CULINARY JOURNEYS: DISCOVER VIETNAMESE CUISINE

Slurp your noodles with gusto and chow down on delectable street foods. This Vietnamese culinary tour is a joyous celebration of flavor.

TOUR INTRODUCTION

12 Days, 11 Nights     FROM US$ 3,660 PER PERSON

Embark on a tasty adventure with healthy doses of activity, culture and history mixed in! Vietnam is renowned for its cuisine that combines bold and subtle flavors, fresh ingredients, and mounds of herbs and spices. On this Vietnamese culinary tour, you’ll feast every day on Vietnam’s most iconic dishes, learn how to cook some yourself, and come to appreciate the regional differences in culinary styles from north to south.

In Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll begin your mouthwatering journey with a sumptuous dinner at one of the city’s finest restaurants. Then, hop on the back of a vintage Vespa to explore street food like a local! Take a day to float through the Mekong Delta and visit the famed floating market of Cai Be before heading to the historical port city of Hoi An. There, you’ll have the rare opportunity to take a cooking class with a world-renowned Vietnamese chef, Duc Tram.

Between cyclo tours and scenic drives, you’ll sample the legendary cuisine of Hue. In Hanoi, the nation’s capital, you’ll wander through the Old Quarter, visit the best museums, and rub shoulders with locals at a popular café. After an unforgettable street food tour with a local food blogger, you’ll cap off your Vietnamese culinary tour with a cruise through the karst islets of Halong Bay. What a feast for the senses!

 

“If you love food, don’t miss this tour. You’ll taste the most delicious foods, meet the best chefs, and have awesome cultural experiences on the way!”

Troung Thu Lan, Backyard Travel Vietnam Specialist

THE BACKYARD TRAVEL DIFFERENCE

Explore Ho Chi Minh City’s street food scene on the back of a vintage Vespa
Island hop in the Mekong Delta on a replica of a traditional Vietnamese sampan
Learn how to make gourmet Vietnamese food with a renowned chef
Discover the best street food of Hanoi with a local food blogger



Daily Itinerary

Daily Itinerary

  • Start
  • Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City

    Your Vietnam culinary tour begins with a pick-up at Ho Chi Minh City Airport. Your private guide will meet you and transfer you to your hotel (roughly 30 minutes). Take some time to relax, then begin your exploration of Vietnam’s proud culinary heritage! For dinner this evening, we’ll take you to one of Ho Chi Minh City’s finest restaurants.

    Vietnamese cuisine is regional and can be categorized as northern, southern, and central. North Vietnam is considered the cradle of Vietnamese civilization, and many of the nation’s most iconic dishes (such as pho) were born here. You may notice that the cuisine of the north uses more traditional spices and ingredients. Southern cuisine has been influenced by the Khmer, which tends towards sweeter flavors. Central Vietnamese cuisine is quite distinct in presentation and flavor, and is normally served as a multi-course meal of many small side dishes. Compared to northern and southern dishes, central dishes tend to be spicier.

    Overnight at the Park Hyatt, Ho Chi Minh City

    Meals included: Dinner

    Front gate to Reunification Palace in Ho Chi Minh Ci
  • Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City

    Today, your Vietnamese culinary tour ventures off the tourist trail to explore local life on a 2-hour market tour. You’ll be picked up at 08:30AM and driven to the entrance of the flower market. Open 24 hours a day, the market sells flowers from all over the country. Meander through countless flower stalls and chat with vendors. Your guide will explain the names of each flower. Continue to a bustling market where a variety of local meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, rice, clothes, and jewelry are sold. This provides a wonderful glimpse into daily life in Saigon.

    Next we’ll go to Vietnam’s first traditional medicine museum, where more than 3,000 herbs, ancient books, minerals, and medical implements are on display. Afterwards, we’ll recharge with a delicious bowl of pho for lunch at Dong Pho Restaurant.

    This afternoon, make an excursion into the oldest quarter of the city and explore Antiques Street (Le Cong Kieu), followed by a stop at the Beaux-Arts Museum, housed in a lovely neo-colonial building. We’ll wrap up this Ho Chi Minh City tour with a taste of the city’s best ice cream. You can get everything from lychee sorbet to durian ice cream in the French-parlor setting of Fanny’s.

