Multi-Day Tour | Group, Independent, Private

Vietnam Art & Craft (13 days)

Trails of Indochina - Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam To Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Valid for Departures Now Through: 15 May 2018


Day 1
Hanoi, Vietnam
Apricot Hotel None

Arrive in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. Today it is best known for its thriving contemporary arts scene and French architecture, visible by the many colonial villas scattered throughout the city. While it is rapidly developing, the city has retained many of its cultural traditions.

Legend of Water Puppet

On the way from the airport to down town, the first stop of your art and craft journey is the charming Dao Thuc Village to explore a unique folk art found only in Vietnam. Although water puppetry has been around for over 300 years in Dao Thuc village, it really made a comeback several years ago thanks to one of the artisans. You are invited to visit a puppet making workshop to meet the artisan to learn how he and his family introduced this traditional art to the world.

A leisure walking around the village to witness the local daily life offers you a great overview about Vietnamese agricultural life.

The highlight of the tour is to enjoy a private 30-minute outdoor water puppet show on the village pond with a live traditional orchestra playing music in the background. See how the puppeteers stand in chest-deep water to manipulate the puppets - hence the name Water Puppets.

Day 2
Hanoi, Vietnam
Apricot Hotel Breakfast

Vietnam Contemporary Art under Artist’ Eyes

Today is really an interesting day for you to learn more about contemporary art in Vietnam, influence of international art & artists into Vietnam traditional art.

Doan Minh Hoan, an active artist, interior designer and dancer in Vietnam, will join your trip and together with you discover Vietnamese art. She will bring you to Hanoi Fine Art Museum to see & learn an overview of the place where future artists train.

There are many chances to appreciate Doan Minh Hoan's passion through her own handicraft collection from bracelets to necklaces and more.

This afternoon, you will continue your art tour by an interesting visit to Suzanne Lecht’s studio. 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.

Located in a hidden alley in Hanoi downtown, her art studio is a great place to preserve the art works and exhibitions of some well-known contemporary artists. Take a seat to enjoy a lovely cocktail and talk with Suzanne to understand more about her art works promotion & exhibitions.

Day 3
Hanoi, Vietnam
None Breakfast

Secret of Traditional Handicraft Villages

This day, you will return with us to the Vietnamese traditions by driving to Hanoi’s countryside to see how the local village create impressive objects by hand.

Chuyen My village, a thousand-year-old craft village which has been making shell mosaics since the Ly Dynasty. Arrive in the heart of the village, start to stroll around the village to enjoy the fresh air of the countryside. This ambiance is totally different from what you fell in the busy Hanoi downtown. You will stop at Ngo Ha Cooperative Enterprise which helps the village export mother-of-pearl inlaid products and is also a vocational school for disabled people in the village. You engage into a great chat with some locals and the director of the NGO while visiting with a family to see how they make the products.

Leaving Chuyen My village, continue another 30 minutes to Van Diem village which is famous for high quality wooden furniture and skilful craftsmen. Learn all about the village and people during a walk around while observing the process of making wooden furniture.

Take a rest and have a dinner for a while before head to train station for overnight train to Sapa. A new journey is waiting for you tomorrow.

Day 4
Sapa, Vietnam
Victoria Sapa Breakfast, Lunch

Colourful Sapa

Are you interested in colourful traditional costumes or special cloth material? Trails of Indochina is delighted to offer you a great journey to Sapa offering spectacular views of jagged mountain ridges, terraced rice paddies and green valleys inhabited by people of various ethnic minority groups, most of whom congregate in Sapa’s colourful market. Each group has its own distinctive style of dress. From early childhood, girls learn to grow and weave hemp, to dye cloth with indigo, to sew the family’s clothes, and to decorate items with traditional embroidery motifs.

Bac Ha is the largest and most colourful market in the area. Every Sunday morning, many different ethnic groups such as Flower Hmong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay and Nung minorities gather to buy and sell local products that cannot be found elsewhere.

An opportunity for you to explore the market where ethnic people sell homemade wares ranging from embroidery, tobacco and rice wine to farmyard animals such as chickens, pigs, horses and buffaloes.

This is also a place for the locals to catch up and meet friends, drink rice wine and enjoy life at the end of the week.

Day 5
Sapa, Vietnam
Victoria Sapa Breakfast

Into the Secret of Dyeing

Despite the invention of chemical dyes in the late 19th Century, the high-landers in Sapa still prefer using dyes exclusively derived from natural items using traditional methods. You might see along the way vast indigo farms and hill tribe women’s blue dyed hands around Sapa. Visit a H'mong family at Ta Van to get a glimpse of the traditional dyeing methods that have been handed down for generations. Get involved with their daily works including dyeing with indigo & weaving.

Day 6
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hotel Royal Hoi An Breakfast

Leaving Sapa, you guide and drive will bring you back to Hanoi by your vehicle, driving thought stunning landscape. Arrive in Hanoi and ready for a new adventure to Central Vietnam.

