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Vietnam History, Heritage, and Local Cuisine

  • Off the beaten track
Like its name suggests, this tour has been designed for those eager to explore Vietnam's nature, culture, and intangible heritage in the most authentic and enjoyable way possible. Foodies, you'll fall in love with Vietnamese cuisine, comprising delicious food which spans all the way from north to south, and best of all, you'll have the opportunity to learn to make it yours...

Like its name suggests, this tour has been designed for those eager to explore Vietnam's nature, culture, and intangible heritage in the most authentic and enjoyable way possible. Foodies, you'll fall in love with Vietnamese cuisine, comprising delicious food which spans all the way from north to south, and best of all, you'll have the opportunity to learn to make it yourself on this fully customisable tour. Over the course of two weeks, you'll travel to Hanoi and cruise across Halong Bay (a UNESCO-listed site) before heading south to discover the fortified imperial city of Hue (UNESCO). Finally, you'll visit the southern part of the country to Ho Chi Minh City, a place rich in war history, making this a trip with something for everyone!

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Customizable tour itinerary

This tour idea is fully customizable

This itinerary has been crafted by our Local Agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and your interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Welcome to Hanoi

When you arrive at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi, you'll be welcomed by one of our friendly representatives and transferred to your hotel in downtown Hanoi. Free time at your own leisure for the remainder of the day.

Overnight in Hanoi

Hanoi Nội Bài

Day 2: Hanoi Street Eats, Market Tour, and Thang Long Citadel

After a brief transfer from your hotel, you start your food adventure with a pleasant stroll to Truc Bach Lake for your first tasting. Next stop is Chau long market for a tour of the market with unusual dishes. Continue with a short taxi ride to a Shrimp restaurant to sample West Lake’s most famous dish. Take another taxi to one of the best Bun Cha stalls in Ha Noi where you will enjoy Bun Cha. On our way back, you will stop at a traditional Ha Noi café to enjoy café specialties.

In the afternoon, visit the Thang Long imperial citadel which has been declared a World Heritage Site in 2010. Continue visiting the museum of Ethnology. The tour today also includes a bicycle ride through the narrow, chaotic streets of the Old Quarter, a must for any visitor to Hanoi! The day finishes with a traditional performance of the famous Vietnamese water puppets.

Cycle ride duration: 1 h
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hanoi


Day 3: Explore Handicraft Villages in Red River Delta

Today you'll be driven through the countryside to Bat Trang, renowned for its fine ceramics. You will stroll through the village with your local guide and see the artisans at work. Witness the process of moulding and carving clay pots, dishes and vases. You’ll also visit Bat Trang ceramics market and workshops.

Afterward, head on to But Thap Pagoda, the cradle of Vietnamese Buddhism. Then, drive to the village of Dong Ho. Finally arrive at a small rural village where you will enjoy a traditional Quan Ho music performance by the villagers. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi.

Meals: Breakfast, Home Lunch
Overnight in Hanoi    


Day 4: History and Nature in Trang An Complex

After breakfast, a road trip through picturesque countryside and agricultural land will take you to Hoa Lu. Upon your arrival, your guide will lead you through this ancient complex. Enjoy the sight of palaces, pagodas, tombs and pavilions built by different dynasties and visit the Dinh and Le temples.

In the afternoon, transfer to the pier for a sampan ride to explore the picturesque waterways in Trang, an ecological site. You will venture through a network of 11 caves in the quiet, fresh air, with only the sound of birds and the oars stirring the clear water and surrounded by magnificent forested mountains.

Road trip duration: 2 hours
​Sampan ride duration: 3 hours

Hoa Lư District

Day 5: Overnight Cruise in Halong Bay

After breakfast, you'll leave for Halong Bay with a refreshment break en route. Meet the crew upon boarding the traditional wooden junk, then relax and enjoy lunch while the boat heads towards the secluded islands. Visit ancient limestone caves and go sea kayaking and swimming if the weather permits. Return to the junk refreshed and invigorated and relax on deck with a drink whilst watching the sunset. Enjoy a freshly prepared seafood dinner under the stars.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight on a wooden junk in Halong Bay 

Day 6: The Caves and Secrets of Halong Bay

Enjoy an early morning swim (if weather permits) followed by breakfast. The tour then begins with one of the famous caves in the middle of the bay before cruising back to the main harbour and then drive straight to Noi Bai airport in Hanoi for a late afternoon flight to Hue. Once you arrive, you will be picked up and transferred to your downtown hotel.

Drive duration: 4 hours
​Meals: Breakfast, Brunch
Overnight in Hue


Day 7: Introduction to Hue’s Culture

Today you'll spend the full day for a city tour of the Imperial City of Hue, firstly with the ancient walled Citadel. You'll then visit the Dong Ba market to learn about local produce and specialties of Hue. You might get some great deals at the local Dong Ba Market. In the afternoon, you will cruise the Perfume River by a dragon boat to the serene Thien Mu Pagoda and drive to visit the majestic Royal Tomb of King Ming Mang or King Khai Dinh. Return to your hotel by road just before sunset.

