Culinary Delights of Vietnam

Culinary Delights of Vietnam

12 Days /11 Nights Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi or vice versa

Price from$4,504

•Ho Chi Minh City •Mekong Delta •Cooking Classes •Market Tours •Hoi An •Hue •Hanoi •Halong Bay

Vietnamese cuisine is fresh, fragrant and feisty; highly regarded as one of the world's best. Few realize the delicious regional variations that are found in the South, Central, and Northern styles. Experience it all on this 12-day journey up the coast.

Enjoy exclusive cooking classes, market tours and meals at top restaurants. Explore the Mekong Delta, ancient Hoi An with its famous tailors, the UNESCO listed Imperial Citadel of Hue, and cruise Halong Bay on a traditional junk to immerse yourself in Vietnamese culture and history. Delightful luxury hotels, experiencing the Vietnamese culture, history, beaches and cuisine will make your trip to Vietnam a dream!

Culinary Delights of Vietnam map

Day 1: Arrive Saigon (D) On arrival at Saigon Airport, you will be met by your English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel by private car. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included)

Dinner tonight is at Koto Restaurant.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Blue Diamond Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Grand Silver Land Hotel & Spa - Premium Deluxe Room 5 star: Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 2: Saigon Cooking Class At An Ambassador's Former Residence (B,L,D) The American Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960's, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, carried a mission of overthrowing the southern government at that time. When Lodge arrived in Saigon, an old villa in District 3 was converted into the Ambassador's residence. Mr. Lodge lived in this home between 1960 - 1965 and the architecture is a mix of Vietnamese, French and American. Today it remains a private residence owned by Trails of Indochina and it has been fully restored to its former glory. The Vietnamese cooking class commences with a visit to Ben Thanh market to buy all the fresh ingredients before continuing to this historic home for a private hands-on cooking demonstration. The guide will provide an orientation tour of the house while the chef prepares the ingredients. Learn typical Southern style dishes such as Fresh Spring Roll, Pan Cake, and Fish in clay pot. The chef will show you how to serve each dish before the meal, and you will need to master the chopsticks before you can savor your own culinary creations in the old world ambiance of the villa.

Saigon is the country's commercial centre and, with over eight million inhabitants and four million motorbikes, a city that never sleeps. Despite the well-documented hustle and bustle, Saigon retains its connections with the past. Embark on a city tour to admire Saigon's historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris (It is only possible to visit inside when no service is being performed). Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustav Eiffel. Continue to visit the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war, revealing the history of Saigon during its turbulent recent past.

With all its hustle and bustle, Saigon is a city on the move! Discover what this thriving and exciting metropolis can offer in terms of street food, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. After a briefing at your hotel lobby about the logistic, be introduced to your driver and start the journey. Stops include dinner and drinks at Saigon's best authentic street food, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Drive to District 4 to taste various snail dishes which are very popular in Saigon. Then it's back to District 3 to sample a southern Vietnamese specialty - Banh Xeo (rice pancake with pork and prawns). Finally, head to a local Vietnamese style coffee shop and enjoy a local coffee.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Blue Diamond Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Grand Silver Land Hotel & Spa - Premium Deluxe Room 5 star: Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 3: Saigon > Ben Tre > Saigon (B,L) At 8.00 am, depart for a 1.5 hour drive from Saigon to Ben Tre, situated in the Delta of the Mekong River. Pass Rach Mieu bridge before reaching Phu Hung hamlet. Get on a tri-motor cycle (xe loi) ride to enjoy the lush surroundings of rice paddies and fruit farms alongside the narrow village roads. Arrive at the waterfront, board the charming Mango Cruise for a glimpse at the Delta scenery while enjoying coconut juice. Make a first stop at a small brick workshop where the locals still use centuries-old traditional methods to make the bricks by hand.

