Myanmar is a country which is varied and interesting. Start with a bang at Shwedagon Pagoda, cited to be the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. We will also make some stops at a few more notable pagodas during the tour, such as the Shweizigon Pagoda and Inn Dein Pagoda, and have allocated time for sunrise and sunset sessions.
If you're into street portraiture, Bagan will not disappoint. Nyaung-U market is where you'll catch a glimpse of authentic Burmese life, where the locals go to trade and buy groceries. If you notice the yellow paste on the women's (and some men's) faces, don't feel shy to talk to them about it. They put thanaka powder on for cosmetic purposes.
Lastly, no trip to Myanmar would be complete without a visit to the freshwater Inle Lake, where there are ingenious lakeside villages made up of houses-on-stilts, the fishermen who paddle their boats - by foot.
Upon arrival at Yangon International airport in the morning, our local guide will take you into bustling downtown Yangon. Keep a look out for unique pre- and post-architectural structures and the famous circular railway station. The main attraction of the city is Shwedagon Pagoda. This world famous landmark towers over Yangon and illuminates the city with its golden stupa encrusted with diamonds and other gems. Besides the magnificent architecture, photographers can explore walkways that take you past markets, monasteries and workshops as you mingle with the local people and visiting pilgrims.
Take a stroll through Kandawgyi Park, a 435-acre botanical garden with over 480 species of flowers. Keen-eyed photographers will love the way flowers and overhanging branches frame views of the placid Kandawgyi Lake reflecting wooden bridges and gilded pagoda. At dawn, the lake is silver shrouded in pearly grey mist; at sunset it is like liquid-gold.
Transfer to Yangon airport and fly to Nyaung U. Bagan is a temple town dotted with over 4000 stupas and pagodas and has been described as 'one of the finest sights in the world'. First stop is Shwezigon Pagoda, the oldest and most impressive monument. Capture interesting images as you walk along the corridors, terraces and open pavilions or even along the riverbank. We will visit a few more temples nearby before we train our cameras for a sunset shoot from atop a pagoda.
We begin the day with a sunrise shoot from a pagoda before breakfast. We then head to Pahtothamya Temple located in Old Bagan that offers an incredible natural lighting system. Sunbeams flow through perforated brick windows and skylights and illuminate a fairly dark interior. For only one week each year, the morning sunlight hits directly at the large Buddha within. We then roam the plains to capture goat and cattle herds returning home at sunset. We end the day with a sunset shoot from a temple.
Bagan-Mandalay-Sagaing - Morning flight to Mandalay in the northeast. From the airport we transfer to Sagaing a city with numerous Buddhist monasteries. We will visit a monastic school to capture little novices and nuns running around in the sprawling campus in their pink robes. Next stop is U Min Thone Sae Pagoda, also known as Umin Thounzeh. We climb the steep hill to view a crescent shaped building housing 45 Buddha images seated in a curved column around the perimeter. We transit to take photos at Nwenyein, a pottery village by the river that boasts centuries-old techniques of ceramic making. We then head to U Pein Bridge, the 200 year-old teak structure that spans Taung Tha Man Lake. At sunset, this bridge with silhouettes of monks crossing it is spectacular.
Mandalay-Mingun. Sunrise photography at U Pein Bridge before we head off to the stone carving district where we see villagers carving marble and chiseling rock as a living. We then take a ferry up the river to explore the incomplete pagoda in Mingun. The site also features the gigantic Mingun bell. Another interesting landmark is the Myan Thein Tan pagoda. This unusual pagoda rises in seven wavy, whitewashed terraces representing the mountain ranges around Mt Meru. Sunset photography a the Ayeyarwaddy River.
Day 6Mandalay-Monywar. Climb to the top of Mandalay Hill to capture sunrise and a panoramic view of Mandalay city. After breakfast, we take a 3-hour trip to Monywa to view the 129m tall standing Buddha statue and the 95m long reclining Buddha statue. Nearby is the Than Buddae Pagoda, a Buddhist temple with huge stupa resembling the Indonesia's Borobudur. It is said to contain over 500,000 images of Buddha. Rest overnight at Monywar.
Monywar-Pho Win Taung-Mandalay Before we make our way back to Mandalay, we will visit and shoot in the Caves of Buddha images. This is situated in Pho Win Taung about 25km west on Monywar. This complex contains 947 richly decorated caves carved out of a sandstone outcrop. Low-light photographers will love the silhouettes in the Buddha-lined passageway within these caves.
Mandalay-Heho-Inle Lake Transfer to airport for a morning flight to Heho. Upon arrival, transfer to Nyaungshwe, the main entrance point to Inle Lake. We will take a short tour of the town and the village market and the busy jetty for a bit of street and portrait photography. We will stop by Shwe Yan Pyay monastery for a staged photo shoot. This early 19th Century wooden monastery is fitted with oval windows and features teak wood structures decorated with mosaics and golden ornaments. After lunch, we will head on a boat for Inle Lake for a photo shoot with the local fishermen. Check in hotel and for a night's rest.
Wake up early to an arranged shoot with traditional fishermen at sunrise from the hotel's deck. After breakfast, we depart for the western bank of Inle Lake to the amazing Shwe Inn Tain Pagoda, a complex of over 1000 ancient stupas. En masse, they are particularly beautiful to photograph. We then leave on boats to the local market for a special portrait session of the Padaung women. Crudely known as 'giraffe women', these women are famous for their elongated necks adorned with heavy brass coils. At sunset, we prepare our cameras to catch the long boat leg-rowing fishermen armed with their cone-shaped nets.
Inle Lake-Heho-Yangon sunrise shoot of fishermen at hotel's deck before we check out and transfer to Heho airport for a flight to Yangon and then back home.
For more information please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or call us on 0345 505 1455.
No longer available
The price includes one to one tuition by Michael Pilkington during the workshop, local guide and driver, 4 star accommodation (including breakfast). No single occupancy supplement. Travel (including all internal flights, ground transport and boats as appropriate) during the workshop.
Travel to and from the start location and personal bills such as bar bills, meals not listed. Travel and camera Insurance.
This tour is organized in association with MonogramAsia