12 Days a Taste of Vietnam Culinary Tour

12 Days a Taste of Vietnam Culinary Tour

  • Hanoi - Hue - Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho

Vietnam Cooking Holidays

This is the tour with many time spent on leisure. You will be excited with natural sights along the way and of course, the wonderful ancient buildings, and trips to local market to take some knowledge about the local life in rural area. Marvel at the beauty of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cruise along rivers, taste favorite local dishes, and enjoy a walking tour in the cities. Enjoy an exciting experience in the Vietnam culinary tours!

Highlights

  • 5-hour cruise around Halong Bay
  • Visit historic buildings and natural wonders
  • Taste Vietnam-influenced popular dishes and seafood
  • Join cooking demo and lessons, and eat the meals together
  • Cruise along Mekong River and visit floating market
  • Try some products derived from rice
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • 11 days with instruction
  • English
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Your accommodation throughout the holiday will be charming 3-star hotels.

Day 1 - Arrival

Upon arrival at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), a tour guide will accompany you to your hotel and assist you with check-in. Get intimately acquainted with the narrow and bustling guild streets of Hanoi's Old Quarter, bursting with wares from medicinal herbs to luxurious silks, or you may choose to relax around one of the many lakes and parks that make Hanoi one of the greenest cities in Asia.

Those who want to hit the culinary trail immediately are invited to lunch with the tour leader at Soho, a charming bistro featuring traditional French bouillabaise with a spicy Vietnamese twist, and rich Vietnamese coffee served hot or cold. After lunch, you will explore the Hom Market with its aromatic and visually stunning offerings of spices and herbs. This evening, your guide will escort you to dinner at Indochine, set in an authentic French colonial villa. The inviting menu includes a not-to-be-missed banana flower salad, delicious nem, Hanoi-style spring rolls, and fried chicken with lemongrass and chili.

Day 2 - Hanoi

Mornings are magical time in this elegant Red River Delta city, and most Hanoians are up early, stopping at their favorite pho (pronounced fuh) stand to have breakfast on this most famous of Vietnamese dishes. Pho, served piping hot, is a broth with fresh rice noodles, chicken or beef, green onions, and cilantro, enhanced by condiments such as lime and chilies.

Your day will be filled with exploration, and you will begin with a morning cyclo tour of city sights, escorted by your guide. You will take in the Ho Chi Minh complex, which includes the Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, presidential palace and Ho Chi Minh’s former stilt house residence. Next, you will visit the 11th century Temple of Literature, the site of Vietnam’s first university.

Dedicated to Confucius, the temple grounds are resplendent with pavilions and walkways invoking peace and contemplation. Your appetite leads you next to Hoa Sua for a very special luncheon experience. Set in a lovely courtyard, the restaurant is a part of a training school where disadvantaged Vietnamese children and teens are educated in cooking and restaurant skills, that will enable them to have successful careers in the hotel and restaurant industry.

Be sure to save room for a luscious dessert from Hoa Sua’s own French Patisserie next door. After lunch, you will make your way to Dinh Xuyen, about 16 kilometers outside the city, for a unique visit to a spice exporting facility. There, you will observe the sorting and processing of spices such as Vietnamese cinnamon and star anise, some of which may end up in your teacup back home!

Back in Hanoi, you will enjoy dinner and a wine tasting at the award-winning Press Club restaurant, where international fare is laced with Asian influences and wines are selected to complement these tastes. There is another option available. Tonight, you will visit the famed Water Puppet Theater near Hoan Kiem Lake.

The theater’s origins date back almost a thousand years to when the plays were performed on lakes and ponds. Accompanied by musicians who both play and sing, the puppeteers stand behind a screen, waist-deep in water, using rods and strings to move the wooden puppets as they enact scenes of daily rural life, ancient stories, and legends. The meals included during this day are breakfast and lunch.

Day 3 - Halong Bay

You will depart early today for the wonders of Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site regaled with breathtaking limestone formations. You will board a private boat for a five-hour cruise around the secluded and majestic bay, which covers more than 1,500 square kilometers in the Gulf of Tonkin.

As legend holds, the bay was created when a huge dragon fell to earth, and indeed, Halong means “where the dragon descends into the sea.” This is an ideal spot for unwinding from the pace of city life. The islands of the bay are filled with deserted beaches, enchanting grottoes, and enticing caves, one of which is thought to have been used to store the wooden stakes wielded against 13th century Mongol invaders.

You will have a chance to swim in the bay’s tranquil emerald waters and to visit one of the splendid caves. On board, you will enjoy a fresh seafood lunch. After lunch, take another swim or lounge on the deck, soaking up the ambiance of this exquisite place. You will return to Hanoi in the early evening. The meals included during this day are breakfast and lunch.

