What it means to take a photography tour to Myanmar
- Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset and you can also take return trip however you like
- Side trip to the Golden Rock in Kyaiktiyo and stay in a room with view of the rock
- Ideal spots for portrait photos at Mahagadanyo Monastery in Mandalay
- Two full days and one morning, enough time for great works of Bagan
- Local fishermen posing for your photos in Inle Lake with their unique fishing skills
- Through-out escort guide who has certain experiences of leading photography tours or being a photographer himself
- Totally flexible and you can call all the shots and set the pace as you see fits
- Private transfer and escort guide
- All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
- Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
- Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
- Governmental taxes
Itinerary in detail
This sample tour is designed for professional photograhers and shutterbugs a like with most photographic highlights included. Pitch in your thoughts to make it suit you better.
Day 1 Yangon Arrival, Myanmar
Upon arrival in Yangon, meet with your private photography tour guide and transfer. Go to lunch on the way to downtown Yangon. After check-in, you will have the afternoon to recover from jetlag.
However, if you feel active enough, your tour guide will take you around the city.
Your hotel in Yangon, Sedona Hotel Yangon, has a great location: only 10 minutes of walking to the Inya Lake which will make for a relaxing evening walk. Sunset is always a good time for photos at Shwedagon Pagoda, why not go for a warm-up tonight?
Day 2 Yangon | Life in Motion and Images of Yangon
Begin the day with a precious chance to engage with local daily life. It is made possible by a 1-hour Yangon Circular Train Ride, starting from the Main Station at 0900am.
Train is the most economic transportation means and you will see a lot of commuters in their daily fashion, carrying goods to the market, kids on the way to school and local businessmen talking on phones. Set your camera at quick shoot and capture the liveliness. We will stop at a local market, walk through lines of stalls and get back to your private transfer.
You will need to bring a wide-angle lens for the next stop at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda. A gigantic reclining buddha image stretches more than 200 feet and truly jaw-drawing. Go to lunch at a local restaurant.
Take an evening walk along the busiest streets of Chinatown, another great opportunity to capture local people in their natural status.
Day 3 Yangon - Kyaiktiyo | Golden Rock at Sunset
This morning, you will take a car ride to Kyaiktiyo, where the sublime Golden Rock is located. Driving will take about 4 hours with a few stops en route.
Legend has it that it is by magic power of the Lord Buddha that the giant rock is perfectly perched at its summit. Your private tour guide will help you find an ideal spot for photo shooting. After you get enough thrills, return to your hotel at the top of the mountain with an amazing view of the rock at night.
Day 4 Kyaiktiyo - Yangon | Early Morning of the Golden Rock
Local monks and believers across the country take the Golden Rock as a primary location for their pursue of peacefulness and endowments. That's why you may encounter a lot of locals meditating in early morning even before the sunrise. Don't miss out this chance for photos!
After an early morning, you will return to hotel for breakfast before getting back to Yangon.
Enjoy a free afternoon roaming the city.
Day 5 Yangon - Mandalay | "Read" the Largest Book in the World
Get on an early flight to Mandalay. Go to lunch upon arrival.
Once you are settled, your tour guide will take you to the fascinating site of Kuthodaw Pagoda and the Largest Book in the World. With the best shooting hours between 0500pm - 0700pm, this massive site introduces you to perfect sense of symmetry and contrast of colors. Get onto the top of Mandalay Hill by elevator before sunset. Set your camera at the ready for a breath-taking sunset view.
Day 6 Mandalay | Monastery, Bridge and People, All Colors of Mandalay
We will have a late start today yet you will be just in time for lunch event at Mahagandayon Monastery. Lunch is the last meal of the day for monks and they will gather for food dispatching in the yard of the monastery and eat in the dining hall. Although travelers have no access to the dining hall, your tour guide will find you a nice spot for photos.
Go for lunch before proceeding to Hsinbyume Pagoda, we arrange some novices to pose for you with a white background o the pagoda if time allows. Later, go for shooting of the famous U Bein Bridge. You will firstly shoot onland at the foot of the bridge or on a small islet and then enjoy a relaxing boat ride with drinks.
