Finding Pho' In Vietnam
Savour Vietnam through its food.
Black Swan Journeys takes you through the land of compelling culture and beauty, which happens to be intrinsically woven with its cuisine. This curated food trail taps the pulse of the local cuisine, helps you unravel some secret recipes and introduces you to the finest crafted beers. A food trail that promises to bring out the foodie in you!
Date: 25th Nov-2nd Dec 2017
Highlights of the event -
Guided street food trail in Hanoi
Cooking lesson at a local home in Hanoi
Beer trail in Hanoi
Luxury cruise at UNESCO listed Ha Long Bay
Cooking class at Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An
A treasure hunt through the streets of Hoi An
Interaction with a War Veteran at Cu Chi Tunnels
Night Vespa foodie trail through the streets of Saigon
Morning arrival at the Hanoi airport where our local guide would be present for reception. Transfer to your hotel in the city central. Some free time after a long flight.
(Note: Hotel check-in time is 14:00. Early check-in is not included.)
16:00hrs - Embark on a guided tour to the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long – a UNESCO listed World Heritage site, it is an intriguing relic of Vietnam’s history. It houses excavated artifacts dating way back to 6th century.
Post this visit we embark on our first culinary adventure here, continue a short drive (approx. 10 minutes) to Truc Bach Lake, to taste “Pho Cuon” (Stuffed pancake) at Hung Ben Shop. Next, drive to Old Quarter central for a walking tour through streets and taste “Nom Bo Kho” (dry beef salad), “Nem Rán” (Fried Spring Roll), “Phở”, Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich). And end the tour with a famous Vietnamese coffee - “Ca phe trung” (egg coffee).
Return to your stay. Overnight at hotel in Hanoi at La Siesta Hotel & Spa or similar
Day 2 - Sun.26 Nov: HANOI – HOME VISIT & COOKING CLASS – BEER TRAIL (B,L,D)
Breakfast at the hotel
08:30hrs - Depart from the hotel’s lobby for your cooking class at a local’s home. Go with the host to a local market to buy ingredients and fresh foods. Walk back to the house. Join the host to cook stew fish, fresh spring roll, and papaya salad. Enjoy your preparation for lunch whilst sharing life experience and customs with the host.
After lunch, say goodbye to the host. Drive back to city central to visit the Temple of Literature – a complex originally built as a center of learning and dedicated to the Chinese saint, Confucius. With new buildings added over the century and beautiful landscaped garden, it is an oasis of sorts.
Then, head for our Beer Trail, riding pillion on a motorbike (15:00 – 19:00)
You will be picked-up by our riders as you snake through the backstreets and taste local beers at -
Nhat Chieu beer shop: Stop at a local beer shop located along the West Lake, sit on the regular plastic chairs, enjoy the easy vibe with a draft beer and roasted peanuts.
Habeco factory: Stop at the oldest beer factory of Hanoi, Habeco. Try different types of Hanoi beer and enjoy delicious snacks. You also have a chance to visit B52 Lake, one of the most interesting destinations in Hanoi.
Ong Ich Khiem beer shop: Stop at the largest SaiGon beer shop, experience the special flavors of the best beers from the South of Vietnam (draft beer, bottled beer, keg beer). Pass by the Hanoi flag tower and the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum. Goldmalt Tran Phu and Legend beer Hoan Kiem (Microbreweries): Stop at these two places for different beer tastings with a snack.
