Northern Vietnam Festival Season a spectacular Photo Tour
Vietnam In Focus
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Multi Day Vietnam Photography Tour

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TOUR TYPE:
Group Photography Tour
TOur Length:
11

 Days  

Departure Date:
February 1, 2025

Days of the Dragon

Northern Vietnam Festivals

Start your year celebrating with the hill tribes, in Sapa, during Northern Vietnam's festival season.

The beginning of the lunar year brings many exhilarating festivals to northern Vietnam. For travelers, this means a unique opportunity to experience the rich and vibrant cultures of the hill tribes of Sapa and Bac Ha. For photographers, it offers incredible images, and a chance to document the authentic celebrations and rituals of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities.

Highlights include the colorful Gao Tau festival, Dzao fire dancing and an up close experience of lunar new year festivities with the Dzao and Tay people. Our local friends help us to understand the traditions and significance of these Northern Vietnam festivals, and give us unique access to the people and their cultures. Along the way, we develop a photographic story on the diverse festivals and traditions of northern Vietnam. It all makes for an unforgettable journey at an incredibly photogenic time of year.

This 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.

Our close connection to the people of Vietnam, local friendships and many years of experience give us unparalleled access to the authentic life of the locals and the area’s most stunning vistas. As working photographers, with many years of teaching experience, we provide you unique insights and knowledge about Vietnam and photographic storytelling.

 

Expectations

Discover the colorful cultures of the hill tribes of Sapa for the Northern Vietnam festival season. The new lunar year brings families and communities together as the ethnic minorities converge on the hill slopes of Sapa and Bac Ha. Surrounded by vibrant color and festivity, we’ll be in the thick of it, capturing the emotions of tribal people as they celebrate through performances and traditional games, passed down through the generations.
In the green hills around Sapa, we’ll photograph Hmong revelers as they celebrate the ancient Gau Tao festival. The mountain landscape makes for a spectacular backdrop as the locals play tug o’war, tightrope walking on a bamboo pole, and other games in their intricately-patterned traditional attire. Come evening, we’ll capture images of Dzao fire walking, sparks flying into the night above Bac Ha town.
Each day, our local Hmong guides will introduce us to the authentic lives of the local minority people at this exciting time of year. We’ll visit local villages and be welcomed into stilt houses, giving us an unforgettable encounter with the hill tribes of the area. It also offers plenty of opportunities for portraits and images of montagnard life. We’ll especially look at capturing atmospheric shots of people using natural light sources.
At Bac Ha Sunday market, it’s all about making visual order from the sensory chaos. Flower Hmong people descend on the town to barter and trade, as well as catch up with old friends over a bottle of corn wine. Cameras in hand, we’ll explore all areas of this bustling market, including the dizzying textile stalls and fascinating buffalo trading corner. We’ll approach our images here in a variety of ways, searching for symmetry and co-ordination to tell our stories.
We’ll attend several local festivals during the trip, each presenting the rites, stories and rituals of different tribal groups. We’ll experiment with various shutter speeds and other settings, plus work in both Black and White and color to reveal different aspects of these events. The weather can change quickly, bringing fog to the mountains and villages, which itself provides fascinating opportunities for unique images of local life.
Sapa is justly famous for its natural beauty, and we’ll enjoy several short treks into stunning areas like Y Ty, capturing landscapes as the winter mist rolls through the hills. Traveling by longboat, we’ll also have a chance to photograph riverside village life and practice long exposure shots of a stunning waterfall deep in a rocky valley.
Throughout the trip, we’ll enjoy typically warm local hospitality and Vietnamese culinary excellence, the base for an unforgettable photographic adventure at a spectacular time of year.

Image Gallery

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.

Photographer Tung Phan will lead our 2024 Days of the Dragon tour. Tung Phan is a Hanoi-based photographer with a Master’s degree in International Journalism from Sussex University in the UK. With a solid foundation in journalism and broadcasting, in particular with Vietnam Television (VTV), he brings a unique perspective to his work, capturing the essence and stories of Vietnam through the lens of his camera.

Tour Information

Recommended Equipment

  • Digital Camera
  • Drone
  • Selections of lens
  • Cable release
  • Tripod
  • Memory cards
  • CPL & ND Graduated filters
  • Laptop/tablet
  • Storage device

What's 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

What's 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

Seasonality

This is a small private group tour with designated departure dates based on the northern Vietnam festival season. However we can tailor this tour or something similar to your required dates.

Reviews

Sapa review
Villia (CANADA)
Read More
We were delighted with our trip, We could not have asked for a more congenial and attentive guides, Duc and Nhan outdid themselves. Duc's ability to approach people and to get them to enjoy his company gave us an entry point for interacting with people. His profound respect for the ethnic minority peoples really impressed us and provided the means to engage with people on an equal footing. Nhan was an attentive and knowledgeable with a great sense of humor. We spent much of our trip smiling and laughing with the two of them. In Hanoi, Brett and Ling were great guides and instructors. Overall you have a great team who go the extra mile. The accommodations were great, the food fabulous and the car and driver were both superb. We had an exceptional time, see VIF again!
Tour FAQ and Information

Please contact us directly and request a Brochure for this tour.

Throughout the trip, we stay in quality 4-5 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.

Please contact us for more Information

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.

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 request. 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

Please contact us for more Information

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

We offer an extra 5% discount to returning guests.

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 at least 3 months in advance of the departure date. This is also our latest date to confirm tour departure at this point, and guests can go ahead and book flights.

In the event that we have our minimum number of guests booked in for the tour earlier than 3 months before departure, we will confirm the tour, and guests are free to book their flights.

Your initial $500 reservation deposit is non-refundable, except in the event that Vietnam in Focus cancels the trip. The deposit can however be put towards a future trip with Vietnam in Focus.

If you cancel your booking with us, our cancellation policy includes the following fees and cut-off periods:

If canceling 90 to 61 days before departure, the guest is liable for 25% of the trip cost.

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

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

In order to ensure an authentic, personalized experience, we take a maximum number of 5 guests per one photographer tour leader. With larger groups, we will split between 2 photographer tour leaders.

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

Absolutely, they are most welcome. There’s plenty to entertain non-photographers on our tours, as long as they don’t mind the rest of us getting up at the crack of dawn most days.

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.

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Experience and photograph the very best of Vietnam in one epic adventure

Embark on the ultimate Vietnam photography adventure, capturing the vibrant tapestry of this diverse nation. From the bustling streets of Saigon to the enchanting landscapes of Ha Giang, experience the rich cultural journey, blending urban energy, traditional markets, and the colorful tribes of the far north. Join us on an epic visual expedition, documenting the very best of Vietnam from south to north in a single, unforgettable adventure.

Days of the Dragon

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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