Chasing Rice Terraces & Hill Tribes

  • icon-date10 DAYS
  • icon-date20 Meals

When natural landscapes and hill tribe villages and cultures are to your taste, this 10-day northern Vietnam photography tour is for you! The North of Vietnam is beautiful all year round but yellow rice terrace fields are only at their fullest from August to the beginning of October when the harvest season comes. Let us take you on a hunt from the endless tea hills to the off-the-beaten paths filled with stunning scenery and authenticity.

Photography Guide: Diep Van/ Cuong Nguyen

Dear photographers,  please note that only major locations/dates are written in stone. All our photography tours are handcrafted to maximize the best image-making opportunities possible. There will be several happy surprises and great photo opportunities that happen along the journey depending on certain circumstances. Learn more: Photography tour Vietnam

Day 1: Hello Hanoi (D)

On arrival at Noi Bai (Hanoi) airport, our guide & driver will pick you up and then transfer you to the hotel to drop off luggage and get some rest. After that, we head out for a street shoot in the Hanoi Old Quarter and its 36 streets. Then make our way to Long Bien Bridge which was considered the pride, symbol of architecture in the Far East, and also one of the first bridges built by the French in Vietnam. After sunset, we’ll position for high-angle street scenes using tripods for twilight, motion blur action. A sumptuous Vietnamese dinner follows.

Day 2: Incense village in Hanoi – Endless tea hills In Long Coc (B, D)

After enjoying your complimentary breakfast at our hotel, we will visit a colorful incense-making village on the outskirt of the city. Return to the center for lunch before hitting the road to the stunning tea plantations of Long Coc. Photograph the almost surreal landscapes, with local workers if we prefer. The day ends beautifully at our charming Muong Village Homestay where we will have our delicious home-cook meal.

Day 3: Tea Hill in Long Coc- Rice terrace in Mu Cang Chai (B, D)

Capturing the spectacular sunrise over the endless tea hill. When it comes to the right season, the hills are blanketed by fog and turn into a photographer’s delight. After spending a decent amount of time here, we will make our way to the most beautiful rice terrace in the country- Mu Cang Chai which is cultivated by tribal people, including Red Dzao (Dao), Nung, Tay, and H’Mong. The next location for the shoot today is at the most spectacular rice terrace valleys. Return to our eco-hotel for dinner while enjoying the stunning view over the valley.

Day 4: Rice terraces in Mu Cang Chai- Sapa (B, D)

This morning, we will head to Ba Nha and La Pan Tan rice terrace to photograph the most beautiful rice terrace spot in Vietnam. The shoot can be done with or without Black H’Mong or/ and Red Dzao people on the fields. Visit a bamboo forest before making our way to Sapa through a remarkably scenic mountain road. We will stop at some beautiful places for several outstanding landscape shoots and visit some villages along the way. The last photoshoot activity of the day will be in the iconic O Quy Ho Pass in Sa Pa.

Day 5: Sapa – Y  Ty (B, L, D)

Sapa could be more touristy than other spots in this journey indeed but we cannot skip it thanks to its gorgeous respite in terms of myriad rice terraces and tribal villages.

After exploring the tribal village of Red Dzao & Black Hmong with portrayals in the scenes, we will make our way to Y Ty which is the home of unique ethnic and spectacular landscapes with fewer tourists. We will stop in Ban Khoang, Sang Ma Sao and Den Sang villages to visit the locals and feel their warm hospitality and for a magnificent rice terrace photoshoot. Cannot miss the Dragon Waterfall in Muong Hum before getting to our homestay in Y Ty.

Day 6: Y Ty – Bac Ha – Sunday Tribe’s Market (B, L,D)

If we make it here on Saturday, there will be a chance of visiting “Cho Phien Y Ty” The market happens only once every Saturday but it gathers crowds from all villages around the region including Ha Nhi, H’Mong, and Red Dao (Dzao). You can find anything that is locally produced in the town, from agricultural products such as potatoes, vegetables, nuts, and rice, hand-embroidered brocade dresses and scarves to wild mushrooms and berries or other stuff handpicked in the forest

. After that, we will go for an adventure- hunt the most beautiful rice terraces all over Y Ty, and portray two of the most common tribal people in the region- H’Mong and vanishing Ha Nhi. Return to our homestay for lunch break then head for Bac Ha late afternoon.

Day 7: Bac Ha – Xin Man – Hoang Su Phi (B, D)

Bac Ha draws visitors thanks to its unique tribe Sunday market and we are lucky to do our morning shoot at the market that is held only once a week by tribe people here. Feel free to explore and find your best photography position while participating in the tribal groups selling exotic fruits, vegetables, textiles, goats, pigs, buffalo, and much more! Tribes include Flower Hmong, Giay, Nung, and Tay. After this very colorful and enjoyable market shoot, we make our way to Hoang Su Phi in Ha Giang Province, which is perhaps one of the most spectacular rice terrace regions in Vietnam, and certainly among the most beautiful on the planet. Time for an afternoon rice terrace exploration in Ban Phung and around a very peaceful little village of the La Chi tribe. 

Day 8: Hoang Su Phi – Thong Nguyen (B, D)

There are many rice terrace locations we won’t name here, we keep the “best for last” but that you will get the opportunity to photograph to your heart’s content, both all day today and tomorrow morning. If school is in session, we’ll visit a picturesque one-room schoolhouse full of very happy kids and stunning backdrops for environmental portraits. 

Day 9: Thong Nguyen – Hanoi (B, D)

A final early morning rice terrace shoots at one of our favorite locations in Thong Nguyen, followed by the drive back to Hanoi. It will be tough to leave, but we must! Arrive back in Hanoi by 5:00 pm or so, with a couple of hours to relax and freshen up for your Farewell Dinner.

Day 10: Hanoi Departure (B)

You’ll be driven to the airport according to your departure time and given a fond farewell. You’ll be tired and probably ready to go home, but part of you will miss not getting up in the morning for another shoot!

INCLUSIVE: 

Photography guide & tutor in English speaking

All accommodation as itinerary

In-country flights, airport & ground transport in the latest model

Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

Plenty of bottled water & refresh towels throughout

All entrance, zone, and camera fees

Local model & village donations

EXCLUSIVE: 

International airfare

Personal purchases (drinks in meals or hotels, laundry….)

Medica travel insurance & Medical Expenses

Gratuities for hotel porters, drivers, or photography guide

Vietnam visa fee