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Vietnam & Cambodia Real Food Adventure

Vietnam & Cambodia Real Food Adventure

From $ 5,340 AUD

Description

Chop, slice and chomp your way through the diverse flavours of South East Asia on this mouth-watering Real Food Adventure into Vietnam and Cambodia. Vietnam’s prized cuisine is bursting with fresh, spicy and complex flavours, while across the border, Cambodia’s food is humble, oft unexplored, and no less delicious. Drink in cafes and beer halls that sprawl out over city streets, buy fruit from wicker baskets draped over a vendor’s shoulders and sit at market stalls as aromatic noodle soups are whipped up in front of you. From a sunset cruise on Halong Bay and a cycle past herb farms near Hoi An to discovering the French influence of Phnom Penh and meeting charming local communities at Preah Dak, these South East Asian powerhouses will fill you with great food and even more memorable experiences.

Trip Name
Vietnam & Cambodia Real Food Adventure
Last Updated
2024-06-17
Days
19
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • See the sunrise at Angkor Wat, then head to a nearby village for a homemade traditional breakfast of Khmer noodles. Once fuelled, spend the day roaming the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor complex.
  • Embrace your adventurous side on a tour of Hue’s imperial monuments from the back of a motorbike (the local way of getting around). Then be treated to lunch, specially prepared for you by a chef who is the descendant of the royal family in the garden of their family home.
  • Don’t just taste your way around this foodie haven, don your chef hat and learn the recipes behind these incredible eats, too. Learn the secret spices directly from local chefs (often in their own homes) and be guided to the freshest ingredients in authentic local markets.
  • Cycle through Battambang meeting locals as you stop to see the production of fish paste, rice paper and rice wine, finishing with a delicious sticky rice tasting.
  • Feast on local delicacies and street food favourites, like pho, banh mi, bun cha, fish amok, num banh chok and black pepper ice cream.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Friends International. Donations help vulnerable youth in South East Asia build a brighter future with vocational training and employment readiness programs.

