Flavors of Vietnam with Cooking Classes- 15 Days
Starts : Sai Gon City , ends : Hanoi City
Trip code: FOVWCC15D
Ages: Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
Accommodation: Hotel 4 & 5 stars
Transport: Boat, Private Van /Car, Plane
Tour Type: Private (min 2 persons)
Day 1: The (Ho Chi Minh) City Awaits
Welcome to the vivacious commercial capital of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is a remarkable collection of modern luxury and historic culture, from the glittery skyline to the banks of the Saigon River. You can see Bitexco Tower rising over 796 feet tall and offering a 360-degree view of the entire city. Your private transfer meets you at the airport and takes you to your hotel where you can settle in. You have the option of enjoying a half-day tour of the city or the far reaches of the Cu Chi Tunnel network located in the countryside. No matter which you choose you will find exceptional history and splendor. You find the continual presence of elegant architecture that dates back to the 19th century and the French Colonial power.
One of the trademark buildings that bring charm to the wide avenue in the city center is the Central Post Office. The building is located next door to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The church’s twin steeples rise 190 feet into the air. The Central Post Office was built in the later 19th century and contains looping arches and an intricately designed marble floor. You feel like you have been transferred to central Paris until you see the large portrait of Ho Chi Minh that hangs at the far end of the building and watches over the gallery. The artistic and polished structure was designed by Gustav Eiffel and continues to be filled with opulent painted maps and antique charm.
Day 2: Feels Like Home
The day begins with the sensual aroma of fresh brewed Vietnamese coffee. Vietnam is the largest exporter of coffee in the world and the scent seems to fill the morning air. You can enjoy the rich, almost velvety, flavor the way many locals do, by adding the sweetness of some condensed milk. Soon your private guide meets you at your hotel and prepares you for the coming day. Today you will explore the local markets of the city and enjoy a cooking course under the guidance of a local family and chef. Your guide takes you through the Binh Tay Market, the largest and oldest market in the city.
The pathways are lined with stalls that boast spices and flowers, hats and handmade wooden toys. Eventually you come to the food district and find the colors of the produce to be almost overwhelming. The chilies burst with reds and yellows. The limes are a sensual green. The scent of ginger and mint brush the air. You pick up the necessary ingredients for your coming meal. You don’t know what you will be making but you can still taste the coming delicious flavors.
When you arrive at your host’s home base you are greeted with a combination of large smiles and gracious welcomes. Your guide quickly turns chef and tells you about the local ingredients, their flavors, and what they add to the dishes you will be cooking. She slices and dices the produce. You follow her lead. Soon you begin to cook carrots and sliced chilies. The herbaceous scent of coriander surrounds you. You place the ingredients into rice paper, roll them up, fry the paper, and then enjoy the delicate flavors of your homemade spring rolls.
Day 3: The Day Goes by the River
You watch the skyline disappear behind the horizon as you make your way to the Mekong Delta. The river encompasses over 15,000 square miles of southwestern Vietnam. Climb aboard a sampan, a traditional flat-bottomed wooden boat. Your driver paddles through the water and you watch the riverbanks float by. Beyond the banks are endless stretches of rice paddy fields. The iconic image of Vietnam is that of the flooded plain with pockets of large grasses poking through the water. Farmers roll their pants to their knees. They wear conical hats to protect themselves from the sun as they reach down into the water and plant or harvest the rice. The early afternoon is warm.
The river is calm. You find yourself at a small local restaurant situated in a little town alongside the water. You are about to taste the local specialty of elephant’s ear fish. The name comes from the look of the fish. It is lightly fried and crispy. The scales and teeth remain attached and the fish’s mouth is decorated with a flower. You find plenty of accompaniments on the table, from chilies and coriander to sliced lime and garlic. Your guide shows you how to take a piece of the juicy and flaky fish, place it in fresh rice paper, and fill it with ginger and garlic before rolling and eating it. All the flavors are present for you to create your preferred tastes within the classic local cuisine.
Day 4: Always a Classic
The charming city of Hoi An awaits you today. After breakfast you depart from Ho Chi Minh City by air and arrive in Danang. A private transfer will have you in the classic riverside city of Hoi An ready to take you through the town’s beauty, from its delicate flavors to its fascinating architecture. The city sits alongside the Thu Bon River and was once the center of Central Vietnam’s trade in the 16th and 17th century, focusing on silk, porcelain, pepper, and cinnamon.
The spiced aromas continue to grace the air. You come to the Tan Ky House that was built over 200 years ago. The structure contains influences of both Chinese and Japanese architecture. In the sitting area you find the ceiling supported by three progressively shorter beams. The carvings of crossed sabers are wrapped in silk. The back of the house is set against the river and was rented out to foreign merchants. The house is both charismatic and quaint in a city known for its historic charm.
