Vietnamese Art Heritage
Gain a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s history and culture through the perspective of arts and crafts. Meet with artisans who are passionate about preserving their craft and learn how cultural traditions are expressed through their work.
Day 1: Hanoi | Introduction to Vietnamese Contemporary Art
The capital city of Hanoi, known for its scenic lakes and French colonial buildings, is home to a flourishing contemporary art community. Visit established galleries and art museums with a local curator who will offer insight on how today’s contemporary artists are taking an innovative approach to creative expressions. Gain a different perspective with a visit to an art studio of an American art director who is recognised as a leading authority on contemporary art in Vietnam. View her private collection and learn about the artists and stories behind the paintings.
Day 2: Hanoi | Artisans of the Old Quarter
The Old Quarter, known for its ‘36 streets of 36 wares’, is also home to a number of passionate artisans who continue to practice their age-old crafts. Meet with a water puppet craftsman in his home where you will learn about traditional water puppetry and hear his stories of travelling the world to promote this unique Vietnamese folklore performance art. Continue to the home of an artisan specialising in the ancient folk art of ‘Hang Trong’ paintings, originating in the 17th century. Spend a fascinating few hours learning about this ancient craft and watch him create a folk painting using the same woodblock used by previous generations of craftsmen.
Day 3: Hanoi | Folk Art in a Traditional Village
Enjoy a scenic drive through the peaceful countryside to Dong Ho Village, known for its 300-year-old woodblock folk paintings produced on ‘dzo’ tree bark paper. At its height, the entire village was devoted to this art. Today, there are only a handful of families who are keeping the tradition alive. Visit the home of an elder craftsman and his family and learn about their efforts in preserving this soulful art form.
Day 4: Hanoi - Hue | Revival of Royal Enamel Art
The former imperial capital of Hue was home to 13 Nguyen emperors from 1802 to 1945. During this period, elaborate tombs and palaces were decorated with sophisticated art forms such as ‘Phap Lam’ or enamel art. Phap Lam is unique for its copper base which is then layered with colourful enamel paint. The art form vanished for a time and has only recently been revived. Visit a workshop and try your hand at creating your own piece of Phap Lam under the instruction of the artists.
Day 5: Hue | Folk Painting and Paper Flower Craft
Explore craft villages outside of Hue where passionate artisans continue to produce legendary folk art. Meet an artisan who specialises in the 400-year-old tradition of folk painting using natural materials such as red earth, seashells and ashes of bamboo leaves. Afterward, take a scenic bike ride to Thanh Tien Village and learn about the 300-year-old craft of making paper flower which are mainly used to decorate altars for ancestor worship and as offerings in religious rituals. Try creating your own paper lotus flower under the guidance of one of the artisans.
Day 6: Hue – Hoi An | Art of Lantern Making
Drive over the Hai Van Pass, one of the most beautiful coastline routes in the world, to the former merchant town of Hoi An. During your walk through the Ancient Town, you will notice the beautiful silk lanterns that decorate the street and storefronts, a sight which has become emblematic of Hoi An. Visit a family who has carried on the tradition of lantern making from the previous generation. Under their guidance, choose your lantern design and fabric and create your own signature lantern to take home with you.
Day 7: Hoi An | Pottery and Bamboo Craft
Situated on the maritime Silk Road, the thriving port of Hoi An attracted its fair share of skilled artisans from the 15th to 19th centuries. Some of these traditions have survived in small single-craft villages such as the pottery village of Thanh Ha, known for producing bricks, tiles and floor slabs for buildings. You will also notice the abundance of bamboo trees in the countryside. Meet with an artisan specialising in bamboo utility design and learn how bamboo is used in everyday life.
Day 8: Danang - Ho Chi Minh City | Flourishing Contemporary Art Scene
Dynamic Ho Chi Minh City is home to a burgeoning contemporary art scene led by young emerging artists introducing new concepts while challenging old ideologies. A modern art scholar will join you, providing insight into the current art trend, as you visit the Fine Arts Museum, an artist’s studio, and the newly opened Saigon Salon.
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta | Vietnam’s Unique Drum
Making our way down to the Mekong Delta, we stop in Long An to visit the ‘Binh An Drum’ village where twenty families specialise in producing this unique drum made from buffalo skin. Visit a family-run workshop and see this 200-year-old craft in action. On the way to Can Tho, we also stop at a mat-weaving village and observe the meticulous process of this handmade craft.
Day 10: Mekong Delta - Ho Chi Minh City | River Life and Ancient Architecture
Wake up early to visit the colourful floating market where wholesalers converge on the Mekong River to sell their goods. After breakfast, visit the Binh Thuy Ancient House. The home is an outstanding example of Western and Oriental architectural elements and was famously used in the movie “The Lover”, the love story of young Marguerite Duras, set during the Indochine period. Afterward, visit the Pitu Khosa Rangsay Pagoda, one of the most beautiful Khmer temples in the Mekong Delta, before returning to Ho Chi Minh City.
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City airport for your onward departure.