Photo Explorer Tours:
Custom Tours for Independent Photo Explorers
Best of Burma


"...it will be quite unlike any land you know about" --Rudyard Kipling

Photos © Dennis Cox

Photograph the exotic "Golden Land" of Burma (Myanmar)
accompanied by one of Burma's best photo guides....

No place conjures up such exotic images as Burma (Myanmar). The very mention of its enchanting cities evokes magic: Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan. The ambience of these places envelops visitors with a feeling of being in another world, of a nostalgic bygone era that is nearly indescribable with words, but incredibly photogenic. This fascinating country, with its gracious people, gentle culture and Buddhist spirituality, promises wonderful photographic opportunities and delivers even more than it promises.

Tour Highlights:

* Visit the resplendent, 2500 year old, golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

* Experience the wonder of sunrise and sunset at the Golden Rock Buddhist pilgrimage site

* Explore enchanting 11th century temples in the pilgrimage site of Bagan

* Journey through the beguiling Mandalay, former seat of Burmese royalty

* Step back in time to Pindaya, to explore this charming mountain village

* Discover Inle Lake's charms and its amazing leg rowers in a magical water world


 

Best of Burma land price determined by group size of four or more participants and level of accommodations. Call for quote and guide availability..

International airfare is not included. Information on air ticket consolidators will be provided.

 


Four or more tour participants needed....

A price quote will be determined for this tour which will include all domestic flights in Myanmar, ground transportation by air conditioned bus, hotels (all superior and deluxe rooms), all meals, all entrance and camera fees, and the services of Tanggy, our veteran English-speaking photographic guide in Myanmar (see testimonial below). The tour price does not include international airfare to and from Yangon, tourist visa for Myanmar, beverages except one per person with meals, porter fees at hotels, tips at end of tour to the photo guide, and travel insurance. Several international airlines offer service via Bangkok (or Hong Kong or other interim city) with extensions from several U.S. cities available. Overnight accommodations in Bangkok (or Hong Kong or other interim city) enroute are not included, may be necessary, and can be arranged through Photo Explorer Tours (service fee required) or can be booked most economically directly through BangkokAirportOnline.com or AsiaRooms.com.

Photos © Dennis Cox / Photo Explorer Tours

Best of Burma Itinerary

Day 1 Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport in morning (if coming through Bangkok,you can book TG 303 at approximately 9:25AM), group members will be met by national tour guide, Htun Myat Naing ("Tanggy"), and checked into the hotel. In the afternoon, an introductory city tour will include colonial downtown of Old Rangoon around gloriousthe 2000-year-old Sule Pagoda, Strand Road, and Yangon's China Town. Dinner at a local restaurant. Lodging at the Nikko Hotel Royal Lake. (NOTE: Only dinner is included in today's program.)

Day 2 Early morning scenic drive to Kyaikhtiyo, site of the wondrous Golden Rock pilgrimage site, via Bago with opportunity to photograph the Bago market in early light. Enroute stop to photograph the World War II Cemetery, dedicated to the 27,000 Commonwealth Forces who died in Burma, and the Sittaung Bridge, an area humming with riverside activity. In the afternoon transfer to a special open truck for a 45 minute ascent, then continue the journey up the trail to the Golden Rock on foot, accompanied by the many pilgrims who have walked from the very base of the mountain. (This trail is sometimes steep, but is smooth, and there are covered shelters every 50-100 meters to rest, and have a cold drink. Porters will be available to assist anyone who wishes help, and a "sedan chair" conveyance is available for hire for approximately $25 for those who do not wish to walk.) Covered with gold leaf, and precariously balanced over the edge of the mountain, Golden Rock is purported to be held in place, "balanced on hairs of the Buddha". Photograph the hundreds of pilgrims lighting candles, incense, and worshipping at this sacred monument, and the sun setting behind it. Enjoy the early after dark activities at the shrine, before returning to the Kyaikhtiyo Hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 Revisit the Golden Rock, just five minutes from the hotel, in early morning light before returning to the hotel for breakfast. Then walk part way down the mountain to the local trucks for a ride to the air-conditioned bus via Bago to Sagain for photo ops of the village monastery, four-faced image of Kyailpon, the landmark pagoda of Shwemawdaw, amd Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha. Late afternoon return to Yangon for dinner and first of two more nights at the Nikko Hotel Royal Lake.

Day 4 Before sunrise, depart for the Yangon River jetty to take the local ferry boat two hours to Twantay to photograph the pottery village and handicraft workshops. Retun to Yangon by local jeeps with stops to shoot the paddy fields and villages along the way. After dinner, photograph the magnificent Shwedagon Pagodas golden bell-shaped stupas and courtyards where pilgrims will celebrate a lighting festival of 1000 oil lamps.

Day 5 Before breakfast, shoot the Shwedagon Pagoda across the royal lake, botanical gardens, and local fish and fresh vegetable market. Continue morning photo ops including the 220-foot long Chaukhtatkyi Pagoda's reclining Buddha and Naga glass factory before a late lunch and drive to the airport for a mid-afternoon flight to Bagan. First of three nights accommodations with deluxe rooms at the Thande Hotel in Old Bagan.

