SE ASIA FAQ's
General Q&A
Hotels
Visa Information
Cancellation Policy

Q&A’s

  • Can I rent photography equipment through Big Sun Photography?

    I’m afraid we do not do equipment rentals for international tours; however, we do very much recommend using www.BorrowLenses.com . Using the link on this page will usually get you a discount.  You won’t beat the prices (even locally), you can get insurance coverage on your rentals and it is all done quick and easy via UPS.

  • Do I have to purchase travel insurance?

    Yes, travel insurance is required not only for our protection as a business but for your own sake. People get sick, accidents happen, things go wrong, and very few people have health insurance that will cover you outside your own country.  I have personally seen the benefit of getting travel insurance.  Honestly compared to the expense of your whole trip, it’s a very small amount.

  • Is there a luggage limit?

    Yes, maximum of 20 kilos (44 lbs) but please travel light, as we all have to share the vans.  The more space the luggage takes up, the less space we all get to spread out. Many items can be purchased locally for very little and washing is available at a small price in most hotels so no need to bring excessive amounts of clothing. 

  • Do I need to be an expert at photography?

    No, you will receive professional instruction daily throughout the tour.  Your instructor will be available at all times at each location.  So come, enjoy AND learn.

  • What kind of clothing should I bring?

    Well, it’s hot there. Hot and humid, so you are going to want to dress accordingly.  With that said even the jungle gets chilly to some in the early morning, so you should still include at least one item of warmth (light jacket or fleece).  More importantly you will want to prepare for getting wet.  It is, after all, a tropical climate.  So be sure to bring shoes that can get wet (sandals or river shoes) along with a rain jacket and some kind of cover for your camera gear. On a separate point men will need long pants to enter some specific temples and women will need a top that covers the shoulders.  This is not always the case, but some temples are more strict than others.

Hotels

Vietnam and Cambodia

Sonnet Hotel, Saigon, (Ho Chi Minh City) Sonnet Hotel, Saigon, (Ho Chi Minh City) [visit website] Located in Saigon’s District 3, the Sonnet Saigon Hotel is walking distance to many landmark such as the Reunification Conference Hall, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh Market, plus shopping streets and cultural attractions. Convenient for our city tour as well as leisure time.     Ba Duc Ancient House, Cai Be Ba Duc Ancient House, Cai Be [visit website] This lovely building was first constructed in the nineteenth century by Mr. Phan Van Dang.  The property boasts it’s own gardens with lots of local fauna and flora.

Located in a bucolic area, Ba Duc homestay is perfect for those who enjoy experiencing local customs and culture.
 

Kim Tho Hotel, Can Tho Kim Tho Hotel, Can Tho [visit website] A convenient riverside location and a popular stay in Mekong Delta’s Can Tho Town. Enjoy the view and have some drinks from the rooftop bar.       The 252, Phnom Penh The 252, Phnom Penh [visit website] This hotel is a lovely boutique style accommodation. It boasts a swimming pool surrounded by a tropical garden.  You will really appreciate that during the mid-day heat. Centrally located in Phnom Penh you will be able to easily explore the city during your leisure time.       City River Hotel, Siem Reap [visit website] A mix of tradition, comfort and modern style will make your stay at City River a wonderful experience. The roof-top swimming pool is the only one of its kind in Siem Reap. You will enjoy a spectacular view of the city and sunset while sipping away on cocktails. Only a 5 minute walk from the bustling Old Market district.      

 

Cambodian hotels used during our photography tours

Delux Villa Battambang [visit website] 300 meters from Psar Nat , Delux Villa boasts an outdoor pool and views of the pool. The pet-friendly accommodation is air conditioned and has a sauna. Boeung Chhouk Market is 500 metres from Delux Villa, while Battambang Museum is 700 metres away.    

 

 

Myanmar

Asia Plaza Hotel, Yangon Asia Plaza Hotel, Yangon [visit website] Great central location near Scott Market. Rooftop bar with 360 degree views. Friendly, helpful staff.       Ayarwaddy River View Hotel, Mandalay Ayarwaddy River View Hotel, Mandalay [visit website] Great waterfront location in downtown Mandalay. Sunset views over the Irrawaddy River from the ‘Skybar’. Friendly staff, comfortable and well-appointed rooms .       Bagan Umbra Hotel, Bagan Bagan Umbra Hotel, Bagan [visit website] Delightful garden setting with temple views. Swimming pool & poolside restaurant. Quiet location in Nyaung U Town.       Paradise Hotel, Nyaung Shwe Paradise Hotel, Nyaung Shwe [visit website] Our favourite for Lake Inle. Chalet style rooms with balconies and cane chairs. Garden setting and convenient location          

 

 

Thailand

Currently being revised.

