Thailand & Vietnam – A Gourmet Adventure – 16 Day

Southeast Asia > Thailand and Vietnam

Home to Michelin starred restaurants and celebrity chefs, feast your way around Thailand and Vietnam with this unique trip that features unknown artisanal eateries while visiting iconic historic sights!

 

Escorted by expert foodie guides in each city, you will explore lesser known traditional neighborhoods, authentic local markets and sample delicious street food that you will never try on your own!

Enjoy fun cooking experiences with various local chefs, learn about the original story of Sriracha Sauce and sample some of the best local craft beers.

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Day 1: ARRIVE IN BANGKOK WITH FAST TRACK SERVICE

Upon arrival at Bangkok Airport, an airport representative will greet you at the landing gate with your names on a signboard.

You will then be lead through fast track immigration counters for immigration procedures followed by baggage collection.

After clearing customs, your guide will be waiting at arrival hall and assist with a private transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at Riva Surya Bangkok (Breakfast)

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Day 2: GRAND PALACE, TEMPLES & ARTISAN HOT SAUCE MAKER

This morning, meet your guide for a tour of the Grand Palace with the Emerald Buddha and the famous Wat Po Temple. Constructed in 1782, the Grand Palace in Bangkok is one of the most important highlights as it was a former residence for King Rama I to King Rama V of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Today, the place is used for hosting royal ceremonies and welcoming the king’s guests, State guests, and other foreign dignitaries. You will explore two main zones, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the former royal residence. Located south of the Grand Palace, Wat Po is the most iconic temple in Bangkok and also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and the famous 150 ft. long reclining Buddha. It is also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced in the temple. Afternoon, you will enjoy lunch at a famous local restaurant (closed on Monday) specializing in “Chicken Movie with See Ra Cha” aka fried crispy skin with sriracha sauce. Continue to a very old traditional grocery shop selling the exclusive Gold Medal Brand sriracha sauce.

Overnight at Riva Surya Bangkok (Breakfast, Lunch)

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Day 3: DAY TRIP TO CHONBURI AND SI RACHA

Today you will visit local markets and have a cooking class with a local celebrity chef known for her sensational oyster omelet and Pad Thai. Meet your guide this morning for the drive to Chonburi province, about 90 minutes. You will arrive first at the local fresh market of Si Racha town, see an amazing fresh array of local fresh produce and the most famous brand of sriracha sauce made in this city.Then meet up with Aunty Nid, the Master chef of Si Racha. You will learn from her the secret cooking techniques of her famous dishes: Thai oyster omelet, Pad Thai and her personal blend of Sriracha Sauce. Aunty Nid does not speak English but your guide will assist with translation. After your class, you will enjoy your delicious creation for lunch. Afternoon, explore Nong Mon Market to shop for traditional desserts. Explore bustling aisles selling traditional Khao Lam, large bamboo tubes filled with sweet sticky rice made with coconut cream. Continue to a very old market street at Ang Sila district, admire traditional architecture and small grocery stores that are fast vanishing in big cities. If time permits, stop by a big fresh seafood market to see the huge variety of local delicacies from local waters before returning back to Bangkok.

Overnight at Riva Surya Bangkok (Breakfast)

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Day 4: THONBURI FOOD & CANALS ADVENTURE

Meet your specialist foodie guide this morning at your hotel lobby for a private transfer to Thonburi, located on the other side of Chao Praya River. We highly recommend NOT having any breakfast as you will be eating almost non-stop throughout this tour! Starting first at Talat Phlu, this famous local neighborhood is renowned among local foodies. Visit a local fresh market while tasting authentic Thai breakfast snacks from street vendors. Then take a short boat ride along a river canal to Bang Luang to visit a famous artist home where you will sample another 2 famous local dishes at nearby small eateries, including the award winning “Choo Chee River Prawn”. Hop on back to your private boat and cruise to Wat Rakang area where you will visit one of the temples frequented by locals for blessing rituals. Your final stop will be the enormous Wang Lang Market where you will join mostly local office workers grabbing lunch from tons of small eateries, street vendors while shopping for fashion accessories or clothing. Here you will sit down in a very famous local restaurant to sample a variety of regional dishes from Central and Northeastern regions of Thailand. It’s a guarantee no one leaves the tour feeling hungry! Back to your hotel after the tour and rest of the day is free to indulge in a relaxing massage at your resort.

