Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a world treasure because of its warm-hearted, smiling people who make it a truly magical photography destination for capturing candids and compelling portraits of locals, including monks.
Even though the people are reason #1 to visit Myanmar, it’s bursting with cultural heritage and literally thousands of gilded pagodas spread across the country, offering countless opportunities for architectural shots as well. Who wouldn’t love to shoot the sunrise in Bagan overlooking over 2000 ancient temples with dozens of hot-air balloons floating over them?
Myanmar was frozen in time and opened its doors to the world only a few years ago. Now is the right time to go and experience the vibe that may vanish in the next couple of years. The impact of the Western world is evident but hasn’t overrun local traditions – yet.
- Sunrise and sunset shoots in Old Bagan that can easily compete with Angkor Wat and the Borobudur temples in importance
- Many incredible opportunities to photograph locals and learn the ropes of travel portraits in natural light
- U-Bein, the world’s longest teak bridge
- One-day tour on Inle Lake, including the opportunity to capture leg-rowing Intha fishermen posing with their conical fishing nets
- Yangon and Mandalay
- Learn post-processing like a pro
Myanmar Photo Tour Itinerary
Let’s submerge ourselves in Myanmar’s culture and smiles
“This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about.”
Rudyard Kipling, Letters from the East (1898)
Day 1 – 3 | Mandalay
We arrive at Mandalay International Airport and transfer to our hotel. In the evening, we kick off our photo tour with a visit to sacred Mandalay Hill to watch the city unfold beneath us. Novice monks often come here before sunset to practice their English and, after sharing a conversation with them, they are willing to pose for a few pictures.
The next two days, we visit Mandalay’s landmarks, like Kuthodaw Paya and many other sights, where we have a good chance of meeting monks. We also document the daily work life of Burmese artisans at a gold-leaf workshop and street marble-carving workshops.
The highlight will be a boat ride along the U-Bein bridge in the royal capital of Amarapura near Mandalay. U-Bein is the world’s longest teak footbridge, which connects two villages. We witness the sun rising above the bridge while capturing the silhouettes of monks walking across it.
The last day in the area, we embark on a day-trip to Sagaing Hill and Mingun to explore the local temples and pagodas. From Sagaing, we get a marvelous panoramic view of the hill dotted with golden shining pagodas above the Irrawaddy River. In Mingun, we visit the white Hsinbyume Paya and big unfinished Pahtodawgyi pagoda “decorated” with deep cracks caused by an earthquake in the 19th century.
Day 4 – 5 | Bagan
Here comes one of the best travel photography shoots of your life. Photograph a stretch of typical Bagan scenery featuring over 2000 temples and pagodas spread out over a vast plain with dozens of hot-air balloons wandering in the sky. Bagan looks best at sunrise and sunset, and frankly, these are the times when we will experience its sheer popularity with visitors. In contrast, later in the day, we can rent electric bikes and quietly explore smaller temples as well as some well-known ones like Sulamani Temple and Dhammayngyi Pahto.
We may encounter monks around the temples and practice our travel portrait photography skills some more. We can take a look at everyday life in a small rural village nearby. On the way back to our hotel after sunset, we stop to photograph the impressive gilded Shwezigon Paya.
Day 6 – 8 | Inle Lake
In the morning, we fly to Heho and reach the gateway to Inle Lake – the town of Nyaungshwe. On our first day here, we explore the town and its outskirts featuring a visit to a photogenic wooden monastery, a lively local Mingala market, and more. On this day, we can also run post-processing sessions.
On the second day, we start our boat tour on the lake early, where we witness the masterly leg rowing of Intha fishermen. They use one foot to control the oar so that they can use traditional conical nets to catch fish. Not to disappoint you later, these fishermen are mostly here to do a show for tourists. Nowadays, they rarely catch fish using this technique, but it’s still interesting to see how they used to do it before.
Later the same day, we also visit the town of Inthein, a vibrant local market, floating gardens and villages, and numerous workshops where we will learn how the Burmese roll cigars, weave silk and lotus, process silver, and simply carry out daily routine tasks on the lake. Perhaps we get to meet some women from a long-neck Padaung tribe at one of the workshops. These will be incredible photo opportunities for more portraits as well as documentary photography.
