Some call it the world’s first real fusion kitchen, others are simply won over by its simplicity and originality. Whichever way you look at it, there is no denying the French culinary influences that have shaped the Vietnamese cuisine into what it is today. Taste of Vietnam offers you the very best that Vietnamese cookery has to offer on an amazing journey through this fascinating country. Not only will we show you the diversity on offer in the Vietnamese cuisine but you will also learn to make some staple dishes of each region yourself through our carefully selected cooking classes. This sample program shows you the difference in cuisine from North to South, both in top-end restaurants and authentic street food experiences.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN HANOI
Xin Chao! Welcome to Hanoi, one of Asia’s most enchanting cities, full of culture and history. You will be welcomed at Noi Bai airport by local guide and learn a bit about this fascinating country on the way to your hotel.
You will have time to relax at your hotel and adjust to the pace of Hanoi. This beautiful city is bustling with energy and will soon dispel even the slightest feeling of jetlag. Try an iced coffee (cafe sua da) or iced tea (tra da) in one of the many typical cafés and learn about the Vietnamese café culture. For those that are hungry there are many small local restaurants and food stalls available. These little food outlets form the pulsating culinary heart of the Vietnamese cuisine.
Overnight in hotel.
DAY 2: HANOI IN YOUR STYLE – COOKING CLASS WITH DIDIER CORLOU (B/L)
Wake up early, grab your cameras and head out to Hanoi’s biggest flower market in Quang Ba. You will have the chance to take in the beauty and wonderful aromas of flowers from villages all around Hanoi, Sapa and Dalat. The diversity and vibrant colours on display guarantee amazing pictures.
On your way back to the old centre, you will visit the banks of Truc Bach Lake. Every morning, hundreds of Hanoians gather here to practise Tai Chi, do their daily fitness exercises or play some badminton. You can join in or simply enjoy this oasis of peace and serenity in the middle of the city centre.
Let’s skip breakfast at the hotel and join the locals in the streets for a bowl of Pho. This aromatic beef noodle soup is without a doubt Vietnam’s most famous dish.
Next is a quick stop at Ba Dinh Square for some pictures. This historic spot is where Ho Chi Minh declared the Vietnamese independence in 1945.
Afterwards, you will visit Didier Corlou and his wife Mai Corlou, join in a private cooking class (Traditional Class) and learn how to prepare a proper Vietnamese lunch. First, they will take you to a guided market visit where you will get to know the ingredients and learn how to negotiate a fair price on the market.
Then off to an exclusive location where you will have a fully equipped professional restaurant kitchen at your disposal to learn some proper north-Vietnamese dishes. You will cook your own tasting lunch under Didier’s or Mai’s supervision.
After lunch at the beautiful cooking class location, continue to explore many other sights and sounds of Hanoi. You visit the Old Quarter, 36 Guild Streets, Ba Dinh Square and the One Pillar Pagoda. The program this afternoon is flexible and certain sights and attractions can be added or removed according to your preferences.
Before dinner, you will have the chance to visit the world-famous Water Puppet theatre.
For dinner (optional) we recommend you try some other local specialties such as Bun cha (smoked and grilled pork in stock with rice noodles and fresh herbs) or Cha ca la vong (a 200-year-old Hanoian specialty of marinated grilled fish served with dill and peanuts).
Overnight at hotel.
DAY 3: HA LONG BAY CRUISE (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel in Hanoi, you will head out to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On your way there, you will visit a typical Northern Vietnamese village where the younger and older generations still live together in traditional houses.
Arrive at Tuan Chau island – Take break and welcome drink at Pelican Halong Cruise Lounge.
Transfer to Pelican Halong Cruise.
Welcome drink - receive cruise briefing, safety instructions and check in. Start cruising and explore Halong Bay - one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
Enjoy buffet lunch with Vietnamese dishes served while cruising through the bay, passing the most beautiful and quiet areas, such as Incense Burner, Dog Stone Islet, Fighting Cock, Soi Sim beach, Coconut Three Island.
Visiting Tung Sau area, covered by the leaping rocks and cultured pearl fishery. You can witness yourself the process of the jewel, from culturing to harvesting and sculpting, Moreover, you will have a chance to do kayaking based on your preference. Enjoy busy space with pearl maker, you can experience the completion of pearl.
