Culinary Odyssey to the Far East 12 Days

Embark on a 12-day “Culinary Odyssey to the Far East,” a journey that combines the delights of eastern gastronomy with the exploration of vibrant cities, serene landscapes, and rich cultures. This culinary adventure begins in the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City, where French colonial architecture meets modern Vietnamese life. Experience the flavors of the city through street food tours and cooking classes, learning to craft dishes that are as vibrant in taste as they are in history.
As you journey from the southern reaches of Vietnam to the historic charm of Hue, engage with traditional cooking methods and savor meals that tell stories of emperors and common folk alike. Explore the majestic ruins and lush countryside of Hoi An and Hue, tasting local specialties and diving deep into the heart of Vietnamese culture and cuisine.
The adventure continues north to Hanoi, where you will dive into the complexities of northern Vietnamese cuisine, characterized by its balance and sophistication. Participate in cooking classes, market tours, and street food excursions that highlight the region’s unique flavors and ingredients.
A highlight of your trip will be the serene beauty of Ha Long Bay, where you will cruise amidst towering limestone karsts while enjoying seafood freshly caught from the bay. Here, cooking demonstrations and lavish meals on board blend seamlessly with the breathtaking scenery, providing an unforgettable culinary experience.
This 12-day tour not only introduces you to the exquisite flavors of Vietnamese cuisine but also immerses you in the local cultures and breathtaking landscapes of one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating countries. Whether you are a seasoned gourmand or a curious traveler, this culinary odyssey promises a journey of discovery and delight.


Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City Arrival (GP)

Upon your arrival at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City, a representative will greet you and handle your transfer to your accommodation. After settling into your hotel, you’ll have the remainder of the day to relax and acclimate to the vibrant energy of Vietnam’s largest city. Explore nearby attractions or indulge in some local cuisine at your leisure.

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Orientation (B, L, G)

Begin your first full day with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City. Your exploration starts with a visit to the iconic Reunification Hall, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. This site is a significant historical landmark, known for its role during the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Continue to the War Remnants Museum, where exhibits recount a deeply personal and comprehensive tale of the Vietnam War from the local perspective. Prepare for an emotional experience as the displays include poignant photography and war artifacts.

Next, venture to the sprawling Ben Thanh Market, a bustling expanse where you can find everything from souvenirs to local delicacies. This is the perfect place to practice your bargaining skills and pick up some unique items.

Conclude the tour at the Jade Emperor Pagoda, one of the most atmospheric temples in Ho Chi Minh City, featuring intricate woodcarvings, statues, and serene ponds.

Day 3: Cooking Class in Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, G)

Your culinary journey begins with a morning trip to a local market accompanied by your chef-guide. Learn about the key ingredients in Vietnamese cuisine and how to select them. This market visit provides insights into the everyday lives of the locals, bustling with vendors and shoppers.

Afterward, proceed to Hoa Tuc restaurant for a hands-on cooking class. The class introduces you to a range of traditional dishes, which you will prepare yourself under the guidance of an expert chef. This session not only teaches you how to cook but also delves deeper into the cultural significance of the cuisine.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor by sitting down to a lunch consisting of the dishes you’ve prepared. Post-cooking class, receive a recipe booklet to take home so you can recreate the meals and share your new skills with friends and family.

The afternoon is yours to enjoy at leisure. Explore the city’s vibrant districts or relax at one of the rooftop bars overlooking the cityscape.

Day 4: Cai Be – Mekong Delta Experience/Can Tho (B, L, G)

Depart early from Ho Chi Minh City to Cai Be, located in the heart of the Mekong Delta. Upon arrival, embark on a motorboat to explore the Cai Be floating market, a fascinating facet of life in the Delta. Witness locals trading goods and produce from their boats, a practice that has gone unchanged for decades.

Continue your boat journey to visit local cottage industries such as a coconut candy factory and a crispy rice cake maker. This provides an insight into the local economy and the traditional methods still used today.

Next, the boat will take you to Tan Phong Island, known for its lush orchards. Wander through the fruit plantations, and you might get the chance to taste exotic fruits directly from the trees.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit the home of a local artisan to learn about traditional music and participate in a folk song session, accompanied by local musicians.

Later, navigate the narrow canals in a sampan to the Mekong Ecolodge. Participate in a cooking class focusing on local dishes, then enjoy these dishes for lunch.

