Vietnam Explorer: 17 – -31 March 2015

Overview

Tour Leader: Karl Grobl. Trip limited to 10 participants

Southeast Asia’s “skinniest country”; Vietnam, stretches roughly 1,000 miles from top to bottom but is only about 25 miles wide at its narrowest point near the center. Although officially reunited, north to south, Vietnam feels more like two separate countries. While Hanoi and the northernmost cities and villages cling to more traditional, communist ways, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City as it is now called) in the south, bristles with the energy and entrepreneurial fervor of any major U.S. city. With its amazing diversity and rich cultural history, Vietnam offers the adventurous traveler a unique opportunity to experience and photograph an exciting mix of landscapes, people, places, philosophies, cuisines, crafts, and religions.

Starting in Saigon, we will travel by boat to Can Tho and be captivated by the lazy rhythms of the Mekong Delta. We’ll photograph the amazing diversity of Can Tho’s fish markets and in particular, a unique floating market where trade continues as if untouched by the modern world. Next we’ll travel north to explore the azure beaches of Danang and Hoi An, an important Vietnamese trading center in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1999, Hoi An’s old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as a well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port with buildings that display a unique blend of local and foreign influences.

After photographing Hoi An, we head northward to Hanoi to experience a completely different “Vietnam”. In Hanoi, we will shoot the bustling old quarter and visit Ho Chi Minh’s tomb, and even have some free time to avail ourselves to some ot the best shopping in Southeast Asia. It’s here where the silk and lacquer ware is most plentiful and inexpensive. Then it’s off to the Gulf of Tonkin and breathtaking Halong Bay. Ha Long Bay (literally: Descending Dragon Bay) is yet another UNESCO World Heritage site. The bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles in various sizes and shapes. We’ll board a traditional Chinese junk and sail among Halong Bay’s limestone cliffs and caves. after a meal of fresh, regional delicacies on the boat, we will disembark to spend the night on Cat Ba Island.

As our journey draws to a close, we are transported by overnight train ever northward, to experience and photograph Bac Ha. The town of Bac Ha, which is nestled among the emerald rice paddies, riots of bamboo, pine, and orchids of Vietnam’s lush northern hills is host to a Sunday market where we’ll be able to photograph up to 10 different local hill tribe groups including the Flower Hmong, Dzao, Giay (Nhang), Han (Hoa), Xa Fang, Lachi, Nung, Phula, Thai and Thulao bargaining for water buffalo, pigs, horses, bottles of local firewater (made from rice, cassava or corn). It is here you will have one last opportunity to purchase charming locally made hill tribe handicrafts. Bac Ha will be our final stop on what likely will be one of the most memorable, photo rich trips of your life!