Day 7 Mandalay - Bagan | Early Morning Face-washing Ceremony in Mandalay
Rise up early today and you are going to a sacred ceremony commencing at 0400am in Mahamuni Pagoda. The famous face-washing ritual is held by a senior abbot who cleanses the face of the Buddha image with fresh towel, applies sandalwood paste and then washing it up again. The whole ritual takes about an hour, providing a great outlook at local practice of their religion.
Return to hotel for breakfast and fly to Bagan. Check in and have some leisure time in Bagan.
Day 8 - 9 Bagan | Full-days Photo Shooting in Bagan
You will have a brief visit at Bagan Archeaological Museum, which offers you a rough understanding of Bagan's history and some famous pagodas.
Have two full days taking photos of the famous World Heritage Site, Bagan Archaeological Zone is simply astonishing with its over 2,200 ruins scattering on the vast plain of Bagan. There used to be more than 10,000 in its day of prime and most are of 10 centuries old. Some are large and tall while others are hidden among the grass and hard to spot out.
During the hot day, we will hire some young novices and villagers to be your models. You may go inside a cave or a temple for photo-taking.
Day 10 Bagan - Inle Lake | Photos of Hot Air Balloons over Bagan
Get up early for a photo opportunity of hot air balloons flying up the plain of Bagan. Your guide will take you to an observation location for good photos. Simple snacks will be packed for the trip and you will return to hotel for breakfast before flying to Inle Lake.
Check in your resort and have the rest of today free at leisure.
Day 11 Inle Lake | Kakku Pagoda Complex under Blue Sky
Take a short boat ride to Nyuangshwe before we drive to Kakku (approximately 1 hour overland) with an interesting stop at Nampan Village.
Kakku used to be off the tourist map due to restriction and only a mere trickle of travelers made their way ardously for the stunning scene at Kakku Pagoda Complex.
Thousands of pagodas sprawl over the vast land. The origin of the complex is said to be from the 3rd century BC when the Indian emperor Ashoka brought in Buddhist missionaries to ancient Burma. The build of these stupas is written in record as the prevailing architectural style of that very period. Make your time worthy here with plenty photo opportunities. On the way back to Inle Lake, you will also visit Indein Pagoda Complex. In comparsion to Kakku, Indein outmatches in size and would also be great for sunset photos.
Day 12 Inle Lake | Eyeful of Inle Lake
Ever wonder how the villagers living in the floating houses get their daily suppliers? Today you will check out the 5-Day Market of the lake.
A 5-day rotation of hosting market is kept for ages by the major villages around Inle Lake, namely Nyaung Shwe, Heho, Indein, Taunggyi, Mine Thauk and Shwe Nyaung. Flat-bottomed boats squash the canel at the dork and vendors yell to sell their home-grew products and beautiful handicrafts.
Your journey goes on after a lunch in a floating restaurant, next stop is Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, the most worshipped shrine of the lake. During festivals, four Buddha images will be carried by boat on a river parade over the lake.
As your boat gets into some smaller waterways, you will have a chance to spot those legendary fishermen who row their flat-bottomed boats with only one leg. Learn about how the locals grow tomoatoes, lentils and other vegetables in the floating gardens. We will arrange some local fishermen to pose before your camera.
Day 13 Inle Lake | Free Day in Inle Lake
Enjoy a free day in Inle Lake. You will have a boat at disposal in case you want to get more photos.
Day 14Inle Lake - Yangon - Yangon Departure
After breakfast, fly to Yangon and connect with your onward flight back home.
Asia Highlights handpicked hotels
According to our experiences and knowledge, hotels are not a big issue for photograhers. That being said, we select some decent, well-located and cozy hotels for your photography journey in Myanmar. If you are looking for something upmarket, just let us know.
- Ranked 13/147 of hotels in Yangon.
- Located by the Inya Lake, offering good view of the lake and the city.
- Deluxe Room, 32sqm, view of Shwedagon Pagoda.
- The only hotel on the top of the mountain.
- Only 15 minutes of walking to the Golden Rock.
- Deluxe Room is 28sqm, quiet and view of the Golden Rock.
- Ranked 11/110 on TripAdvisor.
