Travel Dates: 28th of January-6th of February 2024
VIETNAM: A BEAUTIFUL MIND
A lot of different things come to mind when thinking about Vietnam.
Whether it’s the nation’s tumultuous past, its vibrant capital of Hanoi, the rich cultural heritage, the stunning vistas or the eclectic cuisine, there’s more than enough reasons why this country is well-recognized by most.
This workshop takes you to Northern Vietnam for a carefully curated tour of the best the country has to offer, from hectic Hanoi and stunning Halong Bay to meeting traditional tribes of Sa Pa or reaching the summit of Fansipan, “The Roof of Indochina”.
You’ll start off experiencing exciting, noisy, vibrant, wonderful Hanoi.
Here, the influence of the country’s storied past is well-visible in both architecture and layout. You’ll experience hectic markets, amazing street food and get an incredible sense of what life in modern Vietnam is like.
From here, you’ll head up north to Sa Pa, a small village bordering China.
Here, you’ll meet local tribes and get a glimpse of the ancient culture Vietnam is built on, a beautiful contrast to the hustle and bustle of the capital.
The indigenous tribes of Northern Vietnam number more than 54 distinct peoples, the most prevalent being the Kinh, or Viet, tribe, after which the country is named. Other large families include the Hmong and Khmer people, and this part of the workshop makes for outstanding portrait photography.
If Hanoi is all about portrait and street photography, Sa Pa is the opposite.
You’ll experience breathtaking vistas from the summit of the tallest mountain in Vietnam, Fansipan, nicknamed the Roof of Indochina, and gaze at seemingly endless fields of rice crops and beautiful sunrises as well as sunsets.
Finally, you’ll go to legendary Halong Bay for some of the most breathtaking coastal views in the world.
The myriad of small islets dotting the horizon makes for exquisitely textured landscape photography.
It’s hard to find a reason not to go to diverse and incredible Vietnam.
Private hands-on lessons in small groups that will help you take your photography skills to the next level.
Instruction and training in the best photography techniques, including personal hints and advices.
Christian Nørgaard is the founder and CEO of Better Moments.
In the year 2012, Christian came up with the idea for what was at the time a brand new way of combining photography and travel. Fed up with the lacklustre selection available on the market, he created Better Moments, a high-end travel photography company that combined the luxury of a all expenses paid vacation with the tutoring of some of the best photographers in the world.
Christian himself is no stranger to photography, however, having worked for numerous years as an photographer for international newspapers, magazines and ad agencies.
Additionally, Christian Nørgaard has premiered his own work in various exhibitions as well as curated photo exhibitions for the likes of David Lynch, Dennis Hopper, Steve McCurry (the latter of which he works closely with on workshops to this day), Marco Grob and a careful selection of National Geographic photographers, to name a few.
EXPAND WITH PASSION
Learning and training in small groups with a maximum of four people under the guidance of Christian to ensure individual support.
Composition and focus on lines, golden section, perspective, foreground.
Work in different lighting and with short/long exposure times and aperture.
Private hands-on lessons that can help take your photography skills to the next level.
How to approach locals in a natural way.
The secrets behind travel and reportage photography.
Expert review and constructive criticism of the images taken during the day by Christian Nørgaard.
How to create portraits of daily life in villages we visit.
Private 1-on-1 portfolio review by Christian Nørgaard.
Presentation of Christian Nørgaard’s work.
A Better Moments Certified Photo Instructor is available during the entire workshop to offer assistance with camera settings, the basics of composition, and to generally guide and help.
DAY 0: Hanoi Arrival
GET READY FOR ADVENTURE
To make the most of your workshop, we suggest you arrive a day before workshop start. Most participants meet at this day to go photographing and having dinner togeher.
DAY 1: Hanoi Full Day City Tour
Good morning Hanoi
We’ll start our day off in the early morning by the beautiful Tran Quoc Pagoda in West Lake. Here, we’ll experience and photograph the monks and the locals meeting each other for the morning rituals.
After breakfast, we’re off to the Temple of Literature, surrounded by a beautifully lush garden in which the Hanoi locals meet. Here, we’ll see the local students going through homework together.
