Hoi An is one of the most charming and beautiful cities in Vietnam and is also a UNESCO Heritage Site. Walking around in Hoi An’s Old Town almost feels like you’ve transported yourself to another world. The architecture is a mix of Chinese, Japanese, French and Vietnamese, so you can be sure that there’s some interesting buildings to look at. Besides walking around in the Old Town, you should also check out the contemporary art scene in the city. Although the art scene is not as developed yet as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, there’s some gems here where you can find unique, original artwork. Here’s where you can find them.
1. Precious Heritage by Rehahn
The famous French Photographer Rehahn is internationally renowned and his work has been published in magazines such as National Geographic, Forbes and BBC. He currently lives in Hoi An and you can see some of his work in the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum. His exhibits focuses on the ethnic groups from all over the country, and so far he’s been able to get up close with 45 of the 54 ethnic groups in the country. The exhibits are free to visit and they’re translated in three languages: Vietnamese, French and English. This is a unique chance to get a glimpse into the ethnic people’s lives through Rehahn’s images.
2. Hoi An Art and Craft Manufacturing Workshop
If you’re looking to buy some traditional Vietnamese souvenirs, you should pay a visit to this workshop. They emphasize on traditional Vietnamese culture through its workshops, displays and performances. Besides getting souvenirs here, you can also see occasional performances such as music, theatre, traditional Vietnamese dances and songs, as well as craft workshops.
3. Hoi An Art Café
This beautiful art café opened in 2005 and is situated in a French colonial villa. You can find bronze and marble sculptures here, which you can ship home if you don’t have any room in your luggage. The Swiss-born sculptor Eric Kappeler’s artwork is on display here and you can find inspiring art displayed around the outdoor garden and around the interior. It’s a beautiful space with a relaxing ambiance.
4. Couleurs D’asie
This is another interesting gallery which has Rehahns work on display. By purchasing one of his prints, a percentage of the money goes towards helping the people on the photos. His work of art is mesmerizing and let’s people see Vietnam through Rehahns lens. If you pass by Couleurs D’asie, you might even be lucky to see the artist himself. In that case, he’ll be happy to explain the backstory of his images and why he has made Hoi An his home.
Imagine having a coffee shop, art gallery and boutique, all in one place. That’s Cotic. The artworks on display are intriguing and unique, and has everything from ceramics, paintings, figurines and clothing. Walk around in the boutique and shop some of their jewellery, essential oils, hand-woven baskets, and more in Cotic. After browsing in the art gallery and boutique, make sure to grab a coffee before you go.
6. Arthouse Vietnam Gallery
Founded by artist Vu Trong Anh in 2004, you can find everything from colorful paintings, abstract art and sculptures here. Vietnam’s contemporary art scene is on the rise but is unfortunately often overshadowed by more commercial art which is especially popular amongst tourists. If you want to support local talents, you should definitely pay a visit to the Arthouse Vietnam Gallery.
Now when you know which art galleries to visit when you’re in Hoi An, you need to remember to apply for a Vietnam visa before you travel to the country. You have three options to choose from. Either you go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate, or you apply for a visa online by getting a Visa on Arrival or an E-Visa. The latter isn’t available for everyone though, only certain countries have the right to get an E-Visa. Getting a Visa on Arrival is otherwise, an excellent choice. It’s easy to apply to, fast to get and affordable. You only need your computer and internet in order to apply for this kind of visa. However, note that this visa only works if you plan on flying to Vietnam. If you’re planning on entering the country with other means of transportation, you must go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.