Day 5: The Beach’s Allure
Hoi An’s Central Market is rich in aromatic herbs and spices, alight with silk, and filled with the collective culture of the city’s merchant past. After breakfast you will follow your guide through the market place and find the particular ingredients needed to prepare the perfect lunch. The complex is both organized and rambunctious. The vendors have their particular space filled greens, such as spinach, or farther down the aisle where you can find green onion. You notice that the tailors have a section dedicated to their specific trade away from the rest of the bustling vendors. In the early morning you can hear the aggressive negotiations over the freshly caught fish.
Soon you will board a sampan and continue down river until reaching the pristine sands of the Cua Dai Beach. You will partake in a cooking class that will teach you about the gorgeous local flavors of Hoi An and its surroundings. Cau lau is the most famous dish in the region and emanates a slightly sweet aroma after it is cooked. You can looked out over the sapphire water and indulge in the noodles, bean sprouts, and green cabbage. The waves lap against the shore. The depth of flavor lingers on your tongue. You have found paradise.
Day 6: Imperial Tastes
The charming riverside city of Hoi An will always be a precious and delicious memory. You make your way over to the remarkable view at Hai Van Pass. You can see where the sweeping emerald mountains slope down to the azure sea. The city is situated alongside the atmospheric Perfume River. It was the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty in the 19th and 20th centuries. Once in Hue you will step onto a dragon boat and cruise down the Perfume River. The boat’s front displays a colorful dragon with wide, sharp teeth that scares away wicked spirits. The water is cool and the afternoon is warm. You come to a hill that overlooks the water.
You see the Thien Mu Pagoda rising from atop the knoll. It stands over 63 feet tall and was constructed in the mid 19th century. Its octagonal shape rises over seven stories and towers over the surrounding trees. There is a tranquil feeling in the complex. When you come to the humble temple you find a statue of a large turtle carved from marble. It stands as a symbol of longevity. In the evening you will meet one of the city’s top chefs who will explain the evolution of Hue’s cuisine before he cooks a meal for you that would befit royalty.
Day 7: The Majesty of Puppetry
The morning stretches over the citadel and soon has you flying over the remnants of royalty and arriving in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. The city encapsulates the modernity of the country but also bursts with tradition. The sweeping boulevards create an elegant atmosphere. Trees that dangle their leaves over the water surround the lakes. Your private transfer takes you from the airport to your hotel. In the evening you will enjoy the traditional Water Puppet Theater, one of the oldest and continually popular forms of entertainment in the country.
The puppetry dates back to the 11th century; farmers would try to entertain themselves and their family when the fields were flooded. You watch the mastery of the puppeteers performing an elegant dance on the water’s surface. They tell a myriad of traditional stories familiar to most Vietnamese. After the show you will delight at the restaurant Cha Ca La Vong situated in the Old Quarter. The legendary restaurant is rumored to be one of the oldest in the country and specializes in cha ca, a pan-fried fish with turmeric and dill. The aroma is hypnotic as the wait staff grills the fish at your table and adds peanuts and noodles throughout the cooking process.
Day 8: Last Chance Cooking Class
Today you will have the opportunity to indulge in the bright and crisp flavors of a cooking course. Your guide will tour you through the old quarter whose streets date back a millennium. The aromatic scent of herbs fills the long stretch of pathways that wind through the ancient market. Bicycles roll along the narrow streets. After you visit the local market you will follow your instructor’s demonstration, imitating the steps, methods, and flavors in search of the perfect combination of succulence and acidity. At the end of the course you are surrounded by the captivating aroma of beef noodle soup. In the evening you will enjoy a meal at KOTO. The atmosphere is elegant and the staff is friendly. One of the main draws of the restaurant is its charitable program that teaches underprivileged youth the art of cooking and the ins and outs of the hospitality industry.
Day 9: Hanoi to Sapa by private car
Our adventure starts with the drive to the mountain town of Sapa. The journey to Sapa will take the best part of the day. The drive is worthwhile though, as the scenery on your northward journey into the highlands is both dramatic and breathtaking.
Using a private car is more convenient and more flexible. The travel time is shorter because you don’t have to wait for others as by train , and it allows you some breaks for photographs, refreshments or a toilet stop along the way.
