15 Days
Boasting fascinating cultures of 54 different ethnic minorities and amazing rural landscapes; from precipitous mountains to untouched woods, from emerald rice terraces to secluded beaches, the Northern Vietnam has always been an ideal destination for travel photography.
  • Arriving in Hanoi, greeting and privately transfer to our hotel in town.
    Overnight in Hanoi.
  • Ha Noi is famed for its thriving contemporary art scene and French architecture, visible by the many colonial building scattered throughout the city. While it is rapidly developing, the city has retained many of its traditional cultures and customs.

    Known simply as the 36 Streets, Ha Noi Old Quarter now still retains its unique architecture as well as the enormous amount and diversity of products and everyday life of its residents. Messy and crazy, this walk provides you an exciting chance for photographing inside the Old Quarter. Commence an orientation tour on foot at and old and rusty railway street where life may look amazing and curious to foreigners, but this is just life here. Every day, the trains pass through what otherwise functions as a narrow alley in this residential area, a normal routine for the residents who have been living here for a while.

    Follow the hidden yet vibrant and fascinating maze of back streets, fronted by narrow houses known as “tunnel” or “tube houses”, built to avoid taxes based on the width of their frontage onto the street, a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into Hanoi street life.  Make our way through small alleys which are just big enough to fit through and have your camera ready in hand to capture the real glimpse into everyday life. Continue the trip to O Quan Chuong Gate, the ancient gate leading to the bustling Old Quarter. Then explore the vibrant streets with a lot of activities and different color patterns for you to combine in your shots.

    Conclude your memorable visit to a vintage coffee shop, where you sit on very small chairs as is the special style of Hanoi. This also offers a perfect opportunity for people-watching, and to review your photos.
  • Rise early this morning and head to the most historic bridge of the city, famed for its unique historic, architectural, and cultural value. Constructed during the French occupation period since the beginning of the 20th century, the bridge owns a great beauty, typical of French architecture. This is also a great vantage point where you can have an overview picture of the bustling market with merchandise stalls, traders, couriers, and customers. Then head down into the local market and get closer to your subject. Along with the perfect natural lighting and contrast, combine with different colorful patterns, you can have perfect portraits and daily life shots of the locals.  As the sun rises, the market slows down. Capture the moments of the rising sun before heading back to downtown to catch the moments of daily actions as dawn locomotives rumble past and locals start their day. A lot of activities happen for you to capture around Hoan Kiem Lake.  Enjoy a delicious breakfast and coffee while discussing your recent shots and photography technique so far.

    Travel to a photogenic Red River Delta village via a 45-minute drive from Ha Noi and a short ferry across the Cau River. Despite the increasing industrialization of the area, the village still concealed the rural lifestyle and ancient architecture of Vietnamese people.  Walk through the village’s narrow terracotta-tiled alleyways, a reminder of its history as one of Vietnam’s three oldest ceramic centers. When the demand for pottery is going down, the villagers had changed into making rice papers or dry pancakes. The village itself offers excellent opportunities for photography including incredible images of some of the homes dating back more than a century or crispy pancake drying in the sun, a plethora of portraiture, and cultural perspective.
    This afternoon, take in the glance of the French architecture of the capital, visible by the many colonial monuments scattered throughout the downtown. Hanoi’s urban layout of spacious boulevards and beautiful common spaces was strongly influenced by the French occupation.
  • Depart downtown Ha Noi for an exciting drive northwest to the charming province of Yen Bai inhabited by ethnic minorities living among the vertiginous rice terraces and retaining their traditional customs and lifestyle despite the influence of outside modern life. During your journey, you will notice how the landscape changes from the flat plains into the jungle greenery, passing through endless terraced rice fields curved up the mountain. Position yourself at the right point with time to capture the poetic valley of Tu Le which is home to beautiful terraced rice fields and distantly dotted villages of Black H’mong and Thai people. Traveling through the eye-catching pass of Khau Pha to get the bird’s eye view that offers wonderful photographic opportunities as well as breathtaking mountainous vistas of the sunset.
  • This morning, take local motorbike transportation called “xe om” to reach Mam Xoi Hill, the most famous place in La Pan Tan village that offering picturesque views of endless terraced fields. As a cultural heritage created by indigenous people over generations, Mu Cang Chai terraced fields have been recognized as a special national relic. It is possible to rise early and head straight to catch the magical sunrise over the rice fields against the backdrop of the cascading mountains. Take a leisure hike through the endless rice terraces with a H’Mong local guide and get your camera ready to capture the bright colors and lively daily activities of local farmers such as cultivating soil, pouring water, planting seeds, ploughing, and harvesting...
  • Today, enjoy a scenic drive to Sapa, along rocky and zigzagging roads with wonderful opportunities to stop and capture spectacularly panoramic photos of lush valleys surrounded by high forested mountains and terraced fields. The most photogenic element of the day is the legendary pass of O Quy Ho with its undeniable mesmerizing views of mountains, clouds, and forest.