Itinerary
Day 1: (Mar 18)Arrive Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), where you will be picked up at the airport and taken to the hotel. This evening we will have an orientation meeting followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 2:Today, cameras in hand, we set out for a Saigon City tour .We’ll make images of many of Saigon’s icons including the fantastically ornate Hotel de Ville which serves as Saigon's city hall, the turn of the century Opera House, the Dong Khoi Street shopping area of the French colonial period, the Notre Dame Cathedral (1880) and the spectacular turn-of-the-century Colonial French Post Office. We will view Reunification Palace from the outside, then photograph the activities at Binh Tay Market. In the afternoon we will visit several religious sites including the Thien Hau Pagoda (Cantonese pagoda) in Cho Lon and the Sri Mariamman (Hindu) Temple and the Saigon Central Mosque. After our first full day photographing we’ll return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 3:
This morning at 8:00 we transfer to boat dock for our fast (3 hour) boat down the Mekong to Can Tho. Upon arrival in Can Tho we transfer to Golf hotel and check in. For the rest of the day we tour Can Tho, visiting and photographing the lively waterfront area where the local inhabitants go about their normal activities. Then we set off for an amazing photo shoot of the Ninh Kieu Wharf area, the busiest commercial wharf in the Mekong Delta.
Day 4:
This morning we are up early for our 5:30 am departure to the Fong Dien Floating Market, a chaotic, picturesque marketplace with hundreds vendors in boats buying and selling everything from bananas and coconuts to freshly slaughtered pork and sugar cane. We will have the opportunity to photograph the market from the shoreline and from water level in our private boat. Later, we return to Can Tho, to visit Can Tho Market, the Cantonese Congregation Pagoda and the Munirangsyaram Khmer Pagoda
Day 5:
After breakfast we return to Saigon via private bus and proceed to the airport for our short flight to Danang. After being picked up at the airport in Danang we will be transported by private coach to Hoi An with a quick stop to photograph beautiful, historic China Beach, With its vast expanse of pristine water and clean unspoiled beach for some photos before continuing on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hoi An.
Day 6:
Today we explore amazing, photogenic Hoi An on foot and while riding inVietnam’s famous cyclos.. We will photograph the Riverside Market area, the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Quan Cong Temple complex. Hoi An is a photographers paradise, with friendly inhabitants, charming architecture, and narrow streets awaiting our exploration.
Day 7:
Today you are free day to explore the ancient city of Hoi An on your own or spend the day relaxing, shopping or perhaps swimming at any of the nearby white-sand beaches.
Day 8:
After checking out of our hotel we transfer to the Airport in Da Nang for our flight to Hanoi. Upon arriving in Hanoi we meet our guide and driver and embark on a city tour of Hanoi which will include stops at beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake, the Ngoc Son Temple and St. Joseph's Cathedral. In the evening we will witness and photograph a traditional water puppet show, followed by a delicious dinner.
Day 9:
This morning we are up early to witness synchronized t’ai chi at dawn on the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake. After breakfast we’re off to photograph in the old quarter, a fascinating and photogenic area full of shops, vendors and frenetic activity. After exploring the old quarter we visit Ba Dinh Square and the One-Pillar Pagoda, the Ho Chi Minh House on Stilts, the Presidential Palace, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
Day 10:
Today we are transported to Ha Long City, gateway to Ha Long Bay. Stopping along the way to photograph rice fields and local, roadside villages. At11:00 am we board our traditional Chinese junk for a tour of Halong Bay, where we will see caves, limestone monoliths and even take a swim in the gulf of Tonkin. We have dinner on the boat before disembarking at Cat Ba Island where we’ll spend the night.
Day 11:
This morning we will explore and photograph local fisherman working at Cat Ba, before boarding our boat back across the gulf of Tonkin to Hai Phong. where we will be transported by private bus back to Hanoi. We will have free time in Hanoi until evening when we transfer to the Hanoi Railway Station to connect with the overnight Victoria Express Train departing for Lao Cai
Day 12:
The Victoria Express train arrives Lao Cai at 6:30 am, where we meet guide and driver and proceed to Can Cau Market 20-kilometers north of Bac Ha. We tour and photograph the Can Cau market, then return to Bac Ha by mid-afternoon and check-into our hotel, giving us the balance of the day to discover the quaint town of Bac Ha.
Day 13:
This morning we rise early to photograph the action at the Bac Ha Sunday Market. Here we'll have the opportunity to photograph up to10 different local hill tribe groups bargaining for water buffalo, pigs, horses, bottles of local firewater. In the afternoon we tour the villages and hamlets nestled among picturesque rice paddies and hills surrounding Bac Ha. After a delicious lunch we drive back to Lao cai. This evening we transfer to the train station and board our overnight train for the trip back to Hanoi.
Day 14:
This morning we arrive at the Hanoi train station at about 6 am and are transferred to our hotel where we have a leisurely breakfast. Today we have time to relax, hang out at Hoan Kiem lake, shop in the old quarter or to photograph more of Hanoi’s hustle and bustle. This evening we have our farewell dinner.
Day 15: (Apr 1)Today, depending on your departure time, you are transported to Hanoi airport for your flight home.

Leader

Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. His images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, but the largest majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients. Karl’s non-NGO work is represented by Zuma Press, the premier international editorial picture agency and wire service. His 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award.

Over the last ten years, Karl has worked in over 50 countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Cuba, and Haiti.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Karl spent more than a month embedded with five different non-governmental organizations documenting tsunami relief efforts in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. One year later he returned to document the reconstruction. He has covered post conflict peacebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and East Timor, HIV/Aids issues in Africa and Asia as well as Human trafficking in Cambodia and the Philippines.