Visiting the beautiful Ti Top beach for swimming (if the weather permits), Ti Top Beach is especially famous for its fresh atmosphere, clean water, and smooth white sand that create a great ambiance for tourists to relax or passengers can take steps to reach on the top of Ti Top beach to have a whole panorama view of Halong Bay.
Back to the boat and free time while sailing to Luon Bo area, and anchor overnight.
Option: Massage service available. Please book with Cruise Manager directly (please see massage menu).
Attend the Cooking demonstration on sundeck – How to make Vietnamese spring rolls - traditional Vietnamese food. Then enjoy Happy Hour (Buy one drink-get one free). It is time for chit-chating and relaxing. Watch the magnificent sunset over Halong Bay.
Enjoy dinner with Vietnamese BBQ Set Menu.
Evening activities include: Leisure time to enjoy a chat around the bar, watching movies and many sort of Vietnam cultural films, relaxing and spending a romantic night on Pelican Halong Cruise’s music, playing cards, chess are available, reading magazines in room and dining room. You may also try your luck at squid fishing & fishing from the boat.
DAY 4: HALONG BAY CRUISE – HANOI – HUE (BRUNCH)
The day starts early onboard with Tai Chi session on the sundeck. Tai chi also called Tai chi chuan, combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. Coffee, tea and pastries for breakfast are served in the dining room with morning view of bay’s landscape.
Transfer by tender to Sung Sot Cave. Walk up about 100 steps to the cave entrance. It takes approximately 45 minutes for cave visiting. Visit Sung Sot Cave, one of the most biggest cave in Halong bay with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Return to the boat by tender. Proper shoes are highly recommended. Back to Pelican Halong Cruise. Check out and settle your bill at reception.
Have a buffet brunch while cruising back to the Tuan Chau Wharf. Relaxing on the sundeck or in the dining room enjoying the bay scenery while approaching the wharf.
Continue on to Noi Bai airport for a short flight to Hue (Suggested flight: VN1545/1915 – 2030). You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Hue.
DAY 5: HUE IN YOUR STYLE – OLD VESPA TOUR – HOME HOSTED MEAL (B/D)
Hue City was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945 under 13 Emperors of Nguyen dynasties. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) has classified Hue as one of the four main attractive centers of Vietnam. Hue is famous for its magnificent architecture of citadels, palaces, pagodas and royal tombs, built in a poetic surrounding on the banks of the Perfume River.
In the morning, take a boat ride along the romantic Perfume River. Stop off at the Thien Mu Pagoda on the banks of the river to see the 7-storey Stupa. The pagoda is also home to the old Austin car driven to Saigon by the Venerable Thich Quang Duc in 1963 for his self-immolation. Continue on to visit the mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang (1791-1841), built between 1841 and 1843. The Emperor’s mausoleum complex consists of 40 constructions (palaces, temples, pavilions etc.) designed on a symmetrical axis.
In the afternoon, you will continue to explore the Imperial Citadel and Forbidden City, created in the 19th century for the Emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Followed by a vespa tour.
Your Vespa scooter guide will take you through some interesting back roads, passing the Hue Citadel and suburbs before making your way to the Vong Canh Hill. The hill top offers a panoramic viewpoint over the Perfume River and the Royal Valley where various royal family members of the Nguyen Dynasty rest peacefully. Enjoy a refreshing glass of champagne while contemplating the beautiful scenery and spectacular sunset over the river.
Continue your adventure with a visit to the Doan family for a hosted family dinner. They take pride in preserving their traditional customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. After your friendly welcome, your hosts will give an interesting insight into typical local culture such as the practice of ancestral worship, the daily family routine and the value of family ties in the Vietnamese way of life. You will then join your hosts in preparing your own delicious local Hue food specialties before sitting down to enriching stories and shared family meal time.
Overnight in Hue.
DAY 6: HUE – COOKING CLASS – HOI AN BY DRIVE (B/L/D)
In the morning, you head to Vuon Y Thao garden house restaurant where you will enjoy the hand-on cooking class with Mrs Cuc, the owner and followed by the lunch at the restaurant. Alternatively, for group of 7 pax up, you will join the cooking class at Tinh Gia Vien restaurant.
After lunch, you will take the drive to Hoi An, then make a stop to visit Cham Museum and Marble Mountains in Da Nang on the way. The Cham Museum, founded in 1915 by the Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient, is an open-air collection of the finest Cham sculptures in the world. The Marble Mountains consists of five marble hills. Each of them is representing a different element: Thuy (Water), Moc (Wood), Hoa (Fire), Kim (Metal) and Tho (Earth). The largest and most famous one, Thuy Mountain, has numerous caves, in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built through the centuries. Continue to Hoi An and check in hotel upon arrival.