After lunch, cycle around the village to interact with local craftsmen. Learn how to knit water hyacinth, make rice paper, or craft tools from bamboo. This hands-on experience provides deeper insight into the local culture and lifestyle.

Finally, travel to Can Tho, the economic hub of the Mekong Delta, where you will check into your hotel for an overnight stay, ready to explore more of the Delta the following day.

Day 5: Can Tho/Ho Chi Minh City (B, L, G)

Start your day early with a breakfast at your hotel in Can Tho before heading out to explore the famed Cai Rang floating market, the largest and most colorful in the Mekong Delta. Here, you’ll witness a vibrant display of commerce as local vendors float in their boats filled with fruits, vegetables, and household goods. Enjoy the hustle and bustle, capturing photos of this unique market experience.

Post market visit, you’ll board a boat back and head towards Ho Chi Minh City. On your way back, you’ll make a stop at the Vinh Trang Pagoda, a serene sanctuary blending architectural styles from East Asia and Europe, creating a unique cultural and spiritual experience. This pagoda is known for its three gigantic Buddha statues and its garden of tower-like pagodas. Here, you will learn about the pagoda’s history and the role of Buddhist philosophy in Vietnamese culture.

You’ll arrive back in Ho Chi Minh City by late afternoon, providing you ample time to freshen up at your hotel and perhaps enjoy a relaxed evening exploring more of the city or dining at one of the local eateries.

Day 6: Ho Chi Minh City/Hue (B, D, DP in Ho Chi Minh City, G in Hue)

Enjoy some free time in the morning to explore Ho Chi Minh City at your own pace. Perhaps revisit some of your favorite spots in the city’s central district or shop for souvenirs.

In the afternoon, you’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Hue. Upon arrival in Hue, the historic former imperial capital, you’ll be greeted by your guide and taken on a tour of the majestic Imperial Citadel, a vast complex of palaces, temples, walls, gates, a library, and the Forbidden Purple City.

Later, stroll through the bustling Dong Ba Market where you can shop for local handicrafts, traditional Vietnamese goods, and sample some local snacks.

The evening offers a special treat with dinner at one of Hue’s renowned garden houses. Here, you will enjoy a meal that beautifully showcases the delicate and refined cuisine for which Hue is famous, often prepared using ingredients from the houses’ own gardens.

Day 7: Hue/Minh Mang Tomb (B, L, G)

After breakfast, embark on a cultural journey to Thuan An market, where you’ll interact with local vendors and see fresh local produce. Continue to the picturesque Tam Giang Lagoon and enjoy a scenic boat ride, offering another perspective of local life.

Later, head towards the countryside to visit a traditional village known for its fish drying practices, weather permitting. Return to Hue for lunch at a local restaurant, where you’ll taste more of Hue’s distinctive flavors.

The afternoon is reserved for a visit to the Thien Mu Pagoda, perched on the riverbank with its iconic seven-story pagoda, followed by a tour of the tomb of Emperor Minh Mang. This tomb is renowned for its perfect harmony between architecture and the natural environment. Explore the beautifully landscaped gardens, lakes, and bridges that tell the story of the emperor’s desire for eternity.

Day 8: Hue/Hanoi (B, DP in Hue, G in Hanoi)

Enjoy some free time in the morning to explore Hue at your leisure. Perhaps take a peaceful walk along the Perfume River or visit some of the lesser-known heritage sites in Hue.

In the afternoon, you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and then take the opportunity to explore the charming Old Quarter of Hanoi. This historic area is known for its bustling streets, where traditional Vietnamese architecture sits side by side with colonial remnants.

Day 9: Hanoi orientation (B, L, G)

Today, delve deep into the heart of Vietnamese culture with a full day tour of Hanoi. Begin with a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, which dates back to 1070. This temple dedicates itself to Confucian teachings and is a symbol of Vietnam’s educational heritage.

Visit Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and his stilt house residence, learning about the life and times of the leader who shaped modern Vietnam. Lunch will be a special treat at Cha Ca La Vong, one of Hanoi’s oldest restaurants, known for its single dish: Cha Ca.

In the afternoon, visit the ancient Tran Quoc Pagoda, located beside the shimmering West Lake. Enjoy a peaceful moment at this spiritual retreat before spending the rest of the afternoon exploring more of Hanoi’s cultural sights or relaxing at one of the city’s many cafes.

