Itinerary Vietnam

February 3-13, 2026

Vietnam’s cuisine is considered by nutritional experts to be one of the healthiest diets on the planet. Cooking in Vietnam is well known for its use of fresh ingredients, along with a minimal use of dairy, red meat and oil. With the country’s nearly 2,000 mile coastline, fish & seafood are common ingredients in the diet. Moreover, there’s a huge reliance on fresh antioxidant herbs and vegetables. Exotic fruits? Look no further as Vietnam is a treasure trove for wondrous healthy fruits…many of which are unknown outside of the country.

Due to its historical roots as a French colony, Vietnam does produce both red and white wines. Beer drinkers will be happy to know that Vietnam has recently become a mecca for microbreweries. But, the beverage taking Vietnam by storm is coffee. Also introduced by the French, coffee has become >$470 million US annual industry. In fact, Vietnam is second only to Brazil in the world’s production of coffee.

Trip Highlights

  • Visits to cities spanning the entire country, including both Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Hanoi, as well as historical Hue, and the UNESCO seaside city of Hoi An
  • 2 nights aboard a luxurious Vietnamese yacht in Ha Long Bay (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Culinary adventures ranging from cooking classes to “street food” tours, and from fruit-carving demos to exotic outdoor markets
  • Dining venues including meals in the Vietnam’s most sophisticated restaurants, as well as dining with families in their homes
  • The Tet holidays (the Lunar New Year) begin on February 15---the tour has been strategically planned to savor all of the wondrous decorations for the country’s biggest holiday week

The tour begins on the morning of February 3, however, participants are *strongly encouraged* to arrive in Saigon two or three days early for adjustment to jet lag.  Also, there is much to see in the Saigon area such as the Cu Chi Tunnels (half day excursion) & the Mekong Delta (full day’s excursion). Early arrival hotel space can be booked for you at the property in which Wine-Knows will be staying.  NOTE:  to arrive in Saigon on February 1, you will need to depart the US on January 30 (2 days usually required due to crossing the international dateline)

February 3, 2026: Welcome to Saigon

Saigon’s Opera House could be in Paris

Morning:    We’ll begin in Ho Chi Minh City with a tour orientation & participant introductions.

Afternoon:  We’re off for a private tour of Saigon including a visit to the powerfully moving War Museum, one of Vietnam’s most visited institutions.  Next, a tour of one of the city’s top landmarks, the Reunification Palace.    We’ll also see the breathtaking Central Post Office designed by France’s famous architect, Gustave Eiffel, as well as the Opera House.

Evening:  Tonight we have been invited into a local resident’s home, an engineer who is a serious foodie.   Our hostess has won a plethora of awards for her fruit carving talents.  She’ll demonstrate these incredible skills and then we’ll dine with her and her family.

February 4: Flight to  Vietnam’s Dazzling Coast

Unspoiled beaches without crowds

Morning:   Free in Ho Chi Minh for sightseeing, shopping or enjoying a spa treatment at our hotel. 

Afternoon:  We’ll fly to one of Vietnam’s most beautiful coastal spots, Hoi An.  The town, an exceptionally well-preserved example of an Asian trading port dating from the 15th – 19th centuries, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Evening:  Dinner will be at Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place for “Banh Mi.”   One of Vietnam’s hallmark culinary items, this dish is a simple but ridiculously wonderful mélange of flavors.

February 5: Chef Market Tour & Cooking Class

Shrimp “tamale” steamed with luscious herbs in a banana leaf

Morning & Afternoon: We’ll begin the day by accompanying the chef to the village’s impressive market where we will learn about an array of interesting produce that we don’t have in the US.   Then, we’re off on a boat to the cooking school where we’ll prepare a sumptuous feast.

Evening: Free in Hoi An.

February 6: The City of Silk Lanterns

Hoi An’s specialty comes in every shape, size & color

Morning:   After breakfast we’ll visit a huge vegetable farm.  No chemicals or fertilizers are used; instead, a kind of algae found in the lagoon surrounding the property is used.  Thanks to this technique, the farm’s vegetables are widely recognized for their quality.  We’ll tour the beautifully laid out farm and learn from locals about their cultivation practices.   Then, we’ll have a farm multi-course lunch.   This is the real-deal Vietnam.

Afternoon:  We’ll learn all about the silk lantern making process with a visit to a silk factory.  

