Mystical Myanmar - Photo Tour February 2015
The “Mystical Myanmar 2013” photo tour was such an outstanding success we have decided to return to this truly photogenic destination, in 2015.
We have also included an optional four night/three day extension; see details below.
Myanmar, or as many people know it, Burma, is one of the few places on earth where the lifestyle hasn’t changed much over the last century. It is a place that is momentarily paused in time, located between its past and its yet to be determined future. A visit to Myanmar draws you into a mesmerizing aggregation of history, stories, images and memories of yesteryear.
Buddhism, the “glue” that binds the nation is evident everywhere, from the golden stupas of the pagodas glistening in the sunlight to the reverend demeanour of the monks in their red robes, quietly moving through the streets each morning with their begging bowls. Mindfulness, respect and caring, the fundamentals of Buddhism, permeates everything and its presence is felt even in the busiest of market places, making Myanmar one of the safest places on earth to visit.
It is a land of golden light that lends itself to magical photography. Few countries retain so much traditional culture. Hundreds of pagodas testify to the former greatness of the ancient capital Bagan, with its timeless haunting beauty. There are endless opportunities for the photographer, from the splendid shrines, to the monasteries and the monks and the thousand-year old temples. Float in a hot air balloon over these temples at dawn and it is like looking down on a giant ethereal tapestry or painting.
Yangon is a bustling commercial centre, yet the layers of its past are still evident, in the ancient waterfront where fishermen return with their daily catch, in the religious structures like the 2,000-year-old Sulo Pagoda, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a 98-metre-high stupa whose golden glow can be seen from anywhere throughout the city and the British colonial architecture.
Mandalay, one of the larger cities in Myanmar is especially rich in street photography and all variety of monastic activity. Of special interest are the bamboo traders, their unique “raft houses”, and unchanged way of life that stretches back in time for a century and more.
The 120 square kilometre Inle Lake, with its floating gardens, its inimitable fishermen, their style of dress and their conical fishing nets are a photographer’s paradise. Rowing with one leg to leave hands free, these graceful fishermen appeal to every photographer’s desire to capture a land untouched by modernity. Everywhere you turn, a mesmerising scene awaits your lens. Whether it be from bungalows on stilts in the water or in a long boat slowly weaving through the floating gardens, photographic magic happens. You cannot but come away with countless, memorable moments captured with your camera.
Not a moment will be wasted searching for shots during the ten days we spend in Myanmar. All locations have been thoroughly researched and all access to monasteries, monks and temples have been pre-arranged, including private photo shoots within “difficult to access” locations.
We have organised an extraordinary itinerary for this tour and it is unapologetically photography-focused to provide every opportunity for you to return home with a collection of classic, distinctive images of this extraordinary country, culture and gentle people.
THIS PHOTOGRAPHIC TOUR IS CONFINED TO A MAXIMUM OF TWELVE PEOPLE, EXCLUSIVE OF THE TOUR LEADERS.
- Photograph the best of Yangon including its bustling Thiri Mingalar fish market, Indiatown, Chinatown and a sunset shoot of Sin Oodan jetty and the gold Shwedagon Pagoda (reportedly contains over 60-tons of gold).
- In Bagan enjoy exclusive admission to two monasteries for our group and photograph monks as they go about their daily routine; not available to “normal” tourist groups.
- An optional dawn photography shoot from a hot air balloon as it glides over the 5000 Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins of Bagan – a transcendent experience each time.
- Capture the iconic silhouette images of monks and others at the famous teak bridge at Taung Thaman lake, near Mandalay.
- Special admission to photograph Mahagandayon monastery, in Mandalay, with its 1000+ monks in residence.
- Visit the Inle Lake floating village to photograph from our own boats the “ballet” fishermen in the sunset – this access provides for amazing photography opportunities.
- Several sessions of street photography in Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay as well as photo shoots of blacksmiths’ village, ox carts at work, silk weaving, students at a monastic school, trainee monks, lacquer ware workshop, etc.
- Continuous assistance with your photography from two professional photographers (Also see note under “Tour Leaders” regarding number of tour leaders if total number of participants is less than eight).
Gavriel Jecan is one of the most experienced photography guides in this part of Asia. He has photographed professionally and worked with Art Wolfe for over twenty years and is resident in Thailand. The exclusive access to the locations offered on this tour is possible principally because of the wealth of local knowledge Gavriel has garnished from many previous tours of Myanmar, from tours he has co-led with Art Wolfe and from his own private tours.
Denis Glennon AO is an Australian photographer who continues to travel the world seeking unique locations and capturing iconic images. He is the owner of Iconic Images International and nothing pleases him more than introducing photographers to those same locations and seeing the delight in their eyes when they witness and photograph a subject that clearly touches their soul. If you would like to read a little more about Denis, click on: Read More and open the tab – ‘Denis Glennon AO’.
