From the bright yellow colonial houses that lie along the river in Hoi An to the sparkling skyscrapers that tower over Saigon, Vietnam is home to plenty of architectural and natural beauty. But what you see is only half the story—there’s a world of history, culture, and tradition that’s best experienced through taste in the country that Anthony Bourdain featured on three of his shows: A Cook's Tour, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown. On this 14-day journey, we'll travel across North, Central, and South Vietnam to explore the country through its unique cuisine, tasting our way all the regional dishes that Bourdian traversed in search to share with his viewers, such as Bun Bo Hue, the tasty noodle soup of pork and lemongrass, and Bun Cha, the flavorful charcoal-grilled pork noodle. Between bites, we'll see UNESCO Heritage Sites, meet local people to learn about history of three different regions, and talk to Mr. Philip Lajaunie about Vietnamese cuisine and his beautiful memories of Bourdain. It was him who traveled with Tony to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, introduced him to our country's culinary and even appeared in Tony's “No Reservations” show (in 2 episodes in Saigon and Hoi An) and "Parts Unknown” (the episode in Myanmar). Come with an empty stomach, and a flexible return ticket— once you’ve tasted all the dishes in our tour, it’s difficult to say goodbye.
Upon your arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you will meet your driver and local guide and travel by car to your hotel. At night, a local guide will pick you up and take you to the Com Nieu Restaurant (Rice Pot) for a welcome dinner. Order the clay pot rice, watch them break and rice fly as the chefs prepare this unique, authentically Vietnamese food! This was one of Bourdain’s stops in Vietnam.
Your first stop today is Cho Lon- (also known as China town in Saigon), which is located in a vast, ochre-colored building, designed by a French architect, and financed by a Chinese merchant- truly a testament to the city’s multicultural heritage. You’ll have lunch at the fabulous Lunch Lady restaurant with the signature food of Saigon, Vietnam. Then, in the evening, your driver will take you to the Opera House to attend the awe-inspiring, acrobatic “A O” show.
In the morning, you will depart from Ho Chi Minh City to explore Ben Tre in the lush Mekong Delta, rightfully dubbed the “Green Venice” of Vietnam, where you can step onto a boat for a cruise along Chet Say River. In the afternoon, you will get back onboard and come back to your hotel in Can Tho. You will have the rest of the day free to explore Can Tho yourself.
After breakfast at the hotel, take a cruise to the vibrant Cai Rang Floating Market and catch glimpses of incoming barges, laden with fruit, vegetables, and other products from the Delta. Also, you’ll surely delight in small excursions to the river banks along the way, stopping at a lush fruit orchard and even a wonderfully aromatic bread bakery. Then come back to Tan Son Nhat to depart for Da Lat.
In the morning, you will enjoy some truly fresh air at splendid Van Thanh Flower Village. Along the way, make a stop to visit the Highlands Coffee plantation and the Weasel coffee workshop to taste all different types of coffee. Finally, take in the roar of Elephant Falls and the solemn Linh An pagoda. Before returning to your hotel, you’ll have a delicious lunch at a lovely, local restaurant, Dalat House.
You’ll have a free day in Dalat at your leisure. If you’re hankering for more incredible architecture, you shouldn’t miss the Linh Phuoc Pagoda, which has terrific views from its third floor and an impressive 10-foot high dragon in its garden. For a more relaxed morning, take a stroll through the Dalat Flower Park for some beautiful local fauna and flower art. After checking out of your hotel, you will meet your driver and travel to Lien Khuong Airport for your brief flight to Danang.
In the morning, you will meet Mr. Philip Lajaunie- who took Tony to discover Banh Mi Phuong there and Lunch lady restaurant in Saigon. After tasting the famous baguette, he will take you through the rural scenery of Hoi An to the Tra Que Herb Village by bicycle. Learn daily works of local farmers, enjoy traditional massage and specialties there especially Tam Huu (small skewers of pork and prawns) for lunch. Back to Hoi An and discover the old streets later on.
The morning is free at your leisure. Perhaps you can take the opportunity to see some of Hoi An’s most splendid architectural sights or do some shopping at Hoi An’s Central Market or the Silk Village. Continue your tour around noon, you will depart from Hoi An to Hue, taking the spectacular "Hai Van Pass" route, which offers you an incomparable panoramic view of Vietnam’s massive coastline. Overnight in Hue.
Today, you will visit Minh Mang’s tomb which was constructed in 1840. Then, take a short ride to Tha Om Garden House where you will be introduced to various incredible hundred-year-old buildings built in Nguyen dynasty. There you will learn how to prepare the imperial Hue’s traditional food. For lunch, you will taste your dishes and other regional specialties. In the afternoon, you will pay a visit to the famed Japanese Thanh Toan Bridge and the 7-story Thien Mu Pagoda, Hue’s unofficial city symbol, before heading back to your hotel.
You will meet your driver and travel to Phu Bai Airport for your flight to Hanoi. Upon arrival, your driver and local guide will take you by car to the restaurant where President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate dinner to try a supremely delicious Hanoian specialty: Bun Cha. Sitting on your plastic stool, sharing a bowl of the delicious noodles with the local residents around you will surely make you feel like a local. Finally, you’ll return to your hotel and have the rest of the day at your leisure.
Today, your guide will pick you up at the hotel to start the scooter tour through Phung Hung Street with beautiful mural paintings recalling Hanoi in the past, Ngoc Ha Market to have a stroll through the bustling local site, then 100-year-old Long Bien Bridge. Drive your scooter to Giang Cafe at Nguyen Huu Huan Street, later on, to enjoy an Egg Coffee or Cafe Sua Da before riding back to your hotel. At 4:00PM, your guide will pick you up at your hotel to start the supremely delicious street food tour around Hanoi quarter.