Day 4 - Cooking course

Let the cooking begin! After breakfast, you will pay a visit to the December 19 Market, a cozy labyrinth of stalls that is a favorite for serious Hanoi cooks. The market is filled with all the freshest ingredients the chef will need for your cooking demonstration in the hotel’s well-appointed kitchen. After class, lunch will be served at the Metropole’s Spice Garden restaurant. The afternoon is yours for shopping and further exploration.

Your farewell to Hanoi dinner will be held at The Emperor, one of the most beautiful restaurants in Hanoi, and a favorite of visiting dignitaries and celebrities. Following dinner, you will board the Reunification Express for an overnight train to the ancient imperial capital of Hue. The meals included during this day are breakfast and lunch.

Day 5 - Hue

You will arrive in this serene city at 09:30 and transfer directly to the hotel. Then, discuss the Hue itinerary over a delicious breakfast. Today, the exploration begins with a visit to the Linh Mu Pagoda, where the monks will host you with a sumptuous vegetarian meal to sample some of the local delicacies, regarded by many as the culinary capital of Vietnam.

Hue takes its culinary cues from its royal heritage. Hue tables are typically covered with several small dishes of local delicacies such as diminutive Hue pancakes or tiny bowls of freshly cut vegetables. After lunch, you bid farewell to the hosts and continue the activity with a visit to the citadel, home to the Imperial City and the Forbidden Purple City.

You will also visit the Imperial Museum and the vibrant Dong Ba Riverside Market. There will be another culinary adventure this evening as you sup at the fine-dining establishment, Tropical Garden. The meals included during this day are breakfast and dinner.

Day 6 - Cooking activity

The morning begins with a hands-on cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien restaurant, highlighting the regal flavors of Hue cuisine as you prepare your own midday meal. After lunch, you will take a cruise along the romantic Perfume River, passing opulent palaces and gardens of the 19th century Nguyen kings.

You will visit the ornate tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, set within beautifully landscaped gardens, and the tomb of the eccentric Tu Duc, known for his opulent lifestyle. On your way back to the city, you will stop at the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue.

This is an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. One of its most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk, who in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest the South Vietnamese regime and its treatment of Buddhists.

In the evening, you may wish to stay at the hotel and attend an imperial dinner, wearing the traditional clothes of the emperors. The meals included during this day are breakfast and lunch.

Day 7 - Hoi An

Today, you will continue south, going by road toward the riverside town of Hoi An. The five-hour route, hugging the coastline along the South China Sea, serves up breathtaking views that grow even more spectacular as you wind the way up Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Clouds).

You will pause to admire the stunning vistas of Lang Co Beach to the north, and the city of Danang to the south. You will continue on, passing China Beach, where many American GI’s took their rest and relaxation, and the Marble Mountains, home to the Cham legacy.

In Hoi An, you will grab some lunch at the Vinh Hung Café, where the coffee milkshakes are divine and the menu surprisingly extensive. In the afternoon, you will take a walking tour around this once-thriving port and visit the famed old quarter, the Japanese bridge, the old assembly halls, art galleries, and many old houses once belonging to Chinese merchants.

In the evening, you will dine at the Café des Amis along the river. The meals included during this day are breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Day 8 - Cooking demo

Hoi An is a charming, small town, which can be easily explored on foot. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, it was a thriving international trading port with a large Chinese and Japanese population. More than any other place in Vietnam, Hoi An exudes a feeling of centuries past and is a favorite with all travelers.

You may choose to stroll, soaking up the atmosphere and exploring the many fascinating ancestral homes, some of which have been occupied by the same family for fifteen generations. You can also rent a bicycle for a scenic ride to Cua Dai Beach, which is four kilometers away. The town is also famous for its tailors, who are revered for their fine (and fast) work.

You will meet others for lunch at the Pho Cu restaurant. Next, you will shop at Hoi An’s riverside market, always a hive of activity, for the dinner ingredients, before spending the afternoon in a cooking demonstration with Miss Vi of the White Lantern, where you will dine.

Hoi An is well suited for an after-dinner stroll, and you will stop by the Tam Tam Café for a drink or coffee before turning in for the night. The meals included during this day are breakfast and dinner.

Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh City

This morning, you will head for Danang Airport, about a 40-minute drive, to take your one-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), where you transfer directly to a centrally located hotel. You will then attend a cooking class followed by lunch. After lunch, you will embark on a tour of this cosmopolitan city, visiting Cholon, the War Remnants Museum, and the Reunification Palace.

