Mekong Delta Hidden Gems

A photographic journey that will take you away from the beaten paths into the traditional Mekong Delta
Coconuts vendors

MEKONG DELTA HIDDEN GEMS

  • Price: US$780 / person
  • Departure Time: 7:00am
  • Duration: 3 Days / 2 Nights
  • Group Size: 2 persons min. / 6 max.
  • Level: Beginners to Advanced
  • Pickup & drop off: Your hotel
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Embark on a 3-day photographic tour that will take you away from beaten paths and let you discover the traditional Mekong Delta.

Throughout this photo adventure, you will sail on some of the region’s most beautiful arroyos, ride through endless coconut groves and mesmerizing fluorescent green rice fields, visit some authentic Khmer temples and meet with the monks, witness the colorful morning activity of genuine floating markets, and will get many other great opportunities to capture the true beauty of the Mekong Delta and its people.

Day 1

● Ho Chi Minh → Ben Tre → Tra Vinh → Soc Trang
● 5 hours’ travelling / 5 hours of photography

We begin the day by picking you up at your hotel and heading down to the Delta, with our first stop being Ben Tre.

We start our exploration of the Delta by taking a sampan along a narrow canal lined with mangrove trees, before returning to land for a bicycle ride through dense coconut plantations. We then return to the quayside in Ben Tre, where the bustling market and streets full of commercial activity provide a vibrant tableau for street photography.

In the afternoon we head to the Khmer cultural heartland of Tra Vinh, where we will visit some of the 141 Khmer temples practicing the Theravada branch of Buddhism – a wonderful opportunity to experience these serene, peaceful places and get some wonderful portraits of the young monks in their saffron-coloured robes.

We’ll then cross two branches of the Mekong by ferry and spend the night in the town of Soc Trang.

Woman rowing in an arroyo
Day 2

● Soc Trang → Nga Nam  → Long Xuyen
● 2½ hours’ travelling / 5 hours of photography

After breakfast, our first stop is Nga Nam floating market, the oldest market in the Delta. Its remoteness and lack of tourism infrastructure have kept it off most tourist itineraries. Situated at the confluence of five canals, it boasts more floating vendors than any other market which is why it’s our first choice.

To really get in amongst the traders we’ll use a small traditional local boat, which will help us interact with the vendors and get some really good shots. To help you get different perspectives on the market, we’ll also shoot from the balcony of a nearby house and from the market quayside.

We’ll then take the road to reach Tiger Island located across from the city of Long Xuyen. Upon our arrival, we will hop on bikes to go around the island to get a sense of its unique atmosphere. The islanders have preserved their traditional blue houses whose main rooms are open to the outside, visible through partition made of wooden bars. This is a magical sight at night.

Dinner and overnight stay with a local islander.

Fruit sellers at the Phong Diem floating market
Day 3

● Long Xuyen → Dinh Yen → Ho Chi Minh
● 5 hours’ travelling / 4 hours of photography

Sunrise on the Long Xuyen floating market. This market, located away from the city on a wide arm of the delta, is probably one of the most typical in the area and one of the largest since it extends over one kilometer.

The scarcity of tourists makes contact with the most authentic locals and therefore facilitates exchanges. We then discover a Khmer floating village where hundreds of families live on houseboats. During floods, the water level rises several meters. Houseboats follow the movement of the water.

On the way back, we come across the very photogenic village of Dinh Yen which is specialized in the manufacture of traditional mats. We’ll reach Ho Chi Minh in the late afternoon.

Nga Nam floating market

Tour Highlights

  • Sampan cruise along mangrove-lined canals
  • Bicycle ride through the coconut forests of Ben Tre
  • Ben Tre riverside, its market and street traders
  • Khmer temples and its monks in Tra Vinh
  • Nga Nam, the Delta’s oldest floating market
  • Overnight homestay on Tiger Island
  • The Long Xuyen floating market and Khmer floating village
  • The village of Dinh Yen specialized in handcrafted mats
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Includes

✔ Accommodation in a 2* hotel in Soc Trang
✔ Accommodation in a homestay on Tiger Island
✔ Private air-conditioned transport
✔ Boat rides
✔ Meals and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the tour
✔ Snacks and water during tour
✔ Sites entry fees (if applicable)

Excludes

✘ Travel insurance
✘ Alcoholic beverages
✘ Personal expenses
✘ Entry Visa to Vietnam
✘ International flight tickets
✘ Tipping

Optional

 Single Room (in Soc Trang only) +$US15

General Information

Who are our tours designed for?

Anyone who loves travel and photography is welcomed, whatever your level of experience – the most important thing is enthusiasm. Our tours can be summed up in three words – sharing, friendship and smiles. Your non-photographer friends & family are also welcomed to join – as long as they don’t mind hanging around while the photographers do their thing!

Improve your photography!

With Arnaud’s advice and guidance, you’ll quickly become more familiar with your equipment and refine your eye for a good image without being swamped by technical details. You’ll learn how to read light, how to compose a shot, and how to tell a visual story – in short, you’ll release more of your creative potential. Mastering photography is a long and enjoyable journey, and one without end. The main objective of our tours is for you to become a better photographer by the end of each day.

What equipment?

The best camera is the one you already have! Travel light – a DSLR with wide angle and zoom lenses is more than sufficient for our tours. Hybrids, compacts and even smartphones are equally welcome! Other than that, all you’ll need is a fully-charged battery and enough memory cards. If you can, bring along your laptop so we can critique your photos and also show you a few tips for using Lightroom.

Meet the Locals

You’ll get to meet the local population, find out about their way of life, and experience their friendly company – all while taking some fantastic photos! We’ll show you how to break the ice with the Vietnamese and how to make your camera a valuable ally in making connections with them.

Encounter the Unexpected

We don’t impose strict itineraries on our travelers; every one of our journeys in Vietnam is unique – no two tours are ever the same! Spontaneous encounters and varying light conditions create different photography opportunities every time. One moment you’ll be standing on the edge of a rice field photographing a farmer at work; the next you’ll be invited into a local house for tea; or maybe you’ll be navigating your way along a narrow canal by sampan or a country lane on the back of a motorbike – most of the time we’ll just go with the flow!

Small Groups

Our maximum group size is six. This enables us to give every photographer plenty of individual attention, and also makes it easier for us to blend into the environment and not be overly intrusive when we’re meeting the locals.

Your Host - Arnaud Foucard

A keen photographer of landscapes and people, Arnaud leads photography tours in the Mekong Delta and other beautiful places in Vietnam. Before becoming a photographer he spent ten years in Vietnam as a tour operator and knows the country intimately. Photography has always been his passion, and so one day he decided to turn that passion into a living – now he devotes his time to helping fellow photography enthusiasts discover little-known and picturesque parts of Vietnam, while improving their photographic skills.

Mekong in the Gallery

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