Experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of Vietnam from the north of the country to the central coast. In the capital of Hanoi, you'll tour historic landmarks and embark on an eco-tour around countryside villages and tea plantations. After cruising the jade waters of Ha Long Bay, you'll head south to ancient Hoi An to explore its Ancient Town, enjoy food tours, and take a ride in a traditional basket boat down the river.


  • Explore the villages and tea plantations outside Hanoi
  • Cruise the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay
  • Go cycling and ride basketboats near Hoi An
  • Tour Hoi An's colorful Ancient Town

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi, Explore Hanoi
Day 2 Day Trip to Ba Vi Countryside & Cooking Class Hanoi
Day 3 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise, Master Cooking Class Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Morning Cruise, Transfer to Hoi An Hoi An
Day 5 Day Trip to Cam Thanh Village Hoi An
Day 6 Hoi An City & Food Tour Hoi An
Day 7 Free Day in Hoi An Hoi An
Day 8 Transfer to Da Nang, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi, Explore

Welcome to Hanoi

Welcome to Vietnam! The nation's capital of Hanoi has a long and storied history, as this area has been a regional capital since around the third century BCE. Since then, it has seen the rise of everything from empires to communist revolutions. Upon arrival at the airport, a personal driver will take you to your hotel in the city center.

Once you've settled in, feel free to head out on a self-guided tour. Spend the afternoon exploring the labyrinthine streets of the Old Quarter by foot or on a traditional three-wheeled cyclo, as you pass temples, French-colonial buildings, and Vietnamese "tube houses." These space-saving buildings can be as narrow as 6 feet (2 m) wide and 12 stories high. Later, perhaps head to the Pan Pacific Hotel's rooftop bar and sip cocktails amid spectacular sunset views over Tày Ho (West Lake).

Day 2: Day Trip to Ba Vi Countryside & Cooking Class

Explore the Vietnamese Countryside on a Ba Vi Eco Tour
Learn to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes

In the morning, you'll head west out of Hanoi on a full-day guided eco-tour of the beautiful Ba Vi countryside. Your first stop is Ri Village, where you'll enjoy welcome drinks and snacks with Mr. Duoc, a Vietnam War veteran and tea plantation owner. Listen to Mr. Duoc's stories about life during the war and visit his workshop and tea plantation, where you'll learn how to pick the best leaves.

Next, take a short drive to Moc Village, where Mrs. Chin will teach you how to cook Vietnamese dishes you'll enjoy for lunch in her tropical garden. Join Mrs. Chin for a walk around the village to visit families and learn how to make tofu, conical hats, and other regional products. Finish with an easy cycle through Vietnam's iconic rice paddies, followed by a Muong herbal foot bath, before returning to Hanoi.

Day 3: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Overnight Cruise, Master Cooking Class

The emerald waters of Ha Long Bay

Your driver will pick you up today for the three-hour drive to the coast and Ha Long Bay. Located on the Gulf of Tonkin, over 1,500 karst islets rise above jade waters and resemble the spine of some mythological creature ("ha long" actually translates to "descending dragon"). The unique beauty of this region is unlike anywhere else and thus has been bestowed with UNESCO World Heritage status.

Upon arrival at the marina, you'll board a multi-level cruise ship for an overnight tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. After settling into your cabin, head up to the deck, where a delicious seafood lunch awaits. Then, you can spend hours relaxing on the sun deck as the ship sails across glassy emerald waters to the most secluded corners of the bay. Later that afternoon, you'll stop at a secret cove for a swim and a kayak trip to explore hidden beaches and grottoes.

Return to the ship just in time to participate in a cooking masterclass offered by the onboard expert chef. During the workshop, you'll learn to make traditional specialties like nem (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) and enjoy them for dinner. Spend the remainder of the evening relaxing, or head out on a small boat for a bit of night fishing with the locals.

Day 4: Morning Cruise, Transfer to Hoi An

See more of Ha Long Bay

Wake up early and head to the deck for a sunrise tai chi session. Then sit down and enjoy breakfast in the open air as you cruise around towering karst islets. There will be a stop to explore another magnificent limestone sea cave before returning to port.

From there, transfer back to Hanoi and catch a 1.5-hour flight to the central coast and Hoi An. Sitting on the Thu Bon River, this historic city was a major trading port with the West from the 15th through the 19th centuries, attracting merchants from around the globe. Its international legacy is represented in the assortment of architectural styles in Hoi An's Ancient Town. Upon arrival, you'll transfer to your hotel and will have the rest of the night free.

Plan your trip to Vietnam
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 5: Day Trip to Cam Thanh Village

Cam Thanh Village
Ride a basketboat down the Thu Bon River
Early in the morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel, and the two of you'll embark on a bicycle ride to the country and along the riverbanks outside Hoi An. During this half-day excursion, you'll meander around farms and villages, stopping to chat with locals along the way.
You'll eventually arrive at the Tra Que Vegetable Village, which is something of a legend in the area. Here, over 100 farmers tend to gardens that produce the finest herbs and vegetables in the region. The kicker is that not only is all the produce grown organically, but the farmers do so using the same traditional methods they have for centuries. Once at the village, you'll meet the locals, take photos, and maybe join in gardening activities like sowing seeds and picking vegetables.
Continue the bike ride to the waterfront region of Cam Thanh, where you'll hop in a Vietnamese circular basket boat (called a thung chai) for a ride along the nipa palm forests of the Thu Bon River. You'll even get to try your hand at traditional net fishing. Afterward, have lunch on the waterfront before returning to your hotel in Hoi An.

Day 6: Hoi An City & Food Tour

Browse Hoi An's colorful markets on a food tour
Today, you get to enjoy a half-day guided city tour that combines Hoi An's historic highlights with its delectable cuisine. It's a foodie's dream, as the tour kicks off with breakfast from a local street food vendor followed by a leisurely stroll around Hoi An's Ancient Town. Here, you'll see some of the most impressive architectural landmarks in the city, including the arched Japanese Covered Bridge and the 19th-century Assembly Hall of the Chaozhou Chinese Congregation.
After all that walking, you'll no doubt have worked up an appetite. That's why next up is the Central Market, one of the busiest municipal markets in the city. At its food court, you can order delicious and cheap eats like fruit smoothies and noodle dishes. Be sure to try cao lao, a regional specialty. Within the market itself are vendors selling everything from fresh produce and crafts to toys and clothing. After browsing the market, you'll finish the experience by kicking your feet up and enjoying a welcome foot massage. Then you'll return to your hotel.

Day 7: Hoi An Free Day

Hoi An town
The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An

Today is yours to enjoy Hoi An however you like. Take a leisurely walk or rent a bicycle for a ride along the quiet streets (motorized vehicles are banned in the city). Later, perhaps get measured for a custom-made outfit (Hoi An is famous for its expert tailors) or head to one of the city's nearby white-sand beaches. For dinner, try local dishes such as com hen (sauteed clams), nem lui (ground pork), and cao lau (pork and greens).

Day 8: Transfer to Da Nang, Depart

Sunset over the river in Hoi An
Your brisk but action-packed holiday in Vietnam has unfortunately come to an end. In the morning, your driver will pick you up for the 30-minute ride north to the airport in Da Nang, where you'll catch your flight home. Until next time!

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Map of Food & Fun in Vietnam - 8 Days
Map of Food & Fun in Vietnam - 8 Days