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Vietnam: Culture & Culinary Adventure (12 days)

Vietnam4,000 years of civilization have left a plethora of temples, pagodas and exuberant architecture in places like cultured Hanoi, the former Imperial City of Hue and the World Cultural heritage city of Hoi An.

This locally escorted trip features the highlights of Vietnam with opportunities to discover the rich culture and to savour the varied tastes of this fascinating land. Geographical diversity exists as you travel from Northern misty mountain peaks into verdant rice paddies and southern deltas. Along route encounter white sandy coasts and emerald coloured waters.

In addition to highlights of the nation, we will experience the tangy flavor of cha ca (charcoal grilled fish) and sample Vietnam's signature pho, (pronounced 'fuh') beef noodle soup. We will experience a variety of noodles and rice and enjoy an amazing array of fresh vegetables, fruits and seafood. Our palates will delight in a medley of elegant foods, including traditional Vietnamese fare and dishes influenced by international cuisines. Two hands-on cooking classes are included and wherever possible we will be sure to visit local markets. We end our journey with a wonderful cruise along the narrow channels of the Mekong Delta aboard the houseboat Le Cochinchine.

Highlights

  • Hanoi - Capital and a World Heritage site
  • Hue - Imperial City of the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Hoi An - picturesque and artsy port town dating back to the 16th century
  • Ho Chi Minh City - ever vibrant, on the bank of Saigon River
  • Mekong Delta Cruise - Aboard the Le Cochinchine
  • Cooking classes in Hue and Hoi an with selected fine dining meals
  • Accommodation in first class and deluxe hotels

2017 Departure Dates and Costs

Call 1(800) 690.7887 for departure information

Weekly departures of culinary Vietnam aavailable - Ask for pricing


Itinerary

Vietnam  GirlsDay 1: Arrival Hanoi (D)
Upon arrival at Hanoi'?s Noi Bai International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Hanoi is located on the bank of the Red River. It is a fascinating city filled with impressive French and Chinese architecture. The old quarter preserves the past and more than 600 temples and pagodas survive from the splendour of past empires. Numerous lakes and tree-lined boulevards give the city an air of tranquility. Ha Noi, was the name given to the city by King Minh Mang in 1831. Ha means river and Noi means within. Depending on arrival time and energy, those interested can join an initial exploration tour. Welcome dinner at Indochine Restaurant, set in an authentic French Colonial villa. Accommodation for 2 nights is at Hotel Sunway, a first class hotel situated in a quiet street in central Hanoi's Old French Quarter. Ideal for on-foot exploration. Inquiry about our optional pre-tour to Halong Bay

Day 2: Hanoi (B,L,D)
Breakfast at hotel. Morning cyclo tour of city sights. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Complex, which includes the Mausoleum, the One Pillar Pagoda, Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh's former stilt house residence. Visit the 11th century Temple of Literature.

After lunch, we'll drive into the countryside passing farmlands and crafting villages and make our way to Dinh Xuyen, about 16km outside the city, for a glimpse of rural Vietnam. We will stop at a unique spice exporting facility. Tonight attend a performance of the famous Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry at Thang Long Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake.

Day 3  Hanoi - Halong Bay (B,L,D)
Drive to Halong Bay (165 kilometres east of Hanoi) and enjoy a relaxing 5-hour boat trip through Halong Bay where more than 3,000 limestone islets vegetation covered islands rise from the emerald coloured Gulf of Tonkin. This is one of the most scenic areas in the country, listed as a world heritage area of outstanding beauty. many of them containing beautiful grottoes. A fresh seafood lunch is prepared and served on board. Drive to Haiphong for overnight.

Day 4  Haiphong -Hanoi (B,L,D)
Drive back to Hanoi and visit the Ethnology Museum. After lunch, visit the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum (from outside) his residence and "One Pillar" Pagoda. 1 hour cycle tour to visit Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple and the historic old part of the city. In the evening attend a performance of the famous Vietnamese traditional art of water puppetry at Thang Long Theatre.

