Photography Expedition: Vietnam Explorer

INTRODUCTION

Join us for this 17 day photography trip in Vietnam, where we explore the amazing rice fields in Sapa, the old Northern Capital of Hanoi, the imperial city of Hue, photogenic Hoian and the burstling capital city of Saigon, …

EXPERIENCE

Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and pro photographers.
Travel by private a/c car or minibus
Moderate elevation changes and some walking.
(*non-photographers also welcome)

DAY 1: ARRIVAL HANOI Upon arrival Noi Bai airport, you are met and transferred to your hotel (check in time: 14:00). Then you are free. Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 2: Hanoi – Full day tour (B) After breakfast at hotel, you are followed by a full day city tour starting with the Ho Chi Minh Complex, containing the mausoleum of the nation’s founder Ho Chi Minh, the Presidential Palace, Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts. Close to this site is the One Pillar Pagoda, whose origin dates back to the foundation of Hanoi a thousand years ago. Your tour of Hanoi continues with a trip to the remarkable Temple of Literature, well known as Vietnam’s first university. After your own lunch, you will visit Bat Trang ceramic village. Bat Trang is since the 12th century, a small village in the north of Vietnam and is located 13 kilometers southeast of the center of Hanoi. In this small village you can visit families who edit ceramics traditional way. You will see an evening performance of Hanoi’s famouswater puppets. Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 3: Hanoi – Halong (B/L/D) After an early breakfast you start with a transfer out to the internationally famous and stunning beautiful Halong Bay, made world famous by James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. Arriving just before lunch, you’ll embark on a traditional Vietnamese junk. Take lunch on board and enjoy the afternoon and overnight cruise as it provides you with fantastic views of the fabulous scenery blending with the sky and some 3,000 limestone islands which amazingly rise from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves, some of which you’ll visit. Overnight on board in Halong Bay.The details cruise program will be update upon confirmed depend on your choice of cruise.

DAY 4: Halong – Hanoi (B) The tour continues with a morning spent cruising on to the Man’s Head, Tortoise islands and then Luon Cave. After a brunch, you will check out and get back to Hanoi. On the way back to Hanoi, you will visit Dong Ho Painting Village and Bat Trang Pagoda. You will have time to take photos and enjoy Vietnamese atmosphere in the local village. Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 5: Hanoi – Nghia Lo (L/D) Pick you up at your hotel, leaving the bustling streets on way to verdant rice paddies and farmland. By early afternoon you’ll be moving away from the Red River Delta to Nghia Lo. Nghia Lo is situated along a beautiful mountain ridge with lush forests, tea plantations, rice terraces and gum trees, the picturesque valleys are stunning. The area is home to Thai, Nung, H’mong, La Ha and Ma ethnic minority peoples. Overnight in Nghia Lo homestay.
PHOTO EXPEDITION’S 6TH DAY: Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen (B) In early morning, visit local market in Nghia Lo Town, a chance to explore and shop for local handicrafts. As you climb over the mountain pass to Mu Cang Chai you’ll meet H’mong, La Ha and Dzao along the way. Down to the valley, you’ll arrive in the town of Than Uyen where you’ll spend the night in hotel.

DAY 6: Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai – Than Uyen (B)
In early morning, visit local market in Nghia Lo Town, a chance to explore and shop for local handicrafts. As you climb over the mountain pass to Mu Cang Chai you’ll meet H’mong, La Ha and Dzao along the way. Down to the valley, you’ll arrive in the town of Than Uyen where you’ll spend the night in hotel.

DAY 7: Than Uyen – Sapa – Ta Van (B) After breakfast, head to Sapa along the base of the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, home to Mt. Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest peak. At Binh Lu junction you’ll pick up the main road and start your drive through the highest mountain pass in Vietnam at 1900 Meters, then glide down into the town of Sapa. Enjoy lunch and relax before a quite hard 3 hour short trek to Muong Hoa valley. You will pass through Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority and then Tavan village of Giay minority by following a very popular trekking route. You will spend the night in local house of Giay minority. You will be able to take a walk to enjoy the valley view as well as swim in the river nearby. Overnight in Ta Van homestay.
Approx: 3 hours walking

DAY 8: Tavan – Giang Ta Chai – Su Pan – Sapa (B) Once you get energy for your last day trek by having a delicious breakfast, you leave for Giang Ta Chai village of Red Dao minority. You will trek through bamboo forest, which belongs to Hoang Lien National Park. On the way you will pass by a waterfall where you will have time to take a rest and enjoy the surroundings. You will find a nice place to enjoy lunch.
After lunch, you continue toward Su Pan, a small village located by the road. Here you start your journey back to Sapa by car. Upon arriving in Sapa, you will visit the Fansipan peak – the roof of Indochina, 3343m above sea level. We will take you by car to the cable station, and then you will experience the longest cable car in Vietnam to the peak. ‘Indochina’s Roof’ would not be so revered when anyone can reach the top in 15 minutes. On the peak, you will see the spectacular view all over Sapa view among cloud. Then you will take to your hotel to be leisure at your own. Overnight in Sapa. Approx: 1-hour driving/ 3 hours walking/ 1-hour lunch.