 

*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.  

Visa Info & Notes

Vietnam:

  • There are a number of countries who may enter Vietnam for short periods without getting a VISA at all.  Read more about it here: https://www.vietnam-evisa.org/faqs/view/who-need-visa-when-visiting-vietnam.html
  • E-visas: For visits of up to 30 days, and most other nationalities, you can get an e-visa online (Vietnam e-visa) before you travel or what’s called a “visa upon arrival” (you still must apply before arrival).
    • Note that even though you have your e-visa you will still need to fill out paperwork and make a payment upon arrival so be sure to bring cash (they will accept US Dollars).
    • There are many companies you will find onine to expedite and make this process easy.  I personally use https://www.vietnam-evisa.org/faqs/view/who-need-visa-when-visiting-vietnam.html.

  Cambodia:

  • For most nationalities, a visa on arrival is issued on arrival at the Port of Phnom Penh. Visa fees and conditions are subject to change but are usually $30 payable in cash in US dollars. Be sure to bring at least 2 passport photos with you.  You will be asked to make payment in US Dollars.
    • Tourist visas are issued for 30 days from entry into Cambodia.
  • E-visas: are now available for many nationalities https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

  Stamps: When entering any country make sure you get an entry stamp in your passport and keep your departure card. Departure Card: The departure card is a seemingly unimportant little piece of paper that you have hand written information onto.  It will cause issues if you don’t have it upon leaving the country so I recommend putting it somewhere safe, NOT inside your passport.  Why?  Because throughout the trip you may have reason to hand over a passport and people tend not to notice when that little piece of paper falls out. Passport validity: Your passport expiration date must not be within 6 months from the date you will exit your last foreign country. You may be refused entry into a country if your passport will expire prior to departure.  Additionally you may be denied entry if your passport is damaged or in poor condition.  Some border officers can be very particular about this, so keep your passport in something un-bendable and preferably waterproof. Return Ticket:  While I personally have never experienced being denied entry into a country because I don’t have a return ticket purchased, I have heard plenty of horror stories of this happening.  In most cases however it is the AIRLINE company refusing you boarding on the plane as opposed to customs officers refusing you entry upon arrival.  In either case, it’s something to consider. If you are planning to join our tour, but then hoping to go off exploring for an “unknown time / location” and therefore do not want to purchase a return ticket ahead of time here are some options:

  • Purchase a bus fare online out of the country in question.  Usually you can pick one up for very cheap.  Then you have documentation showing your intent to leave the country by a specific date.  You will want to make sure the ticket is dated within the valid period of your entry visa.
  • Purchase a cheap airfare.  Same as above.  Usually there is something you can find for $50 to somewhere.  Keep in mind you are not actually using these tickets.   You are just buying them for the documentation, so don’t worry about where they go, just find the cheapest possible option.  

  Thailand: This information is for anyone embarking on this tour and does not pertain to long-stay visitors or expats. Most nationalities simply receive a 30-day visa waiver stamp on arrival at Bangkok airport.  Your passport must be valid for a full 6 months, in good condition with no pages torn or missing, and while we can’t find any specific information regarding number of blank pages, as usual in South East Asia, you’re better off with at least 2 available. Importantly you may be asked for proof of onward travel and proof you have sufficient funds for your stay.  

Terms of Service (Group Workshops & Tours):

  • RETAINER: A retainer fee is applied to all tour at $1,000 for each space reserved. At the time of booking, Big Sun Photography shall reserve a space from the limited available slots, and not make any other reservations or accept any other clients for said space. For this reason, in the event that the CLIENT CANCELS the scheduled tour for any reason including acts of God, the full amount of the retainer shall be retained by Big Sun Photography in order to offset its loss of business.
  • BALANCE DUE:  The retainer payment must be made at the time of booking and is the only guarantee that your space has been secured.  The balance (eg: tour price minus retainer payment) is due no later than 60 days  prior to the tour.  Failure to make balance payment on time may result in loss of your space on the tour (and loss of your retainer payment).
  • CLIENT CANCELLATION:
    Cancellations MUST be provided in writing (email only, no text no phone calls). 
    • Received 60+ days before start of tour will receive full payment refunded minus the retainer fee.
    • Received 45-59 days before start of tour will receive 1/2 payment refunded minus the retainer fee.
    • Received <45 days before start of tour will not receive any refund. At that point Big Sun Photography will have already made payment to its own vendors which are non-refundable (ex: hotels, guides, transportation, etc).
  • BIG SUN PHOTOGRAPHY CANCELLATION:
    In the unlikely event that the tour must be canceled (examples: man-made or natural events that make the tour dangerous or untenable, inability of guide to attend tour, failure to fill the tour minimum attendees) – All payments including retainer would be refunded.