A Taste of Vietnam: Vietnam Cooking Tour - 12 Days

vietnam cooking class

This trip is designed for the traveler with limited time and an unlimited appetite for a culinary adventure. It features a 12-day itinerary of Vietnam’s most popular spots, with many special opportunities to discover and savor the surprisingly varied tastes of this fascinating land. Our trips will take you from tasting the dishes of the North to the delicacies of Hue, down to the unsurpassed bounty of the Mekong Delta with its cinematic abundance of fruits and vegetables. Along our way from North to South, we’ll delight in a medley of elegant foods prepared to please the eye as well as the palate, including traditional Vietnamese fare and dishes influenced by international cuisines. Our tour is well planned, and we save precious time by flying or traveling by overnight train. Highlights include the wonders of Ha Long Bay, one of four World Heritage Sites in Vietnam, as well as the capital city of Hanoi with its alluring Old Quarter. We’ll also visit Hue, the Imperial City of the 18th and 19th centuries, the picturesque and artsy port town of Hoi An, a favorite with many travelers, and the ever-vibrant Ho Chi Minh City on the bank of Saigon River.

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Hanoi (D)

Day 2: Hanoi Street Food Tour (B/L)

Day 3: Hanoi – Ha Long Bay – Overnight on cruise (B/L/D)

Day 4: Halong Bay – Hanoi – Fly to Hue (B/D)

Day 5: Hue Royal City (B/L)

Day 6: Hue – Hoi An (B/L/D)

Day 7: Hoi An (B/L/D)

Day 8: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City & Vespa Food Tour (B/D)

Day 9: Cu Chi Tunnel & half day city tour (B/L)

Day 10: HCMC – Ben Tre – Can Tho (B/L/D)

Day 11: Mekong to HCMC (B/L/D)

Day 12: Departure (B)


  • Admire beautiful natural landscapes
  • Discover Hanoi famous sites and enjoy Hanoi cuisine
  • Learn about the art of traditional Vietnamese cuisine
  • Explore a breath-taking Halong Bay World Natural Heritages by ocean junk
  • Immerse in local life and cuisine at Mekong Delta


Day 1

Upon arrival at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, our guide will accompany you to your hotel and assist you with check-in. Get intimately acquainted with the narrow and bustling guild streets of Hanoi ‘s Old Quarter, bursting with wares from medicinal herbs to luxurious silks.

Day 2

Eating on the street is a very typical activity for Hanoians and makes up an important part of the city’s unique culture. Depart hotel at 09:00 to take a walk with our tour guide to the Old Quarter. Our first stop is to taste Pho Bo (beef noodle soup), this local restaurant is located on a narrow street in the Old Quarter. Then keep moving to visit the wet market, where hundreds of kinds of food & vegetable are displayed along the street for sale. It is a colorful picture of Hanoi daily life. Walk from Hang Be Market to a little alley to a local shop selling many different types of traditional northern cakes such as Com cake (young rice) where most of the old Hanoians never forget their childhood memories of eating these cakes with friends. The next stop is a little “Banh Cuon” shop to see how people make these rice paper rolls and to try a bit of the dish. Forgetting bustling streets, our guide takes you to small “tunnel” – Noi Mieu alley to discover lives of residents in the Old Quarter, there you can take many beautiful photos. You will stop at the crossroad of streets for lunch with Bun Cha & crab spring roll. Next take a little walk to find “che” – sweet soups which are a typical Hanoi desert. Finish the trip at a café in the old quarter for a traditional Vietnamese egg coffee.Overnight in Hanoi.

Day 3

Today you leave Hanoi for Halong Bay via Red river Delta. Upon arrival welcome on board for a junk cruise and set sail in the bay while lunch is served. Passage into the magical bay, where thousands of sculpted limestone islands rise from the waves like dragons’ teeth. After lunch, take a short trek to a nearby summit for a panoramic view of the bay, swimming on a quiet beach or sunbathing on the sundeck.
Late afternoon, visit an interesting fishing village with an opportunity to interact with fishermen who have been living in the bay for almost three generations. At sunset, kayak or simply take a bamboo row boat to discover a water tunnel with many coral reefs in a scenic lagoon. Back to your junk, enjoy watching the peaceful sunset and later unwind at a restaurant. Overnight on cruise.

Day 4

Wake up on the bay to the sounds of waves and bird welcoming the new day. You will have an opportunity to view the sunrise over the bay. After breakfast, visit a beautiful limestone grotto then walk back to the boat for a final glimpse of Halong Bay while cruising back to the dock. Checkout is at 11:45. Boat arrives at the harbor by 12:00 then transferring direct to Hanoi Airport for flight to Hue. On arrival in Hue transfer to the hotel. In the evening, you will have a cyclo ride to one of the best local restaurant for dinner. Food in Hue is spicy with considerable use of chili reflecting its imperial roots is often presented in carefully displayed small servings, a kind of Oriental nouvelle cuisine. Overnight in Hue.