Overnight at Riva Surya Bangkok (Breakfast)

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Day 5: FLY TO CHIANG MAI FAMOUS GRANDMA'S KHAO SOY & EVENING PRIVATE FOODIE TOUR BY BIKE

Meet your guide this morning for a transfer to airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival at Chiang Mai, you will be welcomed by your guide and proceed to lunch at a famous street vendor “Grandma’s Khao Soy”, a classic Chiang Mai dish, curry-based noodle soup served with chicken and picked cabbage. (available only Mon to Sat, 10am to 2pm). Hear from the chef various ingredients used in this iconic dish. This evening at about 5:15pm, you will be transferred to a bike shop to meet your specialist biking foodie guide. You will be biking mostly along back alleys with limited traffic. Some sections will be on the main road, but your guide will assist with helping you to cross any junction with traffic. Your first stop is a small temple to learn about local Buddhist practices. Then continue riding to a local market unknown to most tourists. Here you will feast with your eyes and mouth as your guide introduce you to an array of colorful local snacks, fresh tropical fruits and sample over 10 different traditional Lanna dishes. Dinner will be served local family style at a food stall in the market. After the feast, hop back on to your bikes and head to a charming former old Thai-Chinese residence along the river, now converted to a restaurant. Stop here for a famous Thai dessert and tea before cycling back to the bike shop. Transfer by car back to your hotel after the tour.

Overnight at Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort (Breakfast, Dinner)

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Day 6: DOI SUTHEP, WARORAT MARKET & AFTERNOON VILLAGE COOKING CLASS

Rise early this morning for a special alms offering ritual with monks. Then continue to the famous Doi Suthep hill top temple (before the crowds arrive) and a secret scenic spot for a picnic breakfast. Continue to Warorot Market, stop by a famous shop selling freshly made Thai style Chinese Crullers, locally known as Pa Tong Kho. It is normally eaten with a hot drink such as soymilk, tea or coffee in the morning. At this famous food stall, you will sample artisanal fried cruller in cute animal shapes such as elephant, crocodiles and even a dinosaur! Then off to market to shop interesting selection of local snacks, herbal tea and dehydrated fruits. Afternoon at 3pm, your driver will pick you up and head out about 20minutes outside of the city. You will meet a very friendly local Raunkaew-Yanon family who arrived in the area possibly on the back of an elephant, almost 150 years ago. See their traditional homes with teak wood and maintaining the natural surroundings in a way now rarely seen in Chiang Mai. You will learn more about their traditional culture, way of living and the architecture of a traditional Thai house. The family orchard has many types of fruits such as banana, mango and coconut. Together with your hosts, you will learn to cook authentic Northern Thailand dishes. After your hard work in the kitchen, you will enjoy a sumptuous meal before returning to your hotel. (Note: The visit around the family compound is done in a group tour led by a family member, but you will have a private cooking class in the kitchen area.)

Overnight at Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort (Breakfast, Dinner)

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Day 7: FULL DAY KAREN HILLTRIBE VILLAGE AND ELEPHANT CAMP

After breakfast, meet your guide and proceed first at the local market to buy some feeding food for your elephants. Then continue on a scenic 2-hour drive along rolling hills, charming views of villages and temples around the countryside of Chiang Mai. Pay a visit to the Maewang waterfall, one of the most beautiful places of the Maewang National park. It's possible to have a quick swim if you wish. Continue next to the dazzling chapel of the Wat Tham Phranon, known as the cave of the reclining Buddha. Then take a short hike (45min or 2 hours, your choice) in the jungle, passing by rice fields to visit the Karen hill tribe people at Baan Thung Luang village. Learn about the Karen culture and their life style. To experience the local life of the Karen villagers, a special picnic lunch will be served here where food will be cooked served in bamboo stems and banana leaves. After lunch continue to an elephant camp. The Karen people are experts with elephant training. You will meet a Karen instructor to learn some basic commands and learn more about the background story of your elephants. You will then accompany the elephants for a stroll along the beautiful trail in the forest while they feast on favorite food; grass and sugarcane. Later, enjoy a bathing session with your elephant in the river before returning to Chiang Mai. Arrive back at your hotel around 6pm.

Overnight at Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

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Day 8: FLY TO HANOI WITH FAST TRACK SERVICE EVENING BEER CRAWL

Meet your guide this morning for a transfer to airport for flight to Hanoi Upon arrival at Hanoi Airport, you will be welcomed by an airport representative who will assist with expediated immigration fast track service. After clearing customs, meet your guide at arrival hall. From the airport, it takes about 30min to reach the Old Quarters. Along the way, stop at Bun Cha Huong Lien, known affectionately as Bun Cha Obama by locals. Enjoy a delicious bowl of fresh grilled pork with rice vermicelli, a dish made world famous after the visit of President Obama and the late Anthony Bourdain in 2016. Continue to your hotel for check-in. At sundown, meet your guide for special beer crawl. Unknown to most, Hanoi is home to a great selection of craft beers in several unique microbreweries! This evening, you will explore lesser known neighborhoods. Along the way, sample 12 different local craft beers over 5 stops at local microbreweries and bars, including an authentic local experience at a local beer store to enjoy “Bia Hoi Hanoi” a popular fresh beer enjoyed by most locals on the streets. Local finger foods will be included to compliment your beer feast. Transfer back to hotel by car after the tour.

