Real taste of Vietnam 12 days
- Duration:12 days
- Destinations: Hanoi-halong-Hue-Hoian-Ho Chi MInh-Mekong delta
Some destinations evoke mental images the moment their names are mentioned, and Vietnam is one of them. A frenetic and fascinating country, it calls to mind conical-hatted street vendors, water buffalo plodding across rice fields, mopeds buzzing through cities and floating markets on the Mekong River.
The days when Vietnam was best known for its conflict with America are long gone. From the temples of Hanoi and the islands of Halong Bay to the beaches of Nha Trang and the palaces of Hue, it is a country now firmly etched in the travel psyche.
At times, Vietnam is an assault on the senses. Life in its feverish cities is conducted largely on the streets, among chattering bia hois (pavement pubs) and steaming pho (noodle soup) stands. The country’s two main cities – Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh in the south – are different in many ways, but they share an intoxicating energy. Ancient pagodas and colonial houses jostle for space with new-build skyscrapers, while labyrinthine back-alleys hum with life. These narrow streets are atmospheric places to spend time, day or night.
The country’s long, thin shape, sometimes compared to two rice baskets at either end of a pole, means these two cities form natural start and end points to an itinerary. The highlights along the way, meanwhile, are as well packed as the spring rolls which adorn market stalls: nature-lovers, history buffs, beach bums and foodies are all catered for in singularly Vietnamese style.
Those heading into the countryside can expect not only glorious scenery, but a rich cultural web of different ethnic groups. The US wartime legacy can still be readily explored – perhaps most notably at the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh – but this is a country to enjoy for what it is today, whether you’re here for a few days or a month.
DAY 1: HANOI ARRIVAL
Welcomed by our driver upon your arrival at Hanoi airport. You will be transferred in a comfortable private car from the airport to hotel in Hanoi.
Check in and have the rest of the day free at leisure. Overnight at Hanoi hotel.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Green Diamond hotel or similar hotel.
DAY 2: COOKING CLASS HALF DAY MORNING AND HANOI CITY TOUR HALF DAY AFTERNOON (B / L)
Have breakfast at your hotel. Start an exciting day with awesome cooking class.
9:00: Meet at cooking class. Enjoy a special Vietnamese welcome tea
9:10: Brief introduction to Vietnamese cuisine, highlighting the contents of tradition meal.
9:20: Take a short walk to the Market - Enjoy a tour of the market highlighting the ‘wet’ / unusual fruits / livestock / silk worms, with Tracey Lister and/or Hanoi Cooking Center chefs. A lot of opportunities for you to take photos
10:00: Back to Hanoi Cooking Center and commence cooking class chefs. Take home printed recipes as well as samples of some local fruit, green bean cake, quail eggs, etc.
11:30: On completion of the cooking class, enjoy the meal and a chance to chat with The Chef ,Relax in the comfort of the Hanoi Cooking Center dining area and enjoy free flow local beer or wine or lemon juice
12:30: Finish Class. Receive going home gift and visit the Hanoi Cooking Center shop with Vietnamese Culinary tools, books, spices etc available for purchase
Finish cooking class.
12:30: Our drive and tour guide pick you up at your hotel then transfer to Ho Chi Minh Complex, including the mausoleum of the nation's founder and leader. Here, the large crowds gather to pay there respects to the man they simply call Uncle Ho as they silently file past his glass sarcophagus. The Presidential Palace and Uncle Ho's wooden stilt house can also be seen here. One of must-see places in the complex is One Pillar Pagoda dating back 11th century. From far view its shape looks like a huge lotus flower.
The next stop is Temple of Literature - the first university in Vietnam, the site of Vietnam's oldest university and dedicated to one of the world's most famous scholars, Confucius. Inside the temple grounds, huge steles rest on the backs of even larger stone turtles (in Vietnam's culture, the turtle represents longevity). The stele recorded the names of the successful candidates who later became mandarins in the Emperor's court.
