Vietnam with Aaron Barnett

December 1 - 10, 2023 | Only a Few Spots Left!

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Heart & Soul of Vietnam

A cultural and culinary exploration with Chef Aaron Barnett

December 1 - 10, 2023

One exclusive departure — and just a few spots left!

10 Days, 9 Nights

Best of Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City

Price from


per person based on double occupancy; includes two internal flights

Questions? Text or call us
+1 (855) 219-8018

A crisp char and salty ocean spray fill the air. The sun is setting behind you, silhouetting the countryside. You dig into a scallop, grilled to perfection, and gaze out across the golden calm waters. This hasn’t been just a vacation to Vietnam—you’re on the homestretch of a nine-day discovery of one of the world’s most delicious destinations. You’ve met local artists, sampled street food from the back of a scooter, and even surfed for an afternoon with the same chef who has made this trip so unforgettably joyful. Many people have visited this magical place. Nobody has experienced it quite like this.

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. We are honored to travel beside him in Vietnam, one of his favorite places on Earth, as we unlock the flavors and traditions of Vietnamese cuisine bite by exquisite bite.

This journey is like a perfectly crafted banh mi, packed with immersive experiences and garnished with delicious adventure. Dive deep into Vietnam’s regional cuisines, explore Hanoi’s street markets, walk ancient lanes in Ho Chi Minh City, discover central Vietnam’s Imperial roots in Hue and shop through Hoi An’s fabled markets. This isn’t a mere vacation — it’s a deep and personal discovery of one of the world’s most delicious destinations.


French-inspired food and architecture, traditional fishing villages and ridiculously good street food


With Vietnamese culture, local chefs and bakers, artisans who've been practicing their craft for generations


Incredible street foods and desserts, flavors you never knew existed—or had the courage to try


Rev scooters through markets, tour on rickshaw cyclos, and wander through ancient temples and ruins

3 Reasons to Travel with Aaron Barnett

Chef Aaron Barnett is Portland’s French cuisine visionary. His restaurants—St Jack and La Moule—channel his foodie parents and his own French Canadian roots. 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 Anything

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.

Dining Room DJ

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.

Your Experience

“I like to go all over the place—high end, street food. I like eating what’s good.”
Aaron Barnett

Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City

“I can't say what made me fall in love with Vietnam...everything is so intense: the colors, the taste, even the rain.”
Graham Greene

Day by Day

Day 1: Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi, one of Asia’s most mesmerizing cities. Today is about settling in, maybe exploring the ancient and deeply photogenic city center on your own—past pillared gates and incense-filled altars dedicated to Confucius.

We’ll meet up for lunch at Koto, a nonprofit training organization for at-risk youth. It’s an opportunity to dive head-first into grassroots Vietnam and experience the beating heart of culture from the ground up. After, we’ll explore the Temple of Literature, an 11th-century Confucian temple which is commonly referred to as the first University in Vietnam.

Inspired by its manicured gardens and stately gates, we’ll make our way back to our hotel for some rest and relaxation before our incredible welcome dinner at La Table Hanoia, where Michelin-star chef Alain Dutournier crafts a superbly delicious, playful menu—think saffron potato risotto with lobster bisque sherbet—in a stunning modern setting.

Day 1: Hanoi Highlights

  • Lunch at Koto
  • Temple of Literature
  • Dinner at La Table Hanoia
  • Stay at Hotel de l'Opera in Hanoi

Day 2: Hanoi

This morning we dive straight away into Hanoi’s crooked lanes and centuries-old buildings, sampling the best street foods Hanoi has to offer, including pho tiu (Vietnam’s original beef and noodle soup) and cà phê trúng (creamy egg coffee). 

Next, it’s time to relish in the magic of water puppetry. This is not the standard tourist show; instead, we’re exclusive guests with a chance to meet the artisans and masters of this ancient craft. Then we’re off on a cyclo ride through Hanoi’s graceful Old Quarter, its crooked tree-lined lanes framed by old guildhalls and skinny, colorful houses stacked together. We’ll be dropped off at one of the city’s renowned Bia Hoi, the outdoor pubs serving fresh draft beer to locals until their taps run dry.

This evening we’ll dine in postmodern style at the local Ly Club—think playful and only-in-Hanoi remixes of Vietnamese specialties like beef in bamboo and ‘whistling’ duck.

Day 2: Hanoi Highlights

  • Hanoi street food
  • Old Quarter cyclo ride
  • Dinner at Ly Club
  • Stay at Hotel de l'Opera in Hanoi

Day 3: Hue

Say tạm biệt (farewell) to Hanoi; after breakfast we’ll head to the airport for our short flight to Hue, seat of the Nguyen Dynasty and the national capital from 1802 to 1945. Our first stop is the Royal Home of Tha Om and its stunning grounds, followed by lunch at a restored royal home in a sumptuous garden setting and a visit to the former residence of a Nguyen Dynasty princess. Keeping with they royal theme, we’ll end the afternoon at the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO Heritage site, strolling the gardens of this former royal court.