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Hanoi
Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam. Your adventure begins in the country’s capital – Hanoi. If you arrive early, maybe grab an iconic coffee – typically served with condensed milk, or for the more adventurous, egg! You’ll meet your group and leader for an important welcome meeting at 5 pm, then head out for your first introduction to Vietnam’s lively culinary scene. Your leader will take you on a street food tour around the streets, as the sun goes down and the city comes alive at night. You might sink your teeth into bun cha (a grilled pork and noodle dish that’s loved in Hanoi) or try some banh cuon (steamed rice paper rolls) and lau (Vietnamese hot pot).
Day 2 - Halong Bay
This morning, hit the road for the spectacular World Heritage-listed site of Ha Long Bay. The harbour, with approximately 2000 limestone islands rising from the turquoise waters of Bac Bo Gulf, spans an area of about 1500 square km and is dotted with beaches and grottos. When you arrive, you’ll set sail on the emerald-green waters, gliding between limestone karsts to take in the incredible scenery from the best outlook of them all – the water! Then, you’ll explore Surprise Cave, one of the most striking caves in the bay, covering an area of more than 12,000 square m. In the afternoon, you’ll return to your boat and enjoy a delicious feast prepared by an onboard chef. Tonight’s stay is something special as you’ll be sleeping on the traditional boat, letting the water lull you to sleep and really taking in the beauty of the surrounding bay.
Day 3 - Overnight Train
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were still dreaming when you wake up on the bay this morning. If you’re an early riser, you might like to organise an optional kayak experience before you head back to Hanoi this morning. When you arrive, you’ll board an overnight train bound for Hue. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a rewarding experience. It's an efficient way to travel long distances and a great way to get a sense of the country. Most trains have a dining carriage serving simple food, but maybe ask your leader for advice on which local salty and sweet snacks to stock up on before departure.
Day 4 - Hue
Arrive in Hue this morning – Vietnam’s former royal capital, where the cuisine is considered by many as the best in the country. The food is influenced by its imperial heritage (small dishes and a focus on aesthetic presentation) and its strong Buddhist heritage, reflected in the high proportion of vegetarian restaurants. After leaving your luggage at your hotel, embark on a tour of the city’s imperial monuments from the back of a motorbike. Stop past Thien Mu Pagoda, an active Buddhist monastery since 1601, where you'll see a car that belonged to one of the self-immolating monks of the 1963 protests. After some time exploring, it's time to eat! You’ll enjoy a plant-based Buddhist meal specially prepared for you by a chef who is a descendant of the royal family, in the garden of their family home. After, visit the royal tomb of Emperor Tu Duc, then visit the Imperial Citadel, which includes the Forbidden Purple City. The latter was almost totally destroyed during the Vietnam War's Tet Offensive, but the foliage-covered ruins are still atmospheric, and the gaping holes left by bombs give an idea of the destruction wreaked upon the country during the war. Tonight, maybe ask your leader for the best place to try imperial street specialties like banh hue (rice flour cakes stuffed with shrimp, pork and spices).
Day 5 - Hoi An
After a local breakfast of bun bo hue (a spiced beef noodle soup), you’ll go to a local coffee house where three generations of Hue locals are living together. Admire the traditional house and gardens before meeting your host, Mr Khoa. Learn about his passion for coffee with a demonstration of how to make Hue’s traditional salt coffee, from the bean roasting process to the secret ingredients. Maybe even have a go at making it yourself! After, head south by bus through coastal rice paddies and the mountainous Hai Van Pass to Hoi An. This beautifully restored city retains the feel of centuries past, making it the sort of place that grows on you the more you explore. After some time to settle into your hotel, you’ll make your way to a special beachside restaurant for a seafood hotpot dinner with your group. This is a particularly popular meal amongst the locals in Hoi An!
Day 6 - Hoi An
Today, you’ll really get to know Hoi An – first up, your leader will take you on an orientation walk around the Ancient Town. Then, you’ll discover Reaching Out Tea House – a non-government organisation that supports the local deaf and mute community by providing employment and vocational training. The peace and quiet of this café stands in stark contrast to the bustling streets outside. While here, you’ll sip delicious teas in total silence – a tranquil experience you won’t soon forget. After a little time to relax, you’ll get ready for a cooking class with a local chef this afternoon. You’ll be escorted to a local market to shop for fresh ingredients and then taken through a culinary journey with hands-on demonstrations. Your local chef will even share the stories behind the yin and yang elements, unveiling the secret of home-cooked Vietnamese meals. Feast on your delicious creations, dishes that highlight the cooking of the Pho Hoi people.
