Spirit of Cambodia and Vietnam – Photography Tour
Spirit Journeys Worldwide invites you to join our photography tour of Cambodia and Vietnam. Learn how to take photographs as a professional and catch the most interesting moments of this unforgettable tour.
Wander around Phnom Penh, learn about Khmer culture, join a street food tour and experience daily life and culture.
Prepare to be amazed at the sight of Angkor Wat! Explore this temple of spirituality and wisdom, and then take your camera and capture the most exciting moments.
Take a vespa drive through Ho Chi Minh City, explore this vibrant city, take pictures of its hidden corners.
Join a sunset fishing tour, enjoy the picturesque sights of flooded rice fields and everyday activities of local people.
Walk through the ancient and tranquil Hoi An, delightful Hanoi and pristine natural beauties of the magnificent Halong Bay.
Have a time of your life, but don’t forget to bring your camera and capture all the breathtaking moments.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Flights available on request – please contact us for a quote including flights|
|INCLUDED||Accommodation as per tailor itinerary|
Meal Plan as per itinerary; [B: Bed & Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner]
|NOT INCLUDED||Expenses of personal nature like tipping, laundry, telephone / fax calls, alcoholic beverages, camera / video camera fee at all monuments, medical expenses, airport departure taxes, etc.;|
Meals other than those specified in the package
|Single room||On Request – Please contact us for prices|
|Group discounts||For groups of 4 or more please contact us as group discount is available|
Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh (-/-/-)
Upon arrival at Phnom Penh, our guide will welcome and pick you up before transfer to hotel in city centre for check in. Room is at your disposal from 14.00 onward. The rest of day is then free at your leisure.
Day 2: Phnom Penh Sightseeing - Street Food Discovery (B/-/-)
Today you will take a city tour of Phnom Penh, get to know Phnom Penh’s origins with a visit to Wat Phnom. Visit the Royal Palace built in 1866 by King Norodom and comprising different structures grouped together in one enclosure. This house has a remarkable collection of Khmer art. Here you’ll find the Silver Pagoda whose key works include a golden Buddha encrusted with 9584 diamonds and weighing 90kgs, and a Buddha featuring emeralds and Baccarat crystal dating from the 17th century.
Then, travel to the south of the city to learn about the darkest period of Cambodia’s history: the regime of the Khmer Rouge. Here, you will visit the genocide museum of Tuol Sleng, an old secondary school which was transformed into a detention centre under the Khmer Rouge. The prison gates carry the name ‘S21’. Thousands of prisoners were detained, tortured and killed here..
Later this afternoon, join in a street food tour which always was – and still is an essential part of Phnom Penh’s daily life and its culture. This exclusive private tour led by a local chef will give you the chance to experience the rich diversity of traditional Khmer cuisine whereby you can taste a variety of very unusual dishes, gain a deeper knowledge of the local life and furthermore spend time with an amazing host – Mr. Nara. By local Tuktuk, proceed to the bustling riverside area. You will start your tour right in front of the magnificent Royal Palace, where numerous people gather to enjoy the various street food options. Nara will explain more to you about this culture and let you taste different specialities like fresh pomelos and local snacks. Your next stop will be the so named ‘Diamond Island’, a famous spot among young locals to meet up. Here you can be adventurous and try deep fried insects like tarantulas, bugs or snakes! Proceed to the typical local Kandal market. Here, you can share a typical street food meal with your host sitting at the roadside while experiencing the lively atmosphere of the evening hours. If you want, Nara will show you around the market, a perfect place to take unique pictures and become immersed into the bustling atmosphere. Your host is happy to explain more to you about the different things on offer in the market. Proceed to the famous old market of Phnom Penh. Around the market, you can see a lot of BBQ style meat being offered; feel free to ask your host if you want to try some. End this memorable and unique tour around 8.30 PM in a local restaurant with a terrace overlooking the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers. Relax, enjoy a cold drink and share your experience with your kind host.
Day 3: Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (B/-/-)
At good time, transfer without guide to Phnom Penh Airport where you will take a domestic flight to Siem Reap. Upon arrive in Siem Reap, welcome at the airport and transfer to hotel for check in.
Day 4: Angkor Wat Photography Tour (B/-/-)
Start early in the morning by being picked up at your hotel ready to go capture the sunrise behind the five towers of Angkor Wat. Before the tour you should make sure all the settings on your camera are correct. If necessary, you will be taught the basics of exposure and how to use the main functions of your camera. After strolling the corridors of Angkor Wat, you will then go explore the famous temple of Ta Phrom, incredibly overgrown with giant trees.
After Ta Phrom you’ll also have the opportunity to shoot and explore some nearly empty temples. Along the tour, you’ll stop at some selected spots where Laurent teaches composition, exposure control, and controlled lighting, as well as some special techniques like panning or HDR. You will have time to practice these techniques to make sure you have learned them. If you wish to learn other techniques, just let him know along the way.
After a lunch break and some rest you continue the tour visiting the temples of Ta Som, Preah Khan and Bayon before ending the day at Angkor Thom to see the sunset behind the stone giants at the entrance of the now defunct city.
