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  • Unique Vietnamese Cuisine

    Code: VLC02 - Duration: 11 Days
    Start: Hanoi | Finish: Saigon
  • Besides its vast range of landscape comprising of spectacular mountains ranges and pristine beaches, Vietnam is attracting people around the world thanks to its tantalising cuisine. This 11-day trip is specially designed for those who enjoy the very best in life, and what could be better than food and indulgence? With accommodation in some of Vietnam’s finest hotels, this trip is sure to invigorate you. We commence the tour in charming Hanoi where you will be guided to sample street food like a local. Next, you will explore the remarkable Halong Bay where you will be served a magnificent seafood feast whilst sailing past thousands of islets. Leaving this dreamlike land, we head to Hue for a boat ride down the Perfume River. Here you will take a cooking class and discover the cuisine of Vietnam’s last emperors. The journey continues to ancient Hoi An where you will explore phenomenal flavours complemented by sensational seafood. Further south we discover Saigon, a hot spot for zest and flavour. Last but certainly not least, we end with a boat tour venturing down the Mekong Delta and its watery maze of rivers and canals.

    Highlights:

    • Enjoy a unique experience tasting Vietnamese cuisine from the North to the South
      Unique Vietnamese Cuisine  11 days
    • Discover the graceful and exotic Hanoi capital - thousands of years of culture
    • Learn about Hanoi’s unique food culture while strolling through hidden alleyways and bustling markets in the Old Quarter
    • Take a cruise on Halong Bay to explore the breathtaking beauty of more than 3000 islands rising from emerald waters
    • Discover Imperial city Hue well-known for its temples, tombs, palaces and pagodas and of course, the Perfume River
    • Gain more knowledge on impressive, historic homes of Hoi An, recognised World Heritage Site by UNESCO
    • Discover the bustling and dynamic Saigon with French colonial structures, pagodas and markets
    • Explore the intricate network of canals and channels in Mekong Delta area by taking a private traditional boat
    • World class hotels in the best locations
    • Comfortable & spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/D)
    Day 2: Hanoi City - Street Food on Foot (B/-/D)
    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)
    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Flight to Hue (Br/-/-)
    Day 5: Hue Cooking Class - Imperial City (B/L/D)
    Day 6: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B/L/-)
    Day 7: Hoi An Ancient Town - Cooking Class (B/-/D)
    Day 8: Hoi An - Danang - Flight to Saigon (B/L/-)
    Day 9: Saigon - Cu Chi cooking class - Tunnels (B/L/-)
    Day 10: Saigon - Ben Tre - Saigon (B/L/-)
    Day 11: Saigon - Departure  (B/-/-)

    • Ability to change the direction of the program
    • Possibility of an extension in Laos or Cambodia

    Notes:

    + We specialize in “tailor-made” tours for groups of two or more. We carefully inspect each step of your journey from the accommodation to the perfect guide to suit your needs
    + The itinerary is open to modification to fit your personal travel needs
    + Modifications to the itinerary may increase the price of the package
    + For the price of this trip, just ask for a quote by clicking on "TOUR PRICE" above

    + If you are looking for a trip modified to your requirements, please send us your needs by filling out the form in Customize your trip” 
    + We will contact and send you a quote, excluding holiday period, within 48 hours of receiving your request .

  • Day 1: Hanoi arrival (-/-/D)

    Hanoi - Airport: 30km, ~40min drive

    hanoi cuisine tonkin travel

    Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, your guide will collect you outside arrivals and escort you by private car to the city centre. After making sure of your successful hotel check-in, they will be pleased to leave you free time for your own lunch and leisure to recover after your long flight.

    In the afternoon, we simply take an orientation walk in Hanoi Old Quarter where you can see streets with century-aged trees and French Colonial buildings. Our guide will explain to you some authentic local dishes such as Banh Cuon (steam rice pancake rolled with mince perk and mushroom), Bun cha (Rice Noodle with grilled pork – another famous Hanoi street food), Pho (Rice Noodle soup with beef or chicken). We will stop for a cup of coffee at a local shop.  

    Dinner tonight is served with Cha Ca La Vong - the most famous and authentic local food in Hanoi serving rice noodle with grilled fish on the charcoal kitchen.

