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OVERVIEW

Ha Long Bay / Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City / Hue / Danang / Hoi An

Take a gastronomic adventure through Vietnam. Spend ten days immersed in the country’s culinary scene, sampling everything from tasty street food to gourmet fusion dishes. Learn the secrets behind these mouth-watering morsels with visits to fresh markets and hands-on cooking classes.

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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Flavours of Vietnam
Be a farmer for a day

Be a farmer for a day

Join a local family at their farm, ploughing the fields and picking rice for a better understanding of Vietnam’s agriculture.

Join hands-on cooking classes

Join hands-on cooking classes

Grab an apron and step into the kitchen, learning to prepare Vietnamese dishes from villagers and famous chefs.

Sample local specialties

Sample local specialties

Try food from each of Vietnam’s distinctive regions and at popular local stalls for an authentic taste of the country.

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ITINERARY

Flavours of Vietnam - 10 Days / 9 Nights

DAY 1 - Hanoi arrival

Exo TravelNoi Bai Airport to your chosen hotel in Hanoi (35 km):60mins

Arrive in Hanoi and be welcomed by the guide and transfer to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure to recover from the long flight.

Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 2 - HanoiMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Start this day with a visit of the highly acclaimed Vietnam Women’s Museum. The museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women.  Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role that Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more.

Then, 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 Vietnam’s past.

Support a good cause and have lunch at Koto Restaurant, a social enterprise helping to empower at-risk youths. The restaurant is located nearby the Temple of Literature.

Continue to the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), and visit the former president’s 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 the hotel.

In the afternoon, take part in a hands-on cooking class in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter also known as the ‘36 streets’. Visit a neighbourhood 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 day’s ingredients, learn how to prepare and cook true northern Vietnamese cuisine before sitting down to enjoy a delectable meal.

Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 3 - Hanoi – Halong BayMealsMEALS [B|L|D]

Exo TravelHanoi to Halong Bay (160km): 3hrs30mins

Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3.5hr drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at the jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities.

Then, be welcome onboard and be served with lunch while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) 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.

Overnight on Halong Bay.

DAY 4 - Halong Bay – Hanoi – DanangMealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelHalong Bay to Noi Bai Airport (150km): 3hrs30mins

Enjoy the fresh morning in the middle of the bay, watch the sun rise on Halong in the morning while having breakfast (brunch on some boats).  Enjoy cruising slowing through the magnificent rock formations before returning back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for the onward flight to Danang.

Please note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions.

In Danang, take a short transfer to the hotel located in Hoi An.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Dinner choices in Hoi An:

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

Secret garden is on one of the best addresses in Hoi An for traditional Vietnamese food. The location is in the middle of the old town down a hidden alley. Both the atmosphere and cuisine come highly recommended.

Located in the centre of Hoi An’s 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 flavours, beautiful presentations and a relaxing atmosphere Mango Rooms has one the heart of many loyal and happy customers.

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 sun set over the Japanese Bridge.

Located near the Japanese Bridge and in a quiet street, Mai Fish offers simple but delicious Southern and Central Vietnam food. This is the 3rd restaurant of Chef Duc with Mango Mango and Mango Rooms.

DAY 5 - Hoi AnMealsMEALS [B|L]

Today, get to know all about the cultivation of rice - a staple food in many Asian countries. Learn all about the process of Vietnamese rice cultivation, a secret still unknown to many westerners.

Leave Hoi An by bike for a short, scenic ride into the countryside. Pedal along quiet laneways passing by water buffaloes lazing in the fields and other scenes of rural life. Arrive at a farm and meet with a local family in their typical rural house. The guide and host family will give an introduction to the different steps of rice cultivation, explaining the cycle from start to finish. Then, in order to get a deeper understanding of the process, put on traditional farming clothes and head into the fields.

Join local farmers in the rice paddies. Learn how to plough and sow the fields, pulling up the rice seedlings and transplanting them to larger fields. Depending on the season, the activities may vary slightly but, as growing rice is a year-round process, there is always something to do. During the time in the fields, chat with the farmers to discover more about Vietnam’s fascinating rice cultivation.

Once the rice is grown, it must then be cooked! Return to the house and learn how to cook rice in the traditional way. As well the hosts will show how to prepare tasty local pancakes. Having worked up an appetite in the fields, a home cooked lunch is served before returning to Hoi An early this afternoon.

Please note: This tour is non private and operated on a join in basis.

Free at leisure the rest of the afternoon.

Overnight in Hoi An.

