Just as Vietnamese cuisine is all about yin and yang, so this journey is one of balance. Experience guided tours through local markets, test your skills in cooking schools, and enjoy lavish meals at some of the country’s best restaurants. From the buzzing streets of Saigon to the historical charms of Hoi An and Hue and on to Hanoi and Ha Long Bay – only a visit to Vietnam can truly reveal the diversity of the country’s cooking tradition.
DAY 1: AUSTRALIA – HO CHI MINH
Fly to Ho Chi Minh by a non-stop flight from Melbourne/Sydney with Vietnam Airlines.
You are welcome at the airport and then get transferred to the hotel for check-in.
Balance of the day is free time.
Spend overnight in Ho Chi Minh.
DAY 2: HO CHI MINH CITY – CU CHI TUNNELS
Our city tour will help you to see the best of Saigon. In the morning we visit the historic Reunification Palace and War Remnants Museum, followed by the architectural treats of French colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and the Post Office.
In the afternoon, we drive to Cu Chi district, 65 km to the Northwest of Saigon City. On arrival watch a video presentation on the construction of the tunnels before making your way into the tunnels. This unique experience gives a fascinating insight into what underground life in the war must have been like.
Overnight at hotel in Saigon
DAY 3: MAI HOME COOKING CLASS
This morning you will begin your culinary discovery with a fun cooking class in Ho Chi Minh. Enjoy being taught how to prepare some traditional Vietnamese dishes at the Mai Home Cooking Centre. The experience begins with a fascinating visit to the market, where you are sure to marvel at the foodstuffs on display. Here the expert chefs will introduce you to some of the ingredients and ways of substituting them those more commonly found in western countries. Then, it is back to the cooking centre for a fun ‘hands on’ cooking lesson. Here, you will be taught how to prepare a variety of dishes. After the class, it is time to enjoy your delicious creations.
DAY 4: MEKONG DELTA – FLY TO DANANG – HOI AN
Leave Ho Chi Minh to lush My Tho where we cruise on a private boat through the green vegetation of the canals to an orchard, where we are treated to a delicious lunch in a local restaurant in the heart of the Mekong , complete with tropical fruits. We also visit the snake farm Dong Tam that breeds snakes for, among other things, snake wine before heading back to Ho Chi Minh’s airport for your short flight to Danang in the late afternoon.
On arrival, take a short journey (30mins) to Hoi An.
Spend your first evening in Hoi An strolling its romantic, silk lantern lit streets and dine in one of its fantastic riverside restaurants.
Spend overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 5: HOI AN COOKING CLASS WITH RED BRIDGE
Today we start the cooking class from Hai Scout Café in Hoi An for welcome drink. Then visiting Hoi An’s colourful market and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. Take the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and learn about all the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. Board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is ready. On arrival, explore the cooking school’s herb garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours. The Red Bridge chefs first demonstrate each dish before you prepare the same dish yourself. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, indulge your cooking.
In the afternoon, we come back to the hotel. You can take bicycle from the hotel to cycling surrounding Hoi An town.
Overnight in the hotel.
DAY 7: HOI AN – HUE
In the morning, depart for Hue with 3 hours driving. Stop over at the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before a scenic route climbing over the Pass of Ocean Clouds (Hai Van Pass).
On arrival at Hue, we embark on a tour of Hue City including the Citadel and Khai Dinh Tomb.
Enjoy a sunset cruise on on the romantic Perfume River with a visit to Thien MU Pagoda.
Setting in the converge of rivers, and gives you a great view on the Perfume River and surrounding area.
DAY 8: HUE – FLY TO HANOI
Enjoy some free time in Hue in the morning and fly to Hanoi in the afternoon.
In the evening, you will be enchanted by the legends and stories told at the Thang Long Water Puppet show that no one should miss while visiting Hanoi.
Spend overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 9: HANOI COOKING CENTER – CITY EXCURSION
In the morning, we are met at the meeting point of Hanoi Cooking Center (Add: 44 Chau Long Str)
The tour begins at 09.00 AM with an introduction to the local food scene over a hearty bowl of pho; noodle soup, the quintessential Hanoi street food. Then it is off to a bustling local market where your chef will demystify the local produce, and encourage you to taste some of its most exotic ingredients . A further 5 venues are included in the tour and all travel between venus is by taxi or on foot, the tour lasts for 5 hours and finishes with a typical Vietnamese ca phe, or che (Vietnamese tea) and local sweets. Your chef and guide will also share some of their favorite eating and shopping secrets in Ha Noi for you to explore further
After lunch, drive to the very impressive Museum of Ethnology, among the finest of Vietnam’s museums. You will see many exhibits, photographs and actual houses inhabited by some of the 54 ethnic people in Vietnam. It will offer a truly colorful introduction to these ethnic tribes. Later then, we’ll visit the 11th century Temple of Literature.
Spend overnight in Hanoi.
DAY 10: HANOI – HA LONG
Around 08.00 AM, drive to Ha Long Bay with 4 hours travelling for the overnight cruise on a deluxe junk. Begin with a seafood lunch then explore some limestone caves. In the afternoon enjoy a swim or relax in the sun on the top deck or try your hand at some kayaking.
DAY 11: HA LONG – HANOI
This morning continue to move around the bay to find more secluded areas to either swim or kayak. At around midday, the boat will return to the main harbour before transferring to an awaiting vehicle for the journey back to Hanoi.
Arrive at Hanoi around 04.00 PM.
Spend overnight in Hanoi.