Dinner are served with Cao Lau, soup of vermicelli, pork, vegetables and Banh Vac, “white rose”, white rice stuffed with shrimp – the local specialties of Hoi An.
Overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 7: FARMING TOUR IN TRAQUE VILLAGE (B/L)
Start the trip with riding a bicycle to a local farm in Tra Que village. You will get to know the history of the village, the cultivation of the vegetables as well as discovering about the use of vegetables in traditional Vietnamese medicine. You will take a trip around the vegetable garden and join the farmers in preparing the land and fertilizing it with seaweed from the local lake. Continue doing activities such as: raking, sowing, watering greens, picking greens and many more gardening activities. After that, join in preparing the lunch with the family. Your lunch will consist of many local delicacies including ‘tam huu' spring roll, or the local pancake.
After your lunch and the exertions from the morning, take an even more traditional Vietnamese post-prandial nap before learning how to harvest and wrap the vegetables. Around 15:00, bid farewell to your host family before riding back to Hoi An, on the way back stop at Nhat tomb and Ba Le well.
The rest of the time is for you to explore the ancient town of Hoi An through the amazing walking tour. Dinner by your own arrangement.
Overnight in Hoi An.
DAY 8: HOI AN – DANANG - THE GRAHAM GREENE TRAIL IN HO CHI MINH CITY (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Da Nang for your short flight to Saigon (Suggested flight: VN117/1015 – 1145), also known as Ho Chi Minh City.
Drop your bags at the hotel, have a quick shower, and explore the sights of Saigon. For lunch, you will have the chance to try Banh Xeo, a big savoury pancake made out of rice flour, coconut milk and freshly ground turmeric. The pancake is filled with fresh herbs and vegetables, pork and prawns, and served with nuoc cham (the famous Vietnamese fish sauce thinned with water, lemon and chilli).
In the afternoon, follow the Graham Greene Trail to a journey from colonial to modern Saigon. You will visit the places where Greene lived and worked, past by the HCMC Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Metropole Hotel - famous place from the ‘Quiet American’ novel and film. There is time for an optional tea or coffee at the historical bar before heading off to the other famous Saigon hotel, The Majestic. This hotel and its bar were home to many foreign reporters and secret agents during the Vietnam War. Head up to the rooftop bar to try one of Saigon’s many local beers and enjoy a panoramic view of the city with live music.
Dinner at Noir! Dinning in the dark, it is more than just a meal. It is sensory journey that will make you re-evaluate your perception of taste and smell. Be one of the first to try this one-of-a-kind dinning experience for a unique date in Saigon - www.noirdininginthedark.com
Overnight in Saigon.
DAY 9: SAIGON – MEKONG DISCOVER (B/D)
After breakfast, you will travel out of Ho Chi Minh city and spend full day floating through waterways on an exploration of the lush Mekong Delta region.
The program will start with the visit of Cai Be floating market. Then, you will head to Tan Phong island for a biking / walking on village paths through the local farms, houses, real life and watch farmers picking up their fruits, making rice-net for spring-rolls, sewing coconut-leaves for cottage roof and weaving the dried water-hyacinth to make many products: baskets, bags, hats, wallets, shoes...
The rowing boat will take you deeper into the countryside on smaller canals and to enjoy the peaceful time. It will be a really interesting experience to see traditional houses made of wood or palm leaves and daily activities of the local farmers, you might have an opportunity to make contacts with them and see how they catch fish or pick up fruits by ancestral ways in Mekong Delta…The optional lunch will be served at local house.
Have a cup tea while enjoying the traditional music before check-in Ut Trinh homestay (or other homestays on An Binh Island).
Join the cooking process with the owners. Enjoy dinner then overnight at homestay.
DAY 10: MEKONG DELTA - SAIGON (B/L)
Have breakfast and check-out for a walk along the village to enjoy the fresh air in the morning & make an optional stop at local workshops where you can see how to make rice paper, coconut candy and pop-rice, pop-corn...