Win Kyaw Zan is an accomplished photographer based in Yangon. He is our local guide and having worked with a number of distinguished international photographers for over a decade, including Art Wolfe, Nevada Wier, Jock Montgomery, Scott Stulberg, Roger Nelson and Gavriel, Win understands the needs of photographers. His knowledge of local cultures, his ability to access monasteries and gain permission to enter and photograph very special areas and activities, is second to none. His contacts throughout Myanmar makes for a smooth photo tour. He is a gentleman and you will find it a joy to travel in his company.
Should the number of participants be eight or under, the tour will be led by either Gavriel Jecan or Denis Glennon AO and local guide Win Kyaw Zan.
We will introduce you to extraordinary photographic opportunities that ordinary tourists cannot access.
The tour officially commences in Yangon with lunch at 1.00pm, on 15 February 2015 and officially finishes in Yangon with a morning transfer to Yangon International Airport, on 25 February 2015.
A summary of the itinerary is:
- 14 Feb or earlier: Depart home city for Yangon
- 15 Feb: Arrive Yangon International Airport and stay at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, – 2 nights. Street photography and monastery shoot.
- 16 Feb: Yangon – early morning, afternoon and late evening shoots
- 17 Feb: Transfer to airport and fly to Bagan. Stay at Aye Yar Riverview Hotel – 3 nights. Photographing Sulamani temple and monks, lacquer ware workshop, and sunset shoot from Shwesandaw Pagoda.
- 18 Feb: Early morning shoot at Minyeingone temple, with monks. Photography tutorial and a gentle critique of participants’ images (for those who wish to receive constructive comments). Sunset shoot from Dhammazika Pagoda.
- 19 Feb: Optional “Balloons Over Bagan” photo shoot. Photography tutorial and visit to Minanthu village to photograph ox-carts, village lifestyle, etc. finishing with a sunset shoot around the magnificent Tayoepyay temple.
- 20 Feb: Transfer to Bagan airport and fly to Mandalay. Stay at Mandalay Hill Resort – 2 nights. Photograph girls with tanaca painting on faces. Evening shoot at the renowned teak bridge on Taung Thaman lake.
- 21 Feb: Early morning drive to Amarapura and visit Mahagandayon monastery with over one thousand monks. Photograph the monks eating, and bathing (male photographers only allowed). Afternoon and evening shoots of village life and fishermen with nets, on the Irrawaddy River.
- 22 Feb: Transfer to airport and fly to Heho/Inle Lake. Stay at Myanmar Treasure Resort – 2 nights. Photograph fishermen on lake at sunset.
- 23 Feb: Early morning photo shoot with fishermen. Visit and photograph Padaung “long neck” ladies, blacksmith village and silk weavers. Sunset shoot with fishermen on lake.
- 24 Feb: Early morning boat ride to Nyaungshwe, drive to Heho and fly to Yangon. Photo critique (voluntary involvement). Sunset shoot from Shwedagon pagoda. Farewell dinner at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel.
- 25 Feb. Early morning transfer to Yangon International Airport for return flights to Australia, except for those participating in the optional extension.
For a more detailed itinerary click the DOWNLOAD ITINERARY button in the sidebar and download the PDF.
For More Details
If you would like to discuss any aspect of international flights for the photo tour, please contact the sole booking agent:
Our World Travel, Shop 1/113 Royal Street, East Perth, Western Australia 6004 Telephone:+61 (0)8 9221 9977, Fax:+61 (0)8 92215577 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and request to speak to Mr Nick Missikos.
If you would like to discuss anything about photography during the tour, please contact Denis Glennon, on +61 (0)428 923 103.
If this photo safari is not for you, perhaps you might consider forwarding the information to a friend who may like to know about it. Thank you.
Costs, Terms of Payment & How To Register
As noted in Section 9 Responsibility in the downloadable PDF: “Mystical Myanmar 2015 – Important Information”, Iconic Images is obligated to pay the costs of the photographic tour in US dollars.
The cost is US$9,995.00, or the equivalent in AU$ at the time of making the final payment, per person, twin share.
If you require un-shared accommodation a single supplement of US$1,950.00, or the equivalent in AU$ at the time of payment, applies. You must state your preference on the Registration Form.
All tours are priced in US dollars . For your convenience and to minimize currency exchange risks, payments should only be made (in US dollars) to the US dollar bank account of the travel agent, Our World Travel.
Should you wish to use your credit card for payment in US dollars please check with your bank or financial institution to determine the most cost effective way to do so.
Terms of Payment
1. A non-refundable 50% deposit together with a completed Registration Form, on or before Friday 29 August 2014.
2. A final payment of the remaining 50%, on or before Friday 29 November 2014.
How To Register
To register please click the REGISTRATION FORM button in the sidebar, download the PDF, complete same and follow the instructions.
The photography opportunities are different to those on the main tour and are more relaxed and diverse.
The itinerary may be adjusted to avail of photographic opportunities that arise during discussions on the main tour or are introduced by the local guide.
1. Itinerary – 25 Feb to 1 March 2015
Accommodation during the extension will be in the Sule Shangri La Hotel or similar standard hotel, depending on availability of suitable accommodation.