Cholon, home to Ho Chi Minh City’s substantial Chinese population, is also the site of the largest market in Vietnam, the Ben Thanh market. The War Remnants Museum contains a wealth of images from Vietnam wars, the most moving being a gallery entitled Requiem, dedicated to Vietnamese and foreign journalists and photographers who perished during the French and American conflicts.

The Reunification Palace was the residence of the president of South Vietnam until April 30, 1975, when North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates, bringing the Vietnam-U.S. war to a dramatic end. Close to the palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and the central post office represent prime examples of French colonial architecture.

The ornate Notre Dame dominates the city’s business center. Built by the French between 1877 and 1883, it was constructed of stone imported from France. The post office, completed in 1891, is in perfect juxtaposition to the bustling urban city that is modern Hi Chi Minh City with its numerous shopping malls, cinemas, discotheques, and a bewildering number of bars.

This evening, you will see what the fuss is all about as you go out on the town! Tonight, you may have an optional dinner at Le Mekong. The meals included during this day are breakfast and lunch.

Day 10 - Can Tho

Breakfast comes early this morning as you depart for Can Tho in the heart of the Mekong Delta. You will stop in My Tho for coffee, and there, you will have your first taste of life in this amazing delta. You will arrive in Can Tho in time for lunch.

After lunch, you will drive to some of the orchards that give this region its allure, and you will be able to see the many varieties of tropical plants native to this part of the world. You will also visit a bird sanctuary, and stop in at the Song Hau Fram / rice institute, where you will be treated to a taste of some of the many products derived from rice.

In the evening, you will make your way to the Victoria Hotel, your home for the night. At 19:00, there will be a Vietnamese dinner. Some of the tantalizing dishes may include rich crab meat soup with minced ham, steamed fish in soy sauce and many more. The meals included during this day are breakfast and dinner.

Day 11 - Vietnam cruise

You will depart from the Victoria Hotel at 06:30 this morning from the jetty of the hotel. You will enjoy a delectable breakfast buffet on board the Lady Hau as you cruise the Mekong to visit the floating market of Cai Rang.

The cruise will take you along several channels of the delta before you say goodbye to the mighty Mekong and begin your drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. The afternoon affords you free time for some last-minute shopping or relaxing.

Tonight, you will enjoy a deluxe farewell dinner at the Mandarin Restaurant. The meals included during this day are breakfast and dinner.

Day 12 - Departure

Today is departure day and time to bid your guide farewell. There will a transfer waiting to take you from the hotel to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) for your flight home. Travelo Vietnam wishes you a pleasant journey home. You will take away many wonderful memories of the sights and tastes you have savored. The meal included during this day is breakfast.

  • Enjoy 5-hour cruise around Halong Bay
  • Enjoy a morning cyclo tour of city sights
  • Enjoy spectacular views around Hai Van Pass
  • Explore the Hom Market with its stunning offerings of spices and herbs
  • Join a cruise along the Mekong to visit the floating market of Cai Rang
  • See tropical plants in Can Tho
  • Stop by the Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Take a cruise along Perfume River
  • Take part in walking tour around Hoi An
  • Visit Song Hau Fram / Rice institute
  • Visit the 11th century Temple of Literature
  • Visit the ornate tomb of Emperor Minh Mang
  • Visit to a spice exporting facility in Dinh Xuyen
  • Visit to the citadel, Imperial Museum, and Dong Ba Riverside Market
  • Visit to the December 19 Market
  • Visit to the Linh Mu Pagoda

Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital of northern Vietnam and keeps this role until now. The city is located on the right bank of the Red River and far about 1,760 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. Hanoi features a warm humid subtropical climate with plentiful precipitation. In addition, Hanoi is considered one of the main cultural centers of Vietnam, where most Vietnamese dynasties have left their imprint.

In 1902, Hanoi became the capital of the Indochina Federation and it was built by French. Through two wars, Hanoi is the capital of Northern Vietnam and keeps this role until now. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political center of Vietnam. The city is located on the right bank of the Red River and far about 1760 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.

Hanoi is located between 20053' to 21023' north latitude and 105044' to 106002' east longitude. The city has an area of 3324.92 square kilometers. Hanoi is a city with a mount of lakes, ancient rivers. In the inner city, West Lake has large area of about 500 hectares, and plays an important role in the urban landscape. Today this lake is surrounded by many hotels and villas.

