A truly sensory treasure, Vietnam is a geographically diverse and culturally complex country in Southeast Asia. The breathtaking natural beauty, culinary bliss and colourful markets welcome you with serene and kind people in buzzing cities and traditional tribal villages. Amongst the meandering waterways throughout the country, we warmly experience the fascinating life amongst the 97 millions of inhabitants.
Vietnam photography tour is without a shadow of a doubt one of our very favoured and impressive tours, perfect for a shared experience so do bring your partner along, your friend or your sibling. Photography aside, they too will surely enjoy an amazing time in Vietnam. Sharing this extraordinary experience of cultural gems, ancient traditions, authentic food and enticing nature, will only enliven everyone with a bundle of lifetime memories.
We arrive in the afternoon at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMcity), formerly and also named Saigon, in Vietnam. After checking into our hotel in Saigon, we enjoy a beautiful welcoming dinner and a slideshow with a little insight into the adventures awaiting.
HCMcity and Saigon are two names for the same city and even though the naming can be quite a sensitive matter with historical and political references, the preferred name on a daily basis by most Vietnamese is still Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City is the name commonly used in official documents and establishments and more so by the younger generation. The very heart of this vibrant city is still called Saigon by all and the river flowing through the city is called The Saigon River, flowing 225 km through Cambodia and Vietnam..
After breakfast at the hotel we go around the city on motorcycles with the so called ‘Aodai’ ladies. Aodai (Ao Dai) is the name for traditional Vietnamese silk garments worn by both men and women, however more so the latter in modern times, representing the ‘national spirit’ of traditional beauty. We check out of our hotel and break for lunch in the heart of Saigon.
In the afternoon we drive to the city of Can Tho, a good 130 km to the south and use the opportunity to shoot on the way. The city is known for its canal network and it awakens a deep sense of serenity to witness the nights illuminated by floating markets and restaurants. Both Saigon and Can Tho city are situated at the heart of the Mekong Delta area (The Nine Dragon River Delta), a vast waterworld maze of rivers and islands in the south of Vietnam, connected by winding canals and surrounded by rice paddies. The whole area is best known for its floating markets and restaurants with lush greenery and fascinating, buzzing yet peaceful life all around. We check into a hotel in Can Tho before we dine and stay one night in Can Tho.
Get ready (and excited) for a very early morning start at 05.00am and checkout from our hotel to visit the best floating market in the Mekong Delta, the bustling early morning Phong Dien floating market.
We are accompanied by Aodai models as well for even more enticing shots amongst the floating myriads of fresh and bountiful fruit, vegetables, coconut and fish beyond our imagination, from the nearby orchards. We indulge in a local food style breakfast in the morning in O Mon, Thom Rom village, some 20 km away – a small, vibrating fishing village especially known for the artistry of approximately 70 households, weaving fishing nets with ancient techniques and craftsmanship.
Mid-morning we depart from O Mon to the An Giang province bordering Cambodia, a hugely fertile agricultural area famous for its silk weaving traditions, temples and pagodas as well as hidden gems in beautiful, natural caves. We halt for lunch at Chau Doc, a charming little town with significant cultural diversity, along the Hau Giang River, usually busy with bypassers on their way to and from Cambodia. We then check into our hotel in Tinh Bien, a fairly rural area in the province, before we start our shooting session in Ro, at the Khmer temple, one of many temples and pagodas still serving the Khmer people, the beautiful minority group of 1.3 millions living in the southern provinces, originating from Cambodia.We enjoy the sunset under the silhouettes of sugar palm tree fields of the Khmer people before dinner at the hotel.
Today we rise early again or around 04.00am for a magical sunrise in the palm tree fields and meet the young monks at the Khmer temple.
The livelihood of the Khmer people is mainly fishing and farming, producing palm sugar and they pride of very rich cultural heritage of folk songs, tales, dances and festivals as well as extremely deep rooted traditions of pottery, silk weaving and other textile artistry. Traditionally, the younger generation wears silk sarongs while the elderly wear more loose fitting silk blouses. They are often seen with traditional bandanna cloths around their heads and shoulders.
