Vietnam with Alison Roman
One Departure Only
8 Days in Vietnam with Alison Roman
Experience Vietnam with incredible company. Alison Roman, a food columnist for The New York Times and contributor for Bon Appétit, is thrilled to invite you to join her on a journey of fun, inspiration and discovery! This is her first trip to Vietnam and she wants to share it with YOU. This journey is a long time coming for her. She’s on a mission to learn about what makes up Vietnam’s regional ingredients and dishes, eat all the tastiest foods, and have the best-possible time.
It’s not just a vacation to Vietnam – it’s an eight-day discovery of one of the world’s most delicious destinations. In Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we’ll sample street food (by scooter and foot), hit an intimate Art Deco speakeasy, and learn new recipes in a modern cooking studio. Between meals, we wander ancient lanes, meet gallery owners and graffiti artists, kayak past rice fields, and – of course – have time to kick back on sandy beaches with a drink in hand.
This journey is perfect for the open, curious and willing (and anyone really fond of the world’s best noodles). Alison not only will share the joys with you in real time (and pick up new culinary inspirations), but treat the trip as a way to expand how you see yourself in your kitchen back home! To do this, Modern Adventure hand-built this beautiful itinerary with exceptional local experts, guides, artists, chefs and Tai Chi masters – all to show a deeper understanding of Vietnam and Vietnamese cuisine. And have an unforgettable time while doing it.
With Alison along, it’s going to be epic. See you in Vietnam!
The absolute wonder of Vietnamese regional foods and culture
The chef pro inside you by being open to new flavors and ingredients
Kayak past bucolic villages, paddle bamboo basket boats
Chill on a beach, or relax mind and body with the aid of our Tai Chi master
3 Reasons to Travel with Alison Roman
We love our friend Alison. She's fun, whip-smart and a total badass. If you don't know her, she is a writer, cook, and author of the best-selling cookbook, Dining In. She's also a regular contributor to the New York Times and Bon Appetit magazine, writing mostly about food and how to make all the delicious things.
Alison has a passion for trying new things. Like Vietnam! This is her first trip there and she's on a mission to learn about Vietnam's regional ingredients and eat all the tastiest street foods.
Alison, you’ll quickly see, is the queen of quips. Her mind and curiosity never stops. She's fun. She's irreverent. She's a blast to travel with.
She Believes in You
She really does. Alison builds recipes and writes books as part of her mission to get you more comfortable, more active, more creative in your kitchen.
The most memorable phở soup is one served in its birthplace, steaming fresh from a Hanoi sidewalk stand.
Day by Day
We'll dive deeply into Vietnam's regional cuisines and culture, walk ancient lanes named for silk and paper fans in Hanoi, explore Central Vietnam’s Imperial roots (and beaches!), and have plenty of time to eat and shop our way through Ho Chi Minh City’s food- and art-packed nonstop frenzy.
Day 1 | March 3
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, which is the country’s cultural heart. We’ll pass through its lush courtyards, pillared gates and incense-filled altars to Confucius.
Our lunch choice today – Hanoi-style bun cha – is a crunchy minced pork served over vermicelli noodles with lemony fish sauce. We’ll try it at the family run eatery where Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain met not long ago. We finish the day at an intimate Old Quarter lounge known for its traditional ruou ran (rice wines) infused with apricot or – for the hearty – rattlesnake!
Day 2 | March 4
We wake early to delve deeper into how local life works, lane by lane. We begin at the city’s most serene spot, Hoan Kiem Lake. Locals will already be there, exercising along the misty, temple-dotted shoreline. We’ll join them for a group Tai Chi session (no experience required!). After breakfast, we’ll explore the ancient Old Quarter’s gorgeous crooked lanes, still lined by centuries-old guilds (named for tin, silk, paper fans). As we go, we sample street food, including pho tiu (Vietnam’s original beef and noodle soup recipe), and break for a deeply refreshing iced coffee.
In the afternoon 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 city’s most celebrated Vietnamese restaurants, a slick indoor/outdoor top-floor lounge where we’ll feast on modern twists of national dishes (eg Saigon-style mustard leaves with shrimp, homemade tofu, grilled sea bass) while overlooking the lake.