End the day with mouthwatering dinner at a local restaurant
Return to your stay. Overnight at a hotel in Hanoi - at La Siesta Hotel & Spa or similar
DAY 3 - Mon.27 Nov: HANOI - HALONG (B, L, D)
Breakfast at the hotel
8:00a.m- Depart from your hotel’s lobby. Drive 163km ~ 3.5 hours to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site – where thousands of spectacular limestone islets and grottoes rise from the clear emerald Gulf of Tonkin
12:00 - Arrive at Bhaya Cruise Centre at Tuan Chau Island
12:45 - Board the cruise. Enjoy welcome drinks during a quick briefing of the itinerary and safety information by Cruise Manager
13:00 - Let the excursion begin with a lunch buffet as the boat cruises towards South East Halong Bay
14:30 - Visit Dark and Bright Cave by a rowing boat
16:00 - Swim at our exclusive platform in Dark and Bright Cave area
17:00 - Traditional Vietnamese cooking and fruit carving demonstration on the sundeck (in restaurant in case of inclement weather) while the boat cruises to overnight anchorage area
17:30 - Bar opens for the Happy Hour "Buy one get one free"
18:00 - The boat cruises back through the bay to its overnight anchorage in Ho Dong Tien area
19:00 - Sumptuous set menu dinner will be served in the restaurant
21:00 - Relax in your cabin or join our staff at the reception for squid fishing (Note: Itinerary is subject to change without prior notice according to weather conditions or local administration regulations.)
Overnight on-board the cruise – Bhaya Classic or similar.
DAY 4 – Tue.28 Nov: HALONG BAY – HANOI – DANANG – HOI AN (Brunch/-/D) – flight ~ 1700hrs
06:15 - Early start for a Tai Chi demonstration on the sundeck
07:00 - Light breakfast will be served in the restaurant
07:45 - Explore Surprise Cave - one of the biggest caves in Halong with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites
09:00 - Back to the boat for check-out. Brunch is served in the restaurant while the boat heads to the harbor
09:30 - Time for checking-out and settling bill at the reception desk
10:30 - Disembark at Bhaya Cruise Centre, Tuan Chau Marina. Transfer 154km ~ 4 hours to Noi Bai airport in Hanoi for a flight to Danang City.
On arrival in Danang, transfer to Hoi An City (40 mins drive)
Dinner in a restaurant
After dinner, check-in at the hotel and relax.
Overnight in Hoi An at Little Hoi An Central or similar.
DAY 5 – Wed.29 Nov: HOI AN – COOKING CLASS (B, L, D - at cooking class)
Breakfast at the hotel
Later we start with a morning guided heritage walking through Hoi An Ancient Town. Visit the Japanese covered bridge, Chinese assembly hall, a typical Vietnamese merchant’s house, one of the interesting museums and the local market. There are numerous art galleries, souvenir and tailor shops where you can get some express made-to-order clothes if you like.
Lunch at a local restaurant.
Afternoon cooking class at Red Bridge Cooking School
Meet the chef at Hai Café, walk with the chef to visit Hoi An’s colorful market, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local sellers and learn about all the ingredients to be used in the cooking lesson later.
We board the Red Bridge boat for a leisurely cruise (25 minutes) along the Hoi An River to the Red Bridge Cooking School. This is a chance to view local river life, so make sure your camera is handy.
On arrival, we explore the cooking school’s herb garden, before learning about some of Hoi An’s and Vietnam’s well-known dishes.
The cooking lesson runs for about 2 hours – the Red Bridge chefs first demonstrate each dish before we prepare the same dish ourselves. Included in the class is a brief introduction to Vietnamese food carving (plate decoration). After the lesson, we sit down and eat what we have cooked.
Bring your swimsuit and after the cooking tour has finished relax and enjoy free use of the 20m swimming pool - towels and showers provided.
Return to your stay. Overnight in Hoi An at Little Hoi An Central or similar.
DAY 6 – Thu.30 Nov: HOI AN – TREASURE HUNT (B, L)
Breakfast at the hotel
08:00 - Start from your hotel. “The Duel in Hoi An” is a new way to discover some of the most famous places in Hoi An city and its countryside. It’s a test of your navigational, investigative and negotiation skills. Through this Treasure Hunt/team challenge, you will explore Hoi An and its countryside, learning interesting things about some of the most famous places and, of course, having a lots of fun!
