Creative Retreat in Hoi An, Vietnam July 2019

ArtFoodCulture is hosting a Winter Escape Retreat for 10 days in Hoi An, Vietnam July 19-29th 2019. This Retreat is for everyone of any sex, age, race, religion or walk of life that would like to experience slow responsible travel with like minds. The emphasis is on living or rejuvenating (or starting) your creative life. Your host Anna Barnes (founder of ArtFoodCulture, long term traveller to Hoi An, chef and artist) has built a network of contacts over the years that delight in giving our Retreat guests special attention. They take us off the tourist trail to experience locations, activities and food that only a local can. Focus is on Creativity, Food and Culture.


You will be staying by the river, walking distance to the UNESCO Heritage town of Hoi An in a 4 star locally run Hotel with pool. Early Mornings are spent cycling through rice fields, enjoying yoga/meditation on the beach and having breakfast in the locals market (fresh fruit smoothies, delicious local coconut, noodles and Vietnamese coffee).

We meet for a Creative Workshop in the mornings, especially tailored to capture the stunning historical town of Hoi An, its people, lifestyle and the food. Your experienced guide Anna Barnes has chosen artisans and locations that will capture the essence of Hoi An. Lets meet the local artisans and have some fun.

Highlights include a hands on cooking class with Anna’s good friend Linh in her family home. 

Another highlight will be visiting the home of specialty tofu makers and learning how the Vietnamese make tofu in a village home, for sale at the markets. A H’mong embroidery session on indigo dyed hand woven hemp cloth, a sunset photography lesson (smart phones allowed!) amongst the rice paddies and a bamboo carving workshop are also included.

Anna has been sketching the market vendors in Vietnam for many years now, and will be showing you how to capture these scenes too! Please ask for the itinerary for the specific workshop schedule that is planned.

We will be accompanied by our Vietnamese english speaking guide (and Annas good friend) for all our outings, so rest assured, you will have wonderful interactions with the locals!

Bring your favourite creative tools for this experience. Your sketchbook, your watercolours, pencils, journal, camera, notebook. iPad or GoPro. What do you prefer to use to capture and tell stories? Ask Anna for guidance if you are not sure.

You are also welcome to simply come along, and soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the company, the town and the food.


We slow travel through the emerald Rice Paddies, to blooming Lotus Fields, farmers at work, water buffalos, ducks, bustling Markets, historic Assembly Halls, Buddhist Pagodas, quaint Vietnamese Coffee Houses, Organic Herb Gardens, the famous Japanese Bridge, fishing village and the ancient Cham ruins, Mi Son.

Your afternoons are free to explore your special interests. I expect some of you will stay by the pool, sketch, read and relax, or catch up on your spa treatments, visits to the tailor and shopping. Others will use your google map Anna has created just for this retreat to explore key locations in outlying rural regions of Hoi An by bicycle, or spend extra time in the Ancient Town’s Historic buildings, Museums and Ateliers.

Evenings, a balmy walk along the river side enjoying the beautiful lanterns and night markets Hoi An has become famous for. Anna has chosen street food vendors and comfortable restaurants that serve delicious local Vietnamese cuisine. She will help with ordering food, conversing with restaurant staff and can answer your foodie questions. This is where we will enjoy night scenes, food and people. 

Discussions about the art, food and culture of the region will be encouraged. Book lists and movie recommendations will be given well before departure, and these will be discussed too. You will be escorted back to your hotel, or if you wish to find a bar or dancing venue recommendations are included in your comfort pack.


Hoi An is a safe, vibrant and fascinating town in Central Vietnam. It has become tourist friendly over the years, and all your travelling needs can be easily met, yet the town still retains an original authentic cultural atmosphere. It has attracted more and more artists, artisans and craftspeople from all over Vietnam.

Anna looks forward to participating in the unique learning experiences with you that the wonderful residents of Hoi An offer. We will also have enormous fun thanks to the light hearted nature of many of the Hoianese. The people are so wonderful and welcoming of visitors, people exclaim!

