Vietnam Food Adventure

10 days
1 599 €
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Activity Level: Leisurely
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Foodie Holidays
Group size:
Min age:

Savour and master a variety of regional dishes in the food lovers paradise of Vietnam

A culinary journey through Vietnam that reveals a deceptive simplicity to a cuisine renowned for its fresh, natural ingredients, aromatic appeal and delicate balance of flavours. From savouring the freshest seafood in Halong Bay, sitting with the locals while sampling the best of street snacks in Hoi An, cycling through the herb gardens of Tra Que village, joining a family for a night spent on the Mekong Delta, to trying your hand at mastering a variety of regional dishes, this trip ensures that you make the most of this food lovers paradise. Each day is packed with culinary-based experiences that are best rewarded with a bia-hoi (local fresh beer) and a perch on the street-side bars to absorb the fascinating culture of this gastronomical land. 


  • Sunrise walk around lake in Hanoi to join the locals for Tai Chi and a Pho breakfast
  • For a memorable coffee experience, taste the locally loved 'egg coffee' 
  • Multiple cooking classes to master each local cuisine including a final dinner and class with a renowned Vietnamese chef!
  • Guided market visits to learn about and taste local fresh ingredients
  • Visit one of Hanoi's tea houses for a tea ceremony
  • Candlelit seafood dinner while cruising the spectacular Halong Bay
  • Journey by bicycle to vast herb gardens
  • Overnight stay with a local family in the fruit orchards of the Mekong Delta

Key information

  • Travel by private minibus and boat plus 2 internal flights
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader
  • 7 nights hotels, 1 night boat and 1 night homestay guesthouse
  • Countries visited: Vietnam

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel Insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas and vaccinations
Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Start Hanoi

    Today is free to stroll amongst broad tree-lined avenues dating from the French period. There is a faded colonial charm where baguettes and good coffee are sold from doorways of grand buildings of a past era. There will be a welcome briefing this evening with your leader followed by an optional group dinner at a local restaurant and perhaps even an option to taste a Pho Cocktail!
    Lenid Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Sunrise walk around Hoan Kiem; lakeside breakfast. Market visit and evening cooking class

    Today is a jam-packed day of culinary-based activities. We start our day with a sunrise walk around the Hoam Kiem lake in the middle of Hanoi. We’ll join the throngs of locals as they come together for a daily morning activity – this could be laughing yoga, Tai Chi or street aerobics and all are welcome to participate in this communal gathering before we sit for a quick bowl of breakfast Pho, a steaming noodle soup that is the standard breakfast fare. After breakfast we’ll walk to nearby Dong Xuan market to learn about local fruits and vegetables and to have the opportunity to touch and taste many of the staple ingredients we will come across throughout our trip. This afternoon we pay a visit to the Thuong Tra teahouse where we partake in a traditional tea ceremony. Late afternoon we’ll transfer to the KOTO (Know One, Teach One) cooking school, a training school for disadvantaged youths. The KOTO chef will teach us how to prepare spring rolls, a variety of seafood dishes and even dessert. We will of course end the perfect gastronomical day by enjoying our self-made feast!

    This evening we will also visit a local cafe to taste the popular Vietnamese 'egg coffee' which is served throughout cafes in Hanoi and Saigon and is a much loved and very unique coffee experience! 

    Lenid Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    To Halong Bay; overnight on boat with candlelight seafood dinner on top deck

    We make an early start for the approximate 4 hour journey to Halong Bay. This is one of the most stunningly beautiful sights in South East Asia with roughly 3,000 limestone peaks rising directly from the clear emerald sea. We cruise amongst this amazing karst scenery and enjoy a seafood dinner on board by candlelight. Halong Bay is rich in seafood and offers dishes ranging from horseshoe crab to grilled squid and fresh lobster, dependent on the catch of the day that morning. We overnight on board in twin share cabins with en-suite facilities.

