Day 1 : Hanoi
Arrival at Noi Bai Airport. Transfer to hotel. Free time to rest at hotel. Lunch at a local restaurant, where you can taste Bun Cha (noodles and grilled pork), which is a specialty of Hanoi. The afternoon is devoted to walk at the Lake of the Restored Sword, a place that lies in the heart of Hanoi. Visit the Temple of the Jade Mountain, located at the shore of the lake. Take a cyclo to get around the old neighborhoods. Dinner in a local restaurant. A water puppet show awaits us in the evening. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2 : Hanoi
Today you're the cook! The guide takes you to a Hanoi market to buy the necessary ingredients. Back at the restaurant, the chef explains the steps to cook specialties of North Vietnam. Enjoy your dishes. The afternoon is devoted to visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university. You continue to visit the Ethnographic Museum, which preserves and presents the cultural heritage of Vietnam. Dinner in a restaurant near the Truc Bach Lake with the specialty Pho Cuon, a rice cake roll (used for Pho) with sautéed beef. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3 : Hanoi – Halong Bay
In the morning we depart to the Halong Bay, one of the 7 natural world wonders. We get on a beautiful wooden junk for two days to discover this incredible gift of nature. The junk crosses lagoons along thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various shapes and sizes. You can participate in a cooking class offered by the chef of the junk. Get back on board to have a tasty seafood meal. Overnight on board.
Day 4 : Halong Bay – Hanoi – Hué
The sunrise over the bay is a truly unforgettable experience of this cruise. The morning we spend visiting the Surprise Cave. Landing at noon, then departure to Hanoi. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Hué. Dinner in a traditional local restaurant. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5 : Hué
In the morning we visit the Dong Ba market. We will buy the food we later need to cook our own dish in a famous restaurant in Hue. The chef gives us instructions how to prepare a special dish of Hue. We taste the food we cooked at lunch. Afterwards we visit the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City of the Nguyen Dynasty, a famous historical relic in Vietnam. We also to visit the Pagoda of the Celestial Lady, the highest pagoda in Vietnam which is one of the major symbols of the city. Dinner. Cruise trip on the Perfume River listening to Nha Nhac Cung Dinh Hue, which is a type of traditional court singing established in the Nguyen kingdom, ranked World Intangible Heritage of UNESCO. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6 : Hué – Hoi An
We continue the journey to Hoi An, which was declared UNESCO World Cultural Heritage because of its ancient town. It is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site. Lunch in a local restaurant. Walk in the center of the old town and visit typical old houses in Hoi An, the Chua Cau bridge (Japanese Covered Bridge) and the Quan Cong Temple. Dinner. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7 : Hoi An
Departure in the morning to An Bang. Discover the daily life of the fishermen of the village. Try to fish using traditional techniques with a fisherman on a sampan boat. Then the journey continues by bike to the village of Tra Que, a charming village famous for its vegetables and herbs. We meet with local farmers and learn how to plant vegetables. Possibility to participate in agricultural activities such as tilling the soil, planting vegetables, watering, etc. Lunch prepared by locals.
In the early afternoon we board a boat to the pottery village of Thanh Ha. We walk through the village and discover the pottery techniques used by the local craftsmen of Thanh Ha. Possibility of making a cup or a traditional Vietnamese terracotta game. Return to the hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8 : Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City
Departure to Da Nang Airport for the flight back to Ho Chi Minh City. Lunch in a restaurant specialized in different rolls (e.g. spring rolls). Discover the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office designed by Gustave Eiffel. Visit Thien Hau Temple, a Taoist temple in Cho Lon, which is the Chinese district of Ho Chi Minh City. Then we continue to discover Chinatown with the famous Binh Tay Market. Dinner. Walk on the pedestrian Nguyen Hue Street. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City – Xeo Quyt – Cai Be
Departure to Xeo Quyt, a historic and ecotouristic site in the Dong Thap province. We will visit the heart of the cajuput forest by boat or trekking by foot (your choice). We discover giant lotus gardens in the quiet landscape of the South Vietnam countryside. On the way to Cai Be, we board the sampan to go to the Mekong Lodge. Set up in the great bungalows and rest. In the evening, you can attend classes with the chef of the resort to prepare your dinner. Dinner with your self-made dishes. Overnight in bungalow.
Day 10 : Cai Be – Can Tho
Ride by bike ride or walk to visit a coconut candy-making workshop and enjoy the fresh air in the gardens of local residents. Return to port. Lunch. Departure to Can Tho. Visit the ancient house in Binh Thuy, also known as the orchid house, where the movie "The Lover" (1990) was filmed, a novel by Marguerite Duras. Dinner. Overnight at Can Tho.
Day 11 : Can Tho – Ho Chi Minh City
Discover the Cai Rang floating market early in the morning. This is a typical market of the South, and also the largest market in the Mekong Delta. You will experience getting around in a boat filled with heaps of fruits and vegetables.
Back to the port, breakfast. We continue to the Ben Tre province, which is famous for its coconut production. Upon arrival, you will make a tour by cycle through the local village Huu Dinh to enjoy the fields and green gardens. The day continues with a short walk to the Huu Phuoc bridge where you start your boat trip through small channels in a picturesque tropical landscape. On board, enjoy a welcome drink (mango cocktail) and tropical fruits during the cruise.
The cruise will first stop at a brick-making facility, where locals still use old traditional brick-making methods by hand. Return to the village, before stopping at a local restaurant near the river. Relax and walk in the garden after lunch. Then visit the house next to Mr. Hung, who is a famous manufacturer of sticky rice. After the visit, the boat will be waiting for you to return to Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12 : Ho Chi Minh City
The guide will accompany you to visit the Ben Thanh Market, the largest, oldest and liveliest of all markets in Ho Chi Minh City. After shopping for the preparation of the lunch dishes, we go to a workshop where the chef will explain how to make a Vietnamese meal you can repeat at home. Enjoy your dishes. The rest of the day is free time to prepare your suitcase until the transfer to Ho Chi Minh City airport for your departure flight.
End of excursion