Vietnam & Cambodia Through the Lens (Extended)

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$250 OFF
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Colorado Rocky Mountain Photography Tours

International Tours

15 Days
Availability : 1/19/20 to 2/2/20
Start: Ho Chi Mihn City
End: Phnom Penh
Min Age : 18
Max People : 10

Tour Overview

Duration: 15 Days
Dates: Jan 19 – Feb 2, 2020
Dates: Jan 10 – Jan 24, 2021
Price: $3,925
Single Supplement: $300

Early Bird: Save $250

$3,675 pp

* First four sign-ups

South East Asia is a photographer’s delight!  Everywhere you look there is something happening, something new you’ve never seen, something joyful or sad or or or….  You get the point.  The variety of cultures found within Vietnam and Cambodia are vast, each one offering up another photographic opportunity.

Quick Itinerary: Our tour begins in the exciting city of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly/still known as Saigon) and continues through the heart of Indochina (via bus & boat) through the water ways and tributaries of the Mekong River until we reach the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.  From there the tour continues overland to one of the world’s most famous religious sites, the jungle temples and ruins of Angkor.  The adventure then moves to the water again as we explore the French colonial town of Battambang, the natural eco-system and unique culture of the Tonle Sap Lake “floating villages”.  The tour will come to its conclusion back in Phnom Penh .

Beyond the Travel: This tour is your “one stop” chance to experience these cultures with the aid of experienced local guides and of course your photography coach (Gene Tewksbury).  Fifteen days of adventure and fun yes, but not without also getting daily guidance to improve your photography skills.  Between the varied subject matter, destinations and daily training you can be sure to arrive home with a stunning new portfolio of images and an improved photography skill set that will benefit you for years to come.

Travel Style: Photographers of all skills levels are welcome.  In keeping with the Big Sun Photography philosophy, the tour will emphasize responsible travel photography that appreciates local people, their cultures and traditions and encourages a positive impact on the places and people it visits.

We work with the community in all respects using local guides, privately owned lodging (no corporate chains) and locally owned restaurants.  We want to keep the money in the countries and communities we visit.

While our itinerary is fully planned in advance on a day to day basis, our time and itinerary within any given day is flexible.  This allows us to accommodate for changing situations (weather, local events, closures, etc).  It also allows us to modify our time at locations.  There is nothing worse on a photo tour than being at an amazing location when things are perfect and being told “it’s time to go” when nobody wants to leave.

Tour Options: For those with less time on their hands or cash in their pocket, we offer some variations of this tour:


What to Expect

Just a taste of the things we will do & see: This photography tour is going to be a true adventure for the soul.  We strive to keep things as locally immersed as possible while still providing you with the comfort, safety and enjoyment our clients require.  

  • Personal Photography TrainingOur small groups make it easy to receive hands on photography training and advice every day and at each location.
  • Explore the Mekong DeltaThe Mekong Delta is an amazing experience with jungle waterways, traditional villages, river markets and orchards. Not to mention the stunning natural landscapes.
  • Visit Angkor Take yourself back in time photographing the ancient ruins of a lost culture. These iconic temples are candy for the camera.
  • Local CultureLively markets, street life and local architecture: this is your chance to capture unique imagery telling the story of local culture.
  • Boat TripsTonle Sap lake and up the Sangkar River: An opportunity for unique imagery of the waterways, fishing villages and floating markets.
  • Landscapes and WildlifeThis trip is not all culture. There will be opportunities for the landscape enthusiast and wildlife enthusiast as well.
  • Leisure TimeWhile we try and make sure you get to see as much as possible, we also know that travel can be exhausting. As such we do included "free time" to indulge in your own activities whether that means exploring on your own, napping or having some drinks.
Tour Itinerary
Each day is another adventure!

Day 1:Saigon - arrival and introductory walking tour

Upon arrival in Saigon you will get checked into your downtown hotel and meet up with your photography guide for a discussion on the “do’s and don’ts” of photography in this culture. That afternoon you can do some exploring of the local area or just people watch from a local coffee shop (Vietnamese coffee is sooooooo good!).

That evening the whole tour group will join together for a welcome dinner where you’ll enjoy the exotic tastes of Vietnam cuisine.

Transportation: Walk
Included Meals: Dinner
Overnight: Saigon, (Ho Chi Minh City)

Day 2:Saigon - tour city sights

Today we explore a bit of Saigon. We will hit a few locations that are well known tourist attractions (Jade Emperor Pagoda, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral) but also make our way into some areas “less traveled” for street photography and local markets.

Transportation: Mini-bus, Walk
Included Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

Day 3:Mekong Delta - travel south to Cai Be

Onward from Saigon, we travel south to the Mekong Delta. Along the way we will stop at My Tho, the commercial hub of the region. Here we can capture life along the waterfront and canals. The markets are always the best place to see a culture’s true face.

After our photography we will continue on to the riverside town of Cai Be where we will stay in a converted French Era Villa.

Transportation: Mini-bus, Boat, Walk
Included Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Cai Be

Day 4:Mekong Delta - Can Tho and Xe Quit

Morning will find us exploring Cai Be’s floating market. These markets are ripe with photo opportunities as goods and services float past in all directions.

We then continue by boat through the many waterways of the Delta. We will make occasional stops to visit local cottage industries and farms as well as a canoe tour of the former Vietcong jungle base at Xe Quit.

By afternoon we will leave the water for overland travel to Can Tho. Here we will continue to work on our skills at the local waterfront and picturesque streets.

Transportation: Mini-bus, Boat, Walk
Included Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Can Tho

Day 5:Can Tho to Chau Doc - floating market and sacred mountain

Rise and shine! We leave for an early morning boat ride where we will once again capture the activities of the floating market (with the bonus of morning light).