In addition to his rigorous international travel schedule, Karl teaches photography workshops and leads international photography tours. He is a regular lecturer on photography and photojournalism and a long time member of the National Press Photographers Association. Karl is a member of the Advisory Counsel of Focus For Humanity, a non profit organization, who’s mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers wishing to work with NGOs. He also works as a technical consultant for several photographic and photography-related technology companies and was featured in a world wide advertising campaign for SanDisk memory cards.

Dates & Prices

Dates: March 18 – April 1, 2014
Cost: $6475
The price is based on double occupancy. A single supplement of $695 applies

Trip Leader: Karl Grobl – The trip will be limited to 10 participants

Cost Include includes 2 in-country flights (Saigaon-Danang & Danang-Hanoi), all 14 nights hotel accommodations, all ground transport, airport transfers, boat trips, Victoria Express Train, all breakfasts and dinners, entrance-fees at tourist sites, and English-speaking local guides
Cost does not include: International flights, passport & visas fees, tips,
travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, accommodation on the night prior to starting, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees etc.
*All prices subject to change without notice, owing to the variable nature of international currency exchange rates and sudden changes in local costs

Reservation Form
  • Contact Details

  • Passport Details

  • Your full name EXACTLY as it appears in your passport
  • Issued by which Country?
  • Date Passport Expires. NB you MUST have at least 6 months validity on your passport form the final date of the tour.
  • Your Experience

    How would you describe your photographic experience?
    Out of interest, which make of camera will you be bringing with you
  • Accomodation

  • Briefly describe your travel experience
  • If there anything we should know about your medical conditions, allergies, food intolerances, physical limitations, etc. If so please list it here.
  • Website, Magazine, Word of Mouth, Paper Flyer/Brochure, Speaking Engagement/Lecture
    I have read, understood and agree to abide by the terms and conditions. I am sending a deposit of $600 to: Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC 11387 Ocean Ridge Way San Diego, CA 92130 PLEASE NOTE THAT UNTIL YOUR DEPOSIT OF $600 IS RECEIVED WE CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR PLACE.

Wait List / Interest List
We are delighted that you would like to be added to the wait list or interest list for the Vietnam Photo Tour. Please provide your email and phone number by filling out this form.
  • Website, Magazine, Word of Mouth, Paper Flyer/Brochure, Speaking Engagement/Lecture

Terms & Conditions

Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $600 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Cancellation

  • On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.
  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.

Responsibility

Jim Cline Photography, and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change.

Health

It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

Trip Insurance

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Itinerary

While Jim Cline Photography endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.

Country Info

Vietnam Information from US Department of State

Visas:  a visa must be obtained from a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate prior to traveling to Vietnam; entry visas are not available upon arrival

Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money: Currency exchange rates

ATMs, Credit Cards, Travelers Checks:

Internet Access

Electricity in Vietnam: Converters & Adapters Required

Documents: For U.S. citizens, a passport valid for 6 months after your arrival is required. Vietnam does not have visa on arrival (for US citizens). You must get a visa before you leave.

Weather and Clothing: The weather in Vietnam is normally warm even at night and in the morning.  The annual Asian monsoon cycle gives the areas we will be traveling in, two distinct seasons: May to October is wet, and November to April is dry. Temperatures vary according to altitude. Prepare for warm weather and bring a light rain jacket or poncho just in case.  You may want to bring shorts, though women will not be permitted in the temples in some areas in shorts or sleeveless tops.  A pair of sports sandals such as Tevas is recommended, though you should bring a pair of good walking shoes or light boots as well.  You will want a light jacket or a layer or two of long sleeves for cool mornings or nights. When we visit the hill tribe areas north of Hanoi, a light jacket may be needed, but if you don’t bring one, jackets and sweaters are inexpensive and plentiful.