    Overnight Boat

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Return to Hanoi; fly to Hoi An, an atmospheric town of Chinese temples and crumbling colonial architecture

    We continue to cruise around Halong Bay this morning before returning to port. We then drive back to Hanoi pausing for lunch before heading straight to the airport for a flight to Da Nang. We then transfer (approx. 1 hour) to Hoi An, our resting place for the next three nights. A charming small town, Hoi An largely escaped the destruction of successive wars and its backstreets with traditional architecture are a delight to explore on foot as many are off-bounds to cars and motorbikes.

    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Walking tour of Hoi An; Banh Vac (white rose dumpling) experience with lunch included

    This morning will include a walking tour of Hoi An, the original European trading port in Vietnam dating back to the mid-16th century. It is now a living museum, with attractive wooden merchant's houses and pagoda-style temples with Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and European architectural influences.

    We will stop at the well-known White Rose restaurant for lunch and to experience the local Banh Vac (white rose dumpling), a Hoi An specialty!  No visit to Hoi An is complete without tasting these delicious dumplings that are loved by locals and visitors alike. 

    This afternoon is free, one popular option is to jump on a bike for a ride through the countryside past local markets, schools and villages before continuing on to Cua Dai beach (5 km). Hoi An is also a marvellous place to wander around and enjoy the thriving riverside market and great silk, clothes shopping. 

    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    Leisurely cycle ride to Tra Que herb village; cooking class

    Today is a real hands-on day. We set off early by bicycle to the Tra Que Village, famed for its avenues of herbs, so fragrant you can smell them before you see them. We’ll visit lots of small producers to learn about the process of making the local specialities; a Cao Lau noodle maker and a bean sprout growers home as well as the local market. En-route we will cycle by water buffaloes and an abundance of bird life, two wheels being the optimum way to appreciate the rolling paddy-field countryside. We will visit the market restaurant to watch some live cooking demonstrations before partaking in another cooking class, this time learning all about Central Vietnamese cuisine. This afternoon is at leisure with time to further explore Hoi An. Alternative transport options are available for those who would rather not cycle, there will be a small extra cost, please speak to your leader. Cycling distance approx 12km on flat terrain.

    Le Pavillon Hoi An Boutique Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Fly to Saigon; city tour. Optional dinner in a converted colonial villa

    We drive to Da Nang and then fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), an exciting and absorbing city where scooters pack the streets and temples stand defiantly alongside modern developments. Devastated by the Vietnam War, it is now a bustling free market city where anything goes. We include a visit to the Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum. The Museum has an interesting photographic record of the Vietnam/American War. Please be aware that some images at the museum are very graphic.

    After the city tour we will visit Ben Thanh market; the most central of all the markets the surrounding streets compromise one of the city’s liveliest areas. Everything that’s commonly worn, used or eaten by the residents of HCMC is piled high here; from scorpions in alcohol and flashy jewellery to hardware and piles of spices and fruit and vegetables. The ‘wet market’ at the back is for the brave only; expect to see clutches of live frogs tied together by the legs, heaps of pigs ears and snouts and baskets wedged full of chickens.

    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Mekong Delta boat ride; overnight in homestay guesthouse, dinner with the family

    In the morning we drive to Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta, known as the 'rice bowl' of Vietnam. This region produces most of Vietnam's fruit, sugar cane and coconuts. We take a boat trip on the mighty Mekong River to Cai Be. En route we pass many orchards and friendly locals also travelling by boat. We stop to see some small cottage industries such as rice paper and coconut candy, getting a chance to sample the local produce along the way. 

    The evening is tranquil as we have dinner on an island and enjoy some 'Delta' hospitality. We spend the night sleeping at a simple guesthouse built in the style of a local house. Bedding, a mosquito net and a small towel are provided.

    Homestay Guesthouse

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Return to Saigon; afternoon cookery class and dinner with a renowned Vietnamese chef

    An early start today as we head to the floating market of Cai Be. Recently, Cai Be floating market is becoming less crowded and smaller as fruit trading is mostly now done by trucks due to the bridge being built. However, this is still a great opportunity to see a local market and the trade being conducted traditionally on a smaller scale.The market is set to the backdrop of miles of paddy fields punctuated mostly by agricultural holdings although there is a huge Catholic cathedral on the riverside that is worth a visit.