DAY 9: Local market – Lao Cai – Hanoi (B) After breakfast at hotel this morning group will check out and continues to visit a local market where the market is open at certain day of the week only Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday all depend on your travel day. At these market many minority groups like Flower H’mong, Black Zao, Zay… come to trade for their weekly plan. On the way back to Lao Cai, you can see the tea plantation, Chinese Border Gate, Mother Temple. After your lunch, the car will take you back to Hanoi. At about 6pm, you are dropped at your hotel. Overnight in Hanoi.

DAY 10: Hanoi – Danang – Hoian (B) You will enjoy shopping in the Hanoi Old Quarter and Dong Xuan market before taking flight to Danang. On arrival at Danang airport, you are met and transferred directly to Hoian town. After checking in, you have time for your own or have a walk to explore the surroundings near the hotel. Overnight in Hoian.

DAY 11: Hoian tour (B) The ancient architecture of Hoian is a fascinating combination of Vietnamese traditional buildings with Chinese and Japanese influence. There’s plenty to see in this delightful town, some of which are the famous Japanese Covered Bridges, Pottery Museum, 200 years old Tan Ky House, Chua Ong Pagoda and vibrant market. Today we include these on a walking tour past many low tiled houses scattered along the small streets and assembly halls, which reflect the town’s multi-cultural past. You’ll understand why many visitors come to Hoi An again and again. Overnight in Hoian.

DAY 12: Hoian – Hue (B) This morning, we will transfer to Hue. On the way to Hue, you stop at the Marble Mountains, the beautiful Non Nuoc Beach and the Cham Museum in Danang city and continue over the scenic Hai Van Pass to Hue, Vietnam’s last imperial capital. This small and quiet city is widely known for its magnificent historic architecture, pagodas and royal tombs laid in many small villages and the surrounding hills. In the afternoon you will be met at hotel to take a short drive to explore the massive Hue citadel built in 1832 followed by Western architecture combining with Eastern citadel containing the Imperial City and the Purple Forbidden City. This Royal Residence was destroyed during the 1968 Tet Offensive but with renovating by a great work of local artist will hold you back to know more about Nguyen dynasty. Overnight in Hue.

DAY 13: Hue tour – Ho Chi Minh City (B) In the morning you will take a short transfer to starting point to start an easy biking through villages towards Gia Long Mausoleum, tomb of the first Nguyen emperor built from 1814 to 1820 among of green trees hills & still standing mandarin statues, elephants. Your next stop is charming of Thien Mu pagoda built in 1601 lying on the top of Ha Khe hill by side of the river, hidden behind 7 layers of Phuoc Duyen tower. Then we transfer to airport for flight to Ho Chi Minh City. On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel. Then you are free. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.

DAY 14: Ho Chi Minh tour (B) You spend a full day to enjoy city tour of Ho Chi Minh, followed by a guided tour of some of the most important attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, beginning with the Reunification Palace, which was the former residence of the Southern Vietnam President until the end of April 1975. Close to the palace are some striking French colonial structures including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Saigon Post Office. Afterwards, we’ll visit the History Museum where there is a special exhibition of Phu Nam country which dates back to the 2nd century ‘Oc Eo’ civilization. You’ll also visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda, one of the best examples of Taoist temples in Vietnam. This afternoon, you call in the Museum of War Remnants which provides a very partial, but riveting perspective of the Vietnam war, and the Binh Tay market in Chinatown area. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City

DAY 15: Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi – Tay Ninh – Ho Chi Minh (B) After an early breakfast you’ll avoid the city heat to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, an incredible underground network constructed by Vietnamese fighters during the long struggle for independence. The tunnels contained hospitals, plus accommodation and schools, and were used as a military base for the Viet Cong in the American war. Afterwards, you’ll continue to the headquarters of Cao Dai religious sect which is located in Tay Ninh. This religion was founded in 1923 and now numbers over 2 million members. It’s an unusual religion with an eclectic mix of different saints from different religions, and has Victor Hugo and Charlie Chaplin as patron saints. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.

DAY 16: Ho Chi Minh – Mekong Delta – Ho Chi Minh (B/L) Today you’ll head out of the city for the Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Vietnam. You’ll travel by road to My Tho province about 1:30 drive, arriving in My Tho, where you board a boat navigating around the small canals in the Mekong Delta, and you’ll have the chance to observe the local lifestyles close-up. Pass through the lush green vegetation to an orchard you can observe various fascinating local industries. After feasting on a huge lunch followed with Elephant ear fish, seasonal fruits, return to Ho Chi Minh. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh.

DAY 17: Ho Chi Minh – Departure (B) Depending on your departure time there is some free time to relax or further explore Ho Chi Minh on our own before a transfer to Tan Son Nhat airport you’re your departure flight.