Photography Day Tours

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Saigon on the Tracks

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Want a little more from your visit to Vietnam, let us tailor your photographic adventure

Vietnam in Focus run acclaimed photography tours throughout Vietnam and Indochina.

On the Tracks

A snapshot from bygone Saigon - as the train rumbles through

Explore Saigon’s railway village on this exhilarating sunrise photo tour. We capture life along the tracks as trains roll in from the north, photographing street traders, markets, railway workers and locals going about their daily life.

This quiet part of the city, surprisingly close to the centre, is like a snapshot from bygone times, with narrow, sleepy alleyways, vintage coffeeshops and Saigonese showing their traditional smiles and hospitality. Along the way, we’ll work on composition techniques and use of various settings to take your images to the next level.

Discover the real Saigon while learning the art of great street photography.

Itinerary

5am – Hotel pick-up

5:30am – We start at Saigon Railway Station, with an introduction to the tour, camera settings review and a look at how to create a picture story. Our first subject is the old steam locomotive parked at the station entrance, which stands as testament to the century-long history of Vietnam’s railway.

6am – Time to move on to the network of old Saigonese streets behind the station, already busy with commuters and market-goers. We’ll be capturing atmospheric portraits and relationship shots of all kinds of local characters among these narrow railside alleyways. It’s fascinating to see the neighbourhood waking up, and with some of the shop shutters still down, there’s a minimalist vibe to the scene. We’ll work on isolating passersby against these backgrounds for striking pictures of daily life.

7am – We arrive at a vibrant market, a fantastic place to capture shots of busy local life. We’ll interact with the traders and shoppers for intimate portraits, and look at composition tips. With the market getting busier by the minute, it’s important to tidy up our shots and make some sense of the chaos. We’ll break for a glass of tea now and review our pictures so far.

8am – Turning a narrow corner, we find ourselves right next to the railway tracks, rush hour traffic pouring over the junction. During our walk we encounter railway workers manning the track points, as well as traders selling their goods to passing commuters. And of course, many trains are rolling in from the north, passing right across the junctions and towards Saigon station. We follow a narrow path running alongside the tracks. 

8:30am – We now join a very quiet trackside alleyway, with houses and cafes that hark back to old Saigon. There’s plenty to photograph down here, and we continue our picture story of life in Saigon’s own ‘railway village’.

9am – It’s breakfast time, and we’ll enjoy a classic Saigonese start to the day, with a delicious local breakfast. We finish up at a fantastic little trackside cafe, full of vintage cameras and other memorabilia from old Saigon – and most importantly serving delicious coffee!

Farewell

Reviews

Perfect photo tour
@HiltonJLuke
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My photo tour with Victor was superb. He promptly collected me from my hotel and we made our way to Saigon Train Station for coffee before the action started. Victor took the time to learn about my photography skills and style and what I was interested in getting out of this tour. We then made our way to the markets and back streets—here I got some of the best photos of my entire holiday in Vietnam. We then made our way for some train spotting and I was lucky to get about 8 train movements. The tour ended with a walk to breakfast (noodle soup was yummy!) and the best Vietnamese coffee I’ve had. I highly recommend this tour, and you’ll be well looked after if Victor is your guide. I had a fantastic time. 10/10.
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All photos are taken on tour by previous guests and tour guides

Tour FAQ's

In the event of forecasted heavy rain, we’ll contact you to reschedule or cancel the tour and give you a full refund.  If it’s early morning and raining heavily, our guide will call you on the phone number you gave us to discuss options for postponement or cancellation.  In the event of cancellation we’ll issue a full refund.

Yes, you can.  We have a Nikon DSLR available to rent for $30 per tour including free memory card.  Please enquire on booking.

Yes, you do.  Vietnam in Focus is not liable to pay any costs associated with injury etc on our tours.

Yes, they can.  Costs (or free joining) depend on each tour, so please enquire on booking.

Yes, you can.  People often join our tours using film cameras.  You may not be able to edit in camera, but the composition tips are still basically the same.

Yes, you can.  Smartphone cameras are pretty amazing nowadays.

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