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Vietnam Travel Photo Workshop
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.
This captivating country will surely inspire photographical masterpieces with unforgettable meetings of colour and light in the magical congregation between heaven and earth. The tour is a great mix of free roaming & street photography, landscapes and other landmarks, people & portraits and arranged model shoots.
Vietnam photography tour is without a shadow of a doubt one of our very favored and impressive tours with two great and experienced photo-guides willing to share their wealth of knowledge to all participants. With very unlike backgrounds and life experiences Oli & Phuc have a very strong friendship and a welcoming atmosphere this gives travelers not only a professional knowledge but a very warm and fun experience. Following the group is a very talented and friendly guide and translator which takes care of all logistics and the groups needs.
The Vietnam tour is 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.
Highlights: Ha Noi city life
Upon arrival at the airport you´ll find a driver waiting to bring you to the hotel.
After checking into our hotel in Ha Noi, we meet in the lobby in the afternoon and go to the heart of the city for some Street life photography & to get to know the city life. Afterwards we enjoy a beautiful welcoming dinner and a slideshow with a little insight into the adventures awaiting us.
Ha Noi is 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. Ha Noi is incredibly rich culturally with influences from all over in South Asia, France and China, preserving history and honoring 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.
Highlights: Sa Pa – Bac Ha – Flower Hmong – Red Dao People – Ha Noi
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 village, sit down together for a nice dinner and then a nights rest.
We then 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 honoring their land, dialects and traditions, wearing beautiful and multi colored, traditional clothing. Another tribe we´ll encounter is the Red Dao People and their life style. They are also one of the 54 ethnic groups that are officially recognized in Vietnam and believed to have arrived not long before the H’mong tribes during the 18th Century.
We then spend one night in Bac Ha with dinner in town and the day after we visit the colorful Bac Ha Market: A Rare Taste of Northern Vietnam & the H’Mong. 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.
Afterwards we travel back to Ha Noi for the night.
Highlights: Ninh Binh region
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. It’s worth the mention that the Hollywood movie King Kong was filmed there, the enviroment is truly breathtaking.
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 of Sept 1st we head back to the capital, Ha Noi, where we spend the night.
Highlights: Đường Lâm
On day 7 we head early morning to Duong Lam village at the very outskirts of Ha Noi´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 to Ha Noi.
Our next destination is the former capital of Hue, We check into our hotel when night falls in Hue, we enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.
Highlights: Hue, The Hải Vân Pass mountain range, The Royal Tombs of Hue, Hoi An – Lanterns
Hue is 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 spend the day shooting at some of The Royal Tombs of Hue with live models known as the Ao dai 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.
Most of The Royal 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.
We spend another night in this wonderful city. The second morning there 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 and we´ll visit the wonderful Lavin Home, a studio and a café shop where young ms. Thanh Nhàn teaches and employs deaf people to make handmade paper flowers.
Afterwards 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 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.
Highlights: Hoi An, Thu Bon River, Thanh Ha Pottery Village and flight to Nha Trang
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.
We check out from our hotel in Hoi An to travel to Nha Trang by plane.
Highlights: Ninh Hoa town, Khanh Hoa province, Hon Khoi salt fields
Covering hundreds of hectares in Ninh Hoa town, Khanh Hoa province, Hon Khoi is one of the largest salt fields in Vietnam. We will be visiting the area early in the morning, we´ll enjoy a stunning sunrise. The salt ponds of the Khanh Hoa are very photogenic and with the early start we´ll be able to see not only the salt and reflective pools but the hard working people working the salt field. Afterwards we travel by domestic flights to Sai Gon where we´ll check in at a hotel for the night.
Highlights: Mekong Delta, Floating city of Can Tho on Hau River.
We check out of our hotel and break for lunch in the heart of Sai Gon.
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 Sai Gon 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 fields. 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.
Highlights: Phong Dien floating market, Thom Rom Village, An Giang Province
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.
We enjoy the sunset under the silhouettes of sugar palm tree fields of the Khmer people before dinner at the hotel.
