Northern Vietnam is the cradle of Vietnamese civilization that dates back thousands of years and is home to Pho – the nation’s staple dish. North Vietnam food, in general, is much tamer more subtle than their Central and Northern cousins that are spicier and sweeter, respectively. The long history of occupation has resulted in Chinese and French gastronomy manifesting itself in Vietnamese cuisine, in addition to the utilization of indigenous cooking practice. Are you wondering what is on offer, other than Pho? Our 5-day exploration of North Vietnam food will give you the most candid idea of what authentic Vietnamese food tastes like, starting from the centuries-old Hanoi to one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature – Halong Bay.
Day 1: Hanoi Arrival
Meal: Dinner –Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
Upon arrival at Noi Bai Airport, you will be picked up and transferred to you hotel in the city. In the afternoon, you will engage in an orientation walk around Hanoi Old Quarter. Stay overnight in Hanoi.
Day 2: Hanoi Cooking Class – City Tour and Street Food
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner –Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
In the morning, you will be transferred to Hanoi Cooking Centre for a half-day cooking course for an immersive experience in the inextricably connection between traditional Vietnamese cooking and its culture. This is the best cooking center in Hanoi to gain a hands-on experience of Vietnamese cuisine, as its long-time expatriate owner has written many cookbooks about Vietnam’s best-known dishes. Sip a welcome tea upon arrival, as your chef and guide brief about the cooking class and dishes you’re about to make.
Walk to the nearby Chau Long Market and weave your way through hundreds of stalls selling everything from pumpkins to silkworms. Take in all the smells, sights, and sounds emblematic of everyday life here that have shaped the contours of Vietnamese cuisine, especially North Vietnam food. You might want to pause for some photographs with the vendors! Then, return to the centre for some hands-on experience knowing that the skills and traditional recipes you are going to learn will stay with you for the rest of your life. You also have the option of purchasing many of the tools and spices used during the class. Nothing feels more satisfying and rewarding than savoring your efforts, so sit down and enjoy the dishes you made with your own hands.
This afternoon, you will take a city tour to visit the historical Ho Chi Minh House complex, followed by the Temple of Literature – The Vietnam’s first University established in 1070 in honor of Confucius, his followers, and Chu Van An – an academic figure and the ancestor of Vietnamese education. In the late afternoon, our guide will take you around the Old Quarter, where you will get to enjoy 6 – 8 most authentic dishes for dinner in the company of friendly local people.
Day 3 : Hanoi – Halong – Cooking demonstration on cruise.
Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner –Accommodation: on Cruise
In the morning, you will be transferred to Ha Long Bay. It takes about 4 hours driving through the Red River Delta. Upon arrival in Ha Long Bay, you will be welcomed aboard and enjoy lunch while weaving through a myriad of islands and islets towering over and reflected off the emerald waters of Halong Bay. After lunch, take a short trek to a nearby summit for a birds’ eye view of the bay peppered with golden sails, and then proceed to a quiet beach for some swimming or kayaking, or just simply go back to the ship and sunbathe on the sundeck, whatever tickles your fancy. Later in the afternoon, pay a visit to a quaint fishing village and interact with fishermen who have been inhabited the bay for almost three generations. Go back on board and enjoy a drink while basking in the fading sunlight as dusk creeps over the horizon. There will be a cooking demonstration held on the sundeck teaching you how to make your own mouthwatering spring rolls. Dine and stay overnight on board.
Day 4: HA LONG BAY -THO HA VILLAGE – HANOI
Meal: Brunch–Accommodation: Hotel in Hanoi.
Kickstart your day with an early morning Tai Chi exercise and you will be rewarded with a brilliant sight of the sunrise over the bay. Coffee, tea, and breakfast pastries will be served in the dining room. Cruise to the Surprise Cave area before hopping on a tender for further exploration of the cave. This is one of two most beautiful caves in Ha Long Bay, featuring a rich collection of grotesque stalagmites and stalactites. It is really a wonder of nature. Back to the boat for a final glimpse of the Ha Long Bay while cruising back to the dock to enjoy a Set Menu or Buffet Brunch served in the dining room. Along the drive back to Hanoi, visit Tho Ha, a traditional village known for their terracotta products dating back the 20th century. Explore the village’s narrow and zigzagging alleys, as well as old houses constructed from broken pieces of old terracotta. We will have tea with a local family, enjoy a live folk music performance and learn the ancient art of rice paper making from local people. Visit a 500 year old pagoda as we stroll past the friendly villagers to a cemetery, and enjoy an expansive view of the village reflected off the waters of a beautiful lake. Drive back to Hanoi.
Day 5: HANOI – DEPARTURE
Meal: Breakfast – Accommodation: N/A
The morning is on your own arrangement before getting transferred to Noi Bai Airport for your departure flight, marking the end of your 5-day exploration of North Vietnam food.
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