Myanmar Photo Tour

 

Capturing the Spirit of Myanmar 

with instructors David Tejada and Eric Krugl 

Jan 20-30, 2020

$5800.00

Double Occupancy

Sign up by August 31, 2019 and save $300.00

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Join us on an epic 10-day journey to Myanmar (formerly Burma).  Closed off to the world for many generations, Myanmar began to welcome tourists in 2012.  It’s a country peppered with pagodas, temples and stupas, providing endless options for photography lovers. We’ll get a rare look into the Buddhist way of life as we respectfully wander through monasteries.  There will be no shortage of markets and monks to focus on.   We’ll experience the genteel nature of the locals as we mingle into their everyday lives.  Without doubt, Myanmar’s spiritual and mystical vibe will leave an imprint on your heart.    

Jan 20 Yangon

Upon arrival, our tour representative will meet you at Yangon Int’l Airport and assist with transfer to hotel.  

3 PM  Meet and greet staff, with instructors available to answer questions.  Then we’re off to explore the epic Shwedagon Pagoda. This stunning Buddhist pagoda, 2,500 years old, is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is covered with 4531 diamonds. With hundreds of temples, stupas and statues, we’ll witness monks and pilgrims paying homage throughout the complex. The Pagoda sparkles and shimmers with the last light of day, making our first photos of Myanmar noteworthy.   Return to hotel and dinner. 

Accommodations: Jasmine Palace Hotel, Yangon (or similar)

Meals: D

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Jan 21  Yangon

After breakfast, we’ll transfer to Yangon Railway station to ride the Circle Train to the outskirts of town (approx. 45 minutes ride). This train experience gives us a unique perspective on daily life in the city and the area around it. During the short trip, we’ll see the scenery change from city to rural, and pass by ponds, villages and farm life, then disembarking at Insein station for shooting the Insein market.  This is a great opportunity to practice street photography with the locals and vendors. Afterwards, head to Kalaywa Monastery to have our first experience with life inside the monasteries in Myanmar.  We’ll also make a stop Chaukhtatgyi Buddist Temple, which houses one of the largest reclining buddhas in Myanmar at 66 meters long.   

Evening shoot at Kandawgyi Lake where we’ll focus on the Shwedagon Pagoda reflected in the still water, along with the Karaweik Palace Restaurant, lit up like a dragon.     Our evening meal, along with a Cultural Show will be in the Karaweik Palace Restaurant. 

Accommodations: Jasmine Palace Hotel, Yangon (or similar)

Meals: BLD

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Jan 22  Yangon to Bagan

After breakfast, transfer to airport for a morning flight to Bagan (07:00-08:20).  On arrival, plan for a packed day of shooting at one of the world’s most significant archaeological UNESCO sites.  Between the 11th and 12th century, over 10,000 Buddhist temples dotted this plains landscape, with over 2,200 remaining today.  Plans include exploring Ananda Temple, Thabinnyu Temple, and Dhammayangyi Temple, which has colourful puppets hanging from trees. The livelyl Nyaung U Market is on the agenda, as well as Myinkaba Village, known for its traditional lacquer ware industry. We’ll observe and photograph the process involved with lacquer ware, for which Myanmar is famous. 

Throughout our time in Bagan we’ll be working with models (novice monks) in various locations, including inside some of the temples.  This will be an opportunity to set up lighting on location scenarios and use various props (umbrellas, candles, etc.) to enhance the photo options. 

Check-in at hotel. 

We’ll finish the day with a visit to the Bagan Viewing Tower to photograph from a bird’s eye view the pagodas and temples of the area at sunset.   Dinner; return to hotel.    

Accommodations: Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, Bagan (or similar)

Meals: BLD 

Jan 23  Bagan

Option for hot air ballon ride at 5 am.   This would be an additional cost of $375 per person, and need to be booked in advance. Those who don’t wish to take the ride can photograph the balloons as they take off. 

Return to hotel for breakfast. Then we’ll head out from Bagan into some rural villages to capture the local life of villagers and farmers.   West Pwa-Saw village has only 101 households, where most of the dwellers rely on agriculture and family-run small lacquer ware workshops.  Another stop will include Minnanthu Village, an agricultural village which specializes in the production of sesame and peanut oil, with its cow-driven seed grinders.  We’ll also seek out the cheroot smokers for additional portraiture work (think little old grannies with big cigars). 

Return to Bagan and a location for sunset, before returning to hotel / dinner.

Accommodations:  Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, Bagan (or similar)

Meals BLD

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Jan 24 Bagan

Sunrise shoot in the area, then return to hotel for breakfast   After breakfast, we’ll head out for a drive to Salay, an ancient monastery city.  A highlight will be the Yoke Sone Monastery with its exceptional wood carving on the outside of the building (built in 1882-92). A walkway of wooden pillars will provide a strong graphic element as a location for more photography with a model.  The colonial buildings in this sleepy town recall an era when the British settled in and will provide a backdrop for capturing their faded glory.  As time allows, we’ll check out the monastery and meditation center at Sasanayaunggyi Kyaung, before returning to Bagan.  Free time, followed by dinner at hotel. 

Accommodation:  Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, Bagan (or similar)

Meals BLD

Jan 25 Bagan to Mandalay

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After breakfast, transfer to airport for a morning flight to Mandalay. We’ll make a beeline for the ancient capital of Amarapura, a royal capital founded before Mandalay.  We’ll focus our attention on the Mahagandayon Monastery, where every day at mid-morning, monks and novices line up to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Then, proceed to observe the laborious process of Gold-Leaf Beating, where gold is painstakingly hammered into tissue-thin squares.   