In the morning, you will travel to Ha Long city where you will embark on the Emeraude cruise into the utterly jaw-dropping and rightfully famous Halong Bay recognized as UNESCO World Heritage in 1994. On the boat, you will be served lunch and dinner, both of which feature the freshest seafood, caught right from the bay. The Emeraude Cruise is a truly luxurious experience, which strives to recreate the style and sophistication of a bygone era of steam-boat travel, and offers cooking demonstrations, kayak excursions with one of the largest sun decks on the bay. Overnight on the cruise.
Early in the morning and depending on the season, you can wake up to enjoy the sunrise over the gentle, tropical waters of the bay. The sun will rise and you’ll silently cruise by even more towering karsts as day breaks. Then, the cruise will tour around the bay, allowing you to catch better glimpses at the lush limestone islets until you disembark at the end of the morning. After some cruising and touring around the most famous bay of Vietnam, you will return to Hanoi by car.
After checking out, you will meet your driver and travel to Noi Bai Airport for your outbound flight.
Tran Thuy (Judy), Exotic Voyages organized our 7-week tour of Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos & Cambodia. She was so attentive to our every request. She followed our stated budget, made many changes to our itinerary (5 drafts) before issuing a detailed itinerary with all important details, ...
Tran Thuy (Judy), Exotic Voyages organized our 7-week tour of Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos & Cambodia. She was so attentive to our every request. She followed our stated budget, made many changes to our itinerary (5 drafts) before issuing a detailed itinerary with all important details, contacts, times etc. etc. Even after we paid the full payment, she was quick to respond to any concerns we had. In addition, when we arrived at each destination, we received a letter indicating what times we would be picked up for various tours or to go to the airport. Evaluations were done throughout the journey and we were always met by someone at least 15 minutes prior to our pick-up time. It was so comforting to be met at the airport in-spite of numerous airplane delays. The guides all expressed how happy they were to work for Exotic Voyages. Special mention to some of the outstanding guides - Tukta in Thailand (did so many extra things for us - above and beyond her duties - very caring and made accommodations for us as needed); Mr. Thong in Lao, Mr. Buu, Hoi An, Sherry in Kaula Lumpur, Miss Pitsamai Lurthoo in Thailand. All the drivers were simply outstanding - always calm in-spite of difficult traffic conditions. We took 3 cooking sessions and they not only provided us with great food and how to prepare it but provided us with an opportunity to get to know the day to day experiences of the locals. To us this is what travel is all about - getting to know the locals. This was a journey of a lifetime. We would recommend Exotic Voyages highly and are very grateful to Thuy and the whole team for their efforts. We were provided with 24/7 emergency contacts for each country - we contact Mr. Mark in Thailand and he was so calm and reassuring in sorting out our problem.READ MORE
I recently returned from from my first solo vacation. Rose took my initial thoughts on what I was interested in doing in Vietnam and ran with it. I was very nervous about traveling by myself so far from home, but the team at EV was there with me every step of the way! EV made this trip so easy for ...
I recently returned from from my first solo vacation. Rose took my initial thoughts on what I was interested in doing in Vietnam and ran with it. I was very nervous about traveling by myself so far from home, but the team at EV was there with me every step of the way! EV made this trip so easy for me. From the moment Rose contacted me, every detail was taken care of. I didn't need to worry about anything. I felt very safe and taken care of. Their attention to detail is what made my trip so fantastic. If you have any interest in solo traveling, but are a little nervous about logistics, EV will put your mind at ease and give you a trip of a lifetime!READ MORE
Annie (Yen) Hong helped me plan a 10 day Vietnam trip with my son during August 2019. Annie was very professional, had great ideas and recommendations, and was extremely attentive to our needs both before and during out trip. While no trip goes off perfect, she was able to adjust to various issues ...
Annie (Yen) Hong helped me plan a 10 day Vietnam trip with my son during August 2019. Annie was very professional, had great ideas and recommendations, and was extremely attentive to our needs both before and during out trip. While no trip goes off perfect, she was able to adjust to various issues such as weather, and help make our trip great. I would definitely recommend using exotic voyages, and Annie in particular!READ MORE
This is the second time I've used EV and they did not disappoint! Back in 2012 they organised my whole trip - hotels/drivers/flights/visas/guides etc. This time I used Air bnb for some of my trip and Annie helped me connect the dots. Annie was so helpful and understanding of my needs, she's very ...
This is the second time I've used EV and they did not disappoint! Back in 2012 they organised my whole trip - hotels/drivers/flights/visas/guides etc. This time I used Air bnb for some of my trip and Annie helped me connect the dots. Annie was so helpful and understanding of my needs, she's very patient! She really will help you create the trip you really want, her inside knowledge is absolutely golden and she was always on hand if I had any problems. She provided a really efficient safe and trust worthy service. All the services Annie recommended were highly professional and we were shielded from a lot of stress and harassment that foreigners can sometimes experience. We had a great trip and plan to returning next year. Hopefully Annie can help us organise that!READ MORE
We normally don't use travel agencies and prefer to do our own planning, but we decided to use Exotic for this trip because of how unfamiliar we were with the country. It was a great decision. Tran Hoa helped us from the planning stage, to choosing individual activities, and modifying our itinerary ...
We normally don't use travel agencies and prefer to do our own planning, but we decided to use Exotic for this trip because of how unfamiliar we were with the country. It was a great decision. Tran Hoa helped us from the planning stage, to choosing individual activities, and modifying our itinerary several times. During the trip we were always met on time by excellent guides, everything was as expected, and the quality and standards were always up to par. I would use them again and recommend them wholeheartedly.READ MORE
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