" The Magic of Myanmar "

—  I t i n e r a r y  (Nov 2019)  —

Main Tour

Day 1 — Arrive Yangon

Arrive in Yangon any time, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. In the evening, we will meet and provide an orientation of the tour, followed by a welcome dinner. Overnight in Yangon (Dinner only).

Day 2 — Yangon

We will begin the day with a sunrise shoot of the spectacular Shwedagon pagoda and the morning activities around the pagoda, then return to the hotel for breakfast. Later in the morning, we will drive to a monastic school in the northern sector of Yangon, and photograph the hundreds of novice monks and nuns as they are receiving their alms. Afterwards, we will focus on street photography, meandering through Yangon’s largest wholesale vegetable & fruit market as well as exploring the Chinatown section of the city. Finally, we will return to Shwedagon pagoda just before sunset (4:30 – 5:30pm) to capture amazing golden-hour photography of this iconic landmark and the evening activities of the saffron-robed monks and the colorful Buddhist devotees. Overnight in Yangon (Lunch only).

Day 3 — Mandalay

After breakfast, we will take an early morning flight to Mandalay and after checking in at our hotel, drive to the ancient city of Amarapura — the former capital of Myanmar. We will photograph at one of the city’s most famous monasteries, then the monastic school at Sagaing where we can explore various forms of portraiture of the hundred nuns who are studying the ways of Buddhism. Later in the afternoon, we will return to Amarapura and spend the Golden hour photographing the daily events around the iconic U-Bein footbridge. After sunset, we will return to the hotel in downtown Mandalay for a rest. Overnight in Mandalay (Lunch only).

Day 4 — Mandalay

Drive to U-Bein footbridge for a sunrise shoot, where we can photograph the beautiful landscapes with fishermen netting fish or herding geese, or locals commuting by foot or bicycle as they cross the footbridge in the early morning light. After breakfast at our hotel, we will visit some of the city’s main attractions, including the Golden Palace monastery, the UNESCO site of the Kuthodaw Pagoda & the river village where artisans ply their crafts of sand mining, bamboo weaving and fishing. There will be an arranged photo session in one of these locations. At sunset, we will return to our hotel for dinner and an optional image-sharing session. Overnight in Mandalay (Lunch & Dinner).

Day 5 — Mandalay

After an early breakfast, we will fly to Bagan, arriving about 9:00 am. We will enjoy a full day shoot within and around the Bagan archaeological zone. During the morning we will explore the local market in Nyaung-U town as well as picturesque locations and ancient temples within the zone. After a short afternoon break, we will visit one of the typical villages in Bagan, chase the goat herds along dusty trails as they return home. Then set up a sunset shoot from a spectacular vantage point in the Bagan archaeological zone. Overnight in Bagan (Lunch only).

Day 6 — Bagan

Leave the hotel around 5:00 am for a balloon ride at sunrise over the temple plain of the Bagan archaeological zone. Return to the hotel for breakfast, then regroup for a full day of photographic adventures: exploring another local market, photographing the monks in the early morning light as they walk through the village collecting alms, visiting a monastic school & making low-light portraits with local models (both planned & spontaneous). Visit another spectacular site for a sunset shoot among the ancient temple ruins. Overnight in Bagan (Lunch only).

Day 7 — Bagan

After breakfast, we will fly to Heho then drive to Kalaw (about 1 hour), a former British hill station town. After checking into our hotel we will begin a trek into the hills of the Palaung villages where amazingly beautiful landscapes and colorful farms populate this remote hill region. Since today is the full moon day, the Palaung tribe people will be celebrating the Tazaungdaing festival in their village monasteries. This is an incredible opportunity to photograph this colorful culture & learn about some of their unique customs. In the late afternoon, we will return to Kalaw for evening strolls around the town’s main pagoda and downtown sections. Overnight in Kalaw (Lunch & Dinner).

Day 8 — Kalaw

Leave very early for a sunrise shoot (a take-out breakfast will be packed) at a breathtaking vantage point, overlooking a nearby Danu tribe village. After the sunrise shoot, we will visit & explore the Danu village, photographing the villagers as they go about their daily routines. Then we will drive along the spectacular Pindaya-Aungban road, exploring its amazing & colorful vistas as well as the farms, farming activities & the ethnic villages in this region. We will have lunch in Pindaya town, & return to Kalaw in time for the Tazaungdaing festival where the tribes people from the villages surrounding Kalaw will be parading on the main streets in their full traditional dress. The photography opportunities are astounding as these tribal groups celebrate this important holiday by playing music, dancing & carrying lotus-shaped lanterns as they make their way to the festival ground. This is an all-night event that includes fireworks competitions & hot-air balloon launches until early the next morning. You may freely join and photograph the party as long as you wish, returning to the hotel on your own when you’re finished. Overnight in Kalaw (Lunch only).