    We journey back to Saigon and then in the afternoon will transfer 1 hour to the town of Thu Dau Mout for our final cookery class with Dang Phuong Nguyen, a renowned local chef! Here we have the chance to cook in an open kitchen in a fruit garden where Dang Phuong will show us around the garden sampling seasonal fruits and where we can hand pick vegetables, herbs and chicken eggs for the cooking class. After our cooking class, we shall enjoy all the dishes we have prepared as our group final dinner before returning to Saigon.

    Huong Sen Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    End Saigon

    For land only clients, the trip ends this morning after breakfast.

    For those on group flights these depart late in the evening so there will be a full free day at leisure to continue exploring the frenetic city of Ho Chi Minh. There will be some optional acitivies for those who would like to partake; you may wish to admire the view from the Bitexco Financial Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam or visit the famous Cu Chi tunnels. Used by the Viet Cong during the war, the network covers 3 levels and approximately 240km of tunnels. Traditionally these were very narrow but some areas have been widened to allow tourists to explore the system. Claustrophobes may prefer to stay outside in the sunshine!

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



A visa is no longer needed for British, German, French, Spanish and Italian citizens travelling to Vietnam (for all purposes) for a period of up to 15 days, and on the basis of meeting all conditions prescribed by Vietnamese laws. The visa exemption period will end on 30 June 2021. All other nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam and this must be obtained prior to departure.

For further information please check the FCO site and check under Vietnam / 'Entry Requirements'. If you have any questions about whether you need a visa for your trip please contact the Customer Operations department.



There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Polio, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Diphtheria. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

9 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners are included.

Thanks to the tropical climate, the long coast and the gigantic range of mountains, Vietnam is blessed with numerous varieties of culinary offerings and consequently maintains its reputation as one of the healthiest cuisines in the world that still packs a punch with delicious, fresh and fiery flavours.

Vietnamese food relies on fresh fish, vegetables, rice and a whole myriad of verdant herbs and spices; lemongrass, ginger, basil and lime all play an important role in the cuisine. The Chinese and French influence is felt throughout the country where you are just as likely to be offered a Banh Mi (stuffed baguette) as you are a hot steaming bowl of Pho (noodle soup).

Each dish is prepared with the Asian principle of Wu Xing in mind (the five elements); meaning that the perfect combination of spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet is the ultimate aim. Be sure to also seek out the national beverages; Vietnamese coffee is served iced and sweet with condensed milk, a real sugar and caffeine hit, and beer hoi (local beer, brewed daily) is served on most street corners in the North out of large plastic jugs that are perfect for sharing.

Food is cheap in Vietnam and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the night in the Mekong Delta.

Vegetarian food is widely available, however the offering will be fairly similar in most places. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.


The weather will be hot and humid throughout with temperatures during the day usually between 28ºC and 34ºC. It is only a little cooler at nights.

There is quite a range of seasons between the north and the south: the south up to Hue has a distinct dry season between December to April and then a rainy season from May to November when it tends to come in short heavy bursts with bright sunshine in between. Hanoi is cool in autumn, and even gets chilly between November and February (with a drizzly rain).

There is no ideal time to visit Vietnam; it is quite pleasant at any time of year, though due to the shape of the country it is unlikely that the weather will ever be perfect for the entire duration of any trip.

Please be aware that the boat trip on Halong Bay can be subject to short notice change if certain adverse weather conditions develop during your trip. These could occur all year round, but especially in monsoon season (from October to April). Boat trips on Halong Bay are governed by the local authorities who are authorised to make such appropriate safety decisions. If your Halong Bay trip is affected by adverse weather, this could either result in a reduced excursion on Halong Bay for your group, or less likely, the need to re-arrange the itinerary if it is not possible at all to go out on Halong Bay. Whilst this is not a frequent occurrence, our local team and leaders are well equipped to handle such situations and have long offered appropriate options to groups in the instances where this may occur.



Is this trip for you?

