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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Sip, slurp and crunch your way through Vietnam, experiencing one of the freshest and most fragrant cuisines on the planet. From pho and ancient buildings in Hanoi, banh khoai and imperial citadels in Hue, banh xeo and lantern-lit streets in Hoi An and banh canh and pulsating markets in Ho Chi Minh City, experience Vietnam's cuisine and discover its tightly woven place within this culture. Drink in cafes and beer halls that sprawl out over city streets, buy fruit from wicker baskets draped over a vendor's shoulders and sit at market stalls as aromatic noodle soups are whipped up in front of you. Experience all of Vietnam's iconic sights, spend time cooking some of the country's top dishes and get a true taste of Vietnam on this delectable Real Food Adventure.

Countries Visited

Vietnam

Cities Visited

Ha Long Bay , Hanoi , Ho Chi Minh , Hoi An , Hue , Mekong Delta

  1. Day 1
    Hanoi
    Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins in the country’s capital – Hanoi. If you arrive early, maybe grab an iconic coffee – typically served with condensed milk, or for the more adventurous, egg! You’ll meet your group and leader for an important welcome meeting at 5 pm, then head out for your first introduction to Vietnam’s lively culinary scene. Your leader will take you on a street food tour around the streets, as the sun goes down and the city comes alive at night. You might sink your teeth into bun cha (a grilled pork and noodle dish that’s loved in Hanoi) or try some banh cuon (steamed rice paper rolls) and lau (Vietnamese hot pot).
    Meals:   Dinner
  2. Day 2
    Halong Bay
    This morning, hit the road for the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Ha Long Bay. The harbour, with approximately 2000 limestone islands rising from the turquoise waters of Bac Bo Gulf, spans an area of about 1500 square km and is dotted with beaches and grottos. When you arrive, you’ll set sail on the emerald-green waters, gliding between limestone karsts to take in the incredible scenery from the best outlook of them all – the water! Then, you’ll explore Surprise Cave, one of the most striking caves in the bay, covering an area of more than 12,000 square m. In the afternoon, you’ll return to your boat and enjoy a delicious feast prepared by an onboard chef. Tonight’s stay is something special as you’ll be sleeping on the traditional boat, letting the water lull you to sleep and really taking in the beauty of the surrounding bay.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  3. Day 3
    Overnight Train
    You’d be forgiven for thinking you were still dreaming when you wake up on the bay this morning. If you’re an early riser, you might like to organise an optional kayak experience before you head back to Hanoi this morning. When you arrive, you’ll board an overnight train bound for Hue. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience. It's an efficient way to travel long distances and a great way to get a sense of the country. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but maybe ask your leader for advice on which local salty and sweet snacks to stock up on before departure.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Hue
    Arrive in Hue this morning – Vietnam’s former royal capital, where the cuisine is considered by many as the best in the country. The food is influenced by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) and its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants. After leaving your luggage at your hotel, embark on a tour of the city’s imperial monuments from the back of a motorbike. Stop past Thien Mu Pagoda, an active Buddhist monastery since 1601, where you'll see a car that belonged to one of the self-immolating monks of the 1963 protests. After some time exploring, it's time to eat! You’ll enjoy a plant-based Buddhist meal specially prepared for you by a chef who is a descendant of the royal family, in the garden of their family home. After, visit the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, then visit the Imperial Citadel, which includes the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric, and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. Tonight, maybe ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties like banh hue (rice flour cakes stuffed with shrimp, pork and spices).
    Meals:   Dinner
  5. Day 5
    Hoi An
    After a local breakfast of bun bo hue (a spiced beef noodle soup), you’ll go to a local coffee house where three generations of Hue locals are living together. Admire the traditional house and gardens before meeting your host, Mr Khoa. Learn about his passion for coffee with a demonstration of how to make Hue’s traditional salt coffee, from the bean roasting process to the secret ingredients. Maybe even have a go at making it yourself! After, head south by bus through coastal rice paddies and the mountainous Hai Van Pass to Hoi An. This beautifully restored city retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore. After some time to settle into your hotel, you’ll make your way to a special beachside restaurant for a seafood hotpot dinner with your group. This is a particularly popular meal amongst the locals in Hoi An!
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  6. Day 6
    Hoi An
