Step into another world on this 12-day cultural and landscape photography tour to Myanmar! Formerly known as Burma, this complex country in South East Asia is a treasure trove of delights for travel photographers who are keen to experience the spectacular mountains, beautiful beaches, extraordinary islands, gorgeous lakes, delicious cuisine, as well as the traditions and culture that permeate through its fascinating local communities. Meaningful travel is paramount to preserving the culture that exists in this region of the world – as such, we will do our best to respect the landscape and its people as we aim for a truly immersive experience.
Total price: 3990 USD
24 Nov - 5 Dec 2019
Guided by Oli and Moe
A developing opportunity to be seized
Myanmar is a country that is relatively untouched by tourism. There are plenty of fascinating sights to take in, though the stunning landscapes come only second to the wealth of culture fostered by welcoming people and ethnic tribes. Things work differently in this part of the world and until recently, the political climate meant that very little travel was able to occur. Only in recent times have people begun to visit Myanmar and it remains one of the least visited places on the planet.
A shared experience
We'll travel together as a tight-knit group, as we experience all that Myanmar has to offer. This cultural and landscape photography workshop comprises some of the best travel experiences for adventurers. We'll connect with locals and novice monks as we embark upon an unforgettable trip of a lifetime, appreciating the true character of this remote and magical travel destination.
Video taken during Myanmar Photo Workshop
Day 1 – Arrival
Our photo guides will welcome you to Myanmar upon your arrival to Yangon International Airport. From there, they will transfer you to your hotel where you'll be able to check-in. There'll be some time to freshen up and to explore the city at your leisure, before you meet as a group for your first photography session in the heart of Yangon city centre.
Among your subjects will be Aung Myay Thukha monastic school for disadvantaged children, Tayoke Tan (also known as the 'Chinatown' of Yangon), and the Yangon Central railway station – the largest railway station in Myanmar. This spectacular building is a great place to capture your first picturesque sunset in this captivatingly exotic land.
In the evening, we'll visit the 2500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the Golden Pagoda, which dominates the Yangon skyline. It makes for an incredible scene, lit up during the magical moments of blue hour. There is really no experience quite like witnessing the city of Yangon glimmering with a golden glow at the foot of this gem encrusted temple complex, rising high from the hill.
Day 2 – Village Tribes – Kayah and Kayan peoples
On day two, we'll rise early for breakfast and begin our journey aboard a 50 minute flight to the remote and sleepy capital of Loikaw, Myanmar's smallest state. On arrival, we'll check in to our hotel where we'll prepare for a full day out and about, exploring the villages of two local hill tribes – the Kayah tribe of the Hta Nee Lah Lay village and the Kayan people of Panpet village.
The scenery in both of these villages is breathtaking. At Panpet, you'll get an authentic glimpse into the tribal life, as it is home to the ethnic minority Padaung. The tribe is internationally known for women who wear long brass rings that collapse their collarbones, creating the illusion of an elongated neck. Though viewed by outsiders as a controversial practice, the women of the Kayan tribes identify themselves by their forms of colourful traditional dress, including these brass coils which are placed around their necks from around the age of 5. We'll spend some time documenting their cultural practices, before heading to a nearby silk weaving village to observe handicrafts being made at Lake Inle.
Day 3 – Kayaw tribe, Taungkwe Zedi
We'll rise early on day three for a sunrise session at the valley of Lone Tree Hill, where we'll enjoy the fresh air and spectacular panoramic views over the remote and rustic town of Kentung, with the magical Kanyinbyu tree that grows on top of the hill as our subject. Once the sun is well and truly in the sky, we'll return to our hotel for breakfast and a little rest, before heading out for an afternoon of photography.
Travelling by private cars, we'll make our way deep into the hills towards the Kayaw village of Htekho, where we'll be welcomed by the friendly and traditional Kayaw tribe.
In the evening, we'll capture the sunset at the most venerated religious landmark in the Kayah state, the Taung Kwe Zedi pagoda.
Day 4 – Market day, Lake Inle, Ruins of Sagar
On day four, we'll have breakfast at our hotel before checking out and taking a private coach bus to the Hpe Khon town for market day. We'll take our time capturing the vibrant activity that permeates through the market, before sailing by boat to Lake Inle.
Along the way, we'll gain insight into the lifestyle of the local Pa’O and Inn Thar people, though the highlight of our day will be exploring the ancient ruins of a pagoda lost in vegetation at Sagar village.
Our accommodation for this evening will be at a hotel built upon the water.
Day 5 – Lake Inle, Padaung house weavery, In Dein ruins
After breakfast, we'll sail by boat to Taung Tho village in the southern end of Inle Lake. Market day in this colourful village is an exuberant affair, so we'll take our time studying the culture and capturing this visual feast.
In the afternoon, we'll ascend the river path to the In Dein pagoda ruins, which seem like something out of a fairytale book. The area is very picturesque, offering spectacular views of surrounding villages, floating farms and fishermen going about their daily activities just before sunset. Luckily for us, we'll have a pre-arranged private session with the fishermen, during which you'll be able to capture them in motion, working their fishing nets.
