Vietnam with Aaron Barnett
One Departure Only | May 18 - 24, 2020
Heart & Soul of Vietnam
Soak in Vietnam’s culture and cuisine with award-winning chef Aaron Barnett
May 18 - 24, 2020
One departure only—book soon, spots are limited
7 Days, 6 Nights
The very best of Vietnam from Hanoi and Hue to Hoi An
You’ve never smelled herbs this fresh. Basil, lettuce, spring onion, perilla, Vietnamese mint, cilantro—they’re competing for your attention in the best way possible. You carefully and quietly wander through this pristinely manicured herb garden, one of the oldest in the region. Generations of families tend to their rectangular plots, picking, pruning and watering everything just so. Next, you’re steps away dining on dinner prepared by a famous chef sourcing the most delectable ingredients from where you were just standing. You toast to the group, the chef and the flavors. This is the true essence Vietnam—and it’s impossible to get enough of it.
Our trip comes accompanied with the perfect companion. Chef Aaron Barnett’s two Portland restaurants, St Jack and La Moule, tap into his French Canadian routes. They also led him to compete on Chopped, becoming a StarChef Rising Star and winning Eater’s Restaurant of the Year. He’s ready to explore Vietnam, its rich culture and French-inspired flavors with you!
This journey is like a perfectly crafted banh mi, packed with exceptional local experts and artists, then garnished with adventure. You’ll leave as wide-eyed as you arrived, with a deeper understanding and appreciation of Vietnam cuisine and heritage.
Colonial French-inspired food and architecture, traditional fishing villages and ridiculously good street-food
With Vietnamese culture, meet people who've been practicing their craft for generations
Incredible street market food, sampling flavors you never knew existed—or had the courage to try
Rev scooters through markets, tour on Cyclos and wander through ancient neighborhoods
3 Reasons to Travel with Aaron Barnett
Chef Aaron Barnett is Portland’s French cuisine visionary. His two restaurants—St Jack and La Moule—channel his foodie parents and his own French Canadian roots. Aaron is a master of nouvelle cuisine with the accolades to back it up: he's competed on Chopped, been a StarChef Rising Star and won Eater’s Restaurant of the Year. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better companion to experience the French-inspired flavors, and the ridiculously delicious street foods, of Vietnam.
Down to Try Everything
Vietnam's cuisine is rich, bold and flavorful—and sometimes not for the faint of heart. Aaron competed on Chopped with a basket of bizarre foods and even enjoys taking down pickled herring straight from the jar.
French With a Twist
As a kid, Aaron would come home to ducks hanging from the ceiling and dinners of snails and frog’s legs. He's worked in many kitchens, including San Francisco's famed Gary Danko, always breathing new life into French staples.
All the Senses
Aaron curates the soundtracks at his restaurants with as much passion as the menus themselves. It's the same attention and care that make him a superb travel companion.
Day by Day
We'll dive deep into Vietnam's regional cuisines and culture, walk ancient lanes in Hanoi, explore Central Vietnam’s Imperial roots, and have plenty of time to eat and shop our way through Hoi An’s markets.
Day 1 | May 18
Welcome to Hanoi, one of Asia’s most picturesque cities! Today is about catching up on its 1,000 years of history, beginning at Van Mieu, or the Temple of Literature, the country’s cultural heart. We’ll pass through its lush courtyards, pillared gates and incense-filled altars dedicated to Confucius. Our lunch today—Hanoi-style bun cha—is a crunchy minced pork served over vermicelli noodles with lemony fish sauce. It’s absolutely one of Hanoi’s most delicious street foods.
After some time to relax, we’ll kick off the evening with our own private cocktail event at Art Vietnam Gallery. Suzanne Lecht has been the voice and champion of Vietnamese art since the ’90s, and a drink at her home-turned-gallery is the perfect opportunity to check out some of the country’s finest contemporary pieces. Our final toast will be over dinner at a classic French villa, an architectural wonder with some of the city’s finest haute Vietnamese cuisine, before turning in for a much-deserved rest.
Day 2 | May 19
We’ll jump into the day with an exploration of Hanoi’s ancient Old Quarter, all gorgeous crooked lanes still lined by centuries-old guildhalls. As we go, a local food blogger will lead us in sampling the best street foods Hanoi has to offer, including pho tiu (Vietnam’s original beef and noodle soup recipe) and cà phê trúng (their favorite creamy egg coffee). We’ll be stuffed, and more than ready for an afternoon of leisure (and possibly a nap).
In the evening we’ll see where Hanoi’s famed ‘street beer’, bia hoi, is brewed fresh daily and sold from humble sidewalk stands until it runs out. Our dinner is at one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, where we’ll feast on French-Vietnamese fusion delights before capping off the night with a rooftop cocktail high above the kinetic city.
Day 3 | May 20
Today, we fly south to Hue, the Imperial City. The former capital of the Nguyen Dynasty is home to palaces, shrines and awe-inspiring architecture. First, we’ll wander up the cement steps and courtyards of Khai Dinh Royal Tomb. It’s adorned with the largest dragons in the country and a colorful mosaic and mural-filled interior. Our private lunch today is s at the historic garden houses of Ngoc Son, former residence of Princess Ngoc Son and curated by the family for seven generations. It’s a beautiful escape to a bygone era.
After lunch, we’ll get chauffeured in cyclos (modern-day rickshaws) to the Imperial Citadel. Walk in the footsteps of former Emperors through the sprawling complex. From here we head to the market—but not just any; Dong Ba Market is the oldest of its kind in Hue, with rows and rows of locally crafted produce, clothing, souvenirs—and of course authentic Vietnamese cuisines like pho, banh khaoi omelettes and delicious fresh spring rolls. Fully stuffed, the evening is on our own to explore.