Then you will head back to your boat to cross the An Hoa River, where you will start a very leisured biking trip (5-7km) around Phong Nam village on flat terrain. On the way, stop at the local house where they live on coconuts processing. Continue cycling through gardens and stop at the rice noodles factory "hu tieu", one of most popular breakfast dishes in the region. Make a short walk to visit at Mrs. Huong's home. Her family live on fishing, shrimp and farming. Enjoy the tropical fruits and honey tea in her garden before taking the rowing sampan , be paddled by a personalized rower trip to discover the maze of small canals.

The boat brings you to Mango home restaurant for a lunch with Mekong Delta specialties. Then ride 500 meters or walk over to Mr Sau Tuong's house. He is a former soldier who survived after 4 years fighting the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. Now he and his wife live on making rice paper. Have a chat with him and enjoy the crispy rice paper made by his wife, and see how it is made.

Cycling around 500 meters, or walk 10 minutes to another house of Mr Hung, who is a famous sticky rice maker in the village. You can also feed his stock of catfish and walk through his fruit garden.

After the visit, the boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to Ben Tre city where your car will take you back to Saigon.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Blue Diamond Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Grand Silver Land Hotel & Spa - Premium Deluxe Room 5 star: Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 4: Saigon > Danang > Hoi An (B,L) Free at leisure still check out and transfer with guide to airport for your flight to Danang. On arrival, meet your guide and transfer to Hoi An. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included)

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrian streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. The narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour. There is plenty to visit including the old merchant's houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colorful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.

Lunch at Morning Glory Restaurant. Situated in an elegant traditional style building in the heart of Hoi An's old town, Morning Glory offers 'Street Food' on the ground floor of the restaurant featuring Hoi An specialty foods. The upstairs balcony is perfect for small group as the views are excellent over the street.

Lantern, the simple yet colorful item is now an essential part of Hoi An culture. The lantern is inspired and hand-made by local artisans and is meant to bring good fortune. It is really made a comeback by an experienced artisan - Mr. Huynh Van Ba who is now in his 80's. Engage in a casual talk to him for a brief introduction to the history, shape, and color of the lanterns as well as the stages of production. Try creating your own lantern and take it home as a souvenir.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: River Beach Resort - Deluxe Room 4 star: Boutique Hoi An Resort - Superior Room 5 star: Anantara Hoi An - Junior Suite Garden View

Day 5: Hoi An Cooking Class With Chef Duc (B,L) Enjoy a morning tour of one of the most colorful local marketplaces in all of SE Asia. Chef and proprietor Duc Tran from Mango Mango restaurant creates eclectic and innovative flavors reflective of his worldwide culinary journey. A passionate and extremely talented chef with in depth knowledge on the Hoi An food scene, Duc will take you on a culinary journey embracing a combination of refreshing flavors, beautiful presentations as well as a visit to Hoi An Market to meet the vendors who supply him daily with some of the finest and freshest ingredients in Vietnam. Join Duc in an intimate hands-on learning at his boutique restaurant, and reward yourself with a wonderful meal at the end of the class.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: River Beach Resort - Deluxe Room 4 star: Boutique Hoi An Resort - Superior Room 5 star: Anantara Hoi An - Junior Suite Garden View

Day 6: Hoi An Street Food Tour with Mr Dean > Hue (B,L,D) This morning, save your stomach for a join-in street food tour with other guests from different hotels (not on Sundays). Meet with your culinary expert, Neville Dean, and visit a local market in Hoi An to enjoy the tantalizing sights, smells and flavors of local produce. Then walk through zigzagging alleys to savor real street food as the local people do. Along the way, engage in conversation with Neville to understand his passion for food and experience the local culture through the eyes of an expatriate. Gather at a local restaurant to examine and taste traditional central dishes and learn more about this fascinating region. Depart for a 3.5 hour drive over the Hai Van Pass. The Pass offers a spectacular panorama of the central coastline at the summit, with numerous photo opportunities.