The road connecting from Hanoi to Lao Cai is Highway and take 3hours driving
From Lao Cai to Sapa. The car ride uphill takes a bit more than an half hour, giving you a glimpse of the region’s stunning vistas and impressive rice terraces along the way. When you reach Sapa, Check in Hotel and have a lunch at local restaurant
Your today trek departs from Sapa to Ta Phin valley. Walk with your experienced guide through the town for about 20 minutes before turning down a dirt road to Ma Tra, a Black Hmong village defined by its traditional clothing and customs. The moderate hiking route through this rural community offers more picturesque vistas of vegetable gardens and rice terraces flanked by green mountains rising in the background. You have time to visit with local families and learn about traditional fiber processing before continuing your trek to Ta Phin village, located in one of the most scenic valleys in Vietnam. Exploring the village, admiring the embroidered clothing and red headscarves worn by the tribal women of this ethnic group called the Red Dao. you’ll return to Sapa by private, air-conditioned car to check in to your hotel and eat dinner. You’re free to explore the charming town’s sloping streets or the market with many colorful handicrafts, or head up to Ham Rong peak for a fantastic photo op over Sapa .
Day 10: Sapa
Following a hotel breakfast, meet your guide in the morning and depart on a second trek from the town of Sapa to Golden Stream valley. Today’s hike offers more stunning views of rice terraces and gardens as well as Mt Fansipan, whose summit rises 10,312 feet (3,143 meters) above sea level. After crossing a suspension bridge, marvel at the breathtaking scenery as you continue through the Golden Stream valley, stopping at Lao Chai village for lunch. After your meal, follow your guide on a walk through this village where Black Hmong people reside, and continue on to Ta Van village, home to the Dzay tribe. This part of the hike is relatively easy, though the trail can be quite slippery if it rains, so good footwear is recommended. You’ll visit with some local families and learn about their daily lifestyle and fascinating culture, before departing to the main road to meet up with your driver and return to Sapa.
Stay overnight at hotel in Sapa
Day 11 : Sapa sightseeing > Drive back to Hanoi
Today We begin our Sapa experience with an orientation walk along the town ’s historic boulevards, passing some of its most interesting sights as Stone Church, Flower Park and smile of little red Dzao girls follow your step with their innocent eyes.
Stop at the Market to see the busy of trade of tribes fresh produce as fruits, vegetables, domestic animal.
Continuity with a steep and very beautiful hike down to Cat Cat Village ; if you’re too exhausted or unfit to hike back up, our car ready and willing to car you back to your hotel.
Cat Cat Vilage is Black Mong Vilage, Traditionally, they were the poorest of the poor, hut have rapidly learnt the spirit of free enterprise. Most of the Montagnards have had little formal education and are illiterate. Take a change to communicate with Black Mong by your guide’ s help to experience the Montagnards nature life. ” Dragon water fall ” is the best to stop for ” Kodak at moment” before we hike through the Green Rice field before back to Sapa.
Say Goodbye Sapa and we take our private car for 4hours driving back to Hanoi
Stay overnight at hotel in Hanoi
Day 12: Hanoi – Halong Bay
Explore one of Vietnam’s most intriguing UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites on a 2-day cruise of Halong Bay. Marvel at the spectacular sight of more than a thousand limestone peaks rising from the emerald waters of the ocean as your junk boat sails past mysterious caves and blissful bays. Soak up the soothing sunshine on the tanning deck; plunge into the crystal clear waters during a refreshing dip or kayak ride; and pleasure your palate with delicious Vietnamese cuisine throughout the 2-day expedition. Enjoy the luxurious facilities of the junk boat, which include: hot and cold running water; en-suite bathrooms with powerful showers; an elegant dining room and licensed bar serving an extensive selection of wines; a courteous crew; and a sun-tanning area and relaxation deck.
After early morning pickup from your hotel, depart from the capital for Halong Bay – an approximate four-hour drive by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Upon arrival at Halong Bay around midday, you’ll be greeted by a tour representative and transferred to the traditional junk boat. Settle in with a complimentary welcome drink as you begin your cruise around majestic Halong Bay. Meet the expert crew and get acquainted with your small group while you dine on a delicious seafood lunch, including tea and coffee. After lunch, unwind and soak up the sun on the top deck – a great spot for photographing the natural wonders of the bay – as your captain finds a secluded area, perfect for swimming in the clear waters. You’ll have the chance to try your hand at kayaking and explore some of the ancient limestone caves dotting the bay. As you glide along the most secluded lagoons, admire the surrounding limestone karsts amid unforgettable scenery only accessible by kayak! The modern kayaks are lightweight and easy to maneuver, and all participants will be issued water buoyancy vests. The junk boat will be nearby at all times, serving as a back-up vessel for those who need it. After exploring, retire to the boat for more relaxation on the deck and enjoy a refreshing drink from the bar if you’d like. In the evening, your cook will prepare a splendid meal comprised of fresh seafood dishes as well as traditional Vietnamese fare as your crew weighs anchor in the heart of the bay. Afterward, you’ll have the opportunity to try some night fishing from the boat.