    Sapa is a beautiful former French hill station, popular with tourists not only because of its spectacular scenery but also by the beauty and diversity of ethnic minority culture.  Wanderer around the town with the stop at Sapa market, Sapa Stone Church or choose to enjoy a cup of Vietnamese coffee at a local café offering magnificent views of mountains and hill tribe villages. Feel the peaceful atmosphere while learning about the history of the town and marveling in its colonial architecture with great chances to photograph an immense landscape or local people in colorful traditional costumes.
  • Rise early this morning and depart for a scenic drive to Y Ty, a hidden far north district that earns the name “The town on the cloud” with cascading rice terraces and the most beautiful earth-walled houses. Put your steps into an off-the-beaten-track corner of the northern mountain where life is simple and people have been living close to nature and retaining their traditional customs and lifestyle despite the influence of outside modern life. Explore the poetic village of Ha Nhi people and have your camera ready in your hands to capture picturesque landscapes, local farmers in action, or portraiture shots of local women in traditional dress.
  • Today, depart Sapa for Ha Giang through a scenic route stretching until the Chinese border and passing by some of Vietnam’s most hidden and amazingly breathtaking landscapes highlighted by dramatic scenery, fascinating border towns, ethnic minority markets and villages, lush farmlands. Another fascinating view along the way is the occasional encounter of hill tribe people in traditional costume walking on the side of the roads carrying goods or bringing home the animal.  This remote northern region is populated mostly by minority people belonging to the various hill tribe groups such as Tay, Nung, Red Dzao, Dzay, Pa Then… The private vehicle will stop en route with time to photograph the magnificent image of the incredibly captivating landscape and local friendly people. Situated on the East bank of Lo River of North-eastern Vietnam, Ha Giang is home to high rocky mountains, limestone formations, springs, and symbolically beautiful buckwheat flowers.
  • Wake up early this morning to enjoy the sounds of nature and rural life, feel peaceful, breathe in the fresh air, and breathe out the stress of city life. Stroll around a hidden village of Tay people, famed for the traditional stilt houses made from wood, bamboo, and palm-thatched roof. Chat with friendly locals to get an insight into their traditions, lifestyle. Enjoy an ascend drive with a winding Quan Ba pass until reaching Quan Ba Heaven Gate for a panoramic view of the area. The remote yet scenic district of Quan Ba offers to travel photographer’s photogenic elements of picturesque valleys, walled-up mountains, fresh waterfall, and undiscovered caves. Pay the visit to an H’mong family-run workshop to get a better understanding of the traditional dying methods that have been handed down for generations. Get involved with their daily works including dying with indigo and weaving.  Let’s snap portraiture shots with high contrast when combining villagers and craftsmen in action. Cap off this memorable photography tour by the maturity ceremony, one of the oldest and most unique customs of the Red Dao ethnic minority.
  • Take in an exciting full-day photography tour by exploring and capturing the most impressive bird-eye views while winding on mountain passes through beautiful lush valleys. Stop sometimes for photo hunting or short visits to local villages along the way.  Keep driving toward Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark. Designated by UNESCO as one of 77 global sites with important geological and cultural heritage and recognized as the second Geopark in Southeast Asia., Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark contains several geological heritage sites of particular significance and is also home to 17 ethnic groups that create the unique and rich cultural heritage of this area.

    Head to a hillside village where you will start a memorable hiking trip to Ma Pi Leng Pass, classified in 2009 as a regional heritage for its unique geological landscape. The pass is an impressive 15km of winding roads carved into the mountains that are nearly 2,000 meters above sea level. Experience riding on “xe om”, a local motorbike taxi to get to Tu San Valley where you will take a leisure boat trip along the jade-green river of Nho Que, winding like a green thread shimmering from heaven. Head back to the main road and continue to Ma Pi Leng viewpoint to get the most astonishing view over the Nho Que River below with hundreds of limestone mountains towering around.  The scene will be particularly amazing by the beautiful setting sun and ready for your final shot of the sunset-in an area almost isolated to modern life.
  • Nested in the geological park of Dong Van karst plateau and hemmed in by steep karst mountains, the small yet charming valley of Meo Vac is formed from picturesque terraced rice fields and peaceful hill tribe villages perched at the foot of the hills.  Rise early this morning to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.  Feel the cool mountain breeze on a leisure walk on the village paths and snap stunning portraiture shots of villagers and wide-angle shots of workers with an incredibly beautiful background of mountains and corn and rice fields.