Princess Ngoc Son was a daughter of Emperor Dong Khanh - when she married, her father granted her the land to build a home. Today, it is one of the best garden houses and has been maintained largely in its original form. The house is a classic structure with three bays and two wings. The highlight is a small artificial rock garden. The present owner also has a fascinating collection of artifacts and mementos from the days of the former Royal Empire. Enjoy a lunch of traditional Hue specialties prepared by the family at their historical home while you unearth Hue's fascinating past.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: River Beach Resort - Deluxe Room 4 star: Boutique Hoi An Resort - Superior Room 5 star: Anantara Hoi An - Junior Suite Garden View

Day 7: Hue Salt Rice With Ms Nhu Huy (B) Salt Rice, one of the most opulent and symbolic dishes in the former Imperial capital of Hue, has made a comeback thanks to the Master Chef Mme Nhu Huy. There are up to nine kinds of salt such as from sesame, lemongrass, galingale, shrimp and the dishes are prepared by frying, steaming and braising. We can talk with Mme Nhu Huy, who was born and grew up in a Royal family, to understand her effort to search and preserve ancient recipes. And of course, chance to enjoy this delicacy at Mme Nhu Huy's home. It is necessary to enjoy these dishes slowly to enhance the fragrance of rice and the salty, peppery, sweet, and sour taste of different types of salt rice.

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors' tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Start from your hotel with a 10 minute cyclo ride from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains about the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. From there, driver will pick you up and drive to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue's best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Moonlight Hotel Hue - Superior Room 4 star: Eldora Hotel - Deluxe River View Room 5 star: La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa - Superior Room

Day 8: Hue > Hanoi (B,D) Fly to Hanoi. On arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.(The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included)

With ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm. Start the tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (outside), an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of "Uncle Ho" resides. Behind the Mausoleum, you can see Ho Chi Minh's House. The simple house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked is made of wood and enjoyed a tranquil setting, with a view of a lotus pond. Ho Chi Minh's belongings are on display and you can walk up the steps of his house to see his bedroom. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda - resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Wind your way afterwards to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, for an overview about Hanoian culture and appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture.

Located in a quiet lane is the home of a musician couple. The husband is a flutist in the National Orchestra while the wife is a piano teacher. Enjoy the meal hosted in the cozy dining room to understand the important role meals at home play in Vietnam. Chat and share with them life experiences through their lovely family photo album. After the meal, enjoy a melodious performance of flute and piano entertained by the hosts themselves.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Medallion Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Silk Path Hotel - Premium Deluxe City View Room 5 star: Movenpick Hanoi Hotel - Superior Deluxe Room

Day 9: Hanoi Cooking Class With Chef Dzung (B,L) In the morning, meet with Mr. Dzung, a key member of Hanoi Chef Association for a market tour. Having a decade-old experience working at a noted 4-star hotel, he can show you how to select the freshest & typical ingredients for local foods. Enjoy sight, sound and flavour of the market. Then drive 20-minutes out of Hanoi to his beautiful private home for a private hands-on cooking class and stories of his participation in Culinary Festivals in France. Taste your own creations at lunch.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Medallion Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Silk Path Hotel - Premium Deluxe City View Room 5 star: Movenpick Hanoi Hotel - Superior Deluxe Room

Day 10: Hanoi > Halong Bay (B,L,D) Embark on a 3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay with a quick rest stop at Hong Ngoc Centre - the best place to stop and stretch your legs en route. On arrival in Halong Bay, board your deluxe junk, settle into your cabin and prepare your appetite for an enjoyable lunch on deck. Mid-afternoon you will visit the mysterious atmosphere of Tien Ong cave, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, then continue to the Cua Van fishing village, the largest community on the bay. This will allow a closer look into the lives of local fishermen before you transfer to a bamboo boat and are rowed slowly through the village with a museum and a school among floating houses. Back to the boat, a cooking class is offered with the chef if you are interested while your boat leisurely cruise be amazed or enjoy sunset cocktails and canapes on up top deck before served wonderful dinner on board tonight.