Day 6 – Lake Inle, Ywama Village – market day
On day six, we'll rise early again for a pre-arranged private sunrise shoot with the fishermen as they head about their daily business on Lake Inle. Thereafter, we'll have breakfast before hopping aboard a boat towards the floating Ywama village where the streets resemble the intricate webs of a canal. We'll immerse ourselves in the local floating markets just outside Hpaung Daw U Pagoda, before spending some time exploring and photographing the ancient ruins and monasteries in the area.
In the afternoon, we'll return to our hotel and pack our belongings for a late checkout. Thereafter, we'll head by boat to the Shwe Yan Pyay monastery, an amazing 19th century red teak building with large oval windows standing on stilts, where we'll spend some time for photography. From there, we'll make our way to the township of Nyaungshwe, before continuing on to Heho airport for a short flight to Mandalay city – the former royal capital in northern Myanmar. We'll stay in Mandalay for the night.
Day 7 – Mandalay, U Bein bridge, Sagaing Hills, Inwa Island
On day seven, we'll head off for a sunrise shoot at the U Bein Bridge in Amarapura. At 1.2km, this is the world's longest teak footbridge and one of Myanmar's most photographed sights. We'll then return to the hotel for breakfast, before heading back out onto the streets for a day of photography.
Among our highlights will be:
- Mahamuni Buddhist Temple, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites of Burma.
- Sagaing Hills, a beautiful and peaceful place which is home to numerous white, silver and gold-coloured pagodas, monasteries and meditation centres.
- Baka Monastery Schools, where thousands of young people study to become monks.
- U Min Thonze Temple, one of the most distinctive complexes in Myanmar which harbours 30 entrances into its core.
- HSoon Oo Ponnyashin pagoda. Built in 1312, it is one of the oldest temples on Saigang Hill.
In the afternoon, we'll travel to the man-made island of Inwa, which we'll reach by ferry as well as old-fashioned horses and carts. Once there, we'll have ample time to capture the Bagaya monastery, which is one of the most beautiful in all of Myanmar. Built in 1834, it is supported by 267 teak posts, which make for extraordinary compositions.
As the sun begins to set, we'll drive back towards our hotel over the U Bein Bridge for a spectacular view of the surrounds.
Day 8 – Mingun village, Golden Palace monastery, Mandalay hill, The Royal Merit
We'll return to the U Bein Bridge on day eight for an early morning sunrise session, before having breakfast back at the hotel. Thereafter, we'll travel by boat to Mingun village along the banks of the Irrawaddy River.
The village is best known for the Mingun Pahtodawgyi – an immense, unfinished pagoda. Nearby, the Mingun Bell makes for unique photo opportunities. We'll also spend some time to the north, where we'll capture the striking, completely white Hsinbyume Pagoda in all its glory. Crowned by a large stupa, this temple is surrounded by wavy, tiered terraces that represent the seven mountain ranges around the mountain at the centre of the Buddhist universe.
Depending on time constraints, the afternoon will be spent capturing the sunset at the Shwenandaw Monastery or Golden Palace monastery on Mandalay Hill.
Day 9 – Sunrise, Bagan and surroundings
Day nine begins bright and early with a sunrise session in Bagan, before we settle in for a hearty breakfast. Thereafter, we'll explore the ancient city and its holy sites, stopping now and then to capture the impressive temples that are spread across these picturesque plains.
There'll be another opportunity to visit a local market, before we make our way back to the hotel for some much-needed rest in the afternoon. Don't get too comfortable though, as we'll head back out right before sunset, for a wonderful session of photography in the surrounds.
Day 10 – Bagan city – model shots with novice monks
Day ten will start with a bang, as we capture the sun rising over the sea of temples within the grand city of Bagan. We'll then return to our hotel for breakfast, before heading back out again to explore the local markets, monasteries and holy sites.
In the afternoon, we'll have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph novice monks with a series of indoor private portrait sessions. As the sun sets over Bagan, we'll chase the goat herds by the temples for a lively and entertaining photoshoot.
Day 11 – Bagan surroundings, Salay and Chauk
This will be our final full day of photography. Once again, we'll spend the day exploring the fascinating Bagan Archaeological Zone, photographing the many temples and villages within the area.
In the afternoon, we'll visit the charming small town of Salay about 120km north of Bagan, as well as the township of Chauk.
Day 12 – Scott Market – Departure day
Sadly, this will be our last day in Myanmar. We'll have breakfast as a group, before leaving Bagan on a flight to Yangon in the morning. Upon arrival in Yangon, there'll be an opportunity to explore the markets and to do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs at the sidewalk stalls of the Scott Market or Bogyoke Aung San Market – a major bazaar that is known for its colonial architecture and more than 2000 shops containing the largest selection of Myanmar handicrafts.
In the afternoon, we'll transfer to Yangon International Airport where you'll catch your flight home or onwards to your next destination.
All hotel accommodation including breakfast
All modes of transportation such as:
Air-conditioned coach for all transfers and sightseeing programs
Private boats for Mingun excursion and Inle Lake sightseeing
Ferry boat and horse cart for Inwa visit
All domestic flights using private airlines only
English Speaking Guide service throughout
Model fees for the arranged shoots
All entrance fees, excluding museum admission fees
Current Domestic Airlines fuel surcharges
All Prevailing taxes
Any increases in domestic airline fuel surcharges with or without prior notice
Myanmar Visa, Insurance and services not mentioned herein
Cancellation and Refund Policy
We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.
75 days or more: 75% refund
60 days or more: 50% refund
Less than 60 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.