Vietnam & Cambodia Photo Tour - February 1st to 16th, 2023
Vietnam & Cambodia Photo Tour - "A Voyage of Culture and Discovery" Vietnam the beautiful wonder of Asia ... The busy street markets of Hanoi, miles of rice patties, and the mystical landscapes of Halong Bay await the creative photographer. This is going to be an exciting voyage, we will experience and photograph a diverse culture of people, friendly and anxious to show you the hidden beauty of their country.
We will begin our tour in Hanoi, a city full of history and colour. You will experience the beauty of Halong Bay, which translates to Descending Dragon Bay. A UNESCO world heritage site set on 600 square miles of water. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles which make up an unbelievable landscape. Rounding out our tour we will visit many other historical regions of the country, including Hoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Mekogn Delta, floating markets, and the famous Chinese Market, one of my favourite locations. Then to top off our experience a short flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia and the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple ruins and National Park. The market square in Siem Reap is a hive of activity and will be just one of the many photo destinations we will visit.
I look forward to you joining me on our Photo Trek to experience the wonders of Vietnam and Cambodia.
Vietnam & Cambodia Photo Tour Itinerary - February 1st to 16th, 2023
Welcoming fully vaccinated guests on all our tours.
Day One: Wednesday February 1st, 2023: Evening departure offered from Staybridge Suites London to Toronto pick-ups available en route along the 401 corridor. Toronto and area guests will meet at Pearson International. We fly from Toronto to Hanoi via Air Canada our fight departs at 1:15 a.m on February 9th. Overnight flight will see us arriving the following morning.
Day Two: Thursday February 2nd, 2023: Arriving in Hanoi we will be assisted with fast track service through customs and immigration, meet our local guide and driver and travel into Hanoi. Since we have an early arrival we will stop at West Lake near the city centre and take an open electric car ride around Hanoi's largest lakes (Ho Tay Lake). We will make several photo stops around the district before heading to our hotel arriving just after 3 p.m. We will have time to freshen up and relaxt before heading our for this evenings dinner at the Press Club Restaurant. For our first two nights we will be in Hanoi staying at the May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel. (D)
Day Three: Friday February 3rd, 2023: After breakfast, then a day of photographing and experiencing the culture of Hanoi. This is one if the coolest cities in Vietnam. This chaotic, colourful, motorbike-clogged, 1,000-year-old city is an interesting mix of east and west. Hanoi clings on tightly to its heritage which can be seen in the Old Quarter and the many historic buildings and monuments. There's centuries-old pagodas, picturesque lakes and parks, as well as museums and prominent colonial buildings. Although Hanoi is the modern day capital of Vietnam, it still retains the mystery and charm of past centuries. Narrow lanes and traditional shop houses invite us in on our photo walk portion of the tour.
Our first stop this morning will be to the Yen Phu flower market, a wholesale and retail market full of colour waiting to photographed. Then we will exploration of the vast Ho Chi Minh Memorial Complex with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum which contains the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. We will see the outside of the Presidential Palace and then stroll through the park to the Ho Chi Minh Stilt House where Ho Chi Minh lived from 1958 until his final days in 1969. The house is preserved in the same condition as during his life. We will continue to the miniature 11th century One Pillar Pagoda which was rebuilt after being destroyed by the French in 1954.
Today we will be having lunch at Koto Restaurant. KOTO stands for Know One, Teach One - learning should be passed on; knowledge is meant to be shared. This is the essential idea of KOTO’s Vietnamese-Australian founder, Jimmy Pham. In 1999, Mr Jimmy opened a hospitality training centre in Hanoi, giving at-risk and disadvantaged youth the opportunity to break the poverty cycle by forging a better future for themselves, their families and their communities. Great food, amazing experience.