Overnight on: 3 1/2 star: Glory Legend - Ocean View Suite 4 star: Dragon's Pearl Cruise - Deluxe cabin 5 star: : Ginger Cruise - Superior cabin

Day 11: Halong Bay > Hanoi (B) Wake up early and partake in a Tai Chi class which is held on the upper deck. Visit Soi Sim Island, here you can relax in azure water of Halong Bay or enjoy over 200 steps to the up top for panoramic view of the whole bay. Back to the boat for boarding towards the shore while brunch is served. Prepare your luggage and hand your key to the reception for check out. Arrive at the jetty late morning and transfer back to Hanoi with light snack provided en route. Opt to visit a traditional pottery workshop en route.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Medallion Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Silk Path Hotel - Premium Deluxe City View Room 5 star: Movenpick Hanoi Hotel - Superior Deluxe Room

Day 12: Depart Hanoi (B) Free time at leisure until your private transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (The regular check-out time for all hotels is 12.00 pm. Late check-out is not included).

Reverse Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Hanoi (D) On arrival at Hanoi Airport, you will be met by your English speaking guide and transferred to your hotel by private car. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included)

With ochre-coloured colonial buildings, tree-lined boulevards and scenic lakes, Hanoi is full of charm. Start the tour at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (outside), an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, and where the preserved body of "Uncle Ho" resides. Behind the Mausoleum, you can see Ho Chi Minh's House. The simple house where Ho Chi Minh lived and worked is made of wood and enjoyed a tranquil setting, with a view of a lotus pond. Ho Chi Minh's belongings are on display and you can walk up the steps of his house to see his bedroom. A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus shaped One Pillar Pagoda - resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Wind your way afterwards to the Temple of Literature, the first University for the sons of mandarins, for an overview about Hanoian culture and appreciation for ancient Vietnamese architecture.

Located in a quiet lane is the home of a musician couple. The husband is a flutist in the National Orchestra while the wife is a piano teacher. Enjoy the meal hosted in the cozy dining room to understand the important role meals at home play in Vietnam. Chat and share with them life experiences through their lovely family photo album. After the meal, enjoy a melodious performance of flute and piano entertained by the hosts themselves.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Medallion Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Silk Path Hotel - Premium Deluxe City View Room 5 star: Movenpick Hanoi Hotel - Superior Deluxe Room

Day 2: Hanoi Cooking Class with Chef Dzung (B, L) In the morning, meet with Mr. Dzung, a key member of Hanoi Chef Association for a market tour. Having a decade-old experience working at a noted 4-star hotel, he can show you how to select the freshest & typical ingredients for local foods. Enjoy sight, sound and flavour of the market. Then drive 20-minutes out of Hanoi to his beautiful private home for a private hands-on cooking class and stories of his participation in Culinary Festivals in France. Taste your own creations at lunch.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Medallion Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Silk Path Hotel - Premium Deluxe City View Room 5 star: Movenpick Hanoi Hotel - Superior Deluxe Room

Day 3: Hanoi > Halong Bay (B,L,D) Embark on a 3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay with a quick rest stop at Hong Ngoc Center - the best place to stop and stretch your legs en route. On arrival in Halong Bay, board your deluxe junk, settle into your cabin and prepare your appetite for an enjoyable lunch on deck. Mid-afternoon you will visit the mysterious atmosphere of Tien Ong cave, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, then continue to the Cua Van fishing village, the largest community on the bay. This will allow a closer look into the lives of local fishermen before you transfer to a bamboo boat and are rowed slowly through the village with a museum and a school among floating houses. Back to the boat, a cooking class is offered with the chef if you are interested while your boat leisurely cruise be amazed or enjoy sunset cocktails and canapes on up top deck before served wonderful dinner on board tonight.

