Living Traditions Cooking Tour

Discover the traditional cooking techniques and culture of this incredibly diverse country.


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  Twin Share Sole Traveller
Standard $2,070pp $3,240
Superior $2,450pp $4,025
Deluxe $2,980pp $5,080


The above prices are from per person, based on low season travel. Shoulder and high season, Christmas and New Year's Eve dinner surcharges apply.

Places Visited

Hanoi (3N) - Hue (2N) - Hoi An (1N) - Saigon (2N)

Day 1 – Hanoi
On arrival in Hanoi, you will be met at the airport by your local English-speaking guide and transferred to your hotel. Hanoi is a charming and richly historic city of lakes, shaded boulevards and verdant public parks, with a population of about four million. The city centre is like an architectural museum, with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a provincial French town from the 1930s.
Day 1 – Hanoi
Day 2 – Hanoi Day Tour
Start your morning with a visit to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum and hear about the man who led Vietnam's campaign for independence from French colonial rule. After dedicating his life to the liberation of his country from foreign rule, Ho Chi Minh died in 1969 and his body was preserved for posterity. Every October the mausoleum is closed for a month and Uncle Ho is given a bit of a spruce up!Continue around the grounds to see the one pillar pagoda and the presidential palace. Next, visit the 11th-century relic, the Temple of Literature, which was built in homage to the Chinese scholar Confucius.

Lunch at Koto Restaurant, an organization that aims to help remove disadvantaged youth from a life of poverty in Hanoi by providing them with an opportunity to learn hospitality skills. This afternoon visit the Museum of Ethnology and take a breezy cyclo ride through the Old Quarter's 36 streets, named for the products that were sold from their shops. Today, vendors on Tin and Bamboo Streets still sell the same wares. Next, is the Ngoc Son temple set on a tiny island on the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and how it got its name from a legend of an emperor, a magic sword and a giant turtle! End your day with a delightful Water Puppet show, a traditional art that is still being performed today.

Please note: The Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum is closed every afternoon and on Monday and Friday. The Museum of Ethnology is closed on Monday & Vietnamese New Year. (B,L)
Day 2 –  Hanoi Day Tour
Day 3 – Hanoi Cooking Class
Begin your tour with a visit to Chau Long Market. Here you will browse hundreds of stalls, and interact with vendors selling everything from garlic to tapioca flour. Take in all the colours, sights and smells! Hanoi's markets are world famous, and you will quickly see why. Part of the pleasure is discovering local herbs, vegetables and salad greens that aren't sold in Western countries.

Next, settle in at Hanoi Cooking Centre, a restored building on the edge of Hanoi's famous old quarter owned by an experienced chef and cookbook author. Your instructor will explain the basics of Vietnamese cuisine, which is known for a heavy emphasis on fresh herbs, spices and greens. At your workstation, try to follow the instructor's lead! After the class, you will be able to sample your creations, you will also receive a selection of recipe cards to help you recreate Vietnamese dishes at home!

Please note: Class on shared basis (B,L)
Day 4 – Hanoi - Halong Bay
Early this morning, you will leave your Hanoi hotel and head to the coastal port of Halong Bay by shuttle bus. Upon arrival, board a traditional Vietnamese boat and set off on your cruise through the 'Bay of Descending Dragons'. The archipelago of Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site composed of almost 2,000 islands and jungle-clad limestone pillars. Spend the next few hours exploring an ancient limestone cave and a floating bamboo village. Weather and tides permitting, explore additional caves along the way. Lunch is served on-board as you glide across the gentle waters of the bay towards secluded and little-visited islands.

After discovering the majesty and splendour of Halong Bay and its iconic seascapes, the boat slowly returns to the pier where you will be transferred back to your Hanoi Hotel.

Please note: Itinerary subject to change or cancellation due to weather conditions. (B,L)
Day 4 – Hanoi - Halong Bay
Day 5 – Hanoi to Hue
Check out of your Hanoi hotel this morning for your onward flight to Hue. On arrival in Hue, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for some time to relax before you are met for your afternoon Hue tour. Spend some time wandering through the citadel before taking a short journey into the surrounding countryside to see the final resting place of the Emperors at two of the most impressive Royal Tombs and take a boat trip along the Perfume River, visit Thien Mu Pagoda. (B)
Day 5 – Hanoi to Hue
Day 6 – Hue to Hoi An
Start your day with a trip to the ancient walled Citadel containing the former Imperial Palace. Later, enjoy a walking tour through the colourful Dong Ba Market to learn about all kinds of Hue recipes and ingredients. Drive over the scenic Hai Van Pass to Hoi An this afternoon where you have sometime at leisure. (B,L)
Day 7 – Hoi An cooking school
This morning visit a local produce market before cruising along the Thu Bon River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. Here you will tour the school's herb gardens and enjoy an informal cooking lesson. Your chef will explain the secrets of popular Hoi An specialties. The town is famous for dishes like Cao Lau, a medley of a yellow noodles, pork slices and pickled hot peppers, and Mi Quang, a noodle dish featuring boiled quails eggs and chunks of baked rice cakes. Next you will tour several famous landmarks in Hoi An.