This afternoon we will visit Hoan Kiem Lake, take another open electic car ride, visit the Temple of Literature, Ngoc Son Temple and the Rising Sun Bridge. Pleanty of photo opportunities during our first day in Vietnam. Dinner this evening at Pots and Pans restaurant. Overnight at the May De Ville Old Quarter Hotel. (B) (L) (D)
Day Four: Saturday February 4th 2023: Breakfast, check-out and depart for Halong Bay to embark on our 2 day Bhaya Classic Cruise. We will board our ship, settle into our cabins and attend a safety briefing. Welcome drinks while meeting the Cruise Manager and the crew. Try an assortment of Vietnamese dishes during a buffet lunch as the Bhaya Classic cruises towards the southeast of Halong bay, passing Trong Mai islet, Ngon Tay islet, Con Coc islet, Cua Van Floating Culture Centre. Kayak to Trinh Nu cave - one of the finest sunlight-filled cave in Halong Bay covering an area of 2,000m2 with stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Return to our boat, freshen up for the evening's activities. There will be a cooking and fruit carving demonstration on the sundeck great for photographs, this evening savor the delicious set-menu dinner in the ships dining room. Overnight on board. (B) (L) (D)
Day Five: Sunday February 5th, 2023: We will begin our day with tea, coffee and pastries on deck will passing more beautiful scenery of Halong Bay. Later this morning a visit to Sung Sot Cave, the largest cave inside Halong Bay with 10,000 square meters of space hold thousands of stalactites and stalagmites and are threaded by a 500-meter paved passageway. We will be transferring by tender from our ship to the island. Later this morning returning to the ship we'll have time to freshen up, leaving our luggage outside the cabin and sit down to a full breakfast as we sail back to the harbour. Mid day transfer to Hanoi Noi Bai Airport for our flight to Hue. Upon arrival in Hue we will travel to our hotel for some time to relax before dinner. Overnight at Eldora Hotel, Hue. (B) (D)
Day Six: Monday February 6th, 2023: Breakfast, then board our private boat to sail down the Perfum River to Thien Mu Pagada and Imperial Tomb of Minh Mang. Outside the monistary is the site of a famous self-immolation by a monk. Thien Mu Pagoda will lure us in with its beauty, elegant architecture and gardens. Then we will travel back in time and bask in the beauty of the Nguyen dynasty. The 19th century Imperial Citadel is a city within a city. The striking Flag Tower and imposing Ngo Mon Gate lead into spacious courtyards, palaces, pavilions, reception halls and lotus ponds - providing a fascinating glimpse into court life. Many more colourful photo opportunities as we explore this region.
After lunch at the Y Thao Garden House, we will drive south from Hue along scenic mountain roads with spectacular views over the coastline. Highlights along the way include the dramatic Hai Van Pass, the high dividing line between the climate zones of North and South Vietnam; Lang Co, a lovely stretch of beach curving outwards between a clear blue lagoon and the East Vietnam Sea; and the large coastal city of Danang.
This afternoon check into our hotel in Hoi An and have some time to freshen up and relax before dinner at Dao Tien Restaurant in Hoi An. Overnight Le Pavillon Hoi An Luxury Resort & Spa (B) (L) (D)
Day Seven: Tuesday February 7th, 2023: Happy Valentiens Day - Breakfast, then we begin our photo walk. Hoi An is a picturesque riverside town south of Danang. Known as Faifo to early western traders, it was one of South East Asia's major international ports during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Now, this beautifully preserved historic city is best seen on foot.
We will visit the Japanese Covered Bridge - the first bridge on this site was constructed in 1593 by the Japanese community of Hoi An to link the town with the Chinese quarters across the stream. The bridge was provided with a roof so it could be used as a shelter from rain and sun. Visit the nearby Sa Huynh Museum, which contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An's history. Stroll to the Tran Family Chapel, a house for worshipping ancestors that was built about 200 years ago. A highlight of Hoi An is visit the local market, street upon street of colour and photo opportunities.
We will return to our hotel for some leisure time and lunch. This evening we will enjoy a local boat ride as we glide along the Thu Bon River. We will have our cameras with us as the sun setting over the beautiful Hoi An countryside will be beautiful. We will return to our resort for dinner. Overnight Le Pavillon Hoi An Luxury Resort & Spa (B) (D)
Day Eight: Wednesday February 8th, 2023: Breakfast then travel to the airport for our morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City formally know as Saigon. Our first photo shoot will be at the Vinh Trang Pagoda is a beautiful and well maintained sanctuary. The pagoda is located in My Phong Commune, which is three kilometres from the city centre. It was built in 1849 by a Buddhist monk named Hue Dang using funds collected from practitioners. The religious site was seriously damaged by French colonists in 1861 and a severe storm in 1904. On both occasions, practitioners restored the pagoda to its original splendour.
