Vietnam, stretching over more than 1650 km from North to South, offers an incredible variety of landscapes and population: floating markets overflowing with tropical fruits in the Mekong Delta, ancient trading posts, old ruins of the last imperial capital of Vietnam, colorful ethnic markets and rice terraces… Throughout these 15 days, we will meet up close with the population and share moments of their daily lives, while enjoying each region’s cultural wealth and breathtaking sceneries.
The best time to pick this Vietnam Adventure is in May. This time offers the best climate throughout the 3 regions, South, Centre and North Vietnam, with the added bonus of rice harvest in the center and rice transplanting in the northern mountains, offering animated rice field landscapes, to the photographer’s great delight.
Upon your arrival, your Vietnam Senses Travel guide and driver pick you up at the airport then transfer you to the hotel for check in. Enjoy a half-day city tour, visiting the Reunification Palace, the area surrounding the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Museum of War Remnants.
- Northern Hotel Sai Gon
- Little Saigon Corner
Notre Dame Cathedral, Museum of War Remnants
We will start our journey in Cho Lon, a neighborhood that was able to preserve its traditions and it French and Chinese influenced architecture. Its colorful back alleys, with its worn out yellow and green walls, offer an inspirational background to its dynamic street scene.
We will then head towards Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta, in a nearby village scattered with temple-looking brick ovens. Upon arrival, we will capture the workers ancestral know-how of brick manufacturing, as well as the geometric forms of the ovens and bricks alignments.
Our journey will continue to Tiger Island, situated across Long Xuyen. Dinner and overnight stay with a local islander.
Sunrise on Long Xuyen floating market, one of Vietnam’s most typical and largest market, as it stretches over one kilometer. The scarcity of tourists allows for a more authentic and easier contact with the local population. We will then visit a Khmer floating village, where hundreds of families live on traditional boat houses..
Back to Tiger Island, we’ll hop on bicycles to go around the island and experience its unique atmosphere. After lunch, we’ll head back to Ho Chi Minh, while stopping along the way in the very photogenic village of Dinh Yen, specialized in the manufacturing of traditional mats..
Upon our arrival in Ho Chi Minh in the late afternoon, we’ll head directly to the airport to catch a flight to Danang. We’ll extend our trip to Hoi An, an ancient trade post listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Dinner and night in Hoi An.
- Ancient House Hoi An
- Hoi An Chic Hotel
Early morning departure for a boat ride on Thu Bon River, where we will assist to the sunrise as fishermen in small boats operate their lift nets. Some great pictures to be expected! We will then visit the market and the charming fishing village.
We’ll spend the afternoon in Hoi An’s marvelous countryside, where the rice field should be booming with activity with the ongoing harvest. Dinner and night in Hoi An.
Early morning awakening for those who wish to capture the rising sun on the river and the peaceful atmosphere of the old city streets at dusk. Free time late morning.
In the afternoon, we’ll follow the “ocean cloud pass” to reach the Lang Co Lagoon, offering some great point of views to shoot superb landscape photos, hopefully with a nice sunset to top it off. Dinner and night in Phu Loc.
Ocean Cloud Pass, Lang Co Lagoon
Morning activities beside Phu Loc Lagoon, starting at dusk with a landscape photography workshop, standing in the water, with sampan in the foreground and the Truong Son mountain range in the background. Strolling along the lagoon, we will try and capture the fishermen returning from their morning excursions.
We’ll then walk across a rice field to visit a typical local village, before setting out for Hue, Vietnam’s last imperial capital city.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit the charming old Imperial Citadel of the Nguyen dynasty and its surrounding neighborhood, until reaching the outer ramparts, transformed into vegetable gardens. Dinner and night in Hue.
- Romance Hue Hotel
- Moonlight Hotel Hue
Phu Loc Lagoon, Imperial Citadel of Hue
In the morning, we’ll go out of the city to visit the Mausoleum of Emperor Minh Mang. Built in the middle of rolling hills, the site consists of temples, pavilions, stelas and water rooms, all aligned on a symmetric axis, in perfect harmony with its natural surroundings. We’ll spend the rest of the morning exploring the countryside around Hue.
