Spectacular Journey to the West of Northern Vietnam - Colorful Cultures and Epic Landscapes

Multi Day Vietnam Photography Tour

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TOUR TYPE:
Photography Tour
TOur Length:
11

 Days  

Departure Date:
August 30, 2024

Journey to the West

Moc Chau Love Market and the Black River Valley

For generations, the Hmong of Vietnam’s northwest mountainous Moc Chau have gathered each year for a colorful ‘love market’. Today, the festival attracts people from all over the region as they search for new love or old flames, bringing a carnival of color and festivity to this scenic town. Starting in Hanoi, we’ll travel west to the Moc Chau plateau to enjoy and photograph the celebrations. We’ll mingle with the locals, photographing the mix of tradition and modernity, processions and performances. The celebrations carry on for two days, and we’ll also be venturing towards the Laos border for a local Hmong festival including time-honored traditional games and rituals.

The Black River Valley is blessed with verdant tea fields, where we’ll capture epic landscapes, along with images of the conical-hatted harvesters at work on the green hillsides. We then head further west, capturing spectacular mountain views, and visiting remote villages of Thai, Hmong and Tay minorities. At Ta Xua, we’ll climb along ‘the dinosaur’s spine’, a jaw-dropping journey above a a sea of sunlit clouds. 

In Tu Le and Mu Cang Chai, we’ll traverse the towering rice terraces as they begin to turn gold, before heading down into the Red River valley to stay with our friends at tranquil Xoi Farmstay. We’ll enjoy a very local experience in the villages and tribal markets of this authentic rural area, before returning to the capital. It all makes for a visually-rich and culturally-enriching experience of Vietnam’s true northwest, providing a portfolio of fabulous images.

This is a premium photographic adventure, and we’ll enjoy the best accommodation available, from stylish eco-lodges to resorts and restored traditional residences. 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 in the Northwest of Vietnam

Capture candid people photography as you engage with the tribes and communities of the wild northwest, documenting their stories with depth and authenticity. Festivals and markets offer plenty of opportunities for images of color and chaos, but we’ll also enjoy intimate moments with our local friends in the homes and hamlets we visit.

The landscapes here are also a photographer’s paradise, with sweeping vistas, lush tea and rice fields, and the cloudy Black River valley, offering endless opportunities for creative composition. We’ll be up at dawn and out at dusk, hunting light and clouds in the area’s most photogenic spots. Every click of your camera will not only boost your photographic skills but also weave an evocative narrative.

This is of course a cultural journey too, and we’ll be trying out the delicious cuisines of the hill tribes, and participating in their traditional games and musical performances. Far from the tourist trail, in the company of our local friends, we’ll enjoy and document the true face of Vietnam’s wild northwest.

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.

Award-winning photojournalist Hoang Viet will lead our 2024 Wild Northwest photo tour. As well as an experienced photographer, Viet is an independent film director. Leading photo tours for Vietnam in Focus, he specializes in visual storytelling, documentary and street photography, and photo editing. Hanoi is his hometown, but Viet’s work as a filmmaker and journalist has taken him all over Vietnam, giving him unique insight into the lives and landscapes of many regions.

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 North Vietnam’s festival season. However we can tailor this tour or something similar to your required dates.

Further Reading

Moc Chau Love Market – 3 Day Festival Tour

The Love Market where we can get together

Reviews

Moc Chau review 2
Moc Chau review
Villia (CANADA)
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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!

Further Reading

Northern Vietnam - The Golden Harvest @ Mu-Cang-Chai

Northern Vietnam

Vietnam’s north is rugged, traditional and full of new adventures.  If you want to photograph street traders, towering mountainscapes and colourful hill-tribes, this is the place to explore.

Going for Golden Harvest

Going for Gold

Vietnam’s harvest time has become a magnet for photographers, but only we know how to capture the true essence of this incredible season.

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.

Welcome the New Year with the hill tribes of Northern Vietnam

Experience the Gao Tau festival, Hmong fire dancing & lunar new year festivities with the Dzao, Hmong & Tay people during far Northern Vietnam's festival season. Cameras in hand, we'll explore the spectacular landscapes and colorful tribal communities around Sapa on a photographic adventure to remember. In the company of our photography team and local Black Hmong guides, this is the ultimate, authentic encounter with Vietnam's hill tribes.

Experience the thrilling Phuoc Hai Whale-Worshiping Festival

Explore southern Vietnam's spectacular coastline and traditional cultures on this immersive photo adventure. Travel by boat down the Saigon RIver to discover the mangroves and salt farms of Can Gio, before heading north to experience the vibrant Phuoc Hai Whale-Worshiping Festival. In Ninh Thuan, we'll encounter the ethnic Cham tribe and the wild volcanic landscapes of Nui Chua National Park en route to remote, palm-fringed Whale Island.

Journey to the West

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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