Beautiful Landscapes, Stunning Geology, and Unique Local Culture

September 14 – 30, 2025

Northern Vietnam offers a truly unique and stunning landscape. The combination of shapes, forms, and cultures is unparalleled, from the impressive mountain plateaus to the fascinating terraced rice paddies. The people who live here are as diverse as the countryside. There are over 50 ethnic groups in Vietnam, each with its own language and unique cultural heritage.

We’ll spend 17 days exploring what Northern Vietnam has to offer. We’ll photograph the busy streets of Hanoi as we sample food from the street vendors. The local farmers will be starting their harvest on their terraced rice paddies nestled in magnificent mountain ranges, offering us endless photographic possibilities. We’ll enjoy the warm hospitality of rustic local guesthouses and the first-class comfort of a world-renowned ecolodge. The UNESCO Global Geoparks of the Dong Van Karst Plateau and Cao Bang will take your breath away, with their steep pyramidal and cone-shaped towers reaching up to 1,600 meters above the flat karst fields. In Ban Gioc, we’ll photograph the most stunning waterfall in Vietnam and the fourth-largest waterfall in the world.

This workshop is unlike so many other tours that will quickly skim along the entire length of this incredibly diverse nation. Instead, we’ve designed this workshop to focus only on the best of Northern Vietnam so you can have a profound experience of this beautiful region.

For a great behind-the-scenes look at this workshop, check out our trip report from our Vietnam workshop in 2023.

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Location

Northern Vietnam

money
Tuition

$12,995

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Dates

September 14 – 30, 2025

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Availability

1 Spot Left
Limited to 6 Guests

Itinerary

This itinerary is subject to change due to weather, local conditions, and other factors.

This workshop covers a lot of ground in remote, mountainous areas by car on roads that wind through the mountain passes. While we break up the driving with photo shoots from viewpoints or in the homes of the local tribes, there is a significant amount of time spent driving.

September 14, 2025: Arrive in Hanoi (HAN) anytime today. Check in to the hotel, and relax. This evening, we’ll have a group dinner to kick off our Vietnam workshop experience.

September 15, 2025: After breakfast, we will check out and drive to Tú Lệ Village (6.5 hours). We’ll have lunch along the way in Nghia Lo and arrive by late afternoon at our sunset shoot location at the Khau Phẩ Viewpoint Station. Dinner and an overnight stay at our luxury hotel in Tú Lệ.

September 16, 2025: After breakfast and checkout from our hotel, we’ll proceed to the small village Lìm Mông to photograph local village life, ox carts, and the rice harvest. We’ll then make the two-hour scenic drive from Tú Lệ to Mù Cang Chải, where we will stop to photograph the spectacular “horseshoe” rice field. Overnight in our luxury hotel in Mù Cang Chải.

September 17–18, 2025: We’ll have several full days photographing the terraced rice fields and the local villages in Mù Cang Chải, ensuring we have time to take in all the area has to offer. We’ll photograph local Hmong in their traditional dress at the stunning Raspberry rice terraces. This fantastic location is worth visiting at both sunrise and sunset, and we’ll do both! We will also photograph the rice terraces at Kim Noi and Lao Chải.

In the villages, we will photograph the local people and even gain access to their homes, where we will photograph them with our mobile studio lights. This is a unique opportunity to capture their way of life in traditional dress.

During these days, we will also have one of our signature image reviews through lunch at our hotel. This provides a chance to check your work for technical issues and to see your work through the eyes of others, allowing you to improve your compositions and techniques to suit your taste.

September 19, 2025: Our final morning in Mù Cang Chải begins photographing sunrise at the La Pan Tan rice terraces. After breakfast, we’ll stop to set up our lights once again to photograph the local minority people.

After lunch, we drive from Mù Cang Chải to Sapa (5 hours) to our exquisite lodge—an oasis of comfort on top of the mountains. We’ll hire local models right there on the lodge’s grounds and photograph them as the sun sets. Dinner at the lodge will be an event to remember, and then some well-deserved rest.

September 20, 2025: Relax this morning. You can photograph the sunrise from the lodge grounds or enjoy one last dip in the infinity pool, taking in the stunning view. After breakfast, we will explore Sapa’s town center. You can explore and photograph the streets on your own, or as a group. We’ll have lunch in town and then drive to Bắc Hà (3 hours) to a charming homestay. Our homestay will be a shift from our luxury hotels to a lovely private home in a garden setting. Dinner here is homemade, traditional, and plentiful.

September 21, 2025: Our day begins with the incredible local market in Bắc Hà. Be sure to bring some local currency, as you’ll likely be tempted by the goods for sale. It’s a great place to buy gifts for those at home or yourself! The market is crowded, vibrant, and colorful, and photographic opportunities abound. We’ll enjoy lunch in the area before setting up our studio lights again to capture the local minority people at work.

September 22, 2025: After breakfast, we’ll check out and depart to Ha Giang city (4.5 hours of driving). Arriving at Ha Giang at noon, lunch and check in at a hotel in Ha Giang. Afternoon we will visit Bac Sum Slope. Back to the hotel for dinner and overnight in Ha Giang.