We’ll take a flight to Hanoi in the afternoon, and spend the early evening in a coffee shop overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake, where we will be able to practice long exposure photography by capturing the bustling traffic underneath. Dinner and sleep in Hanoi.
- Essence d’Orient Hotel & Spa
We will start the day at the Long Bien Bridge, designed by Eiffel. Reserved for two-wheeled vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the train passing in its center, this bridge is taken every morning by thousands of provincials coming to sell their products in the city, or on the Long Bien market situated just underneath it.
We will then go walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, where Hanoians enjoy doing their physical exercises, and continue our exploration in the bustling 36 old streets and guilds of the old quarter.
In the afternoon, we will walk up Phan Dinh Phung Street, which boasts Hanoi’s most beautiful colonial houses and several official buildings, and will pass by Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum before reaching the magnificent Temple of Literature. Dinner and night in Hanoi.
We will leave Hanoi early in the morning to reach Mu Cang Chai in the late afternoon. On our way, about 60km from Hanoi, we will visit the traditional village of Duong Lam with its two-century old houses, reflecting how the Red River villages used to look like in the past.
As we’ll move forward to our destination, the sceneries will become more and more spectacular, crossing stunning hilly landscapes, corn and manioc fields, tea plantations and after reaching Nghia Lo, we’ll come upon our first rice terraces. Dinner and homestay with a Thai family.
Duong Lam village, Rice Terraces
Mu Cang Chai holds some of the most impressive rice terraces in the country and is listed as a Vietnam National Heritage site. Throughout the day, we will have plenty of occasions to observe the H’mong people going about their daily lives and working in the fields.
In the morning, we will visit Lao Chai village, and in the afternoon the La Pan Tan “canyon”. If the time permits, we will also visit the beautiful rice fields of Che Cu Nha. Dinner and homestay with a Thai family.
H’mong people, Lao Chai Village
We will head for Sapa by going through the plains formed by Nam Na River. On our way, we will stop in a traditional Thai village overlooking a large rice field and surrounded by enormous bamboos groves.
The road from Than Uyen to Sapa is superb, meandering through hills covered with tea bushes until reaching Tram Uyen passage, dominated by Fansipan Mountain, culminating at 3143m. We will make numerous stops along the way to capture these magnificent landscapes.
Sapa, also called “the city in the clouds”, is an old climate station renown during the French colonization for its pure fresh air. Dinner and night in Sapa.
We will spend the morning strolling through the beautiful landscapes of Sapa Valley. We will then head towards Muong Hum with its equally breathtaking sceneries, alternating rice fields and ridged mountain passages, where we will see the activities of the ethnic minorities of the region: a lot of photo stops are to be expected on the way! Dinner and homestay with a Giay family.
We will start the day by heading to the weekly market of Y Ty, situated just across China, on the other side of the valley. The road to it as well as the encounters with the local population will inspire you. The market offers a multitude of colourful costumes and head coverings from various ethnic groups, such as the Ha Nhi, Phu La, White Hmong.
We will spend the afternoon discovering the mountainous landscapes and small villages surrounding Y Ty. Dinner and homestay with a Giay family.
We will wake up just next to the multi-colour market of Muong Hum, which takes place every Sunday. Muong Hun is home to the Giay people, whose women wear flashy, colorful shirts. They are well-tried traders, as they serve as intermediaries between the mountain ethnic groups and the Vietnamese living in the valley. We will meet with many other minorities such as Black Hmongs, Red Dao women wearing their conical hats, Ha Nhi people or White Hmongs.
We will take one last stroll before leaving for Lao Cai, where we’ll take a night train to Hanoi.
Upon arrival, we’ll freshen up with a little shower and have our last breakfast together. Bidding each other farewell.
MORE TOURS HERE