Vietnam Textiles Tour
6-19 May 2017

A 14 day adventure exploring the textiles, handcrafts and cultural traditions of northern Vietnam


Textiles, travel, craft, exploration! Does this sound like your cup of tea?

If so, you’re invited to join a small group of like-minded textile-enthused women for the experience of a lifetime, visiting specialist handcraft villages, undertaking hands-on weaving, dyeing and embroidery workshops, 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 women-only tour, accompanied by a local (English speaking) Vietnamese guide, starts and ends 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 in addition to a nearby silk weaving workshop and basketry craft village.

An overnight train journey takes us close to the border Vietnam shares with China and to the beginning of our journey through Vietnam’s northern provinces.  We will visit a colourful local market boasting some fabulous textiles and handcrafts and then view local riverside life as we take a boat trip towards Sapa.  There we will spend three nights, one of those in a rural village homestay while we participate in weaving, batik, dyeing and embroidery workshops. We will also have the opportunity to cook (and eat) Vietnamese/Hmong food with our homestay hosts!

From Sapa we travel through Ha Giang province, a magnificent highland region near the Chinese border, comprising lush forests and terraced rice paddies, with the dramatic mountains of Heaven’s Gate soaring in the background. This remote and spectacular area only opened to tourists in very recent years and is known as Vietnam’s final frontier. We will spend several days visiting local hilltribe villages, visiting a specialist textile village providing skills and livelihood to survivors of human trafficking, participating in some hands-on textiles activities under the guidance of the village women, shopping at the local textile and general markets and trekking through spectacular landscapes.

Our final couple of days before returning to Hanoi will be spent at a homestay on the shores of beautiful Ba Be Lake, exploring the area by boat, visiting waterfalls and caves, observing lake-side village life and relaxing.

Included in price

  • local English speaking guide throughout the tour
  • all transport, sightseeing attractions (museums, galleries, etc), workshops and excursions as per the itinerary
  • accommodation as per the itinerary (10 nights in single room accommodation + 1 night on overnight train + 1 night in shared room at homestay )
  • meals as per the itinerary (13 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 3 dinners)
  • return airport transfers in Hanoi

Not included in price

  • international/domestic airfares
  • travel insurance (compulsory)
  • visas
  • early check in or late check out
  • meals and drinks not included in the itinerary
  • expenditure of a personal nature
  • tips and gratuities
  • extra activities


Things to note:

  • The tour comprises 13 nights/14 days and operates from Saturday 6th – Friday 19th May 2017. The opportunity exists to extend your trip by an extra night or two at our hotel in Hanoi before or after the tour, at the special group discount price of AUD $60.00 per room per night;
  • we strive to offer a culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable tour. To this end: we have engaged local guides and hosts; we visit several workshops and business enterprises that are either village co-ops (ie. all profits returned directly to the villagers), fair trade organisations and/or projects aimed at providing vocational training and experience to local youth or disadvantaged communities; the tour price also includes a carbon offset;
  • this trip is offered in partnership with a licensed travel agent and tour operator for your (and our) peace of mind;
  • the itinerary is a full one, however several free periods (some afternoons and several evenings) are built into the schedule;
  • an itinerary and booking form are available upon request;
  • hotel accommodation is in single rooms whereas homestays and overnight train trip provide shared accommodation. In large cities our hotels are approx. 3 star, while those in rural areas are more basic. Homestays offer quite basic accommodation and rustic hospitality;
  • This trip includes several moderate two to four hour treks so a reasonable level of fitness and mobility are required;
  • This trip comprises a couple of long bus journeys through spectacular scenery in remote areas. We will occasionally encounter squat toilets during our travels;
  • Our maximum group size is 12 women;
  • Your retreat|recreate host for this trip will be Susan Keeble
  • Tour participants will inevitably vary in age, origin and personality. Flexibility and a sense of humour are encouraged.

What our travellers had to say about this trip:

This was my second retreat|recreate trip and very different from the Bali retreat. There were so many highlights , so much wonderful interaction with the local women over a needle and thread (and some rice wine) and also a wonderful group of travelling companions.  Jill – Vietnam 2017 (and Bali 2016)

What a wonderful way to travel: treading lightly on a precious land; travelling with people who appreciate textiles and the art of hand-made. If you’re thinking of joining a retreat|recreate tour, just go!  Even if you have no experience of textiles, you will see a lot, learn a lot, meet lovely people and have a link with everyone through the love of textiles.  Sue – Vietnam 2017

Thank you retreat|recreate for a thoroughly enjoyable textile tour of the ethnic minority villages across Northern Vietnam.  I enjoyed every minute. Beautifully organised and led by experienced local guides, I shall never forget the spectacular mountains, lush green fields, magnificent textiles and rich culture of Northern Vietnam. Thank you for creating quality women’s tours. I will continue to sing your praises and recommend retreat|recreate to everyone!   Catherine – Vietnam 2017 (also Bali 2016 and India 2019 )

Being in the company of like-minded women and being able to experience parts of Vietnam that are little visited and still retain their traditional ways were both highlights.  I loved the workshops and loved targeting textiles shops!  I really treasure having met the women who made the items I bought.  Myfanwy – Vietnam 2016 (also Laos 2018 and India 2019)

If you’re in two minds about doing this trip, just book and do it.  It will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.  Kim – Vietnam 2016