UNESCO World Heritage
Thailand, Laos, Cambodia
David Lazar is one of the world’s foremost travel photographers.— Practical Photography
Welcome to our four country Southeast Asia World Heritage photo tour spectacular in Thailand, Laos, & Cambodia. The heart of Southeast Asia’s photogenic best is definitely on the ‘bucket list’ of any travel photography enthusiast interested in Asia.
The UNESCO World Heritage sites you’ll get inside access to are the ancient temple ruins and Buddhas of Ayutthaya, Thailand; the charming French colonial Mekong River town of Luang Prabang in Laos; and the magnificent Khmer Empire temples and monasteries of Angkor Wat & Environs. To any of you thinking, “been there, done that”, please check out this Photography Life article and images, and consider a reboot!
You might think that visiting three countries in two weeks means a lot of rushing around and waiting in airports, but this is not the case. While the schedule is full and packed with photo ops, the countries are all adjacent to each other. The flights are short, and visas and immigration are normally quite easy. In Thailand it’s free and available on arrival, for most nationalities. Laos & Cambodia are also visa on arrival. The trip starts and finishes in Bangkok, Thailand, where round trip tickets from just about anywhere can be had at good prices.
Luminous Journeys “prime directive” is to always put our guests’ image making first and foremost, thereby ensuring that you get the utmost out of your multi-country photo tour experience. Any travel photographer, novice to semi-pro, stands to gain a tremendous amount from working with an outstanding professional, insightful teacher, and all around great guy like David Lazar. David is a Nat Geo contributor and widely published travel photographer with a number of major awards to his credit.
But impressive credentials alone are not enough! What matters most in this context, is that he is the hardest working photo tour leader in the business who sincerely cares that you become a better photographer, which is all to rare in this field.
Dates – Stars Jan 21, 2020. Ends TBA
Lead Photographer – David Lazar (See David’s Gallery)
Tour Price – TBA
Single Supplement – TBA
Minimum Deposit – $1500 USD
Locations Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Rai, Thailand – Luang Prabang & Environs, Laos – Siem Reap / Angkor Wat & Environs, Cambodia – Hoi An & Environs, Vietnam
Hotels – 3 & 4 star, best available in remote locations
Tour Type – Small group photo tour workshop, 5 – 10 participants
Skill Level – Suitable for ALL skill levels, novice to advanced
Physical Difficulty – Light to Moderate
Transportation – AIR: 1 internal flight, Bangkok – Chiang Rai; 3 international flights, Chaing Mai – Luang Prabang, Luang Prabang – Siem Reap, Siem Reap – Bangkok. LAND: Late model air conditioned vans w/ plenty of space, or 24 seat late model bus. Extra gear can be left with the vehicles
Lux Welcome Dinner Party in Bangkok near Wat Arun, Chao Phraya River
Private Photo Session w/ Mekong Elephants
World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat + Extraordinary Hidden Temples
Akha Tribal Village & Tea Plantation
The Warm & Welcoming People of Southeast Asia
Amazing Southeast Asian Cuisine!
Southeast Asia Photo Tour Workshop
While some of you will arrive a day early to get acclimated, those arriving today should try to do so by 1 pm, if possible. David Lazar will conduct an orientation & slideshow at 3 pm in the hotel. After the slideshow you’ll go out for your first street and temple shoot along the legendary Chao Phraya River. A sumptuous Thai Welcome Dinner follows.
Get an early start to be first on scene at the colorful floating village of Damnoen Saduak. In the afternoon photograph monks in orange robes in an exquisite, little visited temple setting. Afterwards hit the craftsmen streets of Ban Bat. Tonight is a special New Year’s Eve dinner on the river, followed by drinks & Wat Arun fireworks shoot* from a private lux balcony location.
Day 3 – Bangkok – Ayutthaya World Heritage SiteWat Po & Temple Ruins
A little time to sleep and enjoy breakfast in after the New Year celebration, then visit the gorgeous grounds of Wat Po & its huge reclining Buddha. The UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya, once an ancient capitol Siam, is next. David will have some gorgeous shoots with Buddhist monks lined up at two prime temple ruin locations.
Day 4 – Ayutthaya – Chiang Rai – Ancient Sunrise + Wild White Temple
This morning visit an old monastery with a giant interior seated Buddha where monks clean, adorn with silk, and pray. Photographers Choice follows, depending on time. Return to Bangkok for the flight to Chiang Rai in the far north. The oddly ornate white temple of Wat Rong Khun has to be seen up close to be believed!
Day 5 – Chiang Rai –Tribal Portraits & Remote Akha Village
As travel photographers it’s sometimes necessary to capture key images in touristy locations. This morning’s portrait sessions with Padaung (brass neck rings) & others presents a great opportunity to see how David works the scene. Later visit a charming Akha village for an afternoon’s photography in traditional Akha dress.