Lunch: Every day tf the workshop, we’ll enjoy lunch at local restaurants. Today, we’ll do so in the French Quarter.
Vietnamese cuisine rank amongst the finest of thew world, a wonderfully eclectic mix of local produce and French inspiration.
In the soft evening light we’ll journey through the city by rickshaw, photographing the city coming to life.
The lecture of the day will be on Christian Nørgaard’s iconic travel photography as well as on what makes for good street photography.
DAY 2: Duong Lam
Back to the past
We leave Hanoi during the chaotic, but charming morning traffic. Bikes, cars and motorcycles weave seamlessly between one another in an anarchistic chaos that manages to work without a hitch.
We’ll spend the day in the historical and immensely photogenic ancient village of Duong Lam in the Son Tray Province, a small farming village by the Northern Red River Delta.
We’ll saunter around photographing the locals running their oxcarts through the narrow streets, and in the small clay houses we’ll meet their families.
Highlights of the day include: Mong Phu Temple dedicated to national heroes, the King Ngo Queen and King Phung Hung Temples and Mia Pagoda, built in the 15th- century containing and impressive 287 statues.
After dinner: Expert review and constructive criticism of the images taken during the day by Christian Nørgaard.
DAY 3: Onwards to Sa Pa
Night Train to Sa Pa
In the morning hours we’ll visit the local florists’ market followed by the Dong Xuan market, the biggest in Hanoi.
Here, a wonderful assortment of practically anything can be purchased – from kitchen appliances to livestock.
Come evening, we depart from Hanoi Railway Station, soon passing the legendary Long Biên Steel Bridge.
You’ll dine and sleep in your own private, authentic and charming cabin, not unlike traveling first class back in the day.
DAY 4: Sa Pa
There’s an immediate change in scenery as we move north. The breathtaking countryside surrounding us will be our backdrop for the next couple of days as we move closer to the Chinese Border.
We’ll take a cable car to the top of the tallest peak in Vietnam, Fansipan, also called the Roof of Indochina. From here, there’s an incredible view of the valley below, as Sa Pa comes to view between the clouds.
After lunch we’ll stroll through Sa Pa before heading for a local village in the afternoon. Here, we’ll meet people from the Kinh tribe that live ion wooden huts heated by hearths in the center.
In the evening, a lecture on landscape photography based on Christian Nørgaard’s travels around the world, as well as constructive criticism.
DAY 5: Departing Sa Pa
Meeting the locals
We leave Sa Pa for the mountains, visiting the small villages of the intruding Khmer and Hoa peoples.
We’ll stop by the multi-storied rice fields and photograph normal life in the mountains, such as the locals bringing home the harvest by oxcart.
After dinner: review and constructive criticism of the images taken during the day.
DAY 6: Market visit
Journey by 4×4
About an hour’s worth of driving by private 4×4 brings us to a vibrant local market.
Here, the local tribes sell off their crops and livestock – chickens, pigs and goats go to the highest bidder.
There’s also all sorts of beautiful examples of local craftsmanship.
This day will be spent photographing the market and its guests.
In the evening, we work on our photography.
DAY 7: Y Ty Village
Legendary rice fields
One of the most beautiful rice fields can be found by Y Ty Village. By private 4×4, we move through the beautiful scenery, stopping when we feel like it by small villages or scenarios we pass by – such as for instance a wedding.
However, the highlight is Y Ty Village, from which we have a view of the magnificent rice fields.
DAY 8: Y Ty Village – Private transfer to Hanoi
Back to Hanoi
We journey back to Hanoi by private bus. This day trip takes us through lush rice fields and small villages. We’ll have lunch locally.
Back in Hanoi, we spend the night by Hanoi Train Street, eating local food right by the traintracks running through the districts, hence the name.
DAY 9: Halong Bay Cruise
Beautiful Hanoi Bay
From Hanoi, it’s a drive of a couple of hours towards the coast where we’ll arrive at our ship. For the next two days, we’ll sail around the magnificent Halong Bay, and you’ll have excellent photography opportunities from your own private cabin of the more than 1600 limestone islands dotting the horizon.
