This unique Vietnam and Cambodia photography tour, accompanied by one of our professional travel photographers aims to encourage keen amateur photographers, not only to get to know their cameras better but to engage with their subject matter in more meaningful ways. In contrast to other photography courses, and in keeping with the All JET Travel philosophy, this trip intends to emphasize a travel photography that appreciates local people, their cultures, traditions and religions and encourages a positive impact on the places and people it visits.
An exciting river and land adventure through the heart of Indochina: from Vietnam’s bustling Saigon and picturesque Mekong Delta region, up-river to the fascinating Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, before heading west via the mysterious & dramatic, jungle-clad temples of Angkor.
Tour length: 16D/15N Saigon to Phnom Penh
Accommodation: hotel, home-stay in colonial period villa
Availability: all year round
Transport: minibus, boat, tuk-tuk
Group size: 2 to 10 persons
Meals: bed and breakfast throughout. Tour-leaders and guides can advise on restaurants and local dishes.
Difficulty: easy – maximum hiking 3-4 hrs per day during the Angkor visit.
Day 1 Morning arrival in Saigon, meet your tour leader and transfer to a downtown hotel. Introductory presentation concerning some of the techniques, aesthetics and ethics of travel photography, followed by a leisurely afternoon to recover from your flight: explore the area, browse the markets or just relax in a cafe and watch the non-stop spectacle of the city’s traffic! Photographic themes: – Saigon street life, city scenes
Day 2 Day tour of some of the City’s sites including the bustling Chinatown district of Cholon, the War Museum, Jade Emperor Pagoda and Saigon’s own Notre Dame Cathedral.
Photographic themes: – Saigon street life, city scenes, markets, pagodas, French colonial period architecture
Day 3 Departure from Saigon for a visit to the fascinating Vietcong tunnel system at Cu Chi before continuing south to the scenic riverside, Delta town of Cai Be with some free time to explore the area. Overnight in Cai Be Town.
Photographic themes: – country scenes, historical sites, Mekong Delta scenery
Day 4 Morning visit to Cai Be’s traditional floating market from where we’ll continue by boat through the Delta’s myriad waterways with the opportunity to visit some of the region’s cottage industries and fruit farms. Arrival in Vinh Long and head off for a canoe tour of the former Vietcong jungle base at Xe Quit. After lunch we’ll drive to Can Tho – the Delta’s most important commercial and administrative centre. Afternoon at leisure to explore this friendly riverside town or check-out the interesting Mekong Delta Museum?
Photographic themes: – floating markets, historical sites, river life, cottage industries
Day 5 Early morning boat ride to check out the nearby morning market; one of the busiest and most photogenic of the Delta’s floating markets, before heading west to the small riverside town of Chau Doc near the Cambodian border. Visit the sacred Sam Mountain for sunset and spectacular views before returning to Chau Doc in the evening.
Photographic themes: – floating markets, river life, country life, landscapes, pagodas.
Day 6 Back on the Mekong for a morning departure by boat for Phnom Penh. Lunchtime arrival and check-in to a small, comfortable, downtown hotel. Time to relax before stretching your legs with an introductory walking tour to give you a first-hand feel for the bustling street-life before finishing on the riverfront and perhaps sundowners at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club?
Photographic themes: Phnom Penh street scenes, historic buildings; French colonial, Buddhist temples.
Day 7 Day tour of some of the sites of Cambodia’s fascinating capital city: the infamous Killing Fields site and the highly moving Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum at Tuol Sleng help to explain the country’s recent tragic history, the picturesque Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda will provide plenty of photo opportunities whilst the Russian Market offers some ‘retail therapy’ and a chance for a local style lunch.
Photographic themes: – street scenes, markets, people, historical sites.
Day 8 In the morning we’ll visit Wat Phnom and the old French Quarter including a detour to Psa Chas – the Old Market – and one of central Phnom Penh’s most bustling before heading off in the afternoon to nearby Koh Dach, or ‘Silk Island’. Lying just a short ride from the city it’s nonetheless a world away and will allow you to experience local village life as well as an opportunity to discover the traditional silk weaving methods still employed on this picturesque Mekong River island.