Day 5: Hanoi - Hue (B,L,D)
Morning transfer to the airport for our flight to Hue, described by UNESCO as a beautiful architectural peom. Arrive 11:20 am and transfer directly to our hotel. Hue is the former royal city of the 13 ruling Nguyen dynasties from 1802 to 1945. It has retained a small quiet air and steeped in history and culture. After lunch, we will visit Linh Mu Pagoda, the Citadel, the Imperial Museum, Dong Ba Riverside Market, and the Purple Forbidden City. Dinner at Tropical Garden Restaurant. Accommodation is at the Deluxe Saigon Morin Hotel for 2 nights. Built in 1901 in French colonial style, the hotel has been refurbished. It is located in the heart of Hue on the banks of the Huong River within walking distance of major Hue sites.

Day 6: Hue (cooking class) (B,L)
A fun filled hands-on cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien restaurant and afterwards feast on our own creation. After lunch, cruise along the Perfume River by motorized sampan to Thien Mu Pagoda. Visit the tomb of Emperor Mihn Mang.

Day 7: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B,L,D)
After breakfast we will start the spectacular drive over Hai Van Pass to Danang. Here we will visit the Cham Museum - a diverse and intensive collection of Champa artefacts dating back to the 7th century. Continue to the charming historic city of Hoi An. Afternoon walking tour of some of the historic merchants houses, the Chinese communal houses, and the Japanese covered bridge. Dinner at a riverside cafe, the Cargo Club.  Accommodation for 2 nights is at Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort, a deluxe property located along a stretch of white sand on the South China Sea

Day 8: Hoi An (B,D)
The ancient Southeast Asian trading town of Hoi An has been declared a World Cultural Heritage city. The morning is at leisure. Afternoon shop at Hoi An's riverside market for our afternoon cooking demonstration with Miss Vi at her restaurant, The Morning Glory. Dine on the resulting feast.

Day 9: Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh City (B,L)
Transfer to Danang airport for flight to Ho Chi Mihn City. Transfer to hotel. Take a city tour visiting the former presidential palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the old Saigon Post Office - the best architectural examples of the old French colonial period. Accommodation in the elegance of French Colonial architecture of Hotel Majestic located in the heart of the city.

Mekong  RiverDay 10: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta Cruise (B,L,D)
After breakfast, a drive to Can Tho, the heart of the famous Mekong Delta where we will board "Le Cochinchine" boat at Ninh Kieu jetty. Twin berth cabins will be home as we sail along the Mekong river - The longest river in Indochina is divided into nine tributaries within Vietnamese territory and has given birth to the vast Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is often referred as the "rice bowl" and the "garden of heaven", because of its rich soil which is the breeding ground for dozens of vegetables, fruit and flowers. A visit to this region allows you to experience the "life on the water" of the local people.

The Mekong Delta is one of the most beautiful landscapes among the Vietnam's highlights. We will explore Cai Rang market, one of the most bustling floating markets in the Mekong Delta where hundreds of market boats sell their goods. Further explorations will take us through the palm shaded maze of waterways to see floating houses and green countryside. Lunch on board as we sail by the stunning scenery of the Mekong River. In the afternoon, a pleasant walk along country footpaths through tropical fruit orchards and local villages where we can sample the fruits and observe traditional lifestyles. Enjoy a magnificent sunset on the Co Chien River. Dinner, and overnight on board.

Day 11: Can Tho - Ho Chi Minh (B,D)
Sunrise and breakfast on the Mekong. Then explore the early morning activity at Cai Be floating market where the locals arrive with boats laiden with colourful crops. Walk among lush vegetation as you visit handicraft villages and meet the locals. Sample tropical fruits that thrive in this fertile marshland. By small boat travel through the rivulets of Tan Phong Islands and cycle or walk the footpaths of this rural region. Late morning disembark in Cai Be and return by road to Ho Chi Min City and check into the Majestic Hotel. Enjoy a farewell dinner at the Mandarin Restaurant.

Day 12: Depart Ho Chi Minh City (B)
After breakfast at our hotel, transfer to the airport for flights home.

Extensions available on an individual basis.