25 Feb: Photography in Yangon (am) & Dala (pm).
In the morning, we will do a walking/photography tour around the downtown areas of Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park, City Hall, High Court, other colonial buildings, etc. Afterwards we will visit the Botataung Pagoda – a famous landmark on Yangon’s waterfront and the harbor area around the Pagoda where many dozens of boats continually depart with passengers for the nearby towns/villages.
Lunch at the restaurant in The Strand Hotel.
Afternoon visit to Dala using the local ferry boat (about a 10 minute rode). Visit to Nagayon Paya, local village & local market. On the way back to Yangon we will photograph sunset scenes from the ferry boat and when landed.
26 Feb: Photography in Bago.
This ancient capital of the Mon people is about 80 kilometres north of Yangon and was known as Pegu by European traders in the 16th century.
It is a two-hour drive from Yangon on a road offering photography of paddy fields and farmers at work. Bago is renowned for its 55-metre-long reclining Buddha image, the golden Shwemawdaw Pagoda, the old ordination hall built by king Dhammazedi, and a very interesting and photogenic marketplace.
We will visit Kanbawza Thadi, the palace of King Bayinnaung (1551-1581 CE) which is being excavated and some buildings are being restored,. Photographic subjects included Kalyani Sima (Ordination Hall), 28 meter high Buddha Image of Kyaikpun Pagoda, which was built in 15th century by King Damazedi and four giant sitting images back to back. If time permits, we will visit and photograph the Htaukkyant War Cemetery on the way back to Yangon. Photography highlights include: Shwenyaungbin Bo Bo Gyi, Kyaketwine monastery with over 1000 monks, Bago market, Himthargone (possible spirit dancing) , Shwemawday Pagoda , Shwetharlyaung reclining buddha , Sein Tharlyaung Reclinig Buddha , Laymyatnnar standing Buddhas, Kyaikpun Pagoda and cheroot making factory.
27 Feb: Photography in Twan Tay.
Twante is a small town in the Ayeyarwady Delta famous for its ceramic ware and makes for a very good photography day trip from Yangon. We will drive to Twan Tay. The delta area is the essence of this location with paddy fields, ways of life in rural Myanmar and beautiful natural scenery. The pottery village, the simple local market and Shwe Sandaw Pagoda are the highlights.
28 Feb: Photography in Yangon.
Photography in Yangon’s ‘China Town’ which is crowded with road-side stalls and is alive with people selling street food and a bewildering array of local products. Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar and the capital of Yangon Region, is a charming city with old colonial buildings, tree-lined streets, bustling markets, restful parks and tranquil lakes. Other attractions in Yangon include Bogyoke Aung San Market (formerly known as Scott Market), which is busy with shops carrying an enormous variety of products, including outlets selling rubies, sapphires and jade for which Myanmar is famous. Yangon has retained the charm and beauty of its colonial heritage as it continues to provide the infrastructure of an emerging international city.
1 Mar: Transfer from hotel to Yangon Airport to connect with international flights.
2. Cost of Extension
The cost of the extension is US$2,150.00/person sharing.
A single supplement of US$850.00 applies for an unshared room, if required.
3. Included in Extension
- Accommodation in Sule Shangri La Hotel or similar standard hotel; deluxe room on a shared basis.
- Transport : Air-conditioned nine-seater mini coach.
- Meals: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch and dinners at best local restaurants.
- Guide fees and gratuities.
- Bottled water in mini coach.
- Entrance and archaeological zone fees.
- Government Taxes, where applicable.
- Service charges, where applicable.
4. Not Included in Extension
- Alcoholic and soft drinks in restaurants/at meals.
- Camera & video payments, if specifically requested from you by locals.
- Tips to any specific local guides outside Yangon (if used to assist Win Kyaw Zan).
- Personal shopping expenses.
- Laundry service in hotel.
- Tips to local people and/or models we may wish to photograph, if they ask you. Guidance will be given by Win on site.
Pre-departure Information & Checklists
To assist you prepare for this photo safari I have compiled a comprehensive, downloadable and printable PDF. It contains helpful information on:
- Travelling with and looking after photographic equipment in Myanmar.
- Downloading and backing-up images every day.
- Power supply in Myanmar for charging batteries, laptop, mobile phone, etc.
- Etiquette in Monasteries, Pagodas, etc., and consideration for fellow photographers.
- Keeping healthy in Myanmar.
- Money Matters in Myanmar.
- Immigration and Customs at Yangon International Airport, Myanmar.
- Arrangements to meet you on arrival at Yangon International Airport.
- Travel documents, personal items & clothing checklist
- Personal medical items checklist.
- Camera equipment checklist – this is a comprehensive list and you should not be overwhelmed.
- Summary itinerary.
- Your Tour Leaders/Assistants
- Guide to paying gratuities on this photo safari.
- Denis’ choice of lenses and other camera equipment for this photo safari.
- Suggested pre-departure research and reading list.
The information in this PDF will help you with selecting and packing your camera equipment and other essential items for the tour.
A copy of this PDF will be forwarded to all registered participants, approximately thirty days before the commencement of the photo tour.