Photographic themes: – markets and street-life, villages and handicrafts
Day 9 Up-country through Cambodia’s scenic countryside to the small provincial town of Siem Reap in Western Cambodia – our base for the next few days and jumping off point for the nearby Angkor Temple complex. Stops on the way at the famous ‘spider village’ of Skuon, (tasting not compulsory), the rarely visited but well preserved 10th century temple of Kuhananokor and lunch by a scenic lake. A dusk visit to the atmospheric ruins of Banteay Kdei completes our day.Photographic themes: – landscapes – countryside, villages, rural life, ‘on the road’.
Day 10 Angkor – an unforgettable two-day tour of this fabulous site – its vast jungle clad temples and mysterious stone carvings. Our programme begins with dawn at Angkor Wat followed by a comprehensive morning tour of the temple itself. Then late morning return to Siem Reap to escape the midday heat and for some lunch, siesta or relaxation time before an afternoon walking tour of Angkor Tom: Leper King Terrace, Preah Palilay, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, Baphuon & last but not least, (we’ll wait until the crowds have gone!), the dramatic Bayon Temple with its famous ‘faces’. Photographic themes: – architecture, historical sites, ruined temples, dawn at Angkor Wat, landscapes, flora and fauna.
Day 11 We’ll begin with a forest hike up Bahkeng Hill to visit the spectacular Phnom Bahkeng Temple and check out the views before moving on to the huge jungle-clad ruin of Preah Khan. Dense jungle, enormous roots and trees and screeching parakeets make this atmospheric temple one of everyone’s favourites. After a midday break in Siem Reap Town- the afternoon programme continues with a short jungle walk to Ta Keo via the remote and rarely visited Ta Nei Temple. A visit to the famous Ta Prom ruins – the famous ‘Tomb Raider’ Temple continues our jungle theme and concludes our day’s visit. Photographic themes: – architecture, historical sites, ruined temples, landscapes, jungle flora and fauna.
Day 12 Off the beaten track with a morning trip to the remote site of Beng Melea Temple – until recently off limits due to appalling roads and uncleared mines – but for the few who have visited, certainly one of the most memorable temple sites. Stop off at the lively rural market Dam Dek and afternoon at leisure in Siem Reap – relax by the pool, a visit to the unusual landmines museum or the local markets?
Photographic themes: – rural markets and villages, landscapes, historical sites, rarely photographed temples.
Day 13 Spectacular boat journey across the Tonle Sap Lake, past the ‘flooded forest’ and Prek Toal bird sanctuary and on down the Sangkar River and its floating and stilt-house fishing villages to the town of Battambang. Stop off on the way to visit the Prek Toal community water hyacinth weaving project. Time of arrival will depend upon water levels.
Photographic themes: – river and lake scenes, floating fishing villages, country scenes, landscapes.
Day 14 Morning ride through the paddy-fields on Battambang’s famous ‘bamboo train’, (we’ll explain later!), followed by some leisure time to explore the friendly provincial town or just chill-out in one of the many coffee shops. After lunch we’ll head out to the surrounding villages to check out the area’s traditional cottage industries and handicrafts either by bicycle or tuk-tuk for the less energetic.
Photographic themes: – architecture, village life, cottage industries, landscapes
Day 15 Travelling east our first stop will be the lively and colourful local market in Pursat Town for a chance to stretch our legs, check out the weird and wonderful produce on display, meet the friendly locals plus of course plenty of photo opportunities. Moving on we’ll stop at the fascinating river port town of Kompong Chnang where half the town is actually floating on the Tonle Sap River and explore the bustling river front area before continuing to our day’s final destination, Phnom Penh. Photographic themes: – markets, landscapes, river-life
Day 16 Morning ‘de-briefing’ session with an opportunity to look at some important editing and post-production techniques. Afternoon transfer to Phnom Penh.