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LAOS, VIETNAM, & CAMBODIA Photo Tour October 8-20, 2024

Guest Price

    $9,500 USD 

               Per person double occupancy

               International economy airfare                      INCLUDED

SUPPLEMENT MAY APPLY IF GUEST NUMBER MINIMUM IS NOT MET.

 

Single Supplement

    $1,200 USD

 

Deposit

     $2,400 USD due at time of booking

 

Tour Guest Limit

    10 Guest Maximum

 

Registration Deadline

    90 Days before departure   

This price is inclusive of Round Trip economy airfare from USA gateway city.

Tour Pricing Info

Always one of our top 3 rated photo tours with guests.  Vietnam and Cambodia deliver some of the best in both cultural and photographic experiences in the region.

We’ll enjoy and photograph all of the following - Mekong River Cruise, cruise the Mekong Delta, the Terraced Rice Fields of Sapa, overnight Ha Long Bay Cruise, Cao Dai Temple, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Floating Villages of Tonle Sap, and more all while enjoying the beautiful culture of the countries.

About the Tour

Tour Leader

M&M Pro Photographer

      Mike Gulbraa

 

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Guest Pro - Jeff Cable

 

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Included

  • International RT airfare from USA gateway city 

  • Internal airfare while in Indochina

  • Local Experienced English-speaking guides

  • Twin-shared rooms at 4-star hotel with good internet access.

  • Meals as mentioned in the Program (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with 2 soft drinks per person per meal. 

  • Land transfer by air-con vehicle, comfortable & suitable for guests in the group. 

  • Boat trips on Mekong River

  • Boat trip on Halong bay - Vietnam 

  • Admission fees

  • Apsara dance show

 

Accommodations

Not Included

  • Any Passport and Visa arrangements

  • Early check-in, late check-out surcharge

  • Additional drinks and other personal expenses (alcoholic drinks, laundry, phone calls etc.)

  • Any services not specifically mentioned in the tour program

  • Tips for guides or baggage handlers

  • Airport Taxes

 

Tour Highlights

  • Mekong River Cruise

  • Terraced Rice Fields of Sapa

  • Overnight Ha Long Bay Cruise

  • Mekong River Delta

  • Hanoi

  • Angkor Wat

  • Angkor Thom

  • Floating Villages of Tonle Sap

 

We use local boutique hotels and other establishments that give us access to great photos, food, and transport.  The following is what we have confirmed for this trip:

 

Luang Prabang - The Grand Luang Prabang Laos

Hanoi - Hanoi Pearl Hotel

 

Ha Long Bay - Dragon’s Pearl Junk – Indochina Junk (indochina-junk.com)

 

Night Train - Sapaly Express Train - Hanoi Sapa Train

 

Sapa - Book Azure Sapa Hotel in Sa Pa | Hotels.com

 

Siem Reap - HOTEL SOMADEVI ANGKOR RESORT & SPA

Tour Itinerary

Tour Itinerary – subject to change

October 7, 2024 - Depart USA for Hanoi, Vietnam

 

October 8, 2024: Arrival in Luang Prabang (B/L/D)

Welcome to Luang Prabang! Upon arrival at the airport, pick up by our guide and driver and transfer to the
city center. Lunch at a local restaurant.  Transfer to check in hotel. Standard check-in time is 14h00/15h00. Early check-in upon availability.  Then we'll head to Wat Visoun, the holiest temple in the city, which was entirely rebuilt in 1887 after being destroyed by the invasion of the Black Flags from southern China.  In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa in the shape of the fruit from which it takes its name. Continue to the small Buddhist temple Wat Aham, whose origin dates back to 1500.  For those that want to, we can climb the 328 steps of Mount Phousi for a pleasant exploration of the sacred golden stupa thus being able to enjoy the splendid sunset view over the city and the Mekong River.  This evening we'll stroll through the Night Market, where you can find a fine selection of handmade textiles made by the hill tribe and local people surrounding Luang Prabang.

 

October 9, 2024: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we visit the magnificent Wat Xiengthong complex with its roofs that descend to the ground,
which represents classical Lao architecture.  Embark on a cruise on the Mekong River, which offers wonderful panoramic view of the peaceful countryside.  We will reach the caves of Pak Ou, full of thousands of Buddha statues left by pilgrims, lacquered in gold and of various shapes and sizes.  On
the way, we will stop at Ban Xang Hai village where rice wine is distilled.  Lunch to be provided on board (set menu) as we enjoy the view of Mekong River.  Return to Luang Prabang in the afternoon, visiting Ban Xang Khong village, well known for hand weaving silk and traditional Saa paper making.


