Culinary Experience - Sun N' Sea Tours

Basic Information

12 days, 11 nights
Ha Noi, Vietnam

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Ha Noi, Ha Long, Da Nang, Hoi An, Hue, Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta

Overview

Culinary Experience

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi
Day 2 HANOI; street food & half-day city round
Day 3 Hanoi, Halong bay
Day 4 HALONG, HANOI, DANANG, HOIAN
Day 5 HOIAN; walking tour & Authentic Hoian specialties  
Day 6 HOIAN; Vietnamese cooking class  & boat ride 
Day 7 HOIAN, DANANG, HUE; Vietnamese dinner at “Garden house” 
Day 8 HUE; highlights & Hue specialties
Day 9 HUE, SAIGON 
Day 10 SAIGON; morning flower market & night street food with Vintage Vespa  
Day 11  MEKONG DELTA day tour with Mekong Queen cruise 
Day 12 Depart Saigon

Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi

Arrive in Hanoi, meet our team and drive to the selected hotel in town. Check in and rest after long jet. 
Ha Noi
Ha Noi
none

Day 2 HANOI; street food & half-day city round

You will be met at your hotel in the late morning by Daniel and and driven to Chợ Hôm or Chợ Chau Long market to learn about and taste some of the ingredients used in the local cuisine. Daniel will introduce guests to some of the vendors, explain the ingredients for sale and assist with the purchasing of any items they may wish to take home.
Then enjoy a Vietnamese cà phê (coffee) or trà (tea) with the locals at Daniel’s favorite spot, Cafe Thọ - one of the many sidewalk cafes in the historic French Quarter. Daniel will offer guests an overview of the Vietnamese food scene, particularly in Hanoi. Continue to Truc Bach Lake to sample phở cuốn, a grilled beef and rice noodle roll with fresh herbs, along with several other local snacks.
Lunch with Daniel at one of Hanoi’s best bún chả establishments. Situated down a narrow lane, guests will sit on tiny stools at low plastic tables along with the regular crowd of bún chả aficionados and enjoy traditional grilled pork and rice vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs and greens like true Hanoians. Very few foreigners ever find this eatery so it is a very special treat.


The rest of the day is to visit the city highlights which including Vietnam Women’s Museum – the museum is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and offers wonderful insight into the lives of Vietnamese women.  Displays highlight Vietnam’s vast cultural diversity and educate on the significant role Vietnamese women play in Vietnamese society. Learn historic and modern-day traditions centered around births, weddings, motherhood, spirituality and more; the Temple of Literature - in 1076 Quoc Tu Giam - Vietnam's first university also referred to as Van Mieu, was established within a temple to educate Vietnam's royalty, mandarins and members of the elite. The university functioned for an incredible 700 years and its gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a fascinating glimpse into Vietnam’s past. Continue to the nearby mausoleum of the historic figure and father of modern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh (viewed from outside), and visit the former president’s house on stilts where he lived from 1958 to 1969. His former home illustrates the modesty of this Vietnamese revolutionary. Visit the small but iconic One Pillar pagoda before heading back to your hotel.
Ha Noi
Ha Noi
breakfast, lunch

Day 3 Hanoi, Halong bay

Following breakfast leave Hanoi for a 3hr30mins drive to Halong Bay including a 20-minutes stop on the way. Arrive at your jetty in Halong City towards noon and proceed with check-in formalities. After your welcome onboard, a lunch will be served while cruising towards the bay itself. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits and/or activities (depending on each boat’s itinerary) or just spend some time relaxing on board. Towards the end of the day the boat sets anchor for the night among the karst formations. Dinner is served on board.
Ha Noi Ha Long
Ha Long (on cruise)
breakfast, lunch, dinner
HANOI -> HALONG ~ 3.5-hour driving 
 The order of each private junk's itinerary differs slightly and our  team will be very happy to discuss this with you.Overnight: Halong

Day 4 HALONG, HANOI, DANANG, HOIAN

Enjoy your fresh morning in the middle of the bay, the sun rises on Halong in the morning and breakfast is served (brunch on some boats) while the vessels cruises slowly through the magnificent rock formations and back towards port. Disembark and transfer to Hanoi airport for your flight to Danang. Then on a short drive heading to Hoian town. 

Ha Long Ha Noi Da Nang Hoi An
Hoi An
breakfast
HANOI -> DANANG ~ 1.20mns flight

Day 5 HOIAN; walking tour & Authentic Hoian specialties  

Discover the ancient town during our walking tour, this is a place oozing with charm, and having largely escaped the destruction of successive wars, its streets and architecture are a delight to explore. Stroll past the many Chinese Assembly Halls, from the Cantonese Chinese Congregation with its impressive main altar, to the Hainan Chinese Congregation, which serves as a memorial to 107 merchants from Hainan Island who were mistaken for pirates and killed during the reign of Emperor Tu Duc. Stop by the Japanese Covered Bridge, which was constructed in the 1590s by the town’s Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream…..Lunch is served at Morning Glory Restaurant. Situated in an elegant traditional-style building in the heart of Hoi An’s old town, Morning Glory’s ground floor specializes in local Hoi An ‘street food’, while the upstairs balcony is perfect for small groups as the views over the street are excellent….The remainder is on your own leisure. 