​In the evening, enjoy a candle-light dinner set in a garden house which is a traditional feature of Hue's culture. Both the garden house and the cuisine are a great introduction to Hue's culture.

​Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overnight in Hue

Huế Thien Mu

Day 8: Guided Walking Tour of Hoi An's Old Quarter

After breakfast, you'll drive to the picturesque riverside town of Hoi An where you can view the coastline and Danang from the top of the Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Clouds). Upon arrival in Danang, you'll visit either the Cham Museum in the city centre or the famous Marble Mountain.

​In the afternoon, your guide will show you around the old town. You'll start a walking tour with numerous places of interest. Following the narrow lanes, you walk along tiny streets with houses influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and European architectures. After your walking tour, you'll have some free time to wander around or go shopping.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Hoi An Da Nang

Day 9: Explore My Son Holy Land

In the morning, a drive will take you to the ancient Cham ruins of My Son. The route takes you through some incredible scenery and tiny villages that specialise in brass works. Upon your arrival, guided visit of Tra Kieu where you'll discover the majestic ancient ruins at My Son. Walk around to see up to three groups of ancient temple and tower ruins set amongst hills and streams. The trip ends with enjoying a traditional dance (45 min) before returning to Hoi An for lunch. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure.

Drive duration: 1 hour

Note: There is a daily traditional dancing show at 9:45 a.m. (except Mondays and included in entrance ticket price).

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Mỹ Sơn Hoi An

Day 10: Cooking Class at Hoi An

The day starts at 8.15 am with a welcome drink at Hai Café in the Ancient Town of Hoi An. You will visit Hoi An’s colorful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. You will then board a boat for a leisurely cruise along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. Upon your arrival, you will explore the cooking school’s herb garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. Discover how the Red Bridge chefs first prepares each dish before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Please bring your swimsuit and after the cooking tour has finished relax and enjoy free use of our 20 metre swimming pool - towels and showers provided. Afternoon at your own leisure!

Boat ride: 25 mn
​Cooking class duration: 2 hours

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Hoi An

Hoi An

Day 11: Free Day in Hoi An

Free day at leisure in Hoi An.

Note: There are various optional activities for your free time in Hoi An such as joining a cooking class, visiting rural villages around Hoi An by bicycle, half-day street food adventure... Those options can be added at additional cost.

​Meals: Breakfast
Overnight in Hoi An

Hoi An

Day 12: Cu Chi Tunnels

After breakfast, you'll be picked up and transported to Danang Airport for your noon flight to Ho Chi Minh city. Upon arrival, another local guide and driver will pick you up for 1.5 hour drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels where you will visit the amazing network of underground tunnels. Visit the fighting tunnel system with your local guide. Return to Ho Chi Minh City in the late afternoon where you will check in to your chosen hotel.

​Trip duration: 1,5 hour

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh city

Day 13: City Tour and Evening Street Food Adventure

Morning city tour of the big, modern city of Vietnam. You will then continue by heading to Chinatown with a walking tour through the backstreets of China town near Cho Lon to observe local daily life. Then you'll head back to your hotel after lunch for a relaxing afternoon to spend at your leisure.

At 6pm, embark on a part night excursion, part local street food. You will experience the nightlife of Saigon the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. Stops include drinks, sample of Saigon best authentic local street food, a Vietnamese-style coffee shop (with live music). Guests ride pillion behind our drivers to enjoy and experience the Vietnamese night life with friends. You'll be taken back to your hotel at the end of the trip.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City

Day 14: Departure

Free time until being picked up to Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city for your international departure flight.

​Meals: Breakfast

Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi Nội Bài Hoa Lư District Huế Thien Mu Hoi An Da Nang Mỹ Sơn Củ Chi Ho Chi Minh City

Price details

This tour idea is fully customizable

The price reflects this specific itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. $1,820 / 14 days
Excluding international flights
For 2 For 4 Single supplement
3-star hotels high season $1,770 $1,460 $310
3-star hotels low season $1,680 $1,390 $300

Included in price:

  • Accommodation in chosen hotels - Twin/Double room with daily breakfast
  • 1 night on a traditional junk on Halong Bay
  • All pick-ups and transfers by private vehicles with experienced drivers and shared pick-up and transfers on Phu Quoc Island
  • Experienced local English speaking guide and guide on board in Halong Bay
  • Domestic flight ticket: Hanoi – Hue, Danang - Ho Chi Minh City (economy class by Vietnam Airlines)
  • Private boat cruise in Trang An and Hue
  • Meals as indicated in the programme
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • 1 hour cyclo ride & water puppet tickets
  • All VAT and other government taxes

Not included in price:

  • Entry visa to Vietnam
  • International flights and airport taxes
  • Travel insurances
  • Drinks, tips and other personal expenses or services not mentioned on the program
  • Gala Dinner on December 24 and December 31, 2014
  • Supplement for peak season surcharge (between December 20, 2014 - January 10, 2015)

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