Vietnam Culinary Overland Tour

Vietnamese cuisine is becoming more and more popular in the world. Cooking styles in Vietnam are based upon very fresh materials and a great balance from the Yin and Yang philosophy. This makes Vietnamese cuisine very moderate in comparison with the foods of other Asian countries. This 13 day culinary tour has been designed with 4 cooking classes which provide you great learning experiences about the different cooking styles of Vietnam from North to Central to South. You will also have a wonderful tour to great destinations, and you will practice your new cooking skill at our home stay in Mai Chau.

Itinerary: Saigon – Danang – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Mai Chau – Halong Bay

  • Daily departure
  • Prices valid until December 2015
Vietnam Culinary Overland Tour
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DAY 1: ARRIVAL – SAIGON

Flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel. Take the orientation walk around the center of the city. Dinner at Ngon Restaurant with great collection of authentic local food in Saigon.

Meals: Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

DAY 2: SAIGON COOKING CLASS AND CITY TOUR

This morning we have a cooking class with Vietnam Cookery Center.
• An accompanied tour to the spectacular Ben Thanh market 1 hour before the class.
• During the market visit we will describe the classic Vietnamese produce, from fruit and vegetables, to meats and seafood. Our guests will learn how to recognize the different Vietnamese ingredients and be guided in their application.
• Back to Vietnam Cookery Center.
• Even inexperienced cook can create tasty dishes within a few hours.
• Continue by a hands-on initiation to the Vietnamese Cuisine Art, giving you the opportunity not only to learn how to cook them and reproduce them once you return to your home country, but also to taste our delicious dishes.
• Menu: Salad, one local soup, braised fish or pork
• Enjoy food self-prepared and by the restaurant

Afternoon, take a tour to China town, the special identity of Saigon. Visit Thien Hau Pagoda, where hundreds of local people come and burn the incense for their luck, prosperity and happiness. The photo of the incense burner taken in this temple was appeared on the first edition of Lonely Planet of Vietnam. Then we will walk to the street where the movie “The Lover” had been taken with very interesting local cafeterias that very popular to local people. Stop and sample the local coffee at very interesting cafeteria on the street. Thhen keep walking to the street that selling all the colorful decoration items for ceremony made from paper. After that, take a walk around Binh Tay, the biggest whole sale market in town. You can find most of the product in town selling in this market. The market was constructed by Quach Dam – the wealthy Chinese man for his community in 1930 and you still can see his statue and his tomb in the central of the market. It is great combination of busy and bustle atmosphere of the market and traditional Chinese Architecture there. Dinner at Indochine Restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

DAY 3: SAIGON – DANANG – HOI AN

This morning we will be at leisure before transferring to Tan Son Nhat airport for a departing flight to Da Nang. Upon arrival at Da Nang Airport, visit Cham Museum then enjoy lunch at Apsara restaurant. Transfer to Hoi An, which was originally one of the major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century.
In the afternoon take the walking tour to Hoi An. Visit Thang Loi Handicraft workshop in Phan Chu Trinh Street. You will have the chance to experience all the typical traditional handicraft of Hoi An, such as wood carving, mat weaving, lantern making, silk worm raising, spinning and weaving, table cloth making and embroidery picture. These handicrafts made great contribution to upgrade living standard of local people since Hoi An turn to be popular destination for the tourists. Then take a walk to Hoi An ancient town. We will start the walk from small alley from Phan Chu Trinh Street to Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. This is the typical ancient street of Hoi An, that can show you great atmosphere of the ancient town. Visit the Japanese Cover Bridge – the symbol of Hoi An. After that visit Tan Ky, the most well known and authentic ancient house in town. Then take a walk along the Nguyen Thai Hoc – the ancient street of Hoi An to the market of the town. Visit the local market and Phuc Kien Congressional Assembly Hall, the communal place for Chinese community from Fukien province in China as well the worshiping temple to Thien Hau, the Goddess protecting people on the sea – that was so important for the Chinese Merchant and Fishman in the past. Then you have free time for discovering the town on your own or shopping. In the evening, experience Com Ga (the Chicken Rice – very well known Hoi An local food) for dinner and sample the most delicious Banh My in Vietnam at Banh My Phuong – the one had been highly recommended by well-known chef Anthony Bourdan.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