Overnight on: 3 1/2 star: Glory Legend - Ocean View Suite 4 star: Dragon's Pearl Cruise - Deluxe cabin 5 star: : Ginger Cruise - Superior cabin

Day 4: Halong Bay > Hanoi (B) Wake up early and partake in a Tai Chi class which is held on the upper deck. Visit Soi Sim Island, here you can relax in azure water of Halong Bay or enjoy over 200 steps to the up top for panoramic view of the whole bay. Back to the boat for boarding towards the shore while brunch is served. Prepare your luggage and hand your key to the reception for check out. Arrive at the jetty late morning and transfer back to Hanoi with light snack provided en route. Opt to visit a traditional pottery workshop en route.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Medallion Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Silk Path Hotel - Premium Deluxe City View Room 5 star: Movenpick Hanoi Hotel - Superior Deluxe Room

Day 5: Hanoi > Danang (B,L) Free at leisure still check out and transfer with guide to airport for your flight to Danang. On arrival, meet your guide and transfer to Hoi An. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00pm. Early check-in is not included)

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Hoi An was a prosperous trading port. Today, this World Heritage-listed ancient town boasts well-preserved buildings, pedestrian streets and unique cuisine, allowing visitors a glimpse of its illustrious past. The narrow lanes are ideal for a guided walking tour. There is plenty to visit including the old merchant's houses with influences from Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese architecture; the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge; the Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation with outstanding wood carvings; and the colorful market with stalls brimming with local specialties including silk, which can be turned into fashionable garments within a day or two.

Lunch at Morning Glory Restaurant. Situated in an elegant traditional style building in the heart of Hoi An's old town, Morning Glory offers 'Street Food' on the ground floor of the restaurant featuring Hoi An specialty foods. The upstairs balcony is perfect for small group as the views are excellent over the street.

Lantern, the simple yet colorful item is now an essential part of Hoi An culture. The lantern is inspired and hand-made by local artisans and is meant to bring good fortune. It is really made a comeback by an experienced artisan - Mr. Huynh Van Ba who is now in his 80's. Engage in a casual talk to him for a brief introduction to the history, shape, and color of the lanterns as well as the stages of production. Try creating your own lantern and take it home as a souvenir.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: River Beach Resort - Deluxe Room 4 star: Boutique Hoi An Resort - Superior Room 5 star: Anantara Hoi An - Junior Suite Garden View

Day 6: Hoi An Cooking Class With Chef Duc (B,L) Enjoy a morning tour of one of the most colorful local marketplaces in all of SE Asia. Chef and proprietor Duc Tran from Mango Mango restaurant creates eclectic and innovative flavors reflective of his worldwide culinary journey. A passionate and extremely talented chef with in depth knowledge on the Hoi An food scene, Duc will take you on a culinary journey embracing a combination of refreshing flavors, beautiful presentations as well as a visit to Hoi An Market to meet the vendors who supply him daily with some of the finest and freshest ingredients in Vietnam. Join Duc in an intimate hands-on learning at his boutique restaurant, and reward yourself with a wonderful meal at the end of the class.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: River Beach Resort - Deluxe Room 4 star: Boutique Hoi An Resort - Superior Room 5 star: Anantara Hoi An - Junior Suite Garden View

Day 7: Hoi An Street Food Tour with Mr Dean > Hue (B,L,D) This morning, save your stomach for a join-in street food tour with other guests from different hotels (not on Sundays). Meet with your culinary expert, Neville Dean, and visit a local market in Hoi An to enjoy the tantalizing sights, smells and flavors of local produce. Then walk through zigzagging alleys to savor real street food as the local people do. Along the way, engage in conversation with Neville to understand his passion for food and experience the local culture through the eyes of an expatriate. Gather at a local restaurant to examine and taste traditional central dishes and learn more about this fascinating region. Depart for a 3.5 hour drive over the Hai Van Pass. The Pass offers a spectacular panorama of the central coastline at the summit, with numerous photo opportunities.

