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9-Day Culinary Delights Tour of Vietnam

In the past few years Vietnamese food has become more and more popular around the world. With its long history and colonial influence, its own appropriation of the middle and southern regions, and its varied regional geographies, Vietnam provides diverse food culture and interesting dining etiquette. Savour the flavours of Vietnam from Saigon to Hanoi on this tasty discovery.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Food tour to try some of the best dishes of Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Hue, and Hanoi
  • City tour to explore the unique culture of the life of local people in Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, and Hanoi
  • Vespa tour to explore the city of Hue, feeling the culture of the ancient royal time of the last dynasty

Unforgettable moments

  • Enjoying the best Vietnamese food at the top-notch restaurants
  • Strolling around the small charming town of Hoi An admiring its century-old lifestyle of local people
  • Admiring the graving beauty of Hue, the home to the last dynasty of Vietnam
  • Strolling around the small street of Hanoi whilst the sea of motorbikes running around

Nature exploration

  • The nature of Hoi An, Hue and its surrounding area
  • The evergreen nature of central Vietnam whilst crossing the “sea of cloud” of Hai Van Pass

Culture experience

  • The bustling culture of Hanoi and Saigon with the effect of western culture wave
  • The friendly culture of Hoi An and Hue with its century-old history and culture

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)

Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in the center of Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the country forward with its pulsating energy. A chaotic whirl, the city breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.

Free to stroll around the town for your own exploration.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.

Notes
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Day 2 - Saigon - Exploration

This morning at 09:00 meet the guide and engage in a leisurely 2km walking city tour passing the iconic Saigon Central Post Office built between 1886 and 1891. Based on the design of famous French architect Gustave Eiffel, it is now considered a symbol of Saigon and one of its most famous landmarks. Walk along Dong Khoi street, formerly La Rue Catinat and pay a visit to Gia Long Palace – Ho Chi Minh City Museum for its beautiful architecture and listen to its history through times. Then stroll through Ben Thanh market to enjoy the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Enjoy a welcome lunch at the cozy Secret House with authentic family shared style meal in the village feel ambiance. Remainder of the afternoon is free at leisure.
This evening be picked up from the hotel at 19:00. Hop on a small and colourful Citroen car (2CV or La Dalat dating back 1969-1975) and delve into Vietnam’s nightlife and booming craft beer culture. Meet and mingle with the locals while enjoying locally brewed beer and snacking on gourmet tapas. Then get a taste of the broad range of flavours from the impressive craft beer scene in this vibrant city.

Enjoy the beer while a representative at each brewery venue shares knowledge, stories and the actual brewing process with unique ingredients to understand and appreciate the taste of their creations. Pay a visit to the independent brewers who still produce small homemade batches of beer, to the more famous brand of craft beer and cider in town. Apart from multiple tastings of the best beers, each place also offers a variety of delicious and elaborate food pairings including gourmet tapas and some Vietnamese inspired bites. Raise a glass and toast to a night out alongside locals before returning to the hotel around 22:30.

Overnight in Saigon.

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Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh - Hoi An

This tour begins at 08:30. Meet with the guide and walk through different corners of the city to explore Saigonese’s morning habits and the importance of coffee drinking in Vietnamese's culture.

Start with a stroll through a buzzing local residential area and delve right into local life while browsing the street café, watching people enjoying their morning coffee and reading news or chatting with each other. Locals usually drink coffee after having breakfast. Do the way locals do by ordering ‘bun thit nuong’ consisting of fresh noodles topped with grilled pork at an eatery. Walk around to observe the bustling street eats scene and try another piece of sticky rice or hollow donut. 
Carry on to discover an 80-year old stocking coffee shop where they have unique ways of making coffee and listen to coffee tales.

Conclude the tour by heading to Barista Saigon coffee studio. Meet with a certified barista to get an introduction about Vietnamese specialty coffee and learn expert coffee brewing techniques. Choose from a variety of courses, focusing on espresso, latte art or professional ways to judge the quality of coffee. Transfer back to your hotel around 11:30 for checking out.

Later this afternoon, transfer to the Saigon airport for a flight to central Vietnam.  From the Danang airport, it’s a 30-minute drive to the ancient port town of Hoi An. Despite the passing of 200 years and the ravages of weather and war, the center of Hoi An remains much the same as it was in its heyday.

