Bull Racing Festival, Vietnam, Photosafari 18 – 22 September 2014

Photosafari is organising a short, but exciting 5 days 4 night’s weekend trip to Can Tho and Chou Doc on the Mekong Delta. The highlights of this trip are the visit to Nga Nam floating market, Tra Su floating forest, rice fields and, of course, the bull racing festival.
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Our trip begins at the touch down at Tan Son Nhat Airport, Ho Chi Minh City. From here we board a couple of tourist vans and drive to Can Tho. Can Tho is the fourth largest city in Vietnam and the largest in the Mekong Delta.  We will put up a night at Saigon Can Tho Hotel. You can visit their hotel website here

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The next morning we will drive to Nga Nam floating market at Soc Trang Province. The market is at the intersection of five rivers.  It is crowded from dawn to dusk with boats and junk coming from everywhere to trade. The market serves a wide variety of commodities such as farm produces, rice, fruits and sundry goods. There are also hawkers in boats selling local food and drinks. There is no shortage of subjects to shoot here.

We will be spending the night at Chou Doc after the visit to the floating market and Khmer temples. Chou Doc is a small city with about 150,000 people. It is one of the major towns in the Mekong Delta area. Our hotel in Chou Doc is Victoria Nui Sam Lodge resort. You can visit their hotel website here

The next morning we will travel about 20 km to Tra Su nature and bird sanctuary. This place is for nature lovers, bird watchers and photographers. It covers an area of approximately 850 hectares.

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Picture taken off the net for illustration purpose only

Bull racing festival this year falls on the 21st September.  Bull racing is a traditional Khmer festival. It is a festival to pay homage to their ancestors. The race track is a flooded rice field of about 200m by 100m wide. The farmers choose their best pair of bulls for racing. Often more than 70 pairs of bulls will participate in this event. The riders are professional jockeys. Farmers usually choose a particular jockey to race their bulls. The trick is to get the pair of bulls to run at the same pace. A jockey will use a stick to herd the slower bull to catch up with the other. Spectators will line-up the sides of the race tracks. Some bulls may not run in a straight line and would often exit the race track well before the ending line. There are a lot of excitement as spectators try to get out of the way of the errant racing bulls.

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After the race, we will drive all the way back to Ho Chi Minh City for a night stop before boarding the plane for home the next day.

Itinerary

Day 1: 18th Sep 2014 (Thurs):  (Can Tho)

–        Arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, Ho Chi Minh City.

–        Lunch

–        After lunch we will drive to Can Tho. Can Tho is the fourth largest city in Vietnam and the largest city in the Mekong Delta. It is noted for its floating market, rice paper making village and picturesque rural canals.

–        Check-in at Can Tho for the night

–        Dinner

–        Night shooting at Can Tho river (optional)

Day 2: 19th Sept 2014 (Fri):  (Nga Nam floating market)

–        03:30 morning call

–        04:00 travel to Nga Nam floating market (Soc Trang Province)

–        06:00 – 08:30 take a boat ride to the floating market. There are many market scenes and activities to photograph here.

–        08:30 – packed breakfast

–        09:30 – 11:00 – visit Khmer Temple and villages in Tra Vinh and Soc Trang.

–        12:00 – 13:30 – lunch

–        14:00 – 18:00 – drive to Chau Doc. Chau Doc is a city in the An Giang Province bordering Cambodia, in the Mekong Delta. This city has a population of 150,000 people.

–        18:30 – check-in hotel

–        19:00 – dinner

Day 3: 20th Sept 2014 (Sat):  (Tra Su floating forest)

–        04:30 – morning call

–        05:00 – sunrise at rice fields and daily morning life at Khmer Temple.

–        06:30 – 08:00 – Landscape shoot at Tapa Valley

–        08:00 – 08:30 – breakfast

–        09:00 – 11:00 – discover Tra Su floating forest is a sanctuary with many birds and wildlife. It covers an area of 850 hectares.

–        11:30 – 14:00 – lunch at Tra Su Forest.

–        14:30 – 16:00 – visit the textile village.

–        16:30 – 18:30 – sunset shoot and daily life at the floating fields

–        19:00 – Dinner and overnight at Chau Doc

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Day 4: 21st Sept 2014 (Sun): (Bull Racing Festival)

–        04:30 – morning call

–        05:00 – sunrise at fish market and floating fields

–        06:00 – packed breakfast

–        07:00 – 11:00 bull racing festival.  It involves the racing of cows on the final day of the Khmer calendar. This fun event is staged in An Giang and is always watched by crowds of bemused onlookers of all ages

–        12:00 – lunch

–        14:00 – check-out of hotel

–        14:00 – 19:00 – drive back to Ho Chi Minh City

–        19:00 – check-in at hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

–        19:30 – dinner

Day 5: 22nd Sept 2014 (Mon):  (Ho Chi Minh City)

–        Breakfast

–        Free and easy before return flight

–        Transfer to airport

–        End of trip

If you are interested to join or have further queries, please email maxby at: maxbee@gmail.com

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