Overnight at Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi (Breakfast)

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Day 9: OLD QUARTERS FOODIE WALK AND CITY TOUR

This morning, visit the Old Quarters filled with local shops, residential areas and interesting local food vendors operating along foot pavements. Explore narrow alleys and see how multiple families share limited residential space in this historic area. Walk along railway tracks running through a residential area and see typical local life. During your walk, you will also stop at street side vendors and small local eateries to sample some iconic local dishes including Chao Ga (chicken congee), Banh Cuon (streamed rice rolls filled with minced pork), Cha Gio (deep-fried spring rolls) and Bun Cha (grilled pork with rice vermicelli). Your trip will end at a famous café that is only known among locals and enjoy a steaming cup of “Egg Coffee” while a local artist demonstrates “To He”, a traditional art in making figurines with rice flour. Afternoon, visit the French Quarter and discover why this city is called the “Paris of the East”. Head over to the Presidential Palace and other iconic sights include His House on Stilts, One Pillar Pagoda and the famed Temple of Literature. If your visit falls over the weekends (Friday to Sunday), you can stroll easily on your own from your hotel to Hoan Kim Lake where the streets are converted to walking streets and lively night markets from 7pm.

Overnight at Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi (Breakfast)

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Day 10: FLY TO DANANG & DRIVE 30MIN TO HOI AN - EVENING WALKING TOUR OF OLD TOWN

Meet your guide for a transfer to the airport for a flight to Danang. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your guide and proceed on a 30min drive to the coastal town of Hoi An. Meet your guide later this afternoon for a walking tour of the old town of Hoi An, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights include an ancient merchant house, the Phuc Kien Assembly Hall, the 400-year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the vibrant riverside market. After visiting the famous sites, you will get to feast at small local restaurants in the Old Town. Sample famous dishes like Cau Lau (rice noodle tossed with special sauce and stewed pork), White Rose (steamed dumplings) and other iconic dishes. This is a chance to sample unique Vietnamese dishes found only in the town of Hoi An. After dinner, you can continue explore the vibrant night market on your own.

Overnight at Anantara Hoi An Resort (Breakfast)

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Day 11: HALF DAY KIM BONG ARTISAN VILLAGE CYCLING TRIP

This morning, enjoy an easy cycling trip around Kim Bong Village. The carpenters' village of Kim Bong is situated on the other side of the Thu Bon River where carpenters use traditional methods to create a variety of wooden statues, furniture and tools. Explore the village and surrounding area on bicycles, weaving our way through small hamlets. See a number of traditional handicrafts including coracle boat makers, mat weavers and some ancestral temples, dating back several hundred years. Visit Thanh Ha pottery village before returning to Hoi An. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore on your own or visit a tailor. Hoi An is well known for its custom tailormade clothing at reasonable prices.

Overnight at Anantara Hoi An Resort (Breakfast)

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Day 12: FULL DAY EXPERIENCE WITH LOCAL FARMERS & COOKING CLASS

This morning, you will meet friendly local fishermen at coconut palm area. Hop on their boat to learn crabbing and fishing techniques, after continue to a fisherman’s home to see authentic local life. This afternoon, you will spend time at a local organic herb farm to learn organic farming methods, see the large variety of fresh herbs grown in Hoi An and enjoy a fun cooking demonstration on unique local dishes:
• Secret family dish “Steamed free range chicken with herbs”
• Tam Huu Spring Rolls
• Clay Pot Fish with organic herb
• Lemongrass shrimp in saffron
• Roasted duck with special sauce
This extensive cooking session is suitable for people who are interested in unique traditional Central Vietnamese cuisine that is not available outside of this region.

Overnight at Anantara Hoi An Resort (Breakfast)

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Day 13: FLY TO SAIGON - AFTERNOON CITY TOUR

Transfer to Danang Airport for a flight to Saigon. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Reunification Palace, the former Presidential Palace of the Southern Vietnamese Government before 1975. Proceed for photo opportunities at some of the most iconic colonial buildings in the city, including the Central Post Office, City Hall and Opera House. Head up to the observation deck at the new Bitexco Financial building for a bird's eye view of Saigon at 627 feet high. If opportunity permits, visit a private museum of war photography by Mr. Hoang Van Cuong, a former United Press International photojournalist during the war. Most American journalists departed with the US Embassy staff when North Vietnamese troops took over Saigon on April 30, 1975. Mr. Cuong was one of the few journalists who stayed behind and documented this momentous period with his photos. Listen to his encounters with combat troops and imprisonment in a re-education camp for seven years. If you are interested in antiques, Mr. Cuong also has an extensive collection to show. He is one of the leading collectors in Vietnam known to have the most valuable collection.