This trip is rated Activity Level 1- Leisurely

This is a busy itinerary that visits the main highlights of Vietnam. We travel by private minibus and we take two internal flights to allow you to experience as much as possible of this beautiful and diverse county in a short space of time. Some of the days can be fairly long and tiring. We use mostly 3 star hotels throughout our tour. The weather can be hot and humid and cold in the winter months in the north around Hanoi and Halong Bay. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels, homestay and overnight boat

You will spend 7 nights in comfortable hotels, 1 night on a boat with twin share cabins, all en suite and 1 night in a standard homestay guesthouse to experience some 'Mekong Delta' hospitality,

En suite facilities are not available on the night at the homestay guesthouse and rooms here sleep 1-3 a room (depending on group size), next to a local house.

All of the hotels have either fans or air conditioning. Please note that double beds are not always widely available in South East Asia.

Please be advised that the accommodation listed in each location on the day to day itinerary are the standard hotels used. However, there may be some departures where groups stay at similar hotels of the same standard and quality.

Single supplements are available (on request) for 7 nights of the trip (hotel nights only). Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Call for general departures:
+356 21423994
Call for tailor made trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Lesley Bird

    Vietnam - Food Adventure

    Just returned from this amazing holiday! Wonderful country with lovely people. Our guide, Phi, was brilliant - he was so knowledgeable about his country and enthusiastic to share it with us - I cannot recommend him enough. There were 11 of us in our group and we all bonded together so well. The accommodation was much better than I was expecting and always in central locations easy to get around to the main sights of the town. I had not experienced a cookery holiday before and it really helped to give confidence sampling unusual fruits and foods from the street markets before we went to our lessons to try to make the same again! Thank you

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Koto cookery school. Giving such inspiring youngers a great chance to have a future.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phi Hoang was considerate and observant of all levels of ability in the group, whether it was cycling; walking; cookery school, he ensured that no one was disadvantaged and we bonded as a group. He was very personable and showed a great depth of knowledge of his country which he was keen to share with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy the experience! Wear good walking shoes and take a water bottle.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Angela Buchanan

    Vietnam Food Adventure

    This was my first time visiting Vietnam (visited March 2017) and based on my first experience I would definately visit again. I can honestly say the whole group of people were lovely. My group consists of two couples and seven solo travellers. One member of the group joined us from New Zealand.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The first day of my trip was truly inspirational in that it was a great way to start my holiday on a food tour of Hanoi the group walked around Hanoi tasting and experiencing different foods, most of which we had never tried before, the food was simply delicious. The boat stay in Halong Bay was amazing

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phuong our group leader - what a lovely man. So knowledgable about his country & very patient, the amount of times I enquired about cooking utensils and where I could purchase things was never too much trouble, he was like a family member.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Food adventure tours are simply great for solo travellers. You meet so many lovely people (food in general brings people together - this is the common bond for taking a food adventure vacation). Vietnam is a lovely country to visit.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Please Exodus more food adventure holidays.
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Hazel ledgard

    Vietnam Food Adventure

    Just come back from Vietnam.I had been there twice before and this trip proved to be a new way of looking at the country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We loved walking through the markets in Hanoi and trying out different food. The three cooking classes were excellent and showed how varied the food is in different regions. We ate in local restaurants,including a roadside cafe on the way to the Mekong Delta where we were the only westerners. The meals on the boat in Halong Bay were wonderful and at the homestay. Everywhere, we saw how important food is to understanding more about Vietnamese culture.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phoung was amazing.He showed us so much about the culture of his country. He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go there and enjoy it too.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful trip - Exodus should think about doing more food experiences - I think that they would be equally good.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Susan Sargeant

    Vietnam Food Adventure

    First time the trip had run, but everyone in the group enjoyed it. The cooking lessons were well run and great fun. The weather was unexpectedly cold and very wet in Hanoi and Halong Bay, and it is worth taking very warm clothing. All the places we stayed, especially in Hoi An, were excellent, and the time we spent in the Mekong Delta and the homestay were my favourite days. Don't miss the Opera House in Saigon for a superb local show. Overall an excellent holiday, and Bon a really good leader.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the staff in the cooking schools, and the day spent in the Mekong Delta

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Bon was inspirational, always cheerful and exceedingly helpful and knowlegeable

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take warm clothing for Hanoi. When they say it may be cold, it really is!5

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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