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Guided Tours Vietnam
Vietnam Guided Tours
"Forgiveness and Sorrow"

Custom Tours & Vietnam Travel Programs

We recommend a complete North to South itinerary to experience the distinctions, politically, culturally and socially.

From North to South, traveling historically, through each Dynasty, to French occupation, Liberation with Ho Chi Minh, to the Vietnam/American War, you will be enlightened towards an understanding of Vietnamese culture, history and people.

Street of Hanoi

Northern Vietnam

In Hanoi, the ideology of communism permeates daily life, yet it is proclaimed that any and all religions are acceptable. 54% have quietly retained Buddhism.

Today Hanoi is a vibrant city with cafes on every corner.  Its people seem  a little  more  cautious  than in Saigon,  yet all  embrace  the thriving entrepreneurial spirit.

While in Hanoi, we recommend either day trip or an overnight cruise to Halong Bay and given time, a train to the Hill Tribes of Sapa are very unique. There is a Victoria train and lodge which is the most comfortable way to travel to Sapa.

Central Vietnam

Dalat in central Vietnam, is certainly worthwhile for cooler weather and to learn about the 54 minority groups in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City

Southern Vietnam & the Mekong Delta

In Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City, or HCMC for short), a tour of the war museum and the Cu Chi tunnels is impressive if not horrific. For those wishing to escape the war history, it is impossible. Every person has a story of a relative or friend lost. And to not be informed would be to miss a very important aspect of Vietnamese culture.

Along Mekhong river

A bit further south we offer eco lodges and Mekong river day jaunts.

The Vietnamese people have an incredible capacity to bear loss and offer forgiveness. Every visitor will come home enriched.

Americans thought they were fighting Communism when in fact, it was fighting Nationalism, in what the Vietnamese refer to as the American War.

Contemorary Art and Culture Tour Vietnam

SAMPLE ART TOUR

In the past five years, the art scene in Ho Chi Minh City.VIETNAM, has experienced a growth that has placed it amongst some of the most active emerging art scenes in the region. An increasing number of local artists are now participating in exhibitions in important institutions and events around the world.
Although the number of contemporary art spaces is still modest, their operations reach out to a greater audience. These art spaces are contributing to a better understanding of contemporary art in the country, nurturing local talent, cooperating with foreign institutions and attracting important art professionals from around the world.

When to visit and how to get around
Climate
Ho Chi Minh City has quite a homogenous temperature all year round, always warm enough to wear short sleeves, shorts and sandals. The winter months, roughly from November to the end of March, are the best period to visit to avoid suffering the effects of heat and humidity. Days are mostly sunny, with an average temperature of between 28 to 30 degrees Celsius and lower humidity, while evenings and nights can become chilly enough to wear a light jacket or long-sleeved top.
Beginning from early to mid-April, temperatures and humidity rise exponentially due to the approaching rainy season that can last from the end of May to September or October.
As Ho Chi Minh City doesnt yet have a regular festival or event for contemporary art, the only criteria that determines when to visit the city is your weather preference.
Transportation
To get around, there are plenty of buses with regular time schedules, but if you prefer not to travel in a crowded, non-air conditioned means of transportation, there are taxis everywhere. Stick to the best known ones - Mai Linh and Vinasun - and make sure that they are the real thing by checking the metre, the uniform and the ID of the drivers.  Best Yet, book a licensed driver with Golden Fish Travels.

Where to see contemporary art
Museums and galleries
Ho Chi Minh City doesnt have a contemporary art museum yet as government sponsorship for culture is, unfortunately, not a top priority for the countrys development. There are plenty of galleries around town, but you should be careful to not get distracted by the commercial entities that mushroom around the central district. These usually sell highly commercial, decorative art that is often mass produced and is not representative of the contemporary art scene of the country.

Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum The Fine Arts Museum is worth a visit for its beautiful French colonial architecture. Although a bit run down, the exhibition rooms have a range of art that can give you a good look at the development of art through the ages in Vietnam. The museum also has a new wing that is rented out for privately organised exhibitions, so check if they have an exhibition on when you visit. Address: 97A Pho Duc Chinh, District 1.