    Tonight, experience Ho Chi Minh City’s buzzing nightlife like a local—riding on the back of a Vespa vintage scooter! We’ll pick you up at 18:00 from your hotel before heading out on the town. For your first stop, sample some popular evening snacks at a local haunt before continuing to a traditional quan (also known as bia hoi) for dinner and drinks. Then, we’ll finish our night out like the locals do—with a late-night visit to a café for some Vietnamese-style coffee. The adventure ends at 22:00 with a transfer back to your hotel.

    (Please note: It’s best to not eat or drink before the food tour! All clients will sit on the back of a Vespa to travel from place to place. Guides/Drivers are from the Vespa Team.)

    Overnight at the Park Hyatt, Ho Chi Minh City

    Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

    Local Wet Market Vietnamhochiminh-city-usa-helicopter-vietnamSophie’s Art Tour photographer – Frances Marden sm
  • Day 3: Mekong Delta

    This morning, head out of the city for the 2.5-hour drive to the town of Cai Be in the Mekong Delta. Here, you’ll climb aboard the Victoria, a vessel modeled after a traditional Vietnamese sampan. You’ll cruise the delta, starting with a visit to Cai Be’s colorful floating market, then visit some local cottage industries that produce popped rice and coconut candy.

    Next we’ll island hop between Dong Phu, Binh Hoa Phuong, and Anh Binh islands. For lunch, you’ll sit down at a wonderful colonial-style villa in a quaint village. This is your chance to try a Mekong specialty, “elephant ear fish,” which comes grilled and wrapped in rice paper with fresh herbs.

    For the final leg of your cruise, you’ll climb aboard the Victoria again and explore the riverside landscapes. We’ll dock after crossing the Co Chien River, and you’ll be transferred back to Ho Chi Minh City by car. The rest of the evening is free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight at Park Hyatt, Ho Chi Minh City

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    through-the-jungle-vietnam
  • Day 4: Ho Chi Minh City-Danang-Hoi An

    Today your Vietnamese culinary tour brings you to Central Vietnam. You’ll catch a short, 1-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Danang. From here, a 30-minute drive will bring you to the ancient port town of Hoi An. Although Hoi An saw its heyday as a center of trade in the 17th and 18th centuries, today it continues to boast many attractions. In addition to the charming, old-world neighborhoods of narrow streets and traditional houses, it also has a lovely, long beach with stylish, new resorts.

    You’ll embark on a walking tour of this atmospheric town, visiting many former merchants’ homes, a Japanese covered bridge dating back 400 years, and the vibrant local market.

    Lunch will be served at Morning Glory Restaurant, an elegant, traditional building located in the heart of Old Town. The ground floor of Morning Glory offers delectable, regional “street food” while the upper level offers a balcony with views over the street.

    The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight at Life Resort, Hoi An

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Hue to Hoi An Tour: Streets of Hoi An, VietnamPeople at sidewalk coffee, Vietnam
  • Day 5: Hoi An

    You’ll have the opportunity to take a Hoi An cooking class with renowned chef Duc Tram. Born in Ho Chi Minh City (called “Saigon” then), Duc Tram traveled to the Americas, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe before returning to Vietnam and opening his restaurant, Mango Mango Hoi An. The restaurant specializes in eclectic, innovative flavors that reflect his international culinary journey. You’ll join Duc today on a half-day culinary exploration including an interactive visit to Hoi An Market where you can meet the vendors who supply Chef Duc with the finest ingredients in the region.

    Meet Chef Duc at 08:00AM at Hoi An Market to pick out the ingredients that you’ll use in today’s lesson. The fish section of the market in particular is a fascinating hive of activity. After you’ve finished shopping, take a stroll through the streets of Hoi An to Mango Mango where your cooking class will take place. Here, you’ll learn how to make Chef Duc’s gourmet signature dishes.

    After you’re done cooking, you can sit down and enjoy your creations! This afternoon, enjoy some free time on the beach or browse Hoi An’s charming silk shops and art galleries.