The Khmer tribe uses boats to traverse the waterways of Vietnam and is known particularly for the unique junk boats. Perhaps the most interesting one is the wooden, 30m long Ngo Junk which requires 30-40 oarsmen to row and is beautifully decorated with images of majestic sea eagles, elephants and tigers.
The Khmers practice Theravada Buddhism, almost without exceptions and before entering adulthood, children study buddhism for years in a pagoda, along with history, language, dancing, storytelling, costumes and not to mention morals and etiquettes between different age groups. The Khmer people live harmoniously with other ethnic groups in the Mekong Delta, while maintaining their unique culture, lifestyle and enjoy their many festivals throughout the year. The biggest Khmer festivals are the New Years festival (the Chol Chnam Thmay) and the Ok-ang Bok festival with worshipping of the Moon, both entailing gong performances and colourful processions. We enjoy lunch again at Chau Doc and shoot on the way to Saigon where we stay for dinner.
After an early morning check out, we change our scenery and catch a flight to Da Nang, a coastal city in the centre of Vietnam, a former French colonial town, known for its sandy beaches. We recharge with breakfast at the airport before we head down the coastline to the atmospheric, ancient town of Hoi An, a former major port, where we enjoy lunch, dinner and spend the night. Hoi An is one of Vietnam´s most historic and gracefully preserved town, often referred to as the City of Lanterns and is in fact listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The population is about 120.000 people and somehow the town remains free of the 21st century pollution, traffic and stress and thus perhaps consistently thrones the lists of the best cities around the world to visit. In this beautifully peaceful yet buoyant town we focus our camera time on shooting the lanterns over the sun setting city river.
Today we enjoy yet another early morning to witness the sun rise over the Thu Bon River, one of Vietnam´s most pleasant waterways. We travel by boat to a nearby fishing village for the daybreak buzz of the local fishermen before we have breakfast back at the hotel and continue our exploration of Hoi An. After lunch we photograph at the ancient Thanh Ha ceramic and pottery village, now known worldwide for its traditional pottery making with hands-on experiences available. Dinner is served again in Hoi An.
We rise and shine early for sunrise shootings over the increasingly colourful ancient town before our hotel breakfast and checkout. Our next destination is the former capital of Hue, best known for its embracing citadel wherein lies another citadel, the Forbidden Purple City, a protected haven for the emperor alone and chosen servants. Charged with imperial history and historical sites, many designated as Unesco World Heritage, the city of Hue pays its charm to the Perfume River flowing through, named by the aroma infused water in the autumn when flowers from nearby orchards fall into the river.
We stop on the way for magnificent views and photo opportunities at the impressive Hải Vân Pass, a 21 km long mountain range often referred to as ´Sea Clouds´ with the majestic steep peaks conversing with the blue skies. After we enjoy lunch in Hue and check into our hotel, we spend the afternoon shooting at some of The Royal Tombs of Hue with live models. Most of the tombs are from the 19th century and although Hue suffered severe destruction during war, some of the tombs are in fairly good state and accessibility today. When night falls in Hue, we enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.
This morning we shoot the early birds´ lives on the river in Hue with fishermen laying their fishing nets. After breakfast at the hotel we get another shot at the tombs of Hue, again with live models. We break for lunch in the city of Hue.
In the evening we fly to Hanoi, the current capital of Vietnam and one of the most populated cities in the country with around 8 million inhabitants. The narrow streets are thus packed with scooters, tour buses, animals and people all around. Hanoi is incredibly rich culturally with influences from all over in South Asia, France and China, preserving history and honouring nature as well as welcoming the new architecture and modern ways of life. The city is filled with pagodas, temples, markets and lakes with the very distinct Old Quarter at the top of Lake Hoam Kien. The Old Quarter is the very heart of the city and still the core of everyday life for most locals with cafés, outdoor bars and everyday trading, especially with souvenirs, silk and other textiles. A touch more serene part of the Old Quarter is Lake Hoam Kien, where early morning Tai Chi sessions take place at sunrise. We stay overnight in Hanoi.