From here, we continue the walking tour of Hanoi 's vibrant Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake , the focal point of the city. This is not only a beautiful spot but also is the historical site of the legend of Le King and golden turtle in the lake. Our guide will tell you about the legend of the lake and how it become one of the Must-See places in Hanoi Old Quarter for both domestic and international tourists.
16:30: Come back to your Hotel, finish the tour.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Green Diamond hotel or similar hotel.
DAY 3: HANOI - HALONG BAY CRUISE (B / L / D), GROUP TOUR
Have breakfast then check out of hotel.
This morning leave Hanoi for Halong Bay – World Natural Heritage site – via the Red River Delta with 3.5 hours drive. Upon arrival to Halong Bay, you will be welcomed on board for a junk cruise and sea sail in the bay while lunch is served. Cruising further in the the magical bay, you can see thousands of sculpted limestone islands rising from the waves like dragons' teeth on the turquoise waters.
After lunch, take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay, swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck. Late afternoon, visit an interesting fishing village with an opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations.
At sunset, kayak or simply take a bamboo row boat to discover a water tunnel with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back on board your junk, enjoy watching the peaceful sunset and later unwind at a restaurant with dinner served. Overnight on board.
DAY 4: DISCOVER HALONG BAY (B / L / D), GROUP TOUR
06:30: Refresh your body & soul by a Tai-chi lesson on sundeck
07:00: Have breakfast on boat
8:00 - 16:00: Transfer to a day boat for whole day discover Halong bay
Contemplate romantic sunset. Enjoy dinner, partying, fishing or just lazing. Over night on board
DAY 5: HALONG BAY - HANOI (B / L), GROUP TOUR
Wake up on the bay to the sounds of waves and bird welcoming the new day. You will have an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay.
After breakfast, visit a beautiful limestone grotto then walk back to the boat for a final glimpse of the majestic Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock.
Get picked up and transferred by the shuttle bus to Hanoi.
Arrive in Hanoi. Free yourself in the evening in buzzing Hanoi.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Green Diamond hotel or similar hotel
DAY 6: TAKE FLIGHT HANOI - HUE - CULINARY HUE NIGHT TOUR BY CYCLO. IN THE MORNING, HAVE BREAKFAST AT THE HOTEL (B / D), GROUP TOUR
Enjoy a free day in Hanoi to do some shopping around Hanoi Old Quarter.
In the afternoon, you will fly to Hue. Check in upon arrival and relax or explore on your own.
18:00: Cyclo pick up you at your hotel.
18:20: Your journey will start with the restaurant “HANG ME” located on Vo Thi Sau street to enjoy there special cakes of thee (Banh beo, Nam, Loc, Ram it, Banh cuon...).
19:15: Cyclo take you to “Hen island” to enjoy clam dishes such as clam rice, clam noodles.
20:00: Wondering on Le Loi Street at line of poetic journey, we take you to sweetsoup shop with a name to the ordinary people to enjoy sweet soup.
20:45: After enjoy Hue sweet soup, you will continue Your journey to Dinh Tien Hoang street to enjoy favorite cakes “BANH KHOAI”, “NEM LUI” (Hue specialties spring rolls). On the way you will visit Imperial Citadel and Truong Tien bridge on the night of sparkling night.
At the end, cyclo take you around streets admire the romantic at night.You can also purchase special products souvenir such as: sesame candies, conical hats, sour shrimps, long dress(Ao Dai), Minh Mang wines.
22:00: Ending tour. Cyclo take you back to the hotel.
Accommodation: 1 deluxe room at Than Thien hotel or similar hotel.
DAY 7: HUE - DANANG - HOIAN (B / L)
In the morning, have a breakfast at the hotel and join the guide and the driver for today tour. Start by a visit the massive Kinh Thanh Citadel. It is the most well known and iconic site in Hue built by King Gia Long since 1805. You will be able to see the sprawling complex comprised of the Imperial City itself, with museums, lakes, lovely gardens in a series of concentric circles.
