Days
12
Price from
£1,288GBP

Salty, spicy, tangy, fresh — fire up the taste buds in delicious Vietnam

Satisfy the hunger for adventure on this gourmet exploration of Vietnam. Taste your way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and fill the eyes with amazing sights, the stomach with delicious food and the heart with unforgettable experiences. The soul of Vietnam can be found in its cuisine and you will find it in the pho of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the bun bo of Hue, the cao lau soup of Hoi An and the broken rice of Ho Chi Minh City. Explore the markets of Hanoi, enjoy a candle-lit dinner in Halong Bay, cook like a local in central Vietnam and learn the secrets of folk cuisine from a resident master. Taste the country’s history in recipes handed down over generations, and experience it in the old streets, colonial buildings, temples and imperial ruins. This is an adventure where every mouthful will take you closer to the heart of Vietnam.


Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Country
Vietnam
Style
Peregrine
Theme
Gourmet
Code
PAGF
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
2 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Sample street food alongside the locals. This is often where the most delectable and most interesting Vietnamese dishes can be found

  • Feasting beneath the stars while cruising Halong Bay is an experience to remember. This is a dining location that's hard to top

  • There is perhaps no greater insight into a food culture than sitting down to dine with a local family in their home. Share in this special experience in Hue, as well as during your Mekong Delta homestay

  • Meet a true legend of Vietnam's food scene in Ho Chi Minh City and take a personal cooking class to learn her secrets of tasty southern Vietnamese cuisine

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. While we endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please be aware that in many countries dietary restrictions are not common or well understood. If you have dietary requirements, simply contact your agent at the time of booking for further information on how this may impact on your ability to take part in included activities and meals. Come with an open mind and open mouth, and you won’t be disappointed!

  • The overnight train from Hanoi to Hue is a great experience, but keep in mind that conditions are basic and may be below the standard you are used to. For your convenience, an early check-in has been arranged in Hue so that you can freshen up on arrival.

  • Similarly, the facilities at the Mekong Delta homestay are simple, but the rewards of such a true local experience are immeasurable.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 January 2018

Arrive in Hanoi, meet your Peregrine representative and transfer to your hotel. No activities are planned until your evening group meeting (usually at 6 pm), so you may arrive at any time. Please check the welcome board or reception desk, located on the ground floor of the hotel, for more information. Your trip leader will collect your travel insurance details at the meeting, so please bring these with you. Afterwards you will head out with your group for dinner at one of Hanoi’s fantastic restaurants.
Accommodation
  • Thien Thai or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Welcome dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Explore Hanoi today. You will start with a sunrise walk around Hoan Kiem lake. This is the best way to see the city come to life. Continue to a local restaurant for a breakfast of pho – a dish that started in Hanoi and is designed to awaken the senses and prepare you for the day. Then embark on a guided half-day tour of Hanoi, visiting the major sights, including the Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda. Pay homage to Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. You will also sample authentic Vietnamese tea at one of Hanoi’s hidden teahouses (tea plays a major role in Vietnamese culinary culture, and the locals tend to favour light, flower-infused varieties). Later in the afternoon, take a guided walk around Dong Xuan Market to learn about the ingredients and flavours of northern Vietnamese cuisine. For your evening meal, enjoy some of Hanoi's legendary street food. Perhaps select some Banh Cuon (stuffed rice noodle rolls) or Thit Nuong (chargrilled pork skewers).
Accommodation
  • Thien Thai or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Street Food Tour
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
  • Hanoi - Teahouse visit and tasting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive to Halong Bay (approximately 3 hours). You can leave your luggage behind at the Hanoi hotel and pack an overnight bag. The scenes on the bay, of sailing junks navigating scattered limestone islands, are nothing short of spectacular. You will travel to Bai Chay (Halong City West) where you will board a boat for an exploration of the bay. You'll visit one of the caves in the area; in the warmer months you can take a swim there. An onboard chef will prepare all your meals (both seafood and non-seafood options are available). A highlight of the cruise is a candlelit dinner under the stars on the top deck of the boat. While the accommodation on the boat is more communal than your usual hotel setting, spending a night on the bay is a wonderful experience. If the weather is obliging, the views at sunset are especially impressive. Consider taking an optional kayaking trip across the bay while you are here.

