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Contemporary Vietnam - 11 day Art Tour from Hanoi to Saigon

In a nutshell

The artistic forms and traditions of Vietnam are so diverse, ranging from architectural monuments, metallurgy, literature, music, dance and theatre to handcrafted ceramics, basketry and textiles. Within such a rich, artistically traditional culture - where does contemporary creativity find expression? In this art-themed journey, we explore this question through various mediums and movements in Vietnam's dynamic contemporary art scene. With a passionate art historian, we also follow the story of Vietnam's modern art history. From the influence of the French Ecole des Beaux Art de l'Indochine during the colonial period to combat and propaganda art that developed during two wars.  We visit private collections, studios, contemporary spaces and artisans reviving ancient crafts with a modern touch. Meet with local artists, curators, gallery owners and musicians. We also look at some of the traditional crafts that continue to play an important role in the cultural landscape, from water-puppetry to calligraphy and lacquer ware.  Join us on this journey through the arts of Vietnam, for art lovers or those simply wanting a deeper immersion into contemporary Vietnamese culture. 
Trip highlights

•    Hanoi: visit selection of leading galleries & art venues 
•    Private visit to home-studio of a well known Vietnamese painter
•    Cultural & architectural highlights of Hanoi & Old Quarter
•    Ethereal beauty of Ha Long Bay seascape
•    Cultural & architectural highlights of Hue, Imperial Capital of Vietnam
•    Access to contemporary artists and traditional artisans in Hue & Hoi An
•    Explore Ancient Town of Hoi An 
•    Specialist Art Tour of Saigon including access to a private art collection
•    and more....

  • Start/Finish

    Ha Noi / Ho Chi Minh City

  • Duration

    11 days - 10 nights

  • Price from

    US$4,438

  • Places visited

    Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta

  • Send your Inquiry Now

Day by day

DAY
01
Arrival in Hanoi

Hanoi is the Capital of Vietnam. Upon arrival at the Hanoi airport, our immigration representative will meet you as you disembark the plane. After clearing immigration, our representative will escort you to collect your luggage, and then on to meet you guide, who is waiting outside the arrival terminal. It's about an hour's transfer to you hotel downtown. 

The first thing you'll become aware of is the sheer number of motorcyclists in seemingly constant motion around town. About 92% of commuters travel by shared motorbike, sometimes carrying three of more people. Always keep your camera on hand as the traffic mayhem tends to offer fantastic photo opportunities! 

Your guide will brief an orientation of the city along the way. Check into your hotel on arrival. The remainder of the day is free at leisure. 

Overnight in Hanoi
DAY
02
Hanoi

After breakfast your local guide will meet you for a cultural tour of Hanoi's highlights. You begin at the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (entering HCM Mausoleum via front entrance with flowers); an imposing monument lavishly built using marble and granite, where the embalmed body of “Uncle Ho” is at rest. 

A short walk from the mausoleum is the lotus-like shaped One Pillar Pagoda, resting on a single stone pillar emerging from the water. Inside is a statue of the Goddess of Mercy with its legendary “thousand arms and thousand eyes”. 

Wind your way on to the Temple of Literature, the first Confucian University for the sons of mandarins. Amongst the stone tablets, your guide will offer an overview of Hanoi culture and the ancient Vietnamese architecture of the temple. 

Enjoy lunch at the Wild Lotus Restaurant, one of Vietnam’s finest establishments, Wild Lotus has been very tastefully designed and the architecture is almost as interesting as the food. With comfort and relaxation in mind, the designers have done a wonderful job using colors and shapes to create an environment into which one can immediately feel settled.

Afternoon, continue with a visit to the contemporary Vietnam Art Gallery. Living and working in Asia since 1982, with a lifelong commitment to working in the arts worldwide, Art Director Suzanne Lecht is recognized as a leading authority on contemporary art in Vietnam. Dedicated to discovering exceptional artists who are singular and passionate in their expression, Suzanne has been an advocate in educating the world about the arts of Vietnam. We visit her gallery in the vibrant new art zone of Hanoi, recently established in the centre of the old quarter. 

After a refreshing beverage in a nearby art cafe, drive 30 minutes out of town to visit the studio-home of a well-known Vietnamese painter, sculptor and performance artist. Enjoy a cocktail reception and visit the exhibition on the ground floor of his wooden stilt house. Take a stroll around the lush garden scattered with sculptured artworks.

In the evening, share dinner with musician hosts in the privacy of their home. The husband is a flutist in the National Orchestra and his gracious wife a piano teacher. This is an opportunity to learn more about the local classical music and performance arts scene in Hanoi through your host's experience. After the meal, they may even treat you to a melodious performance of flute and piano. 