Princess Ngoc Son was a daughter of Emperor Dong Khanh - when she married, her father granted her the land to build a home. Today, it is one of the best garden houses and has been maintained largely in its original form. The house is a classic structure with three bays and two wings. The highlight is a small artificial rock garden. The present owner also has a fascinating collection of artifacts and mementos from the days of the former Royal Empire. Enjoy a lunch of traditional Hue specialties prepared by the family at their historical home while you unearth Hue's fascinating past.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: River Beach Resort - Deluxe Room 4 star: Boutique Hoi An Resort - Superior Room 5 star: Anantara Hoi An - Junior Suite Garden View

Day 8: Hue Salt Rice With Ms Nhu Huy (B) Salt Rice, one of the most opulent and symbolic dishes in the former Imperial capital of Hue, has made a comeback thanks to the Master Chef Mme Nhu Huy. There are up to nine kinds of salt such as from sesame, lemongrass, galingale, shrimp and the dishes are prepared by frying, steaming and braising. We can talk with Mme Nhu Huy, who was born and grew up in a Royal family, to understand her effort to search and preserve ancient recipes. And of course, chance to enjoy this delicacy at Mme Nhu Huy's home. It is necessary to enjoy these dishes slowly to enhance the fragrance of rice and the salty, peppery, sweet, and sour taste of different types of salt rice.

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to the 19th century. With splendid emperors' tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its royal charm. Start from your hotel with a 10 minute cyclo ride from your hotel to the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO listed site. Enter through the towering main gate and you will appreciate the magnificent architecture and gardens while your guide explains about the events and the intrigue of the former royal court. Despite being bombed heavily, there are some incredibly well preserved sections still intact and others which are being lovingly restored. From there, driver will pick you up and drive to visit Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue's best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is a sight to behold.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Moonlight Hotel Hue - Superior Room 4 star: Eldora Hotel - Deluxe River View Room 5 star: La Residence Hue Hotel & Spa - Superior Room

Day 9: Hue > Saigon (B, D) Free at leisure still check out and transfer with guide to airport for your flight to Saigon. On arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. (The regular check-in time for all hotels is 2.00 pm. Early check-in is not included)

Dinner tonight is at Koto Restaurant.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Blue Diamond Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Grand Silver Land Hotel & Spa - Premium Deluxe Room 5 star: Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 10: Saigon Cooking Class At An Ambassador's Former Residence (B,L,D)

The American Ambassador to South Vietnam in the 1960's, Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge, carried a mission of overthrowing the southern government at that time. When Lodge arrived in Saigon, an old villa in District 3 was converted into the Ambassador's residence. Mr. Lodge lived in this home between 1960 - 1965 and the architecture is a mix of Vietnamese, French and American. Today it remains a private residence owned by Trails of Indochina and it has been fully restored to its former glory. The Vietnamese cooking class commences with a visit to Ben Thanh market to buy all the fresh ingredients before continuing to this historic home for a private hands-on cooking demonstration. The guide will provide an orientation tour of the house while the chef prepares the ingredients. Learn typical Southern style dishes such as Fresh Spring Roll, Pan Cake, and Fish in clay pot. The chef will show you how to serve each dish before the meal, and you will need to master the chopsticks before you can savor your own culinary creations in the old world ambiance of the villa.

Saigon is the country's commercial centre and, with over eight million inhabitants and four million motorbikes, a city that never sleeps. Despite the well-documented hustle and bustle, Saigon retains its connections with the past. Embark on a city tour to admire Saigon's historic landmarks including the Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edifice with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris (It is only possible to visit inside when no service is being performed). Then head across the square to the Central Post Office, designed by the French architect, Gustav Eiffel. Continue to visit the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war, revealing the history of Saigon during its turbulent recent past.