Day 7 - Quy Nhon
This morning after breakfast, you’ll visit a village to see the production process of Vietnamese rice whiskey (made from plain boiled rice). Learn about the history of this traditional practise and see how it's made, with a sample or two as you learn. Then, you’ll be treated to a home-cooked lunch in the village – a great opportunity to learn more about the locals. Head on to Quy Nhon – a coastal city flanked by super clear waters, traditional fishing boats and sandy beaches. Tonight, maybe watch the sunset at Ky Co Beach or ask your leader for the best dinner spots.
Day 8 - Overnight Train
Early this morning, you’ll visit the local market with your trip leader for a wander around and a fruit tasting of some local produce. Then, walk to Bun Ram Thuy where you'll try the region's popular crab noodle soup. Follow that up with a caffeine hit (or a cold drink to ease the morning heat). After, you’ll have free time and the use of a day room to rest, relax or explore at your own pace. Tonight, you’ll hop on an overnight train to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 9 - Ho Chi Minh City
Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City this morning, then join a walking tour to get a feel for the city's frenetic, fascinating blend of old and new, East and West. You’ll notice a strong French influence here, which means excellent coffee and baguettes! Stop past the General Post Office and Notre Dame, then visit the War Remnants Museum to learn about the city’s sobering past. For lunch, you’ll take part in a cooking class where you'll learn some contemporary twists on traditional Vietnamese dishes with a passionate chef. Sit down and enjoy the delicious feast you've prepared over lunch and then enjoy a free afternoon to continue your explorations.
Day 10 - Mekong Delta
After breakfast this morning, kiss Ho Chi Minh City goodbye and make your way to the Mekong Delta. The delta is known as ‘Vietnam’s rice bowl’ for its abundance of rice paddies, fruit and flower orchards. When you arrive, you’ll hit the water and cruise up this mighty river, stopping at tropical fruit gardens and local cottage industries to sample honey, coconut candy and fruit, right at the source. Enjoy being paddled slowly along the quieter backwaters in a sampan, one of the most common forms of transport in these parts. Continue to your homestay for this evening. Meet your hosts and take some time to wander the garden, relax or lend a hand with dinner preparations. Enjoy a southern Vietnamese feast on the wide veranda overlooking the garden as the sun goes down.
Day 11 - Ho Chi Minh City
Enjoy the freshest fruit of the Mekong Delta for breakfast, then head back to Ho Chi Minh City. When you arrive, take a guided walk around one of Vietnam’s most pulsing markets – Ben Thanh. This is the perfect place to pick up any last-minute snacks, cooking utensils, ingredients, or presents for friends and family. Then, stop for a delicious crispy pork banh mi for lunch. The rest of the day is free to explore at your own pace. Tonight, you might like to get together with your group and toast to a great trip over a farewell dinner.
Day 12 - Phnom Penh
Check out of your hotel this morning and transfer to the airport for an unaccompanied flight to Phnom Penh. The flight will take around 50 minutes, after which you'll be met by another transfer driver who will take you to your hotel. You’ll have a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight to meet your new leader and fellow travellers. The Cambodian cooking pot combines an eclectic mix of local and international influences and has a flavour all its own. Kick off this food adventure with a welcome dinner at a local restaurant after your meeting. Later, maybe go for a drink or stroll along the famous Sisowath Quay.
Day 13 - Kampot
Before you leave Phnom Penh this morning, confront Cambodia's tragic past on a guided tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, in a former high school that served as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) for the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. See the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, which represent the tragic legacy of the Khmer Rouge. After, you’ll drive south by private vehicle, towards Kampot – one of Cambodia's most attractive old towns. Famous for its pepper, Kampot supplied most French restaurants for many years during colonial rule. Today, the region is also renowned for its durian (a spiky, pungent fruit that you’ll either love or hate). Tonight, maybe ask your leader about the sunset river cruises here and watch the gorgeous nightly display of colour, looking out for the resident fireflies.
Day 14 - Kampot
This morning you’ll have breakfast at Epic Café – a social enterprise that provides employment for local people living with disabilities. After, visit the salt fields which stretch across much of Kampot’s coastline. After learning a bit about the salt production here, head to Phnom Chhngok – a Hindu cave temple built in the 7th century, dedicated to Shiva. Then it’s onto the Kampot Pepper Project. Grown in Cambodia for centuries, Kampot pepper is considered the world’s finest. Today, pepper is also seen as an important symbol of Cambodian regeneration. You’ll taste some pepper ice cream here before heading to Kep Beach for lunch – the nearby Kep markets serve fresh crab cooked to perfection – and eat on the pier overlooking the ocean. After lunch, walk along the coastline and explore the old oceanfront buildings. Kep was once Cambodia's most popular and prestigious beach town, but the Khmer Rouge destroyed many of Kep's mansions and villas. The ghostly remains now stand as a silent reminder.
