Day 1: ARRIVE HA NOI (D)
On arrival at Ha Noi, we will be transferred to our hotel. Even though dinner will be served on the flight, you’re most welcome to get together for a light meal and drink.
Day 2: HANOI – QUAN BA (B/L/D)
We arise early to go to Hoan Kiem Lake where we will be able to photograph early risers meditating, doing tai chi, exercising and playing badminton. After breakfast we commence our long journey to Quan Ba in Ha Giang Province. Today is mostly about driving to the mountainous regions of North Vietnam and there will be very few stops in the morning. Our aim is to arrive in Ha Giang Province mid-afternoon. About 50km’s out of Ha Giang, the road zigzags its way up the amazing Quan Ba Pass eventually providing a spectacular view over Quan Ba town and the surrounding countryside.
Day 3: QUAN BA – DONG VAN (B/L/D)
We arise early to shoot sunrise over Quan Ba Town. Today we experience a spectacular day of driving through amazing mountainous landscapes nestled up against the border with China. Many stops will provided along the road to photograph the ever changing landscape. We will also enjoy stops to visit a White H’mong village and the H’Mong Kings Palace (Vuong’s Palace) with its mixture of European and Chinese architecture. We end our day’s journey at Dong Van, an isolated town atop a small hill. Dong Van is very beautiful with mountains, forests, hidden grottoes and multi-coloured orchid forests.
Day 4: DONG VAN – MEO VAC – DONG VAN (B/L/D)
Today we are fortunate to visit and photograph two of Vietnams most colourful weekly markets. We arise early to visit and photograph Dong Van market. After breakfast we commence our journey down Ma Pi Leng pass, providing us with what is regarded as the most stunning scenery in North Vietnam. We eventually descend into a beautiful valley that encloses Meo Vac where we will visit the local market before having lunch. After lunch we commence our return journey back to Dong Van, again stopping at strategic places for photographs.
Day 5: DONG VAN – HA GIANG (B/L/D)
Early this morning we commence our journey back to Ha Giang town, winding our way through more of the spectacular landscape of Ha Giang Province. In the morning we stop at Sung La Village where we enjoy a special photo shoot with local Lo Lo girls wearing their colourful traditional costumes. We then continue to wind our way back to Yen Minh for lunch. After lunch we continue our drive, with numerous stops to photograph the landscape and local culture. Our aim will be at Quan Ba Pass before sunset, affording us an opportunity to take photos of layers of rolling hills.
Day 6: HA GIANG – SA PA (B/L/D)
We arise early to commence our long journey to Sa Pa, through stunning countryside with valleys and mountains opening up on all sides and then along the remote Chay River Valley. Numerous stops will be provided along the way for photography and we will stop to visit a Pa Then home, where we enjoy a special photo shoot of this rarely visited ethnic minority group. In the afternoon we visit a Flower H’mong village and school before commencing our climb up to Sa Pa.
Day 7: SA PA (B/L/D)
For those who are really energetic, you may wish to rise early to climb Ham Rong Mountain (Botanical Gardens) to photograph Sa Pa in the early morning light. At the top of the mountain you can discover and photograph unique rock formations discovered in 1925.
Today we trek down the mountain to Ta Van village. Along the way we will photograph the magnificent terraced rice fields and local minority people going about their day-to-day activities. After an enjoyable lunch we will explore and photograph the village and do photo shoot with the local Black H’mong and Red Dao people. Late afternoon we commence our drive back to Sa Pa town, stopping at strategic places to photograph the sunset over the valley and terraces.
Day 8: SA PA – MU CANG CHAI (B/L/D)
This morning we depart as early as possible, as we have a long day of travel. After breakfast we drive to Heaven’s gate and the highest mountain pass in Vietnam. This location will afford us amazing views over a deep valley with rice terraces. After slowly making our way down the pass, we visit local Black Dao and Lu ethnic minority villages before proceeding to Tam Đường town for lunch.
After lunch we travel to Mu Cang Chai where we will arrive in time to shoot the rice terraces in the late afternoon light. The heritage listed Mu Cang Chai has some of the most beautiful rice terraces in Vietnam.
Day 9: MU CANG CHAI – TU LE – NGHIA LO (B/L/D)
We will rise early and drive back to the terraces in time for sunrise. After breakfast back in town, we commence our drive to Tu Le. About one hour out of Mu Cang Chai we commence our journey down the long and winding Khau Phạ Pass. This is a spectacular pass overlooking Tu Le, one of the most beautiful valleys in Vietnam.
After lunch we continue driving along windy mountain roads, through remote villages surrounded by fields of gold coloured rice. There will be numerous stops to photograph the scenery and local ethnic minority people.
Tonight we enjoy the unique experience of staying in a homestay with local Black Thai people being our hosts.
Day 10: NGHIA LO – HA NOI (B/L/D)
This morning we rise early to visit the local market, attracting a number of different ethnic minority people from surrounding villages. After breakfast we commence our drive to Ha Noi, stopping at Doung Lam Village for lunch. Duong Lam Village is famous for having approximately 300 houses build three to four centuries ago. After exploring and photographing the town we continue our journey to Ha Noi.
Day 11: HANOI – DEPARTURE (B)
We will rise early to walk the streets of the old quarter one last time and photograph the locals commencing their daily activities. After breakfast, those ending their journey will prepare for their flight.
