Map of Vietnam Real Food Adventure  including Vietnam

Savour the flavour of Vietnam, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

Sip, slurp and crunch your way through Vietnam, experiencing one of the freshest and most fragrant cuisines on the planet. From pho and ancient buildings in Hanoi, banh khoai and imperial citadels in Hue, banh xeo and lantern-lit streets in Hoi An and banh canh and pulsating markets in Ho Chi Minh City, experience Vietnam’s cuisine and discover its tightly woven place within this culture. Drink in cafes and beer halls that sprawl out over city streets, buy fruit from wicker baskets draped over a vendor’s shoulders and sit at market stalls as aromatic noodle soups are whipped up in front of you. Experience all of Vietnam’s iconic sights, spend time cooking some of the country’s top dishes and get a true taste of Vietnam on this delectable Real Food Adventure.


Start
Hanoi, Vietnam
Finish
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Destination
Vietnam
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
TVZY
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Embrace your adventurous side on a tour of Hue’s imperial monuments from the back of a motorbike (the local way of getting around). Then be treated to lunch, specially prepared for you by a chef who is the descendant of the royal family in the garden of their family home.

  • Don’t just taste your way around this foodie haven, don your chef hat and learn the recipes behind these incredible eats, too. Learn the secret spices directly from local chefs (often in their own homes) and be guided to the freshest ingredients in authentic local markets.

  • Explore the Mekong Delta – known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. Cruise on a traditional sampan, then meet fresh produce vendors along the way to your veranda-wrapped homestay for the evening.

  • A true bucket list experience - visit Halong Bay, set sail on the emerald-green waters, gliding between limestone karsts and stay on a traditional junk boat for the evening.

  • Discover the real flavours of Vietnam, digging into authentic eats like pho, banh mi, bun cha, bun bo Hue and a traditional seafood hotpot – a true feast for the senses.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The cuisine of Vietnam includes a lot of meat and seafood. For vegetarians and vegans we recommend reviewing the itinerary and inclusions to ensure that you will be able to fully participate and enjoy this trip. We also have many other trips to Vietnam which can accommodate a range of dietary requirements.

  • Depending on where you come from, the weather in Vietnam might be hotter and more humid than what you are used to. Please consider your suitability for the season you wish to travel in. Check out https://www.intrepidtravel.com/vietnam/weather-in-vietnam for more info.

  • In order to see as much as possible, this trip involves some long journeys, including by overnight train where the amenities are shared and basic. For more about what this experience is like, see our blog post here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/what-to-expect-on-an-overnight....

  • The motorbike tour of Hue has been assessed for safety and is closely monitored (helmets are provided and drivers are licensed). However, alternative transport can be arranged for those who would prefer not to travel by motorbike.

  • Facilities at the Mekong Delta homestay are quite basic. But an authentic, heart-warming experience of local Mekong life should more than make up for the lack of creature comforts.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2022 itinerary
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins in the country’s capital of Hanoi. You’ll meet your group and leader for an important welcome meeting at 6 pm and then head out for your first introduction to Vietnam’s lively culinary scene. Your leader will take you to a local restaurant for your first group dinner this evening where you might like to take the chance to sink your teeth into bun cha, a grilled pork and noodle dish that’s loved in Hanoi.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Welcome Dinner
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
After breakfast this morning, head out for a guided tour of Chau Long Market. Here, you’ll get a real taste for local life and learn about the secret ingredients and flavours of northern Vietnamese cuisine. Our hot tip – be sure to sample the local coffee, typically served with condensed milk, or for the more adventurous, egg! You’ll also get the chance to tuck into some of Hanoi's renowned street food specialties, with your local leader guiding you (and your tastebuds) in the right direction. Once you've filled up on traditional Vietnamese street eats, the afternoon and evening are yours to spend however you wish. Perhaps, make your way to the Old Quarter to explore the lively back streets or discover some of Hanoi’s historical sites like One Pillar Pagoda in the Ba Dinh district.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hanoi - Street eats and market tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
This morning, hit the road for the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Halong Bay. The harbour, with approximately 2000 limestone islands rising from the turquoise waters of Bac Bo Gulf, spans an area of about 1500 square kilometres and is dotted with beaches and grottos. On arrival, you’ll set sail on the emerald-green waters, gliding between limestone karsts to take in the incredible scenery from the best outlook of them all - on the water. Then, you’ll explore Surprise Cave, one of the most striking caves in Halong Bay, covering an area of more than 12,000 square meters. In the afternoon, you’ll return to your boat and enjoy a delicious feast prepared by an onboard chef. Tonight’s stay is something special as you’ll be sleeping on the traditional boat, letting the water lull you to sleep and really taking in the beauty of the surrounding bay.
Accommodation
  • Overnight boat (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Halong Bay - Overnight Boat Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s total driving time is approximately 4 hours.