Overnight: Ensuite twin cabin aboard traditional junk boat in Halong Bay
Day 13: Halong Bay – Ninh Binh
Rising to the tranquil beauty of the bay, there’s time for an early morning dip followed by breakfast. Then, head to the Cave of Surprises – the biggest cave in Halong Bay – where you’ll discover magnificent stalagmites and stalactites as you walk along the lit paths on a guided tour. After another delectable lunch around midday, start your cruise back to the main harbor before transferring to your awaiting vehicle for the four-hour journey to Ninh Binh. Explore the stunningly lush scenery of Ninh Binh Province, a region many consider to be an inland version of the world-famous Ha Long Bay
Arrive at Ninh Binh, check-in to your hotel and enjoy free time.
Have dinner and stay overnight at hotel in Ninh Binh.
Day 14: Ninh Binh Cruise – Hanoi
Today, We learn about the important role the area played in Vietnam’s history. This city was the ancient capital of the country in the 10th and 11th centuries and was built by the Dinh and Le dynasties. Hoa Lu is surrounded by limestone mountains and the Hoang Long River, naturally protecting it and making for an incredibly picturesque setting. At 11am, head for the ruins of the temples left by the Dinh and Le dynasties. Explore the excavation area at the Le Dai Hanh temple and the remains of the 10th-Century Royal Palaces.
We then have a 40-minute bike ride from Trang An to the to Tam Coc, known for its resemblance to famous Ha Long Bay and gorgeous rise paddies. Meaning ‘three caves,’ Tam Coc is the perfect place for countryside exploring, a total of 5km cycling that passes along a country road through lush rice paddies.
Get in 2-person sampan boats and drive up the river to three different caves. Explore their natural wonders and then return to the dock, where our private car will be waiting to drive back to Hanoi. The guide will return you to your hotel and enjoy free time.
Stay overnight at hotel in Hanoi
Day 15: The Continuing Flavor of Home
You watch Hanoi’s streets return to energetic life. In the Old Quarter you can see people riding their bicycles. Each bicycle holds a large basket that is filled with a variety of fruit, from oranges to limes, contained in a wide, shallow basket. You can imagine the gentle ripple of Hoan Kiem Lake in the early breeze. After breakfast your private transfer will escort you to the airport. You board your flight and inch closer to the comforting familiar flavors of home.
All accommodations (with Twin/Double rooms) while on tour
The tour price includes all hotel accommodations with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available accommodations without sacrificing value. Although the quality may vary slightly from one hotel to another, our commitment to your comfort is unwavering. Two-bedded rooms and One-beded with Queen size rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are accommodated in two-bedded rooms plus a rollaway cot where available, and are not recommended for comfort.
All transfers and road transport in modern, air-conditioned vehicles
– For a private smaller groups (2pax -10pax), modern sedan cars and minibuses are used.
– For tour groups of 11pax or more travelers, air-conditioned Hyundai with 19- 25-35 seats are used on all road journeys. These vehicles are designed with excellent viewing windows and a high roof. All our vehicles are modern, spacious, comfortable, well-maintained, and safe
•Complimentary airport transfer on arrival and on departure days
All Breakfasts & Lunches on tour
• Breakfast – Is always included on all Vietnam Royal Tourism – European Continental breakfasts are supplied at the hotels where you stay. The Continental style usually consists of rolls, butter, jams, tea or coffee and juices.
• Lunch – Your Lunch meals are included and generally served at a local restaurant
• Dinner – is not included and is always up to you – allows you the freedom to eat what you want and enjoy the local flavors.
Please note: If you have special dietary requirements (eg Vegetarian), let us know so we can notify restaurants and prepare appropriate food for you.
Experienced, friendly and knowledgeable guides.
Your tour guide is a professional, fully trained employee of Vietnam Royal Tourism
All sightseeing as specified including entrance fees
Airfare While on Tour
– All on-tour flights must be purchased through Vietnam Royal Tourism as part of your tour package . From the moment you land in the starting city to the moment you are transferred to the airport in the end city, all transport arrangements are taken care of by us.
– The cost of international flights from your country to Asia (starting city) is not included in our prices. We believe we are giving all our customers, wherever you live, the flexibility to travel from regional airports, in any class of travel and include a stopover en route if you so wish. It also allows you the opportunity to use your frequent flyer points if you so wish
Visa Approval Code or Visa on Arrival
– After approval, we will fax or email you a copy of the Approval letter as an attachment
– Our Service do not include the Stamping Fee of about US$25-165/ 1pax to be submitted directly to the Embassy or Consulate (the stamping fee vary from Embassy to Embassy) or pay at Airport for Stamping Fee with Visa on Arrival
+ International airfare& airport taxes
+ Travel insurance
+ Surcharges for compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges (which will be advised at time of booking) ,
+ Personal expenses
+ Tips & gratuities
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Ho Chi Minh
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