Textile Treasures of Vietnam

Prices from £4,199

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29 Sep 2020 - 15 Oct 2020
Duration: 16 nights
Ref: 20033
With: Mandy Shaw

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Prices from £4,199
Single Supplement: £645
Deposit: £400

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Join Mandy Shaw on this superb textile holiday to Vietnam! This hugely popular tour showcases the rich colours and cultural highlights of a truly fascinating country. Explore historic cities, walk through tranquil rural landscapes, discover villages high in the rugged mountains and stroll through local ethnic markets where traditional dress is still very much part of everyday life. Vietnam’s textile traditions are very much alive, and you’ll visit silk villages, learn about the ethnic Thai minority’s traditional weave, visit indigo farms, and see batik and the tritik technique found in the textiles of the H’mong hill tribes.

DAY 1 - LONDON to HA NOI

Meet Mandy Shaw at London Heathrow Airport for your overnight flight to Ha Noi.

DAY 2 - HA NOI

Early check-in has been arranged at your hotel for you to freshen up before an orientation tour of Ha Noi whose tree-lined streets are resplendent with French colonial architecture. See the exquisite Opera House, Hoan Kiem Lake and the serene Temple of Literature, which, built in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, became Vietnam’s first university. You’ll explore Ha Noi’s bustling Old Quarter by rickshaw before walking through its labyrinthine alleyways. A visit to the non-profit organisation Craft Link gives a fascinating insight into the traditional crafts of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities and small craft villages.

DAY 3 - HA NOI to MAI CHAU visiting VAN PHUC SILK VILLAGE and PAM COONG VILLAGE

Today you’ll visit the village of Van Phuc whose history of silk weaving stretches back a thousand years. Visit the many silk shops and see the spinning, gluing, weaving and finishing of the silk wares. In Mai Chau Valley you’ll meet the local Thai ethnic minority of Pam Coong village and see their traditional weave. Today you’ll also explore on foot the beautiful landscape where farmers work on lush paddy fields.

DAY 4 - MAI CHAU

This morning you’ll walk to the Weaving School where the hand-woven items on sale are unique to the local weavers. After lunch in a local Homestay you’ll join Mandy on the terrace from where you can enjoy simply wonderful views across the valley as you stitch a specially designed project in the first of your workshops.

DAY 5 - MAI CHAU to HA NOI & the OVERNIGHT FANXIPAN EXPRESS TO LAO CAI

Enjoy an enlightening introduction to the multicultural nature of Vietnam at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnography. See tribal art, shaman masks, handicrafts and everyday items from the spectrum of ethnic minorities who live across the country. Recreations of traditional houses display the differing styles of architecture found in tribal areas. Tonight, you’ll alight the Fanxipan Express for an overnight journey to Lao Cai.

DAY 6 - LAO CAI to SAPA visiting BAC HA SUNDAY MARKET

The rugged mountainous area north of Ha Noi is a world away from the fast pace of urban life. Sunday is market day in Bac Ha and a chance for ethnic communities from isolated areas to gather together. Huge crowds in colourful traditional dress can be seen exchanging the latest news and local gossip, shopping and enjoying lunch. This afternoon you are treated to simply breathtaking scenery as you drive to the former French hill station of Sapa, which nestles amidst Vietnam’s highest mountains at an elevation of 1,650 metres. Here you’ll meet Red Dao ladies who will show you their traditional stitching techniques and work.

DAY 7 - SAPA to LAO CHAI and TA VAN VILLAGES

Sapa with Lao Chai and Ta Van villages Today’s exploration is on foot taking you through a beautiful valley between two high mountains to Lao Chai and Ta Van villages. In Lao Chai you’ll see the collection of ancient designs and intriguing work of a local weaver, visit a hemp farm and study the batik and tritik technique of H’mong textiles. Your walk continues to Ta Van village of the Dzay minority. During the day you’ll meet local batik artist and indigo dyer ‘Dzee’, who’ll host a fascinating workshop where you’ll create your own piece of textile heritage.

DAY 8 - SAPA to HA NOI visiting CAT CAT and SIN CHAI VILLAGES and including the OVERNIGHT FANXIPAN EXPRESS

Enjoy visits to Sapa Museum with its craft shop selling work from the ethnic minorities and the town’s indoor market where you’ll find a wonderful array of textiles and braids. This afternoon’s walk takes in a waterfall before following a trail through rice terraces to Cat Cat village. You’ll continue through lush rainforest under the protection of Hoang Lien National Park until you reach Sin Chai village, which is home of the Black Hmong minority. Explore the village before driving to Lao Cao for your overnight Fanxipan Express journey to Ha Noi.

