Meet Thao, Vietnam's leading textile  designer. She teaches  traditional Vietnamese techniques for natural dyeing, and beeswax printing with natural dyes made from indigo, yam, and magenta plants.  #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigo
  • Hanoi, Vietnam
  • 42 hours over 7 days

Natural Dyeing with Thao

From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the rugged landscape of rural Vietnam, learn traditional dyeing & weaving with Vietnam’s leading textile designer. Harvest indigo, make dyes, then weave & dye your own textiles alongside indigenous ethnic minority women, all in the stunning Cao Bang province.
  • Local Transportation
  • Special
  • Other
  • Accommodation
  • Snacks, Coffee, & Tea


One Guest
USD $4005
Additional guest(s) (max 4)
USD $2270


One Guest
Additional guest(s)
Learn natural fabric dyeing techniques and embroidery from Vietnam's leading textile designer. #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigoLearn natural fabric dyeing techniques and embroidery from Vietnam's leading textile designer. #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigoLearn natural fabric dyeing techniques and embroidery from Vietnam's leading textile designer. #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigoLearn natural fabric dyeing techniques from Thao, Vietnam's leading textile  designer. You will learn traditional Vietnamese techniques of natural dyeing, and beeswax printing with natural dyes from indigo, yam, magenta plants and beeswax.  #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigoLearn natural fabric dyeing techniques and embroidery from Vietnam's leading textile designer. #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigoLearn natural fabric dyeing techniques and embroidery from Vietnam's leading textile designer. #creativevacation #vawaa  #travelasia #vietnam #creativity #sustainablefashion #naturalfabricdyeing #naturalfabricdyeingtechniques #slowtravel #naturalfabricdyeingideas #diyfabrics #crafts #howtomake #indigo

Meet the Artist

Vu Thao is a clothing designer who seamlessly merges contemporary silhouettes with traditional Vietnamese techniques of natural dyeing, beeswax printing, hand quilting and embroidery. She collaborates with ethnic minority women from the northern mountains of Vietnam to grow and produce natural dyes from indigo, yam and magenta plants – and fibers from organic cotton and hemp – then weaves her own fabrics for her designs. For buttons and other trimmings, she uses natural materials like nuts, wood, coal, stone, bamboo and bone. She finds design inspiration in her eclectic collection of traditional costumes, natural materials and indigenous artifacts that fill her studio. Sophisticated and stylish, Thao is a self-confessed culture lover.

VAWAA Includes:

  • 5 full days in Cao Bang, an artisanal village north of Hanoi
  • Working with ethnic women learning the indigo dyeing process.
  • Understanding how to grow indigo and extract indigo pigment.
  • Making dyes from lac insect resin and other local natural botanicals.
  • Pre-dye process & dyeing process with different pigments.
  • Your handwoven & hand-dyed samples up to 5 metres long.

Stay at Thao's

Accommodation in Cao Bang is included for 7 nights. Being a remote area, there aren't many hotel options, so Thao picks the best hotel available. It's a 2-star, basic comfort, clean, and safe hotel with a double bed. (Note that mattresses in Vietnam tend to be hard. The hotel can provide extra blankets upon request.)

Explore Hanoi

Hanoi is a complex city. The old characteristics blend with modern vibes. Aged buildings stand next to contemporary towers. What makes Hanoi a unique capital is the vibrant street life: busy traffic with motorbikes, fresh fruit & flower vendors, and, of course, the dense of flavors of street food. Wander the streets and let your senses be awakened by the shocking colors of fresh flowers, the lingering smells of grilled meats and exhaust, and the shouts of vendors marketing their wares.

Although the city is expanding, Hanoi still remains a city of villages. You can easily find many hidden gems in the busiest part of the city, such as the oldest coffee shop tucked in a deep alley, or traditional handmade paper shops, blacksmiths, silversmiths, wood stamp makers, and traditional medicine shops in the Old Quarter. Museums are located around the center of the city, and each has its own story and content. New coffee places are now popping up on every corner in Hanoi. Art spaces and creative spaces are increasingly popular as well. A true city of history and modernity, Hanoi can keep surprising you everyday with each little thing.

Additional Details

This VAWAA takes place over the course of 7 days – 5 full days in Cao Bang and 2 full days driving back and forth from Hanoi. The artisanal village of Cao Bang is an 8-hour drive from Hanoi with countryside views, plenty of fresh vegetables and traditional dishes. This experience includes a private taxi from Hanoi to Cao Bang and hotel accommodation in Nung village, a small town 15 min. drive from Cao Bang. Please note that Thao's VAWAA cannot be booked during heavy rain season (mid November - March) as it is difficult to access the fields.

