A place known for deep blue mountains, turquoise rivers, exotic tribal cultures, Ha Giang is a heaven for photographers’ creativity.
For a very long time, Ha Giang remained forgotten on the map of Vietnam’s travel photography, mostly due to poor infrastructure. No road, no motel, no clean bed nor hot water. And hiccups as such turn out to be ideal in keeping Ha Giang untouched from the claws of mass tourism. In the mind of most Vietnamese photographer, Ha Giang is the place with most mesmerizing mountain scenery, deep blue gorges bottomed by crystal rivers. Layers and layers of mountains keep stretching further as one makes way deeper in to this kingdom.
Ha Giang is home to a good number of minority groups, such as the Tay, Nung, Mong, Dao, each with own language and culture. All unite at the weekly markets, held somewhere along a hillside, or in a hidden valley. This type of market is where the local people meet, socialize and look for a lifetime partner, apart from exchanging cargoes as what a market is normally about. The market is among some places where you can see traditional costumes being worn, group of men speaking softly while drinking, smoke rising from mobile kitchens in the food section. All the colors, smells, sounds, scenes will charm your eyesight and hold your camera firmly, till you feel physically tired from pressing the shutter.
And there are more, much more than than. So join us for our unique photography adventure into the once-forgotten land of Ha Giang.
Capture unique scenes in a "mountain market" - the once per week market of Ha Giang
The amazing rice terraces of Hoang Su Phi is recognized as a National Heritage, and you will photograph this incredible structure.
Day 1 to 3
Our photography tour starts from Hoang Su Phi, our first point of arrival after a good driving day from Hanoi.
Hoang Su Phi was long a sleeping destination, largely due to poor infrastructure. And this hid the place from the eyes of photography lovers. Till 2012, a gentle surprise came when images of the rice terraces of Hoang Su phi were revealed on national TV, the place somewhat outshone other rice terrace destinations in the country, such as Mu Cang Chai or Tu Le. It was probably the sense of adventure that some more people were now heading for Hoang Su Phi, in search of great landscape shots.
We will spend 1.5 full days in Hoang Su Phi, making sure we have enough time to hunt for the great shots, the best lights and the most stunning corners from there the beauty of the rice terraces are best captured.
We drive for 153 km in the afternoon of day 3 to reach a hidden hamlet, nested in a valley of Quan Ba.
This morning, head for the local market of Trang Kim.
In Ha Giang in particular and the northern mountains of Vietnam in general, each market tends to be held once a week, on a particular day of the lunar calendar. This is the time when ethnic people, dressed in their colorful costumes, participate in the buy-sell activities. There are many exotic products on display like tree roots, fruits, herbal medicines domestic animals, etc. And the locals trade in a unique way, such as looking carefully at a pig before making the bargain. Each market offers a great opportunities for photography as many fields of interests are on display before your camera.
This morning we will spend a good time looking for a great way to capture the soul of the market through portraiture.
In the afternoon, on foot we will explore the countryside in the peaceful valley in which our homestay is located.
Day 5. Quan Ba – Dong Van
Today, our drive today, itself, is a highlight. As we go further into the kingdom of mountains. We will be driving through super photogenic gorges, deep green valleys at at some point, we are as high as the cloud. This ride gives us great opportunities to do landscape shooting. Along the way, we can stop at any village to do photography, a lovely way to make friend with the local and capture their daily life.
In the afternoon, we photograph the old town of Dong Van, home to a good number of traditional H’mong houses, with clay walls and wooden doors.
During our stay in Dong Van, we will have time for a photography critique session, held in a coffee shop with unique architecture. We also will make way to the northernmost point of Vietnam on the map – Lung Cu.
Day 6, 7
Travel through one of South East Asia’s most spectacular passes: Ma Pi Leng. Standing at over 1600 meters above sea level, the pass boats mesmerizing view points from which, the emerald Nho Que river looks as small as a thread deep beneath the bottom of the gorge. This 21 km road took over 2 million working days of several ten thousands young men to build and it is a national sightseeing destination of Vietnam.
Our last accommodation of the tour is in a charming house on stilts of the Tay people.
Travel to Hanoi on day 7 on our private vehicle. Experience the countryside scenery of northern Vietnam along the way.
Cost of tour
Please contact us
• English photography guide
• Air-con private car/driver (all fuel included)
• Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• Non-alcoholic drinks & biscuit, fruits during transfers
• All entry fees/permission
• Tip for driver
• Personal expenses (laundry, phones, tips)
• Items not listed in the Inclusions