12 Days Culinary Holidays in Vietnam

  • Ho Chi Minh City - Hoi An - Hue - Ha Noi - Ha Long

Overview

Vietnam Culinary Tour

Spirit Journeys Worldwide prides itself on the authenticity of its cultural holidays, and makes it a mission to be able to fully immerse its participants in the local culture and customs of the destinations that are visited on tours. This is achieved because the tour groups are kept relatively small in number, ensuring that you will enjoy the experience of travelling with like-minded individuals, whilst in the expert hands of an experienced local guide. The tour of Vietnam acknowledges the impact of the war and explores the wider history, cuisine, and culture of this unique country.

Highlights

  • Cooking classes
  • Cruise the Red River Delta
  • Enjoy traditional Vietnamese cuisine
  • Dine at a typical Vietnamese garden house
  • Guided tour through historical cities
  • Food tour by vintage Vespa
  • 10 nights accommodation
  • 11 days with instruction
  • English
Hide all
  • Park Hyatt (Ho Chi Minh City), super deluxe room
  • Anantara Hoi An (Hoi An), deluxe room
  • La Residence (Hue), deluxe room
  • Sofitel Legend Metropole (Ha Noi), super deluxe room
  • Paradise Peak (Ha Long), superior room

Day 1 - Ho Chi Minh City arrival

  • Upon arrival, your guide will greet you and transfer by private car through the city to your hotel for check-in.
  • In the evening, you will enjoy a sumptuous dinner at one of the city's finest restaurants.
  • Meals: dinner.

Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh flower market tour, night street food tour by vintage Vespa

  • Venture off the tourist trail and explore local, authentic Saigon life. This 2-hour tour offers a wonderful view into the local life with an exclusive discovery of the intriguing wholesale flower market, and a walking tour through the busy streets of a typical Vietnamese market.
  • Hotel pick-up at 08:30 for a short drive to the flower market entrance. Opened day and night, this market sells flowers from all over Vietnam.
  • Walk through small alleys and meander through countless flower stalls. Take your time, learn the flower names, smell their exhilarating perfume, talk with the vendors about where the flowers come from and how they sell best.
  • Next, leave the quiet freshness of the flower market and delve into a bustling local market. Cross tiny streets and make your way through the stalls rubbing elbows with the locals. Discover different types of local products such as vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, rice, clothes and jewelry. If some specialties pique your curiosity and your senses, do not hesitate to try! This tour is a wonderful, non-touristy glimpse into daily Saigonese life; a journey to discover the local liveliness, the smells, the tastes and the colors of typical Vietnamese products.
  • Continue to Vietnam's first traditional medicine museum - FITO Museum that displays an amazing collection of 3,000 items relevant to the development of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Implements used to prepare indigenous herbs, objects commonly found in traditional pharmacies as well as ancient books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine can be seen in the galleries.
  • Lunch at Dong Pho restaurant. Dong Pho is the name of ancient Saigon and is a town situated in the east of Hue rampart; hence, this restaurant follows ancient structure and is well decorated with plants and flowers.
  • This afternoon, step off the beaten track and take a stroll to the oldest quarter of the city (car at your disposal in case you need it).
  • Explore Saigons well-kept secret - antiques street (Le Cong Kieu), where genuine antiques are mixed in with genuine fakes: Aladdin oil lamps, carved wooden chests, Marelli copper fans, opium pipes, abacuses, etc. You can also find military cast-offs from the Vietnam War, and if you look hard enough, relics from the French-Indochina era.
  • Follow a typical street to reach the beaux-arts museum, a superb neo-colonial building home to various modern arts.
  • Explore the art galleries surrounding the museum, where local artists gladly display their talent. A visit in Ho Chi Minh City would not be complete without a taste of its best ice cream - Fannys, a quaint little French atmospheric parlor offering everything from durian ice cream to lychee sorbet.
  • Experience the night-life of Ho Chi Minh City, referred locally by its old name Saigon.
  • The way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. All clients sit on the back of Vespas to travel from place to place, Vespa drivers are from Vespas team who ride the Vespas.
  • Stops include a traditional quan where locals congregate for their evening meal with friends and family for a sampling of street food, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop, wrap up the evening at one of the citys predominantly local clubs where excellent live acoustic music is played.
  • The tour begins at 18:00 with a pick-up at your hotel before hitting the buzzing streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Tonight offers a chance to experience the nightlife of local Saigonese from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter.
  • The city comes alive at sundown and people congregate on sidewalks, parks and all over the city at the end of each day. The first stop on your culinary exploration will be to sample some light evening snacks. Continue to a traditional quan (bia hoi) for dinner and drinks, to sample Saigon's best authentic street food.
  • An evening out in Ho Chi Minh City is not complete without a visit to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Wrap up the evening at one of the many local clubs, where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique style.
  • The night adventure finishes at 22:00 when we transfer you back to hotel.
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta

  • This morning, leave Ho Chi Minh City by for the 2.5-hour drive to the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be.
  • On arrival, board the Victoria boat. These exclusive boats are modeled after traditional sampans are the perfect way to see the Delta. The tour starts with the visit of Cai Be colorful floating market.
  • Proceed to visit some local cottage industries such as the making of rice popcorn and coco candy.
  • The days journey continues with an excursion to Dong Phu, Binh Hoa Phuong, and Anh Binh islands. These evergreen islands among the Mekong River bring about large networks of meandering rivers, crossed with countless arroyos.
  • Lunch will await you at a superb colonial style villa located in a quaint village. The specialty of the Mekong will be served elephant ear fish which is grilled then wrapped in rice paper together with fresh herbs.
  • Following your meal, its back on board the boat to discover the beautiful landscapes along the river.
  • After crossing the Co Chien River, the boat will dock and you will head back to Ho Chi Minh City by road.
  • Your evening is free to discover this exciting city as you please.
  • Meals: breakfast and dinner.

Day 4 - Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hoi An

  • Transfer to the Saigon airport for a flight to central Vietnam.
  • From the Danang airport, its a 30-minute drive to the ancient port town of Hoi An. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the center of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday.
  • A walking tour is the best way to see this marvelous town. Visit the former merchants homes, the 400 year-old Japanese covered bridge, and the colorful market.
  • Lunch at Morning Glory Restaurant. 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 An specialty foods. The upstairs balcony is perfect for small group as the views are excellent over the street.
  • Evening at leisure.
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch.

Day 5 - Hoi An cooking class

  • A passionate and extremely talented chef, with in depth knowledge on the Hoi An food scene will take you on a half day culinary journey embracing a combination of refreshing flavors, beautiful presentations, as well as a visit to Hoi An market to meet the vendors who supply some of the finest and freshest ingredients in Vietnam.
  • Depart from your hotel early to meet chef Duc at Hoi An Market at 08:00 to choose some of the ingredients that will be used in the day's lesson.
  • Following the class, sit down to enjoy your creations.
  • The afternoon is free to relax on the beach or browse for souvenirs in Hoi Ans art galleries and silk shops.
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch.

Day 6 - Hoi An, Hue

  • This morning, leave Hoi An for Hue for the 3-hour drive to Hue.
  • The scenic route passes through Danang, where you will visit the Cham museum that has collected and exhibited the finest collection of Cham statues and works of art.
  • After your visit, continue the drive over the pass of ocean clouds and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.
  • No culinary tour of Vietnam would be complete without a visit to Hue.
  • Although the emphasis today is on presentation, the delicious flavors of the royal cuisine continue to tempt modern palettes.
  • Lunch at Ancient Hue restaurant.
  • Pick-up from hotel by cyclo and head to Dai Noi old city to Tinh Tam Lake where the emperors used to come to relax; full of lotus flowers in summer there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.
  • Continue by cyclo to Tay Loc Market, which is located in the northwest part Dai Noi. This market is mostly for locals and is rarely visited by tourists.
  • From here, transfer by vehicle to 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.
  • Dine tonight at the private garden house known locally as nha vuon of one Hue's most famous architects. This traditional style house, which is set in a large and attractive formal garden has connections with the ancient Hue Royal Imperial Court. The traditional architecture has long been associated with the natural environment and the ancient belief of feng shui.
  • On arrival, you will be greeted in the foyer of this magnificent house with a traditional Vietnamese welcome. The lady of the house will personally prepare an extraordinary Vietnamese meal, which is served privately in the traditional manner in the private gardens of her home.
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 7 - Hue

  • Morning to visit Thien Mu (celestial lady) pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Constructed in 1601, the 21-meter tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha.
  • In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous when in 1963, a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime, the photo of his self-immortalization was captured and was one of the most well-known images of the war.
  • Continue to visit the tomb of the former emperor Minh Mang, which is located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
  • For lunch, try some Hue specialty food at Huynh Anh Kim Long. Frequented only by the locals and serving banh uot, a steamed rice pancake stuffed with delicate, finely chopped pork and bun thi nuong which is a rice noodle dish served with grilled meat.
  • In the afternoon, proceed to the Bao La Village on the road to Thanh Toan bridge. Bao La Village is a 500-year old bamboo weaving village where local people are very proud of their quality handicraft products. Bao La villagers work hard to meet the demands of foreign and domestic market and are proud of their dexterity, creativity, and passionate expressions. They possess a high degree of specialization in production process liked material treatment, bamboo bases, bamboo rims, finishing touches, and decorative details.
  • Built two centuries ago, the covered bridge of Thanh Toan is unique in that only two exist in Vietnam (the other being in Hoi An). Built as a tribute to the villagers by the wife of a high ranking Mandarin, the bridge has survived storms, floods and wars. However, after it was damaged, the villagers always contributed to repair, renovate and preserve it.
  • Next to the bridge is the local village morning market which can be explored if you desire.
  • After visiting Thanh Toan, its an hours drive north to the 500-year-old village of Phuoc Tich. Once famous and prosperous because of its pottery, the village has dozens of homes that are from 100 to 200 years old and several old temples, pagodas, worship halls, and communal houses still remain. Many imprints of Champa and ancient Viet cultures are still preserved such as lingas (a very complex symbol of Hinduism). The religious culture of the village is seen via families, which have their own ancestor worship halls, each worshiping five direct generations.
  • At the end of the afternoon, head back to your hotel.
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch.