DAY 9 - HA NOI to HA LONG BAY

Today starts as you join the locals enjoying early morning Laughter Yoga, Tai Chi, Aerobics and Ballroom Dancing at Ly Thai To Park. You’ll drive to Ha Long City to embark a traditional junk for a cruise on the famed bay that is often called Vietnam’s eighth wonder of the world. Without doubt Ha Long Bay is the most outstandingly naturally beautiful area of coastal scenery in the country and as you relax on board you can marvel at the sight of three thousand limestone karsts cloaked in green soaring majestically from emerald waters. Watch the sun go down from the deck of the boat before an overnight on board.

DAY 10 - HA LONG BAY to HOI AN

Relax as you cruise to the outer reaches of Ha Long Bay with its numerous caves and channels. After an early lunch on board you’ll disembark and drive to Ha Noi for a flight to Da Nang and onward journey to Hoi An. Hoi An is renowned for its tailors and your local guide is happy to assist if you wish to take advantage of this service during your 3-night stay.

DAY 11 - HOI AN

The UNESCO listed World Heritage Old Town of Hoi An is a feast for the eyes and perfect for exploring on foot. You’ll discover beautifully preserved old merchant houses, atmospheric temples and lively markets as you stroll through the backstreets of this enchanting destination. Visit the iconic 400-year old Japanese Bridge and the busy waterfront where colourful fishing boats bob up and down on the Thu Bon River. Visit a Silk Lantern factory where you can try your hand at making your own silk lantern, and the Precious Heritage photo gallery celebrating the traditional costumes of 54 ethnic minorities and the stories behind them. A visit to the colourful, exotic night market promises a wonderful end to the day.

DAY 12 - HOI AN and CHAMPA SILK VILLAGE

Today starts with a visit to a silk village. Admire a collection of 100 Ao Dai (dresses) and costumes from Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups in an ancient Quang Nam house. Then walk through the mulberry garden, tour the silkworm breeding house and see how silkworm cocoons are unravelled to become the silk thread used in clothing. Watch Champa women using ancient looms as they make the exquisite silk textiles. The afternoon is a wonderful opportunity to relax and continue your stitching project during a second workshop with Mandy.

DAY 13 - HOI AN to HUE

Situated on the banks of the romantically named Perfume River, the town of Hue is known as the Imperial City of Vietnam. The capital of the Nguyen dynasty’s empire from 1802 until 1945, it was the religious, economic and cultural epicenter of Vietnam for more than a century. You’ll visit the moated Imperial Citadel on the northern banks of the river and the baroque influenced Long An Palace, which is now home to the Royal Fine Arts Museum. Here you’ll see several thousand antiquities including porcelain, silverware and paintings many of which belonged to the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Hue is home to the Embroidery Art Museum of XQ. Through the museum’s stunning collections, you can explore the history of the art of hand embroidery.

DAY 14 - HUE, HO CHI MINH & the MEKONG DELTA

An early morning flight from Hue takes you to Ho Chi Minh considered the most western of Vietnamese cities. A guided sightseeing tour of the city still commonly known as Saigon shows you the highlights including the stunning Saigon Opera House, striking French-colonial Central Post Office, the romantic 19th century Notre Dame Cathedral and Hotel de Ville de Saigon, which is officially Ho Chi Minh City Hall. You’ll visit the Reunification Palace, an important city landmark and now a museum telling the story of the Vietnam War. Leaving this bustling metropolis behind you’ll head to the tranquility of the Mekong Delta.

DAY 15 - MEKONG DELTA

A rich fertile region of farmland interlaced with countless waterways and crisscrossed by low-lying rice paddies the Mekong Delta is one of Vietnam’s most enchanting landscapes. By road and by wooden sampan you’ll discover the labyrinth of bustling waterways seeing the daily activity of the locals who live and work along the arteries of the mighty Mekong River.

DAY 16 - MEKONG DELTA to HO CHI MINH

Enjoy a morning at leisure to relax and stitch amidst the beautiful surroundings of the Mekong Lodge. After lunch you’ll return to Ho Chi Minh for last-minute shopping including a visit to one of the most vibrant Chinatowns in south-east Asia. Join your fellow stitchers for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant before driving to the airport for your international flight to London.

