Tailor-Made Itineraries | Culinary Delights of Vietnam | If Only

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Culinary Delights of Vietnam

10 NIGHTS FROM £4,495 per person

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.


place DAY 1 - Saigon


Upon arrival, your private guide and car will meet you outside and transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Once known as the ‘Pearl of Indochina’, Saigon boasts an enormous architectural wealth, mirroring its colourful history. From the pagodas, museums and European architecture of the city’s recent past, to the growing number of skyscrapers, Saigon is like a trip through time. Tonight, depending on arrival time, treat yourself to dinner at AnAn, the first restaurant in Saigon to receive a star by the esteemed Michelin Guide (at own expense, bookings recommended in advance).

place DAY 2 - Saigon


Gain a greater understanding of Saigon's culture by starting off your day with a drive to the FITO Museum. This fascinating private museum has an impressive collection of items related to the history of traditional Vietnamese medicine. Return to the centre of the city, for a walking tour through the historic city centre and CBD. See the architecturally splendid City Hall, historic Dong Khoi Street, the Continental Hotel and the Saigon Opera House before heading to the Central Post Office.

Rest your feet, over a well deserved lunch before continuing to perhaps the city’s most famous landmarks - the Reunification Palace. Now preserved in a time warp, the ‘war rooms’ in the basement plus the opulent display’s are fascinating. Finish up the day at another historic site, the Ben Thanh Market. Still functioning as a local neighborhood market, the central location also welcomes travelers with a variety of stalls. Don't forget to ask your guide for recommendations on the town’s best restaurants for dinner later that night.

place DAY 3 - Saigon


Start the day with a different discovery of Saigon; the caffeine habits of the locals and the significance of coffee drinking in Vietnamese culture. Today, the Vietnamese have taken coffee to new gastronomical levels, which continues to evolve. Stroll through a buzzing local residential area and delve right into local life while browsing the streets, watch people enjoying their coffee, reading their newspapers or chatting with each other.  As part of the tour, you will have a chance to visit a charmingly restored ‘shophouse’ located in the historic part of the city, which still operates as a trading area. Once there, discover the exquisite flavors of Vietnamese specialty coffee and learn how to prepare a delicious ‘caphe trung’, aka egg coffee. 

This evening, gain insight into the life of Vietnam’s ambitious younger generation over a delicious home-cooked meal. Your host, a cookbook author, street photographer and marketer has a love for cooking and welcoming guests into her creative and modern home. Enjoy an authentic Vietnamese meal, home cooked by your host. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about how locals dine in a typical, yet elegant manner.  

place DAY 4 - Hoi An

Hoi An

This morning, transfer to Saigon's Tan Son Nhat airport for the flight to central Vietnam. Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most picturesque towns and UNESCO-heritage listed, once a major Asian trading port in the 17th and 18th centuries now draws international visitors to its streets, for both the history and the surrounding scenes. Having the afternoon and evening at leisure, have a stroll along the Thu Bon River and then grab a sundowner back at the hotel at the highest rooftop pool and bar in Hoi An. 

place DAY 5 - Hoi An

Hoi An

Spend half a day in Hoi An’s rural outskirts learning how to create some of the region’s signature dishes using fresh, fragrant herbs. You’ll also visit a ‘wet’ market to learn more about the area’s produce from farm to sea. Explore the surroundings before learning how generations of farmers have cultivated the land. The soil here is rich and fertile, thanks to the combination of silted river water and natural algae fertilizer. Receive a short yet satisfying massage to ease your muscles, before partaking in a cooking class, where the chef will introduce a variety of incredible ingredients for you to use. Then sit back and devour your delicious creation.