Hoi An
Hoi An
breakfast, lunch

Day 6 HOIAN; Vietnamese cooking class  & boat ride 

Together at the meeting point, we join a short drive  to Tra Que Organic Village, and walk through the market gardens where local farmers work their fields using the traditional methods of hundreds of years ago - no electrical machinery here. We pick fresh saw-tooth coriander and Vietnamese mint for our cooking lesson later, before trying a special herbal drink at a local home.
To the local village market and with shopping list in hand we purchase a range of local ingredients, including star anise, cardamom, sesame rice paper, water spinach and banana flower.
Arriving at Red Bridge Cooking School we have a chance to freshen up before beginning our class. Working together with our Red Bridge Chef we learn the traditional ways of preparing and cooking Vietnamese food from scratch. Using the freshest ingredients and traditional Vietnamese utensils (still in use today) we cook 4 famous dishes, including the national dish ‘Pho’….After the class we sit down and a chance to savour the dishes we have prepared…..Leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River back to central Hoi An.

Hoi An
Hoi An
breakfast, lunch

Day 7 HOIAN, DANANG, HUE; Vietnamese dinner at “Garden house” 

This morning, we will leave Hoian An for Hue. This scenic route passes through Danang, (if you wish) where a stop will be made at the Cham Museum, which houses the world’s finest collection of traditional Cham statues and works of art.  The drive then continues over the Pass of Ocean Clouds before dropping down to the wonderfully photogenic fishing village of Lang Co, and finally arriving in Hue….We check in Hue once arriving.

No culinary tour of Vietnam would be complete without a visit to Hue. Regarded as the best in the country, the ‘royal cuisine’ of Hue originated with in the days of the Nguyen Dynasty, when the rulers were served lavish meals to meet their exacting culinary demands.  Although the emphasis today is on presentation, the delicious flavors of the royal cuisine continue to tempt modern palettes.

Evening, we enjoy an exclusive private dinner at the lovely Tha Om garden house. A Hue “nha vuon” usually consists of a main and back entrance, and a small wall, rockwork and plants in the front yard and in the house itself. The path leading around the wall from the entrance gate is lined with tea bushes or apricot trees. The typical house is made with a timber frame and roofed with brick tiles. The whole house stands on big pillars placed on a round or square stone base, which is sometimes decorated. The altar of the family’s ancestors occupies the central room.
Hoi An Da Nang Hue
Hue
breakfast, dinner
HOIAN-> DANANG-> HUE ~ 2.5-hour drive 

Day 8 HUE; highlights & Hue specialties

This morning starts with a visit to Thien Mu (Celestial Lady) Pagoda overlooking the Perfume River. Constructed in 1601, the 21-meter-tall tower is the centerpiece of the pagoda and represents the seven reincarnations of Buddha. Continue to the tomb of the former emperor Minh Mang, which is located in a tranquil setting of gardens and ponds.
Continue to the Imperial Citadel where the Nguyen Dynasty ruled between 1802 and 1945. The ancient citadel reflects the pomp and ceremony of the dynastic rulers as well as the scars of many years of turmoil, both ancient and modern (the Royal Citadel was badly damaged in the latter stages of the war) but retains a sense of grace and majesty even today. From here take a cycle through dai noi ‘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. 
After exploring the ruins of this wonderful monument, we stroll around Dong Ba Market , the market is another of the must see sites in Hue, the stalls are teeming with color and a great place to catch a glimpse of everyday life.  
For lunch, you can try some traditional Hue specialties at Huynh Anh Kim Long. Frequented only by the locals, this restaurant specializes in banh uot, a steamed rice pancake stuffed with delicate, finely chopped pork, and bun thi nuong, a rice noodle dish served with grilled meat.
Hue
Hue
breakfast, lunch

Day 9 HUE, SAIGON 

We today leaving Hue on a short flight heading to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and transfer to hotel.
Stroll the city on your own. 
Hue Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
breakfast 
HUE -> SAIGON ~ 1.20mns flight 

Day 10 SAIGON; morning flower market & night street food with Vintage Vespa  

Venture off the tourist trail and explore local, authentic Saigonese life. This two-hour tour offers a wonderful insider’s view of local life with an exclusive discovery of the intriguing wholesale flower market and a walking tour through the busy streets of a typical Vietnamese market.