Day 5: Angkor Park Exploring (B/-/-)
We will spend more time visiting the remote temples of Angkor Park: Temple of Bang Mealea in the jungle. The temple was built during the reign of Suryavarman II, in the middle of the twelfth century. It gives the visitor the impression of being the first explorer of the temple. Far from the bustle of Angkor Wat, Beng Mealea lends itself particularly to the reverie and meditation, inhabited by celestial dancers (Apsaras), this symbiotic relationship between vegetable and mineral is most surprising. The roots of the trees that have gently wrapped this temple seem to marry forms.
In the afternoon, leave for Banteay Srei where one of the most impressive jewels of Khmer art exists. Erected in the 10th century, this small pink sandstone temple is known as the Citadel of Women. It houses some remarkably well conserved sculptured lintels and was made famous by Andre Malraux in the early 20th century when, in 1923, he returned the Apsara heads that he had previously removed.
Later this afternoon, enjoy the scenic sunset view of Angkor Complex on a Gondola boat. The boat will collect you at the pier, and you’ll be welcomed with a cold hand-towel and a cool fresh drink. During one hour of the navigation, you have a chance to admire the stunning sunset view from the water to the jungle surrounding the area. A short stop of visiting one of the beautiful Corner temples (Prasat Chrung) of Angkor Thom Wall, you will enjoy the tranquillity atmosphere without crowd. Return to your hotel afterwards for relaxation.
Day 6: Mean Chrey Floating Village - Siem Reap Countryside by Quad (B/L/-)
In the morning, transfer to the floating village of Mean Chreay (13km away from Siem Reap). On arrival, we will be greeted by monks in their brightly coloured robes for receiving a good luck blessing before you gently kayak through the floating village where you will be welcomed by warming smiles from the humble Cambodian people who live on this fantastic lake. We continue to enjoy kayaking until we reach the end of the village and there you will be welcomed by our local host, where we will stop for a local lunch in a beautiful setting. In high water season (Aug – Jan), we will kayak through the exotic mangroves while during low water season (late Jan-July) you will kayak along the Tonle Sap Lake seeing rare birds in this tranquil setting giving.
In the afternoon, keep on your journey for a 1-hour ride by quad, you will pass through villages and rice fields, and if you decide to ride for longer, you will stop at beautiful pagodas such as Wat Athwea. Along the way, you can stop anytime to take pictures or ask the guide questions about the Khmer culture and lifestyle.
Rest of the day at leisure
Day 7 : Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh (B/-/-)
At good time, transfer directly to Siem Reap Airport where you will take a flight to Ho Chi Minh. On arrival, our local guide will welcome you and transfer to the city for hotel check in. Spend the balance of day at leisure.
Day 8 : Ho Chi Minh sightseeing (B/-/-)
Our Vespa tour of modern-day Ho Chi Minh City will give you a view of greater Saigon unlike anything you’ll see from the hot, crowded interior of a tour bus, and much more of the city than you could see on your own.
Leave your hotel early in the morning, sit on the back of the lovely ancient Vespa, you will be guided to the unknown streets, along with a small canal and stop at a local market to see the daily activities of people in a hidden corner of Ho Chi Minh city. Time will become memorable with a cup of coffee in a very simple cafe-shop on the river side. Continue your morning with a drive to Phu My Hung – named as the new city in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s time for a slow walking tour around the green trees, beautiful flower garden and feels a different Saigon in a quiet side.
Afterwards, spend time at China Town, visiting some herbal medicine shops to understand various active chemicals in a single herb and the interesting knowledge about interaction of a mixture of herbs in traditional therapies. Then, take a visit to the Ben Thanh market. Be sure to use your bargaining skills to get the best price on anything you buy there.
The evening is free at your leisure
Day 9 : Ho Chi Minh City - Mekong Delta (B/L/-)
Today, we depart from Ho Chi Minh City to explore Ben Tre in Mekong Delta. You then walk in the flower fields and feel the daily life of the people in the coconut land. Visit the handicraft workshop by bus and walk into the paddle pier. Afterwards, take a crowing-boat through with the coconut’s stretches that you can see the daily life of the people at riverside. Stop to visit the grapefruits, coconut gardens that you can pick up and enjoy coconut water and tropical fruit. Take motor-card on the village road through the green coconut’s forest and cocoa garden to enjoy lunch with featured dishes of Mekong River region at the garden of Mr. 10 Ưa (Thuý Uyên restaurant). In the afternoon, walk on the village road and talk with local peoples. You can weed, fertilise, water for the coconut, cocoa, grapefruit’s garden with the locals. Take boat trip along Ba Lai legend river with the coconut’s stretches. Stop to visit the coconut coir manufacturing facility. Continue cruising on Ba Lai river and have a sightseeing at local people’s daily activities and see coconut processing workshops located along river and visit the bricks kiln (Mr. 4 Lo) to see how to make bricks by local people’s handy methods. Then head straight back to your hotel in Ho Chi Minh City
Day 10 : Ho Chi Minh City - Hoi An - Sunset fishing tour (B/-/-)
Spend the balance of day free at your leisure until being transferred to Tan Son Nhat Airport for your domestic flight to Danang. Room is at your disposal until noon time only. Upon arrival in Danang, warmly welcomed by your local guide then transferred to the hotel in Hoi An for check in and a short rest.