Money: We recommend getting your local currency at ATMs, as it’s the most convenient way and it’s the best exchange rate.  It’s also good to have some backup cash just in case.  You shouldn’t need a lot of money on the trip – just for lunch, beverages, tips to local guides and bellboys, and incidentals such as phone calls and shopping. Travelers checks are inconvenient and cost several dollars each to cash-in, we discourage travelers checks and encourage you to bring cash and ATM cards.

Hotels: You’ll be staying at nice hotels throughout the trip.  I’ll be forwarding a list of the hotels you’ll be staying in, along with their phone numbers (and dialing instructions from the U.S.) soon.

For those of you bringing laptops and other electrical appliances, the electrical current in SE Asia is 230V 50HzHz.  To be safe you may want to check your electrical devices to confirm that they can handle this voltage.  Mine say: Input: 100 – 240 volts.  It may be on the item, or somewhere on the cord or plug.  You will need the plug adaptors for this region which you can find at travel or luggage stores, or outdoor stores such as REI.  They can also be found on the internet.  Feel free to contact me about this if you have any questions, or visit www.KarlGrobl.com under Equipment Reviews for more info.

Food and Health: You’ll be eating in nice restaurants wherever you go, so I don’t expect anyone to have stomach problems.  Of course you shouldn’t drink the tap water – purified water will be provided at our hotels and found in all the local stores.  However it’s common when traveling to a new region of the world for your stomach to have some problems due to the different oils, spices, and other ingredients in the food.  Wherever I go, I pack Pepto Bismol tablets and Imodium AD in my bag.

Sunscreen and/or a hat (and good sunglasses) are a necessity.

We will be visiting areas where malaria is present, talk to your doctor about malaria prophylaxis.

You should also check with your doctor and the CDC for recommendations for any vaccinations you may need.  It’s recommended to have tetanus, typhoid, and Hepatitis A vaccinations before visiting any developing nation.  You should do this soon, because it’s necessary to begin some vaccinations several weeks prior to the trip.

Physical condition: You will be doing some walking on the trip, so it would be a good idea to try and be in good walking condition.  In most situations, you won’t have to walk all that far, but you may want to, to get better photos, etc.

Telephone & E-mail: There are lots of inexpensive (about $.50 – $1 per hour) internet cafes in the places we’ll be (the problem will be finding time to use them).  Also, in some hotels wireless internet is available. The time in the areas we are traveling in is 14 hours and one day ahead of Pacific US time.

Safety: Some of our hotels have safe deposit boxes for safe-keeping of your valuables.  It’s a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport ID page to carry with you for identification purposes, and keep your passport at the hotel.  However when traveling to any poor country, it’s advisable to leave any expensive jewelry at home – there’s no reason to draw any undo attention to yourself.

Language: There is English spoken in the more touristy areas, but it always helps to pick up a few phrases in Vietnamese.  Even if you know just a few words, the locals will appreciate that you are trying.

Photography: You’ll be photographing a wide variety of subjects on this trip, so you may want to bring a good range of lenses.  I always bring a tripod when I travel, as it can come in handy in various situations.  You may want one for photographing temples, palaces or street scenes at twilight / night, or at other locations when the light is low.  Also a tripod is essential when photographing streams and waterfalls, which you will do in Luang Prabang.  When shooting from a tripod it’s best to have a cable release, and a small flashlight to keep in your camera bag.  We always recommend that you bring a flash – though you may not need it often, it may come in handy at times.  Also, a circular polarizing filter is essential in some situations.  For those who shoot slide film, I would recommend bringing mostly ISO 100 film.  But you may want some 400 ISO film for situations where you need increased speed.  Print film is easy to find in some of the areas you’ll be, but there’s a limited selection of slide film (and all film is more expensive there).  So be sure to bring more film than you think you will need!  And the same goes for CF cards as well.  You should have a chance every night to download memory cards.  Both Karl and I use laptops, but there are many other devices to use for this.

Be sure to pack all of your film and memory cards in your carry-on bags.  Some airports use X-ray machines that can be harmful to film and cards in your check-in luggage.  There’s no harm to digital equipment from the screening equipment used on your carry-on bags.  Please feel free to contact me (or Karl at Karl@KarlGrobl.com) with any questions you may have about any of this.