DAY 17 - HO CHI MINH to LONDON

Early arrival into London Heathrow

Please Note: This holiday includes hiking tours. It is not recommended for those with physical limitations.

PRICES (INCL. FLIGHTS & TRANSFERS):

Twin room: £4199 per person
Single supplement: £645
Deposit: £400 per person

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • Scheduled international flights from London to Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh to London
  • Domestic flights from Ha Noi to Da Nang and Hue to Ho Chi Minh
  • Coach travel as detailed in the itinerary
  • 11 nights’ hotel accommodation with breakfast (early check-in on arrival in Ha Noi)
  • 1 night’s accommodation on board the Pelican Cruise junk
  • 2 night’s in a twin-share compartment on board the Fanxipan Express
  • Dinner each evening in the hotel or local restaurants
  • 11 lunches in the hotel or local restaurants
  • All entrance fees and visits as detailed in the itinerary
  • Two workshops with Mandy Shaw
  • Kit for your project
  • The services of a local tour manager who will accompany the tour throughout
  • Gratuities for drivers, local guide, restaurant staff and the Pelican cruise crew

NOT INCLUDED:

Meals and drinks unless otherwise stated, items of a personal nature, travel insurance, visa.

TRAVEL ADVICE

As our tour duration is over 15 days, you will need to apply for an e-visa here or via the Vietnamese Embassy in London, at a cost of 25 USD.

Visit your health professional at least 8 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

NON-CRAFTERS

Why not bring a non-crafting partner with you?
If a non-crafting family member or friend wishes to accompany you on any of our holidays, and is sharing a room with you, then the following reductions will apply to the price the non-crafter pays:
Worldwide - £75

THE "STITCH TOGETHER" PROGRAMME

For single travellers who are interested in our trips, but don’t have a friend able to come with them why not join our "Stitch Together" programme to help with the costs of a single occupancy room? We have designed a way for you to find someone to share a room with on any of our Stitchtopia Holidays.

Find out more about our "Stitch Together" programme >>

THE ANN, HA NOI ★★★★

Close to the Old Quarter and Ha Noi’s key landmarks, the stylish and contemporary Ann Hotel is ideally located for exploring this fascinating city. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar, rooftop pool, gym, sauna and jacuzzi.

MAI CHAU ECO LODGE, MAI CHAU ★★★★

Sitting atop a private hill with a stunning backdrop of lush rice paddies and emerald mountains, the secluded Mai Chau Eco Lodge is built entirely of natural material and every bungalow embodies the local stilt house style and traditional Thai ethnic culture. The lodge has a restaurant, pool with poolside bar and offers a massage and spa service.

FANXIPAN EXPRESS TRAIN

Fanxipan Express carries 112 passengers in four superior sleeping carriages, all of which reflect the charm of colonial Vietnam. Accommodation is in shared two-berth cabins with individual reading lights, air-conditioning and a large picture window. Each carriage has a shared washroom with handwash basin, toilet and 220v electrical socket

AMAZING HOTEL, SAPA ★★★★

Nestled in the heart of a highland town, the elegant Amazing Hotel is just a short walk from the shops, restaurants and local attractions. Its facilities include a restaurant, bar, lounge, swimming pool, and fitness centre with spa, sauna and steam room.

PELICAN CRUISE, HA LONG BAY ★★★★★

Designed by French architects, made in Vietnam in traditional Vietnamese style, the junks of Pelican Cruise bring a touch of luxury to traditional junk cruising on Ha Long Bay. Each junk has a restaurant, sun deck and spa.

PALM GARDEN, HOI AN ★★★★★

Set amidst five acres of landscaped gardens overlooking Cua Dai Beach, Palm Garden Resort combines Hoi An’s traditional architectural style with a touch of modern luxury. The resort has 3 restaurants, bars, a swimming pool, and spa with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.

HOTEL SAIGON MORIN, HUE ★★★★

In the very heart of Hue City, the French colonial style Hotel Saigon Morin, which was established in 1901, is regarded as one of the five oldest hotels in Vietnam. This classic hotel has a number of restaurants and bars, outdoor pool and spa with sauna.

MEKONG LODGE, CAI BE TOWN ★★★★

Nestled on the banks of the Tien River in the heart of the Mekong Delta, this charming eco resort has private bungalows, which embody the local style of a rural garden cottage. The lodge, which is reached by a small, private boat has a restaurant and bar.