Saigon Railway Village - Authentic Trackside Photo Tour

Photography Day Tours


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

Saigon Railway Village

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.

What to Expect

We start at Saigon Railway Station at about 5.30am 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.

We’ll explore the vast network of old Saigonese streets and alleys, 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.

The narrow alleyways suddenly open up into a vibrant local 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. 

Exiting the market, we find ourselves parallel the railway tracks, it’s rush hour and traffic is pouring over a nearby junction. You’ll 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 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’.

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!

Tour HighlightsPhotographic Highlights

Saigon Railway Station
Saigon’s Railway Village
Traditional Saigonese Allyeways
Local Morning Market
Trains at rush hour

Camera Settings
Lens Options
Street Photography
Documentary Photography
Story Boarding
Context and Relationships
Low Light Photography

Tour Length: Morning 5:30am till 10am
Hotel pickups commence approximately 30 minutes prior to this time

Level of Difficulty: Moderate Physical activity (Walking)

What’s IncludedWhat’s Excluded

Non-alcoholic beverages
Professional Photographer Guide


Recommended Equipment

Digital Camera or Film Camera
Memory Cards
Wide angle or Zoom lens
Fully Charged Battery (spare batteries if available)


Perfect photo tour
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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.

Per person


Per Person


Per Person
3-5 People

All Tours with Vietnam in Focus are Private. 


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.

Training or guidance will be provided by our photographers throughout the tour. Our guides will tailor your learning experience depending on your interest, style and experience from amateurs to professionals we can provide simple techniques to improve your photography, gain further knowledge of your camera and lenses, as well as develop your photographic eye to capture that amazing shot.

Escape the tourists into Hoi An’s Thu Bon river delta

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Capture the action at Hanoi's wildest market

Welcome the day at the capital's historic wholesale trading spot, as couriers from the provinces provide city sellers with stock. We'll capture dawn breaking over Long Bien Bridge, before exploring the stalls below, offering endless opportunities for candid people photography. Along the way, we'll craft a dramatic visual story of daily life at Hanoi's oldest market.

Explore the city’s bustling waterfront as it wakes for the new day

Fishermen carry their haul in bamboo coracles to a small curve of beach, where a vibrant market awaits. On the horizon, traditional teakwood trawlers lay at anchor in the East Sea as the rising sun turns the sky gold. From seascapes and beach markets, our focus turns to portraits of working life, as we head up to Danang port.

Tailored Photography Tours

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

Customize Your Photography Experience

Our unparalleled knowledge of travel and culture in Vietnam, and where and when to get the best shots, mean we are experts in designing tailormade photo tours.  We have planned and run tours for everyone from professional photographers on a mission to amateurs who want to get to know their cameras better on an adventure.  Each person and group is different, so once you’ve completed the few questions below, expect to answer a few more before we can create your ideal photographic adventure.

Saigon Railway Village


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