Vietnam Feast & Play

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Savour the delicious offerings of Vietnam’s famous cuisine on this 10 day culinary exploration. Do as the locals do by cruising the streets of Ho Chi Minh by vespa or learn generations-old cooking skills and recipes at the Garden House of Y Thao.

Tour Departures: 28 Sept'19 & 25 Oct'19.

Inclusions

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Hanoi
Arrive in Hanoi, welcomed by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

The rest of the day is at your leisure to recover from your long flight.

Day 2 Hanoi
Start this day with a visit to 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.

Eat for a good cause and have lunch at Koto Restaurant, close by 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 your hotel.

In the evening, take a ride through the lively streets of Vietnam’s iconic capital on the back of a vintage Vespa. Your personal driver will pick you up at the hotel around 5.55 PM and drive you to a local café in the heart of the old quarter. Here you will meet your guide. Enjoy a cocktail and a local snack from one of the nearby night vendors and before heading out visit one of Hanoi’s oldest churches.

Set off on your ride through the magical, busy narrow streets of the Old quarter and head to Hanoi’s railway tracks dating back to the colonial era. Here we stop at a surprising place, literally right on the track to try some infused rice wine and a Buffalo Jerky entree.

Back on your Vespa and through a series of busy alleyways, we reach a lively street restaurant to taste a ‘must’ dish in Hanoi… the delicious and famous Bun Cha. Made of rice noodles, grilled pork, meatballs, and fresh herbs with a side of spring rolls, you will not soon forget this classic dish.

We then ride out of the Old Quarter, passing by one of Hanoi’s many lakes, to a venue famous in the neighbourhood for a variety of local specialties such as the Pho Cuon and Pho noodle. Here you will learn the art of wrap ‘n’ roll Vietnamese style.

The last part of the evening ride takes us past the iconic Opera House and to a famous Jazz Club offering a truly unique blend of music, from 1930’s style Jazz to traditional Vietnamese! Time for a last drink before heading back to your hotel.

A small bag is recommended for this tour.

NOTE: The order of the visits may be slightly changed at the discretion of the guide.
End of the tour around 10.00 PM.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 3 Hanoi - Halong Bay
Following breakfast, leave Hanoi for a 2.5 hrs 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 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 Bhaya Premium junk in a premium deluxe cabin.

Distances and journey time:
Hanoi to Halong Bay (160km): 2.5 hrs by express way

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 4 Halong Bay - Hanoi - Danang
Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay. The sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to Danang. Note: This tour may be subject to change depending on weather conditions. In Danang, have a short transfer to your hotel located in Hoi An.

Overnight in La Siesta Hoi An Resort in a junior suite room.

Distances and journey time:
Halong Bay to Noi Bai Airport (150km): 3hrs30mins

Meals Included: Breakfast.

Day 5 Hoi An
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 unbeknown 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 to enjoy. Additionally, learn how to cook rice in the traditional way. Enjoy lunch with the host family before riding back to the hotel.
Note: this tour is non private and operated on a join in basis.

Free at leisure the rest of the afternoon.

Overnight in La Siesta Hoi An Resort in a junior suite room. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch.

Day 6 Hoi An - Hue
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 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.

Overnight in Indochine Palace hotel in a deluxe room.

Distances and journey time:
Hoi An to Hue (150km): 3hrs

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner.

Day 7 Hue
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 collectables.

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 cyclo through dai noi ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax; full of lotus flowers in summer experience 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 colour and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.

Overnight in Indochine Palace hotel in a deluxe room.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch.

Day 8 Hue - Ho Chi Minh City
After breakfast, transfer to Hue Airport for the short flight to Ho Chi Minh City and transfer to hotel.

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. The historical visit continues 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. It is up to you if you want to join in or watch. 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 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 yourself with 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 your hotel (around 10:30 pm).

Note: Places are subject to change upon availability.

Overnight in Liberty Central Saigon Riverside hotel in a deluxe room.

Distances and journey time:
Tan Son Nhat Airport to your chosen hotel in HCMC(8km):30mins

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner.

Day 9 Ho Chi Minh City
Famous for its tunnels which provided refuge for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam-America War, Cu Chi District has so much more to offer than war relics. Enjoy a fun cooking class at a basic open-air venue, amidst gardens and farms while learning about Vietnamese culture and cuisine.

In the morning, depart from the city centre to leave the towering skyscrapers behind. Enjoy views of rural Vietnam on a 90-minute ride through the countryside surrounding Ho Chi Minh City.

Upon arrival, meet a friendly local chef and learn how people grow mushrooms, one of the local sources of income. Venture into the garden to harvest some vegetables, and learn how to select fresh products and ingredients essential for Vietnamese cooking.

After harvesting the required vegetables, get ready for a hands-on cooking class. Following the lead of the instructing chef, learn how to create traditional Vietnamese specialties. Then, sit down and enjoy the fruits of the labour while soaking up the peaceful surroundings of the cookery. After filling up, say goodbye to the instructor and head back to the city centre.

Overnight in Liberty Central Saigon Riverside hotel in a deluxe room.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 10 Depart Ho Chi Minh
Departure day. At leisure until transfer to Tan Son Nhat Airport for your departure flight.

Meals Included: Breakfast.

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