Then take the Boat trip to visit the brick kilns where you can see how the local people create beautiful potteries from clay. The boat will go along the floating village where you will learn how to farm catfish on Mekong river. Then we will visit Vinh Long market in the town. This is the best chance for you to take pictures of everything that you can think of: fish, shrimps, prawns, crabs, snakes, rice-field rats, tropical fruits, vegetables...The cruise will end at Vinh Long city.
Lunch of the specialty of the Mekong Delta, the Elephant Earfish, which owes its name to its particular form.
Return to Saigon.
In the afternoon, head to Truc Mai House – the famous artists family – for a rhythmic musical show using various traditional instruments. A unique experience!
Overnight in Saigon.
DAY 11: SAIGON – DEPARTURE DEPARTURE FLIGHT (B)
You will have your last breakfast in HCMC and do some last minute shopping before flying back home or on to your next destination.
End of services.
Please contact us for the best price.
+ Carefully selected accommodation with breakfast (See hotels to be used)
+ Meals listed in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner)
+ Expert English-speaking local guide (for other languages and a national guide supplements apply)
+ Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
+ Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
+ Boat cruises and rides while on tour
+ Service charges and government VAT tax
Services not included
Services not included
+ International flights and visas to Vietnam
+ Domestic flights to tour destinations
+ Meals and drinks not included in the itinerary
+ Tips and gratiuities (pay directly to the tour guide)
+ Early check in or late check out
+ Travel insurance
+ Optional sight-seeing tours
+ Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature
+ Other services than mentioned
Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions
Tour prices are per person and are net prices, quoted in United State Dollars.
Prices are subject to change without notice. Some prices can only be guaranteed at the time the booking is made and may differ from that quoted as it is based on the “best available rate of the day from the supplier”.
Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges.
Deposit payment can be settled by cash, bank wire transfer, or credit card. A deposit of 50% of total rate is required at the time of booking. Final payment is due 30 days prior to arrival date (low season and high season) and 45 days prior to arrival date (peak season). If the final payment is not received on time, FantaSea Vietnam may cancel the booking and invoke the cancellation fee.
If payment is made by credit card, a surcharge of 2% will be applied to Visa and Master and 3% to American Express.
If payment is made by bank transfer, please make payment direct to our bank account:
Beneficiary Bank: Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank)
Thanh Cong Branch, Hanoi City, Vietnam
Swift code: BFTVVNVX-045
Beneficiary name: FANTASEA CO., LTD
Address: 181 Xa Dan 2, Dong Da Dist., Hanoi City, Vietnam
USD Account No.: 0451 370 2442 97
Please note that our prices are not inclusive of transfer fees levied by your bank and overseas bank. Please ask your bank to transfer the sum prior to deduction or any shortfall.
We reserve the right to release a part or full booking if the full payment is not completed as per the booking deadline.
Payment in Vietnam Dong (VND) is to be made equivalent to the amount in United States Dollars (USD) at the official exchange rate of the Vietcombank at the time of payment.
The booking is confirmed only when full payment is completed. This payment method is only available for bookings made through the phone.
Cancellation must be made by email or in writing. Cancellation by phone is not acceptable.
Cancellation will be generally charged as follows:
More than 45 days
31 - 45 days
50% of total charge
100% of total charge
15 - 30 days
50% of total charge
100% of total charge
100% of total charge
Within 14 days
100% of total charge
100% of total charge
Please note that non-refundable policy will be applied for special promotion packages.
4. Refund of Unused services
No refund or exchange can be made in respect of accommodation, meals, sightseeing tours, transports or any other services, which are included in the packages but not utilized by the guests.
All confirmations are generally confirmed by e-mail within 2 working days. In case immediate confirmation is not possible, we will inform you of the booking status at the time of reservation.
Voucher will be issued by FantaSea Vietnam by email/fax after the booking is confirmed and payment is completed.
7. Liability and Insurance
FantaSea Vietnam accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury, damage or delay due to natural disaster, politic actions, weather or causes beyond its control. Travel insurance and medical precautions are essential. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability. We strongly recommend that you hire a travel insurance policy for any trips.
8. Guests’ Information
The client is requested to submit all guests’ details at least 24 hours prior to check-in (Full name, Date of birth, Gender, Nationality, Passport number, Vietnam visa expiry date, Contact number).
This personal information will only be used for check-in procedure only, and will not be shared or used for any commercial purposes.
9. Early Check-in or Late Check-out
Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
10. Other Notes
Please note that all the above services & tours have yet to be booked, they are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.
If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.