What better way to enhance your travel experience in Vietnam than to engage with local experts in the fine arts, history, culture, cuisine and more? Take a look at the many customized options for Vietnam below!
HOMELY MINIATURE WATER PUPPETRY – HANOI
- Water puppetry is a unique art that originated in the rice paddies of Vietnamese farmlands. Visit a local village near Hanoi to meet with a water puppet artisan who has been involved in the craft his entire life. Listen to his stories of introducing Vietnamese water puppets to other countries, and nally watch a short private water puppet show in his home.
GOOD MORNING HANOI BY CYCLO – HANOI
- Early morning, meet your guide at the hotel and take a cyclo ride to Ba Dinh Square to witness the daily Vietnam National Flag Raising ceremony. Continue your ride along some of Hanoi’s most impressive boulevards, lined with old trees and French villas passing by Cua Bac Cathedral. Then reach the ower market in the east of West Lake to enjoy the sights and scents. Along the way, you can see the early morning life activities of Hanoi’s residents from doing exercise to chit chatting over a cup of coffee. End the tour at Pho Bat Dan, the oldest and most traditional Hanoi beef noodle soup shop for breakfast.
HOME HOSTED MEAL WITH MUSICIANS FAMILY – HANOI
- Located in a quiet lane is the home of a musician couple. The husband is a utist in the National Orchestra while the wife is a piano teacher. Enjoy the meal hosted in the cozy dining room to understand the important role meals at home play in Vietnam. Chat and share with them life experiences through their lovely family photo album. After the meal, enjoy a melodious performance of ute and piano entertained by the hosts themselves.
DYING INDIGO & WEAVING WITH H’MONG FAMILY – SAPA
- The highland people of Sapa still prefer using dyes derived from natural items using traditional methods. Walk with your guide to visit a H’mong family at Ta Van village to get a glimpse of the traditional dying methods that have been handed down for generations.
SAIGON RIVERS & CANALS – SUNSET CRUISE – SAIGON
- The bustling streets of Saigon contrast to the quiet waterways of the Saigon River. Enjoy the views from a private sunset cruise which travels through isolated canals, local neighborhoods and right past the CBD where you can watch the sunset over the city’s ever-changing skyline.
SAIGON CITY TOUR ON SIDECAR – SAIGON
- Despite the well-documented hustle and bustle, Saigon retains its connections with the past. Enjoy a half day city tour to admire Saigon’s historic landmarks on a vintage sidecar motorbike with chauffeur. Experience all the sights and sounds while you sit back, relax and wave at all the envious passersby. Make the rst stop at Notre Dame Cathedral, a red brick edi ce with twin spires based on the original construction from Paris. Then head across the square to the Central Post Of ce, designed by the French architect, Gustav Eiffel. Continue to visit the former Presidential Palace, the headquarters of the Saigon Government during the American war, revealing the history of Saigon during its turbulent recent past. Further, drive to visit the War Remnants Museum for a vivid insight of the American war through the local’s eyes.
ELECTRIC SCOOTER TOUR IN HOI AN – HOI AN
- Discover other corners of Hoi An like a local on the back of an electric scooter. Get on a private shuttle from your hotel to Fusion Lounge for tour brie ng & introduction to your driver over welcome smoothie and light snack. Make some en-route stops along the way to get a glimpse of local daily life activities, religious beliefs, craftsmanship, and Hoi An as a town of artists, tailors and designers through interactive stories. Take a break at a quaint restaurant overlooking the Thu Bon river to enjoy local snack and drink. Then cruise the scenic Hoi An countryside to learn more about the local craft of pottery making, and witness rst-hand the skills and expertise of the local craftsmen. Drive further to An Bang beach area where you can unwind in a stunning beach bar with a glass of drink. Then be shuttled back to your hotel.