From the Mountain to the Plain

Hoi An, set near the coast in central Vietnam, from the 16th to 19th centuries the riverside town of Hoi An once drew merchants from as far as Japan, India, Indonesia and Europe who bought the area’s silk, spices and porcelain. Hoi An still retains remnants of its trading days as evident in the bustling market and abundance of souvenir and tailor shops. What makes Hoi An remarkable today is that its Old Quarter has been beautifully preserved, the streets still lined with old tile-roofed shop houses, shady pagodas and colourful communal halls earning it the status as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Hoi An is surrounded by attractive countryside where you can observe the traditional way of life of farmers, farmers and local handicraft artists.

Day 7
Hoi An, Vietnam
Hotel Royal Hoi An Breakfast

Bamboo Tree and Family Secret Recipes

Bamboo tree is a significant symbol in both Vietnamese culture and daily life. The solid, straight and high bamboo trees represent the resilience, indomitability and bravery of the Vietnamese people.

Meet with Mr. Tan Vo, who represents the creative young generation and brings bamboo products up to another level. Having inherited valuable skills from his father, Mr. Tan Vo has recently created a unique bicycle with the frame and handlebars made from bamboo. The advantage of this type of special bamboo frame is its durability and flexibility. His family also hand-makes many other bamboo items which you can see and discover in the workshop. Try your hands on making a pen holder or a décor item under his guidance and take it home as a souvenir.

Day 8
Hue, Vietnam
La Residence Hue Breakfast

Stunning Hai Van Pass

Leaving Hoi An, you get ready to explore Hue Imperial City. 3-hour drive from Hoi An to Hue, passing by Hai Van pass with a breath-taking panoramic view.

The ancient Champa civilization ruled Central and Southern Vietnam from the 2nd to the 13th century. Vietnamese influences from the north and Khmer influences from the south and west led to the end of the Champa in the 15th century. Today, learn more about this lost kingdom and the flourishing Champa culture and lifestyle through a visit to simple yet interesting venue – The Cham Museum in Danang city.

Day 9
Hue, Vietnam
La Residence Hue Breakfast

History of Royal Art

From 1802 to 1945 Hue was home to 13 Nguyen emperors, whose palaces and tombs provide fascinating glimpses into the luxurious and secretive world of the court. During this period, the Imperial City was built according to the practices of Feng Shui that dictates the location and shape of spaces in harmony with both the physical and spiritual.

Enamel (Phap Lam) plays a huge part in Vietnamese history, particularly in Hue where enamelware was used for imperial structures and royal families during the Nguyen Dynasty. The art form, taking the name Hue Phap Lam showcased local artisan inventiveness, the independent spirit of the Vietnamese culture, economy and politics. After becoming lost in existence after nearly 200 years, Hue people are starting to relive this traditional fine art.

Mr. Triet Do, a famous expert at Enamel Hue and learn about his endeavour to restore this way of art by combining industries of many sectors of handicrafts. You will be explained about the complete process of making a stunning Phap Lam product, manually create your own or pick up one as a decorative souvenir gift.

Since Kings of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945), the former Royal Capital Hue has respected martial arts practitioners and masters as much as other mandarins in the king’s court. The martial arts used by mandarins to protect the royal court that was originally permitted only for the Royal Court. Today the martial art style is available for all walks of life.

This afternoon, you will follow your guide to a martial arts school and meet the current head master to learn the history and the training activities of the practitioners.

Besides teaching martial arts, Mr. Kim also offers treatment to cure injuries based on his knowledge of the human body through martial arts. Then attend a 30-minute performance of different martial arts techniques which are reminiscent of the past heroic plots of Vietnamese patriots.

Day 10
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Myst Saigon Breakfast

Off the Beaten Track Village

Escape from the bustling city and what makes your traveling seem to be “as usual”, fill yourself with great excitement and eye-opening experiences, well pack a number of activities involving the history, the culture, the people and truly immerse yourself as a local with lots of fun.

You will be driven to the Thanh Toan village in the east of Hue where you can enjoy a leisure cycling trip for 8km via a beautiful road, peaceful rural landscape and particularly the tile-roofed bridge. First stop is Thanh Toan tile-roofed bridge - one of the oldest bridges with distinctive architecture in Vietnam.

Next, continue to Tay Ho village. A long the way, have a quick stop at the rice paddy fields, the lotus lake or the ancient ancestral temples, and communicate with the locals during the trip to know their daily life. Specially, meet and talk with Mrs Tuoi - one of the old lady in the village who has been perennial adherence in making conical hat. Mrs. Tuoi’s house is the traditional house with 3 compartments and it is used for worshiping ancestors. Learn how to make the conical hat. A conical hat is made after 15 stages, from going to the forest to collect leaves to clean and dry leaves, iron leaves, select leave, making frames, etc.

Leaving Hue, you next destination is Saigon city. The city’s dynamic energy is apparent in the bustling street scenes with thousands of people on motorbikes constantly on the move.

