Hanoi and the north
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.
Hanoi has a unique, understated allure, and that’s what first sparked our interest in running photo tours here all those years ago. Sure, there’s sightseeing to do, but the real attraction is the city’s street life, the maze-like alleyways, the railway village, and the bustling local markets. It’s the conical-hatted cycle traders, the delicious street food you eat on plastic pavement stools, the crumbling colonial architecture and the cafe-circled lakes. It’s so many things, and it all makes for a visual feast. Whether you’re setting off along the railway tracks, shooting sunrise from Long Bien Bridge or mixing with locals at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum in the evening, your pictures and memories from one of our Hanoi tours will stay with you.
Northern Vietnam has some well-known gems like Ha Long Bay and Sapa, and we often include these on our multi-day Featured Tours. Still, we feel the best experiences and photos are to be found off the beaten track. On a tour with us in the north, you’ll enjoy the benefit of our many years experience of travelling and shooting in this area. We know where to find the best shots, when to go, and have friends in places you wouldn’t imagine. In particular, we have a close connection with many families from hill tribe groups in the region, allowing us (and you) unique insight and access for amazing photographs.
Weather-wise, the best times to visit are between late April and early June, and late September to mid-December. If you’re heading north, you’ll catch the rice plantation period in May, and the golden harvest season starting in late September.
Ha Giang is known as Vietnam’s final, northernmost frontier. Until recently, access to this area was restricted for foreigners, but now it’s opening up. Ha Giang is home to an incredible array of ethnic minority groups, with the Dzao and H’mong only the most visible. You’ll see the colourful garments of these hill tribe people on the highest mountainsides, and encounter their smiling faces at the many ‘cho phien’ or market fairs that spring up in local villages along the way. The landscapes here are some of the most incredible in Asia, with the unearthly, volcanic Dong Van Rocky Plateau and hair-raising journey through the clouds over the Ma Pi Leng Pass making for unforgettable pictures.
Mu Cang Chai is home to Vietnam’s most stunning rice terraces, paddy fields sculpted into the landscape as if at the hand of great artists. Tiny hill tribe villages teeter on the edge of these arenas of high-altitude agriculture, and you’ll see the local minority people working in the fields most of the year – the artists themselves. In late September, the paddies turn from green to gold, a short two or three week window before farmers fill the fields and begin to reap their crops. The immediate area has numerous stunning spots for landscape photography, such as La Pan Tan village, the Khau Pha Pass and Tu Le village.
Hanoi Popular Day Tours
Explore and Photograph Hanoi’s intriguing stretch of railway running between Hanoi and Long Bien Stations. Enhance your street photography skills on this once original and mesmerizing photographic tour
Discover classic lowland northern Vietnam on our Ninh Binh Photography Day Tour. Our trip includes a two-hour boat journey at Tam Coc Nature Reserve, or ‘Ha Long Bay on land’, a photographic exploration of the ruins at Vietnam’s ancient capital of Hoa Lu, and a sunset wander through the stunning paddies and river valleys of this beautiful region.
Capture and explore Hanoi. On our private half day photography tour through the cities Old Quarter, experience the morning markets and life around the inner-cities railway as well as the historic monuments of this historic city.
Capture Vietnam’s capital after dark, from bustling markets to exotic food stalls on lowlit corners. capture the evening train passing though famous train street and experience the local cafe’s and landmarks. Enhance your low light photography skills on this unique Evening Photo tour.
Northern Vietnam Featured Tours
Explore and Capture Vietnam’s North West
13 days following Vietnam’s historical opium trade and the environment it flourished in. You’ll encounter and capture the montagnards of the northern hill tribes and visit colonial palaces and the scattered ruins of French forts and gun emplacements, all remains of that nation’s management of the opium trade in northern Vietnam nearly a century ago.
Discover Vietnam from south to north by rail
Travel from Saigon to Hanoi on Vietnam’s Reunification Express while learning the art of travel photography. Capture daily Vietnamese life in the cities of Saigon, Danang and Hanoi, Explore the eastern coastline, fishing villages and sleepy towns, capture traders, fishermen and the indigenous Life along the railway. Experience crossing the Hai Van Pass, one of the world’s most spectacular train journeys on our 11 day photographers adventure though Vietnam.
Northern Vietnam Photographic Adventure
14 Days through Northern Vietnam on our ultimate mountain photo adventure, Capture ‘golden season’ on the towering rice terraces of Mu Cang Chai and Sapa. Rainy season is over. The harvest fast approaches, the paddies turn from bright green to gold in a matter of weeks, its a landscape photographer’s dream.