With all its hustle and bustle, Saigon is a city on the move! Discover what this thriving and exciting metropolis can offer in terms of street food, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. After a briefing at your hotel lobby about the logistic, be introduced to your driver and start the journey. Stops include dinner and drinks at Saigon's best authentic street food, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Drive to District 4 to taste various snail dishes which are very popular in Saigon. Then it's back to District 3 to sample a southern Vietnamese specialty - Banh Xeo (rice pancake with pork and prawns). Finally, head to a local Vietnamese style coffee shop and enjoy a local coffee.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Blue Diamond Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Grand Silver Land Hotel & Spa - Premium Deluxe Room 5 star: Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 11: Saigon > Ben Tre > Saigon (B,L) At 8.00 am, depart for a 1.5 hour drive from Saigon to Ben Tre, situated in the Delta of the Mekong River. Pass Rach Mieu bridge before reaching Phu Hung hamlet. Get on a tri-motor cycle (xe loi) ride to enjoy the lush surroundings of rice paddies and fruit farms alongside the narrow village roads. Arrive at the waterfront, board the charming Mango Cruise for a glimpse at the Delta scenery while enjoying coconut juice. Make a first stop at a small brick workshop where the locals still use centuries-old traditional methods to make the bricks by hand.

Then you will head back to your boat to cross the An Hoa River, where you will start a very leisured biking trip (5-7km) around Phong Nam village on flat terrain. On the way, stop at the local house where they live on coconuts processing. Continue cycling through gardens and stop at the rice noodles factory "hu tieu", one of most popular breakfast dishes in the region. Make a short walk to visit at Mrs. Huong's home. Her family live on fishing, shrimp and farming. Enjoy the tropical fruits and honey tea in her garden before taking the rowing sampan , be paddled by a personalized rower trip to discover the maze of small canals.

The boat brings you to Mango home restaurant for a lunch with Mekong Delta specialties. Then ride 500 meters or walk over to Mr Sau Tuong's house. He is a former soldier who survived after 4 years fighting the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh. Now he and his wife live on making rice paper. Have a chat with him and enjoy the crispy rice paper made by his wife, and see how it is made.

Cycling around 500 meters, or walk 10 minutes to another house of Mr Hung, who is a famous sticky rice maker in the village. You can also feed his stock of catfish and walk through his fruit garden.

After the visit, the boat will be waiting for you at the pier nearby to bring you back to Ben Tre city where your car will take you back to Saigon.

Overnight at: 3 1/2 star: Blue Diamond Hotel - Deluxe Room 4 star: Grand Silver Land Hotel & Spa - Premium Deluxe Room 5 star: Caravelle Hotel - Deluxe Room

Day 12: Depart Saigon (B) Free time at leisure until your private transfer to the airport for your departure flight. (The regular check-out time for all hotels is 12.00 pm. Late check-out is not included).

• Tailor-made journey with local English speaking guides • 10 nights in your selected category of accommodation • 1 night aboard a traditional junk boat in Halong Bay • Flights Ho Chi Minh City > Danang & Hue > Hanoi • Transfers & transportation • Sightseeing & entrance fees • Cooking classes • Halong Bay, Mekong Delta boat trips • 11 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 5 Dinners

Pricing (per person) $NZD

Type TWIN SINGLE

2017

3 1/2 Star

1 Jan - 30 Apr

1 May - 30 Sep

4 Star

1 Jan - 30 Apr

1 May - 30 Sep

5 Star

1 Jan - 30 Apr

1 May - 30 Sep

-

-

$4,602

$4,504

-

$5,092

$4,982

-

$5,962

$5,750

-

-

$7,344

$7,304

-

$8,480

$8,260

-

$10,244

$9,608

Departs

2017 Daily

Booking conditions

• Surcharges apply In Hoi An 2 - 7, 24 - 27 Mar 2017, 13, 30 Apr - 01 May 2017 as these are 'high demand' public holidays in Vietnam • Compulsory Gala Dinner 24, 31 Dec 2017

TET, the Vietnamese New Year. Travelers who are visiting larger cities like Saigon or Hanoi during the holidays may encounter empty streets and deserted parks as Vietnamese people return to their home town to celebrate the New Year with their families. Most businesses are closed during this period.

Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions.

Not included

Vietnam Visa