Day 15 - Phnom Penh
If you’re a morning person, you might like to rise early and see the fishing boats arrive at the port with their daily catch. Then, maybe find a good spot for breakfast and enjoy a leisurely morning. After, you’ll return to Phnom Penh. When you arrive, meet with a passionate chef for a guided tour of the markets, learning about the building blocks of Khmer cuisine. Enjoy a hands-on cooking class and master Khmer staples such as samlor machou yuon (sour soup with fresh fish and tamarind) or bok svay (pounded green mango salad, usually served with dried fish or prawns). Feast on your creations over dinner.
Day 16 - Battambang
Travel by private bus to Battambang (pronounced battambong)– Cambodia's second-largest city. Battambang is a pretty riverside town of French influence, friendly Khmer people and beautifully preserved colonial architecture. The city is famous for its many statues of animals and divinities that decorate the streets and buildings. It also lacks the traffic of Phnom Penh and the visitor numbers of Siem Reap, so it’s a great place to get a real slice of Cambodia. Your leader can recommend activities for your free afternoon. Perhaps join a local Battambang foodie for a home-cooked meal, tasting local dishes such as amok, Khmer curry and fried spicy chicken with homemade rice noodles.
Day 17 - Siem Reap
Take a bicycle ride into the countryside. The ride is easy and takes mostly shady roads through local villages. Along the way, stop to experience rice paper making, fruit drying and preparation, production of the famous prahok (fish paste) and rice wine making at local homes. Finish up at the best Kralan (sticky rice in bamboo) stall in the district. After, you’ll head to Siem Reap via private vehicle. When you arrive, head out for a street food tour with your local leader, tasting local dishes such as grilled fish or spicy fried chicken. Enjoy the atmosphere along the riverbank as the sun goes down, then head to a cocktail class and tasting. As you taste local liqueurs and snacks made with Cambodian herbs, mango and ginger, you’ll also learn how to make three popular cocktails. Later, maybe ask your leader for the spots to keep the party going.
Day 18 - Siem Reap
After, head to the village of Preah Dak for a traditional breakfast of homemade num banh chok (a popular Khmer noodle dish). This village is famous for its lifestyle, language, spirituality, culture and of course, its food! You’ll see how the local families make the noodles as their ancestors made them, learn about this dish’s history and then end your experience with some seasonal fruits. Then it's time to explore more of the Angkor complex, built between the 9th and 13th centuries when the Khmer Empire was the pre-eminent influence in South East Asia. See the Bayon temple and the jungle-covered Ta Prohm. In the evening, enjoy a final dinner at a plant-based restaurant celebrating contemporary flavours. Using fresh produce from their own gardens, you’ll tuck into dishes like grilled eggplant, creamy pumpkin soup, vegetable curry and homemade lime pie.
Day 19 - Siem Reap
Your adventure comes to an end this morning. There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to leave at any time. If you’re keen to continue your exploration of the Angkor complex, please speak with your leader about extending the length of your access pass.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
07-07-202425-07-2024AUD $ 5,475-
01-09-202419-09-2024AUD $ 5,635-
13-10-202431-10-2024AUD $ 5,805-
27-10-202414-11-2024AUD $ 5,750-
03-11-202421-11-2024AUD $ 6,200-
17-11-202405-12-2024AUD $ 5,855-
08-12-202426-12-2024AUD $ 5,970-
15-12-202402-01-2025AUD $ 5,855-
05-01-202523-01-2025AUD $ 5,860-
26-01-202513-02-2025AUD $ 5,860-
09-02-202527-02-2025AUD $ 5,860-
02-03-202520-03-2025AUD $ 5,860-
30-03-202517-04-2025AUD $ 5,860-
27-04-202515-05-2025AUD $ 5,635-
25-05-202512-06-2025AUD $ 5,635-
22-06-202510-07-2025AUD $ 5,635-
24-08-202511-09-2025AUD $ 5,635-
28-09-202516-10-2025AUD $ 6,080-
19-10-202506-11-2025AUD $ 6,080-
26-10-202513-11-2025AUD $ 6,080-
16-11-202504-12-2025AUD $ 6,080-
07-12-202525-12-2025AUD $ 6,080-
04-01-202622-01-2026AUD $ 5,340-
25-01-202612-02-2026AUD $ 5,340-
08-02-202626-02-2026AUD $ 5,340-
01-03-202619-03-2026AUD $ 5,340-
29-03-202616-04-2026AUD $ 5,340-
26-04-202614-05-2026AUD $ 5,340-
24-05-202611-06-2026AUD $ 5,340-
21-06-202609-07-2026AUD $ 5,340-
23-08-202610-09-2026AUD $ 5,340-
27-09-202615-10-2026AUD $ 5,340-
18-10-202605-11-2026AUD $ 5,340-
25-10-202612-11-2026AUD $ 5,340-
15-11-202603-12-2026AUD $ 5,340-
06-12-202624-12-2026AUD $ 5,340-
13-12-202631-12-2026AUD $ 5,340-

Accommodation

Homestay (1 night),Hotel (14 nights),Overnight Boat (1 night),Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nights)

Transport

Overnight Sleeper Train,Plane,Private Vehicle,Taxi

Map