DAY 4: COOKING CLASS WITH MS. VI – HOI AN

In the morning, we will take you to visit very impressive and busy fish market near Hoi An. The market is for wholesales for the best fish in the area that have been caught at night on the sea and sill so fresh. you will join to authentic cooking class in The Market Restaurant. We visit Hoi An’s colorful and bustling market where participants learn about the uses of different fresh noodles, how to recognize and buy fresh fish, herbs and their uses in Vietnam, fresh and dried spices – their uses in our recipes and medicinal purposes, rice and grains, see and taste exotic fruits.
On our return to The Market Restaurant we tour the many different Street Food counters, seeing live cooking demonstrations, learning how to make many different recipes with food tastings along the way. See bread for our Banh Mi or baguettes being made in front of you and then taste the baked bread fresh from the oven. Rice and water being ground to make rice water to make noodles, rice flour crepes, dumplings and rice paper dried on bamboo and grilled to eat with Hoi An chili sauce. See our famous dish of Cao Lau, the noodles being made by hand and steamed over an open fire. We offer a choice of traditional Vietnamese teas served with homemade Hoi An cupcakes made freshly in front of you. Taste sweet treats and candy that we eat at Tet our Vietnamese New Year celebrations. And much more …..
The cooking lesson runs about 2.5 hours – our cooking teachers first demonstrate each dish before we prepare the same dishes ourselves. After the lesson we sit down and eat what we have cooked. You will receive a copy of the recipes and a Vietnamese cooking utensil to take home.

Recipes: (Vegetarians are provided with replacement ingredients).
1. Cabbage leaf parcels shrimp mousse in broth
2. BBQ chicken & lime leaves
3. Mango salad with prawns
4. Crispy Hoi An Pancakes with pork, prawns & bean sprouts

In the afternoon visit to Tra Que herb village near Hoian. This village very famous for growing organic herb for supplying to Hoi An. You will interact with local farmer their and learn about different kind of herb and the way how they grow them. Then depart for the cyclo trip to Cam Nam Village. The cyclo will take you from the town to Cam Nam Bridge. You will have the first stop for the photo opportunity of the activities and scenery on the Thu Bon River. Then the cyclo will take you along the Thu Bon River bank, where you can have another photo stop for panorama view of Hoi An from other side of river. You will ride along the riverside and cycle through local villages of Cam Nam. This is untouched area by tourism with very friendly and hospitable local people. You can see their daily life activities or even viewing the interior of their house and their life through always opened doors. The cyclo trip will be ended at green small canal covered by water coconut trees. Embark on the boat and take a cruise to Thu Bon River. You can experience the local daily life along river, such as fishing, farming, catching clam…. Come back to Hoi An around sunset time. In the evening, enjoy the dinner at Ba Le Well –the authentic local restaurant serving the specialties of Hoi An like fresh spring roll, grilled pork and shrimp pastes, Banh Xeo ….

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

DAY 5: HOI AN – HUE

This morning we drive from Hoi An to Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam. Upon arrival in Hue, check in and have lunch at Y Thao – the authentic family run restaurant serving the food in Royal style. In the afternoon, take a cyclo trip from your hotel over the famous Trang Tien Bridge and to Dong Ba market. The cyclo will take you through the streets to the ancient citadel of Hue, and past local shops where you will observe daily life and see the architecture of this famous citadel. Stop at Noon gate of the Imperial Citadel for a walking tour to the inner area of the citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. This tour includes the Flag Tower, Noon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace, and the Forbidden Purple City. In the evening, you will experience the dinner in the local restaurant of all typical kind of Hue cake such as: Banh Beo, Banh Nam and Banh Loc.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

DAY 6: HUE CITY TOUR AND COOKING CLASS

We will visit Dong Ba Market in early morning. This is the biggest whole sales market in Hue for food, vegetable, herb, spices and fruit. In the morning, everything is so fresh and this is best time and best way to experiences and learn about the food and daily life activities in Hue. Back to the hotel for breakfast then visit Thien Mu pagoda, the symbol of Hue city, and then we take a walk around Kim Long Village. It will be a great opportunity to learn about the lifestyle of the local people there. We then visit Tu Duc Tomb where we will discover the beautiful and impressive architecture of this unique construction in Hue and learn about its King. At noon, visit Dong Thien Pagoda to enjoy a vegetarian lunch prepared by the nuns. Our visit contributes to the Pagoda’s kindergarten that educates children from needy families. We will interact with the nuns and learn more about the Pagoda before going back to the hotel.
In the afternoon, we will have one more chance to take part in a cooking class at Tha Om restaurant
• Learn how to prepare the royal style menu with “Lantern shaped meat rolls” and “Local cake” (1 hour)
• Enjoy food self-prepared and by the restaurant