Day 5

The morning begins with a hands-on cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien restaurant, highlighting the regal flavors of Hue cuisine as we prepare our own midday meal. After lunch, we’ll take a cruise along the romantic Perfume River, passing opulent palaces and gardens of the 19th century Nguyen kings. We’ll visit the ornate tomb of Emperor Minh Mang, set within beautifully landscaped gardens, and the tomb of the eccentric Tu Duc, known for his opulent lifestyle. On our way back to the city, we’ll stop at the Thien Mu Pagoda, the unofficial symbol of Hue. This is an active Buddhist monastery dating back to 1601. One of its most poignant displays is a car belonging to a former monk, who in 1963, drove to Saigon and set himself alight to protest the South Vietnamese regime and its treatment of Buddhists. Overnight in Hue.

Day 6

You’ll continue south, going by road toward the riverside town of Hoi An. Our five-hour route, hugging the coastline along the South China Sea, serves up breathtaking views that grow even more spectacular as we wind our way up Hai Van Pass (Pass of the Clouds). You’ll pause to admire the stunning vistas of Lang Co beach to the north, and the city of Danang to the south. You’ll continue your drive to Hoi An. In the afternoon, you’ll take a walking tour around this once-thriving port and visit the famed old quarter, the Japanese Bridge, the old Assembly Halls, art galleries and many old houses once belonging to Chinese merchants. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 7

In the morning, you will have cooking class at Red Bridge restaurant, visit Hoi Ans colorful market and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise of 25 minutes along the Hoi An river to the Red Bridge cooking school. On arrival, we explore the cooking schools herb and vegetable garden before learning about some of Hoi Ans and Vietnams well known dishes.
The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours. Each dish is first demonstrated by the Red Bridge chefs before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat exactly what we have cooked. Overnight in Hoi An.

Day 8

This morning we’ll head for Danang airport for about a 40-minute drive to take our 1 hour flight to Ho Chi Minh city, formerly Saigon, where we transfer directly to our centrally located hotel. Free at leisure until late afternoon you will take a foodie tour around Saigon by a vintage vespa. Overnight in Hochiminh.

Day 9

Drive to Cu Chi Tunnels to explore the vast network of underground passages during the Vietnam War. Currently, the remaining tunnels have become an extremely attractive point for all tourists. Back to the HCMC. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant before continuing the city tour in the afternoon which provides you with a glimpse into the fascinating variety of the city. You’ll visit the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Central Post Office, and Ben Thanh Market. Overnight in HCMC

Day 10

Depart from Saigon for the 1.5hr drive to Ben Tre, situated in the Mekong River Delta, exchanging city scenes for lush rice paddies and fruit farms. At the pier, embark on a fascinating motorboat excursion past stilt houses, fish farms and scenes of countryside living. Arrive at Turtle Island, and sample freshly picked fruit and coconut milk while interacting with a local farming family. Visit a family-run coconut candy workshop, utilising Ben Tre’s famous coconuts. Explore more of the Delta from a rowing sampan through a network of small canals. Enjoy country hospitality as you sip a cup of honey tea while taking in a traditional folk song performance. A local lunch of local specialties will be served at a local restaurant, you will have great chance to taste the cuisine in Mekong Delta before continue the trip to Can Tho. Overnight in Can Tho.

Day 11

In early morning, you will visit the floating market of Cai Rang by small motorboat. From the market you say goodbye to the mighty Mekong and begin your drive back to Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy the deluxe farewell dinner on Bon Sai cruise to explore Saigon River at night. Overnight in HCMC

Day 12

Today is departure day and time to bid your guide farewell. There will a transfer waiting to take you from the hotel to the airport for your flight home. We wish you a pleasant journey home and we know you will take away many wonderful memories of the sights and tastes you have savored

Tour price includes

  • Private door-to-door pick-up & drop-off services.
  • All private transportation with guide
  • Accommodation shared in Double/Twin room with daily breakfast
  • Experienced English-speaking guide.
  • Halong Bay Cruise with guide on board
  • Private boat trip
  • Cooking class
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing tickets.
  • Exclusive and personalized single agent/single customer service.
  • 24/7 hotline support guaranteed

Tour price excludes

  • International flights & departure taxes
  • Personal expenses, tips and gratuities
  • Travel insurance
  • Beverage
  • Peak season surcharge if any
  • Compulsory Gala dinner on X-Mas & New Year if any
  • Vietnam visa stamp fee
  • Other services not mentioned above.

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