Later this monring we will cruise the Mekong River (Mekong Delta) Islands. This area may be Vietnam's rice bowl' but fruit orchards and coconut groves also thrive here. We'll stop to see all the different uses for coconuts. A island ride will bring us to the home of local antique collector, Uncle Six, who will show us how he climbs the coconut trees using just his bare hands. Lunch will be an assortment of delicious dishes cooked by one of the locals of the Mekong Delta.
This afternoon we will travel to Can Tho and check into our hotel the Victoria Can Tho Resort. We will have time to relax before meeting for dinner this evening. Overnight Victoria Can Tho Resort. (B) (L) (D)
Day Nine: Thursday February 9th, 2023: Morning coffe then the a very unique market visit and photo experience. The merchants have a great way of showing off their wares at the Cai Rang Floating Market. They simply hang a sample off the top of a long pole! We'll explore by boat which we board from our resort. We will get close up photos of the colourful boats piled high with seasonal vegetables and tropical fruits. And we can mingle among the merchants as they trade from boat to boat along the river.
Later this morning we will return to our resort for breakfast and check-out to begin our drive back to Ho Chin Minh City and check into our hotel. This evening we will visit the Ben Thanh market to our meeting point at Pho 2000, and get ready to be fully immersed in the bustling streets of Saigon, and its world-famous street food culture. Our guide will take us on a photo walk to visit some of the streets and market stalls most popular with locals. Enjoy this lively and informal atmosphere alongside locals, sampling special dishes and popular local favourites. Try the Vietnamese version of pizza, banh trang nuong, with tasty toppings on grilled rice paper, and the famous banh mi, an airy baguette loaded with a medley of meats, vegetables and spices. Visit Saigon's walking street, a popular meeting point for Saigon's youth, then cap off the evening with a cocktail at one of the city's lively bars while enjoying panoramic night views of the city below. For the next three nights we will be staying at the Northern Hotel 4 in Ho Chi Minh City. (B) (L)
Day Ten: Friday February 10th, 2023: Good Morning Saigon "Rise and shine! We'll kick start our day with an early morning photo walk to soak in the sights and sounds of Saigon. Saigon's bird lovers flock here on a daily basis to show off their prized birds and to listen to the singing. We'll stroll through the park to witness people practising Tai Chi, jogging or playing badminton. In an old dim sum shop, we'll sit among the locals and sample the same breakfast they enjoy every day - an assortment of tasty dim sum with steamed dumplings, buns and rolls. We will explore some of the different regions of the city, experiencing an insight into everyday life and a chance to interact with local people. We will photograph and visit the famous Siagon post office and have opportunity to visit the Chinese Market.
We will return to our hotel for some time to refresh and relax. This evening we head out for our Saigon After Dark Vespa Adventure. A foodie night out on the town. Our Saigon night tour is part night excursion, part street food adventure. Experience Saigon nightlife the way locals do, all from the back of a vintage Vespa scooter. To start off this Saigon night tour, enjoy drinks at our Vespa-themed café, Café Zoom, to watch “as the world goes by” Throughout the night, we will try a variety of food and drinks at 2 local restaurants and samplings of Saigon’s best authentic local food. Zoom past the famous must-see sights of Ho Chi Minh City while in the bustling traffic. We’ll also go to a Vietnamese-style coffee shop with special live music bar, and then wrap up the evening at an exciting music bar where the new generation of Vietnamese unwind and flaunt their unique styles. Have your cameras ready we are in for a fun night and a great experience. Our second night at Northern Hotel 4 in Ho Chi Minh City. (B) (D)
Day Eleven: Saturday February 11th, 2023: Breakfast, followed by free time this morning. This afternoon we will visit to one of Ho Chi Minh City’s inner parks for a family style picnic with some of the cities local families. This will be a great opportunity to meet and talk with folk from this region. There will also be some great photo opportunities during our picnic with the families. Late in the afternoon return to our hotel, freshen up and head to the pier to board our dinner cruise ship. Tonight we will be having dinner on the Bonsai River Cruise. A traditional wooden barge we will be sailing along the Saigon River. A selection of Asian and Western cuisine and live entertainment mix western jazz, classical and traditional Vietnamese music, as well as a dance performance. Our third night at Northern Hotel 4 in Ho Chi Minh City. (B) (L) (D)