    Meals Included: Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 2: Hanoi City - Street Food on Foot (B/-/D)

    hanoi tours

    After breakfast at the hotel, we drive towards Tay Ho Temple located at the edge of West Lake. Here we will visit Lieu Hanh, the 17th century princess considered the “mother of the nation”. Next on our itinerary is a visit to the Museum of Ethnology. This museum is dedicated to fifty four of the officially recognized ethnic groups with both indoor and outdoor sections. While the in-house exhibition is particularly informative, the outdoor display continues in the museum’s garden with fascinating examples of traditional houses from the Kinhs to other ethnic groups of the Central Highlands.

    In the afternoon, we reach Ho Chi Minh Complex (outside visit). This famous site compromises Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, his former stilt-house residence, the Presidential Palace and Ho Chi Minh Museum. We then visit the Temple of Literature constructed in 1070 to worship Confucius and also served as the first university of Vietnam. The site honours eighty-two Vietnamese doctorates who passed a number of rigid exams in the medieval ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are engraved in eighty-two headstones perched on stone tortoises. It is widely believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck. The Temple of Literature’s lawns, gardens and lotus ponds make it a tranquil hideaway from the city’s bustle and heat. We will stop for lunch at a popular local restaurant.

    At the end of the day, our guide will give you an insight into Hanoi’s unique food culture by a 3-hour walking & street food tour. We eat as we go, trying seasonal fruits and sampling delicious food just like the locals do on the streets. The first dish to tempt our taste-buds is the famed Banh Cuon. We watch at a local eatery how skilful the chef is to master creating this delicate meal. As we continue to walk through the Old Quarter, we enjoy two snack stops at local BBQ stalls with various meats, vegetables and bread specialties that are flame grilled over hot coals for extra flavour. We venture down a small alley to find a vendor who sells a local Hanoi ritual- fresh fruit smothered with crushed ice and condensed milk.  Next, we will take you to one of Hanoi’s best kept secrets. A hidden street food restaurant where you will be able to taste the top ten street foods in Hanoi such as our signature bread, rice wine and the famous egg coffee (which can be replaced with an ice cold beer!). Our guide will personally assist you with getting back to the hotel or provide some more recommendations.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi

    Day 3: Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/L/D)

    Hanoi - Halong: 170km, ~3h30min drive 

    halong cooking class

    After breakfast, we depart for Halong Bay, passing through the peaceful countryside typical of the Red River Delta. We will arrive at Halong’s tourist wharf around noon and embark an elegant wooden junk for a cruise through the limestone cliffs and emerald waters of Halong Bay.

    Whilst on board, we will be served an extravagant seafood lunch. During lunch, we cruise through the most beautiful and quiet areas in Bai Tu Long Bay to visit Cua Van Fishing Village - one of the largest fishing villages there is. After lunch there will be the opportunity to interact with fisher men who have been living there for almost three generations. You can either take a 40-minute kayaking program through the village or sit on small bamboo boats rowed by the villages.

    Back on board, there will be free time of about one and a half hours before the cooking demonstration by the head chef showing you how to decorate and make some traditional Vietnamese dishes. Cocktails are served whilst watching sunset before we have dinner.

    In the evening, you can watch the famous Indochina Movie in the dining room or join squid fishing from the boat with the crew. Depending on weather conditions you will be able to board the squid boat and see how the local fishermen catch squid and other fish. The evening is yours to relax under the stars.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Overnight on Junk

    Day 4: Halong Bay - Hanoi - Flight to Hue (Br/-/-)

    Hanoi - Hue: 770km, 1h flight

    halong cruise

    After waking up surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the bay, we have time for an early morning dip. Then it’s time for breakfast whilst you watch the sun rise over Halong bay. The cruise continues to move around the bay for in order for us to discover more secluded areas.  The boat will be near us at all times for those who prefer to relax on board. Around midday, we will return to the main harbour before transferring to our awaiting vehicle for the three-hour journey to Noi Bai airport for the flight to Hue. Upon arrival at Hue, our driver will meet and transfer you to the hotel in Hue. The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore or take advantage of the hotel's amenities.