Halong Bay, situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site easily recognizable for its emerald blue waters and over 1600 islands littering the coastline. Small junkers dart around the myriad of islands and create a stunning scenery found nowhere else in the world.
The source of inspiration to many a movie, this location is like something lifted from a fairytale, and the pictures practically shoot them selves against this truly marvelous backdrop.
After dinner: Constructive criticism of images taken during the day.
DAY 10: Halong Bay Cruise
Kayaks and closeups
Today, we journey by kayaks and smaller boats through the mazes of limestone islands in the bay. Once the lighting is right, we return to the deck for the best view of the majestic scenery.
DAY 11: Halong Bay Cruise and Departure Flight
It’s a tradition to practice Tai Chi at sunrise on our ship. Therefore, we invite you to an hour of Tai Chi whilst watching the sun rise over the scenic limestone islands in the bay.
From here, we’ll share our thoughts and experiences about the workshop until lunchtime. You’ll be back in Hanoi in time for your late-evening flight departure towards your home destination.
Groups sign-up a group of 4+ participants and receive a group discount.
All prices are per person.
INVITE A FRIEND
Got a friend or special someone you’d love to bring?
With our INVITE A FRIEND-initiative, you’ll be able to bring someone with you to our locations without having to enroll them in our workshops and save up to 25% of the total rate, depending on availability!
We wish you to travel with the greatest possible comfort and to know that you have received as much information as possible.
■ GETTING THERE
All international flights arrive at
Hanoi (Noi Bai) Airport.
Terms for getting a VISA vary from
point of departure. We suggest you contact your embassy or travel agency to find out your particular details.
Most of Vietnam has tropical climate. Due to differences in latitude and the marked variety in topographical relief, Vietnam’s climate tends to vary considerably for each region.
During the winter or dry season, extending roughly from November to April, the monsoon winds usually blow from the Northeast along the Chinese coast and across the Gulf of Tonkin, picking up considerable moisture.
The average annual temperature is generally higher in the plains than in the mountains, especially in south- ern Vietnam compared to the north. Temperatures vary less in the southern plains around Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, ranging from between 21 and 35 °C (69.8 and 95.0 °F) over the year.
In Hanoi and the surrounding areas
of Red River Delta, the tempera- tures are much lower between 15 and 33 °C (59.0 and 91.4 °F).
Seasonal variations in the moun- tains, plateaus, and the northern- most areas are much more dramat- ic, with temperatures varying from
3 °C (37.4 °F) in December and January to 37 °C (98.6 °F) in July and August.
During winter, snow occasionally falls over the highest peaks of the far northern mountains near the Chinese border.
Vietnamese is the official language
of Vietnam, and the primary lan- guage of instruction.
The Vietnamese monetary unit is
the Vietnamese dòng (K).
■ QUICK GUIDE
Explore the Old Quarter in Hanoi:
It’s an exciting area packed with traditional Vietnamese shops, art galleries, cafes, and street food vendors. The Old Quarter is also where you can see the ancient architecture that the city is known for.
Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausole- um: This is an important historical site where the preserved body of Ho Chi Minh, the leader who declared Vietnam’s independence from France in 1945, is kept.
Stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake:
Also known as the “Lake of the Returned Sword,” it’s a peaceful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Explore the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark: Located in Ha Giang province, this geopark is another UNESCO World Heritage site, known for its stunning lime- stone landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
Discover the Trang An Landscape Complex: Another UNESCO World Heritage site in Ninh Binh province. It’s famous for its boat cave tours, ancient temples, and majestic limestone karst peaks.
Try Pho and Other Local Cuisine:
Pho is Vietnam’s national dish, a noodle soup with beef or chicken. Also try other local specialties like Bun Cha (grilled pork and noodles), Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), and Egg Coffee when in Hanoi.
Remember, each place you visit in North Vietnam and Hanoi offers a unique perspective on the country’s history, culture, and natural beauty, so take your time to enjoy each experience to its fullest.
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