Testimonials

Read reviews on Trip Advisor or have look through the messages below sent from tour guests:

“Sophie has a miraculous way of making Vietnam’s already fascinating history powerfully come to life. But the tour is not simply an outpouring of Sophie’s tremendous knowledge about Vietnam. As it progresses, Sophie subtly and masterfully elucidates connections between arts, culture, tradition, politics and numerous elements of Vietnamese life that even scholars don’t often communicate with her poise and passion. The whole experience is so much more than a tour – it’s a progressive awakening to the real fabric of this increasingly modern nation. Sophie’s Art Tour really requires no prior expertise in art history, just an interest in the story of an incredibly dynamic country and people and the willingness to let a true expert take you deeper”
Ariele Gold, Founder of Detoured

My wife and I returned to the U.S. last week after two weeks of traveling in Vietnam and Cambodia, and Sophie’s Tour was the highlight of our trip.  Sophie is a rare treasure – she is British and moved to Vietnam about six years ago, and since then has conducted substantial research on Vietnamese art and developed a brilliant tour in which she relates Vietnamese art to the events of the period in which it was created and, in many cases, the purpose for which it was created.  Her tour is therefore not just a tour of paintings and sculpture, but a lesson in Vietnamese history that provides a much deeper understanding of the works of art than if the works were viewed outside of their historical context.  She is also an engaging personality.  Her tour was a real treat. Bert Abrams, NYC, USA

“We did the tour last Friday with Stuart and I wanted to let you know that he was SUPERB.  I’ve been coming in and out of HCMC for many years so I know a bit about the place; Stuart added a whole new dimension.  I’m so glad I did your tour, and so glad that he was our guide.  He’s a little star!  Plenty of humour, and with a lovely nature – he dealt professionally and easily with all the different types of people: a treat to listen to him.  Highly recommended to anyone who wants to combine an art tour with a bit of history that really puts things into context.  Thank you” Gary Woollacott

 

“I am so glad I took up a colleague’s suggestion and went on Sophie’s Art Tour. It provided a truly fascinating and thoughtful introduction to the development of contemporary art in Vietnam. I thoroughly recommend it to both arts professionals and visitors to Ho Chi Minh City interested in exploring recent Vietnamese history from an easily accessible arts perspective.” Jennifer King, Director Culture, Asia New Zealand Foundation

“What a wonderful blessing it has been to meet you – my brother Jason and I are massively grateful for all the history and culture that you’ve imparted on us of our parent’s home land through all your sheer dedication and hard work”  Cecilia Tran

“Hermance and I would like to thank you for taking us on your “art tour” in Saigon. I say ‘art’ in parenthesis because it was so much more. You gave us five to six hours of the most illuminating, interesting and informative guided tours we have yet experienced. We started ignorant and left inspired and informed. We were also deeply impressed by the sensitive manner in which you described Vietnam’s history, people, their struggle and their character and the beauty of life here expressed through artists. For us it was a revelation to be shown the role the artists played in recording and interpreting Vietnam’s tumultuous history during the last 150 years. We cannot recommend your tour more highly and wish you every success in the future and look forward to meeting you again on our next visit.”
Hermance and Nick Clegg (parents of Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister)

Luciana and I would like to let you know that both of us thought your tour was amazing. We really enjoyed the whole experience, it ranks as one of the best (if not the best) art tours we have ever experienced. I was particularly impressed that you were able to answer questions on artworks that were not actually being discussed. Peter Coxall and Luciana Biscaia-Coxall

Several people have recommended going on Sophie’s Art Tour at the beginning of a stay in Vietnam, but having been to Vietnam several times before, and having its complicated history still swishing about my brain, I can also heartily recommend this tour also as a way of consolidating ones patchy understanding.   I must congratulate Stu on his professionalism, his knowledge, the perfect pace of his presentation, and his well timed amusing asides. The tying together of history and art was cleverly done and painstakingly researched.  The illustration, both with real paintings and supporting images on the iPad ensured that listeners were engaged the entire time. The talk was perfectly pitched, and it was a delight to hear an articulate and enthusiastic young man operate with such skill. Very well worth doing. Lois Pearson

It was so great to meet you in Ho Chi Minh City and have you involved with the programme of this year’s forum. I’d like to say a huge thank you for taking us around and showing us the art of HCMC. It was great to hear the stories behind the art, in particular the somewhat tumultuous history of Saigon! I know the young leaders really appreciated the tour, and were still talking about it when they all left the next day. Anna Marie Luke, Asia New Zealand Foundation, Young Leaders Programme

Hi Sophie I took your tour back in July last year and I just wanted to let you know that you really left great impression. It was wonderful, your passion and expertise shone through. It gave an access point to the country which I had been struggling to grasp. I was shooting a documentary with a group of girls from Australia. http://vimeo.com/73451989 David Walsman, Film Maker, Wonderland Coast Films

“a very big thank you for one of the most interesting mornings I have had in Saigon (or indeed Vietnam) for a long time. Your knowledge is truly impressive and riveting – and I would have loved to have been able to sit down with you afterwards one to one and quiz you on a million things!!” Anna Craven Smith Milnes