Day 4 | May 21
Today is about diving deep into culture. We get a taste of rural life in the quiet and peaceful Than Toan Village, where local farmers and artisans will show us their traditional crafts and techniques, which haven’t changed much since the 16th century.
We say goodbye to Hue and make our way to Hoi An over the mighty Hai Van Pass. The name means ‘clouds over the sea,’ and it’s the literal highest pass in all of Vietnam with spectacular views of the coastline.
This evening, we’ll convene for a foodie tour the only way to do it: on the back of our own fleet of Vespa scooters (don’t worry, no experience required). We’ll rev through the bustling streets like locals, sampling delicious dishes and plenty of refreshing cocktails and beers. After tearing up the streets, we’ll head out for a slow and easy cruise to a nearby island, a world away from the busy scene of Hoi An, to soak in the tropical, laid-back vibe and get us ready for dinner. We’ll channel our inner Aaron Barnetts at a local restaurant nestled in the rice paddies, cooking up barbecue DIY-style over a charcoal brazier. It’s a night you won’t forget.
Day 5 | May 22
Vietnamese chefs have concocted nearly 2,000 dishes, most hailing from Central Vietnam. We’ll sample many today, as we immerse ourselves with Hoi An’s culinary delights. We’ll savor new ingredients and flavors, sights and sounds, at a few local markets. We’ll browse herbs, vegetables, seafood, even silkworms for sale. With ingredients gathered, we’ll be led by a local chef at a hands-on cooking class for lunch. Then, we’ll have some time to ourselves to visit the local tailor for custom handmade garments or relax poolside.
We convene later in the afternoon to head to the small village of Tra Que, known for being home to one of the oldest herb gardens in the region. Each family plot is meticulously manicured to support the agricultural community. Wafts of basil, lettuce, spring onion, perilla, Vietnamese mint and cilantro will guide us as we wander through and get our mouths watering for dinner. Right next store is local favorite eatery Joi Factory, where we’ll dine on a beautifully constructed meal by Aaron of fresh ingredients and toast one final time to an amazing experience together in Vietnam.
Day 6 | May 23
After a jam-packed few days, we’ll take the morning off to explore Hoi An or just kick back poolside at the hotel. After lunch, we’ll visit Thanh Ha, a small village and potter’s paradise to check out some of the local pottery and see some of the incredible artisans in action. Their techniques and artistry have been passed down generations, with intricacies inherited by their ancestors.
We go on in style tonight, with a farewell dinner at An Bang Beach. This is an oceanside feast unlike anything we’ve experienced. We’ll feast on delectable prawns, scallops and more all grilled to perfection and paired appropriately with wine, beer and a sky full of twinkling stars.
Day 7 | May 24
It’s our last day, but no doubt this trip will live on in memory. As we say goodbye to Aaron and our fellow travelers, we might have time to make a last dash to the market. Tam biet to Vietnam—until next time!
Hotel de l'OperaHanoi
Our boutique, Old Quarter home base is perfectly situated, a block from the city’s favorite gathering place at Hoan Kiem Lake and the namesake opera house. When not exploring the walkable streets outside, you can relax in the pool or have a cocktail in the quiet, fountain-filled atrium.
An Art Deco masterpiece built in 1930, situated on the banks of the Perfume River. Its stunning architecture embraces the past while incorporating contemporary twists. Whether you choose to kick back poolside or meander through its tropical gardens, La Residence is an absolute oasis of comfort.
Hotel RoyalHoi An
An impeccable retreat facing the bucolic Thu Bon River and just a stroll away from Hoi An’s ancient Old Quarter. Relax in expansive rooms or at their serene pool, admire their brilliant gallery, or just take in the views from the highest rooftop bar in the city.
Book Vietnam with Aaron Barnett
That’s OK, we have answers. Read our FAQs below. Or text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018 to speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
What does the price include?
Six nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuities for local staff.
What does the price not include?
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service and hotel bar tabs; food and beverage not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Where does this trip start and end?
Our adventure begins at 8:30am on Monday, May 18, 2020 at the Hotel De l’Opera in Hanoi, Vietnam. The closest airport is the Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). We recommend arriving on or before Sunday, May 17, 2020 to ensure you’re at our starting point on time.
Our last day is Sunday, May 24, 2020. The closest airport is the Da Nang International Airport (DAD) in Da Nang, Vietnam. Your flight home can be scheduled to depart at anytime on this day.
What travel documents are needed?
U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa before traveling into Vietnam. It is your responsibility to obtain this required travel document; please visit the Vietnam International Travel Information page on travel.sate.gov for step-by-step instructions on how to obtain a Vietnamese visa. Additionally a valid passport with at least six months of validity remaining beyond the date of your arrival is required. For citizens of other countries, please check with your local Vietnamese embassy or consulate for information and requirements.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
For solo travelers, there is a $1,000 single-supplement fee—paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. If you would like us to pair you with a roommate, that option may be available upon checkout—these spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Who is going on this trip?
Our adventures typically have between 10 and 20 guests, and our Modern Adventure Team. Our experiences are fun and inclusive and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group in terms of age, background and interests—including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This adventure is for travelers age 18 and above.
Who is leading this trip?
This trip is led by an expert Modern Adventure Trip Leader. They’re an experienced travel guide, a representative of Modern Adventure and your go-to person for questions or concerns on the trip. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel on or before February 12, 2020 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel between February 13, 2020 and March 18, 2020 there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after March 19, 2020 there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or of the trip being cancelled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details).
We’re at your service.
Speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
Text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018