December 2. – December 10. 2017
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a magical land of traditions, stoic sagacity and charming people of more than 100 different ethnic origins. Thousands of exquisite sacred stupas and temples decorate the mysterious landscape of rivers and forest filled round plains. Myanmar is a treasure chest for passionate photographers who dream of displaying the enticing history come together with pure, natural wonders and beauty of the land.
Highlights: First impressions – Shwedagon Pagoda Buddhist site, Yangon city lights.
We welcome you at the airport and provide transfer to your hotel for a short rest. In the afternoon in Yangon city centre we grasp photo opportunities followed by a visit and shooting at the world famous 2,500 years old buddhist site, the sacred Shwedagon Pagoda (the Golden Pagoda). The breathtaking stupa, located at this highly important site, proudly stands at over 100m, humbly decorated with gold plates and diamonds, consisting of hundreds of temples, statues and architectural wonders. From the site we witness the magical magenta sunset and the impressive city lights of Yangon.
We stay overnight in Yangon city
Highlights: Mandalay capital, Mahāgandhāyon Monastery, Sagaing Hills, Bagaya Monastery, U Bein bridge.
Get ready for a very early rise for our flight to Mandalay, the capital of Myanmar. We begin the day at the significant Mahāgandhāyon Monastery, considered to be the country´s most prominent monastery, located in Amarapura, formerly the capital and currently a township and a part of Mandalay. We then drive to the picturesque Sagaing Hills on the other side of Ayeyarwady River, the largest river of the country flowing right through the land from north to south. From here we enjoy the spectacular panoramic view and photo opportunities of the enveloping river banks, reflecting the sky lights over the dreamlike landscape decorated with gilded buddhist towers of stupas and pagodas. Onwards we head to the Baka Monastery Schools where thousands of young novices study to become the country’s next spiritual leaders. Inwa island is next on our list but to reach it we travel by a ferry boat and old fashioned horse carts. We visit the majestic Bagaya Monastery, also known as Maha Waiyan Bontha Bagaya Monastery, originally built in the 16th century however unfortunately burnt down in big fires in the early 18th century along with other important buildings in the area. We explore the significant pagoda ruins of Inwa which was in fact the capital of Burma however collapsed in devastating earthquakes in the 18th century, never to be resurrected. It was then the seat of Burmese power was moved to Amarapura.
We end the day with a drive towards the sunset over Amarapura’s U Bein bridge of 1.2km (0.75miles), built around 1850, believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world to this day.
Highlights: Mahamuni temple, Golden Palace monastery, Mandalay hill, The Royal Merit.
Today we rise again early for a sunrise shooting from U Bein footbridge. After returning to the hotel for breakfast we then visit the stone carved street leading to Mahamuni temple, supported by 252 gilded columns and considered to be the expression of the life of Buddha. Later in the afternoon, we embrace unique photo opportunities at the Shwenandaw Monastery or Golden Palace monastery on Mandalay hill. The palace, built in the late 19th century in traditional Burmese architectural style, holds many exquisite teak carvings of buddhist myths, decorating walls and ceilings.
To end the day we visit the UNESCO site of Kuthodaw pagoda (the Royal Merit) which is a 57m high buddhist stupa. There we find the world´s largest book and hundreds of stone-inscription caves.
We enjoy the sunset from either Mandalay hill or a riverside village on the Ayeyarwady River.
Highlights: Sunrise, Mingun village, Bagan.
Today we offer you the optional early sunrise photo opportunities form U Bein Bridge in Mandalay at an extra cost. After breakfast we take a private boat to the small village of Mingun on the river banks, best know for two very different pagodas; the Hsinphyumae pagoda, built in an astounding architectural style with white, wavy and tiered terraces and the unfinished Mingun temple, which completed would have been the biggest stupa in the world. It was built by King Bodawpaya in the late 18th century however left unfinished as it was believed to be cursed and on it’s completion the king would die! The king requested a huge bell, the Mingun bell, to this day the biggest ringing bell in the world.
We stop for photoshoots at various locations before we return to the city around noon.
I the afternoon we fly to Bagan and hopefully enjoy a magnificent sunset, staying overnight in this ancient site in central Myanmar.
Highlights: Bagan city – model shots with novice monks.
Brace yourself for a sunrise masterpiece in the mystical, ancient Bagan, formerly the capital region of the kingdom area. According to records the old city was founded in the second century AD and then fortified in the ninth century AD. The area proudly still holds the remains of over 2200 stupas and temples out of the 10000 pagodas and monasteries believed to have been erected at the peak time of the kingdom in the eleventh through the thirteenth century.
After returning to the hotel for breakfast we visit various local gems, markets, monasteries, different temple sites and we may have the opportunities to do portrait sessions with novice monks under indoor low lighting. Please note modelling fees are not included!
Later that afternoon we enjoy the Bagan sunset and chase the goat herds for some fun shots.
We stay another night in Bagan.
Highlights: Another full day in Bagan with endless photo opportunities
Today we stay another full day in the amazing ancient archeological zone of Bagan. We continue to photograph various temples, traditional villages and enjoy photopraphy arrangements with models (again please note that modelling fees are not included).
We stay still another night in the same hotel in Bagan.
Highlights: Heho, Lake Inle, Shwe Yan Pyay monastery
We start the day early with a flight to Heho, an off highway town, hosting the largest outdoor market in the area. We drive to the Nyaungshwe docks on lake Inle with a brief photography stop at the Shwe Yan Pyay monastery. From the docks we take a short boat ride to our hotel for check-in and a short rest. In the afternoon we make the most of the views and expressions of the farmers´village, the floating farms and activities around the main lake areas just before sunset.
We stay overnight by Lake Inle.
Highlights: Lake Inle, Indein Village,
This morning we offer the optional arranged shooting with traditional fishermen on Lake Inle, seen from the hotel deck. After breakfast, we enjoy a boat ride to the quaint Indein village on the west side of the lake for one of the very popular 5-day markets followed by shooting around the impressive, adventure-like ruins.
We later return to the main lake area to visit the silk weaving village and the Padaung house where the traditional silk weaving is still cherished. Padaung or Kayah people as they prefer to be called, are only about 130.000 in population in the world, mainly in Myanmar. Some women still carry numerous brass coils around the neck from an early age, appearing to lengthen the neck but more as a cultural identity.
Today, we offer again the optional arranged photoshooting with fishermen from water level before we stay overnight again by Lake Inle.
Highlights: Departure day.
We take an early morning boat from Lake Inle to Nyaungshwe and then a coach to Heho airport. From there we fly to Yangon with the ETA of around 11.00am depending on the departure flight time from Heho.
Guests may have the chance to go Yangon city centre and do some last minute shopping at Yangon’s biggest market, the Scott Market or Bogyoke Aung San Market. There you can find over 200 shops and the varied selection of Myanmar souvenirs and handcrafts, well worth the visit.
By the end of today we reach Myanmar airport to fly to our chosen destinations.