing a busy intersection, indulge yourself with a delicious dessert and a Vietnamese caf.

Finally, after 10 minutes of walking, enjoy the end of this evening at a live music caf, where piano or Vietnamese songs are played. At the end of the tour return to your hotel at around 22:30.

You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meal plan: breakfast and dinner.

Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh City

Located in suburban Ho Chi Minh City, away from the well-trodden tourist path, you will take part in what is not just a cooking class but also a genuine insight into a Vietnamese kitchen.

Start from your hotel and visit a local suburban Ho Chi Minh City market with your host to shop for ingredients, all at a leisurely pace.

You will then head back to the house to start your cooking. You will eventually devour the results for lunch. Your host is a great cook and more than happy to show you around the local market and share some of his favorite dishes. A selection of dishes can be made from a menu. Rather than having a set cooking class menu, see what tickles your fancy.

After your lunch, return to the center of Ho Chi Minh City.

Enjoy leisure time the rest of the day to explore Ho Chi Minh City at your own pace.

Enjoy a last blast of savors at Mandarin Restaurant, a beautiful, charming, and traditional place. You may have the opportunity to meet the chef and have a cooking demonstration.

You will spend the night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meal plan: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 10 - Ho Chi Minh City departure

  • This is your departure day. You will be at leisure until your transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) for onward flight.
  • Meal plan: breakfast.

A tour of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City

Discover Hoi An with a walking tour

Drive through Danang, climb over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and drop down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co

Explore the Jade Emperor Pagoda located on the fringes of district 1

Explore the Temple of Literature

Take a cycle through Dai Noi Old City to Tinh Tam Lake

Take a short bicycle ride through rice paddies to the countryside

Take a stroll to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City

Take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide

Tour the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945.

Visit a farm where you will be warmly welcomed with tea by a local family host. You will have the chance to visit their house

Visit a local suburban Ho Chi Minh City market

Visit a neighborhood wet market to learn about Vietnamese ingredients

Visit the Cham Museum

Visit the highly acclaimed Vietnam Womens Museum

Visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh and visit the former presidents house on stilts

Visit the War Remnants Museum

Your tour of Vietnam takes you to some very interesting cities. You will visit Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang, Hoi An, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City.

This package includes 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners. Although some meals are not included for every day of the tour, Spirit Journeys Worldwide provides you with excellent suggestions and recommendations for restaurants and cafs in each city you visit.

You will have several opportunities to cook and create authentic Vietnamese cuisine thorough your tour of the country. All of these cooking classes use the freshest of local ingredients and cater to the local styles.

Where to eat

Morning Glory Hoi An. Situated in an elegant traditional style building in the heart of Hoi Ans old town, Morning Glory offers street food on the ground floor of the restaurant featuring Hoi Ans specialty foods. The upstairs balcony is perfect as the views are excellent over the street.

Secret Garden- Hoi An. It is on one of the best places in Hoi An for a traditional Vietnamese meal. The location is in the middle of the old town down, in a hidden alley. Both the atmosphere and cuisine are highly recommended.

Mango Rooms - Hoi An. Located in the center of Hoi Ans old town, Mango Rooms serves original and creative cuisine that can only be described as Vietnam-Latin American-Japanese fusion. With a combination of refreshing flavors, beautiful presentations and a relaxing atmosphere, Mango Rooms has won the heart of many loyal and happy customers.

Mango Mango - Hoi An. More experimental than its sister restaurant (Mango Rooms) and with stunning views over the Thu Bon River and the Japanese Bridge, the food at Mango Mango is exquisite and the fruit cocktails are to die for. Perfect for a pre dinner aperitif whilst watching the sunset over the Japanese Bridge.

Mai Fish - Hoi An. Located near the Japanese Bridge and in a quiet street, Mai Fish offers simple but delicious Southern and Central Vietnam food. This is the third restaurant of Chef Duc with Mango Mango and Mango Rooms.

SH Garden - Ho Chi Minh City. A terrace restaurant located at the corner of two of the oldest boulevards of Saigon: Nguyen Hue and Le Loi. Established in the 1930s, SH Garden is a restaurant where romantic memories of an old Saigon can suddenly come to you. A variety of delicious traditional Vietnamese dishes are served in a nice and simple family style. To reach the restaurant, you take an old and unique wooden elevator that brings you to a banana and lemon grass garden on the terrace.

Cuc Gach Quan - Ho Chi Minh City. This art style restaurant attracts a mostly Vietnamese clientele. Hidden on a quiet suburban street, Cuc Gach Quan serves traditional Vietnamese cuisine in a homely setting.

Hoa Tuc - Ho Chi Minh City. Hoa Tuc means opium flower and is a central venue located in the courtyard of the former opium refinery manufacture. The interior is art deco and combines black, purple and pastel colors. Hoa Tuc serves excellent, authentic Vietnamese cuisine and the outside courtyard is perfect for dinners.

Le Parfum - Hue. Le Parfum, the beautiful restaurant of La Residence, offers delicious Vietnamese and western menus in a nice setting.

Les Jardins de la Carambole - Hue. Les Jardins de la Carambole, a lovely restaurant set in a reconstituted French colonial villa and located near the Imperial Citadel, offers some Hue specialties such as bun bo Hue, a noodle soup with thick rice noodles, or banh khai, a fried rice pancake.

  • 9 nights accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Boat trip as mentioned in the itinerary
  • English or French speaking guide
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Private cooking classes
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • International and domestic flights
  • Laundry
  • Other meals
  • Other services
  • Personal expenses
  • Telephone calls
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport to Hanoi city is Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). Spirit Journeys Worldwide will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.

Testimonials

  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "Great service, I enjoyed the tour very much. I think I will go again with them."

    Spirit Journeys Worldwide website, edited

  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "Amazing service and have me great advice."

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  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "Excellent company to deal with, would highly recommend."

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  • Review by a traveler
    10 out of 10

    "Julia is always available to help, takes on board what you are asking; service is second to none."

    Spirit Journeys Worldwide website, edited

  • Review by Katrina Wallace
    10 out of 10

    "Excellent first class service. Exactly what I wanted, when I wanted it at a fantastic price. I cannot thank you enough. Fast, efficient, understanding and friendly. Would recommend to everyone."

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

 

Low season
  • January 1 - April 30

 

Mid season
  • May 1 - September 30

 

High season
  • October 1 - December 31

 

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