This adventurous tri-country tour begins in Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capitol city, where we will explore the Grand Palace, cruise the canals, photograph vendors in the floating markets, and much more! Then it’s off to northern Thailand where we get to know and photograph hill tribes, including the famous Karen Long Neck tribe.
From northern Thailand we embark on a two day boat journey down the mysterious Mekong river to Luang Prabang, Laos. During our boat journey we will be traversing and photographing largely unexplored areas of the rural Laotian countryside, still rich in traditions and authentic Southeast Asian culture. After a breathtaking two days on the river we emerge in Luang Prabang, one of the most beautifully preserved French colonial towns in Asia. There, we’ll photograph its green hills and gold temples, and see hundreds of Buddhist monks take their morning alms walk through town.
From Laos, we’ll fly to Cambodia’s bustling capitol city of Phnom Penh. We’ll photograph and explore this fascinating city while staying and dining at the world famous, photographer-friendly Foreign Correspondent’s Club. Following Phnom Penh, our group travels overland to Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore and photograph yet another UNESCO World Heritage site: the stunning ruins of Angkor: a collection of over 100 temples set against the dramatic backdrop of lush jungle greenery and verdant fields. Stretching over some 400 Sq. km, including forested area, Angkor Archeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitols of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.
We hope you’ll join us on this trip of a lifetime!
Day 1 (January 20):
Tour participants arrive at Bangkok’s brand new international airport and will be met by our local tour representative. Each guest will be sent via private taxi to the hotel. Once settled in, participants will gather for our pre-trip orientation meeting, followed by dinner and a walking tour of Bangkok’s most vibrant night market. Those who are feeling jet lagged can opt for relaxation or perhaps even a rejuvenating Thai massage. We will spend the night in Bangkok, Thailand.
Wake up in Bangkok, enjoy a delicious breakfast at our hotel, then depart on our private tour: in the morning we depart for Damnern Saduak (Bangkok’s famed “floating market”), where we explore and photograph the daily spectacle from our private long tailed boat. In the afternoon we visit and photograph Bangkok’s ornate Royal Palace and the colossal reclining Buddha. Following our group dinner your evening is free. We’ll spend the night in Bangkok.
In the morning we go to visit the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Founded in 1351 it was the capital of Thailand until 1767, when it was sacked by the Burmese, and the capital was eventually moved to Bangkok. There we’ll photograph the numerous ancient temples. In the evening we photograph the vibrant night market. Those who want to stay up late may even have the opportunity to shoot Muay Thai boxing up close! We will spend our final night in Bangkok.
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Chiang Rai where we are met and transported to Chiang Saen (Golden Triangle). We check in to the hotel where tour guests can grab a quick lunch and then either relax by the pool or take a short orientation walking tour of the local area. Later we embark on a sunset photo shoot along the scenic Mekong River followed by dinner at a local riverside restaurant. We spend the night in Golden Triangle in Thailand.
After a delicious breakfast we meet our English speaking guide and our private van and depart to visit and photograph several local hill tribe villages including the famous long neck tribe. In the afternoon we are transported to the Myanmar (Burma) border where we cross over and photograph the fascinating market (the visit to Myanmar is optional). After crossing back into Thailand, we are transported back to our hotel for a delicious dinner and spend our second night in Golden Triangle.
We wake up early this morning for our one hour van ride to the border town of Chiang Kong where we meet our Laotian tour operator who will escort us across the river to Haui Xia, Laos. On the Laotian side our immigration papers are processed and we are delivered to our private boat for our two day river cruise to Luang Prabang. We spend the day on the boat enjoying and photographing along the way. Tonight, after the leisurely river cruise on the scenic Mekong we arrive at Pak Beng, a sleepy jungle settlement where we check in to the hotel. At dinner we enjoy a local dance performance and overnight at Pak Beng, Laos.
After breakfast we again board our private boat for the continuation of our Mekong river trip to Luang Prabang. Along the way we visitt the amazing Pok Au caves and several traditional riverside villages before arriving in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, where we check into our hotel. For dinner we dine at a wonderful sidewalk café followed by a photographic exploration of Luang Prabang’s vibrant night market. We spend the night in Luang Prabang, Laos.
This morning we wake up early to photograph the daily early morning ritual of saffron-clad monks with their black Alms-giving bowls being given offerings from the local people, including the ubiquitous sticky rice. At about 8:30 we return to our hotel and after breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided walking tour visiting the city’s oldest and most beautiful temples. Today we also visit a local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Namay, Hmong Village, Ban Ou, Laoloum Village and Ban Thapene, Khmu Village, then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall Picnic lunch by the falls, return to Luang Prabang by afternoon. Later we explore Street Night Market. We spend the night in Luang Prabang.
Free day in Luang Prabang…..explore the local area, visit and speak with Buddhist monks in the monasteries, or enjoy shopping and photographing the Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Last night in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast we head to the airport to board our flight to Cambodia’s vibrant capitol city, Phnom Penh. After arriving in Phnom Penh we enjoy dinner overlooking the river. We spend the night in this city.
We are free to explore, relax, shop and or photograph the sites of Phnom Penh. We’ll have the option to visit the infamous Killing Fields. Second night in Phnom Penh.
After breakfast we board our private van for transport to Siem Reap. Along the way we witness local Cambodian life, rice fields and even stop for lunch in a town where fried tarantula is the local delicacy. Once we reach Siem Reap, we’ll visit the famous Angkor Wat for orientation and a sunset photo shoot at the main temple. We’ll spend the night in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Angor Temples: With the help of our English speaking Angkor guide, we spend all day exploring 3 or 4 major Angkor temples and several “secret ones” too. We even schedule an optional model shoot at Bayon, using one of the traditionally dressed Apsara dancers and visit a famous Buddhist monk who might be performing ritual cleansing baths for Cambodians who come from all over the country to seek his treatments. Overnight in Siem Reap.
Tonle Sap village / boat tour & Beng Melea: First we drive to Kompong Khleang, one of the largest settlements on the Tonle Sap Lake. Over 20,000 people live in high stilt houses which tower up to 10 meters over the water. It is a spectacular place which only gets a small number of visitors. There is a small island at the centre of the village which has a bustling market. We take a boat tour to see the floating market, then return for a lunch of fresh fish prepared in Khmer style at our boatman’s house. After lunch we drive to the remote and recently “de-mined” Angkor site of Beng Melea for some amazing, “Indiana Jones” type temple exploration. Beng Melea surpasses even the famous Ta Prohm for atmosphere. The whole site of Beng Melea is bathed with dappled light from the jungle canopy making it a fabulous temple for adventurous photographers. Our third night together in Siem Reap.
Sunrise shoot at Ta Prom: This morning we wake very early to explore and photograph sunrise at amazing Ta Phrom, where jungle tree roots still cover the ruined temples. After our morning photo shoot we return to the hotel for breakfast, then you are free to spend the remainder of the day re-visiting and re-photographing your favorite ancient temples and traditional villages around Angkor, or grab a guide and seek out your own new temples! That evening, we’ll enjoy a gourmet farewell dinner at the famous Café Indochine and our final evening in Siem Reap.
Day 16: (Feb 4)
Guests are transported to the airport to catch their flights home.