Evening:    Free 

February 7: Capitol of the Last Imperial Dynasty

The Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage site

Morning:  Bid your goodbyes to charming Hoi An as today we move inland to the very center of Vietnam to the historical city of Hue. 

Afternoon:  We begin in Hue at the Citadel.  There are few other landmarks in Vietnam that can compare with the Citadel.  Begun in 1804, the citadel was built for the new Emperor.  Surrounded by a six mile square moat, it required thousands of workers for its construction.  The building is particularly significant to Americans as the Citadel was the site of the Tet Offensive in 1968.  Today, the Citadel is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Evening:  Dinner tonight will be in the former Royal City and will be fit for an Emperor. Tonight we will dine at the city’s premier restaurant, one of the best in Vietnam.

February 8: Hue’s Royal  Countryside

Emperors built tombs for their next life

Morning:  Today’s one you won’t forget.  It begins with a tour of the magnificent Minh Mang Tomb.  Built for the second Emperor in the mid-1800’s, it is a stunning collection of palaces, temples and pavilions all connected by lovely gardens.

Afernoon:   Next, lunch will be held at a very special private estate in the countryside that once belonged to the Governor of this region.    Still owned today by the same family (who live on the property), it will provide a unique opportunity to see this entitled strata of Vietnamese life. 

Evening:  Free

February 9: Romantic Ha Long Bay 

A private yacht experience awaits

Morning:  Today we fly to Hanoi where we’ll then transfer to a private bus and travel to magnificent Ha Long Bay. 

Afternoon:    All aboard!   Our sumptuous yacht will begin its journey to explore this exotic inlet of thousands of limestone islands in spectacular shapes with emerald waters and sparkling caves.  The entire Bay is now protected under UNESCO as a World-Heritage Site.

Evening:  Our dinner on the top deck of the yacht will be timed perfectly for the sunset.

February 10: Visit floating villages

Relax in jaw-dropping splendor

Morning:  If you’re an early riser, don’t miss the Tai Chi class held at sunrise on our yacht’s top deck (and even if you’re not, this special event should not be missed).   Next, you won’t want to miss our visit to a floating village which has its own school and market.   The chef will buy items from the village’s fish- monger for tonight’s dinner.  

Afternoon:   Lunch will be at a floating pearl farm.  Next, comes one of the most awesome experiences of this trip….a visit to a breathtaking cave.  When you enter you’ll think you’re in the palace of an ancient Emperor.  Back on the yacht, there will be free time for swimming or kayaking.

Evening:  The chef’s dinner will feature seafood purchased at the floating village’s fish monger.  

February 11: Lunch in a Beautiful Garden Home

One of our lunch hosts is also a wonderful singer

Morning: It will probably be difficult to say goodbye to Ha Long Bay, but today we’re off to Hanoi after breakfast on the yacht.

Afternoon:  On the way we’ll stop for lunch in a peaceful village in the countryside where we’ll be guests of a family in their beautiful home with a heavenly garden.

Evening:  As we’ve had a big lunch today dinner tonight will be a bowl of Vietnam’s famous soup, Pho.  Many Vietnamese feel that the best Pho in the country is prepared in Hanoi. 

February 12: Good Morning Hanoi!

Hanoi’s old Quarter is enchanting

Morning:  Today our guide will walk us through the historical district, a maze of pedestrian only streets filled with colorful shops and delectable food stalls for a tour of the “insider eating spots.”   We’ll finish with a special coffee (or tea) at one of the oldest cafes.

Afternoon:   Next, a drive past the Royal Palace and the tomb of Vietnam’s revered son, Ho Chi Minh.  Then, we’ll switch gears and visit the building where John McCain was imprisoned—it’s now a museum. 

Evening:  Our last night in this special country will be at a restaurant known for high quality.   This chef is world-class.  While his menu’s roots are Vietnamese, his classical training is influenced by the former French occupation.

February 13: Goodbye Vietnam

The soul of the Vietnamese people will be difficult to forget

Morning:  The tour ends after breakfast.  For those who wish to spend Valentine’s Day in Hanoi, we will be happy to arrange this for you.  (Be advised, however, that Vietnam’s biggest holiday, Tet, begins on February 15.  As many restaurants and sights are closed February 15-20, it is advised that you leave on February 14, or early on February 15th.).

FAQs​

The tour begins in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) on the morning of February 3, 2026. It is strongly advised that you arrive two or three days early to allow for possible missed international connections, for sightseeing & for time to adjust to jet lag. Early arrival nights at our hotel in Saigon can be arranged.

