20% New Discounts - Time to Dust Off the Camera!
This 15-day photo trip will give you the opportunities to discover Luang Prabang and the most photogenic regions of northern Laos and Vietnam, as well as various indigenous peoples in remote mountainous areas.
Luang Prabang will be revealed all its beauty and architectural heritage, both traditional and colonial, as well as the embodiment of tranquility in the surrounding rural areas. This trip will give you the opportunity to photograph the city during the incredible “Festival of Light” or Lai Heua Fai and the amazing “Festival of the Fire Boat” or Boun Heua Fai, during which families and monks re-decorate the city, creating countless, breath-taking photographic opportunities at every turn.
In addition to Luang Prabang, we also take an intimate look at the daily lives of the various ethnic groups dotted throughout Laos and Vietnam remote interior.
On day one you’ll arrive in Luang Prabang, a charming town in the mountains in the north of Laos. You’ll be transferred to your hotel with time to recharge before the adventure begins the next morning.
After breakfast we’ll drive an hour into the mountains to visit a remote Hmong village, where we can interact with this curious ethnic group. We’ll have with us a Hmong speaker to help us to communicate with the locals, opening up intimate photo opportunities not otherwise possible. After a light lunch of sticky rice in the village, we’ll begin our transfer to Nong Khiaw (3hrs drive), our base for adventuring among the tribal areas for the next few days…
In the morning, we will go to take pictures of the quant ethnic market of Nong Khiaw. Afterward, we’ll start our day with a bit of adventure, climbing into the back of a truck and driving higher into the mountains to visit villages of the Hmong and Lahu ethnic groups. We’ll spend the day exploring these curious villages, interacting with the people living in the mountains. We’ll stay the night in simple Hmong accommodation, a dormitory with only basic facilities. The photo opportunities are well worth any small amount of discomfort.
Accommodation: Hmong Tribe’s homestay
Today, we will spend our last morning in the village after our night with a local family. We might have further opportunities to see further activities in the village or pefhaps out in the rice fields. Later in the day we’ll head back to Nong Khiaw where in the later afternoon, then heading back to Luang Prabang and enjoying the sunset by Luang Prabang pier.
After an early breakfast, we’ll drive to into the mountains to the magical Kuang Si Waterfalls. Here, we’ll have the chance to experiment with long exposure in the cascading falls, fed by natural springs above, as well as enjoy the rainforest scenery. You’ll also have the chance to swim in the crystalline waters before we return to town for lunch.
We’ll head back out in the afternoon, calling in at a local monastery where we’ll witness Buddhist monks making their final preparations for the incredible festival of Lai Heua Fai, or “Festival of Light”, starting the next day.
We’ll head out just before sunrise to see the incredible Tak Bat, or morning alms collection. Today is one of the holiest on the Lao calendar, and so we’ll witness crowds of local people offering gifts to the Buddhist novices as they walk by in procession. This is a very popular photographic event, but dont’ worry: We’ll be far from the town, away from the other tourists. After breakfast in the hotel, we’ll travel to a local pottery village where we’ll have the chance to photograph traditional craftspeople.
In the late afternoon, we’ll head out to another area of town to enjoy the Festival of Light. Here we’ll have the chance to photograph Buddhist monks and other local people lighting paper lanterns, staying for the evening to enjoy the sunset, blue hour, and even into the hours of darkness, with new, beautiful photographic opportunities presenting themselves as the light continually changes.
An optional Tak Bat in the morning if you wish, close to the hotel, we’ll head to a beautiful environment where we’ll have the chance to photograph a local mahout bathing his elephant. We’ll return to town for lunch on your own, then free time for relaxing or exploring the town own your own in the afternoon.
The morning will be spent wandering the streets of Luang Prabang, with a focus placed on street photography. We’ll call in at a market, at monasteries, and also some areas of town where charming French-colonial architecture can be used as a backdrop. In the late afternoon, we’ll witness the amazing Boun Heua Fai, or “Festival of the Fire Boat”. Local people can be seen carrying enormous paper boats through the centre of town to the banks of the Mekong River, before floating them downstream. It is also very common to see glowing paper lanterns being cast towards the night sky. We’ll shoot the remainder of the festival by the light of the full moon.
The first morning will be spent exploring the quaint town of Luang Prabang, focusing on the most architecturally stunning monasteries. We’ll stroll between these ancient gems before enjoying lunch in town. In the afternoon, we’ll board a longboat and wind our way through the hills to Pak Ou Cave. As we cruise back to town along the sleepy Mekong, we’ll have the chance to call in on riverside villages where we might the chance to interact with a variety of local people.
We enjoy one last hearty breakfast at the hotel before getting transferred to airport for flight to Hanoi (Vietnam)
Note: At the moment, the flight schedule between Luang Prabang – Hanoi is unstable. We could get the flight at evening of day 9 to Hanoi then staying overnight at hotel in Hanoi
Upon arrival at Noi Bai airport, you will be welcomed by our guide & driver. Then hitting the road to the stunning tea plantations of Long Coc. Photograph the almost surreal landscapes, with local workers if we prefer. The day ends beautifully at our charming Muong tribal Village Homestay where we will have our delicious home-cook meal.
Capturing the spectacular sunrise over the endless tea hill. When it comes to the right season, the hills are blanketed by fog and turn into a photographer’s delight. After spending a decent amount of time here, we will make our way to Ha Giang. Ha Giang is well known for the mountain’s pass (Ma Pi Leng pass) among local and international tourists but today, we will take you to a seduced spot named Quan Ba where is the home of hill tribe villages and the spectacular Twin Mountains “Nui Doi”. It therefore will be an opportunity to do landscape and portrait photography shoots.
Our day starts with sunrise shooting in Tam Son then make a drive from Quan Ba to Pho Bang where driving is not just driving, it is a scenic drive where we can stop for our morning landscapes combined with people photography, and documentary of cloth weaving of H’mong tribe in Lung Tam. There are 54 ethnic groups located in different areas of Vietnam and unfortunately, some of them are vanishing due to different reasons. Today, we will visit the 2 vanishing tribes which are Bo Y (Bố Y) with approximately 3000 inhabitants and Pu Peo (Pu Péo) with 903 inhabitants left in Vietnam.
On the way to Lung Cu, we will stop for a karst landscape photoshoot and visit white H’mong & Flower Lo Lo (Lô Lô) tribes in Sung La valley. By the afternoon, we will reach Lung Cu, the northernmost point of Vietnam. Portraying Black Lo To tribe will be our last activity today before getting to Dong Van where we stay for the night.
Although the Ha Giang Pass (Ma Pi Leng pass) is popular for motorbiking, it is definitely a great place for landscape photography! On one side are dangerous cliffs and the abyss on the other side, Ma Pi Leng is a fascinating scenery for any camera frame. And of course, we cannot miss the boat trip on Nho Que river to get closer to the Tu san Abyss Alley which is described as the most splendid canyon in Southeast Asia and a one-of-a-kind wonder that cannot be missed on a northern Vietnam trip. While cruising along Nho Que river, we will photograph the hill tribe villages.
Wake up in the early morning to capture the sunrise moment over the tribal village in Khuoi Khon and feel free to walk around to find your best photography opportunities. Then we set our journey back to Hanoi.
You’ll be driven to the airport according to your departure time and given a fond farewell. You’ll be tired and probably ready to go home, but part of you will miss not getting up in the morning for another shoot!