Overnight in Hoi An.

Notes

HCMC – HCMC’s airport (12km): 30 minutes // Danang airport – Hoi An (40Km) : 50 minutes

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Day 4 - Hoi An - Exploration with Cooking Class

Today, leave the hotel at 09:00 for a short ride to a family-run organic farm today. Located quietly away about 3km from the Old Town center, this farm is established by love for food and local cuisine of the founder, a nutrient expert and her teammates. Be greeted by her team start the unique experience!

With the varied landscape of Vietnam, the country’s cuisine contains a brilliant balance of aromatics, heat, sweetness, sourness, and fish-sauciness. As with other Asian cuisines, it's all about the yin and yang; the sweet and salty, the cooling and the heat, the fresh and the fermenter. Follow her to explore the farm while listening to her inspiring stories about how to use food and vegetables as a cure for health. Pick up some ingredients and head to the lovely kitchen right at the farm to make some dishes.

There are five dishes to learn to cook. Take a chance to get hands-on on how to make rice flour with the old stone grinder, rice paper with copper vessels and invent a personal organic juice recipe. Once ready, sit down and feast on a delicious meal of authentic local cuisine. After filling up on these home-cooked delights, return to Hoi An in the afternoon.

This afternoon, take a 1.5 hour walking tour - the best way to see this marvelous town. Visit the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and appreciate remarkably well-preserved traditional merchant houses that have withstood more than 200 years of weather and war.

Then spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening at leisure to explore the hidden corners or return to the hotel to rest.

Overnight in Hoi An

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Day 5 - Hoi An - Hue - Vespa Experience

Spend the morning at leisure. Check out of the hotel at noon and then take a 2.5 hour transfer to Hue via Hai Van tunnels.

Arrive Hue and check-in to the hotel. This late afternoon at 16:00,  go on an exhilarating and fun vintage Vespa experience to discover Hue. The old imperial capital of Hue is popular not only for its attractive historical monuments of the Nguyen Dynasty but also for its richness in culture and cuisine. There’s no better way to explore the nightlife of Hue and its tasteful flavors than sitting on the back seat of a Vespa for an adventure through charming streets.

Get a great chance to learn about Hue’s gastronomy and local culture. First, visit a vintage Vespa collector and taste food with the family. Then ride to some hand-picked local family-run venues that serve the best authentic local foods. Immerse in a world of Hue specialties, including bun bo hue (Hue beef noodle soup), ‘banh khoai (sizzling pancakes), sweet soups and a variety of Hue green leave cakes. With a full tummy, take a leisurely ride back on the Vespa to the hotel.

Overnight in Hue

Notes

Hoi An to your chosen hotel in Hue (150km): 3 hours

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Day 6 - Hue - Exploration

Meet the tour guide at 08:30. Start at the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. From here take a cyclo through the ‘Old City’ to Tinh Tam Lake where the Emperors used to come to relax; full of lotus flowers in summer there are many local style coffee shops around the lake where university students come to study.

Continue to visit Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Constructed in 1601 the 21-metre tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents seven reincarnations of Buddha. In the grounds of the pagoda is the Austin car made famous in 1963 when a resident monk drove the vehicle to what was then Saigon to protest against the southern regime.  The photo of his self-immortalisation was captured and is one of the most well-known images of the war.

At noon, visit Dong Thien Pagoda then experience the vegetarian lunch prepared by the nun. The Pagoda also runs some kindergartens for poor children and the visit will contribute directly to children in these classes.  Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.          

Overnight in Hue.  

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Day 7 - Hue // Hanoi

This morning, take a flight and head to the next city, Hanoi, the heart of Vietnam.

Today’s tour begins at 14:00. Visit the famed Temple of Literature. Wander around this incredible compound which was constructed in 1076. Become fascinated with the stories of the building and get a glimpse of the past when it served as a university and temple. Walk through Hanoi’s bustling Old Quarter. This area of 36 narrow streets is a lively place to walk around while seeing and learning about Vietnam’s traditional ways of life. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy an evening at leisure.

Overnight in Hanoi.

