Vietnam is well known for delicious food in many different forms. This tour gives you the opportunity not only see the main sights of the country, from south to north, but also experience the food culture for yourself - whether touring street food outlets on the back of a scooter, joining in a cooking class choosing and preparing ingredients, or dining on fine royal cuisine.
Depart London Heathrow or your regional airport on a flight to Saigon.
Arrive in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City. You are then transferred to Golden Central Hotel or a similar option. The rest of the day is free.
Early departure for excursion to the Cu Chi tunnels, created by Vietnamese fighters during Vietnam War. Take a boat ride along the Saigon River. Lunch at Binh Quoi restaurant. In the afternoon, city tour to include the War Remnants Museum, the General Post Office, a famous example of colonial architecture, and Notre Dame Cathedral. In the evening discover the city's vibrant street food culture by riding on the back of a scooter around the streets, with dinner and drinks at some of Saigon's best authentic street food venues and cafes. (B, L, D)
Early departure for excursion to the Mekong Delta. Two hours drive to Cai Thia in Tien Giang province. Cycle for an hour or two around the peaceful paths near the village of Hoa Loc. Then take a boat ride to An Binh Island. Enjoy lunch with local specialities at Ut Trinh's home restaurant. Walk around the family garden to see different kinds of vegetable and fruit. Then take a small rowed sampan through the narrower canals and channels and see a local brick kiln producing bricks and pottery in the traditional way. Return to Saigon. (B, L)
Transfer to airport for flight to Danang. Transfer to the historic town of Hoi An, once one of the most important trading cities of the region. Visit the Japanese Covered Bridge, Phuc Kien Temple and ancient merchants' houses. Also visit the colourful and busy market. Dinner at local restaurant. (B, D)
Today start the morning with a boat trip from Vy's Market Restaurant to the market to learn about how to choose fresh fish, herbs, spices and vegetables for Vietnamese cooking. Then return to the restaurant for a join-in cooking class. Learn how to make a number of tasty dishes, watching the tutors and then doing it yourself. Finally enjoy eating the results! In the afternoon take a leisurely 4km bike ride to Tra Que village. Join villagers in tending the crops in the fields - a great way to meet local people. Transfer back to your hotel in Hoi An. (B, L)
Today travel by road over the Hai Van Pass to the former imperial capital of Hue. Visit the Imperial Citadel, the former palace of Vietnam's emperors before taking a boat trip on the Perfume River, stopping en route at the Thien Mu page. In the evening enjoy a sumptuous banquet of royal cuisine and traditional performances at the Ancient Hue restaurant. (B, L, D)
Today take a leisurely bike ride (8km) through the Vietnamese countryside from Hue to Thanh Toan village to visit the 200-year-old tiled bridge. Visit the agricultural museum and local temples before returning to Hue. (B, L)
Transfer to airport for flight to Hanoi. On arrival take a city tour around the Horn Siem Lake to see the Hue bridge and Ngoc Son Temple before visiting the Old Quarter (known as the 36 ancient wards and streets). Discover the street food of Hanoi by walking around the old quarter, talking to local vendors and sampling delicious cuisine. (B, L)
Today travel through the lush farmland of the Red River delta to Halong Bay to join your traditional-style junk for a cruise around the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay. Set sail and pass through a dramatically beautiful landscape of blue sea, green islands and rocky islets. Overnight on board boat (B, L, D)
After a light breakfast, tai chi exercise on deck as your boat heads back to port, but not before time for a delicious brunch on board. Disembark and drive back to Hanoi, stopping at Dong Trieu village en route to see traditional pottery-making (and have a go yourself!) (B)
Transfer to an airport for flights back to the UK. You’ll arrive later the same day or early the following morning depending on the airline. (B)
PLEASE NOTE: B = Buffet Breakfast at Hotel, L = lunch at local restaurant, D = dinner
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