October 10, 2024: Luang Prabang - Khouang Si - Hanoi (B/L/D)

Wake up early this morning to witness a typical rite in Luang Prabang: hundreds of monks dressed in saffron who pass along the street to receive alms. Please inform your guide a day in advance if you would like to make an offering so that he can prepare some food to deliver to the monks. This morning ritual, when the city begins to come to life, dates back to ancient times. You can return to the hotel for breakfast or join the locals for a bowl of delicious noodle soup after the almsgiving ritual. (If you do not wish to make an offering, please keep a suitable distance, observe the ritual in silence and dress appropriately: shoulders, chest and legs covered).  We will then visit the market where the most diverse goods are sold such as dried buffalo hides, local tea, saltpeter, chickens, vegetables and woven wicker from the hill tribes.
Return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast and a short rest, we check out from the hotel and transfer to Khouang Si waterfall.  En route, you will meet Lao ethnic minority groups in Ban Na Ouane and H'Mong
villages.  Visit to the Buffalo Dairy Farm where there will be the opportunity to join the farm's activities,
pampering the beautiful buffaloes, feeding them, attending practical demonstrations of milking and tasting
the tasty ice creams and cheeses prepared with their milk.  At Khouang waterfalls, we will take a short
hike in the national park passing by the Asiatic bear rescue center.  Lunch at a local restaurant in Khouang Si area.  Later this afternoon, we return to Luang Prabang airport for flight to Hanoi.  On arrival in Hanoi we'll be met by our local guide and driver from the airport and transfer to check in hotel.

October 11, 2024: Hanoi - Bat Trang - Lao Cai (B/L/D)

After breakfast and check out hotel, we visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, inclusive of Ba Dinh Square, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, as well as his private residence from 1954 until 1969.  The wooden ethnic minority style house, which was built on stilts, is surrounded by lovely peaceful gardens.  In the same complex you will see the One Pillar Pagoda, founded by King Ly Thai To in 1049.  This structure has become an important symbol for the people of Hanoi.  Continue visit Tran Quoc Pagoda, locates on a small peninsula on the East side of the dazzling West Lake, this is the most ancient pagoda in Hanoi with its history line of more than 1,500 years. we visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university. Constructed in 1070, the gardens and well-preserved architecture offer a relaxing glimpse into Vietnam’s past.  We then transfer for Lunch at a local restaurant.  This afternoon, we depart to visit Bat Trang ceramic village, founded in 15th century in the suburb of Hanoi, which has been renowned for centuries for their products of refined porcelain, terra-cotta, crackle glazed pottery for Vietnamese use and shipping abroad. Learn how to make a handicraft pottery and immerse yourself in traditional culture as well as the local's daily life.  Leaving Bat Trang, we back to city center.  Walk along the historic Long Bien Bridge and view the sunset slipping down to the Red River.  End our tour today by enjoying a cup of Egg Coffee at the original café where it began – Café Giang.  Dinner at a local restaurant.  Then we head to the train station for our overnight train to Lao Cai.

October 12, 2024: Lao Cai - Market - Cat Cat - Sapa (B/L/D)
We arrive at Lao Cai train station in the early morning and have breakfast at a local restaurant.  After breakfast and a short rest, we transfer to visit the ethnic market of the day. On a specific day of the week, local ethnic people, especially young men and girls wearing their best clothes converge from many of the surrounding villages in order to trade and exchange goods at the market, and to catch up with each other.
Local farm produce, Tho cam (indigo clothes), dogs, cats, pigs, horses and more are on sale here.  This is a golden opportunity for the best photos as the diversity of colors on display is truly magnificent.  Lunch at a local restaurant in Lao Cai, then start our drive to Sapa.  The drive is worthwhile though, as the scenery on your northward journey into the highlands is both dramatic and breathtaking. Check in hotel upon arrival.
Later this afternoon, we go downhill to Cat Cat village with beautiful landscape along the way.  Cat Cat village locates near the bottom of a deep valley at the foot of Fansipan Peak, is home of Black H’mong ethnic people.  Our guide will tell us about the locals’ culture and daily life while we trek down to the valley to the waterfall where the French built a Hydraulic Power Station.  Walk uphill to the main road where our bus picks us up and transfer back to Sapa.  Rest time of the day is at leisure.  Dinner at the hotel.

