We have created this tour for those who have a strong passion for fine art. This 13 day trip starts in Hanoi and ends in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). You will visit the highlights of our beautiful country, with stops at the Fine Art Museum, a painting gallery and even visit the home of famous Vietnamese artists while you share a cup of tea and you your passion for art!
Itinerary of Vietnam Comtemporary Art Tour 13 days – 12 nights
DAY 1: ARRIVE HANOI (L/D)
Arriving at Noi Bai Airport outside of Hanoi, you will be met by our local guide who will take you to the hotel. After settling in, there will be a lunch orientation at the Press Club, followed by a one-hour cyclo (pedicab) tour to soak up Hanoi’s atmosphere along Hoan Kiem Lake and the ancient, yet lively Old Quarter. IN the evening, you will visit the Water Puppets Theater, a magical puppet show where the puppets emerge from the surface of a small watery stage telling tales of old Vietnam. This is truly a tradition unique to Vietnam. Then you will have dinner at Green Tangerine (a lovingly restored 1928 colonial building in the center of the Old Quarter) featuring French-Vietnamese cuisine.
DAY 2: HANOI-HALONG BAY (B/L/D)
You will transfer by private van to Halong Bay on the Gulf of Tonkin. The Gulf was once the haunt of Vietnamese and Chinese pirates, and in Halong Bay the romance of old Vietnam still lingers, with scenic karst islets randomly scattered and the odd red-sailed junks cruising across the languid waters. With 3,000 limestone and dolomite islets sprinkled over an area of 1,500 square kilometers, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a geographic wonderland.
Arriving at Halong Port, you will board a private traditional wooden cruiser (replica junk) for a tour of Halong Bay with a seafood lunch banquet prepared on board. You will explore Sung Sot Cave, the largest grotto in Halong Bay. Afterwards, you can enjoy optional, assisted kayaking to visit floating villages, hidden beach coves, caves and lakes. A dinner banquet will be prepared on board and you will stay overnight in a private cabin.
DAY 3: HALONG BAY-HANOI (B/L)
Savor the opaque sunrise on misty Halong Bay and be warmed by Vietnamese coffee, noodle soup, and omelets. You can leisurely explore grottos, cragged coves, inland lagoons, and white-sand beaches before returning to Halong Port. After a farewell lunch with crew, you will return to Hanoi, stopping at an interesting crafts center en route. You will also visit the Bat Trang pottery village.
Back in Hanoi, late afternoon and dinner will be on your own. We will provide a list of wonderful choices, such as Wild Lotus, Wild Rice and other popular restaurants with pleasant décor, offering delicious Vietnamese fusion.
DAY 4: HANOI- FINE ART (B/L/D)
You will depart from your hotel at 08:00 and start your full day art tour. The first will stop over will be the Museum of National Fine Arts. It has received many high ranking delegations from many countries, and it has sent many traveling exhibitions to other nations to introduce international friends to the typical culture and heroic history of Vietnam. At the same time, it has linked local people with the painting, photograph, and sculpture collections of international artists. The Museum has created chances for local art lovers to enjoy and learn about different fine arts schools and styles around the world. Our next stop is at the home/studio of well-known artist Mai Hien, who is an expert in field of Lacquer painting and graduated from Hanoi College in 1985. Mai Hien is a full member of Hanoi Fine Arts Association (HFAA).
Your next stop will be at the home/studio of acclaimed artist, Pham Luc. Pham Luc is also a member of the HFAA and graduated from Hanoi Fine Arts College in 1977. He specializes in motherland, love and war subjects. He has participated in art exhibitions in Vietnam and foreign countries, including Russia, Japan, France, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic. His paintings have been collected by Vietnam’s fine art museum and many foreign collectors.
Lunch will be served at a top local restaurant, before you head out the town and stop over at the home/ studio of Dao Anh Khanh (a sculptor and dancer), where you can relax and enjoy his works!
You will return back Hanoi and start your sightseeing walking tour to visit some the biggest art galleries such as: Viet Fine Arts, Green Palm, Apricot, Gia Huy and Thang Long. Your tour ends at 17:00 and you will be transferred back to your hotel.
DAY 5: DONG HO PAITING VILLAGE –BUT THAP PAGODA (B/L)
You can relax in the morning until you are taken to lunch. After lunch, you will drive about 40km to the village of Dong Ho to visit the home of traditional folk painters. These artisans have been producing fine woodblock prints for centuries. You will conclude your trip with a visit to But Thap Pagoda before returning to Hanoi where you will have fee time.