Later that day get ready for a food adventure into an area known by many, yet still relatively undiscovered by visitors, outside of the Old Town. A city of roughly 200 thousand inhabitants, the food scene in Hoi An deserves more credit than only cau lau, com ga and banh mi, which reflects the cultural values and history of this once-flourishing port town. Offering exclusive access and a ‘behind the scenes’ experience with the help of your foodie guide, explore the hidden corners and unique dishes of the heartwarming food and people of Hoi An town. 

place DAY 6 - Hoi An

Hoi An

Begin your day with a short visit to a local market for a brief intro into the area’s produce and watch the locals shopping from the seat of their motorbikes. Here in Vietnam, life is about speed and convenience, both in cooking and in life. After, join one of Central Vietnam’s most renowned chefs - Duc Tran, the man behind three well-loved restaurants, Mango Mango, Mango Rooms and Mai Fish, on an exclusive half day experience, at his incredible home. Duc fled Vietnam during the 1970’s at the tender age of fifteen. After refugee camp’s, finding spice in Texas and world travels he came full circle back to Vietnam in 2003. Fast forward 20-years and Duc’s appeared on numerous international cooking and travel programs. Head to Duc's rural home / cooking studio, for a private demonstration followed by lunch, freshly prepared by the chef himself. Once tastefully satisfied, return to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. 

place DAY 7 - Hanoi


Take a morning flight and head to your next destination, the capital of Vietnam. Hanoi, a city of contrasts, defies easy categorization. It's both modern and traditional, chaotic and serene, and always full of surprises. But one thing is for sure: it's a place that’s captivating, to all the senses. Set off on a half day guided tour of Hanoi’s highlights. Dive right in with a visit to 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, for an incredible 800-years.   

Conclude the exploration with a stroll through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. A maze of alleyways and hidden treasures, learn about local life in the ‘36-guilds’ as you weave through the frenetic streets on foot. Tantalize the taste buds and ignite the senses with a Hanoi street food tour. Seek out the city’s typical dishes and exotic delicacies alongside a local. With a firm understanding of true Vietnamese flavours and an unforgettable impression of Hanoi street food, return to the hotel. 

place DAY 8 - Hanoi


Today, take part in a hands-on cooking class with the charming Ms Ai, a renowned local chef and a passionate foodie who finished in the  top 5 of ‘MasterChef Vietnam’ in 2014. Head over to Chef Ai‘s house in the suburbs of Hanoi for the start of this exciting cooking class.

Shop for ingredients at the neighbourhood ‘wet’ market learning from the chef about their uses in traditional cuisine and purchasing items for the day’s cooking class. The marketplace is a fabulous place to observe the local way of life and learn about how Hanoians shop for fresh produce. Armed with the necessary ingredients, step into the kitchen of her family home to prepare then dine on authentic North Vietnamese cuisine on this culinary and cultural discovery. Transfer back to the hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure. 

place DAY 9 - Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Following breakfast, head down to Halong Bay, to discover the renowned natural wonder with its fabled scenery and attractions. Being the most recognised among three neighbouring bays, together with the largest island of Cat Ba, form the Gulf of Tonkin’s magical marine landscapes. Once arrived at the pier and welcomed onboard the Violet, lunch will be served whilst cruising. In the afternoon, enjoy some visits or activities (depending on the boat’s set itinerary). Towards the end of the afternoon, the boat will anchor for the night surrounded by karst formations, so take the opportunity to enjoy a sunset on the deck followed by dinner, then retiring for the evening.

place DAY 10 - La Ha Bay

La Ha Bay

After breakfast, either stay aboard the boat or transfer to a smaller day boat for a full day of activities including lunch: swimming, visiting villages or kayaking (depending on the boat’s set itinerary). Once back aboard the main boat, enjoy reminiscing about the day on the deck followed by dinner, then retire for the evening. 

place DAY 11 - Hanoi


Wake up to a fresh new morning amidst the bay and have breakfast while leisurely immersing in the serene setting of the spectacular rock formations. Proceed to check-out as the cruise arrives towards port. Upon disembarkation, be met by the driver for the transfer back to Hanoi and then homeward bound. 


10 NIGHTS FROM £4,495 per person

Price includes international economy flights, terms & conditions apply.

0141 955 4000