Thao speaks English and Vietnamese fluently.
Thao's Availability 7 days

Guest Reviews

  • Hung L., United States

    This VAWAA did not only expand my understanding of various natural dyes, especially indigo, but also connected me with an amazing community of artisans. The Nùng An women were so incredibly welcoming and open to sharing their crafts and traditions with us. It was so rewarding to to spend time with Thảo and watch her relationship with the Nùng An women and the relationship they've developed over th Read more

  • Luisa U., United Kingdom

    My experience with Thao was fantastic. Spending time together in Cao Bang was an adventure I will treasure for life. It was a hands-on week with beautiful weather and loads of giggles. The location is gorgeous, and it was ideal to move about in our motorbikes . But most of all, it was a true privilege to get to spend time with the lovely NungAn ladies in the village and experience a week of natura Read more

  • Kim Marie T., Vietnam

    Working with Thao and her team of artisans was amazing. Each day started with a large bowl of pho, caphe sua da and was followed by a 15-minute motor bike journey through the stunning landscape of Northern Vietnam.

    Arriving at the village, I was welcomed into the traditional homes and lives of 5 incredible ladies and thus began my journey to further develop my own textile creativity and knowle
    Read more

  • Ana O., Vietnam

    I had a fantastic and memorable week in beautiful Cao Bang learning about natural dye and weaving from Thảo and the Nùng An women. We covered the extensive processes of planting, harvesting and fermenting indigo, as well as making indigo paste and dye. As I had only ever experimented with natural dyes by myself at home, it was a real treat to learn from Thảo and the Nùng An women about indigo, yam Read more

  • Di W., United Kingdom

    It’s been a truly inspiring and intensively hands-on week with Thao and all the Nung ladies she’s been working with. Starting from harvesting fresh indigo from the field, we covered a lot of natural dyes not limited to indigo but also lac and dyeing-yam. I also participated in the process of traditional Nung weaving, from spinning to weaving different patterns. An extra bonus was going to another Read more

  • Susie N., United Kingdom

    I had an amazing experience. I was interested in learning more about natural indigo dyeing and the application of traditional skills for contemporary design - this trip introduced the whole process from planting seeds to harvesting to preparing a dye vat and working with different fabrics. I had been to Vietnam a number of times before but this experience provided a unique insight into traditional Read more

  • Yvonne K., United Kingdom

    It was extremely gratifying to discover Vietnam with Thao and VAWAA team. Along the process, everyone is very supportive and welcoming enable yourself to maximise all the energy. With the most grateful intention to see the most traditional way of making cotton fabrics and dyeing them are just phenomenal. A fantastic trip that allows a huge range of people to go onto, also not only advancing yourse Read more

  • M., Singapore

    I had an amazing time on this trip not only learning about the natural dye processes but also about the (incredibly sophisticated!) local craft traditions and way of life. Thao is a wonderful host, very generously sharing her expertise and design ideas, and also her drive and philosophy. The experience was definitely something special. More than just a beautiful memory or a new skill learnt, it wa Read more

  • Andrew T., United States

    Traveling with my friend Josh, our trip began with a long and scenic cab drive from Hanoi to Cao Bang, after a pleasant studio visit with Thao and her family. The day after our arrival, we ate delicious duck Pho for breakfast and had a short motorbike to the home and studio of the Phuc Sen Handicraft Group. Every time we traveled from the city to the country, I was completely amazed by the scenery Read more

  • Patricia M., Mexico

    Thank you for your platform I think that it's opening a completely new horizon about traveling. As I've said before I was hooked by the artists, their qualities, statements, trajectories, cultures, and by the new approach about moving and learning about human beings, their doings, expression and craftsmanship.

  • Julia L., United States

    Vu's work is beautiful, and learning about natural dyeing is one of the first steps in our journey to learn more and more about sustainable and organic fabrics and clothing production. My fondest memory was when we were heading back to the village and she veered off the main road onto a field. I was on the second motorbike, and we followed. She saw some of the other ladies she works with herding t Read more

  • Sophie S., United Kingdom

    I had a fabulous time with Thao.

  • Ainhoa D., Vietnam

    I passed memorable days with Thao sharing our days with the women in the little village of Cao Bang, not far from the Chinese border. The experience was wonderful, not only because the magic of the indigo process, but by the experience of living the calm and simplicity of the traditional way of life, spending a week leaving in a rural area with out any burden imposed on us by the western life. Goi Read more

  • Tuyet N., Vietnam

    It has been a hands-on experience in terms of interacting with a wider community of craftsman and having an opportunity to try learn and create something of my own. Thao was great and I remember her asking me questions about what I wanted to explore most in order to personalize/customize the experience.

  • Michela D., Vietnam

    Totally, and I feel particularly lucky to have been the only participant to this first trip. Although I didn't know Thao very well, I felt like I was taking a holiday with a friend. Being introduced to the Nung ladies (and their living environment) Thao is working with was an amazing experience!

  • See all 15 reviews