North East Vietnam Photography Tour

This 9 days Vietnam Photography Tour is crafted with passion by Arnaud Foucard, a French Photographer who has been living in Vietnam since 2000.

Trip Description & Day-by-day Itinerary

This 9 days North East Vietnam Photography Tour is crafted with passion by Arnaud Foucard, a French Photographer who has been living in Vietnam since 2000. There are two departures per year, during the rice transplantation season and the harvest season, a period during which the ethnic groups spend most of their days in the fields, to the photographer’s great delight. Join the upcoming departure (September 7th to 15th 2015) to enjoy such highlights as magnificent rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi, listed as a Vietnam National Heritage site; The incredible karst plateau of Dong Van, listed in UNESCO Global Geoparks Network; The visit of H’mong villages and encounters with the local population; The sunday markets of Dong Van and Meo Vac; The spectacular road from Dong Van to Meo Vac, and the Ma Pi Leng passage.

Map

Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVE HANOI

Arrival in Hanoi. For those who arrive early, we will go on an orientation tour around 3:30pm, followed by a photo review. Dinner to get acquainted with all participants and presentation of our journey from Hanoi to the Ha Giang Province.

DAY 2: HANOI -> HOANG SU PHI

Early morning departure for a long journey to reach the majestic rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi. A region so remote that scarcely any tourist make the trip there, but what a rewarding sight for those who do! We’ll discuss photography technique on the way, with of course multiple stops to stretch our legs and take some pictures. Dinner and night in Hoang Su Phi.

DAY 3: HOANG SU PHI TERRACED FIELD

The rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi have existed for more than three centuries; many generations of farmers from La Chi, Dao or Nung ethnic groups have shaped those hill curves, dug up the irrigation canals and terraced the mountain sides in stairs to cultivate rice. These rice fields have a total surface area of 630 km2 and are listed since 2012 as a Vietnam National Heritage site. In the morning, we will go explore the village of Ban Luoc. It is home to the country’s largest rice terrace field, stretching over 200 acres and with an altitude difference of more than 1500 meters, and is consisted of thousands of successive platforms separated from each other by one meter. In the afternoon, we will visit Ban Phung Village with its equally visually stunning rice terraces. Dinner and night in Hoang Su Phi.

DAY 4: HOANG SU PHI -> HA GIANG -> QUAN BA

Before leaving Hoang Su Phi, we will visit the majestic rice terraces of Thong Nguyen. We will then head to Quan Ba, “Heaven’s Gate”, with its mountains stretching to the horizon, marking the entrance to Dong Ba Karst Plateau, listed in UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. A magnificent point of view to come back home with stunning landscape photos, hopefully helped by a nice weather. Dinner and night in Quan Ba.

DAY 5: QUAN BA -> DONG VAN

On this day, we will delve into Dong Van Plateau, an extremely wild region made of limestone pitons and black granite needles: a truly breathtaking panorama. After lunch in Yen Minh, we will head to Pho Cao, a superb H’mong village with some 200 years old houses, followed by a visit to Sung La Village, before finally reaching Lung Cam village where we’ll meet with the Lo Lo ethnic group. Dinner and night in Dong Van.

DAY 6: DONG VAN

For the bravest amongst us, we will go on a small trek to the summit overlooking Dong Van: after a half an hour ascension we will be greeted with a magnificent view over the valley. We will then head towards Sa Phin to explore the surprising Vuong Chin Duc Palace, king of the H’mongs (and opium trafficking), built on a small hilltop a palace in a similar style to Chinese yamens. At its peak, the fortress boasted up to 100 inhabitants. After lunch, we will go and visit the superb village of Pho Bang, where H’mongs keep their traditions alive. Dinner and night in Dong Van.

DAY 7: DONG VAN -> MEO VAC -> HA GIANG

We’ll have much to do on that morning, as we’ll go visit 2 local markets, linked together by one of the most spectacular road in Vietnam: better get your gear ready! The ethnic minorities of many different groups leave their home villages very early in the morning to reach Dong Van market, a place to trade merchandises but also a gathering site to socialize and meet with others. We will then head to Meo Vac, home to the Black H’mong Eagle’s Nest, following a road meandering through the mountain sides and getting through the Ma Pi Leng passage that overlooks a vertiginous canyon and the No Que River gorges further down. Upon arrival we’ll discover the livestock market, a one of its kind location in the Ha Giang province, where between 400 and 1000 cattle are traded during the course of the morning, along with many horses, pigs and dogs, before visiting the main market. After lunch, we will continue our journey following a road surrounded by beautiful karst mountain landscapes, before reaching Ha Giang. Dinner and night in Ha Giang.

