Multi Day Vietnam Photography Tour



Golden Harvest




From: $



Private Photography Tour

Departure Date:

September 18, 2023

Group Size:

5 People

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The Golden Harvest

Stunning mountain landscapes and a harvest-time encounter with the Montagnards

Spectacular northwest Vietnam, draped in gold. As the rice harvest approaches, the terraces of Mu Cang Chai and Sapa go from green to gold in a matter of weeks. We travel across this visually astounding region, picking out the perfect spots for landscape photography. In many places, the local hill tribes are already cutting the crops, and we’ll also capture authentic portraits of rural life. Throw in some colorful tribal markets and the unforgettable hospitality of the Montagnards, and it adds up to one incredible experience. A unique opportunity to photograph northern Vietnam, at a dazzling time of year.

Our Golden Harvest Tour is a premium photographic adventure, and we’ll enjoy the best accommodation available in the region, from stylish bamboo eco-lodges to mountain resorts and restored H’mong forts. We’ll also taste the most delicious cuisine in a part of the world already renowned for its culinary excellence.

We travel by spacious and comfortable minibus, with an extra vehicle to transport our luggage between accommodation. At the same time, our close connection to the people of this region, local friendships and many years of experience give us unparalleled access to the authentic life of the ethnic minorities and the area’s most stunning vistas. As working photographers and journalists, with many years of teaching experience, we provide you unique insights and knowledge about Vietnam and photographic storytelling.

Golden Harvest Tour Map

Book your seat now with a simple $500 deposit


For the ultimate mountain photo adventure through Northern Vietnam, we head north to capture ‘the season of golden rice’ on the towering rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai and golden paddy fields in remote Hoang Su Phi. With the rainy season over and the harvest fast approaching, the paddies go from bright green to gold in a matter of weeks, making for spectacular landscape photography.

In many rice paddies, the local hill tribes are already cutting the crops, and we’ll capture stunning portraits of rural life. 

This photographic adventure involves moderate activity: travelers should be in good health, comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, and prepared for several hours of activity on some days. Excursions may include navigating uneven terrain, and walking on paths with steep ascents/descents.


Flights arrive at various times of day and we’ll have complimentary pick up to take you to your hotel. We’ll have a late afternoon tea or coffee overlooking the Red River, and a chance to meet the group and talk over the tour ahead. Afterwards, it’s time for a Hanoi by Night photo tour, taking in Emperor Bao Dai’s derelict seaplane port on West Lake, local life around Truc Bach Lake, Quang Ba flower market, and the changing of the guard at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum.