Optional Extension Tour
Day 11: HANOI (B/L/D)
After the morning activities you’re free to relax, do some shopping or continue to explore the Old Quarter. Later in the afternoon we will go to the Temple of literature where we explore the grounds of this 945-year-old temple and Vietnam’s first national university. We will also be accompanied by a local girl wearing traditional Ao Dai, who will be more than happy to pose for us. At night we enjoy the world famous water puppet show.
Day 12: HANOI – HA LONG BAY (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, we check out of the hotel and commence 3 to 4 hour drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Ha Long Bay. Here we will relax and enjoy 24 hours on a traditional Junk Cruise in the amazing bay: a natural wonderland composed of jutting limestone islands and sparkling turquoise waters. We will arrive at the dock around noon and board your junk just in time for a delicious gourmet lunch of fresh seafood onboard as we sail out into the mystical bay. In the afternoon, cruise around some of Ha Long’s many islands, including Dinh Huong and Ga Choi. Along the way visit one of the bay’s 3 largest caves (Thien Cung, Dau Go or Sung Sot) and then stop at an island cove with a sheltered white-sand beach and take a dip in the warm waters of the Tonkin Gulf (weather permitting). After watching the sunset from the deck of the boat, we pass the night away on the junk, lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of calm waters.
Day 13:HA LONG BAY – HANOI (B/L/D)
We can awake early to participate in Tai Chi on the top deck or simply relax and enjoy the sunrise over the bay’s towering islands. After enjoying a morning cup of coffee or tea, we set out to explore nearby islands by rowboat. On return to the junk we enjoy breakfast before taking advantage of the sundeck where we can continue to admire the amazing rock formations of Ha Long Bay as we navigate back to Halong City. Brunch will be provided on board the boat before returning to Ha Long dock. Our driver will meet us at the dock where we commence our journey back to Hanoi.
Day 14: HA NOI DEPARTURE (B/L)
You are free to either explore the streets of the old quarter of Hanoi nearby to the hotel, or you can return to Hoan Kiem Lake for one final stroll around the lake. After breakfast it’s time to prepare for your journey back home and do any last minute shopping that needs to be done. After lunch we will transfer to Noi Bai Airport for our flight back home.
(*) Price is based on a twin share basis unless you choose to pay a single supplement.
(**) Subject to change prior to ticket issuance (due to weekly variations in taxes and surcharges)
Prices are an indication based on exchange rates and costs at time if writing (January 2017) and as such, may vary slightly closer to the departure date.
- Surcharge may apply if minimum tour size is not met.
- Pricing and itinerary subject to change without prior notice.
- Any unused services are non-refundable.
- Deposit required to secure booking and cancellation penalty will apply.
- All participants are required to take out comprehensive travel insurance as a condition of the tour. The travel insurance should cover you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to Australia. Proof of adequate insurance is required as a condition of the tour. If you arrive without a policy, you will be required to purchase one prior to departing Sydney.
- It is also advisable to make relevant arrangements for your insurance to cover your luggage and camera equipment.
If you are interested in joining this tour, please contact us for further details.
Vietnam is a country full of photographic opportunities. The landscape is diverse and includes a very long and beautiful coastline, magnificent rock formations, and mountains. Having not developed like China and Thailand it still has plenty of opportunity to observe and photograph traditional lifestyles. Vietnam is raw and still relatively unspoilt, with a photograph and story to be told at every bend of the road that you travel. Because of this, now is a great time to visit Vietnam.
Having travelled to Vietnam on numerous occasions over the past 14 years, I have specifically designed this tour with photographers in mind. Come and discover the hidden charm of Vietnam and the endless photographic opportunities. Just like me, I am sure you will find it to be an experience never to be forgotten and one which leaves you hungry for more.
- Meet numerous colourful ethnic minority groups
- Ethnic minority markets and scenic northern highland hill tribe villages
- Experience the life of minority people through a home stay
- Magnificent mountainous landscape of Ha Giang province.
- Magnificent terraced mountains of rice.
Optional extension tour
- Jagged isles, hidden lagoons, and sea caves of Ha Long Bay
- Tour dates: 14 – 24 September 2017 (11 days)
Optional extension: 24 – 27 September (4 days)
- Group size will be a minimum of 4 people and maximum of 8 people.
- Price: 10 year celebration discounted price of US $3995 per person twin share for land only content until 30 June 2017. Full price is US $4395 per person twin share for land only content. A small group surcharge of US $200 will apply for groups of 5 or less people. Optional extension tour price is US $1395 per person twin share.
- International airfare departing Sydney is estimated at or less than AU $1300** per person.
- We will make every effort to match up single travellers who wish to travel at twin share rates. For anyone requiring a single room, there will be an additional charge of US $399 on the main tour and US $179 on the optional extension tour.
- The complete tour as per itinerary, clean twin share accommodation (3 star or best available in isolated areas), arrival/departure transfers, in country ground transport by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver, private boat cruises as indicated in itinerary, professional Australian photographic tour leader, local Vietnamese tour guide/s, meals as specified in itinerary (B/L/D), drinking water, plus taxes and admission fees.
- International airfare, visas, personal travel insurance, meals not indicated in program, additional beverages such as soft drinks and alcohol, activities during free time, items of personal nature, tips and gratuities, excess baggage fee.
Images taken from past tours
Download program in PDF format here.
Download e-brochure in PDF format here.
More tour images can be seen here.