    Meals Included: Brunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

    Day 5: Hue Cooking Class - Imperial City (B/L/D)

    hue

    After breakfast at the hotel, our guide will take you to a local market where you can see fresh produce, butchers at work and constant bartering. This is an excellent place to stop, take pictures and learn a little about Vietnamese culture and history. Our guide will be more than pleased to enlighten you with any questions that may be on your mind. We head to the cooking school and begin preparing.  You will be able to make three dishes and choose from a variety of Vietnamese classics such as: Bún Bò Huế (Hue noodle soup with beef), Nem Lụi (Hue Skewer pork on lemongrass), Bánh Khoái (Hue Pancake), Nem Rán (Spring Roll), Nem Cuốn Tươi (Fresh Spring Roll) and so on.  After lunch (which you made!), we set out to explore some of the famous sites of Hue. We begin with a Dragon Boat trip along the Perfume River to the picturesque Thien Mu, otherwise known as the Heavenly Lady Pagoda. The peaceful atmosphere here at the pagoda will help ease your mind from the stresses of daily life. After we disembark, we continue our day with a visit to the elaborate mausoleum of former emperor Tu Duc. Built between 1864 and 1867 by 3000 soldiers and workers, it includes fifty monuments surrounded by a 1500m long wall covering an area of 12 square miles.

    If time permits, we will drop by for a visit to Hue Imperial City, the last royal city of Vietnam. There are many beautiful structures including the Flag Tower, Ngo Mon Gate, Nine Dynastic Urns, Nine Holy Cannons, Thai Hoa Palace and the Forbidden City. Built in the 19th century by the Nguyen dynasty, the city was home to the former Emperors of Vietnam from 1802 until 1945.

    Dinner tonight is served at a popular local restaurant. The evening is yours to explore more of the flourishing food scene of this ancient city. Don’t forget to ask your guide to see if they have any special recommendations!

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hue

    Day 6: Hue - Danang - Hoi An (B/L/-)

    Hue - Hoi An: 140km, ~2h30m drive

    hoi an

    After breakfast at the hotel, we bid Hue farewell and continue our south bound journey to the old trading town of Hoi An via Danang. Along the way, we will stop at Lang Co beach for coffee and refreshments. From here we head up to the Hai Van pass, stopping at the top to take in the stunning views over Lang Co beach and Da Nang city. Continuing on our way down the other side and into Da Nang, we will stop at the Museum of Cham Sculpture where the mix between French-colonial architecture and Cham elements present a picturesque surrounding. Founded during the colonial French rule in 1915, this museum preserves sculpture items featuring the cultural, spiritual and ritual lives of the Cham people. Our next destination is the Marble Mountains - a cluster of five marble and limestone hills located in Ngu Hanh Son District, south of Da Nang City. All of the mountains have cave entrances and numerous tunnels. Several Buddhist sanctuaries can also be found in the mountains, making this a prominent destination.

    Upon your arrival in Hoi An, you will check into the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore the burgeoning boutique bar scene or to relax by the beach sipping cocktails.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

    Day 7: Hoi An Ancient Town - Cooking Class (B/-/D)

    hoian daily tours

    After breakfast at the resort, we take a walking tour to Hoi An Ancient Town - an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th century. We start our day with one of Vietnam’s most iconic attractions, the Japanese Covered Bridge. The bridge was created by the Japanese living in Hoi An in the 1590s as a way to reach the Chinese quarter across the water and is a beautiful historical piece of Japanese architecture. However, no visit to Hoi An is complete without a visit to Tan Ky House - one of the many ancient houses that make up Hoi An Ancient Town. Built two centuries ago with both Japanese and Chinese influences on architecture, this house has been preserved through several generations.

    We will continue our walking tour and encounter many other quintessential Hoi An houses from wealthy Chinese merchants. Another ‘must-see’ is the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall. Built in 1690, this hall is, in fact, a temple dedicated to the sea goddess Thien Hau. It is widely considered an outstanding work of architecture and was a uniting presence to the many cultures that influenced Hoi An.

    In the late afternoon, you will have a cooking class at Red Bridge Restaurant. Our guide will escort you to another colourful market where you can experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of Central Vietnam. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and purchase some of the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later. We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River. This is a great chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy!  After we arrive at the Red Bridge Cooking School we explore the cooking school’s herb and vegetable garden before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about two hours. Each dish will be first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chefs before we then prepare the dish ourselves. Also included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat exactly what we have cooked. Hoi An is well suited for an after-dinner stroll, and we'll stop for a cold beer or coffee before turning in for the night.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Hoi An

    Day 8: Hoi An - Danang - Flight to Saigon (B/-/-)

    Danang - Saigon: ~850km, 2h flight

    saigon

    After breakfast at hotel, our driver will meet and transfer you to Danang Airport for flight to Saigon. Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, meet your new guide and driver who then escort you to the hotel for check-in. You will then have time for your own lunch and some well-deserved relaxation.

