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  • Location: Hue, Vietnam
  • Duration:  4 days, 3 nights
Experience Vietnam’s cultural riches with four days in Hue and Hoi An! Visit Hue Imperial City (The Citadel), a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing treasures from Vietnam's regal past, including the Forbidden Purple City. Explore Bao Quoc Pagoda, the village of Quang Dien and Hoi An’s Old Town, plus cruise the Thu Bon River, Perfume River and Tam Giang Lagoon. You’ll even get a taste for Vietnam at several markets and enjoy a cooking class! Receive personal attention from your guide on this small-group tour, limited to 12 people.

Highlights

  • 4-day tour of Hue and Hoi An
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hue Citadel and its Forbidden Purple City
  • Discover Hoi An’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town on a walking tour
  • See the Tiger Arena of Bao Quoc Pagoda and meander on the lovely Perfume River (Huong River)
  • Ride a bike through the Vietnamese countryside in Quang Dien, board a sampan over Tam Giang Lagoon and hang out at Wild Beach
  • Enjoy an island barbecue on the Thu Bon River and learn about Vietnamese culinary traditions in a cooking class
  • Small-group tour limited to 12 people ensures a personalized experience

What You Can Expect

4-Day Hue to Hoi An Adventure Tour: Imperial Palace, River Cruise, Cooking Class and Bike Ride

4-Day Hue and Hoi An Countryside and Culture Tour with Bike Ride, Cooking Class and River Cruises

On this four-day tour of dynamic Hue and Hoi An, you’ll get a glimpse of Vietnam’s royal past, taste traditional foods and meet local villagers. Stay in your choice of basic, original or comfort accommodations, with two overnight stays in Hue and one overnight in Hoi An – including breakfast. As you travel by minibus, bicycle and boat, join farmers and fisherman in their daily tasks, talk to vendors at the local food markets and have lunch with nuns at a Buddhist nunnery – just several of the exciting adventures that await you!

Itinerary

Day 1: Hue/The Citadel (L)
When you arrive at your centrally located hotel in Hue, ask hotel reception for your welcome pack, which includes your trip itinerary, entry tickets and general information about Vietnam. Meet your guide and small group upon pickup between 8 and 8:30am, and start your day tour of Hue – packed with temples, tombs, palaces and pagodas!

Start with a visit to the colorful and energetic Dong Ba market, an ideal place to soak up everyday Vietnamese life. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the market as your guide introduces your small group to some of the traditional foods and local vendors who sell produce and other ingredients.

After sampling enough Vietnamese delights to fill you up, meander to the Hue Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Vietnam’s former capital. Within the high stone walls that measure 6 miles (10 km) long and 6 feet (2 meters) thick, explore the massive palace complex of this Imperial City with your guide. Find decorative pagodas and temples amid hundreds of ornate royal tombs where Hue’s Nguyen Emperors ruled until the early 20th century.

Marvel at the ruins overgrown with foliage inside the Forbidden Purple City, located in the center of the vast compound. Badly damaged during the Vietnam War, this former royal residence was only accessible to the emperor and his royal concubines, as well as eunuch servants who posed no threat.

Once you’ve seen the best sites of The Citadel, stop for a small-group lunch at a local nunnery for a traditional meal. Enjoy the chance to chat with the nuns and discuss the finer points of Buddhism as you gain insight into their daily lives. After lunch, take a short minibus ride through the Hue’s gorgeous surroundings, passing rice paddies and traditional towns en route to a village that specializes in incense production. Learn all about this ancient art before continuing on to see an impressive royal tomb.

Visit the 17th-century sprawling temple complex of Bao Quoc Pagoda, perched on a hill overlooking the Perfume River. Upon entering the triple-gated hall, view the seven-tiered pagoda before walking to the Tiger Arena. Here, duels between elephants and tigers were arranged for the emperor’s entertainment until 1904!

Complete your day tour with a relaxing afternoon cruise along the enchanting Perfume River, taking in the natural splendor of the area as you meander past. Afterward, your guide will transfer your small group back to your hotel in Hue’s city center, where you can spend your evening at leisure.

Overnight: Victory Hue (basic), Gold 1 or Thanh Noi (original) or Romance Hotel (comfort) or similar in Hue

Day 2: Hue – Quang Dien – Tam Giang Lagoon – Hue (B, L)
Meet your guide after breakfast at your hotel and leave the bustling streets of Hue for the countryside. Jump on a minibus to Quang Dien – a quaint town renowned for its gorgeous architecture, stunning landscape and friendly villagers. En route, weave through small villages and passing the amazing Tam Giang Lagoon, where you’ll later return for a sampan cruise.

