Arrive in Hanoi, welcome by your guide and transfer to hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
HANOI CITY TOUR (B, L)
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 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. 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 your 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 neighborhood ‘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 1930’s. 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.
HANOI - HALONG (B, L, D)
Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hrs drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising among beautiful of islets. The Bai Tu Long area has the ild beauty with the panoramic natural views, making it unforgettable to guests. Visiting the Vung Vieng villages – the famous pearl growing village and the fishing tanks of the local people on the surgace of Halong Bay. Observing the fish-feeding tanks, shopping at the souvernir shop and discovering the local life of people here. The cruise sails from Vung Vieng fishing village to Cong Do sleeping area. You can treasure the wonderful beauty of Bai Thu Long Bay at the sunset, admire the striking islands and islets, relax and savor the fresh and peaceful atmosphere which could hardly be found in land. Onboard the vessel, surrounded by a stunning setting in motion, attend our chef’s cooking demonstration and try your skills in the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking. Dinner and overnight on board.
Overnight: On boat at Halong Bay
HALONG BAY - HANOI - DANANG (B, BR)
Take a delightful morning cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Ha Long Bay with a Tai Chi lesson. The cruise will slowly sail towards Tuan Chau harbor crisscrossing the 2000 islets of Halong Bay. Explore the area of Hon Co island and Co Cave. Have buffer brunch while cruising back to the Tuan Chau wharf. Relaxing on the sundeck or in the dining room enjoying the bay scenery as approaching the wharf. Transfer to Hanoi around 4:30pm then take flight to Danang. Upon arrival in Danang, guide will pick up and transfer to Hoi An.
Overnight: Hoi An
HOI AN ECO TOUR - WET RICE (B, L)
When you think Asia and food, rice is usually the first thing that comes to mind. This is not surprising as rice is a major staple in the diet of many Asian countries, especially in Vietnam. You may have seen rice growing in Asian paddy fields. However, it is likely you do not know the sequence of Vietnamese rice cultivation. It is still a secret unbeknownst to most western tourists. Start the day with a hotel pick up at 8:30 am. Begin your journey with a short bicycle ride through rice paddies to the countryside (a vehicle can be arranged for those preferring not to cycle). Arrive at a farm where you will be warmly welcomed with tea by a local family host. You will have the chance to visit their house. Your guide will explain the different steps of rice cultivation. Don traditional farming clothes and conical hats for sun protection. Then, start the fun part of the tour. Because learning is way better with practice, you will experience rides on a water buffalo and learn the how to plough, rake, carry water into the rice field, sow, pull up the rice seedlings, transplant rice, etc. Prepare yourself for a unique experience, and try not to fall into the mud! Afterwards, return to the house and learn how to make pancakes that you will be able to enjoy. Additionally, learn how to cook rice in the traditional way. Enjoy lunch with the host family before riding back to the hotel. Free at leisure the rest of the afternoon.
Overnight: Hoi An
HOI AN - HUE (B, L, D)
In the morning, discover Hoi An with a walking tour. Discover 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 colorful market where an array of fresh ingredients are on offer. In the afternoon, drive through Danang and climb over the Pass of Ocean Clouds and drop down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co before visiting the Cham Museum, which contains the finest collection of Cham sculptures in the world. Enjoy an exclusive private dinner at the lovely Tha Om garden house. A Hue “nha vuon” usually consists 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.
HUE CITY TOUR (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 where you will learn how to prepare a Hue “Royal” meal. You will 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, enjoy the delicious and beautiful dishes you just made. 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 and ceremony 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 cycle through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax; 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 your hotel take time to stroll around Dong Ba Market with your guide. The market is another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.
Ho Chi Minh City
HUE - SAGON FOOD TOUR (B, L, D)
After breakfast transfer to Hue Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel. Lunch at Hoa Tuc local restaurant. 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 your hotel for a tour of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. Your program includes the Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace it was towards this modern building that North Vietnamese tanks 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 (your vehicle will be available at all times) 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. 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 socialize and dance together. Then, after a short walk, try your 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 is “Pho”. There, enjoy a delicious local noodle soup, inspired by Vietnamese recipes. After crossing a busy intersection, indulge yourself with a delicious dessert “sweet soup”. Tour end around 10:00pm.hotel.
Ho Chi Minh City
SAIGON COOKING CLASS (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 your hotel for a local suburban Ho Chi Minh City market (whilst it’s still busy) with your host, to shop for ingredients, all at a leisurely pace. You’ll then head back to the house to start your cooking, where you’ll eventually devour the results for lunch! Your host is a great cook and more than happy to show you around their local market and share some of their favorite dishes. A selection of dishes can be made from a menu, rather than having a set cooking class menu see what tickles your fancy. After your lunch return to the center of Ho Chi Minh City. Free at leisure the rest of the day to explore Ho Chi Minh City at your own pace.
Overnight: Ho Chi Minh City
BEN TRE HOMESTAY (B, L, D)
Following breakfast, guide pick up and transfer to Tan Thach province. Upon arrival, take bicycle go through Quoi Son coconut garden, Phu An Hoa rice field and Tu Dien village to Ben Tre town. Visit brickworks, where bricks are stil painstakingly made by hand. Get on boat and cruise along Ben Tre river. Then, go through the zizag canal to visit local coconut processing workshop, where you can try fresh coconut candy and see how every single part of this versatile nit is turned into food and other products. The boat will then stop at a quiet village where you can have a bike to experience real Delta village life, and a mat weaving house, where straw mats are woven using a hand loom. Stop at a local restaurant for a delicious lunch with elephant-ear fish. After lunch, hop onto a bicyle or a fun ride through the forest to Mr.Khanh’s house. He is a passionate antiques collector and his house is jam packed full of fascinating artefacts from Vietnam and elsehere in Asia. He also has some fascinating family albums dating back to French colonial times. You will then get back on your bike and cycle back to the family home where you will have a cooking lesson featuring local dishes such as chicken with lemograss and turmeric combine with green papaya salad. Overnight at local house.
Overnight: Local house
BEN TRE – SAIGON – DEPARTURE (B)
Have breakfast, then hop on the bicycle to visit the local market in Phu Nhuan. Visit the local school, brums making workshop and soya sauce. After that, back to the local house, check out and transfer back to Saigon.