September 23, 2025: After breakfast, we’ll check out and depart for the scenic Ha Giang loop drive to Dong Van (5 hours), with stops along the way at Quang Ba to see the “Fairy Bosom” mountain viewpoint and the winding road view at Thẩm Ma Slope. After lunch, we’ll photograph the minority village of Sung La. We’ll arrive at our hotel in Dong Van in the late afternoon in time for a little downtime before dinner.

September 24–25, 2025: We have two full days exploring the Dong Van region. We’ll be up early for sunrise at Ma Pi Leng Pass and visit Lo Lo Chai, one of the most remote villages in the Dong Van Plateau—a beautiful place where time stands still. We will hike (1.25 miles, 700 ft elevation gain) to the Great White Cliff viewpoint. We’ll visit the Hmong King Palace and head back to Tham Ma Slope for sunset photography.

September 26, 2025: After breakfast, we will have one of our longer drives of the trip from Dong Van to Cao Bang (7 hours), with several stops along the way, including the Coc Cha Pass. We will arrive in Cao Bang in the late afternoon, check-in, and get a little downtime before dinner.

September 27, 2025: After breakfast, we’ll check out and head out to Ban Gioc. We will photograph the most stunning waterfall in Vietnam. Lunch and check in at a hotel near the waterfall. Afternoon transfer to Núi Mắt Than to photograph the “Eye of God” mountain. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Ban Gioc.

September 28, 2025: We’re up very early this morning to climb Ngoc Con Peak (about an hour’s hike) and photograph the sunrise from the summit. We’ll have breakfast at the hotel with some downtime before heading out for lunch. Our afternoon will be photographing Ban Viet Lake and the Tày people at Phong Nam. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in Ban Gioc.

September 29, 2025: We return to Phong Nam for a sunrise session, breakfast, and to photograph the Ban Gioc waterfall before checkout. After lunch and check out, we drive to Lang Son (4.5 hours) to get some downtime, dinner, and overnight in a comfortable 3-star hotel.

September 30, 2025: After breakfast, we complete our journey with a drive to Hanoi (3 hours). We’ll stop at a local craft village and the incense factory. Overnight in Hanoi. Flights out can be made after 8:00 PM or anytime the next day. Lodging is included for this night.

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Activities

While this workshop does not include long or strenuous hikes, there are several challenges that you need to be prepared for and capable of participating in safely.

  • Access to many of our locations is only available via motorbike. You will sit on the back as a local driver takes you on the trails to these locations. The trails are mostly paved, but some sections are dirt trails. You may or may not have a helmet provided to you.
  • Getting to specific viewpoints in the rice paddies will often require walking along the retaining wall for several hundred feet. Think of it as walking on a balance beam. Trekking poles are of little use since there will be a significant drop-off on one side and mud on the other. This requires adequate balance and slow, careful walking.
  • Nothing is built to code in Vietnam. Stairs are steep, narrow, uneven, and often without handrails. Ramps are steep and often slippery.

Fitness

Moderate: Moderate walks on uneven ground. See “Activities” for more details.

Flights

Arrive Noi Bai International Airport (HAN), Hanoi, Vietnam anytime on September 14, 2025. Flights out can be made after 8:00 PM on September 30, 2025. Air travel delays are common. Please arrive early, possibly even the day prior, so you don’t miss any of the workshop.

What to Bring

Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.

What’s Included

  • Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $1,300 supplement.
  • All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop.
  • All permits and park fees.
  • All transportation during the workshop.
  • Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides.
  • English-speaking local guide throughout the workshop.
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros.
  • Image reviews and post-processing instruction.
  • Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!

Not Included

  • Travel to and from Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Unscheduled airport transfers.
  • Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
  • Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
  • Items of a personal nature.
  • Alcoholic Beverages.
  • Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
  • Travel Medical (required).
  • Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
  • Anything else specifically not listed as included.
  • Single rooming available for $1,300 supplement.

Payment Terms

  • Your deposit of $4,995 will hold your space in this workshop.
  • Further payment of $4,000 is due by February 1, 2025.
  • The balance is due not later than June 1, 2025.
  • All of our standard Terms and Conditions apply.
  • Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.

Testimonials

“★★★★★ — I can't say enough about the quality of instruction. I'm new to photography and I now realize how little I know. Greg sort of took me under his wing and spent a lot of time coaching me through the night shoots and teaching me a lot of basics about composition, and getting a sharp picture. I learned a lot in the five days with these two pros, and Wayne was able to spend a little time with me also. It was great that the workshop was about the student having a great experience and learning photography. I can't say enough about the professionalism of these two men. ”

— April Norman, Colorado Alpine Wildflowers '23

“An amazing creative and cultural immersion with both like-minded colleagues and seasoned pros who helped stretch my thinking and improve my work. ”

— Jeffrey Stern, Vietnam '23

Cyber Monday Sale!

$750 Off Any Workshop

Sign up for any workshop before midnight, November 28, 2023, and we’ll apply your $750 discount to your final balance payment.

Cyber Monday Sale!

$750 Off Any Workshop

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Hours
Minutes
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Sign up for any workshop before midnight, November 28, 2023, and we’ll apply your $750 discount to your final balance payment.