When the first state of ancient Vietnam was established in Hanoi (formerly Thang Long), the city was considered a sacred and typical part of Vietnam. Twenty three centuries ago, Co Loa in the present-day district of Dong Anh was the capital of the ancient Au Lac country reigned by Thuc An Duong Vuong (King Thuc An Duong). In the subsequent period of more than 1,000 years, Hanoi had witnessed brilliant feats of arms in a long resistance war against the northern mighty invaders. The subsequent dynasties sometimes moved their capital to other regions.

Mid 20th century, Hanoi suffers from the complex events of history. Events that Japanese attacks Indochina in 1940 make Vietnam under the administration of the French and Japanese. The Vietnamese forces held August revolution succeeded. In September 2, 1945, Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence at Ba Dinh, and created the Democratic Republic of Vietnam with Hanoi capital. In 1945, the victory of Dien Bien Phu, the military regained the North of Vietnam, Hanoi continued the capital position of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

As the capital of Vietnam for almost a thousand years, Hanoi is considered one of the main cultural centers of Vietnam, where most Vietnamese dynasties have left their imprint. Even though some relics have not survived through wars and time, the city still has many interesting cultural and historic monuments for visitors and residents.

Hanoi is very compact, and the city is the most interesting place for tourists. You could probably explore the Old Quarter and visit all the places below in a single day. Tourists can enjoy fresh air when walking around Hoan Kiem Lake or West Lake, sight view in the Old Quarter and visit the entire trade villages around Hanoi. Moreover, they will have opportunities to enjoy traditional foods and have unforgettable time in Hanoi such as Pho, Cha ca La Vong, com, Bun thang, Banh cuon, and Bun cha. Coming and exploring Hanoi, tourist will find a strange and excited feeling about landscape and Hanoian.

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam with the population nearly nine millions. The city is called diamond of the far-east', the same luxury level overriding Hong Kong or Bangkok. Ho Chi Minh city becomes very important city in Vietnam, creating a metropolitan area with Thu Dau Mot, Di An, Bien Hoa and surrounding towns.

In the early history, the city was a small fishing village named Prey Nokor, which was inhabited by Khmer people. Then, it was given to the Vietnamese as a dowry for the marriage of a Vietnamese princess to a Khmer prince in order to stop constant invasions and pillaging of Khmer villages. Under the French colonial, the city had a lot of influence from the western style, and there still a lot of beautiful buildings in the city which are remained with French style. After April 30, 1975, the city was under the control of North Vietnamese government and the name was changed from Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City.

Recently, Ho Chi Minh City is such a large area with 24 districts, the lifestyle and the architecture is the combination between American and Chinese, but it is not losing the traits. Beside the dynamic economy and modern life, the city is really developing in tourism and attracts millions of foreign tourists every year. The most prominent sites in the city is Reunification Palace, city hall, the Municipal theater also known as the Opera House, city post office, state bank office, city people's court, and Notre Dame Cathedral. All of them are the special structures, which are influenced by French architecture.

There are also various museum and entertainment places in the city such as the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Museum of Vietnamese history, the Revolutionary Museum, the Museum of Southeastern Armed Forces, the Museum of Southern Women, the Museum of Fine Art, the Nha Rong Memorial House, and Cu Chi underground Tunnels. There are also other popular places such as the Dam Sen Tourist and Cultural Park, Suoi Tien amusement and culture park, the Saigon zoo, and botanical gardens.

District one is the best experience for a modern city in Vietnam. All streets and boulevard in the district are lined with evergreen trees with local people selling street drinks, some notable sights as Ben Thanh Market, city post office, and Notre Dame Cathedral. The district is a quite good ideal for shopping with several shopping streets. The nice location at central of the South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City becomes very important center of transportation lead to surrounding provinces, bringing opportunities to develop the economy and tourism of Eastern and Western area of the South.

Hue City

Hue is located in central Vietnam on the banks of the Huong River, a few miles inland from Bien Dong. Hue was the capital of nine reigns of Nguyen. Hue still retains culture heritage and intangible heritage, which contains values of wisdom and spirit of Vietnam. Throughout the centuries, the quintessence of country converges here to create a fantastic natural picture with romantic river and charming mountain.

Thua Thien Hue is one province of central Vietnam, the north borders Quang Tri, on the south is Da Nang city. It has an area of 5,053.99 square kilometers, average population 1105.5 thousand people. Thua Thien Hue has eight districts and Hue city includes 150 communes and town. Hue is located on the important road north-south. The city is important center in many aspects such as culture, politics, economic, education, health, tourism, science, and technology.

For nearly 40 years (1558-1945), Hue was the capital of nine reigns of Nguyen. Hue still retains culture heritage and intangible heritage which contains values of wisdom and spirit of Vietnam. Throughout the centuries, the quintessence of country converges here to create a fantastic natural picture with romantic river and charming mountain. Therefore, Hue is a home to many palaces, temples, majestic tombs, and famous destinations.