 

October 13, 2024: Lao Chai - Ta Van - Sapa (B/L/D)
After breakfast, today we take a trekking tour of Lao Chai and Ta Van Village to visit communities of Vietnam's ethnic groups.  Start the tour with a trek to Lao Chai Village of Black H’mong minority.  Up to 100 families of the hill tribe live in the area, along with the other ethnic villagers.  Interact with these locals during local lunch and learn more about their culture.  Head next to Ta Van Village of Giay minority, where a much more diverse set of inhabitants live.  Watch as they go through their daily routine of farming and animal tending amidst the idyllic nature setting.  Marvel at the perfectly preserved culture of each tribe, reflected in their clothing, traditions, and handmade crafts.  Appreciate the scenery and buy a souvenir or two if you wish.  Walk up to the main road and transfer back to Sapa.  Depending on the weather condition we will climb up the Dragon Jaw Peak to see the panorama of Sapa with pine trees, old colonial-styled villas, and numerous hill tribal people.  Later this afternoon, we take a leisure walk to visit the church and Sapa market, where we meet the montagnards and admire their handicrafts made of wood, silver, or dyed and embroidered fabrics and clothes.  Dinner at a local restaurant.

 

October 14, 2024: Sapa - Hill Villages - Lao Cai - Hanoi (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we transfer to visit Love Waterfall. From the main road, the zigzag along a red-soiled path full of fragrant flower leads us to Love waterfall that is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sapa.  With a height of nearly 100 meters, Love waterfall starts from Fansipan peak and noisily falling down Golden stream.  Not only an ideal place for relaxation; Love Waterfall carries a legendary love story that has been told to generations in this land.  Return to the hotel to check out at standard time 11h00/12h00.  Late check-out upon availability.  Lunch at a local restaurant.  This afternoon, we will commence on a trail running through the beautiful gardens and lush pine forests as we go to Lao Cai train station.  We pass through the Black Hmong ethnic minority village of Matra, a very small village hidden away from civilization.  The walk continues through rice paddy fields and spectacular scenery.  During the day we’ll also be able to visit a local school.  Then head to Ta Phin village.  Here we learn about the cultural life of Black Hmong and Red Dao minorities, 2 of the largest ethnic groups in the area.  We may recognize them by their dress.  They are both very famous for their handicrafts.  We'll walk among local people and capture some excellent candid shots and portraits.  The walk also offers us the opportunity to visit local village houses as well as time to explore the local caves.  Continue to our drive to Lao Cai.  Dinner at a local restaurant then take the overnight train to Hanoi.

October 15, 2024: Hanoi - Ha Long Bay (B/L/D)

We arrive at Hanoi Station around 5.00 am. Before having breakfast, we can join the Hanoians in their early exercise - jogging, yoga, sword dance, fan dance, and taichi-quan.  Head to have breakfast and room use at a 3* hotel.  After breakfast and checking out, we transfer via the expressway (2.5 hours driving) to Halong.  Upon arrival in Halong, Lunch at a local restaurant.  We then transfer to check in the overnight cruise to discover the magnificent beauty of this “Descending-dragon” bay, created by thousands odd-shaped limestone rocks and karst grottoes.  This afternoon, we can visit the Grottos, stop for swimming or kayaking (at your own cost), passing floating houses and approach islets to enjoy their beauty in close.  Back to the cruise, enjoy cooking demonstration before having dinner.  Evening attend activities on the boat or relax at your own leisure.

 

October 16, 2024: Ha Long Bay (B/L/D)
Early birds are welcome to attend sunrise Tai Chi on our upper deck and it's an excellent way to get your
energy levels up for today's adventures.  You will be fascinated by the exquisiteness in the early hours as you enjoy a coffee or tea.  Full breakfast will be served before we transfer to our day boat as we go deeper into the bay.  Enjoy a leisurely day of shooting, swimming, or kayaking in a less-visited part of the Bay.  Lunch will be served mid-day.  Back on-board main cruise by late afternoon, take some time to freshen up, take a nap or just relax at your leisure as we cruise to our overnight area.  Witness one of the most brilliant sunsets you will ever see.  Dinner will be served on board.  Evening attend activities on the boat or relax at your own leisure.