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

DAY 7: HUE – HANOI

This morning we drive to Phu Bai Airport for the flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, visit the Ethnology Museum before having lunch in a Season of Hanoi restaurant. Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Temple of Literature – two highlights of Hanoi city tour. Check into the hotel. You will have time to freshen up before going to the Water Puppet show. Dinner at Cha Ca La Vong (the most famous and authentic local food in Hanoi serving rice noodle with grilled fish on the charcoal kitchen)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

DAY 8: HANOI CITY TOUR AND COOKING CLASS

Morning we will take a short walk to the local food market. It is typical market as thousand of them around the city that supply food for the regular meal of local people. Then take the walk through the Old Quarter of Hanoi, you can feel the traditional atmosphere of the most attractive part in Hanoi and witness local people enjoy their breakfast on the pavement along the ride. Experiences a bowl of “Pho bo” (noodle with beef) at Pho Bat Dan or Pho Bo Hang Dong (subject to the availability of the restaurant) – famous typical Northern Vietnam Pho. In that pho local traditional restaurant, people should wait in line and pay and get their own bowl of Pho. After that Pho breakfast, we will continue waking tour around the Old Quarter, our guide will introduce to you some of the authentic local food like Banh Cuon (steam rice pancake rolled with mince perk and mushroom), local bakery with very strong influence from French style. Enjoy some coffee in local coffee shop followed by “Bun cha” lunch (Vermicelli with grilled pork – another Hanoi famous street food – Bun Cha Dac Kim Duong Thanh).
Afternoon you will have the opportunity to take a cooking class at Anh Tuyet Restaurant and learn how to prepare 3 traditional dishes of Hanoi.
• You start with a 1 hour market tour to learn about Vietnamese ingredients & how to choose fresh foods. Next is a short talk on the art of Hanoian gastronomy, vegetables, herbs & spices & how to prepare & use them.
• The practical includes learning cooking & cutting techniques & how to use a Vietnamese vegetable grater & knife.
• The menu includes: Nem (Fried meat rolls), Ca Hap (Steamed Fish with dill) and Nom (Mixed Salad).
• Dinner at the restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

DAY 9: HANOI – MAI CHAU

Depart from Hanoi to Mai Chau – the peaceful valley to the West of Hanoi. This trip gives you a lot of photo opportunities with spectacular scenery of the mountain area and the rice fields. Upon arrival at Mai Chau, check in and have lunch at a local house of the Thai people in Pom Coong village. In the afternoon we will take a walk around the valley to visit some nearby villages, the carpeted green rice fields and the Mai Chau Market, where you can buy the food you will need for cooking at your home stay in the long house. After dinner, enjoy a traditional music show performed by local people in the village.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Overnight in the long house of Thai people.

DAY 10: MAI CHAU – HANOI

In the morning drive up to Xa Linh, then take a 2 hour trek through the primitive jungle to the area of Muong people. Located on a beautiful plateau on the bank of Hoa Binh reservoir, this village is hidden from tourists and is very friendly to visitors. You will have lots of chances to interact with the hill tribe people there before returning to the bus. Next we go to the village of the Mong people at Xa Linh. Then we drive back to Mai Chau for lunch at the house on stilts of the Thai family. After lunch, you can say good-bye to our very hospitable host and drive back to Hanoi. Dinner at Season of Hanoi Restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