Overnight at Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel (Breakfast)

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Day 14: PRIVATE MEKONG DELTA DAY CRUISE

In the morning drive about 1.5hours towards the Mekong Delta region to explore the quiet waterways of Ben Tre province. Upon arrival, begin your exploration with a motorized trishaw ride on deserted country roads. You will then board your boat and cruise along the river to visit a brick yard. Continue with a sampan (small row boat) to visit a local house to enjoy seasonal fresh fruit and see rice noodle production. Switch to a bicycle to visit other local houses making rice paper and sampan boats. You might be able to visit a former Vietcong soldier who survived two years fighting the Khmer Rouge. Enjoy lunch at a riverside restaurant before visiting a neighbor who is a famous for producing sticky rice. Then return to your boat and cruise back to the dock where you will be transferred to your hotel in Saigon.

Overnight at Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel (Breakfast)

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Day 15: HALF DAY SOUTHERN FOODIE EXPERIENCE

Skip breakfast this morning at your hotel and start the day at a colorful wholesale flower market followed by a classic Saigon style Banh Mi for breakfast at a popular street vendor. A chance to make your own Banh Mi if the vendor is not busy. Explore busy market alleys to sample more local food: seafood noodle soup, fried banana, fresh spring roll Saigon style and Che, a Vietnamese sweet dessert with fruits, beans, jelly, coconut milk, nuts. Digest it all with a Ca Phe Sua da - a classic Saigon iced coffee with sweet condensed milk. Continue to Cholon, the Chinatown district. Explore the back alleys dedicated to traditional Chinese culture, see local shops selling traditional Chinese medicine, herbs and opera costumes. Visit FITO Museum to learn about Chinese herbal medicine, continue to Phu Dinh alley to see the last remaining colonial buildings in Saigon and Phuoc An Assembly Hall. For lunch, you will stop at a famous local food joint catering only to locals, sample local dim sum and a noodle dish. Transfer back to your hotel after the tour and rest of the day is free to explore on your own.

Overnight at Liberty Central Saigon Riverside Hotel (Breakfast)

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Day 16: DEPART SAIGON

Transfer to airport for departing flight home or onward journey.

(Breakfast)

Accommodations

RIVA SURYA BANGKOK

Situated along the Chao Phraya River and surrounded by heritage sites like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, Riva Surya Bangkok is just minutes walk from local restaurants and the bustling Khao San Road filled with numerous cafes, bars, restaurants and night street vendors. This modern boutique hotel in Bangkok features 68 beautifully designed rooms, elegant dining options, a riverside swimming pool and a spa.

NA NIRAND ROMANTIC BOUTIQUE RESORT

Located by the riverside, Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort offers atmospheric rooms fitted with locally made wooden furniture and modern amenities. The outdoor swimming pool is perfectly designed for indulgent relaxation and a relaxing restaurant with peaceful views of the Ping River. Boasting modern Northern Thai style, all rooms at this property feature an air conditioning, flat-screen TV and comfortable seating area. The popular Chiang Mai Night Bazaar is just a 12-minute walk away.

HOTEL DE L’OPERA HANOI

Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi is boutique luxury hotel located in the center of Hanoi, just 3 minutes walk from Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter where the weekend market is. Hotel features 107 rooms and suites hand picked luxurious amenities and stylish modern furnishing. The hotel also has restaurants, bar, four-season swimming pool and free wifi.

ANANTARA HOI AN RESORT

Anantara Hoi An Resort boasts an enviable setting, about half a mile from the historic quarter of Hoi An, in lush gardens fronting the Thu Bon River. Boutique luxury offers 94 rooms with riverfront dining, blissful spa journeys, and sunset river cruises. Stroll along the promenade past small cafes, and into the charming UNESCO World Heritage Site.

LIBERTY CENTRAL SAIGON RIVERSIDE HOTEL

  • Meet & assist at airports with transfers between the airports and hotels
  • Accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast basis
  • Surface transportation per itinerary by air-conditioned vehicle with driver
  • Private tours per the itinerary with the services of local English-speaking guides unless otherwise stated in itinerary.
  • Entrance fees to listed sights and activities
  • Meals per itinerary
  • In-country flights in Economy Class including 20kg (44 lbs) check-in luggage per person
  • Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Mai to Hanoi
  • Hanoi to Danang
  • Danang to Saigon
  • Visa fees and visa arrangement for Vietnam
  • International airfare to/from Thailand & Vietnam
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Beverages during meals
  • Tipping
  • Personal expenses (like laundry and internet connection at hotels)