Vietnamese woman with baskets of vegetables at market

Hanoi vegetable market

Our journey includes roaming through colorful open-air food markets and hands-on cooking classes as well as an overnight aboard our own private junk in jade-green Halong Bay.

Photo by Brian McGilloway

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Culture and Cuisine of Indochine

An Exquisite Taste of Laos and Vietnam

Culture and Cuisine of Indochine route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $5595  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Luang Prabang, Laos
Depart: Saigon, Vietnam
Lodging: 12 nights deluxe hotels, 1 night aboard private traditional junk
Meals: All meals included except 2 dinners
Activity: Walking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Overland travel with walking tours, cultural explorations
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Highlights

  • Luang Prabang, a World Heritage Site, ancient Hue, picturesque Hoi An
  • Three cooking classes with chefs in Luang Prabang, Hanoi, and Saigon
  • Overnight aboard a traditional junk in spectacular Halong Bay
  • Optional extension to Cambodia’s mystical Angkor Wat


Fantastic introduction to this part of the world. Our first trip there, but not our last.Paul F.—Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Read about our new culinary programs recently featured in this adventure.travel article. Click here!

This is a delicious journey of discovery amid vivid cultures and breathtaking landscapes, from Luang Prabang, with its dramatic setting on the Mekong, to stunning Halong Bay, a World Heritage Site. As we explore the royal capitals and fascinating villages of Laos and Vietnam, we enjoy special meals that showcase the local cuisine and fine dinners prepared by renowned local chefs. Our three hands-on cooking lessons—in Luang Prabang, Hanoi, and Saigon—begin with a chef-accompanied open-air market walk to buy fresh ingredients, and finish with delightful lunches of delectable Southeast Asian cuisine that we’ve learned to prepare. A fascinating whirlwind of sights, sounds, and tastes await, along with beckoning backstreets and wonderfully welcoming people.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
Luang Prabang, Laos

Gilded temples, royal palaces, and French colonial architecture make Luang Prabang a striking city. We boat along the Mekong to the Buddhist caves at Pak Ou, visit a local silk-weaving community, and explore the various food markets of Luang Prabang. One evening we also take a walk up Phousi Hill to watch sunset over the Mekong.

Days 4-6
Hanoi, Vietnam

At a cooking school, we enjoy a hands-on lesson as we learn how to prepare five Lao dishes, then fly to Hanoi to explore its medieval Old Quarter, with its magnificent architecture. We also visit the 12th century Quan Thanh Taoist Temple and are joined later by Chef Didier Corlou of La Verticale Restaurant for a tour of the colorful Hom Market followed by a cooking class.

Day 7
Private Junk on Halong Bay

Halong Bay’s tiny islands are dotted with grottoes created by wind and waves. We sail around this immense bay, a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the natural marvels of Vietnam. Our overnight aboard our own private junk is the perfect way to enjoy the natural beauty.

Days 8-9
Hoi An

We explore picturesque Hoi An, a port town famed for its splendid wooden houses built by prosperous European, Japanese, and Chinese merchants in the 17th century. We also visit the lively market on the quay and see fishermen bringing their catch to market in small boats.

Days 10-11
Hue

A spectacular coastal drive brings us to Hue, and we visit the Marble Mountains and the Cham Museum en route. In our explorations of this ancient cultural center of Vietnam, we visit the serene tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, set amid lovely gardens and pine groves, enjoy a lunch of local Hue specialties at the An Binh Restaurant, travel by boat on the Perfume River, and visit the moated Citadel, which formally housed the Royal Palace.

Days 12-14
Saigon

We fly to Saigon, with visits to the city’s famous sights and a foray into the bustling Ben Thanh Market with Chef Khang of Hoa Tuc Restaurant, followed by a cooking class. Depart on Day 14.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is Level 1+, or Easiest. It is an overland cultural adventure, and for the most part, physical activity is light but we still encourage participants to get in shape for the trip because travel to remote places does require some physical stamina. We ask that you make a special effort to bring flexibility and a spirit of adventure to this unique journey.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures

Future dates have not been set for this itinerary. Please contact us if you would like to be notified of trip dates once they are available.

Trip Cost

Prices valid through Spring 2014
$5595 (14-16 members)
$5795 (11-13 members)
$5995 (7-10 members)
Single supplement: $1295
Forced single supplement: $1095
Internal airfare: $590 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Temples of Angkor Extension
   from: $775
Bangkok Extension
   from: $595
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $425
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Burma Extension
   from: $2395

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leaders
  • Accommodations
  • All meals included except 2 dinners
  • Sightseeing as noted with entrance fees to sites and museums
  • Surface transportation in buses or vans
  • Land transportation, airport transfers for passengers arriving Day 1 and departing Day 14, and baggage handling

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, internal airfare/taxes within Laos and Vietnam, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, beverages at group meals, international airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, hotels en route to/from Asia and any additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors, pre-trip expenses of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

Minimum fee: None per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Villa Santi Hotel

Villa Santi Hotel

Days 1 to 3 (3 nights), Luang Prabang, Laos

A charming boutique hotel, the Villa Santi is a former royal residence situated in the heart of the old historic town, just steps from the temples ...
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Hanoi Opera Hilton Hotel

Hanoi Opera Hilton Hotel

Days 4 to 6 (3 nights), Hanoi, Vietnam

This landmark hotel is located adjacent to the Parisian-style Opera House in the heart of Hanoi’s elegant French Quarter and just steps from ...
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Private Junk

Private Junk

Day 7 (1 night), Halong Bay, Vietnam

Overnighting aboard a private junk in a secluded cove of Halong Bay is a unique opportunity to capture the evening and early morning vistas of this ...
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Anantara Hoi An

Anantara Hoi An

Days 8 to 9 (2 nights), Hoi An, Vietnam

Set along the scenic Thu Bon River in Hoi An’s French colonial quarter, the Anantara features three restaurants and guest rooms with one queen ...
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La Residence Hotel & Spa

La Residence Hotel & Spa

Days 10 to 11 (2 nights), Hue, Vietnam

Located on the Perfume River near the center of Hue, the La Residence Hotel & Spa is a former governor’s residence renovated into a ...
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Caravelle Hotel

Caravelle Hotel

Days 12 to 13 (2 nights), Saigon, Vietnam

The chic Caravelle is situated adjacent to the French Colonial Opera House in Saigon’s downtown. Many luminaries have stayed here, including ...
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Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Burma

Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2

Cambodia

angkor wat cambodia temples

Temples of Angkor Extension

Exploring the Glories of a Bygone Khmer Civilization

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 2

Myanmar

Burma Extension

Yangon and Bagan

Cultural Adventures
6 days  -  Level 2

Thailand

wat arun bangkok thailand

Bangkok Extension

Discover the Beautiful Cultural Monuments of Bangkok

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Chiang Mai Extension

Explore the Wonders of Northern Thailand

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Phuket Extension

Explore a Jewel Set in the Andaman Sea

Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking
4 days  -  Level 2