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A scouting trip into the Central Vietnam Highlands

I am now sitting in the middle of nowhere. Literally, there is nothing to do around here, as I am in the countryside of Thai Binh province celebrating the new year. And I remember this fantastic trip I took last week to explore the mountains of the central Vietnam Highlands.

A student of mine wanted to book me for some days to visit this area. She had been there several times and wanted to work on her photography while up there. I tagged along and we drive to Di Linh, a town located between Bao Loc and Dalat. I had a little bit of free time as my team is running all our day photo tours in Hoi An, so I jumped on this opportunity!

Women in Vietnam walking along the tea gardens of Di Linh

We spend a couple of days driving around the central Vietnam Highlands, looking for good photo opportunities. Unfortunately, January isn’t the best time of the year, if you are looking at doing people photography. The rice fields and coffee plantations are very empty as the harvest is happening towards the end of the year.

But we did discover some great locations. The K’Ho minority villages are great to walk around and meet the people. These villages offer great portrait photo opportunities. It was actually for me an opportunity to play with 2 lenses that my student brought: the canon 50mm f1.2 and the 85mm f1.2. These are two extremely good lenses and it was a lot of fun to take portraits again.

Portrait of a Koho girl near Dalat

We also managed to find people working in the tea gardens of the area. We met them early morning and chatted around until they started work. On that day they were spreading fertilizer into the tea fields.

3 women are fertilizing a tea field near Dalat in Vietnam

I loved this area so much that I am planning to run a photo tour there in November of 2023. If you’d like to spend 6 days exploring that very much unexplored area, this is your chance. November is the time for coffee and rice harvests, which promises to offer us plenty of great photo opportunities!

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Founder of Pics of Asia, Etienne is a teacher with a photography habit.


  1. Richard Sandor on January 24, 2023 at 8:40 am

    Etienne: am very interested in the Central Highlands tour. Can you please provide the dates. While in Viet Nam, I would like to pass more time with photography. Can you please suggest some alternatives as I am open to suggestion. Merci, Richard

  2. Erika Verardo on January 24, 2023 at 3:14 pm

    Wonderful photos !!!

    • Etienne on January 25, 2023 at 7:46 am

      Thanks Erika!

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