Then it’s west to the riverside town of Chau Doc near the Cambodian border. The rest of the day will be filled with photographic opportunities at the Sam Mountain shrines and temples followed by a stunning sunset vista.

Transportation: Mini-bus, Boat, Walk
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Chau Doc

Day 6:Phnom Penh - by river up the Mekong

Now we travel up the Mekong river by boat until we reach the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. We should arrive by lunchtime where we will check into our downtown hotel.

Later we will take a walking tour of Phnom Penh’s street life including the old French Quarter and riverfront. Those who are up for it can down a few drinks at the famous FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club).

Transportation: Boat, Walk
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Phnom Penh

Day 7:Phnom Penh - tour the city's sights

Today will include some of the more traditional “must see” locations such as the infamous Killing Fields, Khmer Rouge Genocide Museum, Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. However, we will also make sure to leave the tourist path for street photography at the local markets and back streets. This is a good opportunity to mingle with the locals and make cultural connections.

Transportation: Tuk-Tuk, Walk
Meals: Breakfast, Breakfast
Overnight: Phnom Penh

Day 8:Siem Reap - Onward to Siem Reap

We now continue overland to Cambodia’s most famous destination, Siem Reap. We will be staying here for a few days so you can really unpack (maybe get some laundry done). Along the way you will see the cool (or scary) “spider village” of Skuon where you are welcome to try some of their eight legged appetizers, a little known 11th century temple, and of course the lovely Cambodian landscape.

That evening we will visit the ruins of Banteay Kdei at dusk.

Transportation: Mini-bus
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Siem Reap

Day 9:Siem Reap - dawn at Angkor Wat

Our visit to Ankor begins at dawn with a visit to Ankor Wat and an extensive tour of the temples.

We will return to our hotel during mid-day to escape both heat and poor lighting (and crowds), then head back out late afternoon for a walking tour on Angkor Tom ruins.

By evening when the crowds have hopefully died down we will hit the Bayon Temple with its iconic giant stone faces.

Transportation: Mini-bus, Walk
Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: City River Hotel

Day 10:Siem Reap - Angkor jungle temples

Another early rise to capture the Phnom Bakheng temple in the morning light with its picturesque hill top views. Then into the jungle to visit the ancient ruins of Preah Khan. Vines and roots and enormous trees intermix with the stone carvings and broken walls. You and your camera are really going to bond over this place.

Afternoon will have us taking a short jungle walk to Ta Keo and lesser known Ta Nei temple.
The famous Ta Prom temple will be our last stop for the day.

Transportation: Mini-bus
Meals: Breakfast
Overnight: Siem Reap

Day 11:Siem Reap - Beng Melea and afternoon at leisure

Today we make our way to one of the more remote and picturesque templates in the Angkor region, Beng Melea. This temple shrouded in jungle overgrowth and its more remote location allows for some lovely village and rural landscape photos on the way.

The rest of the day is “free time” for you to enjoy some of Siem Reaps sights and attractions on your own. Do some shopping, get some rest, whatever floats your boat. We all need some “me” time even on a tour.

That evening we shall have a “Farewell Dinner” for those of us leaving the group early (see shorter versions of the trip).

Transportation: Mini-bus
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Siem Reap

Day 12:Sangkar River - by boat to Battambang

We now leave Siem Reap behind and head back out on our journey. We will cross the Tonle Sap Lake, through flooded forests until we reach the Sangkar River. Here we will find unique floating fishing villages were the locals literally live their daily lives on the water.

Additional stops include Prek Toal community of hyacinth weaving and the Prek Toal bird sanctuary.

Our day will end upon reaching our destination town, Battambang.

In the event water levels are too low for boat transportation we will change to an overland transport and as such change the itinerary of this day.

Transportation: Boat, Tuk-Tuk
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Battambang

Day 13: Battambang - village and cottage industries tour

A morning Tuk-Tuk tour will kick off our day, visiting some of the surrounding villages and meeting the local people. Visits to local cottage industries and markets will offer lots of cultural imagery.

The afternoon is free for self-exploration or enjoying some food and drink with your new friends.

Transportation: Tuk-Tuk
Meals: Breakfast
Lodging: Delux Villa

Day 14:Battambang to Phnom Penh - overland to the capital

Time to head back east. On the way we will stop at a lovely market in Pursat Town where there are lots of interesting and unique products and goods. Afterward we have a visit at the river port town of Kompong Chhnang and its riverfront areas before reaching the end of our journey in Phnom Penh.

Transportation: Mini-bus, Walk
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight: Phnom Penh

Day 15:Phnom Penh morning at leisure and departure

Morning debriefing session with your photographer and an opportunity to share photos with the group and relive the past couple of weeks. Afternoon end of tour and departure at your convenience.

Learn more about tours and lodgings.


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Additional Details

Your Photography Instructor

Gene Tewksbury (read bio)

Departure & Return Location

Depart from: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Return from: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Price Includes

  • Professional Photography InstructionFrom your host Gene Tewksbury.
  • Tour GuideLocal guide experienced in all locations and languages.
  • Transportation Land & water transport during the tour dates.
  • Lodging Accommodations for all nights.
  • Partial MealsAs described in the itinerary .
  • Entrance FeesAll entrance fees are included.

Price Excludes

  • Any Private Expenses.
  • Room Service FeesIncidental fees you add to your room (i.e.: room service or phone calls).
  • Travel InsuranceRequired for all participants.
  • Tips & Gratuities

Activity Requirements

  • Moderate walking Up to one mile on relatively flat ground.
  • Easy hikingShort distances ( < 1/4 mile) with moderate to steep grade.
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