Classic Vietnam in Focus – A Photo Tour with QT Luong
The coastline is highlighted by mountains dropping into the sea in Central Vietnam, and thousands of limestone karsts in Halong Bay. Soaring peaks culminate near Sapa, where colorful minority tribes make a living on impossibly steep slopes. In the mysterious Mekong Delta, all life – even public markets – centers on the water. Besides its natural beauty, Vietnam is home to a civilization dating back 4,000 years, which have produced a performance art, water puppetry, and a religion, Caodaism, not found anywhere else. Imperial palaces, citadels, temples, ancient ruined Champa cities and old trading ports, all contrast with the energy of modern Vietnam.
My images of Vietnam have been published worldwide, including on the cover (and opening spread) of a Vietnam issue of GEO magazine, and then on the cover of a dozen other brochures, magazines, and books. The very first photo gallery on this site (see site timeline) portrayed Vietnam in 2001. That same year, in order to share with other photographers some of what I’ve learned, I posted the photo.net photographer’s guide to Vietnam. It had taken me 10 weeks of travel to find the visual highlights of the country described in the guide, but Vietnam is small enough that it is possible to experience the most quintessential sights, which include all of the above and more, in a fast-paced two-week tour.
I am pleased to announce that I will be leading such a tour, Classic Vietnam in Focus, in the Fall of 2012 (Oct 25 – Nov. 10). For those who have less than 2 weeks time, the itinerary is broken down in 2 sections. The main section takes place on the plains (12 days) with an extension in the mountains (5 days) which can be taken separately.
The tour is organized by Insiders Asia tour director, Phuoc Babcock. Although her company is new, she has extensive experience in the travel industry, having led more than 30 tours. We will be traveling in style, staying at five star hotels (except in Hanoi, four star).
Our journey will take us through the whole length of the country, from Mekong Delta in the South to the border with China in the North, visiting the three main cities of the country, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, and Hanoi. We will ride boats large and small in the busy waterways of the Mekong Delta, the famed Perfume River on our way to imperial mausoleums, the fantastic Ha Long Bay, and the Chay River bordered by mountains. Our scenic drives will include the Hai Van Pass, one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world, and the remote route from Sapa to Can Cau. We will stroll through the architectural museum that is Hoi An bathed in the warm glow of paper lanterns during a festival, and trek to remote minority hamlets in the mountains. Our sights will range from majestic palaces and temples to colorful rural markets.
Unlike in ordinary tours, the emphasis will be on sites with the greatest photographic potential, and we will make sure we are there at the best time of the day to capture great light. Other tours may visit the same locations, but look carefully at our timings. Just to take the example of Central Vietnam, besides planning our visit for the Lantern Festival, we will leave at 5am to be for the sunrise at My Son, and then visit its fish market at sunrise the next day. We will stop in Lang Co overnight, therefore enjoying great scenic opportunities both at sunset and sunrise in this fishing village where other tours only do a quick mid-day stop (if they don’t miss altogether the Danang-Hue drive).
In the evenings, a workshop session focused on tips to improve your photography will include a group slideshow that helps us remember the day, as well as individual sessions customized for each participant’s level, where I will answer any questions related to photography, post-processing, and the photography business.
When is the best time to travel to Vietnam? Now — for tomorrow things might not be the same in this rapidly evolving country. Come and join me on this incredible journey to Vietnam. With your camera, you can capture a part of your experience that may not be there tomorrow.
Update Aug 2002: sold out