 

October 17, 2024: Ha Long Bay - Phu Lang - Hanoi (B/L/D)
Have breakfast on board.  This morning, we visit by boat to Luon Cave, a ring-shaped pool inside an island in Halong with absolutely tranquil landscape and emerald water.  Back to the Wharf of Halong passing the most beautiful area with many islands that have been named like the Cock-Fighting Rock, Sail Island, Incense burner rock or Sea Dog Rock.  Early lunch/brunch will be served on board.  Note: The cruise itinerary can be changed according to weather conditions.  Arrive at Halong Wharf around noon time, pick up by our guide and driver, we transfer back to Hanoi with a stop en-route to visit Phu Lang - one of the well-known pottery village in the north of Vietnam, which is situated in Phu Lang commune, Que Vo district, Bac Ninh province.  Arrive at our hotel and check in.  Later today we'll visit the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son temple – Temple of the Jade Mountain, Hanoi's most visited temple sits on a small island in the northern part of the lake, connected to the lakeshore by an elegant scarlet bridge called Cau The Huc. We then take a leisure cyclo ride for 45 minutes around the Old Quarter of Hanoi, a fascinating network of narrow alleys and shop houses also known as ‘The 36 Streets’ – each street being named after the merchandise traditionally sold there, ranging from fabrics, medicines to crafts.  Here we visit Ma May ancient house, an open attraction preserved to introduce Hanoi's ancient architecture and way of living.
Dinner at a local restaurant.  Then we have time to enjoy the night street scenes of Hanoi and
capture some fun shots tonight.

 

October 18, 2024: Hanoi - Siem Reap (B/L/D) 
After breakfast and check out hotel, we will visit Hanoi's French Quarter.  Lying to the south and east of Hoan Kiem Lake, The French Quarter has grand boulevards and elegant French colonial buildings.  These include the stately Opera House (based on the neo-Baroque Paris Opera) complete with gray slate tiles imported from France.  One block east of the Opera House is Hanoi's Museum of History, which is an elaborate blend of Vietnamese palace and French villa, a style that came to be called Neo-Vietnamese. Trang Tien, the main artery of the French Quarter, is a busy shopping street where we find bookshops and art galleries as well as cafés and hotels.  Lunch at a local restaurant.  This afternoon, transfer to the airport for our flight to Siem Reap.  On arrival, pick up by our guide and driver from the airport and transfer to check in hotel.  Dinner at a local restaurant.

 

October 19, 2024: Siem Reap (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we explore South Gate of Angkor Thom known as Big Angkor, the walled and moated royal
city and was the last capital of the Angkorian Empire, the famous Bayon Temple was an architectural muddle, in part because it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century.  Terrace of the Elephants is an impressive, two and a half meters tall, 300-meter-long terrace wall adorned with carved
elephants that spans the heart of Angkor Thom in front of Baphuon - huge temple mountain in the heart of Angkor Thom, Royal Palace Area and Phimeanakas - impressive rite and sandstone pyramid.  Terrace of the Leper King is at the north end of the Terrace of the Elephants, a double terrace wall with deeply carved nagas, demons and other mythological beings.  We then visit other highlights of Small Circuit including: Thommanon - small attractive temple in very good condition, built at the same time as Angkor Wat. Chau Say Tevoda - built during the second quarter of the 12th century opposite of Thommanon, it was dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. Takeo - King Suryavarman I commissioned this temple in the 10th Century, but it was never completed so has no elaborate decoration like its contemporaries.  It is a pyramid on 5 levels and is dedicated to Shiva.  Last visit Ta Prohm temple which is a wonderful combination of human genius and natural beauty! Giant trees have grown here for centuries!  Lunch at a local restaurant.  This afternoon, we visit Angkor Wat temple, Cambodia's ancient temple is one of the wonders of the world. Masterpieces of decorative details as well as of architectural style, its awe-inspiring ruins survive as testament to the spectacular achievements of Southeast Asia's greatest civilization.  It is a replica of the universe according to the Hindu mythology.  It is composed by the Mount Meru, surrounded by the continents and the oceans. Its extraordinary bas-reliefs, describe some Khmer epics and myths.  Angkor Wat's five famous towers rise into the sky, a geometrical arrangement of numerous galleries, adorned with reliefs and the stone images of celestial Apsara dancers, as well as portals, chambers and courtyards.  Enjoy sunset at Phnom Bakheng which rises almost 70 meters above the plain where the rest of the temples are located, which gives a magnificent view of Angkor.  This evening we'll enjoy a buffet dinner with an Apsara dance show – a taste of classical Khmer culture.  Then we have time to enjoy the colorful night market.