The first is Chua Ong Pagoda, dating back to 1653 and built in honor of the Chinese general Quan Cong, who is worshipped by many as a symbol of loyalty and justice. Continue to Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, to see the Jinshang Temple which is dedicated to the goddess of the sea and the protector of sailors. From there it is a short walk to Tan Ky House, a 200 year old ancestral house and finally, stroll across the often photographed 17th-century covered bridge built by Japanese craftsmen. The beautifully built bridge doubles as a temple and is a major landmark of Hoi An. End your afternoon with a boat trip along Thu Bon river. (B,L)
Day 7 – Hoi An cooking school
Day 8 – Hoi An to Saigon
Transfer to Danang airport for your onward flight to Saigon. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where you have some time at leisure before your culinary adventure begins! Start at the Ben Thanh Market, considered by many to be the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. Sitting across from some of downtown's tallest buildings, the market hosts vendors selling everything from blue jeans to raw fish. In the produce section you will pick out all your ingredients to use in your class, with help from your chef.

Once you have collected all your ingredients, move onto the Mai Home cooking class for a hands-on cooking lesson in a large traditional home. Vietnamese food is healthy and simple to cook, using many local fresh herbs, spices and vegetables. Try your hand at creating some typical dishes like fresh spring rolls or a clay pot! Once you have finished, you will be able to sit down and taste your masterpiece. (B,L)
Day 9 – Mekong Delta
Leave Saigon behind as you drive about 2 hours to the Mekong Delta town of Cai Be. Board a small boat to take a trip around the floating market. Continue cruising along the maze of canals to Vinh Long, stopping at the home of a gardener to see the delicate craft of bonsai, as well as handicraft villages to see local artisans at work. Hop back on board the boat to explore more of the waterways before returning to Saigon later in the afternoon. (B,L)
Day 9 – Mekong Delta
Day 10 – Depart Saigon
Your guide will meet you at your hotel and driven to the city's Central Post Office, which was designed by the renowned French architect Gustav Eiffel, and Notre Dame Cathedral, the iconic landmark built between 1863 and 1880. Admired for its neo-Romanesque architecture, the cathedral is a popular backdrop for local wedding photographers.

Next, stroll toward the Saigon River along Dong Khoi Street, which figured prominently in Graham Greene's famous Vietnam novel, The Quiet American, to the Saigon Opera House, a commanding building completed in 1901. Shelled during World War II, it was used to shelter French citizens fleeing North Vietnam in 1954, the year Vietnam earned its independence from France. The tour continues with a stop at the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum. You will be transferred to Saigon airport later today where your arrangements end. (B)

Tour prices are per person, twin share

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel. Visa fees are not included in your tour cost and it is your responsibility to arrange all necessary visas. Wendy Wu Tours can organise your visa's at an additional cost, please contact our Reservation Department for more details.

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call Australia – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 61, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in Vietnam and you will find high quality coverage. Vietnam has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping for Short Stays and Independent itineraries is not compulsory however is appreciated and normal for guides & drivers to receive them from tourists. In your final documents, Wendy Wu Tours will advise a guideline for tipping to be given to your local guides & driver. Tipping is at the discretion of each individual.

Shopping can be a fun and entertaining component to any travel adventure.  In keeping with most people’s interests whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities to shop for local goods and souvenirs.
We have included visits to establishments that not only provide an opportunity to purchase a locally produced, great-value souvenir; but you’ll witness first-hand how these local products are made, their history and how they support the local economy. We are aware that people like to take home souvenirs, so we endeavour to ensure the shops you visit have a reputation for quality, honesty, and authenticity.

Meals included in your tour cost are indicated on the itinerary. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style at the hotel you are staying in. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional cuisine and are served at reputable local restaurants. As is traditional in this region, lunch and dinner consists of small dishes of local cuisine which is then placed on the table for everyone to share so you can experience the variety of speciality dishes. Our customers usually find that the amount served is more than ample. We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people and so the food is not too spicy or unusual in taste.
Drinks will be at your own expense and are to be paid for at the end of each meal. Beer is widely available and cheap. Western style wine is very expensive to import and is not widely available except at upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice or fruit juices from a trusted restaurant, where they will use boiled or bottled water.
Due to the French colonial influence in some Southeast Asian countries, black tea (commonly referred to as ‘lip-ton’ by the locals), coffee, and baguettes are available in most places. However, the local style is to have sweet condensed milk with their tea and coffee. Fresh dairy milk is not usually served but many restaurants will provide this if requested. ‘Cafe Sua-da’ (or iced coffee with milk) is a favourite choice amongst the locals

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 1300 318 203 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.