The Northern Grand Expedition
An unprecedented photographic journey of North Vietnam

Date: Sep 10 - 26
A year in the making, constant exploration and a lot of in depth research has gone in to creating this incredible 16 day journey across North Vietnam taking in all the amazing north has to offer. This is the home to incredible scenery, spectacularly rugged mountains, turquoise rivers, exotic and traditional ethnic life, stunning villages, tea plantations, terraced rice fields and so much more. This is a journey made for photographers by photographers.

Trip highlights
•   Hanoi Old Quarter street life
•   Vast tea plantations
•   Incredible terraced rice fields of Yen Bai
•   Hill tribe life
•   Mountain markets
•   Spectacular Ban Gioc waterfall
•   Rugged mountain scenery
•   Ha Long Bay

Group size: 08
Space available: 06

A decade ago, very few people considered Vietnam as travel destination but now it is one of the most popular tourist hot spots in South East Asia. But there is standard route that most people follow; Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon and the Mekong Delta. We take a different path through the more rugged and spectacular parts of Vietnam. Our journey is designed to get photographers off the well-worn trail and take them to the most photogenic parts of the country.

The Grand Northern Expedition encompasses places that only a handful of travelers have ever been to. We will travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Cao Bang and Halong Bay. We have scheduled the tour to coincide with the seasons, it's when rice paddies are at their most colorful and the mountain markets are in full swing.

Every day of the tour offers amazing opportunities for photography and whilst we make our way across the North you'll learn about the people and the variety of cultures that eke out an existence in the region. Vietnam has 54 ethnicities within the entire country and the majority are in the regions we will be travelling through.

If you have a sense of adventure, boundless curiosity and ultimately, photography is your passion then join us for this true journey.



Itinerary from Sep 10 - 26      

Day 1. Mon, Sep 10. Arrival day

Arrival day & check in accommodation. Orientation meeting and dinner.


Day 2. Hanoi & the surroundings

This morning, we have an “early out” to capture the market of Long Bien in sunrise. This is the largest fruit market in the capital city. From before dawn, hundreds of local busy running, buying and carrying things on different vehicles. This morning frenzy offers many photo opportunities.
After breakfast, we worked our way through the Old Quarter and capture the daily activities of the local, which take place on the sidewalks.
In the afternoon, we travel out to the countryside and visit the Tho Ha – a photogenic village nestled on a river bank. While making our way through the village, we find ourselves shaded with bamboo lattice racks, which are used for drying rice paper, an inspiring chance for photography.


Day 3 – 6

These days we spend in the pursuit of the exceptional images. Firstly, we photograph the mesmerizing scenery of cascading rice terraces in the rolling hills of Yen Bai province. Here, a vista of rice terraces carpeting from one mountaintop to the next. This truly photogenic place is a never-ending region of inspiration and a must-see for any landscape photographer for at least once in a lifetime. Every day we are out for both sunrise and sunset to make sure we capture the landscapes in best lighting conditions. Then, we move on for our photography of the grandeur of Tan Chau tea plantation – where local women, in their conical hat, pick up tealeaves. The backdrop is created by mountain pinnacles with swirling cloud.


Day 7

A day of relaxation and workshop. We will go through everyone’s photos. Our lodging nestles in a verdant valley, surrounded by rice field and bucolic view.


Day 8

Travel from our lodging on sinuous trail to Ha Giang – the symbol of mountain scenery in Vietnam, home to a dozen of colorful tribal minority groups.


Day 9 – 11

These days are set to capture the beauty of life in the backcountry of Ha Giang. We will be photographing a variety of subjects: The towering mountains and verdant valley; the colorful tribal markets, each is held only once a week. We will also venture into villages where the simple daily life will tempt your creativity. Our lodging is in a hotel in Dong Van – a tiny town where lots of old architectures are still preserved.


Day 12 – 13

These 02 days bring another 02 landmarks of northern Vietnam to your photography: The mighty, cascading waterfall of Ban Gioc and the mysterious cave of Nguom Ngao. 27 km of our drive passes Ma Pi Leng – one of the highest passes in Vietnam which offers a vista of the emerald Nho Que river, banked by rolling hill.

 

Day 14 – 15

Now we are reaching the other end of the journey. It’s time to check out the world heritage of Ha Long bay, with karst formations jutting out of the sea water. Ha Long bay is a 4-season beauty, regardless of sunny or misty weather. Our cruise slowly makes its way around the formations of karst, giving time to compose diverse images of wide angle landscapes. One of our focal points is the well-known fish market of Ha Long – the largest of its type in the coastal region of northern Vietnam, where we capture hundreds of wooden boats fully loaded with seafood after a night out fishing.


Day 16. Returning home

Today marks the final day of our memorable photographic journey in northern Vietnam – the country’s most spectacular mountain scenery and diversified cultures. Make sure your flight home is no sooner than late afternoon.

Cost of package
Note
Total cost
84,539,000 VND
(3969 USD)
Deposite for trip
8,307,000 VND
(390 USD)
Single supplement
9,691,500 VND
(455 USD)
The cost quoted in VND may change in accordance with the exchange rate at the time of payment
Inclusions

Please contact us for further details


Exclusions

Please contact us for further details

 1. Accommodation 

Our tour is taking you to some of the least developed regions in the country, places where the infrastructure is limited and road conditions can be variable. Accommodation options in many of the areas we travel are quite basic but generally have everything required. They are clean and safe and include showers with hot water.

One night will be spent in the home of Local Chief in Muong Hum where we will all sleep in one large communal room. Hot showers area available.

2. Meals

Breakfast will usually be at the hotel. 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. Sometimes our lunches will be picnic style so we can eat when it suits us, wherever we may be. This allows more flexibility in the itinerary. Whilst at the homestay the food will be prepared by the family.

3. Physical requirements  

We suggest that you should have the ability to walk approximately 4kms on any given day whilst carrying what you need. Our vehicle will always be as close as possible but there are times when it won't have access to where we are or we will have walked a distance from it. A moderate fitness level is recommended. 

4. Accessibility to medical centres  

In many of the areas we will travel medical facilities will be very limited. In the larger towns such as Hanoi, Sa Pa, Cao Bang and Ha Long City there are larger hospitals but elsewhere we would have to make use of local doctors and services. You should not rely on getting particular medication whilst in Vietnam. Please bring what you require from home. We suggest bringing with you a small travel first aid kit for personal use. Handy things to bring are: paracetamol, rehydration salts/tablets, anti diarrhoea tablets, motion sickness tablets, vitamins, alcohol wipes, antiseptic creams, sunscreen, repellant. 

5. Photographic gears  

A suggested photo kit might include:

• DSLR body
• Super wide lens (10 -22mm)
• Wide angle lens (17 - 40mm)
• Zoom lens (70 - 200mm) 
• Tripod
• Cable release
• Polarizing filters
• Spare memory cards
• Battery charger and lead
• Spare batteries
• Card reader and cable
• Laptop or storage device

NOTE: There will be no opportunity to buy or replace anything once we leave Hanoi

Personal Gear Suggestions
• Hat or cap
• Sunscreen
• Sturdy walking shoes
• Warmer clothes for the evenings and early mornings
• Comfortable clothes for walking up and down hills
• Toiletries
• Neck pillow

6. Travel Insurance

Please make sure you have personal travel insurance arranged before you leave home.