Highlights: An Giang Province, The Khmer people and temple
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. The Khmer people have many special cultural festivities, among them cow racing is a special culture.
We all gather again but this time for a good-bye dinner in the evening in Sai Gon.
Depending on flight schedules of each participant we travel to the airport, with a full treasure chest of magnificent photographs to bear witness and gratitude to our journey through the magnificent country of Vietnam.
DAY 1, AUG 27:
HA NOI city : Street photography & city life – Transportation Car/Walk
DAY 2, AUG 28:
SA PA : Hmong, Red Dao People life style, Rice Fields Terraces – Transportation Car
DAY 3, AUG 29:
SA PA – BAC HA : Hmong, Red Dao People life style, Rice Fields Terraces – Transportation Car
DAY 4, AUG 30:
BAC HA – HA NOI : Colorful Bac Ha Market: A Rare Taste of Northern Vietnam & the H’Mong – Transportation Car
DAY 5, AUG 31:
HA NOI – NINH BINH : Ninh Binh, limestone cliffs scatter – Transportation Car
DAY 6, SEP 1:
NINH BINH – HA NOI : Model Shoots, traditional style – Transportation Car
DAY 7, SEP 2:
HA NOI – DUONG LAM – HA NOI – HUE : Đường Lâm a typical old Vietnamese village & residents – Transportation Car & Domestic Flight
DAY 8, SEP 3:
HUE : Hue City in Thua Thien & its historical monuments + Model Shoots, traditional style Ao dai ladies – Transportation Car
DAY 9, SEP 4:
HUE – HOI AN : Hoi An a living museum with old-town architecture – Transportation Car
DAY 10, SEP 5:
HOI AN – NHA TRANG : Hoi An explored & travel day – Transportation Domestic Flight
DAY 11, SEP 6:
NHA TRANG – SAI GON Vietnam salt fields – Transportation Car
DAY 12, SEP 7:
SAI GON – CAN THO : The water world of the mighty Mekong – Transportation Domestic Flight
DAY 13, SEP 8:
PHONG DIEN – AN GIANG : The floating markets – Transportation Car
DAY 14, SEP 9:
AN GIANG – SAI GON : The Khmer people in Southern Vietnam & Cow Racing – Transportation Car
DAY 15, SEP 10:
SAI GON : Departure Day – Transportation Car
Oli H., our trusted tour producer and leading force at En Route. Oli is a designer and professional photographer from Iceland with tireless passion for the art form. His successful career as a photographer traces back to his early teenage years where he started out hovering around in a photography studio in Reykjavík. Oli is a brilliant photogrpaher and a mentor with years of teaching experience in both computer skills and photo editing. Oli has already made a treasure chest of invaluable images from Iceland and from his other travels, he enjoys all his tours but constantly seeking new discoveries and unexplored paths. Oli tirelessly seeks to find new perspectives and on his adventures finds great joy in introducing and sharing his findings with new people as well as publishing his travel stories and tutorials on YouTube.
Nguyen Vu Phuoc is perhaps Vietnam’s premier all around photographer. He is not only a great travel photographer and drone master, but a fearless documentarian aswell, covering controversial topics such as the tragic ongoing effects of Agent Orange, and acid maiming. Widely known for his fun-loving nature and sheer zest for photography. He often takes chances to get his angles, climbs cliffs, hangs upside down, whatever it takes! “Just part of being a photographer” he says.
He describes his philosophy thus: “Every photo I consider taking has to have two key elements. First, it has to speak to me – hey, take me! Second, it has to have the potential of touching the viewer, preferably in the region of the heart.” His critically acclaimed book, Labor of Love – A Mother’s Journey, inspired by his wife and daughter to be, contains some of the most beautiful and moving photographs of pregnancy and child birth that have ever been made. In addition to more than 300 image awards from Vietnam and numerous countries around the world, Phuoc has achieved the prestigious Federation International de L’ Art Photographique (FIAP) commendation of excellence in the photographic arts. He is Member of Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists , the Photographic Society of America , Turkey Photographic Sille Sannat Sarayi, and the Ho Chi Minh City Photographic Association.