Road to El Dorado
Journey to the lands of gold

Date: Sep 10 - 17
Designed to take you to some of the most photogenic parts of North Vietnam, Road to El Eldorado brings you on a 7 days adventure going from Yen Bai to Lao Cai. These places are home to Vietnam’s most dramatic mountainscape and rich cultural traditions.

Trip highlights

- Photograph dramatic mountainscape

- Mesmerizing terraced rice field

- Authentic "mountain market"

- Stay at local homestay

Group size: 06
Space available: 05

With your camera, you will capture some of the most stunning scenery where valleys turn into a golden color as the rice harvest season comes. You will also attend a local mountain market where the local minorities are in their elaborate traditional costumes, and even get to stay at their homes. Road to El Dorado is not just simply an incredible photography tours, but also a true local culture experience.

Y Ty is among the highlights, a community of Ha Nhi people who live by the border between Vietnam – China. At an elevation of 1500 m above sea level, the weather is cool all year round. The local people stay in their rammed-earth houses with grass roof. We will make our way to their homes and photograph their way of life – which has undergone very little impact from civilization.

When Momentlives photo tours first launched our tour here, there was only a very small number of travelers who passed by, very few ever made way to the community like us.

Itinerary from Sep 10 - 17      

Day 1. Arrival

This evening get to meet your tour leader for a tour briefing. Later on the group get together at our welcome dinner (D)

Day 2. Ha Noi – Lao Cai – Sa Pa

This morning leave for Lao Cai. We arrive at in Sa Pa in the mid afternoon. After leaving stuff at our homestay, we head outdoor to shoot at the Golden Valley (B/L/D)

Day 3. Sa Pa – Y Ty

We will be traveling along hidden trails, get to see the authentic ways of life of the ethnic people. We will also explore some of the most exotic mountainscapes of the regions & meet the local at their home. (B/L/D)

Day 4. Surroundings of Y Ty

Y Ty is surrounded by vast golden valleys and home to a unique ethnic group: The Ha Nhi. They stay in their rammed earth houses with grass roof and still retain a traditional lifestyle. Their faces, their homes are so photogenic that you can hardly keep your camera loose. Overnight in Bac Ha. (B/L/D)

Day 5. The mountain market

We go to a hillside and all of the sudden, see the local people who are dressed in their elaborate traditional costumes, busy with their buying, selling. All kinds of “mountain products” are on offer, some people are drinking – to them the market is a rendezvous, some are making comments at a buffalos offered at the “cattle” section. Some kids are sleeping on their mother’s back.
Let your camera and lens capture your creativity. Overnight in Mu Cang Chai. (B/L/D)

Day 6, 7. Mu Cang Chai & the surroundings

For a long time, Mu Cang Chai was always a quiet tiny town, untouched by outsiders. It was only a couple of years ago, after the mesmerizing scenery of rice terraces were recognized as National Heritage, did local travelers start to come.

Most of the time of our last 02 days we will be shooting torrents of rice terraces, from one hilltop down to valley before climbing the next. Each lookout offers a different perspective over the super works of human being that has been ongoing for hundreds of years. This is a fantastic chance for landscape photography.

Later of Day 7 we make our way back to Hanoi, completing a trip held only once a year, for only 6 people. (2B/2L/1D)

Please also see more of the scenery in Mu Cang Chai here

Cost of package
Total cost
22,000,000 VND
(990 USD)
Deposite for trip
7,800,000 VND
(350 USD)
Single supplement
2,600,000 VND
(118 USD)


• English speaking guide
• Transportation (private van)
• Water/energy drinks/snack on van
• Toys, books, pens for local kids
• Accommodation from day 1 to day 6 (Check-in time is 14:00, check-out time is 12:00)
• Meals
• Admission fees
• Gratuities for "local models"
• Airport transfers (02 ways)


• Insurance of any types;
• Airfares or airport tax;
• Drinks at meals, tip, laundry or personal expenses;
• Others not clearly specified in the Inclusions

1. Accommodation

The tour takes you to some of the least developed regions in the country where the infrastructure is limited. Accommodation options are generally quite basic: Clean bed, toilet with hot shower.

2. Meals

Wherever possible we will eat dinner at the best local restaurant available. But the produce of the far north limits variety and meals are quite basic. Some of our breakfast may be rice, eggs, veges or some meat. Our lunches and dinners are normally warm which will provide you great energy to cover up for the day shooting.

3. Physical requirements 

We suggest that you should have the ability to walk approximately 4kms on any given day (not at one time) whilst carrying your camera gears. Our vehicle will always be as close as possible. A moderate fitness level is recommended.

4. Medical care

We are never too far from a big hospital. Still, we suggest bringing with you some handy things, such as: paracetamol, rehydration salts/tablets, anti diarrhoea tablets, motion sickness tablets, vitamins, alcohol wipes, antiseptic creams.

5. Photographic gears
A suggested photo kit might include:
• DSLR body
• Lens is your own preference, we suggest 1 wide angle, 1 tele lens.
• Tripod & Cable release
• Polarizing filters
• Spare memory cards/battery
• Card reader and cable
• Laptop or storage device

NOTE: There will be almost no opportunity to buy or replace any camera gears once we leave Hanoi

Personal Gear Suggestions

• Hat or cap; Sunscreen;
• Comfortable walking shoes;
• Comfortable clothes for walking up and down hills

6. Travel Insurance

Please make sure you have personal travel insurance arranged before you leave home. The tour cost is insurance-free.