Thanks again for the great tour. The information was so well organized and thorough, and you gave it a personal edge that truly brought it to life. I do hope we’ll be able to connect with you and a group of students next summer. Liz Chilsen, Photographer, Lecturer

“Thank you for the wonderful tour yesterday. I am amazed at your wealth of knowledge and big artistic words. (-: But more noticeable was your passion in art and art in Vietnam. I felt so blessed to be in your presence as you unfolded the history of Vietnam’s hidden gems in your stories. I really appreciate the careful planning and your honest professional opinions in each story.  Needless to say, your tour helped me feel a bit closer and more connected to an estranged birth country that I continue to fall in love with more deeply everyday, Sophie. Thank you.” Nhan Hang

I cannot recommend Sophie’s Art Tour highly enough. We had some visitors in town who loved the tour and said it was one of the highlights of their stay in Saigon. Sophie really knows her stuff and makes the tour both interesting and fun.  It is a fascinating insight into Vietnam’s history and its artists – what a refreshing find!”
Susannah Wilson

I would like to congratulate Sophie for an outstanding tour. I would say it was the best morning i spent in Ho Chi Minh. Her knowledge of art history is exceptional and delivered in a very professional but personal way. I would recommend the experience  as a ‘must do’ activity to any visitor to Vietnam. Thank you very much. All the best, John Rawlings, London.

“It’s been a long time since I have taken an art history course, and the morning with you may well be the most experiential art appreciation class ever!  I now have a much deeper understanding of both the art and culture of Vietnam.  For that, I am very thankful.  I will recommend your tour to friends here and visitors alike”
Corinne Chocolaad,

“Sophie’s Art Tour is one of the highlights of my time in Saigon – it offers an in depth insight into the history and culture of this country that is impossible to get from simply wandering around the museum and other city sights. While the primary focus is on art, Sophie deftly interweaves aspects of Vietnam’s social, political and economic history into the tour. I was impressed both by her expertise and also her warmth and openness, which made the tour seem less of an structured ‘tourist’ event and more a lovely relaxed morning with a (very knowledgeable) friend. Highly recommend!”
Jackie Anders

“Sophie’s Art Tour is a must for anyone visiting Saigon, as it gives context and understanding to a complex history and culture. Sophie is a delight; knowledgeable, articulate and communicates with warmth and humour”
Sarah Coller, Lecturer (Professional Communication) and Artist

“What a lovely morning we had today. Thank you so much for your informative tour. Without the background you provided and your guidance about the city we could not possibly have easily found or appreciated the art that you introduced us to. We will enthusiastically recommend to others we know are visiting Vietnam to take your tour.”  Lalita Hari

“Sophie’s Art Tour gives an excellent introduction to Vietnamese art and artists from the 1920s to the present day. It is difficult to find good, accessible information on Vietnamese art history and this tour fills this gap well. I particularly enjoyed the section on 1960s Saigon art and its artists. The cultural context you give throughout is a really good addition and helps enormously to understand the art of each period”
Chris Johnston

“Thanks for an exhilarating and rewarding experience – the tour gives me hope that art is very much alive in this great city.”
David Anjo

“This was exactly what I was looking for! I have learned so much and I have come away feeling a deeper understanding of Vietnam and it’s history”
Susan Ryan

Thank you for a wonderful tour of Vietnamese art last weekend! My husband and I particularly liked the first part – at the coffee shop – learning about the history of the Vietnamese art scene from the French colonial period to modern day Vietnam. I am not a fan of war art but the context you provided gave me new appreciation for the genre.
Dana Doan

“For someone who has lived in HCMC for many years, the tour was fresh, interesting and fun. A great way to introduce the art works of Vietnam.
Jane Li, Doctor, HCMC

“The tour is interesting and informative, even to the native Vietnamese. Through beauty of art, I am able to touch almost all parts of Vietnamese history. Sophie’s comprehensive knowledge about painting techniques is also something that makes this tour special.”
Bich Vy Nguyen.

“Sophie’s Art Tour was a revelation and delight to both the eye and the mind, even for a long-term Saigon resident like me. Sophie is able to share her comprehensive knowledge of Vietnam’s artists and art history, interwoven with generations of conflict, in a manner that is easy to understand and put into context. Her fluency with dates and relationships is masterful. This is THE tour for both visitors and expats living in Vietnam who want a greater appreciation of our host country. It’s time well spent, and I plan to go again because she alters the content from time to time, and there is too much to cover in just half a day. I can’t wait for her to offer her upcoming Architectural Tour!”
Sue McKinney, Director at Crila Health, Inspiration at Red Door Deco.