    Overnight at Life Resort, Hoi An

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Hoi An street sellers, VietnamVietnamese Fishing Boats and their Reflections in Hoi An Harbour, Vietnam
  • Day 6: Hoi An-Hue

    Today after breakfast, you’ll make the scenic 3-hour drive to the town of Hue, passing through Danang en route. Here you can visit the fascinating Cham museum, then continue your drive over the poetically named “Pass of Ocean Clouds” before descending to the picturesque fishing village of Lang Co.

    No culinary tour of Vietnam would be complete without a stop in Hue. The “royal cuisine” of Hue is considered some of the best in the country and originated during the days of the Nguyen Dynasty, when the rulers only ate lavish meals that met specific culinary criteria. Today you’ll have a sumptuous lunch at the Ancient Hue Restaurant.

    In the afternoon, you’ll be picked up from your hotel by cyclo and head into the Old City for a visit to Tinh Tam Lake. Then, you’ll continue by cyclo to Tay Loc Market in the northwest part of the Old City. This local market is rarely visited by tourists.

    Next, head to the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. After exploring these monumental ruins at your own pace, we’ll take you to dinner at the “garden house” known locally as nha vuon. This traditional house surrounded by a large garden is tied to the ancient Hue Royal Imperial Court. Upon arrival, you’ll be met with a traditional Vietnamese greeting, then served a private meal prepared by the lady of the house.

    Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa, Hue

    Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

    Vietnamese saleswoman at the market sale vegetableswelcoming asian woman
  • Day 7: Hue

    After breakfast, visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda, which overlooks Perfume River. A 21-meter-tall tower constructed in 1601 is the centerpiece of the pagoda and symbolizes the seven incarnations of Buddha. On the pagoda grounds, you’ll also see the storied Austin car that a monk drove to Saigon in 1963 in protest against the South Vietnamese government. The photo of his self-immolation is one of the most famous images from the Vietnam War. Continue to the tomb of former emperor Minh Mang, located in a beautiful garden dotted with ponds.

    For lunch, you’ll try regional Hue food at Huynh Anh Kim Long, a popular spot among locals for banh uot (steamed rice pancakes stuffed with julienned pork) and bun thi nuong (a rice noodle dish served with grilled meat). After lunch, we’ll head to the weaving village of Bao La, which dates back roughly 500 years. Watch highly skilled artisans as they do everything by hand, from processing raw materials to putting on the finishing touches.

    Continue to Thanh Toan, a covered bridge built two centuries ago as a gift to the village by the wife of a wealthy Mandarin. Only two bridges of this kind exist in Vietnam—the other is in Hoi An. From here, it’s an hour drive to the 500-year-old village of Phuoc Tich. This village, while famed for its pottery, is also home to many traditional homes, temples and pagodas that date back hundreds of years. Return to your hotel and spend the evening at your leisure.

    Overnight at La Residence Hotel & Spa, Hue

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Hue to Hoi An Tour: red yellow doorway gateway citadel forbidden purple city hue vietnamKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Day 8: Hue - Hanoi

    After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, take a 1-hour flight to cosmopolitan Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. You’ll be met at the airport by your private guide and driver, who will transfer you to your hotel.

    After checking in, strike out into the city’s Old Quarter, commonly called the “36 streets.” Get oriented on a walking tour of Hang Be Market and Hoan Kiem Lake, with a visit to Ngoc Son Temple en route. This lively neighborhood of narrow lanes is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers—a great spot for photos of daily Hanoi life.

    Next, visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, founded in 1076. Known locally as Quoc Tu Giam, this place of learning was established inside a temple to educate Vietnam’s nobles, scholars, and elites. The university operated for more than 700 years. Its well-preserved architecture and tranquil gardens offer intriguing glimpses into Vietnam’s past.

    Head next to the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, then to the former president’s house where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home reveals the humble lifestyle of the Vietnamese revolutionary leader. Finally, we’ll visit the tiny but iconic One Pillar Pagoda before returning to the hotel.

    This evening you’ll dine at La Verticale, a fashionable restaurant set in a 1930s-era villa. The menu here is created by chef and owner Didier Corlou, a French chef who has called Vietnam home for 15 years and has a true appreciation for Vietnamese food.