Notes: All boats used by Peregrine have twin-share cabins with en suite facilities and air-conditioning. If you have paid for a single supplement, it will not apply on the Halong Bay cruise, as all accommodation here is on a twin-share basis and there are limited cabins on each boat.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
In the morning you will sail back to the port, disembark and drive back to Hanoi. There will be free time to explore the city when you arrive. Perhaps do some shopping on Hang Gai Street or enjoy some afternoon tea at the Metropole Hotel. Exploring the city on foot or by bicycle is recommended, and there are many local parks and lakes to escape to. In the evening, board an overnight train to Hue.

Notes: Overnight trains are not renowned for their cleanliness or opulence, but they offer a true local experience and the best way to cover a long distance in Vietnam. The trains are usually made up of four berth compartments, with sheets and blankets provided. Some travellers prefer to bring their own sheets, but this is up to you. There is a chance that you will be sharing your berth with people of different sexes and, on occasion, people outside of your travel group. There is a simple dining cart on the train, but it is wise to stock up on bread, fruit and other delicacies prior to departure.
Accommodation
  • Overnight train (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Hue just after sunrise and proceed to the hotel to refresh. Hue is the hub of Vietnam’s historic past. This former imperial capital is an eclectic mix of busy streets and peaceful beauty. You will start the day in true Hue style, with a popular breakfast dish called bún bò Huế which contains rice vermicelli (bún) and beef (bò). After breakfast, take a boat cruise on the Perfume River and witness the Thien Mu Pagoda – the unofficial symbol of the city. The Pagoda is an active Buddhist monastery that dates back to 1601. You will also visit the elaborate royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc and its beautiful lake, frangipani and pine trees. For lunch, enjoy a meal at a local nunnery or monastery. This is an opportunity to sample some of Hue’s famed vegetarian food and to gain an insight into Vietnamese Buddhist traditions. This evening you are invited to share a meal with a local family in their home. It's a unique chance to partake in everyday local life. Get ready for some fantastic home cooking.
Accommodation
  • Cherish Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise
  • Hue Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Empoeror Tu Duc's Tomb
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast, visit the Imperial Citadel, including the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost completely destroyed during the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War. Depart for Hoi An, passing through the beautiful Hai Van Pass – a mountainous stretch of highway with views across Lang Co beach. On arrival in Hoi An, a walking tour will take you around the major sites of Hoi An’s charming Old Town, including an historic house (formerly home to a prominent trader), the Japanese Covered Bridge, a Chinese assembly hall and a museum. You will notice a distinctly Chinese appearance to the pagodas and assembly halls scattered along the small streets. In the evening you will be taken on a tour of Hoi An’s impressive culinary scene. Over the course of this staggered dinner you will taste some of the city’s signature dishes in cafes, food stalls, markets and restaurants that are well off the tourist trail.
Accommodation
  • Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will delve deeper into central Vietnamese cuisine. Start with a guided bicycle tour of the herb gardens of Tra Que Village. Throughout the morning you will be introduced to the wealth of produce available in this region. You will then have a hands-on lesson in some classic central Vietnamese dishes at Vietnam’s celebrated Morning Glory Cooking School. For lunch you will feast on your own delicious creations. The afternoon is free for you to explore Hoi An as you please. The market is a good place to buy silk that can be made up into fine garments, and many expert tailors offer a same-day service. If you fancy a swim, there is a nice local beach which can be reached easily by bicycle.