Wine-Knows can arrange a transfer to the airport for you in Hanoi, or you can stay extra days in Hanoi. (Like Saigon, extra days at our hotel can be arranged for you). Be advised that the Tet Holidays (Lunar New Year) begins on February 15 & that services in Hanoi will be very limited as most restaurants, sights etc. are closed for the week.
Group airfare has purposefully not been included to allow maximum flexibility in arrival & departure options. You may go early & stay over after the trip concludes. Wine-Knows Travel, Inc. provides land only arrangements and does not provide airfare. (NOTE: 2 flights within Vietnam are included in this trip)
Our groups are composed of people from diverse occupations, singles & couples, men & women, a mix of young & old, well-seasoned international travelers, as well as novices. All have a common interest in food & wine. The majority of participants on our tours are repeat clients. In addition, each tour participant is a non-smoker.

The following properties will be used:

Saigon: a 4 star modern property featuring a full service spa. Located in the epicenter of the city just a block from the city’s vibrant central food market, it offers all of the creature comforts of the 21st century including well-outfitted marble bathrooms & WIFI, along with a glamorous rooftop swimming pool & bar with 360 panoramas of the city.

 

Hoi An: this inn is one of the few upscale hotels located within walking distance of Vietnam’s most charming city.  With 4 stars, this boutique property is located right on the river and boasts comfortable rooms with river views & WIFI.   An outdoor pool & health spa complete the idyllic stay.   Free bicycles are available to explore the local area. 

 

Hue: This 5 star resort which boasts 250 feet of river frontage on the famous Perfume River, offers incredible vistas of the city’s famous Citadel.  The upmarket property oozes a colonial style character, tranquility, and privacy.  Enjoy the property’s full service spa, as well as a fitness center.  Don’t miss the sumptuous lobby bar & lounge.

 

Hanoi:

one of the highest rated hotels in the city, this 50 room modern property is perfectly situated in the heart of the city in the Old Quarter.   The hotel features a sumptuous buffet breakfast of Vietnam’s traditional dishes, along with a huge array of exotic fruits and made-to-order western breakfasts.  There’s also an impressive spa.

One of the highest rated hotels in the city, this 50 room modern property is perfectly situated in the heart of the city in the Old Quarter.   The hotel features a sumptuous buffet breakfast of Vietnam’s traditional dishes, along with a huge array of exotic fruits and made-to-order western breakfasts.  There’s also an impressive spa.

  The tour will be casual dress.  Layers are essential.  Keep in mind the weather can vary from hot tropical in the south, to cool/cold in the north.  We’ll also spend 2 nights on a yacht, so layers are important. 

      There will be walking tours through cobblestoned streets and through mountain villages so pack a pair of appropriate shoes. Also, don’t forget to bring a swimsuit for the beach and hotel swimming pools.

     Consider the following 3 rules of thumb to minimize the amount of clothing required:  (1) Bring layers.  (2)  Use the mix-and-match principal (i.e. if it doesn’t mix or match, leave it at home.)  (3)  Use accessories to change the look versus bringing additional clothing.

      Daytime temperatures in Saigon can be hot as this is the tropical southern part of the country.  Saigon can be 80-90+ degrees with humidity. 

      In central Vietnam we will be on the sea where temperatures are milder.

Northern Vietnam, on the other hand, is much cooler and daytime temperatures can be 60-70.  We’ll have two days in the north on a private yacht.  While we’ll be in Ha Long Bay (rather than the open sea), the climate can still be cool.  Layers are the best strategy for these significant differences in weather.

As with most travels, it never hurts to bring an umbrella.

The price is based upon double occupancy.  Should you wish to share a room, every attempt will be made to find you a roommate (most of the time we have been quite successful in doing so).  However if we are unable to find you a roommate, you will need to pay the single supplement.

We have provided free time as detailed in the itinerary.  Furthermore, it is not mandatory that you attend all of the planned experiences, although most of our clients do!  This is your trip—if you would rather sleep in, shop, or simply chill at the pool, then do it!

Yes.  We accept payment through PayPal (PayPal.com).  Since PayPal charges us a fee, this fee must added to the cost of the trip. 

Tour Prices
Tour Dates*
Book Before 1/1/2025
Book After 1/1/2025
February 3-13, 2026
Prices announced late 2024 /early 2025
Prices announced late 2024 /early 2025
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