It is difficult to imagine an area of the world so bursting with photography opportunities than Indochina . No matter what type of photography you want, Indochina has the light, the colours and the exotic views. Beautiful land and seascapes, floating markets, rich paddy fields, saffron robed monks, ancient temples, French influenced architecture, historical monuments, traditional minority costumes …
In the northern mountains of Vietnam, live some of Vietnam’s 56 minority groups. You can visit their villages and share their traditional lifestyle for a while, all the time recording what you see. In Yunnan, in South-west China, the Dai, Bai and Naxi peoples are proud to display their colourful traditional costumes as they go about their daily lives in their villages and towns with traditional architecture. But be careful. Some ethnic minorities have cultural prohibitions against photography. Just ask first. Buddhist monks in Laos and Thailand stroll the streets and are sometimes happy to pose for you. Always obey signs forbidding photography – failure to do so can cause great offence in religious settings. If in doubt, ask.
Especially in Vietnam , one can see the blending of French and Vietnamese architecture, with a little Chinese influence thrown in too. In Hanoi, the French mansions line boulevards that could have been imported directly from France. In Cambodia, the Khmer architecture reaches its peak in the 12th century temple of Angkor Wat. This is one scenic area that demands photography! Similarly, in the Thai capital, Bangkok, the Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a photographer’s dream as are the hundreds of smaller temples across all of Indochina.
The cities, to offer occasions to capture great images. The bustling markets in every city; perhaps an elephant walking through the crowded streets of Bangkok; the stalls selling weird and wonderful food which appear on the streets every night; the fascinating mix of styles and influences.
For natural wonders, the karst islands of Halong Bay in northern Vietnam are hard to beat. Thousands of islands rise from the seabed creating a mystical panorama. The island beaches of Thailand are stunning and no one should miss the vivid turquoise seas which surround Indochina. The rivers that irrigate the whole area also offer many photography possibilities – whether from the natural wonder or for the communities who live beside and on the rivers. The floating markets of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam are a prime example of the photogenic. Phu Quoc in the far south is Vietnam’s largest, and most beautiful, island and it is known as an ideal place to catch the sunset.
The local holidays and festivals also offer special photography opportunities. The important water festival known as Pimai in Laos and Songkran in Thailand is a colourful event celebrated across Indochina. Be careful to keep your camera dry! But perhaps the most beautiful festival is Thailand’s Loy Krathong when thousands of tiny boats made from banana leaves are set afloat on the river, bearing candles.
No matter which interests you have photography tours can be arranged to your special requirements to ensure you miss nothing. Whatever you do, bring spare batteries and lots of memory capacity – you are sure to go home with many more pictures than you thought possible. Here is an itinerary maybe useful for your trip to Vietnam:
AMAZON IS A GREAT PLACE TO GET THE MEMORY YOU NEED. (click the pics for more information)
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