DAY 11: HANOI – HALONG BAY

Morning depart to Halong bay through Red River Delta. Upon arrival to Halong, transfer by tender to the Indochina Sails boat. Upon boarding guests are greeted with a welcome drink and gather in the dining room for a comprehensive safety and boat orientation briefing followed by itinerary details.
After the briefing and check in we have a bit of free time till lunch is served at 1:00pm. Lunch is a multi-course Vietnamese and Western set menu. Any and all dietary needs will be catered to.
During lunch we cruise through the Bai Tu Long Bay, cruising through the most beautiful and quiet area in Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay to visit Cua Van Fishing Village. Cua Van Floating Fishing Village (the largest fishing village on the Bay). At the village, which has a population of about 600 residents living in about 150 floating houses, guests can choose between kayaking through the village or visiting on small bamboo boats (sampans) rowed by the villagers.
Back on board after visiting the village there will be free time of about one and a half hours before the Cooking Class on board will be held by our Chef and all the passengers could attend to this. During that time the chef will conduct a Cooking Class showing the guests how make some Vietnamese food which is traditional food in Vietnam and guests will taste the food after the class. In addition we will have the first of our double happy hours from 6:00 till 7:00 during which time one free drink will be received for each one ordered. The dinner is served at 7:30pm.
Dinner is a sumptuous buffet featuring an array of salads, seafood, meat dishes, seasonal fresh fruits and deserts.
After dinner guests can relax in the dining room and lounge or on the upper deck and enjoy the second happy hour from 9:00 till 10:00. Board games and playing cards are available and massage services as well (massage service is available throughout the cruise). Also, everyone can try their luck at squid fishing from the boat with help from the crew.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Overnight on the Junk.

DAY 12: HALONG BAY – HANOI

The next morning coffee, tea and breakfast pastries are on offer from 6:45. Tai Chi lessons are led by our tai chi master at 7:00 before we leave the boat at 7:45 for a walking tour of Titov Beach Island. About one hour is spent on the island allowing time for a climb up the steps to the peak for a breathtaking 360 degree view of the Bay (there is also an expansive viewing deck half way up). After the climb there is time left to relax on the beach and have a swim.
Back on board it’s time for final packing and freshening up before enjoying a full breakfast buffet, including traditional Vietnamese Noodles (Pho). After breakfast guests may relax in the dining room and lounge or on the deck enjoying the last Bay views before disembarkation at 11:00am. On the way back to Hanoi, visit Tho Ha the famous village of terracotta products before 20th century. Upon arrival, take a short local ferry to the village. Visit a local home of Mr. Viet, where you can see how rice paper has been made and have the interesting talk with him about his family and his life. Mr. Viet was NVA (Northern Vietnamese Army) who liberate Saigon in 1975. After spend time in his house and talk to the owner for deeper understand about life of local people in the village, we will visit 400 years old pagoda that still remains all original architecture and Buddha statues, specially the holly and peaceful atmosphere that have not been touched by the tourist. Discover village through narrow and zigzag alleys with the old houses had been constructed from broken part of terracotta from the past. Walking over to the end of the village to the dike, where you can see the village from distance over the beautiful lake. Drive to Hanoi. Dinner at Indochine Restaurant.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.

DAY 13: HANOI – DEPARTURE

At leisure until transfer to Noi Bai Airport for departure flight. End of Vietnam Culinary Overland Tour 13 days.

Meals: Breakfast

End of Services

Services included:

• Transportation in private air-conditioned vehicle with driver;
• Air ticket Saigon – Da Nang, Hue – Hanoi;
• Accommodation in hotels (shared twin room);
• Cooking class in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi;
• Meals as indicated (full board);
• English speaking guide;
• Entrance fee to indicated sights;
• Water puppet show;
• Cyclo tour, boat trips;
• Join cruise on Halong Bay;
• Waters and cool towels on the van.

Services excluded:

• Other meals, tip, drinks, international flights & airport tax, single room, personal expenses, insurance…

Remarks:

• The tour prices are subject to change during Christmas and New Year Eve (24 and 30 Dec)

Price per person in US$
Valid till 31 December 2017 (subject to change on 24 Dec and 31 Dec)
Private party of First Class (3-star hotel) Superior Class (4-star hotel)
2 participants 2169 2487
3-6 participants 1912 2230
7-10 participants 1636 1954
11-14 participants 1547 1866
Single Supplement 359 730
Exclusivity
Learn from professional chefs

Different cooking classes in different styles in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue and Hanoi. An included tour in every destination on the trip, a home stay and an opportunity to cook your own meal in Mai Chau, a boat trip in Halong Bay.

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