Notes

Hue to Phu Bai Airport (17km): 30 mins // Noi Bai airport - Hanoi (38km): 40min

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Day 8 - Hanoi - Local Experience

This late morning at around 10:30, be met at the hotel and transferred to a local family’s home whose host is a mini celebrity chef. This is an exclusive chance to meet a top 5 contestant on a reality cooking TV programme. This evening, get a distinctive feeling of traditional Hanoi families where long established dining etiquette has been passed down through numerous generations.

Gather around a typical family meal with a shared tray of food in the center and enjoy an interactive talk with the chef about dining practices including and some interesting dos and don’ts. For example, younger members always have to wait for the elders to eat first, or a woman always needs to sit right next to the rice pot.

Then get hands-on to prepare a traditional Hanoi family meal tray which normally includes the five fundamental tastes - spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet that also represent the elements such as metal, wood, fire, water and earth in Vietnamese culture. It is common to also find eggplant pickles that is a must for every meal. If feeling adventurous, take a sniff of the strong flavour of typical fermented shrimp paste.

Once ready, take a seat and practice the dining etiquette that was just learned while indulging in the meal and tuck-in just like how a traditional Hanoian does. Bid farewell to the host with a little hand-made souvenir gift.

Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.

Wine pairing dinner with fusion cuisine

Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner with wine-pairing. Be served a fusion menu at the relaxing ambiance of Colette’s 32 restaurant. The ultimate food and wine pairing is when the flavours of both are good on their own, but together they make a blockbuster combination and accentuate the best in each other.

Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 9 - Hanoi - Departure

Today is departure day. The private car and guide will be at disposal to enjoy some free time for last-minute purchases or simply relax before the transfer to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport for the onward flight.

Notes

Hanoi - Noi Bai airport (38km): 40min

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Vietnam
Hanoi
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Ha Long Bay
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Sapa
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Hoi An
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Hue
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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
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Vietnam PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

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The combination of fun and educational activities

Unseen
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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Vietnam PLANS BY TIME FRAME
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Vietnam BLOG ARTICLES

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Well, Vietnam and Thailand are the most popular holiday destinations in Southeast Asia. They are similar in climate and food, though obviously different in culture, lifestyle and travel experience.

Below we list 13 major differences between the two countries, to give you a quick overview and help you decide which to visit first. These are based on our own travel experiences, investigations, and partnerships with local operators.

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How long to spend in Vietnam may seem like a ridiculous question to address, but if you have plenty of time and aren’t sure how much to dedicate, this blog will definitely help you out.

You can find here and there that you should spend 10 days, 2 weeks, 20 days, or 1 month to best explore Vietnam. So what is the best Vietnam tour duration for you?

Well, as long as you like! From 10 days to a month, there are various ways you can travel across Vietnam and uncover its secrets. Advising an ideal trip length for Vietnam is a bit of a complex challenge, as it depends on several factors such as the places you wish to visit, the activities you plan to join, or if you want to combine Vietnam with its neighbor countries. 

Stay tuned! We are going to sort all these things out including the step-by-step guide to create the best itinerary in Vietnam.

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Vietnam would scrap the Covid-19 testing requirement for all arrivals starting Sunday, May 15th 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has directed.

In a document issued Friday, the Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Health to closely follow the coronavirus situation and provide proper guidance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should direct Vietnamese authorities outside the country to inform people who wish to enter Vietnam to follow appropriate disease prevention measures, he said.

The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

Current policies issued by the health ministry require entrants to have negative results from PCR tests done within the previous 72 hours, or a negative result from a rapid test done within the last 24 hours.

Those who don’t have a negative test result must refrain from making contact with others during the first 24 hours after entry. They will be able to move freely once they test negative after arrival.

Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.

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The “Colorful Hanoi” hot air balloon festival is one of the attractive activities within the framework of the program “Hanoi tourism welcomes 2022” taking place from March 25-27, 2022.

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The Ministry of Health said on Wednesday, March 16th, 2022, foreigners entering Vietnam only need to furnish a negative Covid-19 test certificate and are not required to quarantine.

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Vietnam is determined to fully reopen its tourism industry and will adopt measures to treat foreign and domestic tourists alike, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

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Myanmar
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It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
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