DAY 8: HA GIANG -> HANOI

After breakfast, we will make our way back to Hanoi and reach the city by mid-afternoon, with multiple photo stops on the way. Dinner and night in Hanoi.

DAY 9: DEPARTURE

We will meet in the morning for our last breakfast together. We will then proceed to a photography review, a Lightroom tutorial and debrief of our journey, before bidding each other farewell.

Additional Information

Primary Activity

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Tour Ends

Hanoi

Adventure Level

Itinerary Disclaimer

Occasionally our tour itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travelers’ comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the service proposal. It’s very important that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Please note that while we operate successful trips in Vietnam throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Inclusions

Our trip cost usually includes the following services. Please bear in mind LOTUSSIA Travel is specialized in tailor-made trips. Trip cost vary depending on group size and other details.

  • Car transfers.
  • Local tour guide. The English-Speaking guide is provided by default. Other language may be available upon request (with extra charge).
  • Local porter(s).
  • Accommodation.
  • Meals.
  • Entrance fees.
  • Bottled water.

Exclusions

Unless required most of the following services are usually not included in our tour price.

  • Visa
  • Flight/Train tickets.
  • Accommodation pre/post trip.
  • International travel insurance.
  • Tips.
  • Personal expenses.

Tour Guide

Our tour guides speak English or French. They hold a university degree in tourism and national license as a guide. If you wish to send a tour leader along with any group, he or she can fully rely on the knowledge and experience of our local guides.

Remote treks are always accompanied by a local representative to deal with permits and authorities and manage the porter team. They speak the local dialects, know the cultural traditions and give tips on suggested behavior in fragile ecological areas and tribal communities. For some itineraries, the role of tour leader and representative is combined.

Trip Routes

Principally, LOTUSSIA Travel requires all the trip associates to know the destinations well by any means of traveling or enquiry to the local suppliers to figure out all the relative details of any trip. For adventure tours such as jungle trekking, mountain hiking, sea kayaking, river rafting or biking, cycling tours, LOTUSSIA Travel will never add any new routes into available schedule until survey or pre-view it.

Accommodation

LOTUSSIA Travel carefully choose all the hotels, guest-houses or homestays based on service quality, location, and characteristics, doing best to make the accommodations in the remote small places as comfortable as possible. Please bear in mind that hotels in Vietnam might not be in the same standard in other country. Generally hotels in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian, Hue…are much better than hotels and guest-houses in mountainous areas.

Meals

LOTUSSIA Travel take dinning as an indispensable experience to clients since it is an important part in Vietnamese culture. Therefore, LOTUSSIA Travel will not intend take clients to the most expensive restaurants but non-touristy local ones which offer delicious, local food, with nice or interesting atmosphere. The restaurants might be simple in the country but LOTUSSIA Travel guarantee is sanitary and cleanliness. Or even on our trek, we encourage our cook offer client food with new tastes from day to day. During adventure itineraries to mountainous or remote areas, there is sometimes no choice for hotel and restaurants. We will try our best to bring you the best taste of local food.

Drinks

As the tap water in Vietnam is undrinkable, LOTUSSIA Travel recommend clients to drink bottled water throughout your trip, or boiled water on treks. LOTUSSIA Travel offers bottle water all the day, and soft drinks like Cola, Sprite or Vietnamese Tea or if possible juice in restaurants (if mentionned in itinerary). This is not automatically included in the packages. In simple restaurant or on camping, LOTUSSIA Travel offers boiled water, instant coffee or juice, wrapped milk (Details are confirmed in bottom of your itinerary).

Vehicle

In most destinations of Vietnam, all the roads are well paved though the traffic is quite messed up like in Hanoi, Hai Phong… We use proper vehicles, car, minibus or coach in good condition based on the size of the groups. We use 4WD only on the rough road where the other vehicles could not pass through or based on clients requirement on overland journeys or treks. For cycling itineraries, we usually use our support minibus or minibus with support truck. For sea kayaking, river rafting trips, diving packages we use standard boat as support. Detailed information is provided on our service proposal.

We use drivers who are native or local of each travel destination and maintain good safety records for all trips. Most of our drivers can speak English but a little bit. This is just enough to understand basic words such as “time of departure”, “stop”, “restaurants”, “hotels”…If you want to learn more about Vietnamese culture and information about sightseeing sites, booking a tour guide is highly recommended.

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