Day 10: Hanoi/Ha Long/Bai Tu Long Bay (B, L, D, G)

After breakfast, depart for a scenic drive to Bai Tu Long Bay. Here, you’ll embark on a memorable cruise through less traveled parts of Ha Long Bay, admiring the stunning karst landscapes. Explore the well-hidden Thien Canh Son Cave and relax on the white sandy beach at Hon Co Island, where you can swim or kayak.

Enjoy a full-service experience on board, including a gourmet dinner and an array of onboard activities like Tai Chi and cooking demonstrations. Overnight on the bay, under the stars, enveloped by the peaceful sounds of the water.

Day 11: Bai Tu Long Bay/Ha Long/Hanoi (B, L, G)

Wake to the fresh sea air and start your day with a Tai Chi session on the sundeck. After breakfast, visit the local Vung Vieng fishing village by rowboat to meet the locals and see their floating homes. Check out of your cabin as the boat cruises back to the harbor, enjoying a farewell brunch.

Upon disembarking, your driver will take you back to Hanoi, arriving in the afternoon. Enjoy the evening at leisure, perhaps taking one last stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake or enjoying a farewell dinner in the city.

Day 12: Hanoi departure (B, GP)

After breakfast, enjoy free time until your transfer to Noi Bai International Airport for your departure flight, marking the end of your enriching and flavorsome journey through Vietnam.


The prices for this private tour are per person in US dollars

These prices are valid until November 30, 2024.

Please note that bank transfer fees are not included.

Number in group 2 3 – 4 5 – 7 8 – 10 11 – 15 16 pax up *Supplement for single occupancy

(three stars)

1,701 1,534 1,342 1,287 1,221 1,178 481

(four stars)

1,891 1,725 1,533 1,478 1,412 1,369 609

(five stars)

2,467 2,301 2,109 2,054 1,988 1,945 1,185
First Class

(exclusive top five star)

3,966 3,799 3,607 3,552 3,486 3,443 2,653

* ‘Single room occupancy’ refers to the accommodation element of the programme only, and applies to someone who is travelling with others but requires an additional room for him or herself. Single traveller prices are available on request.’

Price is not valid for the Peak season, please contact us again for price checking and availability

Peak season: Dec 20th, 2024- Jan 07, 2025, and TET (Feb 05 – 18, 2025)


  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above (Please note: pick-ups will be by a guide and driver or, where a guide is not necessary, a driver only. All unaccompanied drivers will be briefed in advance, and will carry a mobile phone to ensure smooth transfer arrangements)
  • Domestic flight tickets: Ho Chi Minh City – Hue and Hue – Hanoi, including domestic airport taxes.
  • Boat cruises as specified in the programme. All Ha Long Bay boats will be fully licensed and comply with current safety regulations.
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests’ return to their hotel or reaching their destination). Free days or part days will not include the services of a guide unless requested and included in the final itinerary.
  • Cooking class in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • Lunches and dinners (as specified in the itinerary) in the best local restaurants, or picnics where no suitable restaurant is available.
  • VAT and other taxes


  • International flight tickets and airport tax
  • Visas
  • Dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Surcharges for Peak seasons (if any)
  • Compulsory dinner (if any)
  • Insurance

Hotel List

Hotel list for Mid-range standard:

  • Ho Chi Minh City: Sanouva Saigon Hotel (*** well-appointed in the city centre, walking distance to Ben Thanh market– Premier Deluxe room)
  • Can Tho: Nesta Hotel (**** Medium-rise buildings in the city centre with an outdoor swimming pool – Deluxe room)
  • Hue: Emm Hotel Hue (*** Located in the city center with spacious rooms and a nice swimming pool – Superior room)
  • Hanoi: Golden Silk Boutique Hotel (**** Good location in the Old Quarter, 5-minute walk to the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake – Luxury room)
  • Ha Long Bay: Dragon’s Pearl Junk (Traditional junk, Superior quality wooden junks modelled on Imperial Court vessels)

Hotel list for Superior standard:

  • Ho Chi Minh City: EdenStar Saigon hotel (**** city centre location, nice rooftop swimming pool – Premium Deluxe room)
  • Can Tho: TTC Hotel Premium – Can Tho (**** high-rise building in the city centre on the bank of Hau River – Deluxe City View room)
  • Hue: Eldora hotel (****Located in the heart of the city within walking distance to many tourist attractions, exquisite style, spacious room – Deluxe City View room)
  • Hanoi: Hanoi La Siesta Classic Hotel (**** an exclusive oasis in the Hanoi Old Quarter, just a short walk to the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake – Deluxe room)
  • Ha Long Bay: Dragon Legend Cruise (Traditional style, Deluxe quality boat modelled on Imperial Court vessels)

