Northern Laos Photography Tour 14days
Highlight: Northern Laos is a cultural treasure of immense photographic charm, a unique piece of South-East Asia where diverse ethnic groups have been sheltered from tourism. On this photography tour we will visit mist shrouded mountain villages, float down the Mekong on private river boats and explore the beauty of Buddhist monks in the town of Luang Prabang. September is the end of the monsoon season when the landscape is lush and at its most beautiful, a prime time for photography.
– Visit ethnic villages of the Hmong, Khmu, Lanten, Yao, Tai Lu
– 4WD access to remote mountain Akha villages
– Cruise the Nam Tha and visit ethnic villages through the Namha National Protected Area
– Saffron robed monks of Luang Prabang collecting Alms
– Private riverboat cruise down the Mekong River from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang
– Mist cloaked mountain villages
– Golden temples and French colonial architecture of UNESCO World Heritage Listed Luang Prabang
– Village of Nong Kiaw on the beautiful Nam Ou (river)
– Farmers toiling in the rice fields
– Sunsets on the Mekong River
The adventure begins in Vientiane where we will meet the group. A walk to the local markets where the pace is lively with throngs of vendors will give us an opportunity to discuss photography techniques and have a taste of the Laos culture. This evening we will get better acquainted during a group dinner and savor traditional Lao food.
We start the day with a walk to Wat Si Saket the oldest temple to survive the Siam–Lao war. Age has lent character and beauty to a unique temple boasting almost 7000 Buddha statues. We take a midday flight to Luang Namtha to begin our discovery of the remote Lao ethnic groups and to develop our photographic skills. This afternoon we drive to Ban Nam Dee, a Lanten village where ancient traditions dictate life. We end the day with sunset photography over the rice fields.
An early start will see us on the road between Luang Namtha and Muang Sing, situated on the Chinese border, where for centuries ethnic groups have been migrating. We will visit villages along the picturesque route starting with an Hmong village where the people are welcoming and generous. This is the ideal location to develop portraiture techniques using the environment of a small village with bamboo houses and happy, gentle people. As we proceed we will meet the villagers from the different minorities and see the differing cultures.
Our 4 wheel drive will take us into the mountains adjoining the Namha National Protected Area along a slippery track to a remote Akha village, so keep a good hold of your camera during the drive. The Akha wear elaborate hand made headdress and jewelry and live at the top of their mountain home which has sweeping vistas of the valley below. The Akha of Ban Nam Yang has limited western visitors and can be shy so patience is a virtue when trying to secure that treasured photograph. We will have a picnic lunch in the mountains and this evening talk about processing digital images.
Today we will catch on of the local boats and cruise down the Namtha (river) visiting Ban Mai (Black Tai), Ban Sope Dute (Lanten) and Ban Sopsim (Khmu) who live along the edge of the Namha National Protected Area. The villagers use the river as their only highway and are only accessible during the monsoon season when the rivers are high. We will enjoy a picnic lunch on the banks of the river after an exhilarating morning and have a leisurely return by bus to Luang Namtha.
We will head to Huay Xai this morning through the Namha National Protected Area stopping at the Kaorao caves and the Kao Vieng ruins, all that’s left of one of the first civilizations to settle the area. The rest of the day is free to explore Huay Xai on the border with Thailand.
A leisurely cruise down the Mekong River on our own private riverboat will see us pass fishing villages, cliffs and forest and occasionally, if were lucky, elephants working along the banks. This is a perfect time to fire up the laptops and review photos, discuss technique or simply relax and take in the scenery. Lunch is catered onboard. We continue our journey down the Mekong River after having a restful night in Pak Beng until we arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Town of Luang Prabang. If Luang Namtha is the Lao gem of ethnic diversity then the former royal seat of the kingdom of a million elephants is the Lao gem of cultured beauty.
A very early start today to photograph the flow of saffron past the many temples in the streets of Luang Prabang as the monks collects alms. We pass from the mystic to the functional with a walk through the local market to see the produce being frenetically sought and bought before sitting down to a French style breakfast. Free time is planned for the rest of the day to photograph your own impressions of the town, focusing on golden temples or the French colonial architecture. In the evening we will gather on the banks of the Mekong River to watch fishermen, farmers and a colourful sunset. The following day we take a drive up into the mist shrouded mountains behind Luang Prabang to discover Khamu and Hmong ethnic groups farming dramatically steep mountain sides. We’ll also seek out magnificent vistas of the mountains and valleys of Luang Prabang Province.
Today we drive to the riverside town of Nong Kiaw on the Nam Ou (river). Nong Kiaw is a rustic town with a bridge stretching across the river and is a launching point to head down the Nam Ou (river). We will be here for the night and get to see the village in the late afternoon light. The next morning we jump on a local boat and head down the Nam Ou with some of the most beautiful riverscapes to be seen in Laos. We will visit villages and a school along the journey. We will also visit caves and Sop Kong waterfall, a beautiful walk which takes us through mountains and rice fields, where we can have a swim and a picnic lunch.
We return to Luang Prabang for the last day of activities. We have a workshop session on how to organize a set shoot and utilize available light for environmental portraiture. We have one more sunset to enjoy and a farewell dinner to celebrate our journey.
Hotel checkout is for 12 noon, and your transfer to the airport is included.
Don’t see the date for this tour to suit your schedule? No problems, Create Your Own Date. Choose the dates that you want to travel and as long as you happy to open the tour to other people joining we will charge you the standard tour price – no markups!
1. You must have booked and paid your deposit for travel dates that are at least 1 to 3 months in the future. This just gives us time to promote the trip and find other people to join you.
2. Create Your Own Date for this tour applies for bookings of two or more people only. If you are a solo traveller we can do our best to get a group for the dates you choose but we cannot guarantee standard pricing until we achieve a minimum of 2 people
3. This offer is subject to availability. In peak season we may not have the capability to add tour dates to our already busy schedule..
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