What to pack: For a host of information on what to pack, and other travel and photo equipment advice log on to http://karlgrobl.com/EquipmentReviews/index.htm

Flights: Hopefully, you have already booked your flights, or are in the process of doing so.  Our travel agent Vicki McCuistion of Protravel Intl Inc is quite knowledgeable and can book your flights.  Her phone number is 619-850-1821, and her email is Vicki.Mccuistion@protravelinc.com .  Please give me your flight details when you can so I can make ground transportation arrangements.  Remember, you have the option to arrive back in Bangkok on January 29 either in the morning or in the evening – be sure to let me know which flight you prefer.

Misc: On some days you’ll be getting up very early and shooting before breakfast.  I recommend bringing along some energy bars or other compact snack food for these situations.  There also may be times when you’ll have to wait to have lunch or dinner later than normal to accommodate your shooting and traveling schedule.  Also, a travel alarm clock is important, as you can’t always rely 100% on hotel wake-up calls.  And please remember to pack fairly light as you’re going to be on the move – checking in and out of hotels, and loading the bags in and out of the van.  There may not always be a bell-boy available.

Equipment

Suggested equipment: Digital SLR with lenses offering a focal length from wide (24mm or wider) to telephoto (100mm or longer), laptop or netbook computer running image viewing software such as Breeze Browser or Photo Mechanic and an image editing program such as Adobe Photoshop, or a combintation softward program similar to like Lightroom. Additionally we strongly recommend a back-up device such as external hard drive.

Here’s what I carry:

Nikon D3s camera with 17-35 f 2.8 zoom lens (with protective UV haze filter)
Nikon D3s camera with 70-200 f2.8 zoom lens (with protective UV haze filter)
CF cards (16 gigs total)
Nikon SB400 flash
Camera Battery Charger
Vaio Laptop computer
SmartCard slot CF card reader
Apricorn Aegis Mini USB drive (for backing up images)
Spider Holster (used while shooting)
Think Tank Holster system (used to transport my cameras from point A to point B and to work out of during heavy rain)
Reflector (rarely used)

Testimonials

“I wanted to thank you and Karl for putting together such phenomenal trip to Vietnam. You guys put so much work into the arrangements and I can see why mom has taken so many trips with you. I am so excited about my pictures and I have been able to produce shots I never imagined I could. Karl was so on-target with teaching all of us new ways to use the camera and it made the experience so enjoyable. I work for the local CBS affiliate as a morning Anchor so I kept a blog during the trip and just sent one that should be posted later this morning to wrap up my time in Vietnam. I have many e-mails from viewers who are so interested in my journey there-the photo instruction and my thoughts after returning. I cannot say enough about what you and Karl have put together. I know sometimes you deal with less than exquisite personalities who take every opportunity to complain so I thought it was important to give the two of you a huge pat on the back for this trip.
Thanks again-it was a very special trip to share with my mom. We loved it!”

~Anietra Hamper
Gahanna, Ohio


“Hi Jim, I had a great trip with Karl and would not hesitate to travel with him again. He is a great tour leader and companion. Great photo ops, good company great locations, talented people to learn from. Had a wonderful trip, and still trying to sort thru 9000+ photos.”

~John Birgiolas
Toronto, Ontario, Canada


“All of the hotels were fine with me. I appreciated the breakfasts, which were substantial , varied and tasty . (Love that Vietnamese coffee!) The proximity of the hotels to our ‘destinations’ was very helpful — being able to walk everywhere a real plus. Although the Pavillon Indochine in Siem Reap was not within walking distance of the center of town, the peacefulness and comfortable size of the hotel more than made up for it. I was impressed that we had sleeping cars to ourselves to and from Lao Cai.

All the food served at the selected restaurants, on the boats and along the way, was very good. Dinner at the pavilion in Can Tho was very nice and provided us with a good place to enjoy lunch the next day. Our beach lunch outside Hoi An , was fun, memorable and delicious. Morning Glory restaurant in Hoi An was one of the best. After eating dinner there as a group, a number of us returned for lunch. Were you aware that Ms. Vy and her restaurant had been featured in the NY Times in January of this year? Kudos to Karl for having selected such a variety of good eating places with “safe” food!
As a novice, learning so much about photography and my camera was great, as were the opportunities to take images. It opened me to entirely new ways of thinking. I appreciated and enjoyed seeing so many facets of Vietnam and Cambodia, and of course, Angkor Wat is extraordinary!

