Day 1: Saigon Arrival
Our representative/tour guide will meet and greet you at the airport in Ho
Chi Minh City, which is formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a
sprawling metropolis that is home to over 5 million people and a fast-paced
city full of contrasts as street vendors selling fruit and vegetables can be
seen next to glitzy western-style bars and boutiques. Saigon’s history is
only 300 years old. In 1859 the city was captured by the French and became
the capital of Cochin China. From 1956 until its dramatic demise in April
1975 it was the capital of the US-backed Republic of Vietnam. Today, Ho Chi
Minh City is very much the heart of Vietnamese business and entrepreneurs.
And yet the city still retains its connections to the past, particularly in
Cho Lon, Saigon’s Chinatown. Here dozens of elegant temples and pagodas can
be seen. The French also left their mark with some fine colonial-era
buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office.
Overnight at hotel in Saigon.
Day 2: Saigon Cooking Class & City Sightseeing (Meals: B, L, D)
Aimed at the enthusiastic non-professional, this course is an initiation into the Art of Vietnamese Cuisine. It provides the opportunity not only to taste Vietnamese delicious dishes, but also, by actually cooking them under the friendly guidance of our professional chef, to learn how to reproduce them after returning home. Chefs, MC and staff in Vietnamese traditional costumes will be welcoming guests at the door of our lovely colonial style villa. Whilst guests take place at their personal cooking station and prepare their dishes, have fun cooking them, our MC will tell tales, stories and anecdotes to explain how the Cuisine and the Culinary Art of Vietnam have developed throughout the years. The MC will also detail the roots of the Cuisine prevailing in each of the three main regions of Vietnam, explain the set up of an original Vietnamese kitchen, the traditions the Etiquette as well as the historical influences on Vietnamese food. In the afternoon, you will visit the Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the best examples of classic French colonial architecture and where every single stone used to build it has amazingly travelled from France! You will also have the chance to see the countries largest Post Office, another fine example of French Colonial architecture. Next. you will visit Hau Temple devoted to the Goddess of Mothers and Newborn Babies, the most attractive feature is the roof packed with figurines. The tour concludes with a visit to the vibrant atmosphere of Ben Thanh Market. Here you can find a wide selection of goods ranging from fake Nike trainers to beautiful silk Ao Dais. Back to the hotel. Dinner at Lemon Grass restaurant in the city. Overnight in Saigon.
Day 3: Saigon - Danang - Hoi An (Meals: B, L, D)
At Leisure and then you will be taken to the airport to take 1 hour flight to Danang City. Pick up upon arrival and transfer to Hoi An. Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. Enjoy a walking tour through the Old Quarters to see the town's landmarks of Japanese Covered Bridge, ancient Assembly Hall, Phuc Kien Temple and then we take a river trip and you will enjoy the scenery along the Thu Bon River and the general view of Hoi An Ancient Town. Hoi An is also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to have a new wardrobe made up, this is the time to do it. Dinner at Full Moon restaurant in Hoi An. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.
Day 4: Hoi An Cooking Tour (Meals: B, L, D)
We start the day (8:45am) with a drink at Hai Scout Cafe as our meeting point. Visit Hoi An's colourful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy. On arrival, we have a chance to explore the cooking school's herb and vegetable garden, before learning about some of Hoi An's and Vietnam's well-known dishes. The cooking class is an interesting and fun way to learn about the local cuisine - the class runs for about an hour and 15 minutes, and includes demonstrations from the school's chefs as well as the chance for us to help prepare some dishes. Included in the demonstration is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). Free at leisure by your own to explore the ancient town of Hoi An or shopping at tailor shops. Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.