Notes: If you would rather not cycle today, you can take a walk around Hoi An market instead of visiting the herb gardens. 
Accommodation
  • Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Herb Garden Bicycle Tour and Cooking Class
Optional Activities
  • Hoi An - Thu Bon sunset river cruise - VND4227222
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today is free for you to continue exploring Hoi An and its surrounding areas. There is an optional fish market visit for early risers, as well as an optional fishing experience to learn more about the life and work of Hoi An’s fisherman. Alternatively, a great day trip is to cycle into the surrounding countryside to discover a world of verdant grasslands and fascinating scenes of daily rural life unfolding. In the evening, perhaps enjoy some seafood by the water, or take a boat ride out to a nearby island for a barbeque feast.
Accommodation
  • Hoi An Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
After breakfast, take a short flight to Vietnam’s economic hub, Ho Chi Minh City (approximately 1 hour). Vietnam's largest city is a fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. The French influence is evident in the excellent baguettes and coffee on offer. For lunch today you will dine in a restaurant famed for its fantastic home-style Vietnamese cuisine. Next, take a short city tour that covers Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral. Along the way, you'll be able to admire the many beautiful French colonial buildings, such as the main post office and the former Hotel de Ville (city hall). Finish the day with a true highlight – a cooking class with one of Vietnam’s most respected food personalities, Mrs Dzoan Van Cam. After trying your hand at preparing and cooking southern Vietnamese food with this master of the form, you can enjoy the results for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Paragon Hotel, or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • HCMC - Cooking class and dinner
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast you will drive south to Cai Be for a boat cruise along the Mekong Delta (approximately 2–3 hours). The Mekong Delta is renowned for its fertile land – rich in tropical fruits, flowers and rice. For this reason, it is often referred to as the 'Rice Bowl' of Vietnam. Visit some local cottage industries, then continue to your homestay which is your lodging this evening. As the sun starts to drop you will continue to your homestay, your base for tonight. Here you will enjoy a beautiful home-cooked meal of dishes distinct to the Mekong Delta region.

Notes: Facilities at the homestay are simple, with cold water only. Your dorm-style room will have a single camp bed fitted with a mosquito net. Amenities may vary, as homestays are rotated in order to share business around. While the conditions are basic, this part of the trip is a fascinating insight into local life and a rewarding experience.
Accommodation
  • Mekong Delta Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong Delta - River Cruise and Producer Visits
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Rise early, as the locals do, and enjoy some breakfast. Afterwards you will be taken to visit the bustling Cai Be floating market – an interesting bazaar on the delta awash with colour and activity. Browse for exotic tropical fruits and other local produce. This is a great chance to not only interact with some local mechants but also see another facet of daily Mekong life. You will return to Ho Chi Minh City in the early afternoon. In the evening, join your fellow travellers for a taste of the city's exciting contemporary food scene. Sip a farewell drink while overlooking the city, then head out for dinner in one of the most celebrated new restaurants in town.
Accommodation
  • Paragon Hotel, or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Farewell Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your journey comes to an end after breakfast this morning, and you are free to leave at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, Boat, Plane, Overnight sleeper train, Private bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Comfortable hotel (8 nts), Overnight train (1 nt), Overnight boat (1 nt), Homestay (1 nt)

Included Activities

  • Hanoi - Welcome dinner
  • Hanoi - Street Food Tour
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature
  • Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and Museum
  • Hanoi - Teahouse visit and tasting
  • Halong Bay - Overnight boat cruise
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise
  • Hue Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Empoeror Tu Duc's Tomb
  • Hoi An - Ancient town walk and entrance ticket
  • Hue - Imperial citadel
  • Hoi An - Herb Garden Bicycle Tour and Cooking Class
  • HCMC - Cooking class and dinner
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Mekong Delta - River Cruise and Producer Visits
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Farewell Dinner

Reviews

Our Gourmet Explorer Vietnam trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 2 reviews in the last year.

Gourmet Explorer Vietnam , November 2016

Lisa Angwin

Gourmet Explorer Vietnam , October 2016

Alister Ritchie

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Important notes

This is a culinary journey, with a focus on exploring the different food and beverages of each region. There are more meals included on culinary trips than other trips, so please let us know if you have any allergies or dietary requirements.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.