Overnight in Hanoi, Meals: Breakfast
DAY
03
Hanoi

Hanoi’s surrounding countryside is filled with captivating natural beauty and images of tranquil village life. Take this opportunity to explore the forgotten village of Cuu, once the North’s premier tailoring village during the French colonial period. Many traces of its illustrious past are still visible today through the ancient architecture. Stroll around the village to appreciate the old charm. Stop at a local house to engage in a casual chat with the host over a cup of tea before driving back to Hanoi. 
After lunch on your own, continue to explore a range of different art galleries and creative spaces with your guide including Art Salon Natasha, Mai Hien’s (a lacquer artist who works with the traditional medium, but in her own abstract style) and Green Palm. 

Return to central Hanoi for an afternoon cyclo ride through the Hanoi Old Quarter, also known as the 36 streets, this bustling area of narrow streets is home to literally thousands of small businesses and shopkeepers. It's a great place to explore with plenty of photo opportunities. 

Early evening, enjoy a performance of the uniquely Vietnamese art form of water puppetry, which enacts episodes from history and scenes from rural life in Vietnam, followed by dinner at one of Hanoi's great restaurants. 

Overnight in Ha Noi, Meals: Breakfast
DAY
04
Hanoi - Halong Bay

After breakfast, depart for a 3.5 hour drive to Halong Bay with a quick rest stop at Dai Viet Center – the best place to stop and stretch your legs en route. 

On arrival in Halong Bay, board your deluxe junk, settle into your cabin and prepare your appetite for an enjoyable lunch on deck. In mid-afternoon visit the mysterious Tien Ong cave, adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, and then continue to the Cua Van fishing village, the largest fishing community on the bay. Head back to the boat, participate in a cooking class with the chef or enjoy Sunset on the top deck before dinner.

Overnight on board, Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY
05
Halong Bay - Hanoi - Hue (PM Flight)

Rise early and greet the day with a Tai Chi class on the upper deck. Transfer from the main boat to a small beach on Ti Top Island. Those wanting a bit of exercise can climb to the top of the island (20 minutes). Later, board the main boat and enjoy a delicious buffet brunch while cruising back to shore. Arrive at the jetty late morning then transfer back to Hanoi with a light snack provided en route. 
You can stop at a small pottery workshop en-route before transferring directly to Hanoi airport OR drive back to Hanoi downtown for shopping opportunities inside Old Quarter or relax with a cup of coffee with amazing views over Hoan Kiem Lake.  Please don’t miss one of Hanoi's famous dishes, PHO, a steaming noodle broth that can be snacked on at any time of day. Board the evening flight to Hue.

Hue served as an imperial capital to the Nguyen Lords, a feudal dynasty which reigned from the 17th to 19th century. With splendid emperors’ tombs, ancient pagodas and the remains of the Citadel, the city retains its Royal charm. 

Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to hotel.

Overnight in Hue, Meals: Breakfast, Brunch
DAY
06
The Imperial City of Hue

This morning, we start with the ancient cultural heart of Hue at the Imperial Citadel. Stroll and explore the history and architecture around the Capital Citadel (the bastion), Royal Citadel (the sanctum), and the Forbidden Citadel (the royal family’s residence). From there, transfer to a pier where you will embark on a half-hour boat trip on the picturesque Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda, Hue’s best-preserved religious monument. Standing on the riverbank with its seven-storey tower, the pagoda is quite spectacular.

Enjoy lunch at the home restaurant and gallery of artist and chef Boi Tran. Her traditional wooden house is set on arguably the most romantic hill of Hue city. Boi Tran's culinary skills reveal true craftsmanship, created in line with the feng shui ideals of balance. Chat with her over lunch to learn more about her artistic inspiration then explore the tranquil surrounds and gallery. 

Afternoon head out of the city center and explore the elaborate Khai Dinh royal tomb where the architecture is influenced by both eastern art and western influences. After which, a stop to admire over 250 sculptures, embroidered pictures and others made of precious metals and wood at the private home of renowned academic and sculptor, the late Diem Phung Thi. 

Enamel (phap lam) played an important part in Vietnamese history, particularly in Hue where enamelware was used for imperial structures and royal families during the Nguyen Dynasty. The art form, called Hue phap lam, showcased the inventiveness of local artisans and symbolised the independent spirit of the Vietnamese culture, economy and politics. After being lost for nearly 200 years, a few local artisans in Hue are slowly reviving this traditional fine art. Meet with the artisan Mr. Triet Do, an expert at Enamel Hue and learn about his efforts to restore this craft.

Return to your hotel for relaxation and evening is free at leisure.

Overnight in Hue, Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY
07
Hue - Hoian

After breakfast, say good-bye to Hue as we transfer up the Hai Van pass (“Pass of the Ocean Clouds”), stopping at the top to take photos looking down both sides of the mountain ridge (at 1,600 feet elevation). 

