Vietnam with Nicholas & Leslie Goellner

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Heart & Soul of Vietnam

A cultural and culinary exploration with Nicholas & Leslie Goellner

Jan 26 - Feb 4, 2024

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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

We will contact you as soon as space becomes available. 

You’re deep within the Mekong Delta, savoring the speckled flesh of a just-ripe pitaya as vendors drift by on boats stacked high with a kaleidoscope of fruit. It’s market day—a floating celebration of Vietnam’s freshest flavors and most iconic ingredients—but all week you’ve been fully immersed in the country’s iconic craft and cuisine. Yesterday, you muddled fresh lemongrass and mint alongside one of Saigon’s most revered mixologists, and later today you’ll trade boat for bicycle, cruising past emerald rice paddies and ancient villages to a traditional lunch with locals. This is Vietnam like you’ve always dreamed of, an experience made even richer by the kindred spirits at the table and the company of two humble visionaries at the pinnacle of their craft.

Your companions on this exquisite journey are Nicholas and Leslie Goellner. Their Kansas City restaurant, The Antler Room, is the crown jewel of the Midwest, a masterpiece of hyperlocal ingredients and global flavors that was recognized with a prestigious James Beard nomination in 2023. A deep-rooted passion for story and craft is behind everything the Goellners do, which is why they’re particularly excited to explore Vietnam—a place where millenia of storied traditions and history coalesce in a symphony of culture and cuisine.

This journey is like a perfectly crafted banh mi, packed with immersive experiences and garnished with unhurried adventure. Dive deep into Hanoi’s street markets, walk ancient lanes in Ho Chi Minh City, cruise through the emerald waters of Halong Bay, and have plenty of time to eat and shop through Hoi An’s fabled markets. This isn’t a mere vacation—it’s a 10-day discovery of one of the world’s most unforgettable destinations.


Unparalleled food and architecture, traditional fishing villages and ridiculously good street food


With Vietnamese culture, local chefs and families, 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


Bustling markets on revving scooters and rickshaw cyclos, and wander through ancient temples and ruins

3 Reasons to Travel with Nicholas & Leslie Goellner

Nick and Leslie Goellner are the passionate duo behind Kansas City's The Antler Room. Nick isn't your typical chef: he trained as an Olympic fencer and worked as a congressional aide before attending culinary school in New York. Leslie managed top NYC and SF restaurants before returning home to Kansas City where she met Nick. One night watching Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, they tossed around the idea of Nick working at Noma in Copenhagen. That idea stuck, and their move was the beginning of a whole new chapter—one that left them ready to take on their next globetrotting adventure.

History Buffs

Understanding the why behind an ingredient or tradition is essential for Leslie and Nick, and they’re deeply passionate about sharing the stories that lend texture to a place and its cuisine. It’s what made their last Modern Adventure trip to Georgia so unforgettable—they’re pros at shining light on what makes a culture unique.

Global Foodies

Both Nick and Leslie are fascinated by the intermixing of global cuisines and can’t wait to explore Vietnam, where influences from China, India, France, and Malaysia come together in unforgettable flavor.

Fermentation First

Nick and Leslie use fermentation to create dishes with unrivaled umami richness at The Antler Room. They’re thrilled to be able to explore a country where fermentation is the backbone of cuisine—where an ingredient like fish sauce has been produced in the same way for millenia.

Your Experience

“Vietnam’s climate makes for an unparalleled diversity of foods.”
Nicholas & Leslie Goellner

Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City

“We’re exploring a place so beautiful people use it as a screensaver.”
Nicholas & Leslie Goellner

Day by Day

Day 1: Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi, one of Asia’s most mesmerizing capitals. Today is all about familiarizing ourselves with the ancient rhythm of the city, and there’s no better place to do that than at Koto, a restaurant and hospitality training center for at-risk youth. Over a sumptuous spread of regional specialities, we’ll dive head-first into grassroots Vietnam and experience a version of the city that’s rarely found in the guide books. Afterwards, we’ll bid adieu to our Koto hosts and explore the nearby Temple of Literature, an 11th-century Confucian masterpiece thought to be the first University in Vietnam.

Back at the hotel, we’ll reflect on our morning adventures, then make our way over to the Press Club restaurant where a buzzing welcome reception awaits. It’s our elegant appetizer to dinner tonight 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. It’s a multi-course celebration of craft and cuisine, and the perfect opportunity to raise our glasses in toast to Nick and Leslie and the many adventures to come.

