Vietnam & Cambodia Field Seminar


Architectural Layers of a Southeast Asian Region

SAH Field Seminar
Vietnam and Cambodia
December 1–13, 2016
$4,675 per person double occupancy; $5,425 per person single occupancy
Fellowship Deadline: August 11, 2016 at 5 pm CST
Tour LeaderH. Hazel Hahn, Seattle University
​AIA CES: ​40 LU

​Registration for this SAH Field Seminar is closed. Thank you.

Vietnam and Cambodia, countries with dynamic economies and young populations, possess a rich and wide-ranging architectural heritage. This SAH Field Seminar will explore the fascinating architectural landscape of Vietnam, focusing in particular on the modern era from the nineteenth century to today. In addition, participants will visit the spectacular Angkor complex in Cambodia, capital of the Khmer empire from the ninth to fifteenth century. 

From its northern terrains to the southern river delta along a long coastline, Vietnam has long been an important connector between East and Southeast Asia, combining architectural designs and features from both regions with intriguing innovations. Influences in the modern era include French, Chinese, American, and Soviet, and today diverse contemporary styles are fast changing cities. 

The tour begins in the millennial city of Hanoi, famous for its Old Quarter and French Quarter, and progresses south to Hue, the imperial capital of the Nguyen Dynasty founded in 1802, then further south to vibrant Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), home to striking colonial and postcolonial architecture. The tour concludes in Angkor, once the largest pre-industrial city in the world. In all, participants will visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in addition to a myriad of iconic structures and hidden architectural gems in a region rich in culture and history as well as breathtaking natural scenery.



  • Depart U.S


  • Arrive in Hanoi, Vietnam, in the evening


Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Introduction
  • Visit: Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010 and inaccessible to the public until recently. The site incorporates the Imperial Citadel, the headquarters of the Vietnam People’s Army during the war from 1954 to 1975, and some of the earliest colonial-era architecture in Hanoi. This is a unique site that reflects historical layers of power.
  • Lunch 
  • Visit: (arrive by bus) Presidential Palace grounds. The palace (1906) is not open to the public, however we’ll visit the grounds and the botanical garden along with the Stilt House (1958) that Ho Chi Minh lived in.
  • Visit: (15-minute walk or arrive by bus) Cua Bac Church, designed by Ernest Hébrard and normally closed to the public
  • Walk by: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, designed by Hébrard, and the new Parliament building (completed 2014) that shows a rupture from the colonial-era governmental architecture of the area
  • Free evening: A visit to Hanoi Old Quarter, 36 original streets of Hanoi, is recommended.


Hanoi, Vietnam
  • A bus tour, then a walking tour of Hanoi's French Quarter, an area of numerous colonial-era villas
  • Visit: National Museum of Vietnamese History and Hanoi University, both by Ernest Hébrard. Hanoi University was designed in 1926 as Indochina University. Both the History Museum and Hanoi University exemplify Hébrard’s efforts at creating an “Indochinese style” integrating local architectural motifs. Unappreciated by the authorities at the time who thought he should design purely European-style buildings, Hébrard’s designs constitute the most impressive colonial-era ensemble.
  • Lunch
  • Walking tour of the French Quarter
  • Visit: Goethe Institut
  • Bus tour near the Old Quarter: Water Tower (1894) and Dong Xuan Market (1889)
  • Visit: UNESCO Office in Hanoi, normally closed to the public


  • Visit: (on way to airport) Ciputra, a large new residential complex for Vietnamese and foreigners developed by a Malaysian company that shows an amalgamation of French and Vietnamese architecture.
  • Travel to Hue, Vietnam (1-hour flight)
Hue, Vietnam
  • Visit the Imperial City
  • Visit: Hotel La Residence, the former residence of the Résident Superior of Annam built in the 1930s in the Art Deco style


Hue, Vietnam
  • Visit (bus transportation): The mausoleums of Hue were built in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries under the Nguyen Dynasty overlapping with the colonial period. Visit the tombs of Tu Duc, Minh Mang, Thieu Tri, and Khai Dinh.


Travel to Ho Chi Minh City in the morning (1-hour flight)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Lunch 
  • Walking tour: Notre Dame Cathedral, visit the Central Post Office 
  • Walk by: City Hall, the Opera, Vincom Center, Rex Hotel—a tour of the center of Ho Chi Minh City reveals a dialogue of motifs among old and new architecture.
  • Walking tour: Dong Khoi Street, the most animated street during the colonial era, and today a central commercial street with numerous architecturally significant buildings.


Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Bus tour of Dong Khoi Street
  • Visit: Ho Chi Minh Museum, and the former customs house and headquarters of the Messageries Maritime, built in 1863 by the Saigon River. 
  • Bus tour along the Saigon River
  • Visit: Geological Museum, a little-visited building dating from 1954. Displays are in a room that is a wonderful, but forgotten, period piece.
  • Lunch
  • Bus tour: Le Duan and Ton Duc Thang Streets
  • Visit: History Museum, built in 1929 by the Société des Études Indochinoises, as part of a major expansion of the famed botanical gardens and zoo.
  • Visit: Sri Tenday Yuttapani Temple, a little-visited Hindu temple built circa 1880 by Tamil Chettiars, some of whom were wealthy and powerful. Although today the temple is largely deserted, it was the center of Tamil religious, economic, and social activities in the colonial era. The Chettiars also organized a popular annual festival that included a procession and fireworks. A chariot that was used during processions is housed in the temple. During the Vietnam War, Tamil temples were closed and most Indians left Vietnam.
  • Dinner


Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Visit: Fine Arts Museum, originally a mansion of Hua Bon Hoa, the wealthiest man of early twentieth-century Saigon and who also owned the Majestic Hotel and Tu Du Hospital.
  • Lunch 
  • Bus tour: former Clinique Saint-Paul (1938) and Cholon (District 5)
  • Visit: Nghia Nhuan Assembly Hall and Silversmith’s Temple in Cholon
  • Dinner

DAY 10: SAT, DEC 10

Travel to  Angkor (1-hour flight to Siem Reap)

Angkor (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
  • Visit: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom

DAY 11: SUN, DEC 11

Angkor (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
  • Visit: Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Preah Kahn, Pre Rup

DAY 12: MON, DEC 12

Angkor (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
  • Visit: Ta Keo, Banteay Kdei, Phnom Kulen
  • Evening departures


Hazel-Hahn-250pxH. Hazel Hahn
Professor, History and Director, Global Awareness Program, Seattle University

Hahn is the author of Scenes of Parisian Modernity: Culture and Consumption in the Nineteenth Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and a co-editor of Architecturalized Asia: Mapping a Continent through History (University of Hawai’i Press and Hong Kong University Press, 2013). She is currently writing a book on urban colonial history of French Indochina and another book on nineteenth-century travel cultures, as well as editing a book titled Cultural Exchange between Southeast Asia and Europe in the Modern Era, about architecture, sartorial practices, decorative objects, photography, and music.


A Study Program Fellowship is available for a graduate student or emerging professional to participate in this field seminar. The fellowship is funded by the Scott Opler Endowment for New Scholars. Applications open on February 25 at 3 pm CST.

Fellowship Deadline: August 11, 2016 at 5 pm CST


Prices quoted are subject to change based on currency exchange rate, inflation, airline rates, airport fees, and taxes or any other element out of the direct control of SAH and ISDI.

A $1,500 non-refundable deposit is required to hold space for the program. The deposit will be applied to your final balance.

$4,675 per person double occupancy
$5,425 per person single occupancy

Price Includes:

  • 3 nights in Hanoi at the 4 star Silk Path Hotel
  • 2 nights in Hue at the La Residence at the luxury La Résidence Hue Hotel
  • 3 nights in Ho Chi Minh City at the 4 star Liberty Central Saigon Riverside
  • 2 nights in Siem Reap at Tara Angkor
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 9 lunches
  • 3 dinners
  • Admission to applicable sites
  • Transportation in luxury coaches
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers
  • One group airport transfer upon arrival in Hanoi and departure from Siem Reap
  • Tour Leader Honoria and per diem
  • Tour Leader airfare and visa fees from/to the USA
  • SAH Rep airfare and visa fees from/to the USA
  • Printing and mailing of the study notes, name badges, misc. inclusions
  • Handling of two pieces of luggage per person at the hotels
  • Services of the tour leader, SAH representative, and tour manager
  • Complete pre-departure documentation and materials, including reading list, destination information and luggage tags.
  • Detailed study notes prepared by Hazel Hahn
  • Forms for Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance to be provided by ISDI
Intra-country airfare 
Three economy class one way tickets:
  • Hanoi to Hue
  • Hue to Ho Chi Minh City
  • Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap
  • Visa Fees to Vietnam and Cambodia for participants
  • Early check-in or late checkouts at hotels
  • Airfare from your home city to Hanoi
  • Airfare back to your home city
  • Private airport transfers upon arrival in Hanoi from the USA and upon departure from Siem Reap to the USA
  • Alcoholic beerages at meals other than the welcome and farewell dinners
  • A reception at Raffles in Siem Reap
  • Airport porterage (Trolleys are readily available at airports)
  • Any personal items not listed as included such as telephone calls, persona services, trael extensions, room service, valet service; items such as wines, liquors, mineral water, a la care orders and laundry charges. Other items not specially mentioned as included.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance not included, but strongly encouraged.
Cancellation Clause
If you cancel the following charges are incurred:
  • There is a non-refundable deposit/administrative fee of $1500 per person. 
  • The costs associated with any admission tickets purchased for planned activities (as indicated in the final itinerary) are non-refundable.
  • The costs of airfare within Vietnam and Cambodia is non-refundable 
  • Written cancellation received by SAH and ISDI on or before August 3, 2016: full refund for the fully paid program price minus the $1500 deposit/administrative fee.
  • Written cancellation received by SAH and ISDI between August 3 and October 17, 2016:  a 50% refund of the fully paid program minus the $1500 deposit/administrative fee
  • No refunds on or after October 18, 2016.  
  • If you purchased a double occupancy rate and your roommate cancels, you will be charged the single occupancy supplement.
No refunds for any unused portion of the program including, but not limited to, occasional missed meals or any missed sightseeing visits requiring admission fees. The program costs are non-transferable.

Opera House, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tomb of Ming Mang, Hue, Vietnam

Tomb of Khai Dinh, Hue, Vietnam

Tomb of Minh Mang, Hue, Vietnam

La Résidence Hue Hotel, Hue, Vietnam
La Résidence Hue Hotel, Hue, Vietnam

Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Fine Arts Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Fine Arts Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

People's Committee Building, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
People's Committee Buildings, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Rex Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Geological Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Geological Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Angkor Thom, Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Angkor, Cambodia 01
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
Copyright - (c) 2012