Vietnam Classic Tours

Vietnam Culture & Culinary Discovery

Number of days: 13

Price from: 1,020$

Tour Type: Private Tour

Departure: Daily

Start from: Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi

Highlights: Ho Chi Minh, Cuchi Tunnels, Mekong Delta, Hoian, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay

Along with exploring new cultures, one of the great joys of travel is the discovery of new cuisines. Those unfamiliar with Vietnamese food are in for a treat, as the national cuisine is flavorful, colorful and extremely healthy.

  • Overview
  • Trip Itinerary
  • Accommodations
  • Travel Info
  • Trip Map
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  • DESTINATIONS

    * Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) - Vietnam’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant city

    * Mekong Delta - ‘Rice basket of Vietnam’ and home to many living, working and travelling along the river

    * Hoi An - Discover this charming UNESCO World Heritage listed site

    * Hue - The country’s former imperial capital 

    * Hanoi - Exploration of this charming, historical centre and its French provincial influences

    * Halong Bay - Vietnam’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’; the stunning beauty of the 3,000 islets of the Gulf of Tonkin

     

    ACTIVITIES

    Cultural Activities / Local Cruises / Market Visits & Cooking Tours / Shows & Musicals / Cruising


    TRIP AT A GLANCE

    Day 01: Arrive Ho Chi Minh - Transfer to Hotel

    Day 02: Ho Chi Minh – Cooking & Market tour (B/L)

    Day 03: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta Tour – Can Tho (B/L)


    Day 04: Visit Cai Rang Floating Market – Return to Ho Chi Minh (B)


    Day 05: Ho Chi Minh – Fly to Danang - Hoian (B)


    Day 06: Hoian – Cooking & Market tour (B/L)


    Day 07: Hoian – Free day (B)

    Day 08: Hoian - Drive to Hue (B)


    Day 09: Hue – Fly to  Hanoi (B)


    Day 10: Hanoi – Street food tour on Scooter (B)


    Day 11: Hanoi – Overnight Halong Bay Cruise (B/L/D)

    Day 12: Halong Bay – Return to Hanoi (B)


    Day 13: Hanoi – Departure (B)

    Trip includes:

    - Accommodation with daily breakfast bases on double/twin share

    - Overnight boat cruise in Halong Bay

    - Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner)

    - Cooking and market tours as per programs

    - Transportation by private car with A/C

    - All 2 internal flights: HCM-Danang, Hue-Hanoi (Economy Class)

    - Day boat trips as mentioned in the program

    - Local English speaking tour guides

    - All entrance fees and permits where applicable


    Trip excludes:

    - Meals that not mentioned in the program

    - Travel insurance

    - Vietnam visa

    - Airfare to/from the trip start/finish point

    - Tipping, drinks and other personal expenses 


  • Day 01: Arrive Ho Chi Minh, City Tour

    On your arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly cal Overnight in Ho Chi Minh, you are welcomed by our guide at the airport and take our private transfer to the hotel in city center. After resting for a while to recover jet-lag, we will take the half day city tour of Ho Chi Minh to visit its most cultural and historical highlights. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. 


    Day 02: Ho Chi Minh – Cooking Class (B/L)
    Learn the Secrets of Local Cuisine with our English speaking Vietnamese Chef!

    Half-Day Gourmet Tour from 8:45am until 1pm.
    Purchase your ingredients with our Chef at Ben Thanh market and then enjoy a hands-on cooking class.

    Market visit from 8:45am till 9:40am
    Our Vietnamese Chef will guide you through the colorful and vibrant Ben Thanh market to purchase the necessary ingredients for your cooking lesson. Feel free to ask any questions you want!
    At 9h40, our Chef will bring you back by taxi (included) to our cooking class.

    Hands-on cooking class from 10am to 1pm:
    You will use Vietnamese kitchenware to realize and enjoy a tasty 3 courses Vietnamese meal. Of course no MSG are used! To end on a sweet touch we will take care to complete this meal with a delicious seasonal dessert. During the class you just concentrate on the pleasure of discovering and cooking, we'll give you all the detailed recipes at the end.
    In the afternoon, visit War Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. 

    Day 03: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta Tour – Can Tho (B/L)
    Our car will pick up at your hotel in early morning. Upon arrival at Cai Be, embark a private boat to cruise around Cai Be Floating Market to see local people being selling, buying, and exchanging goods from their boats. Visit local garden and house to see orchard, rice crisped producing process, etc.. After lunch cruising along river to see peaceful tranquil life of villagers, admire marvelous natural setting of Mekong Delta region. About 3 pm, the boat will arrive at Vinh Long Market, walking around to explore Vinh Long Market and transfer to Can Tho for overnight.


    Day 04: Visit Cai Rang Floating Market – Return to Ho Chi Minh (B)
    Rising early to the sounds of the Delta coming to life for another day, we breakfast and start our trip with a boat cruise on sparking streams along the endless waterway of Mighty Mekong River to Cai Rang floating markets. There will be hundreds of boats loaded with fruits, vegetables and fish jostling for trade. Sellers advertisers their wares by crying out across the waters. We visit the lush orchards and are treated to a delicious tropical fruits. Early afternoon, transfer back to Ho Chi Minh. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh. 