Galerie Quynh The most professionally recognised, international standard gallery in the city, Galerie Quynh was founded in 2004 by Vietnamese-American Quynh Pham. The gallery represents Vietnamese emerging and established artists, as well as foreign artists. In addition to its regular exhibitions programme in its two spaces in District 1, the gallery also holds talks and lectures. Address: main gallery, 65 De Tham, District 1; downtown gallery, Level 2, 151/3 Dong Khoi, District 1.

Craig Thomas Gallery Founded in 2009 by American Craig Thomas who has been involved in the Vietnam art scene for over a decade, the gallery is tucked away in a small villa in District 1. The gallery exclusively shows local talent, from emerging to more established artists working with a wide range of media and styles. Address: 27i Tran Nhat Duat Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1. Bonus Tip: Be sure to not miss having a meal at the nearby Cuc Gach restaurant, with its artsy decor, to top off your art day in the area.

Tu Do Gallery One of the oldest standing galleries in the city, Tu Do also boasts a collection of important modern and contemporary artists. More on the classical side of the scene, Tu Do also holds regular exhibitions throughout the year. Like many local Vietnamese entities, Tu Do is not great at publicity, so swing by to see what is on or contact them before your trip. Address: 53 Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.

Eight Gallery Owned and run by a collector of Vietnamese modern and contemporary art, the small gallery holds exhibitions of contemporary artists throughout the year. It does not have a strong marketing network, so it is not easy to find out when an exhibition is on but visit their website and contact them for information. Address: 8 Phung Khac Khoan, District

Vin Gallery With two spaces, in District 1 and 2, this small gallery run by an Indonesian also holds workshops and art classes. The small exhibition space in District 2 holds exhibitions of Indonesian and foreign artists. Contact them to see what is on when you visit and to arrange to attend a class. Address: 6, Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2; 95, Pasteur, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.


Non-profit and experimental art spaces

San Art The most active nonprofit, artist-run initiative in Vietnam, San Art was founded by some of the most well known Vietnamese artists: Dinh Q. Le, Tiffany Chung and members of The Propeller Group. Housed in a small villa in Binh Thanh district, the space shares its home with The Propeller Group and their production studio. Regular exhibitions and educational programmes, a library room and the San Art Laboratory artist-in-residence are a must see. Arrange to speak with Curator and Director Zoe Butt and local curator Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran to have a better understanding of the spaces role and the state of contemporary art in Vietnam today. Address: 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh District.

Zero Station An experimental art space founded by artist-curator Nguyen-Nhu-Huy. The space holds workshops, talks and lectures, as well as art projects with exhibitions, screenings and performances. Contact them to get more information on what is going on when you visit and to arrange a chat with the founder.

Goethe Intitut The Goethe Institute is very involved in the development of the contemporary art scene and supports and organizes contemporary art exhibitions by local artists, screenings of video and film, lectures and interactions between local and foreign artists. Check if they have anything going on when you visit the city.

Sao La Sao La A nonprofit art initiative supported and founded by Galerie Quynh, Sao La is based on the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Art Museums grounds. A new addition to the art scene, officially opening at the end of May 2014, the space will also have a library room with art books and will support emerging local talent, running a regular program of workshops, lectures and talks, screenings and exhibitions. Address: on the grounds of the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum.

Vietnam Tours and Travel Packages

  • Essential Vietnam — 10 days Saigon, Danang & Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay
  • Central Vietnam City extensions — Nha Trang, Dalat
  • North Vietnam Hill tribe Extensions — Sapa and the northern highlands

All Vietnam tours can be extended into Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, for a complete coordinated South East Asia Grand tour package.

For a full itinerary of Vietnam tours, or to ask about our other travel options in Vietnam and the rest of travel in Asia, please contact us by phone or email.

photos courtesy of Eduardo Godoy

Recommend Reading

  • The Sacred Willow, Duang Van Mai Elliot
  • The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh
  • The Lover, Marguerite Duras
  • The Quiet American, Graham Greene

Contact Anne for further details


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