    Overnight at Sofitel Metropole, Hanoi

    Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

    Old Women, Vietnam
  • Day 9: Hanoi Street Food Tour with Blogger

    Today, you’ll begin your food tour with a walk through the Old Quarter to eclectic Thanh Ha Market. You’ll get to sample local and exotic delicacies along the way as your guide explains Vietnamese culinary practices.

    Next, wind your way through the Old Quarter to Dong Xuan Market. Here, you’ll try local treats, including bun dau and pho tiu, before continuing to Hang Than Street. You’ll pass stalls that sell ceremonial cake. Stop to sample a dessert influenced by French cuisine. You can sample rare fruits as you make your way to Hang Cot Street and wander down Phung Hung Stree. All along the way, you’re welcome to stop and peruse the myriad market stalls. To cap off the tour, we’ll stop at one of the Old Quarter’s most popular (and smallest) coffee shops. Here, enjoy a well-earned coffee and rest before transferring to your hotel. (Please note: You can go on this tour in the morning or afternoon. The itinerary is subject to change due to weather conditions. Please be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.)

    Overnight at Sofitel Metropole, Hanoi

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Vietnamese traditional noodle soupStreet food vendor in the street of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
  • Day 10: Halong Bay

    Today, you’ll leave Hanoi behind for an overnight cruise on Halong Bay. Journey 3.5 hours by car on a route that passes the fertile farmlands of the Red River Delta. You’ll arrive in Halong City in the late morning and board your vessel. Lunch will be served on board as you sail past the stunning karst islets.

    The boat will set anchor for the night and you’ll be served dinner on board as the sun sets over the bay.
    Overnight on Halong Bay

    Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

    Indochina Junk
  • Day 11: Halong Bay - Hanoi

    If you’re an early riser, tea and coffee will be served on the sundeck followed by an early morning Tai Chi class onboard. For later risers, brunch will be served as your vessel cruises back to Halong City. When you disembark, you’ll be transferred back to your hotel in Hanoi by private car.

    This afternoon and evening are free to spend at your leisure.

    Overnight at Sofitel Metropole, Hanoi

    Meals included: Breakfast

    IMG_2593Bridge-on-the-Hoan-Kiem-Lake-Hanoi-Vietnam
  • Day 12: Hanoi

    We hope you enjoyed your Vietnam culinary tour. Spend a leisurely morning before it’s time for your private transfer back to Noi Bai Airport for your return flight or onward journey.

    Meals included: Breakfast

    Traditional Vietnamese Masks

All of our Tours can be Tailored, Just Ask!

Local vietnamese woman

Tour Details

All of our itineraries can be tailored to your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Contact us with your holiday ideas, no matter how big or small, and we’ll start planning your unique personalized trip!

Tour prices are a guideline only, and are based on two persons travelling together, sharing a double or twin room. Each tour price and can be adjusted depending on budget, activities included and standard of accommodation desired.

Tour and airfare prices include all applicable taxes and are subject to change without prior notice until services are booked.

You, your holiday and booking direct: Backyard Travel are on the ground year-round in Asia, which means you are booking direct with a local travel company, allowing you to save on the cost of your holiday. Our tailor-made tours are designed by local Travel Specialists who investigate every aspect of the trip themselves, giving you a unique view of each destination.

icon Included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
Private tours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary
Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles
Service of English speaking guides in every location
Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

icon Not included in this Backyard Travel tour:

Domestic and international flights
Departure taxes if applicable
Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
Tips for guides and drivers
Personal travel insurance
Visa fees (contact us for further information)

Why Backyard Travel?


Our experienced travel specialists possess years of local insider knowledge, because they live here.

We have offices in all of our destinations in asia, fully staffed and open all year-round.

With backyard travel you are booking direct, allowing you to save and benefit local residents.

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Our advantage lies in having local expertise to create unique, bespoke tours. Whether you’re looking to cruise down Asia’s tranquil rivers, bike the peaceful rural roads, or eat at bustling night markets, Backyard Travel’s in-country Travel Specialists can plan your ideal trip. Send us a message about your ideas, and we'll send you our best suggestions.


 

 

 

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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
Ask a Travel Specialist
Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.
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Our local travel specialists are eager to discuss your tour ideas in their destinations. Just drop us a line.