Day 3 | March 5
We leave Hanoi and the north today, but first we’ll meet up with a local breakdancer-turned–graffiti artist who mixes modern and traditional styles. We’ll see some of his Hanoi works, then take a short flight to Danang in Central Vietnam. We’ll get our lunch on a beachside restaurant facing China Beach, and taste how Danang’s regional dishes lean spicier than in the north. Then we head to our next home, the walker/shopper’s paradise of Hoi An, one of Vietnam’s most beautiful well-preserved towns.
First up is a river ride into the coconut palm farms, stopping at village that served as a shelter during the Vietnam War. Here we’ll learn to paddle local bamboo basket boats. The evening is yours to explore – an excellent opportunity to get sized for custom-made blouses, dresses, jackets from the town’s celebrated tailors. (Pack whatever styles you’d like replicated. They’ll churn them out in a day or two.)
Day 4 | March 6
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 local wet market. We’ll browse herbs, vegetables, seafood, even silkworms for sale. For lunch, we’ve arranged a 30-dish walking lunch of Hoi An’s best street food. We go vendor to vendor – helping keep money in local kitchens – and learn how to order local food in Vietnamese as we feast.
The afternoon is yours to explore. The hotel runs beach shuttles to the beaches, 15 minutes away, or you can shop for local lacquerware and hand-made jewelry. In the evening, we meet up to swap stories during our delicious modern Vietnamese dinner in an art-packed restaurant in a historic home overlooking Hoi An’s riverfront promenade.
Day 5 | March 7
Despite its laid-back pace, Hoi An has always had its doors open to the world. We’ll learn about the enduring mark Chinese and Japanese traders left over the centuries on this Unesco World Heritage site while walking by the Old Town’s ancient sites.
After lunch, we’ll hop into Jeeps for a thrilling ride into the countryside, where we switch into kayaks. We take a leisurely two-hour paddle with a “floating bar” in tow so you can drift by bucolic beauty of traditional Vietnamese life with a cold beer in hand. Then we stop to make a wish by sending a floating lantern down the water – a timeless local tradition. For dinner, we feast on a river beach with a menu packed with freshly caught prawns served spiced and buttered – and offering each other a toast or two under the night sky.
Day 6 | March 8
Today we move into southern Vietnam, and our new home in Ho Chi Minh City, usually still called “Saigon.” We’ll jump right into its breathless motorcade frenzy – the streets here are impossibly packed with every form of transport imaginable. We start at Reunification Hall (the former Presidential Palace), where North Vietnamese tanks rolled into at the end of the Vietnam War. Then Alison takes us to a classic pho shop to sip the southern version of beef soup (you’ll notice it’s sweeter than Hanoi’s).
After checking into our art-filled boutique hotel, we’ll go to the microbrewery that launched the craft beer trend here (locals used to ice their beers; things have changed!). For dinner, we have reservations at a French colonial building that houses an intimate 1920s-style Art Deco speakeasy. It’s one of Saigon’s great eating experiences, with a mix of dishes served tapas-style to share, and a mix of border-breaking drinks including Brazilian cocktails.
Day 7 | March 9
This morning, we’ve arranged for a couple of local art experts to meet us and illuminate the art of Vietnam’s past, present and future. We start at the hotel’s private collection, then move to the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts. The building is art itself – an elegant former residence in a Sino-French Art Deco former mansion that’s been so rumored to be haunted that it spawned a local horror film.
The afternoon’s free to explore on your own – perhaps shopping at the iconic Ben Thanh Market or seeing ancient pagodas in the world’s biggest Chinatown – then regroup for another spin on Vietnam’s exciting food. We hop onto scooters and head to street food heaven. We’ll zip amidst hundreds of food stands – trying steamed tofu, clams with lemongrass, stir-fried pincers – on a delicious, revealing mobile tour across trendy District 4. We finish our last night together with a drinks at a gorgeous riverside park, then going a bit farther underground to a local garage rock bar. The night ends… when it ends.