Upon arrival in Da Nang City, visit the Cham Museum for an introduction to the Classical Era of South East Asian art and history. The time span roughly corresponds to the medieval period in Europe. The Champa Kingdom was a maritime powerhouse, trading in spices and ivory. The culture was highly developed, leaving a legacy of refined artworks and architecture. The museum houses the largest and most impressive collection of Cham sculpture and artifacts, dating from the 4th to the 14th centuries. 

Drive for another 30 minutes to the ancient town of Hoi An and check into your hotel on arrival. Remainder of the day is free at leisure. Lunch and Dinner are on own.

In a country ravaged by war, Hoi An managed to remain untouched, and as you wander the relatively traffic-free streets of this ancient seaport it is not hard to imagine yourself amidst the sailors and merchants of the 18th Century, when Hoi An was one of the busiest trading ports in Asia. And don’t forget that this is the town famed for its great tailors; so if you brought anything with you to be replicated—or want to have traditional Vietnamese dresses tailored —this is the spot. 

Overnight in Hoian. Meals: Breakfast
DAY
08
The Ancient Town of Hoi An

This morning, enjoy a walking tour around the ancient town centre and take in the former merchants’ house, the 400 year-old Japanese Covered Bridge and the colourful market with its stalls brimming with local specialties. You can get measured and fitted this afternoon and your new garments will be ready for collection tomorrow. We'll also visit the home of a lantern craftsman in the old streets of Hoi An. Learn more about the history, shape, and colour of the lanterns as well as the stages of production. If you're up for a challenge, try to create your own lantern!  

After lunch at the Ancient Faifo Restaurant, drop by the private home of Mr. Nhan Do, an elderly man with passion for Vietnamese Calligraphy. Over a traditional cup of tea, chat with him to understand that calligraphy is not only a means of communication, but also a means of expressing one’s inner world. The principal tools for a calligrapher are simple with just a brush, ink and paper. Then learn how to write it beautifully under his guidance. You will be amazed by the art of writing! 
Remainder of the day is free at leisure to explore the ancient town of Hoi An or drive back to your hotel for relaxation. 

Overnight in Hoian. Meals: Breakfast
DAY
09
Hoi An - Da Nang - Ho Chi Minh City

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for check in. Saigon, with over nine million inhabitants is the country’s commercial centre. Despite the well-documented hustle and bustle, the city retains its connections to the past. 

This afternoon, you will join a passionate art specialist on a journey that takes a closer look at the major shifts in 20th and 21st century Vietnam through the eyes of artists from the grand halls of the HCMC Fine Art Museum (closed on Mondays) to the fresh white spaces of leading contemporary art galleries. The tour is based on the personal experiences of artists who studied, fought, witnessed and documented major changes in twentieth century Vietnam. This themed tour is not just for art lovers but for all those who want to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s modern and contemporary history.

Later this afternoon, drive to the impressive studio of a celebrated artist in Saigon’s suburban District 2. Inspired by the lights, shadows and colors of Vietnam, French artist Hélène Kling has lived in Vietnam since 1996. Wander around her studio and contemplate her stunning pieces of artwork and antiques. Enjoy an aperitif with her to learn more about her passion for art and Vietnam. Hélène also supports Operation Smile charity by painting to raise funds for children needing cleft-palate surgery. It is the art of healing!

This evening, enjoy dinner at the Deck Restaurant - situated on the banks of the Saigon River - is one of the city's most elegant rendezvous' and the only restaurant to offer relaxed, riverside, open-air dining. After dinner, your vehicle will take you back to your hotel.  

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
DAY
10
Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta, south-west of Saigon, is known as the rice bowl of Vietnam. Join our wooden boat excursion today on the charming Mekong Queen to explore the Mekong Delta’s unique market and also the symbol of the region, Cai Be floating market. Board our traditional boat at the local pier and start cruising around the floating market while sampling tropical fresh fruits. You will be surprised by the way the locals trade and advertise their products. Disembark to explore local life in the town’s business and craft workshops before we transfer to an ancient Mandarin house where a home hosted lunch of Mekong’s specialties await you. After lunch, enjoy a short sampan ride before we continue to cruise upstream of the Mighty Mekong toward Vinh Long. Return to the mainland where your car awaits and transfer back to Saigon. Your final evening in country is free at leisure.

Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City. Meals: Breakfast
DAY
11
Departure

At your leisure in the morning, then you will be transferred to the airport for your onward departure. 

Overnight: NO, Meals: NO
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Hotel & Price Guide

Our selection of Deluxe hotels offer a more competitive price point,
without compromising on comfort or amenities.