It is recommended to pack a smaller overnight bag to take to Halong Bay for ease of boarding and disembarking. You can store your main luggage in Hanoi for tonight.

Swimming in the bay from the boats is banned by the local authority. Kayaking is restricted to designated zones within the bay.

There are increasing restrictions on the number of boats permitted to stay overnight in Halong Bay, which can sometimes result in a shortage of available vessels. To ensure all Intrepid travellers continue to enjoy the experience of a night on the water, occasionally you will stay on a larger boat (with approximately 12 cabins) and share your boat with another group. In this instance, the route taken and inclusions on board will remain the same.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were still dreaming when you wake up on the bay this morning. If you’re an early riser, you might like to organise an optional kayak experience before you head back to Hanoi this morning. On arrival back in Hanoi, you’ll board an overnight train bound for Hue. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience. It's an efficient way to travel long distances and a great way to get a sense of the country. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but we recommend asking your leader for advice on which local salty and sweet snacks to stock up on, prior to departure.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Halong Bay - Kayaking Tour - VND250000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s driving time to Hanoi is approximately 3.5 hours. This evening’s overnight train is approximately 12 hours.

Sleeper trains typically have four berth compartments (occasionally six berth, depending on seasonal variations and group configuration) with bench seats that convert into sleeping bunks. A sheet, pillow and blanket are provided, although some travellers prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Passengers of different genders may sometimes be required to share a compartment and there will be occasions where you'll be sharing with local travellers or travellers who are not part of your group.
Welcome to Hue. This city is Vietnam’s former royal capital, and its cuisine is considered by many Vietnamese as the best in the country. The food is influenced by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) and its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants in the area. After leaving your luggage at your hotel, embark on a tour of the city’s imperial monuments from the back of a motorbike. Stop past Thien Mu Pagoda, an active Buddhist monastery since 1601, where you'll see a car that belonged to one of the self-immolating monks of the 1963 protests. After some time exploring, you’ll take a dragon boat cruise on the Perfume River before stopping for a special plant-based Buddhist lunch. You’ll enjoy a meal specially prepared for you by a chef who is the descendant of the royal family, in the garden of their beautiful family home. After a delightful meal, you’ll finish your day of sightseeing with a visit to the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc. Then, the evening is free for your own food adventure. Perhaps ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties like banh hue (rice flour cakes stuffed with shrimp, pork and spices).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
The motorbike tour has been assessed for safety and is closely monitored. To participate please ensure your travel insurance covers riding pillion on a motorbike up to 125cc. If you prefer not to participate, please let your leader know and they will arrange car transportation (cost included).