A O SHOW & DINNER AT DINING ROOM – SAIGON
- Late this afternoon depart from your hotel to see “A O Show” – a combination of arts highlighting the peaceful country life and poetic scenery of Vietnam. The show is special in the way it contains episodes of Vietnamese traditional folk games, dances and circus acts performed against the background of traditional and modern music combined with artistic lighting. Bamboo pipes and baskets are used throughout the performance as set decorations and traditional daily activities of villagers and festive celebrations are demonstrated by performers and musicians in farmers’ clothing. After the show, enjoy beautifully decorated dishes of innovative Vietnamese cuisine in a different approach at Dining Room restaurant.
ROYAL MARTIAL ARTS PERFORMANCE – HUE
- Enjoy a great cultural feature inherited from the Nguyen Dynasty, Royal Martial Arts performance. A short performance of different martial art technique is a reminiscent of the past heroic plots of Vietnamese patriots against colonialists’ suppression.
TRUC CHI ART EXPERIENCE – HUE
- Truc Chi which is a type of paper made from bamboo, is a new art form of Hue, exquisitely created by a local Hue artist and his colleagues after many years of research, study and practice. Made only with bamboo materials, the Truc Chi are typically very detailed and truly unique one of a kind pieces. Visit Truc Chi workshop, chat with the artist and his team to understand more about the art works process, promotion & exhibitions. Try creating your own Truc Chi drawing and take it home as a souvenir.
PULSE DIAGNOSIS AND HERBAL MEDICINE – SAIGON
- Pulse reading is considered one of the most important diagnostic tools in Vietnamese medicine. Meet a pulse diagnosis practitioner for a glimpse of the history and practice to offer a diagnosis on your quality of sleep, dreams, appetite (and stress) allowing the herb doctor to offer treatments to better your health followed by a visit to some herbal medicine shops to understand the mixture of herbs found in traditional therapies.
HANOI FENG SHUI TOUR – HANOI
- The term Feng Shui can be translated as “wind and water.” It is the practice of living a harmonious life with the energy of the environment. In historic & modern Hanoi, you would be forgiven for thinking that Feng Shui would be dismissed as mumbo-jumbo. But many of the soaring apartment blocks and of ces, the Old Quarters, the temples & pagodas were laid out in accordance with its principles. Meet with your local Feng Shui Master who has been working in Feng Shui for nearly 30 years and has travelled to many countries to provide Feng Shui services. He has deep knowledge on Feng Shui of pagoda, communal houses, and temples in Hanoi.
RICE PAINTING & STUDIO VISIT – SAIGON
- Vietnam has become one of the biggest rice exporters. For centuries, rice is not only related to farm work but also the cultural and spiritual life. Born in Mekong Delta, the young artist you will meet breathes art into rice grains. Rice was selected and meticulously preserved in the right techniques. After having been treated with heat to natural-colored, rice are arranged on a wooden frame. Pay a visit to your artist’s small home studio. Have a chat with her to get an insight of the soul of each picture that her artisans created. With your patience, you might want to try your hand using tweezers to put rice grains into an artwork of your way.
ART-COCKTAIL RECEPTION WITH DAO ANH KHANH – HANOI
- Hanoi is known as the culture centre of Vietnam and today we meet a well-known Vietnamese painter, sculptor and art performer in his studio, a stilt house bought directly from a Thai hill tribe minority in the Hoa Binh province and brought to Hanoi. The artist will tell you all about the long history of the house and its impressive structure, made of large columns of durable wood. Walk around the garden, full of sculptures scattered around the compound, while he shares his inspiration on each piece of art as well as his interesting life stories. This experience is a wonderful chance to gain insight into the world of Vietnamese arts.
HOA BINH DAY TRIP – BLOOM MICROVENTURES – HANOI
- Depart Hanoi early this morning to an ethnic minority community in Hoa Binh province. Visit the borrower whom your tour fees will fund a loan for and hear their personal story, learn about the family’s plans for the microloan, and nd out about their hopes for the future. Try typical rural activity, such as tending to livestock and crops or learning how to make shrimp baskets. Head back to your local host to enjoy an authentic Vietnamese lunch. She has been working as the head of the Women’s Union in the village for years and will be sharing some of the challenges and opportunities faced by rural women in Vietnam. Walk around the commune and learn about the local health and education system.
