Myanmar. Burma

24 Nov - 6 Dec, 2017
Group Size: to 8 people
Photo leader:
13 days, from 4100 USD
The real strength of Myanmar is that it is full of endless photography highlights but we have also gone out our way to make sure the itinerary leaves time to meet people and engage with the local way of life as it is lived out in the markets, towns, villages, countryside, homes and temples.
  • Mandalay
  • Ava and its pagodas
  • U Bein bridge
  • Monwya and its Buddhas
  • Ayerwaddy river trip
  • Bagan and its temples
  • Balloon flight over Bagan at dawn (seasonal and optional)
  • Kalaw
  • Trek (short) through hills above Kalaw
  • Indein
  • Inle Lake
  • Yangon streets
  • Shwedagon Pagoda
Myanmar…The Golden Land.

It’s rare that a country can live up to the hype that Myanmar has recently been getting, but our experience is that it certainly deserves it, especially if you are looking for a rewarding photographic adventure.

In keeping with all our photography tours, this trip is designed to ensure that you get to photograph the obvious highlights at the appropriate time of day but much more than that you will get privileged access and opportunities well beyond guide book recommendations. The emphasis will always be on getting ‘out and about’, taking great photos. Nathan will always be on hand for advice and tips and with the help of a local guide he will open the doors to get you close to the locals and the real Myanmar. Every day will be so full of photo opportunities that it will be hard to return home without a magnificent set of pictures.
Day 1 - Arrive in Mandalay
You will be picked up from the airport and taken to your hotel to rest and relax before the start of the tour.

Day 2 Mandalay
The tour will start with workshops in the morning. In the afternoon we will have a briefing where guests can introduce themselves and begin to get to know each other. We will then walk across the street to explore the abundant life on the banks of the Ayerwaddy. We will see the sun setting in the west over the river.

Day 3 Mandalay
At dawn we go to the iconic Ubein Bridge where we hope to capture monks and locals carrying their wares atop their heads and the see the sun rising through the bridge from a boat on the lake below. Next we tour the historic site of Inwa (Ava) by horse and cart. This ancient capital is now mainly farmland, orchards and palm-fringed paddy fields dotted with ruined pagodas. In the afternoon we cross the Ayerwaddy to Sagaing where we visit monk and nun schools. We finish with a look at a vibrant market in Mandalay.

Day 4 Monywa
We set off early to drive to Monywa. This allows us plenty of time to stop at markets, in villages and by the paddy fields on the way. We reach our hotel in time for lunch and a dip in the pool. In the slightly cooler, late afternoon we set off for Thanboddhay Paya, home to over 500,000 Buddhas before moving onto Bodhi Tataung which has a 423ft standing buddha amongst 1000s of others.

Day 5 Bagan
In the morning we head south crossing the Chidwin River, and drive to the Phowintaung Caves. The caves contain myriad Buddhas, all different, dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries. We lunch in Pakokku after which we board a small boat for the two-hour ride down the Ayarwaddy river to Bagan. After checking in to the hotel we head out to the temples for the famous sunset over Bagan.

Day 6 Bagan
Once again, an early start ahead of the crowds in order to get a prime spot from which to view the spectacular sunrise over Old Bagan. After breakfast back at the hotel we will venture out again to explore more temples in Old Bagan and and on occasions we should be able to organise a few monks to increase foreground interest. You will probably want to enjoy the swimming pool in the hottest part of the day. In the late afternoon we provide a bus to another less well known temple for sunset shots, fitting in a couple interesting local villages on the way .

Day 7 Kalaw
There is a seasonal option to take a balloon ride at dawn which offers a unique chance to see the Kingdom as never seen before (by arrangement and at supplementary cost). We leave for the airport for a lunchtime flight to Heho, and drive to Kalaw, an old hill station from the days of the British Raj. We will stop at a small minority hill tribe village which is truly off the tourist track where we will see villagers arriving home from there days work in the fields.

Day 8 Kalaw
The towns of the Shan state host markets that change location every day on a five day rotation system where hill tribe people come together to buy and sell their wares. In the morning we will schedule a visit to a market if it's in a local town. Alternatively there will be a post production workshop. In the afternoon we will organize a local trek through beautiful scenery where you will get chance to visit local homes and see local people dressed according to their tribal customs.

Day 9 Nyaung Shwe
We leave Kalaw and head for a Pindaya, famous for both its caves which house 1000's of Buddhas and the handmade production of Burma's iconic umbrellas. We then drive to Nyaung Shwe in time for a short walk around the busy port that services Inle Lake.

Day 10 Nyaung Shwe
We take a boat to Indein village. It is a photographic highlight with its busy riverside, and its many ancient and modern pagodas littering the hillside as far as the eye can see. After lunch we use the boats to explore the fascinating way of life on Inle lake culminating with an organised shoot with the famous leg-rowing fishermen at sunset.