Tonight’s dinner is a treat: at Phu Mong, a gracious garden house dedicated to recreating the authentic cuisines of Hue’s royalty. We’ll dine on vegetables sculpted into shapes of plants and animals, as well as local specialties like banana blossom salad and banh khoai (fried rice pancakes). Back at the hotel’s sheik mansion bar, we’ll gather for a casual nightcap with Aaron.

Day 3: Hue Highlights

  • Short flight to Hue
  • Royal homes & citadel visit
  • Private dinner at Phu Mong
  • Stay at La Residence in Hue

Day 4: Hue

Our day starts with a leisurely bike ride, wending our way through verdant rice paddies out to Thanh Toan, a 17th-century village just outside Hue where ancient ways are very much intact. We’ll explore its rural market, clan shrine houses, and famous tile-roofed bridge. After lunch we’ll drive to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb and visit Vu Di Tea House to savor traditional teas steeped in the region’s centuries-old tea culture.

Back in Hue, we’ll have time for a short boat trip down the picturesque Perfume River to visit the majestic Thien Mu seven-story pagoda, the city’s best-preserved religious monument and a local icon. After some downtime we’ll reconvene for a dinner by cyclo, as Aaron guides us through the flavors of Hue, from vegetarian street food to rice with river clams and sizzling ground-pork on lemongrass skewers. Don’t be shy about dessert: The region’s famous sweet soups — made from lotus seed, kidney bean, and purple yam — await!

Day 4: Hue Highlights

  • Bike to Thanh Toan
  • Vu Di tea house & Thien Mu pagoda
  • Street-food dinner
  • Stay at La Residence in Hue

Day 5: Hoi An

We’re off to Hoi An, jewel of central Vietnam, via the famous Pass of the Ocean Clouds. At the top of this mighty mountain pass we’ll have stunning horizon-wide views over the turquoise sea below.

We’ll check in to our stunning Hoi An hotel and, after lunch, set out to explore the city’s historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This picturesque riverside town was a major trading port for centuries, and mansions built by merchants line the narrow streets of the Old Quarter. We’ll stop to admire temples, artisan workshops, and the bustling fish market, and visit the home of a master lantern-craftsman.

Dinner is at the iconic Mango Mango fusion restaurant. Duc Tran, the Vietnamese-American chef and owner, left Vietnam on a boat at age 15, settled in Texas, and cooked and surfed his way around the world before returning home to open his own artful, award-winning Hoi An restaurant.

Day 5: Hoi An Highlights

  • Transfer to Hoi An
  • Old Town lantern workshop
  • Dinner at Mango Mango
  • Stay at Hotel Royal in Hoi An

Day 6: Hoi An

It’s market day, and we’ll tour Hoi An’s bustling trading post by boat. The experience is a celebration of every sense: the vibrant colors, the cacophony of sounds, the exotic fruits and vegetables. We’ll even stop by a rice-paper purveyor for an insider’s peek at the production process.

Then it’s off to a gourmet cooking class with local legend, Ms. Lu, to create our very own lunch of local specialities: crab wontons, papaya salad, and muc nhoi thit (squid stuffed with pork).  

Dinner tonight is a Hoi An favorite: a street food tour by vintage Vespa. We’ll zoom through the bustling streets to an islet lit by dancing lanterns, then dismount our Vespas and hop onto a boat for a slow river cruise, joining locals for a few cold brews and starters. After disembarking, we’ll settle in for our main course—fiery Vietnamese barbecue at one of the city’s most innovative kitchens.

Day 6: Hoi An Highlights

  • Market visit & cooking experience
  • Vespa street-food tour
  • Boat ride & dinner
  • Stay at Hotel Royal in Hoi An

Day 7: Hoi An

We’re hopping back on our bicycles this morning for a leisurely ride out to Cam Thanh village, past lush rice paddies and water buffalos grazing along the canals. We’re here to experience some of Vietnam’s centuries-old traditions. First, in the coconut-palm water forest off Cam An, we’ll try our hand at fishing and crabbing in a traditional “basket boat” before heading to Tra Que, a small farming community where we’ll visit the village garden and meet local farmers, rolling up our sleeves and assisting them as they harvest ripe vegetables.

As midday approaches we’ll join Aaron alongside a local family—we’ll be honored guests in their home—to prepare lunch and learn the techniques behind some of Hoi An’s most delicious traditional dishes. We can expect a genuine, delicious country meal.

In the evening we’ll meet up for dinner at Morning Glory, with elevated specialties like shrimp mousse on sugarcane skewers, or smoked eggplant with minced pork in a banana leaf, from their bustling open kitchen. 

Day 7: Hoi An Highlights

  • Bicycle ride to Cam Thanh
  • Basket-boat fishing 
  • Lunch in local home with Aaron
  • Stay at Hotel Royal in Hoi An

Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City

This morning we’re up bright and early for our short flight to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). We’ll head straight from the airport for an immersive tour of this fabled city, zipping through the bustling streets, stopping to take in thought-provoking monuments like the Burning Monk Memorial and reveling in the French architecture.