Day Twelve: Sunday February 12th, 2023: Beakfast, check-out and transfer to Saigon airport for our flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Arriving in Siem Reap we will clear customs and visa procedures and then transfer to our hotel the Tara Angkor Hotel, we will have some time to settle in and relax in this beautiful resort. This afternoon we will have a sunset coctail cruise aboard Angkor Gondoala. We will enjoy the sunset while enjoying cocktails ad canapes on a traditional Khmer gondola, the meals of water-borne transport for the ancient Khmer navigators. After sunset we will transfer by Tuk Tuk for a dnner and dance performance at Angkor Village Hotel. After dinner return to our hotel Tara Angkor, for the next three nights. (B) (D)
Day Thirteen: Monday February 13th, 2023: Breakfast, this morning we will begin our day early with a sunrise photo shoot at Angkor Wat Temple. Angkor Wat is a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu by King Suryavarman II, who reigned between 1131 and 1150. It was constructed over a period of 30 years and illustrates some of the most beautiful examples of Khmer and Hindu art. Angkor Wat features the longest continuous bas-relief in the world, which runs along the outer gallery walls and narrates stories from Hindu mythology. In 1992 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee declared the monument, and the whole city of Angkor, a World Heritage Site.
After spending time at Angkor Wat Temple we will vist Preah Khan, still within the national park. This a temple built by King Jayavarman VII with towering enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors in a jungle setting. Preah Khan covers a very large area but the temple itself is enclosed within a rectangular wall of around 700 by 800 metres.
Our next stop is Banteay Srei. One of the most romantic temples in Angkor. Built from pink sandstone, the walls are covered in exquisitely preserved carvings of unusual delicacy. We will return to our hotel for lunch and some afternoon time to relax as Angkor Wat can become to humid to explore in the afternoon.
Those wishing to explore some of Siem Reap and have lunch in the village. I will be hosting a walking tour of the town centre. This evening we will be attending a Circus Performance by the Western Cambodia of the Phare Ponleu Selpak group. After a successful around the world tour this famous young and talented group preform in the very heart of the cradle of civilization in Cambodia. Dinner at Crystal Angkor. Our second night at Tara Angkor Hotel. (B) (D)
Day Fourteen: Tuesday February 14th, 2023: Breakfast, and taking advantage of the cooler morning air return for our next photo shoot within the walls of Angkor Wat. The fortified city of Angkor Thom covers an area of 10 square km. Enclosed by a wall and wide moats; the city includes many of Angkor's most popular sights. We will enter by the monumental South Gate over a causeway lined on either side by statues of demons and gods, each carrying a giant naga. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings, former spaces for public ceremonies, both adorned with dramatic bas reliefs. Visit the ruined Baphuon, Royal Enclosure and Phimeanakas before continuing to the mysterious Bayon Temple. In this temple, one of the most popular and compelling in Angkor, explore the galleries of beautifully preserved bas reliefs and ascend narrow stairs to reach the central sanctuary, where giant stone faces smiling enigmatically down from every angle.
We will then photograph at Prasat Kravan: the five brick towers were built for Hindu worship in 921 and are notable for the bas-reliefs cut into the bricks on the interior walls. Then on to the massive Buddhist temple dating from the second half of the 12th century, Banteay Kdei is surrounded by four concentric walls, the outer walls measuring 500 by 700 metres.
The will then visit Srah Srang, a basin east of Banteay Kdei measuring 800 by 400 metres with a tiny island in the middle where only the stone base remains of what was once a wooden temple. Not to far away is Ta Prohm, one of the most popular attractions of Angkor as much of the jungle has not been cleared and it looks very much as most of the Angkor monuments would have appeared when European explorers first stumbled across them.
