This fourteen-day cultural programme goes far beyond the hackneyed ‘pagoda, museum and sightseeing trail’. The tour includes performing arts, fine art, cooking classes in each area, and much more. The focus is on meeting plenty of Vietnamese people and experiencing their lifestyle and culture. This itinerary is just a guide – the Cultural Sonata can be modified and developed to your heart’s content with our unique tour-tailor service. You can tell us what you want to change, and we’ll make the necessary rearrangements. No limit to the number of changes, no charge for making the changes, and amendments always sent to you within 24hrs!


Day 1: Arrival at Hanoi 

Welcome to our elegant capital. You will be picked up at Noi Bai airport and relax at the hotel before having your first Vietnamese dinner (either in a French colonial building or in a family restaurant in the Old Quarter) and enjoy a traditional Water Puppetry show.

Meals: Dinner 

Day 2: ‘Secret Art Tour’ 

Visit Hanoi’s Fine Art Museum for an overview and historical perspective of Vietnamese art, then a few commercial galleries or exhibitions. Then go through Mr. Ba Pho’s vast collections of rare and unique Vietnamese musical instruments and listen to his performance to learn more about Vietnamese traditional music.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 3: Exploring Handicraft Villages around Hanoi 

Very interesting trip to explore the Northern culture. You would visit several traditional craft villages: Bat Trang ceramic village and Dong Ho painting village. You can also enjoy the rural scenery with 7km biking and listen to traditional Quan Ho music performance, which was designated as part of Vietnam ‘living heritage’.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 4: Hanoi Cooking Class 

You will have an exciting time experience one aspect of Vietnamese lifestyle – the local market. You have to make use of your bargaining skills to buy ingredients yourself, then will be taught by Vietnamese chef to prepare your lunch in Nothern Vietnamese cuisine. 

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 5: Hanoi/Ha Long Bay/Hanoi 

Explore Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. You will cruise on the bay on a traditional-style boat to see some of the less-known grottoes and caves. Weather permitting, you’ll be able to swim, visit one or two caves and take photos of the fascinating seascape and floating villages. You’ll be served a seafood lunch on the boat. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Hanoi for your overnight accommodation.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 6: Hanoi/Hue and the Citadel 

Fly to Hue and discover another UNESCO World Heritages Area. Being the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, Hue still keeps many featured buildings and traditional culture. You will visit the old Imperial Citadel, a magnificent building that only opened for the king, royalties and officers in the past. Then you will see Museum of Antiquities and the bustling Dong Ba market.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 7: Hue Orientation and Cooking Class in garden house 

Don't miss any moment of Hue! First you will travel on the romantic Perfume River and visit the charming ancient Thien Mu Pagoda, then see the astonishing and dignified Minh Mang mausoleum. After that, you will learn to cook Hue dishes and be explained about the distinctive characteristics of classic Hue ‘royal cuisine’. Your dinner will be served in another pleasant and beautiful garden house.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 8: Hue’s Royal Tombs 

Visit mausoleums of Emperors Tu Duc and Khai Dinh and understand the difference in the Emperors’ characters. While King Tu Duc’s mausoleum is famous for its poetic beauty with elegant gardens, lake and pavilions, King Khai Dinh’s mausoleum displays its beauty in its classy simplicity. After lunch, you’ll visit some of the handicraft villages surrounding Hue.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 9: Hue/Danang/Hoi An 

Another busy day, yet worth’s every second. We'll pass by Hai Van mountain pass to see the spectacular landscape of the Lang Co Beach, Tam Giang Lagoon, the Marble Mountains and a stone-carving village. Spend a short time in Da Nang, and then we will continue our journey to Hoi An – one of the World Heritage with unrivalled beauty which has captured many travellers’ hearts.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 10: Hoi An 

Today, your guide will meet you to show you the Ancient Town and explain its considerable significance in the history of Vietnam. After lunch, you’ll cruise upstream on the Thu Bon River to visit Thanh Ha pottery village then downstream to Kim Bong village, famous for its carpentry skills. 

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 11: Hoi An/Danang/Ho Chi Minh City 

Welcome to the Southern Vietnam! Ho Chi Minh City is the busiest and most dynamic city in Vietnam. You will have free time in the evening to have a look at the central area on your own. 

Meals:  Breakfast 

Day 12: Ho Chi Minh City Orientation 

It’s ime for you to explore the main culture attractions of this energetic city: the Fine Arts Museum, the Reunification Palace, the unique and religious Jade Emperor temple, and the crowded Ben Thanh market. You’ll finish your day with a visit to a lacquer workshop to see the complex processes and meticulous workmanship involved in this traditional Vietnamese craft product.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 13: Ho Chi Minh City Cooking 

And it’s cooking time again!!! We hope you would find it easier purchasing ingredients in local market with the experience gained from day 4. Then you will be instructed to cook 5 traditional Vietnamese coming from all three regions of Vietnam for your lunch. In the afternoon, you will visit 2 or 3 best commercial galleries or good exhibitions if available.

Meals:  Breakfast, lunch 

Day 14: Ho Chi Minh City Departure 

Spend some more time on your own in Ho Chi Minh City before saying goodbye to Vietnam after 14 traveling days. We hope you had a wonderful journey with us.

Meals:  Breakfast 

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