It’s an early start for our trip north into Hoang Su Phi Province. We stop for lunch in Ha Giang city before traveling east into the rolling hills around Pan Hou eco lodge. In the afternoon we venture out for our first landscape shoot near the lodge – a first sunset encounter with the region’s stunning golden rice terraces. In the evening we relax at Pan Hou, with traditional Dzao herbal baths and massage available for weary photographers.
We rise before dawn to reach our sunrise landscape spot – another carefully chosen location to capture the morning’s light on the terraces. We’ll then move to people photography, capturing portraits and documentary of working life as the harvest begins. After lunch at our lodge, it’s time to discover local tribal villages on foot. The area is home to a diverse array of minority groups, including Giay and Dzao, and we’ll find out about their traditional cultures and daily lives while focusing on aspects of people photography. As well as shooting outside, we’ll be welcomed into the homes of our local friends, allowing us to capture atmospheric indoor portraits using natural light. We’ll have a group photo review at our lodge before dinner.
It’s another early start, but this time we’re climbing to a high point to capture the stunning sea of clouds below the hilltops at dawn. We then hit the road north for Hoang Su Phi Binh Minh, arriving at our spectacularly set ecolodge for lunch. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the area for people photography, with locals working in the fields and in the surrounding villages. However we won’t need to go far for the best landscape in the vicinity – it’s right on the back doorstep of our lodge, and that’s where we’ll be as the sun drops into the valley below.
We’ll set up for sunrise in the golden arena of rice terraces behind our lodge, before heading out to visit local villages on foot. The harvest is underway in some areas, giving us great opportunities to take images of people working together in the fields. We’ll even be invited to lend a hand by the friendly locals. Our photographic focus now turns to creating specific photo stories of our own, working around an assigned theme. We’ll have a review and selection session before dinner, when we’ll also be treated to a performance of Dzao music and dance.
After breakfast, we drive to Bac Ha, a plateau in the foothills of the mountains, renowned for its white horses. The horses are an important part of working life, cuisine, and even a popular racing event for the local minorities. After lunch, we will visit the historic Hmong King’s Palace, the seat of power for the local tribal chief during the French colonial period. Time now to look at architectural photography, using dynamic angles and natural light to our advantage. In the afternoon, we enjoy a trip by longboat along the River Chay, reaching remote riverside villages and a beautiful waterfall. We overnight near Bac Ha town.
This morning, we enjoy the colorful and bustling Bac Ha tribal market, a fantastic opportunity for portraits of local life. The market is a treasure trove of opportunities for vibrant people photography, as well as colorful imagery using the textiles and patterns on display in the many stalls. After lunch in Bac Ha, we journey down the Red River, breaking at beautiful Xoi Farmstay in Yen Bai. The area is blessed with beautiful rice paddies, meaning more opportunity for ripening rice harvest landscapes. We’ll have a review of pictures from the trip and a look at post-processing using Lightroom.
We’ll spend the day exploring this beautiful area, including a photo shoot at a small mountainside bamboo factory, a trip to a stunning waterfall and many images of local life with friendly Tay minority villagers. The village is located in a lush valley blessed with fertile ground for rice growing. We’ll spend time exploring the area on foot and by bicycle, enjoying and photographing classical Vietnamese rural life. In the evening we can also learn how to prepare traditional Tay minority dishes alongside our host family.
Time to head into the mountains again. The road winds up and up into Yen Bai province, where we’ll be exploring the towering rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai. First stop is Tu Le Champ resort, and in the afternoon we’ll head out to shoot in the concentric ‘rice bowl’ nearby. There are many picturesque villages here, and we’ll be working on people photography before setting up for sunset in a specially-chosen spot.
It’s an early start today to shoot in the area near Mu Cang Chai. The road to Mu Cang Chai offers plenty of scenic spots, but we’ll also be stopping to capture local tribal life. We encounter H’mong, Thai, Tay and Dzao people along the way. In the afternoon we head out to a couple of incredible locations to shoot the golden rice terraces in full splendour, and also capture local farmers beginning to work the fields. Other spots on the itinerary include a vast bamboo forest and the H’mong village of La Pan Tan, located overlooking beautifully-patterned terraces.

Our last day among the golden rice terraces of the north means a last chance to capture perfect golden landscapes. We’ll strike out on foot to visit more remote villages and attractive vantage points, putting all of the techniques and knowledge we’ve honed during the tour into practice. Off the beaten track, we’ll encounter a variety of tribal groups, and capture more imagery of harvest time in Mu Cang Chai.

We hit the road back to Hanoi, arriving at lunchtime. In the afternoon we travel out to Quang Phu Cau incense village, where we’ll capture a full story of traditional incense manufacture as well as the iconic bright red imagery from the drying fields. Time for our final group dinner of the tour and farewell. Flights may depart tonight or the next day, with complimentary airport drop-off.

Guiding Team

Our photographers are no ordinary guides. We’re adventurers, teachers and assistants, as well as experienced shooters. We’re up at dawn to catch the best light, and always looking out for unexpected moments and details that make for great photography. Our guides are committed to making sure you enjoy exploring Vietnam through photography as much as we do. Your pictures and your experience are always the priority.

Recommended Equipment

  • Digital Camera or Film Camera
  • Selections of lens
  • Cable release
  • Tripod
  • Memory cards
  • ND Graduated filters
  • Laptop/tablet
  • Storage device


Throughout the trip, we stay in quality 4 star hotels or the best mountain eco-lodges available locally.  In some places there are shared bathroom facilities.  There is a surcharge for single bookings.  If you are open to sharing with someone outside your group, we will do our best to make sure your preferences are met.