DAY 6: HANOI- HUE (B/L/D)
On your morning tour you will visit historic Ma May Ancient House in Hanoi. Located at 87 Ma May Street, north of Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, the delightful house is worth visiting. It is one of the rare ancient houses still preserved in Hanoi. The house was built at the end of the 19th century according to the structure of traditional houses. There is a small yard between buildings to allow wind and light. The ground floor (facing the street) was used for selling goods, and the inner area was used for living, cooking. On the second floor, the room facing street used for worshipping and receiving guests, and the inside room used for bedrooms. After many restorations, the house has still kept old architecture and decorations of Hanoi
Afterwards, you will have lunch at Café des Arts de Hanoi, a popular expatriate café, with changing exhibits of paintings by local artists. Afterwards, you will transfer to the airport for a one-hour flight to Hue. Arriving in Hue, you can check in to the hotel and relax. You will have dinner at the tranquil, private home/restaurant, Y Thao, featuring delicious Hue specialties, including Banh Khoai, a Vietnamese-style crepe.
DAY 7: HUE (B/L/D)
After breakfast, you will start touring Hue, with a visit to the Old citadel. Construction of the Imperial City started in 1805, under the reign of Emperor Gia Long, and was completed in 1832, under the reign of Emperor Minh Mang. Built on the northern bank of the Perfume River, the Imperial City was influenced by the style of French architect Vauban. The city comprises three sections: the Royal Citadel, the Imperial Enclosure and the Forbidden Purple City.
Afterwards, meet students and teachers at Hue’s Fine Arts College, then visit artist Vinh Phoi at his studio and learn about his life and inspiration. After lunch, you will also visit Thien Mu Pagoda, Vietnam’s most important Buddhist site overlooking the river. Enjoy traditional live music while having dinner at Tropical Garden Restaurant.
DAY 8: HUE- HOI AN (B/L)
After breakfast, you will depart for Hoi An, pausing to take in picturesque beach views at Lang Co Lagoon and the spectacular coastline panorama of the Hai Van Pass. You will also visit Cham Museum, with a private tour of the world’s finest collection of Cham sculpture that dates from the 2nd to the 15th century.
Much of the country was destroyed during wars, but Hoi An survived intact, even through the traumatic 1960s and 1970s. Hoi An has a flourishing custom tailoring trade and the artist community has successfully established itself in the last few years. You will spend the afternoon exploring this charming arts and crafts town and its mix of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese architecture. You will be free to enjoy dinner on your own.
DAY 9: HOI AN (B/L/D)
You will have a walking tour of Hoi An’s intimate streets, visiting former merchants’ houses, lantern workshops, Phuc Kien Pagoda, the 400-year old Japanese covered bridge and the colorful bazaar, followed by a visit to a local artist’s studio. Next will be lunch at the famous Cao Lao soup shop. The afternoon will be free for lounging, beachcombing, biking or shopping. There will be an evening cooking demonstration and dinner at local restaurant.
DAY 10: HOI AN- HCMC (SAIGON) (B/L/D)
Following breakfast, you will take and early morning drive to Danang for a one-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The city tour includes the old post office, Notre Dame Cathedral, the former Presidential Palace and Saigon Fine Art Museum. You will have lunch at the Mandarin restaurant and meet renowned artists from the Saigon Artists Association, before visiting their studios and exploring the central market. The afternoon will be free to wander Saigon’s vibrant central district with its many arts and crafts shops or take an optional tour of a laquerware studio.
DAY 11: SAIGON (B/L/D)
You will pay a morning visit to Cholon (Saigon’s Chinatown) and explore the busy marketplace and Quan Am Pagoda. You will have lunch at Quan An Ngon, an outdoor restaurant featuring food stalls with live cooking. After a brief visit to Ben Thanh Market, the afternoon will be spent exploring artist studios and galleries, including Mr. Son’s Tu Do Gallery, the first private contemporary art gallery in Vietnam. You will have dinner at the Temple Club, where almost all the furniture, antique and reproduction, is for sale.
DAY 12: HOCHIMINH AND MEKONG DELTA (B/L)
You will take a morning drive to the Mekong Delta (the “rice basket” of Vietnam) to explore its thriving agrarian economy, river culture, and spicy cuisine. Upon arrival in Cai Be, you will board a motorized boat to visit a local family and nearby floating market. You will continue by boat towards An Binh Island through small shade-lined canals, stepping ashore to visit an orchard farm. You will learn about cultivation and the nursery for longan trees, while enjoying a lunch served with local specialties and exotic delta-grown fruits. After lunch, you will visit a pottery factory and candy making cooperative. In the afternoon you will return to Ho Chi Minh City. You will have time for dinner on your own, but we will provide a list with a wide range of culinary offerings.
DAY 13: DEPARTURE (B)
There is no activity planned for today, so you can enjoy your free time souvenir shopping until transfer to the HCMC airport for your home flight.
• Hotel accommodation shared in Twin/Double room with breakfast
• All private transfer & transportation
• Flight tickets, cruise trip
• English/French speaking guide
• All entrance fees
• Meal as stated in program
• Vietnam visa approved letter
• Vietnam visa stamp fee
• International flights & departure airport tax
• Personal expenses such as drinks at meals, camera fee to tour sites
• Meals not mentioned