On The River Of Perfumes
A fascinating country with a difficult past but which is gaining new awareness of the value of its own culture and of its natural beauty.
What I offer you is a journey to discover the ethnic minorities, an itinerary that touches the main cities, but that most of all is meant to discover the most mysterious corners of a country whose traditions have remained intact over time. From the vibrant atmosphere of the districts of Hanoi, to the liveliness of the floating markets in the Mekong Delta, to the 19th century charm of the city of Hue, included since 1993 in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
In March, 2017, I am partnering with La Compagnia del Relax, an organization founded in 2003 by my good friend Enrico Radrizzani, to lead a tour of Vietnam as a photography instructor.
La Compagnia del Relax was created to coordinate the services of institutions, local agencies, and small family businesses by promoting responsible tourism. Traveling with La Compagnia del Relax means to travel slowly, as far away as possible from mass tourism, but without neglecting the must-see destinations, and staying close to the local people. Each destination is curated by those who really know, because they live there, or because they have visited there many times and have woven a network of contacts and friends that cooperate to offer you the most authentic experiences.
The tours organized by La Compagnia del Relax are completely a la carte, meaning that dates and destinations can be varied and adapted to your preferences and needs. If you are a group of people traveling together, but don’t want the hassle to organize the trip yourself, they can take care of if for you. Conversely, if you are traveling alone, you can inquire whether there are any tours already planned and leaving on dates that work for you.
What Can You Expect?
If you take this tour with us, you will be fully immersed in Vietnamese nature and culture. You will not do sightseeing from a double-decker bus, but will live the Vietnamese way of life, by overnighting in homestays or onboard night trains (but also in some very nice hotels), eating in traditional restaurants, meeting the tribespeople of the mountain villages.
If you are a lover of the sea and of gorgeous landscapes, the highlight of the trip will certainly be cruising in Ha Long harbor, among turquoise waters and impressive karst monoliths. The immense Thien Duong (“Paradise”) cave, the longest in Asia, will be no less breathtaking.
There will be some trekking too which, while not strenuous, will require that you are reasonably fit. We’ve chosen the dates of this tour to coincide with the dry season, but Vietnam is a tropical country, so hot and humid days are not uncommon.
This tour is all about photography and you will have plenty of opportunities to take the best pictures with all the time you need. We are photographers too and understand the importance of good light. If conditions are favorable, we will spend more time at a promising location and be as flexible as needed to let you exploit them as much as possible.
To receive more information about this tour or reserve your seats, please fill in the form below. You will be contacted as soon as possible.
The tour will be held from March 17 to March 28, 2017.
The tour is 12 days long (11 nights). The first and the last days are reserved for arrivals and departures, transfers to and from the hotels, introductions and goodbyes.
The tour starts on day one in the city of Hanoi. Upon your arrival at the airport you will be greeted by your tour guide at the airport, who will transfer you to the hotel. In the afternoon, we’ll have a meet-and-greet cocktail, followed by a presentation of the team and of the program, and finally a welcome dinner.
In the following days, we will use various means of transportation, including private buses, trains, traditions wooden boats, and your own feet, to move between locations, including Lao Cai, Sapa, Ninh Binh, the Ha Long Bay, Hue, Hoi An, and many others.
A detailed program will be shared with the participants before the start of the tour.
The tour ends on day 12 (March 28) with departures to the airport or to your chosen station or port.
For those who wish to experience Vietnam for a longer time, we can prepare an extension to this program. Just contact us using the form above and tell us about your requirements and desires.
Price and conditions
The cost for this 12-day/11-night program, per person in double occupancy, is initially established at USD 2,880.
This price is calculated based on a group of at least 6 participants. In case participants are fewer than 6, there will be a supplement of USD 595 per person. You will be informed about the final price at the moment the tour is confirmed and you are asked to make the initial payment.
Single room supplement (excluding two nights on the Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hanoi trains): USD 590.
Single cabins on the night trains are available only on request and depending on availability.
The final price might also vary depending on variations on currency exchange rates and airfare variations on internal flights.
Airfare to and from Vietnam is additional and should be arranged on your own with our guidance.
Please don’t make non-refundable travel arrangements until given confirmation by us.
What is included
- 11 nights in various accommodations, double room sharing.
- Assistance by local, English speaking guides (Ha Long Bay cruise excluded) and a professional photographer (speaking English and Italian).
- All local transportation, with the exclusion of internal flights.
- All breakfasts and dinners. Additionally, some lunches are included, as detailed in the final program.
What is not included
- International flights to and from Hanoi.
- Alcoholic beverages, snacks or any meals not specifically included.
- Tips for guides, porters, drivers, etc.
- Entry visa fees (USD 45 per person).
- Early checkin and late checkout fees.
- Internal flight from Hanoi to Hue and from Da Nang to Hanoi. At the time of writing, the fare for each route is USD 118 per person, one way.
About your instructor
Ugo Cei is a travel and landscape photographer from Italy. Click here to read more about him.
You will be staying at these hotels or hotels of a similar comfort level, depending on availability.