Day 6 The Bagan Plains filled with a vast panorama of pagodas at sunrise viewed from atop a temple platform begins the day, which will be filled with photo ops including the Nyaung Oo local market, the Ananda Temple -- with four huge standing Buddha images and numerous seated figures in niches around the galleried interior -- as well as a number of other interesting temples, such as Nanphaya, said to have once been the residence of King Manuha. Dusk provides another panoramic photo op from on high overlooking the Bagan Plains as the sun sets over the ruins of the thousands of picturesque pagodas.

Day 7 Another Bagan morning provides an additional spectacular sunrise opportunity from a different vantage point high over the plains before breakfast. During the day such Bagan landmarks dating from the 11th century as the Dharamayangyi and Sulamai temples and other local monuments will be explored, including some by horse cart, and a lacquerware workshop will be visited.

Day 8 Early morning flight to Mandalay, the city of the last Myanmar Kings. Photo opportunites in Mandalay include Amarapura, the "City of Immortals" that was the capital of upper Burma until 1850, with its gold leaf making industry, the 1784 Mahamuni Pagoda -- hosting the revered Mahamuni image cast in the 1st Century and now covered in thick gold leaves -- and arts and crafts center (puppet factory, bronze casting, stone carving, et al), Shwenandaw monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings, Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world's Biggest Book for its stone slabs, and Mahagandayone Monastery with its 8000 monks. After sunset from Mandalay Hill, dinner is at a local restaurant and first of two nights lodging is at the Mandalay Swan Hotel.

Day 9 Early morning at the boat jetty provides numerous photo ops of fascinating scenes from daily life on the Ayerwaddy (Irrawaddy) River, the busiest waterway and lifeblood of the region, before cruising on a private boat to Mingun, a village of ancient monuments and beautiful landscapes, and back. In the afternoon drive to Sagaing, 21 km southwest of Mandalay and visit the Sagaing Hills, a retreat for Buddhist devotees with numerous Pagodas, monasteries and nunneries. Visit the village of Sagaing, at the foot of Sagaing Hill with markets, shops and restaurants; one of the monasteries on the hillside; the Tilawkaguru cave temple, with mural paintings; Umin Thounzeh caves, containing 45 Buddha images and Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda built in 1312. The view of Sagaing from here is outstanding. In the evening shoot the sunset back in Amarapura at the U-Bein Bridge, at 1.2 km, it is the longest teak bridge in the world

Day 10 Early morning flight to Heho on the Shan Plateau, then drive to the charming mountain village of Pindaya, taking another giant step backward in time. Visit there the Pindaya Caves which shelter almost 9000 Buddha awe-inspiring statues that pilgrims have placed here since the 16th century. Legend insists that if you explore far enough into the cave, you will return to Bagan. Private boats will then take the group across Lake Inle to their accommodations. First of three nights at Golden Island Cottages on the lake.

Day 11 Full day excursion on Inle Lake (25 km) famous for its unique one-leg rowers, typical floating gardens, local methods of fishing and village life. Visit the 5-day rotating market with its Intha and Pao tribes; a Cheroot Factory and the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda housing five sacred and almost shapeless Buddha images, contorted because of the quantity of applied gold leaf, gifts from the believers. The Buddha images are purported to have come here in the 12th Century. Lunch stop at Inn Thar Lay. In the afternoon, proceed to Indein to see the ancient Bagan + Shan style pagodas, built during Bagan Period, passing the beautiful scenery with tall grasses and little water steps. The ruins of the pagodas, hidden in the bushes, will give you the impression of being there in the 12th - 13th Centuries. Return to Golden Island Cottages for dinner.

Day 12 Early morning departure by boat to explore the unspoiled culture and traditional life-style of the ethnic groups of Pao and Inthas around Sangha and Hmawbi area. Visit Kyauktaing, a Shan village noted for its earthenware pottery works; visit Kyainkhan village, to see the production of monk robes from fabrics of thousands of lotos stems and the production of high degree alcohol (CS-country spirit). Lunch at Thakong Pagoda. After lunch proceed to the silk weaving village of In Phaw Khon and visit Nga Phe Chaung (the biggest and oldest monastery around Inle Lake) before returning in the evening for dinner back at Golden Island Cottages. (Note: Events, such as a colorful boat race and the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, can be scheduled for this day if tour is booked in late October.)

Day 13 After breakfast transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe, a small town at the northern end of Inle Lake. From here continue by bus to Heho airport for the flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival in Yangon you may have enough time to photograph the Shwedagon for a second time. Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at Nikko Hotel Royal Lake.

Day 14 Transfer(s) to Yangon airport for departure from Myanmar (departure tax of US$10 required). (NOTE: Only breakfast is included in today's program.)


Photos © Dennis Cox / Photo Explorer Tours

COOL TOUR GUIDE TESTIMONIAL: "The trip to Burma was great. Tanggy is wonderful. We have traveled on a number of guided trips and I believe Tanggy was the best guide we have ever had. He was calm, a good leader, organized and helpful." ....-- Bonnie Miller, 2006 Best of Burma tour participant.

Photos © Dennis Cox / Photo Explorer Tours

Photo
© Dennis Cox
Burma is truly a golden photo op.

Photos above by
...Photo Explorer Tours
director Dennis Cox
were all shot on the
January 2005 tour.

For more Burma images CLICK HERE.


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Photo Explorer Tours DENNIS COX LLC

2506 Country Village, Ann Arbor MI 48103-6500 USA

Phone: 800-315-4462 or 734-996-1440

Email: DECoxPhoto@aol.com


May all your journeys be care free,

And may all your days be filled with wonder. 


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