    One of the most impressive highlights of the region is the local hill tribe market, offering a wonderfully eclectic glimpse into local products trading in the remote mountainous region.  Take place every 6 days following 12 animal designations (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Cat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig), the authentic and vibrant hill tribe market of Lung Phin is a very photogenic display of H’Mong, Zao, Tay, Lo Lo ethnic costumes. Explore the market where everything is sold including homemade wares ranging from embroidery, tobacco, and rice wine to farmyard animals such as chickens, pigs, horses, and buffaloes.

    Continue our journey on a scenic drive to  Bao Lac, a rural district of Cao Bang province, which is home to many ethnic groups Dzao, Lo Lo, Tay, Nung, Phu La… living mainly in small villages in remote areas. Wind your way to the hidden village of Khuoi Khon that attracts travel photographers by its majestic scenery and unique traditional cultural values. Make a stroll around the village and add depth to your photo collection by capturing unique moments of the day-to-day activities of local people.
  • The mesmerizing landscape of Cao Bang makes it the perfect destination for landscape photography. This morning, enjoy a scenic drive out to the outskirt where you will get inspired by the spectacularly beautiful landscapes, brimful of mountains, rice fields, streams and rivers. Grab your camera and equipment in a perfect position and then maximize your depth of field to capture the great images of gentle nature’s movements.

    The rest of the day is dedicated to practicing your various photographic techniques in composition and color pattern control. as well as get an insight into the lively and colorful local daily activities.  Capture the unique moments where the local craftsmen are in action. Visit the Phia Thap Village, inhabited by the Nung ethnic minority. Surrounded by green rice paddy fields and mountains, this village offers a fresh living environment. Stroll through the village and observe how the locals made the incense from the natural materials by traditional methods.  Head out toward the Lan Duoi village to view how the bamboo baskets are made by local skillful artisans. The basket is an important item in the household of ethnic minority people in the region.
  • This morning, put your camera and equipment at a right mountainside point, overlooking fascinating valleys full of mountains, farmlands and impressive rice fields and later along stream which connects the hamlets. If you’re your journey is between August and September, it will coincide with the local harvesting time, a great chance to capture the local people doing their everyday works. Head to the spectacular Ban Gioc Waterfall and admire the breathtaking scenery of the cascading water flowing into the beautiful jade-blue body of water. Capture a wonderful picture of Ban Gioc waterfalls surrounded by limestone mountains and valleys. Drive back to Ha Noi, arriving at the end of the day.
  • Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994, Ha Long Bay is a naturalist’s dream. Magnificent Ha Long Bay, with its 3,000 islands rising from the clear, emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, is one of the natural marvels of Vietnam. These tiny islands are dotted with innumerable beaches and grottoes created by the wind and the waves. Today, experience a scenic seaplane ride over Ha Long Bay. The flight shows you a completely different perspective of this world-famous heritage site. This is the only way to truly appreciate the unique beauty of this natural masterpiece. Board the overnight junk for a cruise amongst the incredible limestone karsts of Ha Long Bay to view Thumb Island, Cock Fighting Island, and Incense Island which can be seen on Vietnam’s 200,000 dong currency note. Explore one of the biggest, beautiful stalactites and stalagmite cave of the bay. One of the key highlights of Ha Long Bay is Ti Top Beach, especially famous for its fresh atmosphere, clean water, and smooth white sand that create a great ambiance to relax or you can take steps to reach on the top of Ti Top beach to capture a whole panorama view of Ha long Bay.
  • Wake up early and partake in a Tai Chi demonstration which is held on the upper deck. Then sail a local floating village by local rowing boat or kayak. Returning to your boat where a delicious brunch is waiting to be served. Enjoy the beautiful view of the Bay while the vessel cruises back to the harbor. Arrive at the jetty late morning and transfer back to Ha Noi where you will say farewell to our team and take your departure flight home.
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