 

October 20, 2024: Siem Reap (B/L/D)
After breakfast and check out of hotel, we transfer to visit Kampong Pluk Floating Village, 20km from Siem Reap.  Arrival at the dock, take a boat trip a long a small stream to the village.  Over 3000 inhabitants are real Khmers, their households made of wood and bamboo built on stilts of about 6m to 7m high. In the wet season when the water level rises up again, the dwellers move back to their permanent houses on the flood plain, the stilts now hidden under the water.  People make a living by fishing here.  Return to Siem Reap, Lunch at a local restaurant.  This afternoon, we visit Wat Bo, a highly respected pagoda founded in the 18th century, contains very unique wall paintings of the Reamker (Ramayana) that are said to be from late 19th century.  End our visits at one of the city’s lively open markets, Psar Chars, also called the “Old Market”, where anything and everything is for sale.  If time permits, we'll visit Senteurs D'Angkor New Workshop to see how the local artisans make by hand: soap with coconut oil, natural cosmetics,
subtly scented balms, & aromatic candles.  You will also observe the different steps to treat and prepare the local spices (Kampot pepper, lemongrass, chili…), and how people blend them to make the traditional curry or amok.  During our visit, you will also be able to taste several of local creations: flavored coffee, flavored tea, exotic jams and more and identify various exotic plants and flowers such as lemongrass, chili, pepper plant, coffee tree, frangipani, & jasmine.  Transfer to the airport for our departure flight.
Standard check-out time is 11h00/12h00. Late check-out upon availability.

 

October 21, 2024: Arrive home depending on flights.

 

Helpful Info

What To Take (These are only suggestions; they are NOT required!)

Our list of Recommended Gear for your Photo Tour

·       2 camera bodies—the same manufacturer that will fit all your lenses

·       Camera batteries, chargers, and cords

·       Bring as much memory as possible

·       Card Reader for file transfer

·       External hard drives for back up (we recommend a minimum of a 1TB drive)

·       Black Rapid camera strap

·       Extra batteries as needed

·       Lenses Medium telephoto, Fixed, & Wide angle that give you a wide range of length. 10mm to 400mm if possible

·       1.4x or 2x teleconverter for the telephoto—same brand as lens

·       Tripod and head

·       Flash

·       Photo backpack

·       Lens cloth and cleaning fluid

·       Blower ball for dust

·       Circular polarizing filter

·       Grad ND filters

·       Rain sleeve for camera and lens

·       Cable or electronic shutter release

·       Laptop computer

·       Current version of Photoshop or Lightroom

·       International power adapters

·       Multiple plug power strip & adaptor to gain electric outlets in your room for simultaneous downloading & recharging

·       Sensor cleaning supplies

 

 

GUESTS SHOULD PACK LIGHT.  YOU MAY BE EXPECTED TO CARRY, ROLL, SCHLEP, AND/OR OTHERWISE TRANSPORT YOUR OWN BAGS AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES ON THIS TRIP.  LAUNDRY SERVICES ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE.  M&M RULE OF THUMB IS ONE BAG FOR CAMERA GEAR AND ONE 20-22"" ROLLER FOR YOUR CLOTHES AND TOILETRIES.  INVEST IN A TRAVEL TRIPOD - BENRO HAS MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE.  MEDICAL DEVICES SUCH AS CPAP MACHINES ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS RECOMMENDATION.  PACKING LIGHT WILL MAKE YOUR TRIP MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE.

 

 

Tour Difficulty = Moderate

Easy = less than 2 miles walking/day and little climbing; Moderate = up to 5 miles walking per day with some climbing; Strenuous = more than 5 miles/day of walking and several climbing/hills/rough terrain expected.  You should know your health and ability to carry your gear in hot, cold, humid, and dry conditions and be able to walk 5 miles or more per day and make climbs in elevation of up to 1000 feet in gain and be OK climbing many steps or steep terrain.

 

 

Cancellation Policy

Pursuant to Clause 2 under Enrollment: If you need to cancel within a stated refund period, M&M Photo Tours, Inc. may allow you to apply all monies paid to a future trip, within 12 months.  We must receive written notification (E-mail is accepted) of your cancellation and your desire to apply the funds to a future trip.

 

We strongly recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance as this policy is strongly adhered to. The purchase of travel insurance covering baggage, accident/life and trip cancellation is highly recommended.  M&M Photo Tours, Inc. reserves the right to cancel any trip/tour/group due to insufficient registration at any time.  In the event of such cancellation, those with reservations shall be notified as soon as possible and a full refund of trip payment will be given.  It is agreed by registering for any M&M Photo Tours, Inc. tour that M&M Photo Tours, Inc. assumes no responsibility for refund or additional expenses incurred in preparation for a trip.

 

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is suggested. We recommend www.insuremytrip.com

 

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