The fact that the group was very compatible definitely enhanced our travel. Eating dinner together and sharing images gave a special dimension to the trip. I believe Karl was an important catalyst in this. With Karl’s help, my images were far different (and better) at the end of the trip as compared with the beginning. Seeing other people’s images was very helpful. I received help as requested or when Karl noticed my dilemma taking shots. He was available to everyone equally and provided assistance to each of us at our level of need, whether taking images, working with Breeze Browser or working on blogs The manner in which he relates to people and works with them when shooting is amazing. (He’s a regular Pied Piper with the kids!)

I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I am with the manner in which the trip was put together – the photo opportunities, transportation, hotels, restaurants, rest stops, motorcycle outing, roadside work shops and the blog to which we could refer family and friends. No easy task! A very good value, especially considering the size of the group and the transportation involved. It’s unusual to be told to order whatever you want for dinner when it’s included in the trip cost.
I would absolutely recommend the trip – it was the most fun travel I’ve done in a long time! It’s not often that you have to work so hard to have a good time!”

~Barb Marcus
Grand Rapids, Michigan

“I’m amazed at how much I learned about my camera and how to use it. The instruction was excellent, and well timed, i.e. given instruction on a method and immediate opportunity to try to master it. Extremely good leader, teacher,[Karl] and attentive to our needs.”

~Elaine Burton-Resnick
Tuscon, Arizona

“It was great! I liked the fast paced itinerary.The free time was perfect. There was enough time to shop and do photography on our own, especially in Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake and the market. The numerous and various locations that offered such diversity of people and sites which gave us wonderful insight s to the lives of the Vietnam people, as well, as unlimited photography opportunities. Arriving a day early gave us the opportunity to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels. It was a wonderful and educational side trip. I highly recommend it. I would have enjoyed a little more time at the Huomg market on Sunday. What fun!!!! It was nice to be able to refresh at the hotel before getting on the train. What a beautiful hotel and great food. I also enjoyed the water puppet show. This was a fun experience and a great way to learn about the cultural entertainment that was around before TV.

I enjoyed gaining a new perspective on Vietnam, the people, their culture, and their history. A favorite is always the sights and sounds of the local markets. Karl was very attentive to our needs. He was always asking if everything was o.k., checking on our camera settings, taking time to help us with our wide angle lens shots, exposures, and ISO’s and graciously answering the same, never ending redundant questions. Karl never even complained or let us know that he fell, banging up his camera and probably himself. What a trooper! We all would have offered to have helped him cross the challenging Vietnam streets or carry his cameras. Likewise, Jim, you have always been very attentive and fun.

I have always received MORE than the value of the trip. I always recommend it to others – even people that have gone on the some of the other trips and want information about India, Burma, or Myanmar. They all know that I would readily go on any of those trips again.

I feel honored that I have been able to go on so many of the Jim Cline trips. I have always enjoyed each and every trip. When someone asks me which trip was my favorite, I tell them that I could never just pick one as all of them have been great! This says a lot for your trips and the fun I’ve had.”

Robbie Hamper
Columbus, Ohio


“I am in the Karl Grobl fan club. I go on these tours to push myself and get a crash course in getting images that I can be proud of. Karl is the ideal leader as his approach is most sincere and more as a friend than a leader and always has an open ear to your needs and how to help when you are frustrated, and not able to see the shots. If you are prepared to interact with him then you will be rewarded handsomely. I think you offer exceptional value.”

Andrew Eio
Chalfont St. Giles
Buckinghamshire, England

Trip Evaluation Form

Vietnam Explorer Photo Tour Evaluation Form:

We would love to hear your comments and suggestions from the recent tour. Please, if you have a few moments, fill out this form. Karl and I will personally review and discuss it. Your valuable input helps us to continuously improve our tours.
  • Please feel free to answer each question with as many or as few words as you deem necessary. Again, we appreciate any and all input.