    Day 05: Ho Chi Minh – Fly to Danang - Hoian (B)
    After breakfast in hotel, transfer to the airport for the mid-morning flight from Saigon to Danang. On arrival in Danang airport, you are met and transferred to HoiAn ancient town, 35km away.
    On the way to HoiAn, stop to visit the Marble Mountain (Mountains of the Five Elements) and visit Non Nuoc stone village. Here, you can see the local skillful sculptors creating many marble products which are exported to many countries worldwide. Then continue our drive toward Hoian town. You will visit a famous Tailor/dress maker in Hoian town who can make your dress within 24 hours.
    Afternoon, you will have a guided tour to see the interesting sights of this ancient city. Some hundreds years ago, this town thrived o­n trading with the Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. You will visit a historical Old House, Japanese Covered Bridge, Old Temple and Silk Factory. Overnight in HoiAn.  


    Day 06: Hoian – Cooking Class (B/L)
    Transfer from hotel to Hai Café as our meeting point where we start the day (8.15am) with a welcome drink. Visit Hoi An’s colourful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and learn about all 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 to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy.
    On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes. The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – the Red Bridge chefs first demonstrate each dish before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat what we have cooked.
    Bring your swimsuit and after the cooking tour has finished relax and enjoy free use of our 20 metre swimming pool - towels and showers provided.
    Then transfer back to your hotel and free time. Overnight in Hoian.


    Day 07: Free day in Hoian (B)
    Today is at leisure to relax in the beach resort. Overnight in Hoian.

    Day 08: Hoian - Drive to Hue (B)
    After breakfast in the hotel, you will have a 3 hour drive over the scenic Hai Van pass along the coast to the old citadel of Hue. On arrival in Hue, take the sightseeing in Hue to the Ancient Imperial Citadel, a complex of palaces and temples built by the Nguyen from early 19th Century for which Hue was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Then, you will embark on a drive to Hue’s countryside, through scenic villages and green rice fields to reach the Emperor Ming Mang’s tomb. It is one of the most beautiful of all Emperors tombs, in a complex of pavilions, temple, courtyards and lakes. 
    Late afternoon, enjoy the leisure boat trip on the scenic Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda.
    Overnight at hotel in Hue.


    Day 09: Hue – Fly to Hanoi (B)
    After breakfast in hotel, transfer to the airport for the morning flight from Hue to Hanoi. On arrival in Hanoi, you are met and transferred to the hotel.
    Afternoon, take a Cyclo ride through the Old Town of Hanoi and attend a Water Puppet Show - the traditional performance dated 11th century. Visit Hoan Kiem Lake and the Ngoc Son temple in the middle of the Lake. Overnight in Hanoi.


    Day 10: Hanoi – Street food tour on Scooter (B)
    Morning, free at leisure.
    12:00pm: Our guides will pick up from your hotel and start tour Street Food and Market Tour by scooters and drive to the eating and drinking streets of Hanoi in the Truc Bac Lake area. 
    Take a pleasant stroll from the HCC to Truc Bach Lake for your first tasting - Pho Cuon
    *lots of opportunities to take photos
    Next stop Chau Long Market, for a tour of the market highlighting the ‘wet’ / unusual fruits / livestock / frogs.
    *sample of market foods of your choice. For example tree tomatoes or green mango with chili, silkworms, pork with green rice.
    Next stop Tay Ho (Westlake).  We will continue to West Lake shrimp restaurants to sample West Lake’s most famous dish.
    Back to Xuan Dieu for one of the best Bun Cha stalls in Ha Noi.
    *enjoy Bun Cha, grilled pork patties and pork belly with sticky rice noodles
    On our way back we stop at Yen Phu to visit a traditional Ha Noi café, established in 1936.
    * enjoy specialties of the café, black sticky rice or green rice with yoghurt. Coffee with yoghurt or great passion fruit with yoghurt.
    The tour ends in late afternoon. Overnight in Hanoi.
    (Note: The Street Food and Market tour includes guide and transfers only but not include the foods and drinks. Foods and Drinks are on your own expense).

    Day 11: Hanoi – Overnight Halong Bay Cruise (B/L/D)
    After breakfast, you will leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. 
    On arrival in Halong, board the Paradise Luxury Cruise. Your heavenly journey across Halong Bay starts around noon on Tuan Chau Island at the doorstep of Vietnam's most fascinating wonder. 
    As the vessel sets sails, you will be greeted by Paradise Crew and Cruise Manager who will aim throughout your stay at providing you with the highest standards of service for a pure pleasure and utmost comfort onboard our luxury facilities in the stunning surroundings.
    Discover some of the treasures disseminated across the Bay of the Descending Dragon during the afternoon: fascinating caves, pristine beaches, picturesque floating villages, fantastic rock formations rising up out of emerald water.
    While onboard, you can take advantage at leisure of our Spa, Beauty & Massage services; surrounded by a stunning setting in motion, you will attend our chef's cooking demonstration and try your skills in the art of traditional Vietnamese cooking.
    Defined to be one of the highlights of your Paradise stay, a highly refined, innovative and varied cuisine will be presented for Lunch and Dinner in the elegant dining-room, accompanied by a wide selection of wines and beverages from around the world (extra charge applied). Overnight on boat.