    Today, you’ll really get to know Hoi An – first up, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the Ancient Town. Then, you’ll discover Reaching Out Tea House – a non-government organisation that supports the local deaf and mute community by providing employment and vocational training. The peace and quiet of this café stands in stark contrast to the bustling streets outside. While here, you’ll sip delicious teas in total silence – a tranquil experience you won’t soon forget. After a little time to relax, you’ll get ready for a cooking class with a local chef this afternoon. You’ll be escorted to a local market to shop for fresh ingredients and then taken through a culinary journey with hands-on demonstrations. Your local chef will even share the stories behind the yin and yang elements, unveiling the secret of home-cooked Vietnamese meals. Feast on your delicious creations, dishes that highlight the cooking of the Pho Hoi people.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Quy Nhon
    This morning after breakfast, you’ll visit a village to see the production process of Vietnamese rice whiskey (made from plain boiled rice). Learn about the history of this traditional practise and see how it's made, with a sample or two as you learn. Then, you’ll be treated to a home-cooked lunch in the village – a great opportunity to learn more about the locals. Head on to Quy Nhon – a coastal city flanked by super clear waters, traditional fishing boats and sandy beaches. Tonight, maybe watch the sunset at Ky Co Beach or ask your leader for the best dinner spots.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Overnight Train
    Early this morning, you’ll visit the local market with your trip leader for a wander around and a fruit tasting of some local produce. Then, walk to Bun Ram Thuy where you'll try the region's popular crab noodle soup. Follow that up with a caffeine hit (or a cold drink to ease the morning heat). After, you’ll have free time and the use of a day room to rest, relax or explore at your own pace. Tonight, you’ll hop on an overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  9. Day 9
    Ho Chi Minh City
    Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City this morning, then join a walking tour to get a feel for the city's frenetic, fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. You’ll notice a strong French influence here, which means excellent coffee and baguettes! Stop past the General Post Office and Notre Dame, then visit the War Remnants Museum to learn about the city’s sobering past. For lunch, you’ll take part in a cooking class where you'll learn some contemporary twists on traditional Vietnamese dishes with a passionate chef. Sit down and enjoy the delicious feast you've prepared over lunch and then enjoy a free afternoon to continue your explorations.
    Meals:   Dinner
  10. Day 10
    Mekong Delta
    After breakfast this morning, kiss Ho Chi Minh City goodbye and make your way to the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. When you arrive, you’ll hit the water and cruise up this mighty river, stopping at tropical fruit gardens and local cottage industries to sample honey, coconut candy and fruit, right at the source. Enjoy being paddled slowly along the quieter backwaters in a sampan, one of the most common forms of transport in these parts. Continue to your homestay for this evening. Meet your hosts and take some time to wander the garden, relax or lend a hand with dinner preparations. Enjoy a southern Vietnamese feast on the wide veranda overlooking the garden as the sun goes down.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  11. Day 11
    Ho Chi Minh City
    Enjoy the freshest fruit of the Mekong Delta for breakfast, then head back to Ho Chi Minh City. When you arrive, take a guided walk around one of Vietnam’s most pulsing markets – Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients, or presents for friends and family. Then, stop for a delicious crispy pork banh mi for lunch. The rest of the day is free to explore at your own pace. Tonight, you might like to get together with your group and toast to a great trip over a farewell dinner.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  12. Day 12
    Ho Chi Minh City
    With no activities planned for today, your adventure comes to an end after breakfast. If you wish to spend more time in Ho Chi Minh City, just speak to your booking agent.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Hanoi - Street Food Experience Urban Adventure
  • Halong Bay - Overnight Boat Cruise
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike
  • Hue - Imperial City entrance and guided visit
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hoi An - Seafood hotpot dinner
  • Hue - Salt coffee
  • Hoi An - Tea Tasting in Silence
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Hoi An - Cooking class with local chef
  • Hoi An - Market tour and garden visit
  • An Nhon - Rice winemaker
  • An Nhon - Home-cooked lunch
  • Quy Nhon - Market visit
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cooking Class with local chef
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise with visits to local producers
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Thanh market visit
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Banh mi

Meals
9 Breakfast(s) Included
7 Lunch(es) Included
5 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Hotel (7 nights), Homestay (1 night), Overnight Boat (1 night), Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.8

Ratings based off 206 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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