Day 11 Nyaung Shwe
You have a free day to explore the area around Nyaung Shwe by bicycle or on foot. This busy town has plenty to offer but the use of bikes makes the countryside around accessible. We will ensure that you do not miss the very photogenic oval window pagoda. Should you wish to use them, there are also natural hot water spas and massage facilities for tired and weary limbs after the hard work of the trek.

Day 12 Yangon
We take an early morning flight to Yangon. We have lunch in the Indian quarter and then set out to explore the streets of central Yangon taking in the faded colonial architecture and the modern hustle and bustle of the city.

Day 13 Shwedagon Pagoda
Don't worry, we could not let you leave without a late afternoon/sunset visit to the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda.After lunch we make our way to the airport in good time for our flights out.

Please Note:
Itinerary days may be subject to changes or variations.
Prices:
$4100 per person

Please note: All prices are quoted in US$

We do not charge a single supplement. Single travelers will get their own room

Payment and Cancellations:
25% deposit must be made at the time of confirmation. Full payment of the remaining 75% is due 45 days before the tour starts. Cancellation of services less than 60 days prior to the start date will result in the deposit being retained. However this may be transferred to another tour date (minus any costs incurred in arranging the changeover)
Inclusions:
  • Photographic guidance
  • English speaking local guide
  • Two domestic flights
  • All accommodation (12 nights')
  • Breakfasts (always part of the hotel package)
  • All transport (A/C bus, boats, bicycles, horse and cart)
  • Free drinking water on the bus
  • All entrance and zone fees
Exclusions:
  • International travel to and from Myanmar (meeting point Mandalay, finish point Yangon)
  • Any kind of insurance
  • Drinks and meals other than specified above under ‘inclusions’
  • Other personal expenses, e.g. laundry,phone calls, gifts etc.
  • Tips for local guide and staff
Engage
Building on his years of experience in Cambodia Nathan felt that Myanmar was the perfect place in which to offer tours that benefit from his teaching style. Indeed many who have booked the Myanmar tour are, ‘returnees’; i.e. past participants of his Cambodia tours. Way beyond just camera technique, Nathan has always believed that his photography tours should really open up a country to it’s participants by presenting opportunities to engage with local people. Rather than being a barrier between ‘us’ and ‘them’ he believes that the camera should be used as a ‘key’ to open ‘doors’ to new and exciting travel experiences. Constantly going out of his way to meet everyday people doing everyday things most participants believe they could not of experienced the country as a tourist in any better way - even the occasional non-photographer.

Tuition
This tour is for photographers wanting to expand their knowledge of travel photography and will help both novice and experienced photographers alike to capture very special images. This tour will include introductory workshops that cover both the technical and ethical issues of travel photography very specifically orientated towards photographing people. On the first day of the tour if you are new to photography you will attend the morning workshops in which Nathan will teach you how to take control of your camera. Photographers of all levels will attend the next workshop in which Nathan will give his take on travel photography. Those who have been one of our previous tours might want to skip the morning workshops and would then join the tour in the mid afternoon for the scheduled photowalk. During the rest of the tour Nathan constantly works alongside you, to help you understand particular technical challenges, give you artistic inspiration and, most importantly, lead by example in approaching local people. Time is also put aside to help you develop your post production skills so that you can subtly enhance your pictures thus producing a stunning portfolio of the tour and those taken on your future travels

The Group
In Myanmar we will never run a tour with more than 8 photographers. A group of this size is ideal for Nathan and his regular local guide to give everyone the individual attention they need and deserve. This intimate group size forms a stimulating environment where participants can share their experiences with like minded people and more often than not leave as good friends. Whether you are a single traveller or come with a partner you will find being in a group of people who have a common interest a great way to get the best out of your trip. No more worrying about keeping people waiting whilst you get your best shot!

What to Bring
Your best camera, be it a DSLR, mirrorless or an advanced compact with some manual controls. Your lens(es) should cover at least a medium zoom range. If you have them, a wide-angle lens (useful in temples and pagodas) and a longer telephoto lens (good on boat trips) would be useful but not essential. A fast standard lens with aperture of f1.8 or f1.4 is another good option.
  • A torch
  • A polarising filter
  • A tripod
  • Plenty of memory cards and a spare battery
  • A laptop is not essential but is very useful for backing up the day’s shoot, and also for reviewing what you have taken and the post production wokshop. We also recommend a portable external hard drive - just in case!
  • A rain cover for your camera and one for yourself are recommended, and are essential during the rainy season
Visas:
Nathan Horton Photography Tours cannot be held responsible for your entry/exit arrangements.  Getting the required documentation is solely your responsibility.  No refunds will be made in the event of you being refused entry into the country where travel is to take place.

As visa rules can vary according to your country of origin we strongly advise that you research the visa rules for the country before you travel. Please refer to the visa information in Essential Information Sheet given for each country. The PDF can be downloaded below.

Travel Insurance:
Travel insurance is compulsory for all Nathan Horton Photography travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US $200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on or before the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it.
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