After lunch at Cuc Gach Quan, a lovingly restored restaurant inspired by the owner’s grandmother’s vegetable stall, we’ll head to Chinatown to visit Thien Hau temple, built by the Cantonese congregation in the early 19th century to honor the Goddess of the Sea. Afterwards, at one of the city’s famed herbal medicine shops, we’ll meet a local herbalist who will share some of the secrets of traditional Chinese medicine. 

We’ll travel by moto taxi to a bustling hẻm (alley) packed with food vendors who have spent decades perfecting their special dishes, then rub shoulders with hairdressers, motorcyclists, children and grandmothers as we wander from stall to stall sampling local specialties like snails in coconut milk, sizzling pancakes with turmeric, and crab fried noodles. Aaron will be leading the charge and sharing his own favorites with us at every turn. 

Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City Highlights

  • Flight to Ho Chi Minh City
  • City tour & herbalist meet-up
  • Street-food dinner tour
  • Stay at Hôtel des Arts Saigon

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City

After an adventurous urban day, we dive into rural Vietnam. Southwest of Ho Chi Minh City are the spidery tributaries of the mighty Mekong River, where the bulk of the country’s produce and rice comes from. We’ll glide through the waters on a private boat, browse the incredible bounty of its renowned floating markets; after haggling for a few appetizers, we dock on Tan Phong Island and mount bikes for a short cycling tour through the shaded roads of the village.

Lunch is an unforgettable experience, a banquet of delicacies sourced along the Delta, prepared in a local home by our hosts in collaboration with Aaron.

After our time in the countryside, it’s back to the city for a night of celebration. Our farewell dinner at Hoa Tuc, a beautifully restored Art Deco row house, is a joyful reminder of our time together in Vietnam with Aaron. After dinner, the night is yours to explore—maybe you’ll venture into chic rooftop bars for a nightcap in this enchanting city that never sleeps. 

Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City Highlights

  • Mekong Delta cruise
  • Lunch with local family
  • Farewell dinner at Hoa Tuc
  • Stay at Hôtel des Arts Saigon

Day 10: Departures

It’s time to bid goodbye to Vietnam, Aaron and all our new friends. With all that we’ve experienced and tasted, we know it won’t be long before we return. 

Day 10: Departures Highlights

  • Airport transfers

Where We Sleep

Art-filled design hotels in Hue and Hoi An, a luxurious retreat in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City—our accommodations are stylish, modern takes on traditional Vietnamese styles.

Hotel de l'Opera


Our boutique Old Quarter home base is perfectly situated, a block from the Hanoi'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.

La Residence


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 Royal

Hoi 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.

Hôtel des Arts Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City

With smooth lines and sumptuous curves inspired by the principles of Feng Shui, this airy, art-filled hotel combines timeless glamor with a very 21st-century sense of whimsy. Take tea at the Café des Beaux Arts, nestle down in the library with a book, or head to the rooftop saltwater pool for a refreshing dip — then perch on a waterside barstool for a sundowner and enjoy the panoramic views of the city below.

Street food was the star of this trip. I felt like I was on an awesome adventure with a group of friends.
Lindsay S.
I loved Vietnam. I was charmed by the people and seduced by the cuisine.
Janice B.
I was blown away by how flawlessly Modern Adventure executed this trip. You exceeded my every expectation.
Joan P.

Book Vietnam with Aaron Barnett

Number of Travelers


Reserve your spot today with a $1,500 per-person deposit plus room supplements (if relevant). Full payment is due 180 days prior to your trip departure date. We’ll email you a reminder. If your trip departs in less than 180 days, we’ll collect full payment either 30 days from when we receive your deposit, or 60 days prior to your trip departure date, whichever is sooner. For details read our Deposit FAQs


per person based on double occupancy; includes two internal flights

Can't travel on these dates?
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+1 (855) 219-8018


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.

  1. What does the price include?

    Nine nights at unique four- and five-star accommodations; two internal flights from Hanoi to Hue and Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh City; private travel for all day trips and excursions; private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities, hands-on workshops; adventures and expeditions; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals; gratuities for local staff.

  2. 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.

  3. Where does this trip start and end?

    Our adventure begins at the Hotel De l’Opera in Hanoi, Vietnam. The closest airport is Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN). Our last day is in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The closest airport is Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN). 

  4. 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 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.

  5. Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?

    For solo travelers, there is a $1,500 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. What is the cancellation policy?

    You may cancel on or before August 3, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after August 4, 2023, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after October 2, 2023 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 canceled (see our Terms and Conditions for full details). 

  9. Do I need Travel Insurance?

    We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement for your trip costs; if your trip plans change for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to get medical help, emergency transport, and for theft, loss or damage of items while traveling. For best coverage, always insure the full trip cost within two weeks of your initial trip deposit and note that most ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policies must be purchased on the date of your initial deposit.

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