Take a short drive into a lush valley of the river where seven tombs were built for seven Nguyen emperors. Each is an expression of the unique personality of each king; comprised of three elements: the worshiping temple, the biographical recorded stele and the royal tomb. We will visit the most distinctive Royal Tombs of Khai Dinh and the welcoming but almost rustic Tombs of King Tu Duc.
Have lunch in a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, get transferred for about 3 hours from Hue to Hoi An Ancient Town - the principal port of the Cham Kingdom in the past and now an UNESCO World Heritage. Along the way we will stop in the proximity of Da Nang for photo of the “best coastal way” Hai Van pass, visiting Marble Mountain - named as 5 elements of universe, stone carving village of Hoa Hai or Cham museum for a glimpse into Cham Kingdom once dominated across Indochina.
Check in, free at leisure the rest of the day and overnight at Hoi An Hotel.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Kim An hotel or similar hotel
DAY 8: HOI AN FOOD TOUR HALF DAY (BY MOTORBIKE OR BY FOOT), HAVE BREAKFAST AT YOUR HOTEL (B / D), GROUP TOUR
Be ready for the tour Hoian Food Tour Half Day, you will become a Vietnam food expert in just 4 hours! We will take you to the most popular street stalls and hidden alleyways in the city and show you where the locals really love to eat. Eat like a LOCAL!
15:00pm Our tour will begin with a pick up from your hotel. You will be greeted by our friendly local guides and then introduced to the safe way of riding on the back of the bike during your tour. After a quick briefing, we will start heading out for delicious food tasting adventures at 15.00.
First stop is the famous bread shop in Hoi An where you will try one of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in Vietnam.
We then walk around the local market. Resting on the banks of the Thu Bon River, bustling Hoi An Central Market is certainly worth a look for its authentic slice of Vietnamese life. Here, guests will enjoy Cao Lau with authentic local taste, a specialty just found in Hoi An.
Next stop we will go through a small alley and stop at local business house that you could not find by yourself and see how real Vietnamese life looks like. Here, we will discover a Vietnamese Traditional cake (Banh Beo) – a popular snack of Hoi An people. You will have a chance to talk and take photos with the owners.
Afterwards, it‘s time to relax your stomach. Our local guide will bring you to the oldest pagoda in Hoi An where few tourists go and then take a lovely trip through the countryside. Guests will enjoy a unique dance performance done by our lovely guides. And you will see farmers working the rice paddies with the sunset reflecting off their hats.
After stopping at the rice fields we will continue our trip and try Banh Khot- a round pancake made with rice flour, turmeric, coconut milk, quail egg and vegetables at a famous street vendor near Hoai square.
Next, you will take the food challenge - Balut - One of the Top 10 weird foods in the world. Egg no more, duck not yet. It is not because of the taste but because of its appearance.
Next, we will go to a local restaurant by the river to enjoy a special dinner and discover a part of Vietnamese people life – “Nhau” style with cold beer and delicious food.
At the end of the trip, we would like to take you back to your hotel or you are free to continue exploring the area.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Kim An hotel or similar hotel.
DAY 9: HOIAN - DANANG AIRPORT - TAKE FLIGHT DANANG - HO CHI MINH CITY, FREE AT LEISURE UNTIL BEING PICKED UP AND TRANSFERED TO DANANG (B)
Airport for about 30 minutes by our driver for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. It takes about 1 hour to fly from Da Nang to the Southern hub Ho Chi Minh City.
Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh City, be welcomed and picked up by our driver to transfer to Ho Chi Minh Hotel.
Check in and free at leisure for the rest of the day.
Overnight at Ho Chi Minh Hotel.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Sai Gon beautiful hotel or similar hotel
DAY 10: HO CHI MINH COOKING CLASS AND CU CHI TUNNEL, HAVE BREAKFAST AT HOTEL (B / L), GROUP TOUR
7:30 - 8:45: Start Ho Chi Minh City to Ho Chi Minh Agricultural Villages.