DAY 6 - Hoi An - HueMealsMEALS [B|D]

Exo TravelHoi An to Hue (150km): 3hrs

In the morning, discover Hoi An on a walking tour. Get to know the charming, old-world trading port of narrow streets and traditional houses, former merchants’ homes, the town’s iconic 400-year old Japanese covered bridge and the colourful market where an array of fresh ingredients are on offer. 

Drive through Danang and visit the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world before crossing Hai Van tunnel and dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co.

Enjoy an exclusive private dinner at the lovely Tha Om garden house. A Hue nha vuon usually consisting 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 (brick wall) 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 family’s ancestors occupies the central room.

 

Overnight in Hue.

DAY 7 - HueMealsMEALS [B|L]

Formerly the capital of Vietnam and the Kings’ City, Hue has a strong royal heritage. Hue food is unique to Vietnam and Hue offers a variety of ‘royal’ restaurant cuisine. Get a hands-on experience with a cooking class and enjoy the taste of Hue’s local delicacies such as Hue pancakes. Learn how to prepare delicious Hue recipes in the beautiful, traditional Garden House of Y Thao. Set in a lush green garden near the Citadel, Y Thao is a charming ancient house filled with collectibles.

Start an exclusive cooking class and learn how to prepare a Hue Royal meal. 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, tuck-in to the delicious and beautiful dishes. 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 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 cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax. The lake is 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 which is traditional Vietnamese in design with a European touch making it unique from the other tombs in Hue.

Before heading back to the hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with the guide.  The market is another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with colour and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.  

Dinner choices in Hoi An:

Le Parfum, the beautiful restaurant of La Residence offers delicious Vietnamese or Western menus in a nice setting.

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 (noodle soup with thick rice noodles) or Banh Khai (fried rice pancake).  

Overnight in Hue.

DAY 8 - Hue – Ho Chi Minh CityMealsMEALS [B|D]

Exo TravelTan Son Nhat Airport to your chosen hotel in HCMC(8km):30mins

After breakfast transfer to Hue Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to the hotel.

Lunch choices in Hoi An:

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 come alive. A variety of delicious traditional Vietnamese dishes are served in a nice and simple family style. To reach the restaurant, take an old and unique wooden elevator that arrives at a banana and lemon grass garden on the terrace.

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 and atmospheric setting.

Hoa Tuc means opium flower and is a central venue located in the courtyard of the former opium refinery manufacture. Inside, the interior is art deco which combines black, purple and pastel colours. Hoa Tuc serves excellent, authentic Vietnamese cuisine and the outside courtyard is perfect for dinners.

In the afternoon, depart the hotel for a tour of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. The program includes the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace it was towards this modern building that North Vietnamese tanks were 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. From there stroll to the major sights of colonial Ho Chi Minh City: the Old Saigon Post Office, Dong Khoi Street (formerly Rue Catinat), Continental Hotel, Opera House and City Hall.  (Please note: The vehicle will be available at all times). 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 principals 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 6:30 pm. The first stop is a public park where local people enjoy some dancing exercises. They gather here when the sun goes down to socialise and dance together. Join the dance or simply watch the locals.

Then, after a short walk, try the 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 HCM with rice and pork ribs. After crossing a busy intersection, indulge in a delicious dessert and a Vietnamese café. Finally, after 10 minutes walking, enjoy the end of this evening at a live music café playing piano or Vietnamese songs. At the end of the tour return to the hotel around 10:30 pm. (Please Note: Places are subject to change upon availability.)

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

DAY 9 - Ho Chi Minh CityMealsMEALS [B|L]

Located in suburban Ho Chi Minh City away from the well trodden tourist path, this is not just a cooking class but a genuine insight into a Vietnamese kitchen. Start from the hotel for a local suburban Ho Chi Minh City market (whilst it’s still busy) with the host, to shop for ingredients, all at a leisurely pace. Then, head back to the house to start cooking. The host is a great cook and more than happy to show the local market and share some of their favourite dishes. A selection of dishes can be made from a menu, rather than having a set cooking class menu, have personal favourites instead that can be devoured later. After lunch return to the centre of Ho Chi Minh City.

Spend the rest of the day free at leisure and explore Ho Chi Minh City at a comfortable pace.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

DAY 10 - Ho Chi Minh City DepartureMealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelYour chosen hotel to Tan Son Nhat Airport (8km):30mins

Departure day. Spend the morning at leisure until the transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for onward flight.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Boat trip as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Other meals than mentioned
  • Other services than mentioned
  • International and domestic Flights
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
  • Tips, Travel insurance
  • We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips to Vietnam.
  • Prices are valid 30 days from date of offer. Past this date price and conditions may be readjusted.
  • The cost of air tickets is subject to change without prior notice by the airlines.
  • Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
  • Please note that all the above services & tours have yet to be booked, they are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.
  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.
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