Anantara Hoi An Resort
Idyllically situated on the banks of the Thu Bon River, Anantara Hoi An Resort is a boutique retreat steps away from the Old Town of Hoi An. Designed with French, Dutch, Chinese and Japanese influences that reveal Hoi An’s fascinating cultural diversity, split level rooms and suites open onto porches with comfortable daybeds, overlooking the river or a garden courtyard. Watch the fishing boats glide...
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel is exudes heritage and elegance. The 1901 hotel has hosted guests for over a century. The wood panelling and green shutters evoke the opulence of Old Indochine and the age of colonial grandeur. Our favourite rooms grace the Historic Metropole Wing. Need some downtime? Sit back to the sultry jazz sounds of Le Club bar or absorb the street life...
Indochina Sails
Sit back and relax in one of the cruise's 14 guestrooms, all designed with guests' comfort in mind. Featured in each room, among other amenities, are bathtub, desk, television LCD/plasma screen. Guests will enjoy the cruise's excellent facilities and services including restaurant, 24hr room service, bar/pub. Those looking for first-rate sporting and leisure facilities will find jacuzzi, spa, private beach, massage. Guests will find this...
La Residence Hotel & Spa Hue
Celebrate the charms of art deco’s golden age. This former residence of the French Colonial governor has been painstakingly restored and refashioned into an exceptional design hotel. The hotel’s distinctive bowed façade, long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of the 1930’s Streamline Modern School of art deco architecture.
InterContinental Asiana Saigon Hotel
The newest InterContinental in the city, in the heart of the city's commercial center is also close to several points of interest. Nearby attractions include the Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace and General Post Office.

Our suggested hotels go beyond the expected amenities of deluxe hotels. They are inspirational properties defined by exceptional service, stunning design and offer an experience that sets them apart.

Four Seasons The Nam Hai Resort, Hoi An
Four Seasons The Nam Hai Resort, makes the bold claim of reinventing luxury in Viet Nam. They have certainly succeeded in benchmarking luxury on the edge of the East Sea. The ocean, elements and surrounding agriculture, inspired its stunning yet understated architectural design. The resort is a destination in itself – a place you’ll find very difficult to leave.
Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel
This hotel experience is encapsulated through service excellence. The property stands majestically on Lam Son Square, a superb central location. Classic colonial style meets with elegant modern decor throughout the hotel. Dinner at Square One is a must, consistently ranked as one of Vietnam’s top restaurants.
Halong Violet Junk
One of the latest additions to the collection of the Halong cruises, Heritage Line - Halong Violet Junk began its journey in the stunning bay since November 2009. Experience the first class expedition in the World Heritage Site aboard the luxurious ship exquisitely appointed in an early 19th century Indochinese theme.
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel
Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel is exudes heritage and elegance. The 1901 hotel has hosted guests for over a century. The wood panelling and green shutters evoke the opulence of Old Indochine and the age of colonial grandeur. Our favourite rooms grace the Historic Metropole Wing. Need some downtime? Sit back to the sultry jazz sounds of Le Club bar or absorb the street life...
La Residence Hotel & Spa Hue
Celebrate the charms of art deco’s golden age. This former residence of the French Colonial governor has been painstakingly restored and refashioned into an exceptional design hotel. The hotel’s distinctive bowed façade, long horizontal lines and nautical flourishes are hallmarks of the 1930’s Streamline Modern School of art deco architecture.

Luxury travel to fit your pocket? Send through your tailor-made request.


Send Your Tailor-made Request Now

Pricing Notes

Prices are in USD, per person, based on two people traveling together and sharing a room. 

At Ansova Travel, we carefully select all hotels to ensure that your accommodations match our standards of trip and service excellence.

 

Prices include the following:

. All hotel accommodation including all taxes and breakfast 

. Internal economy flights with airport taxes

. All transfers & sightseeing transportation in private vehicle

. Private services of local guides

. All special events & private tours, guest experts

. All entrance fees into historical sights & museums 

. Drinking water and refreshing towels for touring

. 24/7 support from the Ansova Team

 

*Notes: 

Peak Season supplements may be applied at some hotels (typically over the Christmas and New Year period).

There are a number of factors which will influence the price; these include the standard of accommodation, the season, the class of flights, the airline used and the level of private guiding versus shared excursions.

A single supplement may appply

 

This tour was carefully designed by our Trip-Planner.  However, a designated Trip Planner can assist you with identifying your travel needs so as to match and hopefully exceed your expectations. Our Trip Planner will review your inquiry and respond via email within 24 business hours, with an itinerary proposal aligned to your requirements and budget.

SEND YOUR
Tailor-made Request
NOW!

Tailor made travel to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indochina

This tour was carefully designed by our Trip-Planner.  However, a designated Trip Planner can assist you with identifying your travel needs so as to match and hopefully exceed your expectations. 

Our Trip Planner will review your inquiry and respond via email within 24 business hours, with an itinerary proposal aligned to your requirements and budget.

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