Dates: September 12–24, 2019

Begins & Ends: Hanoi, Vietnam

Nearest Airport: Hanoi (HAN)

Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart

Maximum Participants: 6

Tuition: $6,700

Accommodation: Included
(optional single supplement: $900)

Meals: Included

Payment Policy: 3 Installments
     • $500 deposit to confirm participation
     • 50% due by March 1, 2019
     • Balance due by June 1, 2019

Optional Halong Bay Extension

Dates: September 24–26, 2019

Tuition: $1,500
Single Supplement: $300

This photographic adventure begins and ends in Hanoi, Vietnam. Tuition includes hotels (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement), meals, driver and guide tips, and local group transportation for the duration of the adventure. It does not include visa, souvenirs, bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), nor any personal expenses.

This adventure is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.

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Tribes of Vietnam Within The Frame Photographic Adventure

Tribes of Vietnam Within The Frame Itinerary

Vietnam is full of rice paddies, rolling hills, stunning mountains, farmers in conical hats, hill tribe minorities, dragon legends, amazing food, and so much more. It is a country of friendly people who love to laugh and socialize. It is a place of tremendous photographic opportunities as well as cultural interests.

Tribes of Vietnam is about a deeper experience with some of the fascinating minority groups in northwestern Vietnam, including the Flower Hmong, Red Dao, Black Dao, Phu La, Tay, and Nung.

We will begin this photographic adventure in the lively alleyways of Hanoi, “the Grand Old Dame of Asia,” before heading by overnight train into the mountains and valleys of northwestern Vietnam where we will photograph at two traditional weekly markets full of minority groups and then stay in three different tribal areas in order to photograph diverse ethnic minorities as well as the stunning terraced rice fields of Mu Cang Chai. For those with a bit of extra time, we will spend three days cruising Halong Bay with its emerald waters, limestone karst isles, fishermen, and caves.

As exotic as we find some of these tribal minority groups, we will photograph these people with cultural respect and human dignity. Jeffrey and Winslow will work to promote an environment of mutual respect when we are photographing these minority groups. The photographs we create will be stronger as a result of the sincere care that will accompany our cultural curiosity.

This photographic adventure is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities — our vision. It is appropriate for photographers of all levels, and you will be free to photograph independently or always with the assistance of one of the leaders.

Hanoi (Day One)

We will arrive in Hanoi in time for a meet-and-greet dinner and an orientation to discuss our itinerary and events for our shared photographic adventure.

While in Hanoi, we will stay at the luxurious Hanoi La Siesta Hotel & Spa right in the heart of Hanoi’s historic Old Quarter.

Hanoi (Day Two)

We will spend the first half the day with renowned Vietnamese ethnic minority expert Mark Rapport — first at the Museum of Ethnology and then at Mark’s 54 Traditions Gallery. Mark has been studying and collecting ethnic objects and artifacts in Vietnam since 1969 and has been living in Hanoi since 2001. He will provide us with the perfect introduction to understanding the minority groups we will be visiting in Vietnam’s northwest.

The afternoon will be spent exploring the semi-organized chaos of the Old Quarter.

The overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai will rock us to sleep as we head northwest into the rice terraced hills of Vietnam.

Can Cau (Day Three)

After breakfast in Lao Cai, we will head into the countryside to the small village of Can Cau, where each Saturday there is a colorful market full of Flower Hmong, Black Dao, and Phu La in their traditional ethnic clothing. It is a small, local, beautiful market, nestled in the hills. We will spend all morning photographing at the market before heading to Bac Ha for lunch and to check into our hotel.

In the afternoon, we will walk to Ban Pho, a village of Flower Hmong and Nung in a small valley. The village is known for its plums and corn wine. Yes, corn wine.

We will spend the night at a guesthouse in Bac Ha.

Bac Ha (Day Four)

The Sunday market in Bac Ha is the largest in the area. It is a huge market full of many colorful ethnic minority groups, including Flower Hmong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay, and Nung, who gather to buy and sell. We will again spend the entire morning at the market.

After lunch we will take a short walk to Trung Do village, where the Tay ethnic minority live. From here we will cruise up the Chay River to the Coc Ly Market. From there we will transfer to Topas Eco Lodge.

Our accommodations for the next three nights is the Topas Eco Lodge, which is a small eco resort situated on a beautiful hilltop deep in the mountains of Hoang Lien National Park. The single bedroom bungalows are built from local white granite. From your private balcony you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the towering peaks and numerous valleys, which are home to many ethnic minority villages.