Located in the heart of Hue, on the northern bank of the Huong River, the architecture system represents the authority of Nguyen's absolute monarchy before changes of time. It is the Hue citadel, Tu Cam Thanh. The citadel system is an example of harmony between the quintessence of Western and oriental architecture, which are located in the natural landscape with many symbols. The architecture seems to be mixed with wonderful nature, which creates the charming picture.

Hoang Thanh is limited by a wall with approximately 600 meters in length and four unique entrances. The road leads to Than dao has unique architecture such as Nghinh Luong Dinh, Phu Van Lau, Ky Dai, Ngo Mon, Thai Hoa, Can Chanh, Can Thanh, Khon Thai, and Kien Trung. On the roadside of Than dao, there are hundreds of large and small buildings.

Situated on both sides of Huong River, royal tombs of Nguyen Kings are considered as the achievements of the landscape architecture. The tombs are heaven for owners when entering the afterlife. Each tomb reflects the personality of the owner. Gia Long tomb is austere but majestic among mountains. Minh Mang tomb is majestic among mountain and lake. Tu Duc tomb formed mainly by the sophistication or human.

Hue's existed gardens are Ngu Vien, Thu Quang, Thuong Mau, Truong Ninh, and Thieu Phuong. The architecture of gardens combined with availability factors creates a specific type of garden in Hue. Each garden has the shadow of the Hue citadel, nearly a half century as the capital of a dynasty with political institutions based on Confucianism. Besides the golden palace architecture, Hue also preserves hundreds of ancient pagodas.

Associated with feudal dynasty and to comply with the principles of Confucianism philosophy, festival and music in here had developed. The court has Te Giao ceremony, Te Xa Tac, Nguyen Dan, Doan Duong, Van Tho, Dai Trieu, Thuong Trieu, Ban Soc, Truyen Lo, and Duyet Binh. Common people have various festivals, such as Hon Chen, Cau Ngu, and Sinh. Besides, there is a ritual form of folk music such as tuong Hue, or dance of Hue.

Coming here in June, tourists will have opportunity to live in vivid space associated with the cultural festival of hundred years ago. A lot of foreign tourists are curious about Hue’s ritual royal music. Originated from eight kinds of ritual music under Le dynasty, under Nguyen dynasty, it has improved into two kinds of music, Dai nhac and Nha nhac, which are really magnificent. Those are only played on formal occasions. This city is proud to be the cradle of traditional music. The Royal Refined Music was proclaimed by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on December 1993. Traditional music has been preserved in the Hue city.

Today, Hue becomes the typical city of Vietnam. Every two years, people welcome Hue festival. In the opinion of citizens, Hue becomes festival city because Hue still retains typical architecture and natural construction. The combination between the architecture and landscape makes Hue becomes a city of harmony between architecture-nature and human.

Hue still retains over 1000 dishes cooked the Hue way, the dishes of Nguyen dynasty. The menu includes dozens of dishes which are prepared meticulously with attractive flavor, attractive color, and beautiful presentation. The cuisines of Hue are rich, but one of the most striking differences is the prominence of vegetarianism in the city. No one who comes to Hue could forget its ancient beauty and romance.

If you have any specific food requirements (vegetarian, vegan, food allergies), please inform Travelo Vietnam in advance so that they can provide a notice to restaurant, tour guide, and partners so that they can serve you better. If you are a food lover, Travelo Vietnam can be your culinary guide and provide you opportunity to savor tempting local food and world-famous dishes.

There are some activities which you can carry out during your stay in Vietnam. During your second day on the tour, for example, night owls are invited to hit Highway 4 with a guide for a taste of an exotic rice or fruit wine, or a cup of Vietnamese tea. Highway 4’s brewed-on-site spirits, particularly enjoyable on the roof terrace, include traditional northern medicinal liquors and herbal potions. On the third day, if you’re up for a continental dining experience, you may want to accompany the tour leader to one of the popular Italian restaurants in Hanoi, Luna D’Autunno. You will chat with the chef and enjoy some homemade pasta and fresh tomato sauces made with local produce.

  • 4 domestic flights
  • 11 nights accommodation
  • Daily western-style breakfast
  • Domestic airport and government taxes
  • Entrance fees, performances
  • Local English-speaking guides
  • Private transport in air-conditioned vehicles
  • Water and tissues on coach
  • Additional drinks
  • Additional meals
  • Early check-in and late check-out surcharge
  • International flights to and from Yangon
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa stamp fees

Arrival by airplane

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

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.

Hanoi, Vietnam

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