Food tours to Thailand and Vietnam. Want to tag-along?
The tag-along concept is simple — make your own way to Bangkok or Hanoi (use your frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards etc.) and meet up with Spirit House chefs and guide for four fun-filled days of food exploration and discovery.
These tours are a fantastic way to begin your holiday in Thailand or Vietnam — giving you a deeper understanding of the food and culture as well as some unique sights along the way.
As we show you in the video above: what started out as a boutique tour focused on Thai food culture and heritage has become four amazing days to see a side of Thailand that most tourists never get to experience.
Over the years we have finessed this tour and have a simply dazzling array of sights, sounds and tastes that, quite frankly, will leave you needing another holiday. The great thing about this tour is you will feel confident to explore the rest of this fascinating country with all its amazing diversity. So if you're planning a Thai holiday why not join us for the first few days?
The essential ingredients to enjoy our Tour? Be adventurous about tasting new food. Be flexible, as we sometimes alter the itinerary if interesting places attract your attention ... all part of the fun!
The video above gives you an idea on what the tours are all about but you can also download a complete in pdf format Download our booking forms
If you're 'old school' and don't like watching videos, here's a quick breakdown of the tour for you.
You make your own way to Bangkok and book your own hotel. This gives you the opportunity to use frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards etc. We all meet up in the lobby of the Patumwan Princess hotel at 8.30am on the first day of the tour, ready to hit the streets. The tour costs $800 per person (twin share) and includes two nights accommodation in Ayutthaya on Days 2 & 3 of the tour.
Day #1: A fascinating walking tour of old royal Bangkok. Interesting food, Buddha factories and temples.
Day #2: Pack your bags we're off to Ayutthaya. But first, we visit Or Tor Kor market to explore the raw ingredients and visit the food vendors to have a picnic lunch in the park. Afternoon free to explore, relax by the pool or get a massage followed by sunset drinks at a ruined temple and dinner in a night market.
Day #3: We're off to explore 13th century ruins, ride an elephant, learn how to make Persian fairy floss by hand - afternoon free to explore more ruins, relax in the pool with a beer etc. That evening we're off to watch the elephants bathe in the river and dinner in a local restaurant.
Day #4: Early morning start to visit another fascinating ruin before heading to the river to take a long tail boat down to the King's old summer palace. We travel by rickety cable car to a bizarre neo-gothic style buddhist temple, visit the palace and should reach Bangkok by 2pm.
This three day tour is led by expat Australian chef, Sarah Clarke, plus a Spirit House chef, who will help unravel the mysteries and complexities of Vietnamese food and culture as you wander the back streets and markets of old Ha Noi.
Sarah moved to Hanoi with her husband many years ago. Fluent in Vietnamese, Sarah has combined her love of architecture and Vietnamese food to create an exciting, vibrant and tasty tour of Ha Noi visiting fascinating parts of the city where most tourists never venture.
The three days you spend tagging along with us is a fantastic way to begin your holiday in Vietnam giving you the confidence to explore new and exciting food from the different areas you may visit. To make a booking for this tour simply download our booking form.
As with the Thai tour, you make your own way to Hanoi and book your own hotel; preferably in the old quarter which is close to our departure point. The tour leaves from the lobby of the Sofitel Metropole Hotel (15 Ngo Quyen St, Ha Noi). The three day Hanoi Tour costs $600 per person (twin share) which includes all transport, food and activities:
Breakfast on Bun Rieu Cua, a delicious, fragrant crab and rice noodle soup. For those that are up for it, this stall also makes divine crème caramel – thus proving that the French were good for something! After the soup, it's off to a bustling market which supplies restaurants, hotels. It is a great spot for picking up culinary souvenirs such as ceramic or wooden pestle and mortars, Vietnamese knives, peelers, zesters. We will have a roving feast as we try some different fruits and snacks.
We return to the Old Quarter for a coffee or juice at the 'Secret Café', an oasis of peace high above the noise and the crowds of the city. A chance for you to kick back and absorb one of the most fabulous views of central Ha Noi and perhaps even try their famous sabayon coffee.
Today we breakfast on Viet Nam's version of Chicken Noodle Soup known as Pho Ga, then head to a small neighbourhood street market located in what used to be one of the sentinel villages of old Ha Noi. It is an area of historical interest as well as a great spot to see how Ha Noi is embracing the 21st Century. Much smaller than the market we visited yesterday, this services the local community.
At the end of the market street is a traditional Communal House, housing both a stone stele dating from the Ly Dynasty as well as a Three Mother's Temple – Viet Nam's indigenous, matriarchal, animistic religion that has now been blended with Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism.
Lunch is eaten early in Ha Noi so that everyone can maximise their siesta time! We dine at a Madam Hien's – a restaurant created by the Sofitel Meterpole's former Executive Chef, Didier Corlou, in honour of his mother-in-law – for a Vietnamese family-style lunch with a chic French twist.
So you've seen the markets and tasted some of Hanoi's delicious cuisine. Now it's time to try your hand at creating some of these fine dishes. First it's a trip to the market to buy our ingredients. Once fully stocked, we'll hop in a cyclo ride to the renowned Highway 4 restaurant to test you culinary skills. While the cyclo is no longer a common form of transport (except for tourists and romantic couples!), it is actually a lovely way to take in the vibrant street life in a relaxed and leisurely manner.
Then it's into the Highway 4 kitchens to learn how to create some dishes that you may have tried in the markets as well
as some that we have not yet seen. The menu varies seasonally but will include a range of tasty Vietnamese fare such as:
As stated above. The tag-along concept means you pay your airfares and accommodation (where applicable) and we cover all daily transport, street/market food, lunch and snacks (excluding alcohol and evening meals). If you have any questions regarding the tours, feel free to call us on (07) 5446 8977 or email us.
Download our booking forms - fill in your details and send or fax the completed forms to our travel agent, Spectacular Events. Because each of our tours involves an overnight stay, by law we need to use a travel agent to handle bookings for our tours. You can book your airfares and accommodation however you like - Zoe and her team at Spectacular Events are also happy to help you with this side of your trip if you like.