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Artists are often the perfect cultural bridge, and this is especially true in Vietnam where many prominent artists have exhibited abroad, are fluent in English, while being astute observers and ambassadors of their culture. We're always thrilled to make introductions in Hanoi, where many of the country's leading artists are based, whom we've enjoyed long realtionships with since organizing the very first arts tours of Vietnam in 1996—a time when artists were only beginning to emerge from a long post-war slumber and struggling economy. What a difference a couple of decades makes. Since then, Vietnam's artists have claimed the world-stage and the arts scene is Hanoi is now one of the most vigorous in Asia. Enjoy an intimate exploration of this exotic landscape, meeting privately with the country's most renowned artists, glimpsing their work, while learning about unique mediums, including lacquer and embroidery painting. No visit to region is complete without visiting the two other gems of Indochina, Cambodia, where we'll enjoy exclusive access and activities at Angkor, and at trip's end, savoring sublime Luang Prabang, a small jewel on the banks of the Mekong river in northern Laos.

Vietnamese artist Dao Anh KhanhJoin us for the ultimate arts tour of Vietnam, canvasing galleries and home studios of premier artsis, enjoying private encounters and witnessing their work hands-on in a variety of mediums from traditional to contemporary. From the stoic, bohemian capital of Hanoi, this journey encompasses not the only the significant places to experience arts in Vietnam, but also its most beautiful and enchanting landscapes, including Halong Bay, which has inspired gernerations of poets, the Imperial Capital, Hue, arguably the country's most attractive city, and charming Hoi An, a quant and ancient port town on Vietnam's central coast.

After Vietnam, enjoying an insider's exploration of the magnificent temples of Angkor, the incredible legacy of the Khmer empire, along with visits to local craftsman and artists. At trip's end, savor two days in sublime Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is Asia's most pleasant small town situated on the banks of the Mekong in a lush valley, rich with French-colonial architecture and gilded temples.

Anthony Bourdain claims the Vietnamese "are a skinny people obssessed with food." During this trip, we will equally delve into Vietnam's culinary treasures, enjoying fine dining in each city as well as world-class street eats. Accommodations feature Indochina's finest luxury hotels, including the renowned Metropole in Hanoi.

Featured Artists & Activities

Khac Quan was born and grew up near the renowned Bat Trang ceramic village. Quan's clay works have made a strong impression as well as his ability to control the intricate porcelain making technique as form of sculpture. With Quan people witness his modern style and sophistication interpreted using only simple soil and enamel.

Dinh Quan Dinh Quan is one Vietnam's premier artists, working on large lacquer and sculpture. His home gallery, in the heart of the bohemian enclave on the West Lake, is a fascinating visit and he is a gracious host who is fluent in English.

At A Glance


Halong Bay
Hoi An

March 4 to 13, 2019
March 13 to 18 (ANGKOR & LAOS)

Luang Prabang

Hong Kong: City Stopover
Thailand: Koh Samui & Phuket
Phu Quoc Island Paradise: Phu Quoc

See All Hotels

$5,950 (Vietnam)
$3,880 (ANGKOR & Laos)
Single Supplement $1,380


Lionel Descostes, an ex-pat French artist, has been taking on the Vietnamese embroidery "painting" technique (canvases appear to be in oil but up close are actually thread - sewn art work) but has reinvented it in his own way, moving it out of the realm of traditional craft and semi-artistic production onto the stage of contemporary art.

Tran Hieu is a painter, antique collector and dealer and out of many antique collectors in the capital, Tran Hieu stands out. Born and raised in a Noble family in Hanoi, he inherited a rich collection of antique dating back up to five generations. Hieu continues to trade and collect from inside as well as outside of Vietnam. The collection includes wood, lacquer Buddhas and exotic statues, ancient ceramic, stone, porcelain, bronze drums from the Dong Son civilization which date back from thousand years ago.

War veteran American Mark Rapoport left New York and settled in Hanoi in the 1990s. The long-time expat and his Vietnamese partner run 54 Traditions, a pioneering gallery that sells quality handicrafts produced by ethnic hill tribes from throughout Vietnam.

Artist Viet Thanh lived and taught fine art, including painting, sculpture, lacquer, woodblock print in Sweden, but moved back to Hanoi and is living and working from her White Lotus Villa near the West Lake bohemian enclave.

Mai Anh is a widely recognized painter whose works have been exhibited in Asia, Australia, Europe, Bermuda and the United States. Solo exhibitions include Santa Barbara, West Hollywood, and Carmel Valley. The paintings of Mai Anh are, according to Ian Findlay-Brown, Editor/Publisher of Asian Art News, "quietly emotional and determined. In her impressionistic/expressionistic oeuvre she goes her own way, mining her memories and her experience and observing the rituals and concerns of women around her."

The works of Van Duong Thanh show European influences of Impressionism, Expressionism, and semi abstract. She has combined harmoniously between these and Asian styles. She has had over fifty exhibitions around the world, including France, the U.S., Sweden, Singapore, and Germany with over 1,500 of her works in private reputable collections and art museums.

Water Puppets Theater is a fascinating, traditional performance art unique to Vietnam. We can arrange a private, hands-on performance learning the history of the art, stagecraft, and manipulation of the puppets with Master Puppeteer Mr. Phan Thanh Liem in his Hanoi studio.

Bui Mai Hien is one of a few groundbreaking Vietnamese painters (including Dinh Quan) who has taken traditional lacquer art and moved it forward into contemporary expression.