Day 8 | March 10
It’s our last day, but the journey’s not finished yet – far from it. Before departing we go deep into southern food. We begin by walking to a nearby modern kitchen ’studio’ where chef Luke Nguyen leads us through a hands-on lesson of Vietnamese cooking and culture, then taste each course (from steamed sea bass to beef noodles). It’s the perfect finish to an amazing week together. Afterwards we’ll drop by a modern gallery, then return to the hotel in time to pack up.
Tam biet to Vietnam – until next time!
Hotel de l’OperaHanoi
Our 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. This boutique hotel occupies a French colonial building boasting a Neoclassical facade. When not exploring the walkable streets outside, you can relax in the pool or have a cocktail in the quiet, fountain-filled atrium.
Allegro Hoi AnHoi An
This welcoming five-star hotel is an oasis of calm within easy access of Hoi An’s ancient cobbled streets. Relax in the tree-filled garden surrounding a pool, or unwind in the sauna and steam bath. The charming staff can set you up on a bike to pedal around the low-key streets, or deliver you to the sandy beaches by shuttle.
M Gallery Hotel des ArtsHo Chi Minh City
This Saigon stunner is a boutique hotel doubling as an art gallery. In from the rush of the city streets, staff don traditional attire, such as silk ao dai dresses. Poke through the library facing the glass-walled pool, or sip cocktails on the open-deck rooftop bar as the city’s lights blink back. If you’re looking for a stroll, the Hotel des Arts is around the corner from Ho Con Rua, a pedal-leaf sculpture where locals sip fresh coconut milk as the breathless rush of Saigon zips by.
How We Travel Matters
Here’s how you contribute to a brighter future for Vietnam by traveling with Modern Adventure.
67 cents of every dollar we earn on average is spent locally. The cost of your trip has a direct positive impact on Vietnam.
We spread our reach locally, too, by taking mobile food tours that benefit local vendors. And we partner with local businesses focused on sustainability, from our hotel choices to the compostable lanterns we use for a traditional river ceremony.
1% of all profits from this trip are donated to the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund, supporting sustainable tourism globally.
Book Vietnam with Alison Roman
Select Number of Travelers
per person, based on double occupancy
So many questions, right?
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?
Seven nights at 4- or 5-star boutique accommodations; private travel for all intercity excursions and day trips and excursions; one-way airfare between Hanoi and Hoi An; one-way airfare between Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon); private tours with local guides and cultural experts; archeology, cultural and historical tours; food tastings and a cooking demonstration; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, most lunches and dinners; local beverages with meals; departure airport transfer; gratuities for local staff.
WHAT is NOT INCLUDEd?
International roundtrip airfare to Vietnam; travel insurance; visa fees; transportation to the trip’s start; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals, including room service, laundry services and hotel bar tabs; food and beverage not included in itinerary; gratuity for tour leader.
Who is leading the trip?
Modern Adventure and our network of local partners and expert local guides. We have decades of travel experience crafting experiences that produce extraordinary moments, and lasting bonds, with the people with whom we travel and the places we visit.
WHO IS GOING ON THIS TRIP?
This trip will be offered to up to 20 adventurers. We recommend this departure for anyone over the age of 18 who share Alison’s love of the unknown, a spirit for adventure and “say yes to everything” attitude.
WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION POLICY?
You may cancel up to 96 days prior to the scheduled departure date and receive a full refund minus a $500 per-person service fee. If you cancel between 95 and 61 days in advance, there is a 50% cancellation fee. Within 60 days or less of departure there is a 100% cancellation fee. (See our Terms and Conditions for full details.)
DO I NEED TO PAY A SOLO TRAVELER SUPPLEMENT?
Yes, there is a $715 supplement for solo travelers, to be paid after your booking is confirmed.
WHAT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS ARE NEEDED?
U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa before traveling into Vietnam. Please visit the Vietnam International Travel Information page on travel.state.gov to 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 the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate for information and requirements.
What is the weather like?
In March the weather in Hanoi is usually warm and dry; the same is true for Hoi An and central Vietnam. March is also one of the best months to be in Ho Chi Minh City – it’s hot, but not sweltering and not too humid.
We’re at your service.
Speak with a Modern Adventure Trip Specialist.
Text or call us at +1 (855) 219-8018