The next day, we take a one-day trip to the Kakku pagodas, one of the most spectacular sights in Shan State. Almost 2500 pagodas lined up in rows, where we get lost in time and look for catchy compositions.
Day 9 – 10 | Yangon
We fly to the former capital Yangon. We visit 2500-year-old Shwedagon Paya which is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar and is decorated with over 60 tons of gold. We also shoot street photography at busy local markets, capture the everyday life of Burmese people, and try to blend in with the crowd in Indiatown and Chinatown or pay a visit to the lesser known Sule Paya. We go to Kandawgyi Lake to practice landscape photography with stunning reflections at sunset.
We finish our Myanmar photo tour with a sunrise shoot at Shwedagon Paya. After that we provide you with a transfer to Yangon International Airport.
We are sure that this “country of golden pagodas” will take a piece of your heart.
Ethical and respectful travel photography
We strongly encourage our participants to consider this as more than just a photography tour, but also a cultural trip, and to be respectful to the locals while interacting with them and photographing. Burmese people are some of the nicest in the world, and we don’t want to upset them with our disrespectful manners when it comes to taking pictures. We will teach you how to get good pictures of the locals while maintaining a polite and humane approach.
Learn post-processing like a pro
We know what your images need
Bring the touch of perfection to your digital images
Our Myanmar photo tour is not only about taking pictures but we also put emphasis on image post-processing which is extremely important nowadays. We will hold post-processing panels where we will teach you the workflows in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and some additional plug-ins we use to make your pictures stand well apart from the rest. We will try to allow enough time for you to post-process your pictures while on the tour, and hopefully you will go home with your prime shots ready for the showcase.
You will learn how to
- Organize your photos efficiently and speed up your workflow
- Develop RAW files with Lightroom and Photoshop and apply initial adjustments
- Use the selection, sharpening and retouching tools properly
- Blend multiple exposures in Lightroom and Photoshop using various techniques (HDR, luminosity masks)
- Stylize your images to give them your own artistic signature
- Apply various image effects… and much more
Myanmar Photo Tour Details
What is Included & Excluded in the Price
- Two professional photography guides
- 9 nights accommodation in hotels (based on double room occupancy)
- All breakfasts
- Private ground transportation
- Two domestic flights
- Transfer from/to international airports
- Entrance fees to photography locations and government zone fees
- Post-Processing sessions during the tour
- Airfare to/from Myanmar
- Optional single room occupancy (supplement $500 USD)
- Food and beverages other than breakfast
- Travel insurance
- Equipment and baggage insurance
- Visas (if applicable)
- Personal expenses such as laundry, phone etc.
Myanmar Photo Tour Leaders
We want you to get the most amazing pictures on our Myanmar Photo Tour whether you are a beginner, keen amateur or professional photographer. We strongly emphasise on individual approach so each of our participants gets the right in–field guidance. Moreover, you will be in a group of people who share the passion for photography and you will expand your creative and post-processing skills. We want you to experience the uniqueness of this paradise and return with plenty of outstanding pictures and unforgettable memories.
Martin Bišof is a Prague based professional photographer and adventurer who has years of experience guiding photo workshops and with a commercial shooting. He has traveled to more than 35 countries around the globe and has explored wonders from the depths of the Amazon rain forest to the high peaks of the Himalayas. His pictures have won awards internationally and appeared in various magazines and other publications. Martin truly loves connecting with people from all over the world and discovering new places, tastes, and cultures. Read Martin’s full profile >
Jan Miřacký is a professional landscape and travel photographer based in Prague, Czech Republic, with years of experience leading popular photography and adventure tours all around the world. He’s visited more than 35 countries and his all time favourites are Iceland, Peru and Myanmar. He has tutored 250+ photographers with sky-high satisfaction rating mostly because of his efficient teaching methods and engaging personality. Jan’s greatest passions are long-exposure photography and cityscapes. Read Jan’s full profile >