Later this afternoon, head to the Cam Thanh countryside, you will ride across plains of flooded rice fields and have the opportunity to observe picturesque scenes of the local’s daily life with a background of verdant countryside. After arriving at the local boat pier, you will board a boat that will transport you for 45 30 minutes to the seaport of Cua Dai, at the mouth of the Thu Bon River, which runs through Hoi An. At this point, two very different activities will be awaiting you to enjoy.
First of all, you will be initiated to a form of fishing using huge nets raised by special pulleys, the catch, accessed only by paddling out in “basket boats”. After this first fun activity, a bamboo basket boat will take you into the mangrove forest. This amazing round basket boat will carry you along for 45 30 minutes and, from there, you will be able to watch and take part in scenes of crab fishing. At this point, you’ll no doubt be invited to try and manoeuvre your boat yourself, but it’s not an easy task making circular paddle movements while trying to make sure you keep your balance! Be that as it may, it’s certainly a lot of fun.
Day 11 : Hoi An Sightseeing (B/-/-)
In the morning or in the afternoon, depart from your hotel to take a walking tour in Hoi A town, recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site because of its unusually well-preserved ancient streets and homes. Set out to explore the quaint cobblestone streets of the town with more than two-century-old Chinese houses. Sites include the Japanese Bridge, the Chinese Temple, and Phung Hung Chinese-style trading house. The tour ends with a cup of coffee or tea at Reaching Out – a special teashop where all the waiters and waitresses are hearing impaired staff who is given a chance to have a self–reliant life and integrate into the community with training to enable them to work there confidently and professionally. A peaceful time for you to enjoy the silence and taste of coffee. Afterwards, back to your hotel for relaxation.
Day 12 : Hoi An - Danang - Hanoi (B/-/-)
Spend the balance of day free at your leisure until being transferred without guide to Danang Airport for your onward flight to Hanoi. Meet your local guide at the airport and then transfer to your hotel for check-in (30 km – 45 mins driving). Room is at your disposal from 2 pm onward.
After a short rest, setting out and you will have a chance to experience the life of a Hanoi inhabitant in the 1950’s and travel through the old quarter on a cyclo-pousse (cycle rickshaw) for 45 minutes. Discover the bustling streets of the “Quarter of the 36 guilds’’ – a place of unique charm and endless activity: artisans, stalls, tinsmiths, jewellers, calligraphers, carpenters, mobile stalls, leather or rattan goods, not forgetting the people selling fans, votive objects, lacquer ware, silk, mats, paper, pipes….before coming back to hotel
Day 13 : Hoi An Sightseeing (B/-/-)
Try to be one of the very first people to see the fresh image of Hanoi this early morning, witness a solemn rising flag ceremony in front of Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. This is a unique chance for you to enjoy the peerless beauty of Hanoi at the most peaceful and inspiring time of the day – Early morning when you sense the authentic local rhythm without crowds of tourists and noisy vehicles. We will then either going to Quang An Flower Market Flower where numerous kinds of flowers in Hanoi are gathered for wholesale or joining locals practising Tai Chi at Parks and to share for a moment the Vietnamese way of life (specific activity is subject to weather conditions). Return to city centre for a hot bowl of Pho – traditional Vietnamese noodle soup (optional choices of beef, chicken) as your breakfast. We then walking around the Old Quarter, stop at Hanoi’s largest covered market, Dong Xuan.
After that, we set out to explore the historical and charming Hanoi. The stop includes Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum and visit the thousand-year-old Temple of Literature also known as Vietnam’s first university.
Then discover the real Hanoi while getting away from the overly trodden regular tourist paths. This walking route gives you a chance to experience the true diversity of life in Hanoi. The tour takes in 3 km’s of walking through the old public housing tenements, wet markets and sometimes silent alleys. Experience the different ways of life in Hanoi, so starkly contrasted when compared to the ever tourist oriented old quarter just a stone’s throw away. You will be greeted with curious eyes of children, street vendors and long term local residents. This could even be considered as something of a small adventure and most certainly, a unique experience.
Day 14 : Hanoi - Halong Bay (B/-/-)
In the morning, leave Hanoi for Halong Bay and arrive around noon. Board a beautiful junk and begin your exploration of magical Halong Bay, one of Southeast Asia’s premier tourist destinations. An excellent, fresh seafood lunch and dinner will be served on the boat.
Overnight on a very comfortable and charming junk.
Day 15 : Halong Bay - Hanoi - Departure (B/-/-)
Wake up early in the morning to enjoy the aquamarine water of the bay at its best. After breakfast, the junk continues to cruise quietly through the spectacular limestone formations of Halong Bay. Enjoy the peacefulness of sailing amongst the unique islands of the bay. Return to Halong harbour and go back to Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi for your departure flight onward home
We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance
Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to supplementary charges. Please contact us for trips over this period
Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar service(s) in order to avoid changes to the program.
Copy of passport