- Located by the hill foot and overlooking the city.
- Superior Room is 32sqm, spacious with view of Mandalay Palace.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- By the Ayeyarwaddy River, wide-open surroundings and setting.
- Deluxe Room is 35sqm with balcony and garden view.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- Wood-constructed villas in a quiet village, garden surrounding.
- Royal Villa with Private Pond, 80sqm with great pond view.
- Seasonal information: Due to Myanmar's lower latitude, the best season for photography interest will be during late Octorber to next March. During this time, sunlight will be more gentle and less rainfall. Vivid colors and cozy weather make your journey even more delightful. This is also the peak season of Myanmar and travel cost will double that of the low season.
Traveling during low season, however, has its own silver lining as you will get less-crowded attractions and better chance to interact with the locals.
- Myanmar visa: People of all nationalities, except those from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are required to obtain visa for Myanmar. You may apply for E-Visa online by yourself or we can issue you an approval letter for visa proceedure at the airport.
Approval Letter will be used for eVisa application for air entry. Take your passport and 1 passport-size photo to get your passport stamped at one of the airports of Yangon, Mandalay or Nap Pyi Taw, with no extra cost at the airport. Myanmar Visas and How to Apply for.
- Escort tour guide: We have some tour guides with rich experiences of leading photography tours through out Myanmar. Some of them are even photographers. One tour guide acoompanying you across the country means that you will not be worrying about airport and hotel check-in, getting around of having to get used to one new person in every destination. Their understanding and knowledge on photography will be priceless asset for you.
That being said, please understand they might not be as professional or seasoned as you considering most of them have never been aboard. We trust that they will do their best to serve and your understanding and any suggestion will be highly appreciated.
- Photography tips: Bear in mind that in Myanmar you will have stronger sunlight than other Asian countries. UV filters and polarizers are neccessary. Tripod is also a must for early-mornings.
For portraits of novices, monks and nuns, always get permit before clicking your shutter.
The authority will charge professional photographer USD100/person/day for photo-taking in Bagan, which is not included in our services. What we suggest you in order to save on this unreasonable charge is that to hide your photography gears as we enter the site.
- Meals:Daily breakfast at hotels and a lunch for days with sightseeing are included, so are some dinners as mentioned in the itinerary. For meals that are not included, your tour guides will suggest where and what to eat.
Food in Myanmar shares a lot with Indian cuisine. You will eat a lot of vegetables, fish, chicken and beef. If you would like to make special arrangements, such as Halal or Kosher food, or none-dairy, please inform your travel advisor at the time of inquiry. We will do our best to accommodate you.
Just a heads-up: Halal options can be very limited in Bagan and Inle Lake, and we will use common restaurants and make special orders upon your permission.
- Transportation: You will have a private car in each destination; our cars are within 5 years of usage and your private drivers will be polite and drive with strong regard for safety.
In Myanmar, most airlines operate flights in the early morning. Although it might be a bit tiring at the beginning, good things are that the flights are fairly short, within one hour, and you get much time for activities or leisure in the next destination.
As for overland connection, please be noted that road conditions are not very delightful in Myanmar and we wouldn't put you through discomfort from city to city as the 100km distance might take up to 5 hours.
- Tour arrangements: Sightseeing, activities and accommodations that are mentioned in this tour you are looking at are just for your inspiration.
Also, as for trekking in Kalaw, it is designed with some mildly intense trekking, average speed of 8km/h in mountainous dirt road and forest. However, we encourage you to talk with our travel advisor and set your own pace.
- Responsible travel: Travel avails you with special experiences. Somehow its impact on the local community can be more beyond imagination and what Asia Highlights wishes to do is lead the impact onto a good path, a path that helps the local people (not only your tour guides) boarden their outlook and the local communities develop.
During your trip, you will eat at a training restaurant where underprivileged youngsters get trained as a chef, ride on ox cart to reduce your carbon footprints and most commonly learn about the country's cultures with respect. Taking baby steps one at a time, we highly appreciate you would like to be part of it.
With that being said, detours to so-called factories or specialty workshops are strictly prohibited. We make sure your tour guides earn enough to support their families without squeezing commissions out of you.
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