Hotel list for Deluxe standard:

  • Ho Chi Minh City: Caravelle Hotel (*****large high-rise building famous as the chosen hotel of international correspondents during the war, good city and river views, well-located in the heart of the city overlooking the Opera House – Deluxe room)
  • Can Tho: Victoria Can Tho Resort (**** beside the Mekong River, good garden setting, colonial-style architecture – Deluxe room)
  • Hue: Indochine Palace Hotel (***** high-rise building hotel in the heart of Hue – Palace Studio)
  • Hanoi: Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi (****Conveniently located in the city centre, just a step away from Hanoi’s OperaHouse, the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake – L’Opera Deluxe)
  • Ha Long Bay: Dragon Legend Cruise (Traditional style, Deluxe quality boat modelled on Imperial Court vessels)

Hotel list for First Class standard

  • Ho Chi Minh City: Caravelle Hotel (*****large high-rise building famous as the chosen hotel of international correspondents during the war, good city and river views, well-located in the heart of the city overlooking the Opera House – Signature room)
  • Can Tho: Victoria Can Tho Resort (**** beside the Mekong River, good garden setting, colonial-style architecture – Suite)
  • Hue: Azerai La Residence (***** deluxe boutique hotel, on the banks of the Perfume River – Deluxe River View room)
  • Hanoi: Sofitel Metropole Hotel (***** historic colonial building in a city centre location – Luxury Room Historical Wing)
  • Ha Long Bay: Emperor Cruise (Luxury quality boat modelled on Imperial Court vessels – Signature Suite cabin)
Please note that Vietnam hotels do not recognise provisional reservations, so specific hotels cannot be guaranteed until you have booked your chosen tour. As many of the better hotels are often full during the October to April peak season, early booking is advisable.

Tour FAQ's

What is included in the tour price?

The tour price includes accommodations, domestic transportation within Vietnam, meals as specified in the itinerary (B for breakfast, L for lunch, D for dinner), entrance fees to attractions, guided tours, cooking classes, and activities. International flights are not included.

What type of accommodation can I expect?

Accommodations are carefully selected to enhance your experience. Expect to stay in a mix of hotels that range from boutique to luxury, offering comfortable and well-appointed rooms with modern amenities.

Do I need a visa to travel to Vietnam?

Most travelers will need a visa to enter Vietnam. Please check with the nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate to understand the visa requirements for your nationality. It’s advisable to arrange your visa well in advance of your travel dates.

What level of physical activity should I expect?

This tour is rated as light to moderate, suitable for most travelers. Activities include walking tours in cities, light hiking, and optional cycling in rural areas. Participants should be comfortable with a few hours of mild physical activity per day.

What kind of support can I expect if I have dietary restrictions?

Vietnamese cuisine is versatile and can accommodate many dietary needs. Please inform us in advance if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, and our guides and chefs will ensure that appropriate meals are provided.

What should I pack for the trip?

Pack light and consider the weather during your travel period. Essentials include comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, light rain gear, and any personal medication. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the scenic beauty and culinary delights!

Will there be time for independent exploration?

Yes, the itinerary includes free time in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and other locations where you can explore on your own. Our guides can provide recommendations for additional sights, shopping, or dining options.

Is there a guide with us throughout the tour?

You will be accompanied by English-speaking guides who are knowledgeable about Vietnamese culture, history, and cuisine. In each location, local guides may join to provide specialized insights and a deeper connection to the places visited.

How large are the tour groups?

We aim to keep tour groups small to ensure a more personalized and enjoyable experience. Typically, group sizes range from 6 to 15 people, fostering an intimate and friendly atmosphere.

What is the best time of year to take this tour?

Vietnam can be visited year-round, but the best time for this tour is during the dry season, from November to April, when the weather is typically cooler and less humid.

How do I book the tour and what are the payment terms?

You can book the tour directly through our website or by contacting our customer service team. A deposit is required at the time of booking to secure your spot, with the balance due no later than 30 days before the tour starts.

Can I extend my stay in Vietnam before or after the tour?

Absolutely! We are happy to arrange pre- or post-tour accommodations and activities. Let us know your interests, and we can tailor additional days to suit your travel plans.

These FAQs aim to cover key aspects of the “Culinary Odyssey to the Far East 12 Days” tour. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re excited to help you explore the rich culinary heritage of Vietnam!

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