Vietnam Textiles Tour
30 June – 12 July 2018

Ho an collage

Textiles, travel, craft, exploration!  Can we tempt you?

Join our small group of like-minded textile-enthused women for the experience of a lifetime, visiting specialist handcraft villages, undertaking hands-on cloth weaving, rattan weaving, dyeing, batik and embroidery workshops, classes in traditional lantern making and Vietnamese calligraphy, exploring some of South East Asia’s most jaw-dropping scenery and meeting and staying with the colourful hilltribe people who live there. Plus much, much more.

This 13 day, 12 night women-only tour, hosted by retreat|recreate and accompanied by a local English speaking Vietnamese guide, starts in the beautiful city of Hanoi where we will spend several days based in the vibrant Old Quarter, exploring the town and its foremost sightseeing attractions including a nearby silk weaving workshop and basketry craft village.

An overnight train journey takes us close to the border Vietnam shares with China. We will visit a colourful local market boasting fabulous textiles and handcrafts and view local riverside life as we travel by boat towards Sapa. Of the five nights we spend in this area, one will be at a rural village homestay where we’ll learn Hmong weaving, batik, dyeing and embroidery from local artisans and sit and stitch with the village women. We will also have the opportunity to cook (and eat) Dao and Hmong food with our workshop and homestay hosts. A day trip through Vietnam’s highest and most spectacular mountain pass takes us into Lai Chau province where we’ll visit villages of Black Hmong, Tay and Lu ethnic groups and learn about their way of life and handcraft traditions.  Our final night in Vietnam’s north will be spent at a stunning award-winning hill-top ecolodge, set within a national park and surrounded by breathtaking panoramic views of the neighbouring peaks, valleys and rural villages.

We’ll fly to central Vietnam and spend several days in the ancient riverside town of Hoi An, visiting the major sights, galleries and museums as well as several social enterprises that provide handcraft skills, training and employment to disadvantaged and differently-abled people.  We’ll take a class with a master of calligraphy and learn to make a traditional Hoi An lantern. A two day side trip into rural Quang Nam province will provide us with an insight into the culture, handcrafts, textiles and traditions of the Co Tu ethnic minority, which have remained largely unchanged for several centuries.  A traditional feast, dance performance and the opportunity to weave both cloth and rattan with the skilled artisans of the village are sure to be some of the memorable highlights of this trip. We’ll return to Hoi An for our final night and farewell dinner.

The itinerary is full to ensure value for money, however some free periods are built in. The tour begins on a Saturday and ends on a Thursday, allowing guests to extend their time pre/post tour by a day or two if they wish to pursue additional activities (eg. more textile shopping, a cooking class, a street food tour, additional sightseeing, cultural experiences or handcraft workshops). A list of suggested shops, venues and activities will be provided to guests closer to departure. Our tour partner can also assist with pre and post tour accommodation and flights if required.


  • Local English-speaking guide throughout tour
  • Arrival airport transfer in Hanoi
  • Departure airport transfer in Hoi An
  • All tours, transport, accommodation, admission fees, workshops and activities listed in the itinerary
  • Meals as per the itinerary: 12 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Group domestic flight from Hanoi to Danang as per the itinerary


  • International airport departure tax
  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Services not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Early check-in and late check out at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tips for leaders, guide and driver
  • Expenditure of a personal nature
  • Personal insurance
  • Optional activities
  • Fees associated with payments made by bank transfer or PayPal

 Things to note

  • the tour comprises 13 days/12 nights and operates from Saturday 30th June – Thursday 12th July, 2018
  • The opportunity exists to extend your trip by extra nights at our hotels in Hanoi before the tour and in Hoi An after the tour for the special price of AU$65 per room per night.
  • retreat|recreate strives to offer culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable tours. To this end we: engage local guides; partner with a wholesale tour operator whose values align with ours; patronise organisations that return all profits directly to their local community; support fair trade and non-government organisations providing vocational training, experience and rehabilitation to disadvantaged groups and communities. The tour price also includes a carbon offset.
  • retreat|recreate’s tours are offered in partnership with a fully licensed, globally recognised and well-resourced tour operator for your (and our) peace of mind;
  • the finalised detailed itinerary with locations and venues will be provided upon booking;
  • Trip Advisor places our hotels in Hanoi and Hoi An in the 4 star category, while our Sapa hotel is 3.5 star, ecolodge accommodation is 3.0 star and Co Tu village bungalows are 2.5 star. Our homestay offers quite simple accommodation and rustic hospitality.
  • solo travellers have the option to pay the single supplement for a single room or request to share a twin room with another guest. Where possible we’ll pair you with another solo traveller.  Note however that should there be an odd number of guests requesting twin share, the last to book will be required to pay the single supplement. Also note that single rooms are not available at all accommodation. Please refer to the itinerary for full details.
  • please consider your mobility and fitness levels when booking. The tour comprises travel on private coach, a river boat, a domestic flight and walking (often on uneven ground) including several moderate 1-2 hour walks. Vietnam is a tropical country;
  • our group size is approximately 12 women;
  • retreat|recreate welcomes women from all over the globe – all ethnicities,  backgrounds, beliefs and cultures.  We welcome women of diverse sexualities and those who identify as women,   Flexibility and a sense of humour are encouraged when travelling as part of a group.
  • the retreat|recreate host on this trip is Susan Keeble

What our travellers had to say about this trip:

I can’t speak highly enough of your company and everything about the tour.  Your detailed research and passion shines through.  For anyone with an interest in any textile art, this tour is an absolute joy.  Rosemary – Vietnam 2018

I really enjoyed the Vietnam trip.  I particularly loved the idea that it was about textiles, for women only and that all the hard work of planning was already done.  Susan was a wonderful tour leader with dignity and style.  Her rapport with the group and with the Vietnamese artisans was fantastic – gorgeous and gracious.  The homestay people and artisans were wonderful about allowing us to glimpse their world first hand.  Helen – Vietnam 2018