After lunch, we’ll continue to Kuthodaw Pagoda, where stark white cave stupas house the world’s largest book ( 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures).

Hotel check-in and free time until we depart for a sunset shoot at Mandalay Hill, followed by dinner. 

Accommodations: Eastern Palace Hotel

Meals: BLD

Jan 26 Mandalay

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After breakfast, we’ll journey to the ancient capital of Sagaing, the spiritual center of Myanmar. Hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries are to be found in Sagaing Hill, sometimes known as a living Bagan. Thousands of monks and nuns retreat here for meditation and contemplation.  Mingun Hsin Phyu Me Pagoda will be our focus, using novice monks in their red robes as a lovely contrast to the stark white pagoda. 

After lunch, proceed to Inwa, 30 minutes to the south of Mandalay.  In former times, this region was known as the Kingdom of Ava.  This road leads to a ferry station where we’ll cross the Myittha River and then take pony carts to explore the area.  

For sunset, we’ll venture to U bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world; it spans the shallow Taunthaman Lake. It was constructed in 1849 from old planks and timber posts from dismantled houses in Sagaing and Inwa. It opened in 1851 and has constantly been in use.  We’ll focus on silhouettes of those crossing the bridge at sunset, as well as shoot on the bridge.

Dinner, return to hotel.

Accommodations: Eastern Palace Hotel

Meals: BLD

Jan 27  Mandalay to Inle Lake

After breakfast, we’ll transfer to airport for a morning flight to Heho.  On arrival, proceed to  to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to freshwater Inle Lake.  En-route, we’ll stop and observe the process for handmade paper and umbrellas. 

The remainder of the day involves exploring by long boats (typically hold 4-6 people) the atmosphere at  Inle Lake, including lunch on a floating restaurant.  We’ll work with Inthar ‘Sons of the Lake’ who steer their fishing boats by the use of one leg, so both arms are free to cast their nets.  We’ll witness the unique floating farms and gardens that sustain the lake people, many of whom live in stilted houses on the lake.  

Accommodations: Pristine Lotus Spa & Resort

Meals: BLD

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Jan 28: Inle Lake to Yangon

Out early at sunrise to capture our leg-rowing fishermen in sweet light.  Back to hotel for breakfast and a break.  Afterward, its back on our long boats to get an in-depth look at life on the lake, including stops at a weaving village. and the oldest pagoda in Inle Lake, Alodaw Pauk Pagoda.  We’ll check out the Cheroot Producers, and for those interested, we can try our hand at rolling cigars and enjoying them in Burmese traditional style. 

Accommodations: Pristine Lotus Spa & Resort

Meals: BLD

Jan 29: Inle Lake to Yangon

After breakfast at hotel, we’ll go for a visit to the 5 Days Rotation Market. The market rotates its location on a 5-day basis and attracts vendors from around the lake and its surroundings. Afterwards, boat to Indein, at the western end of the Lake. The ride passes through a long channel where we’ll see farmers cultivate their produce before we arrive at the hidden Indein Temple complex. Located on the shore of the lake, this site consists of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens. 

Transfer to Heho Airport for an afternoon flight to Yangon. Transfer to hotel and overnight in Yangon. 

Accommodations: TBD

Meals: BLD

Jan 30:  Yangon to home!

Breakfast at hotel, transfer to Yangon International airport for your departure flight.

Meals: B

Included services:

  • All sightseeing as per itinerary

  • Transfer and Sightseeing with A/C coach

  • (10 nights) accommodation in hotels as mentioned above or equivalent

  • English speaking throughout trip

  • Ferry and horse-cart for Inwa visit

  • Circular Train Tickets

  • Private long tail boat in Inle

  • Entrance fees (one time) as per tour program

  • Bagan Viewing tower admission fee

  • Daily complimentary bottle water and refreshment tissues

  • Four domestic flights (RGN-NYU, NYU-MDL, MDL-HEH & HEH-MDL)

  • Meals (B=breakfast, L=Lunch, & D=Dinner) as mentioned in the tour program

  • Domestic airport tax 

Services not included:

  • International flights to/from Myanmar

  • Personal travel insurance (required)

  • Visa (regular or visa on arrival) fees

  • Any expense of a personal nature including but not limited to drinks, laundry, phone calls, gratuities, souvenirs, etc.

  • Early check in and late check out

Optional single supplement: $800 per person

Deposit: $1,000 deposit due by August 31, 2019 to receive the early deposit discount.  We reserve the right to cancel the trip if we don't meet the minimum number of 8 participants, in which case your deposit would be refunded.

Final payment:  Final payment due on October 1, 2019  

Refund Policy:We understand that work schedules and plans may change, or unforeseen emergencies do occur.  We have established this refund policy to try and fairly accommodate such eventualities. Please realize that once you have registered for the trip, we immediately incur expenses on your behalf.  Once you have paid in full for the trip, any cancellation and subsequent refund would come from the travel insurance you purchased.  Therefore, travel insurance is mandatory.  

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is compulsory for this trip.  We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation. We strongly recommend that the policy also cover personal liability, trip cancellation, delays, loss of luggage and personal effects. Your policy number, along with an emergency contact number will be required with final payment.

Links to travel insurance companies:

Travel Insurance - https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com

Here is a link to AIG Travel Guard

Itinerary Changes  We reserve the right to change the itinerary based upon ideal photo opportunities.