Today’s dragon boat cruise is approximately 40 minutes. The Dragon Boat cruise may not be available during festival periods. In this case you will travel by land.
After a local breakfast of bun bo hue – a spiced beef noodle soup – it’s time to visit the Imperial Citadel, which includes the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric, and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. Head south by bus through coastal rice paddies and traverse the mountainous Hai Van Pass to Hoi An. This beautifully restored city retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore it. After some time to settle into your hotel, you’ll make your way to a special beachside restaurant for a seafood hotpot dinner with your group. This is a particularly popular meal amongst the locals in Hoi An – dig in!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hue - Imperial City entrance and guided visit
  • Hoi An - Seafood hotpot dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s driving time approximately 4 hours.
Today, you’ll really get to know Hoi An, with a day filled with authentic experiences. First up, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the Ancient Town. Then, you’ll discover Reaching Out Tea House, a non-government organisation that supports the local deaf and mute community by providing employment and vocational training. The peace and quiet of this café stands in stark contrast to the bustling streets outside. While here, you’ll sip delicious teas in total silence – a tranquil experience you won’t soon forget. After a little time to relax, you’ll get ready for a cooking class with a local chef this afternoon. You’ll be escorted to a local market to shop for fresh ingredients and then taken through a culinary journey with hands-on demonstrations. Your local chef will even share the stories behind the yin and yang elements, unveiling the secret of home-cooked Vietnamese meals. Feast on your delicious creations, dishes that highlight the cooking of the Pho Hoi people.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hoi An - Cooking class with local chef
  • Hoi An - Market tour and garden visit
  • Hoi An - Tea Tasting in Silence
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today is free for you to explore Hoi An at your leisure and of course your leader can recommend the best food and activities. For early risers, take the opportunity to visit the Hoi An fish markets – they are at their most vibrant in the mornings. Afterwards, if the weather's fine, perhaps hit the local beach for a swim (a great way to get there is by bicycle, which you can hire in town). In the evening, you could enjoy some seafood by the water, or jump on a boat for a barbecue feast on a nearby island.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a short flight to Ho Chi Minh City, then join a guided tour to get a feel for the city's frenetic, fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. You will notice a strong French influence in Ho Chi Minh City, which means excellent coffee and baguettes – lucky for you, you’ll get a taste for their delicious iced-coffee and pork belly banh mi at lunch today. Then, you’ll stop past the War Remnants Museum, GPO and Notre Dame Cathedral, finishing up at one of Vietnam’s most pulsing markets, Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients, or presents for friends and family. Tonight, take part in a cooking class where you'll learn some contemporary twists on traditional Vietnamese dishes with a passionate chef. Sit down and enjoy the delicious feast you've prepared over dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Thanh market visit
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cooking Class with local chef
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Banh mi and iced coffee
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s total driving time is approximately 1 hour. Today’s flight time is approximately 90 minutes.
After breakfast this morning, kiss Ho Chi Minh City goodbye as we make our way to the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. Once you arrive, you’ll hit the water and cruise up this mighty river, stopping at tropical fruit gardens and local cottage industries to sample honey, coconut candy and fruit, right at the source. Enjoy being paddled slowly along the quieter backwaters in a sampan, one of the most common forms of transport in these parts. Continue to your homestay for this evening. Meet your hosts and take some time to wander the garden, relax or lend a hand with dinner preparations. Enjoy a southern Vietnamese feast on the wide veranda overlooking the garden as the sun goes down.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise with visits to local producers
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s driving time is approximately 2.5 hours.

At this guesthouse, you'll sleep on a simple camp bed in a dorm-style arrangement. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. Shared toilet and bathroom facilities are basic, with cold water only.
For those who fancy an early morning cycle, join your hosts on a ride to the nearby village market for breakfast supplies for the group, and then enjoy a meal back at the homestay. After breakfast, the whole group will visit a local market before boarding the boat back to Vinh Long to return to Ho Chi Minh City by bus. Once we arrive, the rest of the day is at your leisure. You may like to enjoy a final Vietnamese meal with your new friends or enjoy a drink at one of the city’s iconic rooftop bars.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s driving time is approximately 2.5 hours.
With no activities planned for today, your adventure comes to an end after breakfast today. If you wish to spend more time in Ho Chi Minh City, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private vehicle, Taxi, Overnight sleeper train

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights), Homestay (1 night), Overnight Boat (1 night), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Hanoi - Welcome Dinner
  • Hanoi - Street eats and market tour
  • Halong Bay - Overnight Boat Cruise
  • Hue - Highlights & back streets by motorbike
  • Hue - Perfume River cruise
  • Hue - Royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc
  • Hue - Thien Mu Pagoda
  • Hue - Imperial City entrance and guided visit
  • Hoi An - Seafood hotpot dinner
  • Hoi An - Cooking class with local chef
  • Hoi An - Market tour and garden visit
  • Hoi An - Tea Tasting in Silence
  • Hoi An - Old Town walking tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - War Remnants Museum
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Ben Thanh market visit
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Cooking Class with local chef
  • Ho Chi Minh City - City tour
  • Ho Chi Minh City - Banh mi and iced coffee
  • Mekong Delta - Boat cruise with visits to local producers

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Vietnam Real Food Adventure trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement exclude Day 3 (Overnight Boat), Day 4 (Sleeper Train) and Day 10 (Homestay) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. While we endeavor to cater for specific dietary requirements, some meals and food activities are set in advance and may be difficult to adjust. Please advise us of any dietary requirements at the time of booking so that we can ensure you’ll enjoy this trip.
3. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for transport tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases, you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket if an amendment occurs.
4. This trip includes domestic flights. The luggage allowance is 20kg for check in luggage and 7kg for carry on.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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