Day 9 — Kalaw

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, then check-out from the hotel and take a late morning coach to Nyaungshwe town. From there, we will board a private boat that will transfer us to the Golden Island Cottages (about 1 hour) which is located directly on Inle Lake. After lunch, a private boat tour will take us through the river streets of the many Intha villages on the lake, visiting monasteries and floating farms, photographing the unique activities of the monks, farmers and fishermen as they go about their daily routines. Overnight in Inle Lake (Lunch only).

Day 10 — Inle Lake

Today we will enjoy a full-day of photographing from dawn to dusk, beginning with an arranged photo-shoot of a traditional Intha fisherman as he maneuvers his boat and nets in the early morning light. After breakfast, we will visit and photograph the colorful 5-day market at Inn Dein Village, then transfer by boat to the impressive Shwe Inn Thein ruins. After lunch, we will return to the main lake and visit a weaving village where we can make environmental portraits of the weavers as they weave the traditional garments of the Inle Lake region. Finally, we will again photograph the Intha fishermen catching fish during a spectacular sunset shoot. Overnight in Inle Lake (Lunch only).

Day 11 — Inle Lake

The final day of the main tour begins with a sunrise shoot, then after breakfast we will explore the largest 5-day market at Nampan Village. Guests returning to Yangon will be checked out of the hotel and transferred to the airport for a departure flight in the late afternoon, arriving in Yangon about 6:00 pm (the tour ends upon arrival at Yangon airport).

Extension

Day 11 — Inle Lake

The final day of the main tour begins with a sunrise shoot, then after breakfast we will explore the largest 5-day market at Nampan Village. In the afternoon, we will visit the Ywama Village monastery, photographing the novice monks as they learn their lessons. There are numerous opportunities for low-light portraiture, using available light for creating the moods and drama of this unusual environment. Then we will make our way to the very south of the main lake to Kyaukdaing pottery village, where we can make excellent environmental portraits of the potters as they turn their clay creations on foot-powered wheels in very challenging dramatic light. Overnight in Inle Lake (Lunch only).

Day 12 — Inle Lake

A private boat will transfer us to Hpekhon town through Samkar Village, the ancient kingdom of the Shan people. We will also explore and photograph the very rustic 5-day market at Taung-to Village where Pa-O and Intha tribes from the south lake trade their goods. Very few tourists visit this area since it is far off the beaten path. After visiting the Pa-O and Intha villages surrounding the market we will continue the boat journey to Hpekhon and take take a private coach (1 hour) to Loikaw. Overnight in Loikaw (Lunch only).

Day13 — Loikaw

We will begin the day with a sunrise shoot from Taungkwe pagoda, built on a rock cliff promontory. After breakfast, we will explore and photograph the Kayah tribal villages south of Loikaw. There will be a couple of home visits in these villages, an extraordinary opportunity for unique and authentic environmental portraits of the local tribal women as they go about their routines. In the afternoon, we will explore and photograph the renowned Padaung (Kayan Tribe) longneck villages, where they have lived for centuries, following the traditions of their ancestors. We will end the day with a sunset shoot at Taungkwe pagoda. Overnight in Loikaw (Lunch only).

Day14 — Loikaw

After breakfast, will take a 3-hour journey deep into the jungles of former Kayan rebellion territory, visiting the few remaining people of the Kayaw tribe. These peoples’ clothing and adornments are beautiful and extremely photogenic. They not only wear brass rings around their necks, also around their hands and legs. In addition, the landscape surrounding the Kayaw tribal village is breathtaking, providing spectacular landscape photography as well. After a few hours of exploring and photographing in the village of Htaykho, we will return to Loikaw for a farewell dinner celebration. Overnight in Loikaw (Lunch & Dinner).

Day 15 — Loikaw

In the morning, guests will be transferred to the airport and fly to Yangon, arriving around 12:00 pm. The tour ends upon your arrival at Yangon airport.

Main Tour

Dates: November 5 - 15, 2019 Costs: $4,730 USD

Optional Extension

Dates: November 15 - 19, 2019 Costs: $1,720 USD

Tour Details

Tour Leader: Mick Stetson Participants: Limited to 7

Cost Includes

1) All accommodations, including breakfasts; 2) All modes of transportation such as: Air-conditioned car for all transfers & sightseeing programs; Private boats for Inle Lake sightseeing & transfers; All domestic flights using private airlines only (Air KBZ, Yangon Airways, Asian Wings, Air Mandalay, Air Bagan); Balloon ride in Bagan (either Balloon Over Bagan's Classic flight or Oriental Ballooning's Premium flight); 3) Some Meals as stated in the itinerary; 4) English-speaking Guide service; 5) All entrance fees, excluding museum admission fees; 6) Current Domestic Airlines' fuel surcharges; 7) All Prevailing taxes.

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