Day 11
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Myst Saigon Breakfast

The Sense of Art

The art scene in Saigon has grown significantly recently placing this cosmopolitan city’s art scene among the most active in the region. This tour will be led by Viet-French artist and scholar, Sandrine Llouquet, for a glimpse of the art scene in Vietnam from traditional art to contemporary.

Having graduated from École Pilote Internationale d’Art et de Recherche, Sandrine makes art that is disturbing and joyful, mundane and fantastical. A dynamic contributor to the development of contemporary art in Vietnam, her drawings, objects and videos are also in private collections around the world.

Visit a hidden studio of a local artist who follows traditional Vietnamese art, it can be either silk painting, wood carving painting or some other creative masterpiece. Engage in a talk with the artist to have a vivid view of his art work promotion and exhibitions.

Salon Saigon, a new contemporary art space housed in a lovingly restored French colonial building. Saigon Salon aims to showcase Vietnamese contemporary art while nurturing local talent, cooperating with foreign institutions and attracting important art professionals from around the world. If luck is on your side, you can join our local artists for an interesting art workshop to learn about the contemporary art scene in Vietnam. Sandrine will make a short introduction about Vietnamese art history and influence of international art and artists into Vietnamese traditional art. Visit an exhibition of a local artist who is available to explain about the art works. Sit down together with Sandrine and a local artist to enjoy a special cocktail which was served to French artists in the 18th and 19th century.

Day 12
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The Myst Saigon Breakfast, Lunch

Water Land and Remote Handicraft Village

Life continues in Vietnam's agrarian heartland much as it has done for centuries. Farmers cultivate paddy fields, tend their orchards of tropical fruit and fish in the rivers and canals that criss-cross this fertile plain. Offering an ideal opportunity to adopt the pace of local life, choose to slow down and cycle along the flat roads of the Delta, the region in southwestern Vietnam.

The energetic streets of Ho Chi Minh City are once again left behind as you make your way to Mekong Delta to board your riverboat that will take you along the Mekong River to enjoy countryside scenery and river life. Explore a remote island of Mekong Delta on your bicycle. A short ride around the island along narrow village lanes, past fruit orchards and local cottage industries. Locals will often greet you with a hello or “xin chao” as you pedal by. Visit some local families to how they make some special products: rice-net for spring-rolls, fish sauce & soya sauce, sewing coconut-leaves for cottage roof…

Day 13
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
None Breakfast

End up your last day in Saigon by enjoying shopping time or exploring Saigon downtown at your own leisure time. Your guide will escort you from the hotel to the airport to board on your flight back home.

Tour Features


  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking & Biking


For those who is really interested in explore the value of Vietnamese tradition through handicraft object, this tour includes wonderful visits to the local handicraft villages throughout Vietnam, interaction with some local artists to see how to preserve the traditional craft of their ancestors which has remained unaffected by modern development.

About Us

Trails of Indochina had its humble beginnings in 1999 as a boutique inbound tour operator. Headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), and now with more than 250 employees throughout the region, Trails of Indochina has grown to be a full-service Destination Management Company and tour operation across Indochina. At Trails of Indochina, our personal relationships can make anything possible. We invite you to experience our part of the world where you will uncover the hidden gems and see a different perspectives of Southeast Asia.

Insider Tip

Trails of Indochina is headquartered in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with offices in Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand, ensuring that everything handled on the ground meets each client's expectation.

Terms & Conditions

To read our Booking Terms and Conditions, please click here.

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By: Andy37

Reviewed on: 02 Sep 2015

Overall, our experience was a great one. The drivers, tour guides, etc were all there to pick us up and get us to where we were going and everyone was extremely friendly and outgoing. We did have a minor issue with a few additional charges that we were given and we were not told (at all) that any of them would have been an extra charge. Additionally, our tour guide in Bali seemed to be really pushing us to sign on to additional tours with him on days that we had chosen to be on our own. Our experience on Lombok was top-notch, however in Bali, the tour guides were much more chatty with what seemed their prescribed talk and not so attentive to specific questions that we had. Additionally, when we were picked up for our bike tour, the guide asked to see our itinerary, as he had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. We ended up not doing a number of activities outlined on the itinerary and instead just did what the guide wanted to do. We had a great time, but these were concerns.
Travel Advisor:  Sari Greene

Very informative

By: Jandm42

Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2015

They made the arrivals and departures very easy. All guides were personable and very well informed. They added greatly to our travel experience.
Travel Advisor:  Judy Perl

Recent trip

By: Fletch

Reviewed on: 31 Jan 2017

Our experience was excellent. The organization proved to be very professional and reliable
Travel Advisor:  Cheryl Everhart

Southeast Asia

By: David Nixon

Reviewed on: 19 Feb 2017

The tour, with a few exceptions, we well organized. We saw most of what there was to see. The hotels and guides were excellent.
Travel Advisor:  Roxanne Girard