You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning for a short drive to the flower market. Open day and night, this market sells flowers from all over Vietnam. Guests will be able to walk through small alleys and past countless flower stalls, and should take the time to learn the flower names, smell their exhilarating perfume and talk with the vendors about where the flowers come from and how they are used.  Then leave the quiet freshness of the flower market and delve into a bustling local market. Crossing tiny streets, guests will make their way through the stalls, rubbing shoulders with the locals and discovering the different types of local produce on offer, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, rice, clothes and jewelry. This tour is a wonderful, non-touristy glimpse into daily Saigonese life, offering the genuine smells, tastes and colors of Vietnam….We get back the hotel after walking through market, free on your own activities till evening round. 

Saigon after dark: 18:00 – 22:00
Experience the nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. Stops include a traditional quan, where locals congregate for their evening street food meal with friends & family, and a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. The evening ends at one of the city’s local clubs where excellent live acoustic music is played.
The tour begins at 18:00 with a pick-up at your hotel, before hitting the buzzing streets of Ho Chi Minh City. The city comes alive at sundown and people congregate on sidewalks, parks and all over the city at the end of each day. The first stop on the Vespa tour will be to sample some light evening snacks. Continue to a traditional quan for dinner and drinks, and to sample Saigon's best authentic street food. And an evening out in Ho Chi Minh City is not complete without a visit to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop. Wrap up the evening at one of the many local clubs, where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique style. The evening adventure finishes at 22:00 when guests are transferred back to their hotel
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
breakfast, dinner 

Day 11  MEKONG DELTA day tour with Mekong Queen cruise 

Join our wooden boat excursion today on the charming Mekong Queen to explore the Mekong Delta’s unique market and also the symbol of the region, Cai Be floating market. Just only 2 hours away from Saigon, beautiful countryside sceneries and surprisingly hospitable people are waiting for you. 
Boarding our traditional boat at the local pier and start cruising around the floating market while sampling our tropical fresh fruits, letting the cool breeze touch your hair, you will find the place a truly destination to spend the day relaxing. You will be surprised by the way the locals trade and advertise their products. 
Disembark the boat temporarily to explore deeper about the local life by visiting the town’s business and craft factories before we transfer you to an ancient Mandarin house where a delicious home hosted lunch with Mekong’s specialties awaits. 
After lunch, enjoy a short sampan ride before we continue to cruise upstream the Mighty Mekong toward Vinh Long. Along the way, enjoy an intimate visit to a beautiful orchard with several kinds of tropical fruits grown. Here, also let your soul blends with the Vietnamese traditional melodies of “Vong Co” before we take you back to the mainland where your car already waiting to take you back to Saigon for another night.
Ho Chi Minh Cai Be Vinh Long
Ho Chi Minh
 breakfast, lunch 
SAIGON-> CAIBE ~ 2.5-hour drive 

Day 12 Depart Saigon

At leisure till your departure 
Ho Chi Minh
breakfast

Rates (per person in USD)

Accommodation 1 pax 2 pax 3 pax 4 pax 5 pax 6 pax or more
High Season
STANDARD 1,860 1,148 1,007 927 878 846
MID-RANGE 1,979 1,212 1,071 991 942 910
SUPERIOR 2,165 1,313 1,172 1,092 1,044 1,011
DELUXE 2,863 1,656 1,515 1,435 1,386 1,354
Low Season
STANDARD 1,842 1,139 998 918 870 837
MID-RANGE 1,927 1,180 1,039 959 911 878
SUPERIOR 2,129 1,287 1,146 1,066 1,017 985
DELUXE 2,754 1,601 1,460 1,380 1,332 1,300
HIGH SEASON : OCT – DEC, 2016 & JAN – APR, 2017
LOW SEASON :  MAY – SEP, 2017

STANDARD
Hanoi    : Hanoi Elegance Ruby hotel – Superior room 
Halong  : Huong Hai Junks – Deluxe room
Hoian    : Vinh Hung Library hotel – Superior room
Hue       : Hue Serence Palace – Junior room 
Saigon   : Sunrise Central hotel – Premier Deluxe room

MID-RANGE 
Hanoi    : Golden Cyclo hotel – Executive room
Halong  : Glory Legend Cruises – Deluxe 
Hoian    : Atlas hotel Hoian – Superior city 
Hue       : Romance hotel – Deluxe 
Saigon   : Silverland Central hotel – Deluxe 

SUPERIOR 
Hanoi   : O Gallery Premier hotel – Deluxe room
Halong : Pelican cruise – Deluxe room  
Hoian   : La Resiencia hotel – Junior Suite town view 
Hue      : Eldora hotel – Deluxe city 
Saigon  : Paragon Saigon hotel – Premium

DELUXE 
Hanoi   : Apricot hotel – Sketch
Halong : Orchid cruises – Suite Balcony 
Hoian   : Sunrise Premium resort – Ocean Deluxe 
Hue      : Indochina Palace – Palace Deluxe
Saigon  : Hotel Majestic – Colonial Deluxe


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