Day 1: Hanoi Highlights

  • Lunch at Koto Van Mieu
  • Welcome reception at Press Club
  • Dinner at La Table Hanoia
  • Stay at Hotel de l'Opera

Day 2: Halong Bay & Hanoi

After breakfast at our hotel this morning, we’re driving through sleepy villages and sun-kissed fields to one of the world’s most iconic seascapes: Halong Bay. Here, a private cruise awaits, ready to float us through an otherworldly landscape of over 2,000 limestone islands jutting from ancient emerald waters. From the boat’s upper deck, we’ll breathe in the symphony of looming, cave-lined karsts, sandy islets, and soaring sea eagles before gathering for a sumptuous lunch onboard. As a special post-meal treat, we’ll settle back for a cup of creamy Vietnamese coffee and Q&A session with Nick and Leslie, our gracious guides for this trip with a deep connection to the land.

Back in Hanoi, we’re in for a night of elevated feasting—literally!—at Cau Go. Perched atop the sixth- and seventh-floors of one of the Old Quarter’s colonial buildings, the award-winning restaurant is a masterpiece of lemongrass and tamarind, of world-class technique and hyperlocal flavor. We’ll drink in the neon panorama of Hanoi at night, then tuck into a formidable spread of local specialties, from fresh salads and crispy spring rolls to immaculately grilled meats.

Day 2: Halong Bay & Hanoi Highlights

  • Transfer to Halong Bay
  • Private cruise & onboard lunch
  • Dinner at Cau Go
  • Stay at Hotel de l'Opera

Day 3: Hanoi to Hue

This morning, we’re diving into the heart of Hanoi with a cyclo ride through the city’s graceful Old Quarter. As we wind through crooked tree-lined lanes, we’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the city’s old guildhalls and colorful, skinny houses, catching glimpses of vendors hawking gravestones and colorful markets brimming with vibrant silk. Once we’ve familiarized ourselves with the lay of the land, we’ll hop off our bicycles for a closer look at Hanoi’s world-class street food. Alongside an expert guide, Nick and Leslie will lead us through their favorite local eats, from cà phê trúng (creamy egg coffee) to pho tiu (Vietnam’s original beef and noodle soup) at a hidden family-run shop. 

After slurping down our last drops of broth, it’s time to say goodbye to Hanoi and make our way to the airport—Hue awaits. It’s a short flight to Vietnam’s former capital, and from there an even shorter drive to our hotel, a stunning estate nestled against the banks of the Perfume River. We’ll have time to get settled—perhaps even take a dip in the sprawling salt-water pool—before reconvening for dinner tonight at Phu Mong. There, we’re in for a meal fit for royals. The gracious garden house recreates the authentic cuisines of Hue’s past emperors, and each plate is a work of art: think vegetables sculpted into the shapes of animals and crispy stacks of banh khoai (fried rice pancakes).

Day 3: Hanoi to Hue Highlights

  • Hanoi foodie tour
  • Royal dinner at Phu Mong
  • Short flight to Hue
  • Stay at La Residence

Day 4: Hue

Our day starts with a leisurely bike ride—we’ll wend our way through verdant rice paddies to the ancient village of Thanh Toan, where we’ll explore the town’s rural market, clan shrine houses, and famous tile-roofed bridge. After lunch at a local favorite, we’ll drive to the elaborate Khai Dinh Royal Tomb and visit Vu Di Tea House to sample an elegant spread of steaming brews. We’re rounding out our adventures with a picturesque boat trip down the Perfume River, complete with a visit to the iconic seven-story Thien Mu pagoda—it’s one of the city’s best-preserved religious monuments—before heading back to our hotel.

After some downtime, we’ll reconvene for dinner by cyclo, Nick and Leslie our guides to the unbeatable flavors of Hue. We’ll warm up with a drink and some light finger food, then wind our way to local restaurants and street food stalls to sample everything from rice with river clams to sizzling lemongrass pork 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 cyclo tour
  • Stay at La Residence

Day 5: Hue & Hoi An

This morning we’re visiting the Royal Home of Tha Om and its stunning grounds. Alongside an acclaimed local historian, we’ll tour this former residence of a Nguyen Dynasty princess, then gather for a sumptuous garden-side lunch. Keeping with the royal theme, we’ll end the afternoon with a stroll through the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the grounds of the former royal court. 

In the afternoon we’ll bid farewell to Hue and begin our drive to the jewel of central Vietnam: Hoi An. The famous Pass of the Ocean Clouds is our route, and we’ll pause at the crest of this mighty mountain pass to drink in stunning views of the turquoise sea below. In the evening, we’ll have time to get settled in our idyllic Hoi An hotel before reconvening for dinner at the iconic Mango Mango restaurant. The award-winning eatery is an ode to contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, and we’re honored to have Nick walk us through the menu’s global influences before we tuck into our first-class spread.