    Day 12: Halong Bay – Return to Hanoi (B)
    Early birds can attend a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck at the break of dawn. Start the day enjoying some Paradise delights with a colourful buffet breakfast. Continue exploring Halong Bay sailing across its 2000 islets and visiting some of its major highlights. Your Paradise Cruise will come to an end on Tuan Chau Island between 10.30am and 11.00am and you will be met by your driver for the transfer back to Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi around 3:30pm, check in hotel and leisure time to go shopping in the Old Quarter or wander around Hoan Kiem Lake. Overnight in Hanoi.

    Day 13: Hanoi – Departure (B)
    Breakfast in hotel and leisure until the transfer to Hanoi airport for your departure flight. End of the trip.


  • Categories of Accommodation


    Value:

    With basic hotels and simple accommodation, this is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel. We would normally accommodate your in these in remote areas.


    Standard:

    Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant. Sometimes these are a good affordable choice in cities where accommodation is very expensive, but where being centrally located is a prime consideration.


    Superior:

    Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre. This is the 'classic' hotel standard we use on most of our group based tours.


    Deluxe:

    Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care. India and Southeast Asia have a fabulous array of top notch 5-star properties.


    Luxury:

    Luxury accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!


  • VIETNAM

    Visa and Passport
    Except for a number of ASEAN countries a visa is required to visit Vietnam. If your itinerary requires two
    entries into Vietnam then a double entry visa must be obtained. If your trip is postponed or delayed it may be necessary to obtain another visa if your original visa is not valid for your new dates of travel.

    Tourist Visa
    A Vietnam Tourist Visa is valid for the period of 30-days and for a single entry (unless endorsed for a double entry at additional cost). Your passport must be sent to the embassy along with payment with prepaid shipping arrangements with Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, FedEx, etc., two completed visa applications and two passport photos. Allow five-business days for processing.

    Visa-on-Arrival
    A Visa-on-Arrival is available if you are pre-approved for the visa. In lieu of a stamped visa in your passport prior to departure a fax from the Department of Immigration is issued and used as your travel document for boarding your international flight to Vietnam. This system has been working for a number of years now and is extremely reliable. Visa-on-Arrival processing charges are normally $25 and a $45 fee is payable directly to Vietnamese Immigration upon arrival.

    Double Entry Visa
    A Double Entry Visa is a Tourist Visa endorsed for a double entry. If your itinerary requires a double entry be sure and obtain the Double Entry Visa.

    Re-Entry Visa
    Re-entry Visas, prior to departing Vietnam, are possible to obtain in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through authorized agencies for a fee of approximately $25, however it requires one-to-two days and the deposit of your passport. This is not advisable unless your itinerary allows ample time and you remain in the city where the application was filed until the visa is issued. It is strongly advised to obtain a Double Entry Visa prior entering Vietnam.

    Passport Validity Dates
    Your passport must have a validity date of at least six-months remaining after your visit to Vietnam is completed.

    Travel Document Companies
    Unless you live nearby a Vietnamese embassy or consulate or are experienced in dealing with embassies by mail or telephone, it is advised that you use a travel document company to obtain your visa.
    Notes: You can email us at info@privateasiatours.com for more advice on Vietnam Visa information. The service is free of charge. All the emails will be replied within 24h.

    Entry Procedures
    Arrival and Departure Cards are required to be completed upon entry into Vietnam; they will be provided by the airline or at the border gate. The yellow copy of the card will be returned to you and must be submitted when you depart Vietnam; keep it in a safe place. Making a photocopy of it is a good idea and keeping it with your other photocopies.
    If you have been pre-approved for a Visa-on-Arrival simply process though the Visa-on-Arrival lane at immigration.
    Once your visa formalities have been completed claim your baggage and process through customs.

    Duty Free
    One-carton of cigarettes and one bottle of liquor.

    Exit Procedures
    Complete the customs declaration and process through customs then complete the immigration processing where you will be required to return the yellow copy of your Arrival and Departure Card.

    Tendering Passports
    Vietnamese law requires that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening. This may appear odd to Western travelers but until the 1960's a number of European countries required that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening.

    Travel Insurance
    Traveler's Insurance is strongly recommended. A number of companies sell competing policies and it is a good idea to read the fine print and ask questions if you are in doubt. 
    Note: some insurance companies cover travel insurance in their existing policies; check, you may already be covered. Policies have differing benefits for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, and emergency medical transportation, lost baggage, missed connections, and accidents.
    Of special note is the emergency medical transportation. This is extremely costly; if you any health condition which may require medical evacuation you should check to see if you are currently covered and if not purchase the insurance. Medical treatment, if required, can be costly and the pay is usually in cash.

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