Vietnam by Rail
All aboard the Reunification Express!
Discover Vietnam from south to north while learning the art of travel photography. Our journey begins in Saigon, with an exploration of the city’s vibrant backstreets. After a short train trip to coastal Mui Ne and Nui Chua national park, we head to the thriving beach city of Danang. From there, it’s time to cross the Hai Van Pass to Hue, one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys. We then enjoy a couple of days cruising in the azure waters of Ha Long Bay, working on our seascapes. Our final stop is the historic capital of Hanoi, home to ‘train street’, among other unique attractions. Over the course of the tour, with the guidance of our Vietnam in Focus tour leaders, we capture a photographic story of life throughout this diverse country.
This is a premium photographic adventure, and we’ll enjoy the best accommodation available along the way. We’ll also taste the most delicious cuisine in a part of the world already renowned for its culinary excellence. Between short train journeys, we travel by spacious and comfortable minibus, with an extra vehicle to transport our luggage between accommodation. The trip also includes two domestic flights.
Our close connection to the people of this region, local friendships and many years of experience give us unparallelled access to the authentic life of locals 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.
Participants arrive at various times during the day, with complimentary pick-up by private car from the airport and transfer to our boutique hotel in District 1. In the evening we will all meet for a delicious Vietnamese meal at a gourmet restaurant in the heart of Saigon. We have an overview of the tour and introductions before an early night
This morning we make an early start for a special Danang On the Waterfront photo tour, catching the fishing coracles as they bring their catch into shore. Trawlers lay at anchor on the horizon as the sun rises, and fishermen arrive as a beach fish market gets into full sway. We then head up to Danang’s city harbor to capture shots of boatbuilders, iceloaders and dockers in the midst of their working lives. After breakfast it’s time to catch the passenger train over the Hai Van Pass. We climb up into the jungle-clad mountains overlooking the East Sea, the carriages snaking slowly around each ridge. A chance now to capture some spectacular pictures of one of the world’s great railway trips. We arrive in Hue, and head to our hotel.
It’s an early morning start to photograph the bustling market at Ha Long seafood port. We then board our luxury Ha Long Bay junk in mid-morning and have lunch as we cruise into the bay. The afternoon is spent relaxing on the junk as we float among Ha Long’s forested karst islands, with a visit to caves and beaches. We have a sunset shoot from the deck of our junk, and a delicious seafood dinner.
After breakfast, we visit a floating village, and capture fishermen at work in the bay. We’ll have a group review of photos on deck before returning to port for lunch. Time to head back to historic Haiphong station for a short train journey, arriving in the capital Hanoi in early evening. We check into our boutique hotel and enjoy a last group dinner together.
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.
- Digital Camera or Film Camera
- Selections of lens
- Cable release
- Memory cards
- ND Graduated filters
- Storage device
Throughout the trip, we stay in comfortable and stylish hotels and resorts with many amenities. All have been carefully chosen based on personal research and experience, and offer top quality service. During our two nights on the train, we travel in comfortable shared 4 bunk compartments. You may book a private compartment for a surcharge.
Saigon – Alagon Saigon Hotel & Spa (optional upgrade to Park Hyatt)
Mui Ne – Victoria Phan Thiet Beach Resort & Spa
Hoi An – Hoi An Coco River Resort & Spa
Hue – Hue Riverside Boutique Resort & Spa
Ha Long Bay – Private Junks with Indochina Junk
Hanoi – Hotel de l’Opera
Pricing and Dates
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 $300 per person.
Early Bird Bookings
We offer an early bird discount of 5% if tour bookings are made at least 12 months in advance of departure.
We take an initial holding deposit of $500 per person, which is non-refundable. The remainder is due three months in advance of the departure date. We also confirm tour departure at this point, and people can go ahead and book flights.
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.
We take a maximum number of five guests per tour leader. With larger groups we will split between two tour leaders.
Tour departures will be confirmed three months in advance, and depend on a minimum number of guests. Guests should not book flights until they receive confirmation of the tour departure.
Our Vietnam by Rail tour is available during the months of March to June and August to November. We officially run this tour on our designated dates (April and September) but the tour can be booked privately at any stage during the available months. If requested the tour can also be run in reverse from North (Hanoi) to South (Saigon)
- 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
- Alcoholic beverages