Day 5: Hue & Hoi An Highlights

  • Royal Home & Citadel visit
  • Drive to Hoi An
  • Dinner at Mango Mango
  • Stay at Hotel Royal

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. Afterwards, we’re off to a gourmet cooking class led by Nick, Leslie, and local legend Ms. Lu. The trio will teach us the ins-and-outs of knife work and Vietnamese herbs, then we’ll roll up our sleeves to create our very own lunch of local specialities: crab wontons, papaya salad, and muc nhoi thit (squid stuffed with pork).  

It’s a memorable lunch, and one we’ll follow with a walk through the city’s historic Old Town. This picturesque riverside city was a major trading port for centuries, and mansions built by merchants still line the narrow streets of the Old Quarter. We’ll stop to admire temples, artisan workshops, and the bustling fish market, then visit the home of a master lantern-craftsman to learn more about the history, shape, and color of the lanterns—we’ll even have a chance to create our own.

In the evening we’ll meet up for dinner at Morning Glory, an open-kitchen eatery with a range of elevated house specialties, from shrimp mousse on sugarcane skewers to banana leaf-wrapped eggplant and pork.

Day 6: Hoi An Highlights

  • Market visit & cooking experience
  • Old Town lantern workshop
  • Dinner at Morning Glory
  • Stay at Hotel Royal

Day 7: Hoi An

We’re hopping back on our bicycles this morning, passing through lush green rice paddies and grazing water buffaloes on our way to the water coconut forests of Cam Thanh. After trying our hand at fishing and crabbing in a traditional basket boat, we’re heading to the farming community of Tra Que, where we’ll roll up our sleeves to help harvest vegetables from the village garden. After a juggernaut of morning, we’ll reflect and pause for Vietnamese-style self care—an herbal foot massage to revitalize our tired muscles.

Later, we’ll join Nick and Leslie in the home of a local family for a masterclass in traditional cooking techniques followed by a hearty, garden-fed lunch. From there, the afternoon is ours to explore our scenic surroundings—we won’t meet up again until the evening for a Hoi An favorite: a street food tour by vintage Vespa. We’ll zoom through the city’s 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 7: Hoi An Highlights

  • Basket boat fishing 
  • Lunch in local home 
  • Vespa street food tour
  • Stay at Hotel Royal

Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City

This morning we’re up bright and early for our short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. From the airport, we’ll embark straightaway on an immersive tour of the fabled city and its bustling streets, stopping to take in thought-provoking monuments like the Burning Monk Memorial and reveling in the French architecture.

After lunch at a beloved local eatery, we’re diving into the world of cocktails. P’Ti Saigon restaurant is renowned for its bold flavors and innovative fusions, and this afternoon it’s our private cocktail-making playground as Leslie, Nick, and an expert in-house bartender lead us through the fine art of shaking, muddling, and straining all our favorite drinks. Once we’ve savored the fruits of our labor alongside a sumptuous dinner spread, we’re rounding out the day in quintessential Saigon fashion: with a night of lively tunes, cold beers, and bellyache-inducing laughs at one of the city’s most iconic karaoke bars. 

Day 8: Ho Chi Minh City Highlights

  • Scenic tour of Saigon
  • Cocktail workshop and dinner
  • Karaoke night
  • Stay at Hôtel des Arts Saigon

Day 9: Mekong Delta

After our urban adventures yesterday, we’re excited to dive into rural Vietnam. Southwest of Ho Chi Minh City are the spidery tributaries of the mighty Mekong River—they’re home to the bulk of the country’s produce and rice production. We’ll cruise through the waters to one of the region’s iconic floating markets, where vendors balance stacks of heavy melons on narrow wooden boats and hawk fiery chiles on bamboo poles. Once we’ve gotten a feel for river life, we’ll dock our boats 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 and served up family-style at the home of a local host. 

After our time in the countryside, it’s back to the city for a night of celebration. Our farewell dinner at Hoa Tuc—a former opium refinery turned Art Deco row house—is a joyful reminder of our time together in Vietnam, and alongside Leslie and Nick we’ll recount our favorite memories over a spread of fresh spring rolls and hyperlocal seafood. After dinner, the night is yours to explore. You’ll find us at one of the city’s chic rooftop bars, nursing an unhurried nightcap in this city that never sleeps.

Day 9: Mekong Delta Highlights

  • Mekong Delta cruise
  • Floating market tour
  • Farewell dinner at Hoa Tuc
  • Stay at Hôtel des Arts Saigon

Day 10: Departures

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

Day 10: Departures Highlights

  • Transfers to Ho Chi Minh's SGN airport

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 to drink in panoramic views of the sun setting above 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 Nicholas & Leslie Goellner

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

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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; transportation to the trip’s starting and ending points; 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; 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 Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), where we’ll transfer to Hotel de L’Opera Hanoi. 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 $1,800 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 September 28, 2023 and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel on or after September 29, 2023, there is a 50% cancellation fee; on or after November 27, 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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