    In the afternoon, we take a half day to visit all famous sites of this bustling city. The first destination is the now-demolished wartime American Embassy. After that, we head to the Reunification Palace, the former residence of the President of South Vietnam until April 30, 1975 when the North Vietnamese tanks came crashing through the front gates, bringing the U.S.-Vietnam War to a dramatic end. This will be followed by some French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral. Notre Dame Cathedral was built between 1877 and 1883 where the stones used to create it were exported entirely from France. Apart from the religious meaning, the most captivating point of this Cathedral is its special neo-Romanesque style of architecture. Adjacent to the cathedral stands the Central Post Office, finished in 1891. It is another fine example of French architecture and is Vietnam's largest post office. After visiting the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the War Remnant Museum, we continue our trip to the bustling Ben Thanh Market, which is a fantastic place for bargains of all kinds. There are a number of vendors and food stalls in the market food section that offers fresh local dishes. You also can find many goods for daily use as well as a variety of eye-catching souvenirs.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 9: Saigon - Cu Chi cooking class - Tunnels (B/L/-)

    Saigon - Cu Chi: 30km, ~50m drive 

    village of organic vegetables

    After a delicious breakfast, we depart for a village specialising in organic vegetables located in Cu Chi. In this village, you will be guided by the farm's owner and become farmers yourself. You will start the tour by discovering fertile and lush fields where there are over a hundred species of herbs, vegetables and other crops which are characteristic of Vietnam. The owner not only explains the features and usefulness of vegetables but also teaches you how to grow and harvest them yourself. After a morning full of discovery and with the vegetables you have just harvested in the garden, you will be guided in the preparation of some simple Vietnamese dishes. After lunch, there will be some detailed instructions for the dishes you liked best so you can make them back home. 

    Our next destination is the famous Cu Chi Tunnels which were an incredible underground network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during our long struggle for independence. The tunnels contained hospitals, accommodation and schools. They are most known though as a military base for the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War. Upon arrival, we proceed to an underground hut to watch a short video and presentation about Cu Chi tunnels before having a real hands-on experience of what it took to live in the tunnels. We will also get to sample what soldiers would have really eaten during the war. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon for the night. After a busy day, it will be a treat to enjoy the first-class amenities.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 10: Saigon - Ben Tre - Saigon (B/L/-)

    Saigon - Ben Tre: 60km, ~1h20m drive 

    mekong cruise

    After breakfast, we depart for the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival at Hung Vuong pier in Ben Tre, you will embark a boat to cruise along Ben Tre River to explore the local lifestyle and the daily hustle and bustle.  As you sail away down the Mekong River, you will observe local home factories and many traditional procedures such as rice making, coconut candies and other local specialities. You will then have the opportunity to taste honey tea made by bees at a local honey farm where a variety of tropical fruit grows amply. Next, we recommend a cycle through the coconut groves and green rice paddies to soak up and relax in the tranquil countryside atmosphere.

    After lunch at a local restaurant, we will take a trip on small rowing boats through a maze of waterways lined by two rows of palm trees. Upon cruising back to the pier, we drive back to Saigon in the late afternoon for your last night. Live it up! Don’t forget to ask your guide (and driver!) for some of their recommendations.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Saigon

    Day 11: Saigon - Departure (B/-/-)

    After your last Vietnamese style breakfast, time is free (to eat that last pho!) until your driver meets and transfers you to Tan Son Nhat airport. We hope you leave with your heart content and your belly full!

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  • Prices

    This trip is private and therefore can be altered to suit your needs, date of commencement and budget requirements.

    Prices vary due to a number of specifics:

    • The period: during high season (from October till April), the price of services is generally higher compared to the low season (from May till September).
    • The number of participants: the more of you travel together, the less you will pay.
    • The choice of hotels: a 5-star hotel for example can cost ten times as much as a 2-star hotel; two hotels all classified among the three stars may have different prices if they are more or less charming.
    • The activities during the trip: two trips on the same itinerary and of the same length can have two different prices depending on the number and nature of activities included.
    • The booking date: in some cases, too close booking departure date can raise the price due to the low availability of services.