8:45 - 10:00:
- Visiting HCM Agricultural Villages.
- Visiting Cow areas
- Visiting Buffalo Areas
- Visiting Rice Fields
- Visiting Fish, prawn, chicken, duck areas
- Visiting Big Herbs, Spices, Vegetables and Mushrooms areas
Challenges on the Garden Become real Vietnamese Farmer on Vietnamese Traditional Hat and Pick up a lot of Herbs ,spices ,Vegetables and Mushrooms on The Garden
10:00 - 1:30: Cooking Challenges.
Hands on cooking class with three dishes and 1 dessert and enjoy what they have done
Enjoy Great Healthy Cooking Tips
Congratulation with nice certificate, recipes, souvenirs
Collect email and Update nice healthy recipes monthly
1:30 - 2:00: Visit Rice Papers Villages and Rubber Tree forest.
Understanding how to make rice Papers and get hands to make rice papers if you want
Exploring the Big Rubber tree forest and Understanding how the Local people Collect The Latex
2:00: - 4:00: Visit Cu Chi Tunnels 2:00pm -4:00pm
Watching a presentation video
Getting to see the tunnels and discover how these tunnels were constructed
Visiting Hoang Cam's smoke-less store
Trying gun shooting with real bullets (fees not included)
Tasting boiled tapioca, drinking hot tea
The Journey will be the end at 5:30pm in Hotel Ho Chi Minh
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Sai Gon beautiful hotel or similar hotel
DAY 11: MEKONG DELTA FULL DAY BY SPEEDBOAT. GET PICKED UP FROM YOUR HOTEL AT 7:30 AM (B / L), GROUP TOUR
Enjoy a fast, scenic speedboat trip through the Mekong Delta. Departing by boat from HCMC’s central pier, you will explore areas of the Mekong Delta that few other tourists get to experience. Quaint hamlets and busy towns are dependent on the innumerable canals, tributaries and markets in the region that overflow with fish and a variety of produce yielded by the delta’s rich alluvial soil, including rice, sesame, peanuts, cashews, pineapples, dragon fruit and durian.
Key cultural stops include a Cao Dai Temple, a riverside market, local workshops and a pagoda and other historical sites along the way. Enjoy countless opportunities to capture amazing photos of the scenery and local people as we cruise past buffaloes ploughing fruit orchards and rice fields. Spend time at a family homestead, where you’ll be invited to enjoy refreshing, freshly cut coconuts and fiery Mekong whisky. Your chef will prepare many Vietnamese dishes for lunch, such as fried elephant ear fish – a Mekong Delta specialty – Vietnamese spring rolls and lemongrass chicken, served at a local pagoda or school for underprivileged children.
Tour length: 7–9 hours
In the afternoon, finishing the tour and come back to Ho Chi Minh City Hotel at round 16:30 - 17.00.
Free at leisure after that and overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
Accommodation: 1 superior room at Sai Gon beautiful hotel or similar hotel.
DAY 12: HO CHI MINH DEPARTURE (B)
In the morning, have breakfast at the hotel.
Free at leisure until being picked up and get transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
Have a smooth departure and hope to see you next time!
B: Breakfast, L: lunch, D: dinner
Price: 1350 USD/person.
- Single supplement: 600 USD/person.
- AC Land transfer Car/ Minivan.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast.
- All in-tour experienced English speaking guide.
- 2 Flights Hanoi - Hue, Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh (Economic Class).
- Halong Bay Cruise program as per tour.
- Kayaking in Standard and Superior Class.
- Meals as stated in the itinerary.
- All sightseeing tickets.
- Exclusive and personalized single agent/single customer service.
- Vietnam visa Approval letter (single entry).
- Hotel EARLY check in & LATE check out.
- Kayaking in Deluxe and Luxury Class.
- Peak season surcharge & compulsory dinner in the accommodation.
- International flights & departures taxes.
- Personal expenses, tips and gratuities.
- Travel insurance.
- Other services not mentioned above.