Day 1: Hanoi Arrival (D)
Our tour guide/representative will welcome you upon arrival at Noi Bai International airport and transfer to the city for hotel check-in. If time permits, we will take short sightseeing tours by visiting some local markets in and around Hanoi. We have dinner tonight at one of Hanoi’s best and most fashionable restaurants featuring Vietnamese cuisine.
Overnight at hotel in Hanoi City.
Day 2: Cooking & Tours in Hanoi (B, L, D)
Morning cooking class: Today’s class begins with a walk, accompanied by the Chef of the Spices Garden Restaurant, to the local market, where participants get a chance to learn all about Vietnamese ingredients. After that, everyone rolls up their sleeves in the kitchen to prepare a proper Vietnamese meal. After the class lunch will be served in the Spices Garden Vietnamese Restaurant to sample all the different dishes prepared during the class. This afternoon you will discover Hanoi with an English speaking guide. Part of your tour will include sightseeing by cyclo, a bicycle type taxi, by which you’ll discover the Old Quarter made up of the so called "36 streets," most of which are named after the crafts or merchandise traditionally sold there. Dinner tonight at another of Hanoi’s fine restaurants. Afterwards enjoy a performance of a traditional water puppet show. This fantastic art form originated in northern Vietnam and is best seen in Hanoi. The Municipal Water Puppet Theater is located on the shore of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Overnight at hotel in Hanoi City.
Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B, L, D)
Morning depart for Halong Bay, we go through the scenic countryside. The wondrous Halong Bay is truly one of Vietnam’s most impressive scenic sights. Heading out of the town we embark on a boat for an exploration of the legendary Halong Bay. This exciting five hour cruise will provide us a fantastic view of the picturesque scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karsts formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves. Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs.
Overnight on the Junk Cruise.
Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B)
Waking up and having breakfast served onboard. Continue cruising around the bay. Take sampan to visit Luon Cave and come back to the boat. Having brunch before disembarking and van will pick you up at the pier and transfer back to Hanoi. Visit Dong Trieu ceramic and pottery village on the way. Arrive in Hanoi at 16:00. Free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Day 5: Hanoi - Hue (B, L)
Transferring to the airport to catch morning flight to Hue. Check-in hotel upon arrival and take refresh for a while. This quiet city is widely known for the magnificent architecture of its citadels, palaces, royal tombs, pagodas and temples built under the Nguyen Dynasty. We visit the major sites including the Imperial Citadel with Forbidden Royal City like in Beijing. Free shopping in Dong Ba market.
Overnight in Hue.
Day 6: Cooking Tours in Hue (B, L)
The morning begins with a hands-on cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien restaurant, highlighting the regal flavors of Hue cuisine as we prepare our own midday meal. In the afternoon, we take boat trip on Perfume River to visit Thien Mu, one of the ancient beautiful pagoda and Ming Mang Emperor's Royal Tomb. Transfer back to the hotel. Free at leisure.
Day 7: Hue - Da Nang - Hoi An (B, L)
This morning we drive to Hoi An, we will cross Hai Van Pass where you will have magnificent view of the East Sea. Stop at Lang Co to have break. Visit the fascinating Cham Museum, famous East Sea and the Marble Mountains en route to charming Hoi An. Known as Faifo to early Western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports and today it still retains that special old-world feel. Enjoy a walking tour through the Old Quarter and try some of the local specialties. Hoi An is also famous for its large number of tailor shops, so if you want to have a new wardrobe made up, this is the time to do it.
Overnight in Hoi An
Day 8: Hoi An Cooking Tours (B, L)
If you have ever known Cao Lau, the famous dish of Hoi An, you also should know that one of the keys to its flavor is fresh raw vegetables from Tra Que. This small village is located on the banks of a lagoon, and for generations the locals have been raising vegetables that end up in chefs’ kitchens all over the country. Today you will spend the whole day living and working among the villagers in Tra Que, learning how they raise and prepare vegetables. You will cook together and then have a lunch of Vietnamese dishes with the family. Back to Hoi An where you will enjoy a late afternoon cooking lesson At Brother’s Café. First you’ll travel by boat with the chef from the restaurant to the market to pick out ingredients for the lesson. Then it’s back to the restaurant by cyclos where you will prepare three classic Vietnamese dishes. Enjoy dinner after the lesson.
Overnight at hotel in Hoi An.
Day 9: Hoi An - Saigon (B, L)
Morning tour of Hoi An by Cyclo. Known as Faifo to early western traders, the town was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Transfer to Danang airport for flight to Saigon. You will be met at the airport by an English speaking hostess. Afternoon sightseeing of Saigon with a private guide. Dinner tonight at a local restaurant.
Overnight at hotel in Saigon City
Day 10: Saigon Cooking Tours - Cu Chi Tunnels (B, L)
Morning cooking lesson at the Vietnam Cookery Center: the hands-on cooking course is conducted by a professional chef and translated by a MC who will explain the teaching of the chef and talk about the history and culture of Vietnamese cuisine. The lesson includes a market visit and lunch. Afternoon excursion to the Cu Chi Tunnels : Cu Chi was an important base during the American War, because of its strategic location. The Vietcong built a 200km long network of tunnels connecting command posts, hospitals, shelters, and weapon factories. Dug out by hand tools without the use of cement, this amazing network was only recently opened to tourists.
Overnight at hotel in Saigon
Day 11: Saigon - Vinh Long - Mekong Delta (B, L)
Leave your hotel at 7.30 for a 3-hour drive to Cai Be with stop en route at Trung Luong Bonsai garden for a tea break. Upon arrival, board a motorized boat to visit the popcorn cake, rice paper making family before visiting the lively floating market of Cai Be. Then continue by boat towards Vinh Long province to see the diverse fish traps in order to learn a kind of lazy fishing. After cruising along small shady canals, we step ashore and take a chance to watch a typical and interesting music show of the Mekong cultural life. Lunch is at the home/ bonsai garden. Afternoon, take a walk for about half an hour to enjoy the rural peaceful atmosphere of the countryside life, on the way we can also stop en route to learn more about fruit trees. Continue by boat to visit the brick and pottery factories. Drive back to Saigon.
Overnight at hotel in Saigon.
Day 12: Saigon Departure (B)
Free at leisure until transferring to the airport for departure flight.
End of services. Our staff will give you the warmest goodbye and hope to see you again.