MAKING TRADITIONAL CAKES WITH LOCAL CHEF – HANOI
- In the traditional culture of Vietnamese people, the process of making traditional sticky rice cake ‘Banh Chung’ is the opportunity for the family to come together, tell one another stories and get ready for Vietnamese New Year. Today meet with a very prominent young chef at Hang Be market. Stroll around the market and buy ingredients before heading to her house/restaurant in the old quarter for a hands-on experience making Banh Chung. Learn how to make the Banh Goi, a crispy pillow dumpling and also a specialty of Hanoi. Later, enjoy the rich pork, mung beans, and aromas from the leaves of the Banh Chung along with the sweet salty Banh Goi served with some fresh herbs and sh sauce for dipping.
FOOD TOUR WITH LOCAL ARTISAN – HUE
- Step out and explore the delicious world of Hue food with a reknown gastronomy chef, who is a professor, author of cookbooks, food television presenter in Vietnam and Europe and the recipient of several prestigious Talent awards in Vietnam. Start off with a visit to the local market to see the sights and sounds of daily life and learn how to select the freshest produce and ingredients necessary for Hue dishes. Sample com hen (mussel rice), banh beo, banh nam banh loc (varieties of soft rice cakes), Hue sweet soups before continuing to a local restaurant that serves Hue specialty of banh uot and grilled pork. End the trip at your chef’s house where you will taste even more local food.
PRIVATE EVENING SIDEWALK FOOD TOUR – HOI AN
- The tour takes you off the beaten path to get a unique glimpse into daily life in this lovely city and discover some unforgettable cultural & historical attractions along with interesting and tasty street food. Meet your local foodie who will take you on a private walking food tour. Stroll through zigzagging alleys to explore real neighborhoods and indulge in Hoi An’s best dishes. Next, go to the local Hoi An market and roam around the food stalls where you can nd the amazing “Cao Lau” noodles. Finally, gather at a local house for a home-hosted dinner. Then walk to the heart of Hoi An ancient town, sit on a local boat cruising along Hoai River and enjoy the view of Hoi An at night while oating lanterns are released.
VEGETARIAN COOKING CLASS AT ZEN HOUSE – HUE
- Situated on a hill just outside of Hue, Zen House is a complex with a number of ancient buildings and gardens. This is a spiritual center where people are asked to dress respectfully, speak softly, treat everything with the gentle spirit of Buddhism. Drive 15 minutes to Zen house where you explore “Nha Ruong”, a typical architectural house in Hue, the traditional living environment, way of life and spiritually connected cuisine of Hue. Join the host in an intimate hands-on experience learning how to prepare two vegetarian dishes which you can enjoy with your meal at the end of the class. Before and after your lunch, take part in a short meditation and Tai Chi. Refresh with a cup of unique brown rice tea and dried ginger before saying farewell to the host.
COCKTAIL RECEPTION AND MEAL AT AN AMBASSADOR’S FORMER RESIDENCE – SAIGON
- The US Ambassador to Vietnam 1960s, Mr. Henry C. Lodge carried the mission of overthrowing the Southern Government at that time. He lived here between 1960- 1965 and the architecture is a mixture of Vietnamese, French and American. Today it is the private residence of a local family. Behind its gates is a beautiful home that welcomes guests with cocktails served in the private courtyard. Enjoy a private meal hosted in the elegant dining room, accompanied by live music.
GALA DINNER AT HANOI OPERA HOUSE – HANOI
- Indulge in an evening of Colonial decadence in the historic Hanoi Opera House. Originally built by the French between 1901 and 1911, this unique architectural work is one of four opera houses the French built in Vietnam. It truly makes an elegant setting for a cocktail reception and dinner accompanied by live music and wait staff in Vietnamese traditional dress.
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*photos and video courtesy of Trails of Indochina*