Day 8 - Hue, Hanoi

  • After a morning at leisure, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Hanoi, Vietnams capital. Upon arrival, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.
  • Depart your hotel for Hanois old quarter also known as the 36 streets.
  • Take a walking tour through charming Hang Be market and around Hoan Kiem Lake. Stop at Ngoc Son temple. This bustling area of narrow streets and alleys is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities all around you.
  • Continue to 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 Vietnam's past.
  • Continue to the Mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), 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.
  • Tonight, dine at La Verticale, which is located in a charming villa which dates back to the 1930s. The cuisine is considered as artistic, uncluttered at the same time extremely diverse in flavor. Acclaimed chef and owner Didier Corlou has lived in Vietnam for 15 years and has a clear love affair with Vietnamese food.
  • Meals: breakfast and dinner.

Day 9 - Hanoi

  • Daniel and your private vehicle and driver will meet at you at 09:45 at your hotel.
  • Drive to the Cho Hom or Cho Chau Long market to learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine and to watch the buying and selling rituals of a Vietnamese market.
  • Daniel will introduce you to some of the vendors, explain about the ingredients for sale and assist you with purchasing items to take home.
  • Then, you will enjoy a Vietnamese C Phe (coffee) or Tr (tea) with the locals at Daniels favorite, cafe Th, one of the many sidewalk cafes in the historic French quarter. Daniel will give an overview of the Vietnamese food scene, particularly in Hanoi.
  • Continue to Truc Bach lake for a snack of pho cuon, a grilled beef and rice noodle roll with fresh herbs, along with several other local snacks.
  • Lunch with Daniel at one of Hanois best bn ch establishments. Situated down a narrow lane, you will sit on tiny stools at low plastic tables along with the regular crowd of bn ch aficionados and enjoy traditional grilled pork and rice vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs and greens like true Hanoians. Very few foreigners ever find this eatery so it is a very special treat.
  • Transportation back to your hotel at 14:00.
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch.

Day 10 - Hanoi - Halong Bay

  • After breakfast, leave Hanoi for an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay.
  • Journey there through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta, observe everyday life of Vietnamese villagers as they work the rice fields, take pigs to the market on bicycles and plough the fields with their water buffaloes.
  • Arrive in Halong city late morning and board your boat for the overnight journey into the Bay.
  • En-route lunch will be served.
  • Follow the cruise by rock formations with such names as Sail, Dog and Dinh Huong (incense pot).
  • Towards the end of the day, set anchor for the night. As the sun sets over the bay, dinner is served on board with fresh seafood, salads and fruits.
  • Meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 11 - Halong Bay, Hanoi

  • For early risers, complimentary tea and coffee are served on the sundeck followed by a Tai Chi class.
  • As you return to Halong city, enjoy a wholesome brunch as your boat weaves through strange-shaped limestone rock formations.
  • Upon disembarkation, your driver will meet you for the transfer back to Hanoi.
  • Afternoon and evening at leisure.
  • Meals: breakfast.

Day 12 - Hanoi Departure

  • Today is departure day.
  • Your private car and guide will be at your disposal to enjoy some free time for last purchases or simply relax before your transfer to Hanois Noi Bai Airport for onward flight.
  • Meals: breakfast.

This retreat will take place in Vietnam. Considered one of the most beautiful countries in Asia, Vietnam offers tourist the legendary world of Halong Bay, Red River Delta, and the surprising Sapa in the north and the road of heritages sites in the central, the colorful charm of central highlands and the crisscross waterways of the Mekong Delta in the south.

This package includes 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 5 dinners. Regarded as the best in the country, the royal cuisine of Hue originated with in the days of the Nguyen Dynasty, when the rulers were served lavish meals with contains specific culinary demands. On day 2, there is a street food tour. All food and drinks are includes in the price, so you shouldn't have dinner before the tour, to be hungry and thirsty. Some sample dishes you will learn how to season and make are:

  • Lust in translation: tuna rolls double layered with nori and rice paper sheets served crispy and topped with yogurt, passion fruit, and mint
  • Pearl of China sea: large prawns battered Japanese-Vietnamese style tossed in with onion, green bell pepper, garlic, and butter.
  • Magnum opus: blue fin tuna steak seasoned in garlic, onion, ginger, basil, sesame seeds, pan seared, and served with mango salsa.
  • 10 nights acc ommodation
  • 24 meals
  • Boat trip
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Tours and transfers Water and tissue during tour
  • Gratitude to guides, drivers, hotel, restaurant, boat staffs, etc.
  • International and domestic flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa to Vietnam (compulsory)

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport to Hanoi city is Noi Bai International Airport (HAN).

For information about the booking conditions, please send Spirit Journeys Worldwide an inquiry.

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