Burma is a country that has long been off the agenda for the responsible traveler however its doors have been opened for those who want to see its wonderful landscapes and sights, from pagodas to people, Burma is a photographer’s paradise and is guaranteed to enchant you. This Burma Photo Tour offers you a comprehensive journey that not only takes you to the highlights but also takes you into the hinterland amongst the farms, villages and people where tourists are rarely seen. In the middle part of the tour you have the option of trekking through the hills of the Shan state down to Inle Lake. There will be an overnight stay in a village. Those who have done it regard this as a highlight of the tour. Another option is to take a balloon ride at dawn over the temples. Simply stunning!
Burma Photo Tours Photos Gallery | Trip Map
Tour length: 11 days / 10 nights
Tour Type: Photo, Cultural, Classic
Cities: Mandalay, Bagan, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Yangon
Price: From US$ 1800/person
Activity Level: Regular itinerary
Day 1 Mandalay Sightseeing
The tour will start in Mandalay with an early afternoon briefing where all guests can introduce themselves and begin to get to know each other. Before sunset we take a stroll along the vibrant riverfront immediately in front of our hotel.
Day 2 Mandalay Ancient Capitals
In the morning 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. At sunset we go to the iconic U Beinbridge where we hope to capture monks and locals carrying their wares atop their heads and the setting sun from a boat on the lake below.
Day 3 Mandalay – Monywa
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, and Bodhi Tataung which has a 423ft standing buddha amongst 1000s of others.
Day 4 Monywa – Bagan
In the morning we head south crossing the Chindwin 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, fitting in an interesting local village on the way.
Day 5 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 provide you with bicycles so that you can explore this enormous site by yourselves. You will probably want to enjoy the swimming pool in the hottest part of the day. Those who do not wish to cycle can hire a horse and cart or taxi.
Day 6 Bagan – 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 mid-morning flight to Heho, and drive to Kalaw, an old hill station from the days of the British Raj. We will stop at the 5 day market famous for its minority tribe vendors and traders. In the afternoon there is a postproduction class followed by some free time to explore this interesting town.
Day 7 Kalaw trekking
After breakfast we drive to Baw Ning Gone village to start our trek with a local guide. The bus will take our luggage and any non-trekking guests directly to a hotel in Nyaung Shwe. Walkers set out from the village for a two and a half hour walk arriving at Kone Hla village for lunch and a well earned rest from the heat of the day. Three more hours brings us to Pattu Pauk village passing through other settlements on the way. Htee Thein is our final destination for the day, and we stay overnight there in the monastery or at a local home if this is available.
Day 8 Indein
An early start allows us to finish our five hours trekking to arrive at Indein for lunchtime. We will visit several villages lived in by the Inthar and Pao tribes, and pass through cheroot leaf and ginger plantations. Indein village 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. We then travel by boat to stay overnight in a stilted hotel on Inle Lake.
Day 9 Nyaung Shwe
In the morning we board a boat on the main lake. We have arranged for special permits to allow us to explore further south, off the beaten track and away from the main tourist areas, to visit two lakeside minority villages. After lunch we head north to Nyaung Shwe. We return to the lake later in the afternoon to see the famous leg-rowing fishermen at sunset.
Day 10 Inle Lake – Yangon
We take an early morning flight to Yangon, the capital. 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. And, not to worry, we would not let you leave without a late afternoon/sunset visit to the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 11 Yangon departure
We board the circular slow train which snakes slowly through all manner of Yangon suburbs, and brings you face to face with commuting locals. This is a real ‘behind the tourist scenes’ insight into daily life in the capital. We then make our way to the airport in good time for our flights out. End your Burma Photo Tour.
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