Pham Thi Kieu Phuc is a celebrated and innovative interior designer who founded Module 7. Phuc loves the silent, discreet nature of lacquer products and her designs have many origins. Some are inspired by the objects of Vietnamese everyday life; colonial hat, fish trap, buffalo, rock and trees. Others are inspired by Japanese design principles, following the Zen philosophy ‘less is more'. She especially likes bronze handmade products, as she feels that the hammers marks left in the product reveal the artisan's emotion. "If you buy a designer product, the most interesting thing is the creativity of the person who designed it" Phuc claims. More on Phuc Pham.

National Theater Troupe. Tuong was established in the 12th century and in the 17th century it was very much in vogue. The Tuong plays consist of songs and dances which are highly stylized, conventional and imbued with symbolism similar to Peking Opera. We can arrange a private visit to the beautiful theater house in the Old Quarter to meet privately with the troupe of actors in person. For families, the troupe will organize a full production with makeup, costumes and acting on the stage, a delightful experience.

Vietnamese artist Van Duong Thanh Dao Anh Khanh is a surrealist painter and controversial performance artist. He moves easily between painting canvasses, acrylic and lacquer with his very own technique. He may paint himself white and dance for hours in his own highly individual style. As a performance artist, Anh Khanh has performed all over the world including New York, Europe, and throughout Asia. Khanh is an internationally recognized leader among Asian artists who are breaking away from traditional, stylistic, and political constrains.

Musician Pham Chi Khanh is a traditional instrument maker and player who has been applying his passion in traditional music for more than 30 years. In 2010, he was in top of 100 "most special people" of 1,000th anniversary of Hanoi city. Mr. Pham's daughter is a prodigy on the bluesy instrument, the Dan Bau, and will instruct you hands on if you would like.

Calligraphy in Hanoi

Vietnamese calligraphy once played an important part, but is a disappearing from Vietnamese culture. Calligraphy has had a long history in Vietnam, previously using Chinese characters along with Chu Nôm. However, most modern Vietnamese calligraphy instead uses the Roman-character based Quuc Ngu, which has proven to be very popular.

In the past, with literacy in the old character-based writing systems of Vietnam being restricted to scholars and elites, calligraphy nevertheless still played an important part in Vietnamese life. On special occasions such as the Lunar New Year, people would go to the village teacher or scholar to make them a calligraphy hanging (often poetry, folk sayings or even single words). People who could not read or write also often commissioned at temple shrines. Calligraphy is still popular for sign motifs and advertising. We can arrange a workshop with a master of the art during your visit to Hanoi.



Nguyen Qui Duc

Vietnamese writer, artist Nguyen Qui Duc

Nguyen Duc, one of the foremost living Vietnamese writers and intellectuals. Formerly a San Francisco-based host of the public radio program Pacific Time, Duc retired to Hanoi in 2007, marking this move back home with the opening of an art gallery and designing of a mountain retreat set in the mountains, which was featured in the New York Times. Duc's books include Where the Ashes Are: The Odyssey of a Vietnamese Family and Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion. Duc continues to write and runs a atmospheric café in the Old Quarter which has become a gathering place for young artists and writers, one of many projects that occupy his time in the capital.

Duc contributes to the New York Times and recent articles include Whose Vietnam War? and The New Censors of Hanoi.

"Beginning in the 1980s, Vietnamese arts reached a turning point, like a tree beginning to stretch its branches toward all horizons. Today there is great interest in a number of different approaches exemplified by both mature and young artists who are creating with increasing professionalism and independence of spirit, mainly because they have begun to perceive the possibility of a life of authentic art. Vietnam is in itself, one of the most exotic and viaullay compelling destinations in the world. Join me in witnessing the ways in which this magnificent country has inspired generations of artists working in traditional forms, through turbulent periods few people's have faced, with great courage and expression into the future.""

Patrick Morris

Co-founder of Indochina Travel, Patrick lead some of the very first tours of newly-opened Vietnam in the early 1990s. He has organized the first adventure, arts and culinary trips in the region, as well as working with premier artists and chefs within the country for over twenty years.

View Art Encounter Vietnam 2019 Tour Itinerary

Art Encounter Vietnam Tour Map


Dates: March X to X, 2019, Angkor & Laos Extension January X to X

Group size: 10 particpants

Arrival: Noi Bai Airport, Vietnam (contact us for airline quotes and suggested routing)

January through March features the best weather overall for Indochina. Expect temperatures in the 70-80s, with minimal rainfall

View Indochina Departure Notes

View Recommended Reading List

- Visas (Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos authorization)
- VIP, expedited immigration Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia (except Bangkok)
- Fully-escorted tour, with dedicated tour manager
- All transportation in itinerary
- Regional flights in economy (3)
- All meals, bottled water, and snacks
- All entry fees and activities on the Trip Itinerary
- All breakfasts, lunches, arrival and departure dinners
- Bottled water
- Comprehensive pre-tour packet
- Souvenir photo album trip book

Not Included
- International Airlines (can be obtained through us)
- Laos Visa fees upon arrival (US$25-30)
- Trip Cancellation and Delay Insurance (inquire for a quote)
- Gratuties (customary)
- Alcoholic beverages, not specified
- Excess baggage fees (limit is 44 lbs.)

Note: To extend your time in Thailand, Hong Kong, or other regional destinations. Please contact us for more information.

INDOCHINA Travel Company

1283 12th Avenue San Francisco, California
Phone: (415) 418-6800