The final location Ta Keo which was built by Jayavarman V who ruled from 968 to 1001, it was the first Angkorian monument built entirely of sandstone and was dedicated to Shiva. The summit of the central tower is 50 metres high and is surrounded by four lower towers.
We will return to our hotel for lunch and time to relax also a second opportunity for those wishing to explore some of Siem Reap and have lunch in the village. We will finish our experience by spending time in the Siem Reap market place it is kind of a New Orleans feel to the quarter. .Later this afternoon return to our hotel and freshen up for our farewell dinner. Our third night at Tara Angkor Hotel. (B) (D)
Day Fifteen: Wednesday February 15th, 2023: Breakfast, check-out enjoy our morning with some free time before heading to the airport for our return flight home. This evening we fly overnight from Siem Reap Toronto.
Day Sixteen: Thursday February 16th, 2023: Arriving into Pearson International Airport at 3:30 p.m. Once clearing customs, we will say good-bye to our connecting and GTA guest. Our motor coach will be waiting for our return drive to London. We should reach London by approximately 6:00 p.m.
Vietnam and Cambodia countries steeped with history and culture. The average temperature in Vietnam during February is 21 to 25 C with overnight lows of 14 to 18C. This time of year an average of 18% chance of precipitation and a humidity of 38-48%.
Pre-tour Information Night: As with all our photo tours, we will hold a photo information night approximately three weeks prior to departure. We will present the final itinerary, travel suggestions, what gear to pack, and hand out all related travel documents. The pre-tour presentation is designed to give our photographers all the information needed for our trek. This also allows a chance for you to meet your fellow travellers, and host. The tentative date for our information night is Tuesday January 4th, 2023, location and time will be updated closer to our departure.
The cost of our Vietnam and Cambodia Photo Tour departing from Toronto is $5,465.00 CAD per person based on double occupancy including airfare departing from Pearson International Toronto, plus air tax of $547.11 CAD plus HST $17.55. Single supplement available for an additional $1050.00 CAD.
A non-refundable deposit of $100.00 is due at the time of booking, with a second deposit of $440.00 due August 2, 2022. The balance is due 60 days prior to our departure. We recommend the purchase of travel and health insurance as this tour takes us out of the country.
You may also choose to pay over 12 monthy payments through our Uplift finance program estimate - $537 per month. You select 12 month payment option under the payment section during registration.
Photo Tour Trekkers and Tourcan Vacations recommends the purchase of travel and health insurance as tour takes us out of the country. Health insurance is highly recommended. Please note your passport expiry date must be valid for 6 months past our return date of February 16th, 2023.
- Round trip motor coach to Pearson International Airport, Toronto
- Departures from London, and Woodstock other pick-ups available en route along the 401 corridor upon request
- Round Trip Airfare via Air Canada, Toronto to Hanoi
- Internal Airfare - Flight Hanoi to Hue
- Internal Airfare - Flight Danang to Saigon
- Internal Airfare - Flight Saigon to Siem Reap
- Hotels and Halong Bay Cruise Line as laid out in itinerary
- Portage for one piece of luggage per person in/out of hotels, where applicable
- Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner each day, as laid out in the itinerary
- Welcome and Farewell Dinners
- 2 Nights Halong Bay Cruise and meals
- Family picnic in Ho Chi Minh City
- Vespa by Night Ho Chi Minh City
- National Park fees and admissions to Angor Wat Cambodia
- All airport and hotel transfers
- Luxury air conditioned motor coach and all vehicle costs while on tour
- Any local admissions, Boat ticket(s) according to itinerary
- Bottled water and cold towels pervided
- Fuel Surcharge, Park Fees and taxes included
- Photo Workshops
- Tour hosted and escorted by photographer James Cowie
- Items of a personal nature, laundry, phone calls, etc.
- Local guide tips and gratuities
- Current Port Taxes and Visas for Vietnam and Cambodia
- Alcoholic beverages purchased on land or at the ships bar
- Personal Travel and Medical Insurance
** Schedule may vary according to weather
Tourcan Vacations recommends the purchase of travel and health insurance as our tour takes us out of the country. Health insurance is highly recommended. Please note your passport expiry date must be valid for 6 months past our return date of February 16th, 2023.