Topas Eco Lodge (Day Five)

This morning we will walk through the Thanh Kim Valley, which is home to Red Dao and Hmong, who have lived here seemingly forever without the influence of modern life. The valley itself is beautiful with its towering hills, narrow, winding stream, waterfall, and verdant rice terraces. We will visit and photograph Red Dao in their homes and while they go about their daily activities (tending the rice terraces, weaving, embroidery, etc.). The rice terraces will be vibrant green at this time of the year.

Topas Eco Lodge (Day Six)

This morning we will drive to Thanh Phu in the Muong Bo Valley and walk to a local village of Tay, who live in houses built on stilts.

In the afternoon we will drive along a rocky road to photograph in the charming village of Xa Pho. Then we will head to Nam Cang to photograph the beautiful and prosperous village of Nam Than, which is home to the Red Dao. The scenery here in the Nam Sai Valley is stunning.

Panhou Village (Day Seven)

We will depart Topas Eco Lodge after breakfast for our journey through Sapa, which is one of the most remote provinces in Vietnam. The scenery is breathtaking and there are a colorful array of ethnic minority hill tribes. We will continue to Ecolodge Panhou Village, located in the stunning High Song Chay mountains.

For the next three nights we will be based at the Ecolodge Panhou Village in remote Ha Giang.

Panhou Village (Day Eight)

The Ha Giang Province is the last to have opened to tourists. It is home to the largest diversity of ethnic minorities in Vietnam and offers some of the most striking scenery in the country.

We will hike to the village of Nam Hong, passing through lush green forests, past small waterfalls and stunning views of terraced rice fields as we encounter and photograph members of the Long Tunic Dao, Man Ta Pan, and Flower Hmong minorities.

Following a picnic lunch we will walk through a bamboo forest and down into the Giang Valley, where we will visit a Tay community.

Panhou Village (Day Nine)

As the rising sun clears the early morning clouds that hide the landscape, the contoured lines of the terraced rice fields slowly become visible as we make our way to the hamlet of Ho Pien to visit with Flower Hmong.

Mu Cang Chai (Day Ten)

After an early breakfast we will drive to Mu Cang Chai, which is perhaps the most beautiful landscape in all of Vietnam. It is also home to the colorful Flower Hmong.

We will stay in a local guesthouse for two nights in beautiful Mu Cang Chai.

Mu Cang Chai (Day Eleven)

We will spend all day photographing in the majestic splendor of the rice terraces and with the cheerful Hmong.

Hanoi (Day Twelve)

On our drive back to Hanoi we will stop in Nghia Lo for a traditional Vietnamese lunch and will arrive back in the luxury of our Hanoi hotel in time to freshen up for a farewell group dinner to celebrate our time together in this beautiful country.

Hanoi (Day Thirteen)

We will spend our final morning exploring the Old Quarter of Hanoi one last time, enjoying the company of new friends, and planning our next adventures before saying our goodbyes and heading home (or to Halong Bay for those on the extension).

Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.

Halong Bay Extension

Halong Bay (Day Thirteen)

We will drive from Hanoi through the paddy fields of the Red River Delta to the Tuan Chau Wharf in Halong City, where we will board our boat for our Halong Bay cruise.

Lunch will be served on board as we begin cruising into Halong Bay, where we will see some of the famous karst formations — Perfume Rock, Fighting Cock, Lonely Rock, Saddle Rock — and arrive at Vung Vieng Village where locals will row us in small boats as they share their beautiful area of the bay with us. It is also possible to kayak here.

Halong Bay (Day Fourteen)

The mist across the water and the haze in the air creates a mystical atmosphere for the silhouettes of the karst formations in the early mornings.

After breakfast, we’ll head to Three Peaches — a secluded beach with turquoise water nestled amongst the bay’s karsts. Here it’s possible to kayak through an amazing tunnel carved under a limestone mountain.

In the afternoon, we will visit Dong Tien Cave, followed by happy hour and photograph sharing back on the boat.

If squid fishing has always been on your bucket list, then in the early evening you’ll have an opportunity to give it a try. You can also have a lesson on how to make Vietnamese spring rolls. Or just eat some.

Halong Bay & Hanoi (Day Fifteen)

As we head back to Halong City on our boat, we’ll stop at Sung Sot Cave and we’ll enjoy a final buffet brunch on board as we cruise back to Tuan Chau Wharf and then drive back to Hanoi to say our goodbyes and catch our intercontinental flights home.

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