    Inclusion:

    • Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
    • Transfers according to program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except free day
    • English-speaking guide’s assistance at every stage
    • Meals as indicated in program (B: Breakfast /L: Lunch / D: Dinner)
    • Entrance fees for attractions included in the program
    • All activities and cruises clearly mentioned in the program
    • Flights: Hanoi – Hue; Danang - Saigon (E-Class on Vietnam Airlines)
    • Halong Bay overnight on boat (sharing boat)
    • Private boat excursion in Hue, Mekong Delta
    • Bicycle riding in Mekong Delta
    • Hanoi street food tour
    • Cooking classes in Hue, Hoian and Saigon
    • Water and cool tissues
    • Government taxes & service charge

    Exclusion:

    • Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
    • Early check-in, late check-out
    • Personal expenditures, tips
    • Personal insurance (compulsory)
    • Any service not clearly mentioned in the program
    • International air transfers associated with airport taxes
    • Visa and visa arrangement (available upon request)

    Booking

    Here are 2 steps to book your trip with Tonkin-Travel:

    Step 1. Focus on your travel program:

    You can choose this trip as is or customize it to your specific desires. Just click on the “Customize this trip” tab and fill in the form. One of our travel consultants will contact you within 48 hours to develop the travel program based on your specifications.

    Step 2. Booking:

    • Following the first step, tour program is selected and we access the rates.
    • Upon confirmation of the trip, the registration must be accompanied by a deposit up to 25% of the total estimate.
    • For programs with private junk (cruise) and/or 5 star hotels, the deposit is represented by 30% of the total estimate.
    • Tonkin-Travel carries out the booking process upon receipt of the deposit. Confirmation of these reservations is sent to customer within 10 days via email

    Nature of travel

    This trip is private. That implies:

    • You will be escorted by a private guide and driver. This approach guarantees a smooth trip with fewer organizational constraints.
    • You will be the master of your trip. We guarantee flexibility in organizing visits at your request.
    • Our services will be personalized according to your desires. Thus the proposals in this package are not fixed and you can bring suggest all the desired changes.
    • You receive individualized care: ample food, organizing small events (anniversary, honeymoon, etc.), targeted information, followed necessary modifications, etc.

    Accommodation

    • Accommodation is an important expenditure of your trip. When you choose a luxury trip for example, the accommodation can represent three quarters of the price. Thus, your choice of hotels is closely related to your budget.
    • Tonkin-Travel has negotiated rates with a wide range of hotels from 2 to 5 stars.
    • In some places you will have the option to choose ‘home-stay’. Although this provides less comfort that a hotel it is a truly authentic experience and highly recommended for at least one night of your journey.

    Transport

    All transfers during your trip are covered by private vehicle with driver, unless otherwise indicated in our offer. We ensure that our vehicles are new and comfortable. Fuel, tolls, accommodation, compensation and the driver are included in our offer. Only gratuities are not included and are at your discretion.

    The size of the selected vehicle is based on the number of tour participants according to the following quality standards:

    No. of participants

    2 pax

    3 pax

    From 4 to 7 pax

    From 8 to 14 pax

    From 15 to 20 pax

    Vehicle size

    Car 4-7 seats

    Car 7 or minivan 
    16 seats

    Minivan 16 seats

    Bus 24 seats

    Bus 35 or 45 seats

    Domestic flights

    If your trip includes domestic flights if any, they will be operated by Vietnam Airlines, the largest airline in Vietnam. The fleet consists mainly of Airbus and Boeing. On some short trips, the company operates 72 ATR and some Fokker.

    Rail transport

    Train travel can be offered (particularly between Hanoi-Lao Cai and Hanoi-Hue). Travelling at a speed of 60km/h on average it is not necessarily the fastest but an interesting experience nonetheless.

  • This form allows us to establish a tour proposal suitable for your needs. It is free and without obligation

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      the health condition of the participants, your questions on this trip...)

    • This form allows us to establish a tour proposal suitable for your needs. It is free and without obligation

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        • Your desire to travel (culture, adventure, beach extension, local meetings, nature, etc.)
        • The desired pace of your trip (moderate, free and easy, etc.)
        • Your knowledge of the country. Your interests
        • The opportunity of your trip (vacation, wedding anniversary, cultural group, etc.)
        • Remarks (Room types, diet, special requests, etc.)

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