Get ready for yet another early morning shooting at an abundant vegetable market in Hanoi city before breakfast, with the colourful vibrancy of the break of dawn. We then embark on our journey to the green valley of Sa Pa, a pure trekking haven depicting dramatic and cascading rice paddies often mystified with fog and hazy layers of mist. We halt on the way for lunch in Lao Cai City, right on the borders of Vietnam and China, a little city now buzzing with cross-border trading and travels.
We finally arrive in Sa Pa Village, on the hills of the plunging lush valley. Prepare to experience shades of the green carpeted landscape beyond your imagination with breathtaking man made rice terraces as far as the eyes can see. We enjoy the afternoon shooting in Sa Pa and a nice dinner before bedtime.
We have a little lie-in today and breakfast at the hotel before we head out into the village and on the rice fields of Sa Pa and enjoy a full day in and around the village with lunch and dinner between masterpieces coming to life!
Sa Pa is a fairly young village, established as a station by the French in the early 1900´s however today a centre for tourism in the area. It serves as a base for hikers and trekkers that venture out to experience the real gems of Sa Pa Valley, the lush green, dramatic nature scenes but moreover namely the minute hill-tribe villages. The tribal culture is still existent undisturbed from the modern westernised ways, thanks to the hard working, warm and hearty people committed to cultivating their rugged and isolated land. Hotel: Second night in Sa Pa
We spend a leisurely morning in Sa Pa before we check out and head to Bac Ha where we find one of the very best ethnic markets in Southeast Asia. Bac Ha town is the capital of the area of the Flower Hmong tribe and is generally a quiet sleeping little town except on Sundays when the whole area assembles in joy and vibrancy to socialize. The tribe, originating in China, is one of many minority ethnic groups in Vietnam, still living in high altitudes and honouring their land, dialects and traditions, wearing beautiful and multicoloured, traditional clothing. We spend one night in Bac Ha with dinner in town.
The Bac Ha Sunday market is in fact a sizzling meeting point for people from the nearby villages, whether they arrive on foot, scooters, buffalo-carts or horses to trade and come together. It welcomes us with traditionally incredibly vibrant clothed villagers, warm smiles and lush produce.
We enjoy a local style lunch on the way to Ninh Binh, our next destination and overnight stay in the Red River Delta, one of the most populated areas in the north of Vietnam. The Ninh Binh region is one of the most precious unspoilt areas, covered with limestone hills rolling out amongst the emerald green rice paddies and the island cliffs with hidden caves which makes the city a tremendously picturesque and exciting area. It holds mysterious pagodas and churches and not to forget; a myriad of goats.
We enjoy a full day experience in Ninh Binh, starting with an early morning sunrise revealing the limestone hills. The Trang An Complex scenic area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014 and is indeed a complex waterworld maze best visited by boat whilst meandering around steep limestone cliffs and mountains treasuring the hidden caves. The area also prides of the oldest National Park in Vietnam, the Cuc Phung National Park with extremely important biodiversity and great hiking paths, let alone the outstanding view. The karst rock formation and subterranean waterway network systems make up a fascinating and tranquil landscape where archeologists have found traces of human existence and interaction with nature over a period of over 30.000 years.
In the Trang An Complex, we row through Tam Coc or the green sea as the Vietnamese call it, a natural wonderworld with eroded cave formations. We trot up the miniature great wall towards the Van Long Mua Cave, or the dancing cave, undoubtedly the most spectacular site in the area with extraordinary scenery and views out over Tam Coc all the way to the city. In the evening we head back to the capital, Hanoi, where we spend the night.
On our last day we head early morning to Duong Lam village at the very outskirts of Hanoi´s Old Quarters. The village is pristine, peaceful and quiet and bathed in myths and legends right in the heart of the Red River Delta. It is historically the residence of two former kings of Vietnam and holds evidence of the traditional architecture in the narrow alleyways.
We enjoy a local style lunch in the village before we head back for a relaxing afternoon in Hanoi and perhaps some last minute shopping in the old town for good memories and souvenirs of the beautiful, diverse and mesmerising country of Vietnam. We all gather again for a good-bye dinner in the evening in Hanoi.
After breakfast we say our goodbyes and travel to the airport by taxi, with a full treasure chest of magnificent photographs to bear witness and gratitude to our journey through the magnificent country of Vietnam.
We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip.
If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.