Day 5: Hoi An - Hue (Meals: B, L, D)
This morning we drive to Hue, we will cross Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the China Sea. Arrive in Hue at around 11:00 am. Check-in hotel and relax for a while. Hue city served as Vietnam's capital under the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 and the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the walls of the Citadel and the Imperial City. Both were heavily damaged during the Tet Offensive of 1968 when the Hue served as Vietnam's capital under the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty from 1802 to 1945 and the city’s regal past can still be seen inside the walls of the Citadel and the Imperial City. In the afternoon. we will tour the ancient Imperial Citadel and visit Thien Mu, a beautiful pagoda located right on the bank of Perfume River. Then we will drive through countryside to visit Tu Duc and Khai Dinh Royal tombs. Back to Hotel and the rest of time at your own leisure. Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Hue Cooking Tour (Meals: B, L)
The morning begins with a market tour to buy ingredients and a hands-on cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien, once belonged to a royal princess, known for serving dishes in the traditional style of Hue’s imperial court. Master Chef Madame Ha’s artistic presentation of the food is reason enough to visit. Highlighting the regal flavors of Hue cuisine and all of her traditional Hue food is elegantly and colorfully presented much in the form of animals. Order Dance of the Phoenix and a plate of a giant cucumber bird, resting on a nest of noodles, with a pate plume, appears at your table. Green Papaya with Lemon in the Form of a Dragon comes complete with menacing red pepper eyes and tongue. The more subdued Elephant arrives with carrot ears, cucumber tusks, pate head and body, properly dressed in a rice paper crepe as we prepare our own midday meal. In the afternoon, we will experience countryside tour - Touring the countryside around Hue is a great way to discover the "real" Vietnam. The cultural, religious, and educational centre of Vietnam, Hue has a lot of historic sites waiting to be discovered. Visit the 500-year old village of Phuoc Tich with its worship halls and communal houses for a taste of ancient Vietnam. And stop at the historic Thanh Toan Bridge, one of two covered bridges remaining in the country and then we will drive to visit handicraft village of Phu Cam - the one of the best-known places for making conical hats for hundreds years. This guided tour will teach you more about these hidden gems and their legacy, as nearly all of them have direct links with the old Imperial Court. The houses are not only attractive, but they also are a great way to learn about the traditional beliefs and rituals of the Vietnamese people. Back to hotel. Overnight in Hue city.
Day 7: Hue An - Hanoi (Meals: B, L, D)
At leisure and we will transfer you to the airport in Danang city for flight to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is an elegant city located on the banks of the Red River with tranquil Restored Sword Lake at its heart. North of the lake are the bustling streets of the Old Quarter, each street named after the trade that used to take place there. Much of the city was transformed by the French when it became a French protectorate in the 1880s and there are wide boulevards and large colonial buildings which are now home to government departments and foreign embassies. You will be transferred to your hotel in the city center to refresh. Tonight, we will experience a cuisine delights at Cha Ca La Vong restaurant or simply grilled fish. is the famous restaurant to many Hanoians as well as visitors from all over the world. Ambience atmosphere, simple meals but it was truly experience. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi City.
Day 8: Hanoi Cooking Tour (Meals: B, L, D)
Morning cooking class: Today’s class begins with a walk, accompanied by the Chef of the Spices Garden Restaurant, to the local market, where participants get a chance to learn all about Vietnamese ingredients. After that, everyone rolls up their sleeves in the kitchen to prepare a proper Vietnamese meal. After the class lunch will be served in the Spices Garden Vietnamese Restaurant to sample all the different dishes prepared during the class. This afternoon you will discover Hanoi to visit essential sites with an English speaking guide. Part of your tour will include sightseeing by cyclo, by which you’ll discover the Old Quarter made up of the so called "36 streets," most of which are named after the crafts or merchandise traditionally sold there. Dinner tonight at another of Hanoi’s fine restaurants. Afterwards enjoy a performance of a traditional water puppet show. This fantastic art form originated in northern Vietnam and is best seen in Hanoi. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi City.
Day 9: Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hanoi (Meals: B, L, D)
Morning depart for Halong Bay, we go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town we embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting five hour cruise will provide us a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. Back to Hanoi and dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi.
Day 10: Hanoi Departure (Meals: B)
Free at leisure until transferring to the airport to take departure flight for next destination.