Day 6 – Akha Village – Luang Prabang – Tribal Thailand to the Mekong
Awesome mountain sunrise followed by breakfast before saying our fond farewells. Off to the airport and the neighbor to the east, Laos. We’ll spend two nights the most picturesque town in the country, Luang Prababng. Afternoon free shoot in a cluster of beautiful temples, monasteries and French colonoal buildinggs before a glorious dinner overlooking the Mekong River.
Day 7 – Luang Prabang – Sunrise Alms & Turquoise Waterfalls
Every morning all over Laos Buddhist monks leave the monastery with their alms bowls in single file lines to receive alms of rice, other foods, or money. In Luang Prabang, with so many monasteries in close proximity, the number of monks in these lines numbers in the hundreds! After breakfast head off for the gorgeous Khouang Si Waterfalls, and later photograph the four main tribal groups of Laos.
Day 8 – Luang Prabang – Siem Reap – Of Elephants and Dynasties
We meet with six mahouts & their marvelous Asian elephants this morning for their bath in the Mekong River. This is a private photo shoot arranged just for us. Once the exciting photography at the river is over, it will be time to feed & commune with the gentle giants. This includes Lao’s only White Elephant, who has quite the funny personality. These are all rescue elephants (except for the baby) and very well taken care of.
Day 9 – Angkor Wat & Environs – Remote Khmer Temples & Rural Villages
There were some amazing temples built by the Khmer Empire before Angkor, which today are seldom visited. Some are clad in great tree roots similar to Ta Prohm, only there are no obstacles to good photography. We’ll photograph with locals and/or monks at two such temples today, as well as explore a rural delta village & take a relaxing sunset photo cruise to wrap the shooting day.
Day 10 – Angkor Central – Of Temples & Goddesses
Today is about learning the strategies & techniques of shooting effectively in and around the maddening crowd. We go against the flow as much as possible, and otherwise dodge & weave throughout the day to offer you the very best image opportunities available. For those who want the classic Angkor Wat sunrise, we depart the hotel at 4:30 am to secure the prime shooting positions.
Day 11 – Angkor Wat & Environs – Return to the Road Less Traveled
The crowd work done, our reward is a return to the road less traveled and some stunning, rarely visited forest temples, with local monks. In between are some rural villages to explore Khmer life in the authentic. Arrive back in time for afternoon at the Bayon “must have” shots, and hopefully water blessings of locals by monks, which are fun captures to get.
Day 12 – Siem Reap – Vietnam – Dynasty to Dynasty, Khmer to Champa
Afternoon exploration and free shoot of Hoi An’s old quarter, once the capitol of the Champa Dynasty. Wonderful pastel colors, girls under conical hats riding bicycles, the ancient Japanese Bridge, and a river running through it. David will also find some impromptu photo opportunities, including blue hour & night scenes w/ slow shutter speeds.
Day 13 – Hoi An – Sunrise Fishermen & Ao Dai Elegance
Early rise for sunrise on the water and fishermen with Chinese fishing nets. Visit the fishing village to photograph people beginning their day in much the same way as they have for centuries, then return to the hotel for breakfast, followed by a professional model shoot with lovely ladies wearing traditional Ao dai – both on the charming streets and inside temples.
Day 14 – Hoi An – Local VIllages Day + French-Vietnamese Farewell Dinner
This morning is a sunrise exploration & street shoot in the old quarter, featuring people walking and riding bikes or rickshaws past ancient wall backgrounds. Photograph the lively and colorful morning market as well. The afternoon will probably be spent shooting at local villages with famed French photographer, Rehahn, who makes his home in Hoi An. A very special farewell dinner tonight, with magnifique French-Vietnamese cuisine.
Day 15 – Hoi An – Da Nang – Bangkok – Departure
The flight from Da Nang is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport by 3:30 pm. Your return flight home therefore should allow time for any possible delay, and depart at night. If not possible, you can spend the night at an airport hotel and leave the next morning.
*Please note the above itinerary is only a brief and subject to change, if necessary. Tour dates will not change. A 30+ page detailed schedule and information kit concerning traveling for photography in Southeast Asia will be sent to all participants approximately 100 days prior to tour start date.
**Fireworks shoot is dependent on the fireworks show which normally takes place here. Confirmation is not yet available.
Photographer fees and top English speaking guides
In-country flights, airport & ground transport
All meals (Day 1 dinner to Day 15 breakfast)
Ample bottle water & refresh towels throughout
All entrance, zone and camera fees
Local model and/or village donations
Drinks @ lunches & dinners
Trip cancellation or medical insurance
Gratuities for hotel porters, local guide/driver
End of trip gratuities for photographer tour leader
More Knowledge – Better Pictures