The detailed list of accommodation for the tour is –

Location – Hotel

Hanoi – Hotel de l’Opera

Pan Hau – Pan Hou Eco Lodge

Hoang Su Phi – Hoang Su Phi Binh Minh

Bac Ha – La Beaute de Bac Ha

Luc Yen, Yen Bai – Xoi Farmstay

Tu Le, Yen Bai – Tu Le Champ Resort


Throughout the tour we travel by comfortable, air-conditioned 16 seat private minibus.  There will be enough room in the vehicle to carry our maximum 5 guests, guide, driver, luggage and camera gear.  Please however bring a maximum of 1 large suitcase, small daypack and/or camera bag.

Pricing and Dates

202318th September$4239
202417th September$5040
202518th September$5040
202617th September$5040
202716th September$5040

Prices are per person based on double occupancy, and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the tour. Single supplement is available at $500 per person. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based on international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

Early Bird Discounts

We offer an early bird discount of 5% if  tour bookings are made at least 12 months in advance of departure.

Payment Process

We take an initial holding deposit of $500 per person, which is non-refundable (unless Vietnam in Focus calls off the trip). The remainder is due 3 months in advance of the departure date. We also confirm tour departure at this point, and guests can go ahead and book flights.

Cancellation Policy

Tour cancellations incur a fee based on your time of notice before the tour commences.

The time frame and fees for cancellations are as follows –

90 to 61 days before departure is 25% of the trip price.
60 to 46 days before departure is 50% of the trip price.
45-0 days prior to departure is 100% of the trip price.

Group Size

We take a maximum number of 5 guests per tour leader.  With larger groups we will split between two tour leaders


Tour departures will be confirmed 3 months in advance, and depend on a minimum number of guests.  Guests should not book flights until they receive confirmation of the tour departure.


This northern tour through Vietnam is available annually during the months of January to May and from August to December. We officially run this tour on on our designated dates near the end of September during the Golden Harvest (when the rice paddies turn from green to gold) but the tour can be booked privately at any stage during the available months .

Whats included
  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • All transportation
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary
  • All gratuities
  • local guides and government permits
Whats not included
  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages


Juniper (USA)
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This definitely was one of the best things I did in Vietnam. Colm, Mansour, Boris and Duc were all wonderful and taught me so much more about using my camera settings, how to shoot photos in different lights, and how to frame your shots to make them more appealing and interesting. It provided a wonderful opportunity for photos and it was a very unique experience.
Bryan (USA)
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The photographers exuded enthusiasm and a love of photography that was undeniably infectious. As with any tour or service, you only get what you put into it, so to really learn from these guys and this experience, be open to engaging them on sharing their technical skills and getting to them to demonstrate how they think about and might approach a shot. What I learned is that these photographers aren’t just there to walk you around and stand by while you do your thing, but rather they engage with you, discuss their life with you and how they got to where they are today, share their way of thinking about photography and help you think about how to approach a subject differently than you otherwise might.
Debbie (AUS)
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If you like to view a country from afar and not get dirty, don’t choose this trip – but if you want to meet the people, learn from them and gain a glimpse and some understanding of the people and their way of life, then I highly recommend you contact Vietnam in Focus for your trip of a lifetime. Their sound knowledge, choice of sites and activities and their photographic tour guides are just something special you don’t find everyday. Thank you so much for enriching my life everyone.


Yes. We offer a 5% early bird discount on all featured tours if bookings are received 12 months in advance of departure.

We take an initial holding deposit of $500 per person, which is non-refundable (unless we call off the trip for some reason). The remainder is due 3 months in advance of the departure date. We also confirm tour departure at this point, and people can go ahead and book flights.

Our Cancellation policy includes the following fees and cut of periods:

90 to 61 days before departure is 25% of the trip price.

60 to 46 days before departure is 50% of the trip price.

45-0 days prior to departure is 100% of the trip price.

We take a maximum number of 5 guests per 1 tour leader.  With larger groups we will split between 2 tour leaders.

Yes, you do.  You will be asked to sign a legally-binding liability disclaimer before tour departure

Please see the What to Bring list included in each itinerary

It’s a good idea to do this, as you’ll have a chance to get over the jetlag and do a bit of exploring before the action begins.  We can help you arrange accommodation and adventures.

Yes, apart from your own shopping and alcohol (but we’ll cover some wine and beer along the way, don’t worry)

As early as possible – tours book up fast

Please see terms and conditions included on each tour page

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Golden Harvest

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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.


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