“I was really impressed! Having myself researched on these Vietnamese history and art history subjects, I know it is not so easy to gather all this information, it is very impressive how you did this effective summary of a few centuries of Vietnamese history in 4 hours!”
Sandrine Llouquet
, Artist and Co-Founder of WONDERFUL DISTRICT

“Thank you for a great art tour yesterday!  It was fantastic and full of so much interesting information about history and art. I learned a lot!!!”
Eva Steinbach

“Very smoothly, pleasantly, professionally presented. A good pace and rhythm, a nice concept with the narrative”
Sue Hajdu, 
Artist and co-Founder of a little blah blah

The tour is all very fluid, following the dramatic changes in history through the various locations we visited. It feels like Sophie is truly sharing what she has learned and discovered. You feel that people trust her and have let her into their world, to the point that they are even letting her bring other people along and discover the other layers to Saigon and its art world.
Mireille Hospital de los Reyes

“The most amazing art tour and so interesting, the first bit of culture I have had in Saigon…well done Sophie you have done your research brilliantly. I can not recommend the tour enough.. go go go!”
Lexie Stoddart

“Thank you so much Sophie. Absolutely fascinated with your knowledge of art, culture and history. What an amazing tour, loved every minute of it”     Camilla Tange Davidsen,

“…Throughout the tour, Sophie imaginatively interweaves historic themes with individual’s stories and answers questions meticulously with her deep understanding of Vietnamese history and culture. Her genuine passion and her friendly, open demeanor make it a personal and intimate experience – and an absolute must for anyone visiting HCMC.
Alex Reynolds, Institute of Philanthropy

“A unique introduction to the recent history & culture of Vietnam, as seen through the stories of its artists, Sophie’s tour was informative, well researched and the accessible even to those who don’t know too much about art! This was refreshingly different from the usual tours around the city. Very absorbing & highly recommended!”
Mahine Hassan

HCMC Fine Art Museum: photographer Frances Marden

“Unlike any stereotype or rather textbook tours, Sophie’s tour felt personal. Hopping from her favorite local poster shop to galleries and to museums, she explains Vietnamese art history by sharing with us her own research, portfolio of pictures and experiences with local artists and collectors. Although there was loads of information to process, the tour felt light and easy. Having zero knowledge of the local art scene, I left the tour feeling culturally enlightened!”
                                                                                                       Sara Kuan

“A very good and healthy injection of culture!
Sandra Molas, Exotissimo

“Articulately delivered, carefully researched and full of passion….I highly recommend you to try it”
Liam White, Designer

“Even for people who don’t necessarily gravitate towards art, I think this is a valuable experience, as it’s one of the most unique and informative ways to learn more about Vietnam. Though I’ve been living here for 3 years, I feel like I’m now looking at Vietnam through a fresh new set of eyes after today’s tour. Sophie is also a great host, with a warm and friendly demeanor, always ready to answer questions, offer beverages, etc., so you feel well taken care of.”
Anh Thu, Director Future Shorts HCMC

“Sincere and well thought out, Sophie’s Art Tour is a refreshing drink for the thirsty of all of the unknown beauty in Saigon. You will see behind the door collections which give you a deeper connection with Vietnamese contemporary art and its most recent history.” Davide Dominici, Documentary Film Maker

“It can be incredibly hard for visitors to get a handle on both Vietnamese culture and its art scene and this is where Sophie steps in. The country has had an incredibly eventful recent history that many people know about. It’s fascinating, however, to view this period through the eyes of the nation’s artists rather than in museums, through history books or on film. Sophie is an enthusiastic, engaging and knowledgeable guide and her tour opens a new window on Saigon and Vietnam as a whole.”‬
Duncan Forgan, Freelance Journalist

“Our intimate group of 6 people were all completely absorbed and transported by the stories and chapters of Vietnam’s Contemporary and Modern Art history in which Sophie effortlessly and enthusiastically engages and enlightens us all - (and with my questions- sympathetically too at times!) it was like looking at Ho Chi MInh City and Vietnam again through a completely alternative lens – a lens that penetrates and shines light on an honest fissure of Art  and hope that has been stamped on, distorted, misunderstood, realigned and on occasion forgotten about- in this tour and through her research and passion for the human spirit and culture through the artists she’s met, Sophie navigates this crack deftly- showing us Art’s use as a political tool, a Cultures expression and repression and finally as a celebration of personal creative freedom- bringing us full circle to the hope of a country misunderstood, that now is equipped to speak it’s voice through the highly aware and responsible artists that shine today in Vietnam’s contemporary galleries- all this in the dramatic theatre that is the city of Ho Chi Minh. I recommend that anyone with a passing interest or passion for Art and Vietnamese culture give this tour a go. 5 stars!”
John Reeves, Furniture Designer

Thanks you very much for an exceptionally refreshing tour last week. One gets rather jaded of the usual tick-list of city sights we are corralled to in seemingly every city tour in Asia. Your tour, by comparison, was a breath of fresh air and a novel way of experiencing the history and culture of Vietnam through an artistic lens. Coherent and well structured not to mention hugely informative – I would gladly recommend this tour.
Richard Stockley, Engineer

“Fascinating journey brought to life by a great storyteller, highlight of our stay in Saigon” Lucia Fraser, UK Artist

© 2012 Sophie Hughes
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