In order to fulfill your mission, you will have to find specific places in Hoi An (using a map) and answer various questions. Some of the questions and/or tasks will require you to take some pictures or try traditional interaction with the local people. Once you have completed your mission, you will meet our tour guide to check and correct your answers (and photos). When everyone finishes and all answers have been checked and corrected, the guide will announce the winner who will receive a traditional gift.
Have a refreshing drink before having local lunch at a restaurant
Return to your hotel after lunch and have a free afternoon
Evening is free for you to explore this historic center at leisure.
Overnight in Hoi An at Little Hoi An Central or similar.
DAY 7 – Fri.1 Dec: HOI AN – DANANG – HO CHI MINH – CU CHI TUNNEL (B,L, D – street food)
Early breakfast at the hotel
06:40a.m - Driver transfers you back to Danang airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City.
Arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, drive 2 hours straight to Cu Chi tunnels
Lunch en-route at a local restaurant
After lunch, visit Cu Chi tunnel, through urbanized areas and a typically lush southern Vietnamese countryside. The tunnel complex was dug in 1948 for the guerrillas to hide from French air and ground sweeps. It served as communication routes, food and weapon caches, hospitals and living quarters for guerrilla fighters throughout the War. Visit the underground villages to better understand the tunnels’ history, life in the tunnels and the Vietnamese’s resilience during the combats. Interact with a Vietnamese war veteran who shares with you his experiences.
17:00 - Check-in your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, relax and freshen-up.
City nightlife & foodie by vintage Vespa scooter (18:30 – 20:30) – JOIN IN GROUP TOUR RIDING PILLION
This Saigon night tour is part night excursion, part street food adventure.
Experience Saigon nightlife the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter.
18:30- Drivers pick up guests from the hotel and first stop is at Café zoom to "watch the world go by" (quoted by The Lonely Planet) and enjoy cocktail and appetizer (inclusive) before adventuring into favorite local eating spot. Guests experience the nightlife of Saigon the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. The tour will start with a ride to part Chinatown and then later heading to District 4 through busy streets and alleys to see the night life of locals and enjoy street seafood and cold drinks - places where foreigners would be sparsely found. Leaving district 4 to district 3 the tour passes through downtown district 1 to take in the sights on the way and sample Banh Xeo, a specialty of Saigon, and traditional southern food with the locals. Then the tour will continue to a hidden Vietnamese-style coffee shop to have a taste of Vietnamese music (live). After this the tour will bring guest to a lively bar to enjoy the drinks with live music. Guests ride pillion behind our riders.
Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City at Ben Thanh Boutique hotel or similar.
DAY 8 – Sat.2 Dec: HO CHI MINH CITY – DEPARTURE (B)
Breakfast at the hotel and enjoy your last few hours till it is time for your transfer to the airport for your departure flight home.
Note: Hotel check-out time is 14:00. Late check-out is not included.
Transfer services in air conditioned vehicle (except for leisure time or free day)
Entrance fees where applicable
Two internal flights:
- Hanoi – Danang
- Danang – Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)
Join Halong Bay boat – 1 night itinerary
Vespa tour in Ho Chi Minh City
Treasure hunt tour in Hoi An
Red Bridge cooking class in Hoi An
Street food tour in Hanoi
Meals as listed in the program B= Breakfast; L= Lunch & D = Dinner: pre-arranged at local restaurants based on local food with set menu (food only, exclude drinks at all type)
Tours with local English speaking guides
Vietnam Government taxes & service charges
Bottled mineral water and wet wipes in car on touring days
Services Black Swan Team member
Entrance fees, guide service during free time & other personal expenses
Surcharge for public holidays (if any)
Vietnam visa letter, visa assistance
Vietnam visa stamping fee at airport on arrival (currently 25usd/person, single entry, valid 1 month)
International airfare from/to Vietnam and departure tax
Internal airfares in the tour (please refer to the supplement quotation)
All other services not stated in the program.
Current service tax
Hanoi Airport, Vietnam
Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) Cảng hàng không quốc tế Nội Bài