The retreat will have a strong emphasis on taking care of our tourist footprint. Stainless Steel water bottles, bamboo straws and re usable ethically made cotton bags will be used, to reduce the use of single use plastic. Anna will also point out other ways we can take responsibility for our impact on the environment and the beautiful gentle people of Hoi An throughout the tour.


19-29th July 2019.


$3500 (land content). All prices AUD.


Small group size. Minimum 5, maximum 10.

No extra is charged if you prefer a room to yourself (perfect for solo travellers).

10 nights accomodation in 4 star hotel (locally owned) with pool.

10 breakfasts

9 lunches

10 dinners (street food, markets vendors and restaurants ) 

Creative Workshops (8 sessions x 3 hours each facilitated by Anna Barnes and local artisans)

Comfort eco pack on arrival (organic soap, room spray, cotton shopping bag, bamboo straws etc)

Entry ticket to The Ancient Town and Creative Workshops in the historical buildings of Hoi An with Vietnamese English speaking guide.

Private bus trip to the historic Cham ruins, Mi Son with local guide.

Early morning boat trip to a working Fishing market and village.

Cooking Class and Basket Boat day at Linh’s Eco Herb Farm.

Rice Paper making, Farm excursion and Lunch at the Organic Herb Gardens.

Sunset Photography Workshop.

Embroidery and Stitching Workshop with Local Vietnamese artisan.

Bamboo Workshop in traditional countryside setting.

Market Sketching workshop with Anna Barnes of @artfoodculture instagram

Market Tours.

8 yoga/meditation sessions.

Bicycle hire (bring your own helmet, or buy one on location and donate when you leave)

Not included:

International airfares


Travel insurance

Beverages- alcohol and imported soft drinks. 

Personal expenses, laundry, minibar, tips etc.

Anything not mentioned in the Included list.


For the full itinerary or questions please email Anna Barnes at

Previous retreats by ArtFoodCulture Here

Riverside Hotel in Hoi An

Anna Barnes founder of Art Food Culture is a long time traveller to Vietnam. She has a Masters in Design Science, specialising in 3D Animation from The University of Sydney (being awarded the Dean's Honour Award) and a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and Social Anthropology, specialising in South East Asian Studies. Anna was the Executive Chef of Sydneys "Best Specialty Restaurant" winner and has worked over 25 years in Sydney restaurants, working with specialty cuisines, and creating authentic cultural menus. She was the owner of "Fiasco and Debacle", Sydneys largest artisan cafe cake manufacturer for 8 years. She has implemented and delivered cooking classes, held workshops, been a cooking demonstrator, facilitated "Artist Way" groups, and has worked for Team Building companies. She currently leads Creative Retreats in Vietnam and teaches Travel Sketching and Nature Journalling in The Blue Mountains. Her passion is to help people connect, transform, recover and thrive through art, food and culture. She is an artist, a mother, traveller and a naturalist and lives in The Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia with her family. 

Your Host Anna Barnes, on location.

Please note:

This retreat is going ahead. To join in, please contact Anna for payment method details.

Total land content cost $3,500. Due Now. All prices AUD.

Full Balance due.

Guests with a reserved place, please go ahead and purchase your airline tickets, visa and travel insurance.

We can recommend a Sydney based Vietnam specialist Travel Agent to take care of your airfares, visa and travel insurance if you are departing from Australia. Let us know if you would like details.

Travel insurance is mandatory and a copy must be supplied to us before commencement.

For Extra nights, add ons to your itinerary within Vietnam, VIP Airport service, private transfers to your hotel, and tours to other parts of Vietnam or neighbouring countries please contact our trusted South East Asian Specialists Khiri Travel at

For the full itinerary or questions please email Anna Barnes at ArtFoodCulture.

phone: (+61) 490345782


$3500 per person. (No Single supplement extra charge)

More Information and Bookings Here

Extra Information:

Please see Terms and Conditions Here

Travel insurance is mandatory and a copy must be supplied before commencement.