Upon arrival with your small group in Quang Dien, hop on a bicycle for a ride through the town and stop to converse with the locals at a traditional old house. Visit a village school and meet some of the students (depending on class schedule) before following your guide to a nearby vegetable field. Meet one of the farmers and learn about sustainable farming practices in the region as your guide introduces you to essential crops. Then, roll up your sleeves and lend a hand with the farm tasks – from watering the vegetables to helping to harvest crops.

Next, share a traditional Vietnamese lunch of seafood and vegetables at the home of a local family. Enjoy a meal from the garden or purchased from the village market before taking a stroll through town or simply relaxing at the house.

Refueled and refreshed, head to Tam Giang Lagoon for a sampan ride on the water, where you can try your luck catching a fish. First, visit a fish and prawn farm to learn how to throw a fish net. Then, aid the local fishermen in hauling up their daily catch for the market!

After your action-packed day, laze the rest of your afternoon away on the shores of Quang Dien’s Wild Beach, a peaceful spot famous for its clear water and white sand. Located far from the crowds, it’s a great place to unwind and take a dip in the refreshing water. Alternatively, your guide will take you further inland to the hot springs near Thuan An Beach.

Your day tour of Quang Dien comes to an end with return transport to Hue and drop-off at your hotel.

Overnight: Victory Hue (basic), Gold 1 or Thanh Noi (original) or Romance Hotel (comfort) or similar in Hue

Day 3: Hoi An (B, D)
Traveling by minibus after breakfast, head south on a four-hour drive to Hoi An. Pass coastal rice paddies before crossing the scenic and mountainous Hai Van Pass, a 14-mile (21-km) stretch of road that winds through spectacular mountains and borders the sparkling South China Sea. Arrive at Hoi An after a brief stop at the lovely China Beach and settle in at your hotel.

After lunch (own expense), embark on a guided walking tour of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which largely escaped the destruction of successive wars. Follow your guide through the charming, pedestrian-only streets and explore the delightful architecture of the buildings as you learn about their historical and cultural significance.

Stroll past the many Chinese assembly halls, admiring the impressive main altar of the Cantonese Chinese Congregation and the memorial of the Hainan Chinese Congregation – in remembrance of 107 merchants from Hainan Island who were killed during the reign of Emperor Tu Duc when mistaken for pirates. Stop by the Japanese Covered Bridge, constructed in the 1590s by the town’s Japanese community to link them with the Chinese quarters across the stream.

After your walking tour is complete, your guide will accompany you to a family-run restaurant for a small-group cooking class. (See sample menu below.) Uncover the culinary secrets of Vietnamese cooking as a professional chef discusses the delicious dishes you will create. First, head to the local market to stock up on fresh produce necessary for your feast. You’ll learn how to choose the best ingredients and discover new flavors before returning to the restaurant ready to cook.

As you cook up a storm, discover some tricks to making legendary Vietnamese dishes and pick up recipes that are sure to wow your family and friends back home. End the day by sitting down with newfound friends and feasting on the tasty dishes you’ve made together.

Overnight: Hai Yen (basic), Phu Thinh 2 or Van Loi (original) or Thuy Duong 3 Hotel (comfort) or similar in Hoi An

Day 4: Hoi An – Thu Bon River – Hoi An (B, D)
After breakfast, spend your morning free to explore the town of Hoi An, known for its lantern-lit streets, vibrant markets, skilled tailors and artisan shops. After lunch (own expense), take to the streets and waterways on a unique boat and bike tour with your small group.

Weave through Hoi An’s back streets on your bicycle to reach the country lanes beyond the city, and follow your guide through a stunning landscape filled with emerald-green rice paddies and winding waterways. Stop in several towns in the area, talking with local villagers as you learn more about the lifestyle and culture in this region of Vietnam.

Head to the banks of the Thu Bon River for a boat cruise and get a different perspective of rural Vietnamese life from the waterway. Take in the lovely views of the region as you cruise to a small island in the middle of the river for a delicious barbecue feast. Enjoy your fill of the local specialties as you watch a breathtaking sunset over the river while fishing boats bob in the water.

Afterward, jump back in the boat and cruise along the river as the last of the sun’s rays disappear behind the rice paddies. Catch the twinkling lights of Hoi An as you approach the dock before weaving through the bustling waterfront crowds back into town, where your four-day tour ends.

Cooking Class Sample Menu:
  • Hoi An rice pan cake with pork and shrimp (no pork for vegetarians)
  • Green papaya salad
  • Hoi An crispy spring roll with pork, herbs and vegetables (no pork for vegetarians)
  • Grilled tuna (or eggplant for vegetarians) in banana leaf
  • Vietnamese dipping sauce
From USD $ 522.50

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Tour code: 5912TVAZ

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