$7340 AUD per person
$2979 AUD single supplement
- Day 1 - Arrival in Yangon
- Day 2 - Yangon – Heho – Kalaw
- Day 3 - Kalaw (soft trekking)
- Day 4 - Kalaw – Inle
- Day 5 - Inle Lake
- Day 6 - Inle – Heho – Bagan
- Day 7 - Bagan
- Day 8 - At leisure and evening sunset by boat
- Day 9 - Bagan – Mandalay – Mingun
- Day 10 - Mandalay – Sagaing – Sunset at U Bein
- Day 11 - Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin
- Day 12 - Pyin Oo Lwin – Viaduct – Mandalay
- Day 13 - Departure
- Return airport transfers
- 12 nights accommodation
- 12 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 1 Dinner
- Services of an English speaking guide
- Photography assistance and tutorials from Chris Van Ryn
- Entrance fees as per the itinerary
- Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle
- Bottled water
- Domestic flights Yangon – Heho – Bagan
- International flights
- Hot air ballooning in Bagan
- Travel and medical insurance
- All services, meals other than those indicated above
- Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
- All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
Discover Myanmar through a lens - this specialist photography tour with leading photographer Chris Van Ryn is the perfect way to experience the lesser known side of Myanmar whilst improving your photography skills. Become more confident with your equipment and return from your journey with spectacular images, memories and new found knowledge.
Follow a different path as your travels steer you into authentic Burmese life. Capture life, landscapes and light as you mingle with villagers, local merchants and witness timeless traditions. A land of breathtaking beauty and charm which is still emerging into the modern world, Myanmar offers all the traditional delights of Asia in one fascinating country. Embrace the glorious heritage, spectacular monuments, ancient cities and time old customs which haven't changed for centuries.
Chris van Ryn is well travelled and his travels are well photographed. He operates as a photojournalist from a studio in Auckland, New Zealand, also the base for his event photography business. A published writer, his articles, accompanied by his photos, have appeared in such magazines and newspapers as North & South, AA Directions, Life & Leisure, MiNDFOOD, D-Photo, the New Zealand Listener, the Washington Post and the Meath Chronicle. He is twice a winner in the Cathay Pacific Media Awards. Separately from his writing, his photos have been published in many magazines. He has also published a book of portraits taken on his travels, called "Bodyography.” While his passion has been street photography, he photographs a wide variety of subjects, and one of his recent images was a winning entry in the Nikon Auckland Photo Day competition.
Day 1 - Arrival in Yangon
Welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival in Yangon you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Here you will meet your tour leader and professional photographer, Chris Van Ryn. After a short introduction and pre-trip briefing, you will visit the 2500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda. With its golden dome rising 98m above its base, it is covered with 60 tons of pure gold and is claimed to be the world’s richest golden stupa. Offering fantastic views from the hilltop, it is a great way to get your tour started with some stunning sunset shots. This evening, return to your hotel to enjoy a welcome dinner with your group. (D)
Overnight Chatrium Hotel, Yangon – Deluxe Room or similar
Day 2 - Yangon – Heho – Kalaw
This morning following breakfast you will venture completely off the tourist trail and visit Hledan morning market, a great place to experience the daily life of the locals and marvel at the variety of vegetables and local food on offer. This afternoon after a downtown walking tour, transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho. Upon arrival, you will drive to Kalaw, a former British hill station town situated 1400m above sea-level, on the rim of the Shan Plateau in the Pineland. There is time in the early evening to photograph the landscape as the sun descends. (B)
2 nights Kalaw Hill Lodge – Deluxe Villa or similar
Day 3 - Kalaw (soft trekking)
This morning after breakfast you will set off on foot to Lutpyin (approx. 3hrs), enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside as you follow an old mule path through protected pine forests.
Perched on the side of a hill top at 1500m above sea level, Lutpyins inhabitants are mainly from the Taungyoe tribe, an ancient Myanmar lineage. You will have the chance to briefly visit the village before continuing your trek to Taunggyiche (approx. 1hr). Located at 1400m above sea level, Taunggyiche is the crossroads between Lut Pyin and Myin Ma Hti and is a great place to take a well earned break and enjoy a packed lunch. You can spend some time here mixing with the local community where you can both learn about each other’s daily life.
Continue north-east towards Myin Ma Hti Mountain (approx. 1½hrs) taking in the stunning views of the valley down below. Explore the complex of winding natural caves and tunnels, filled to bursting point with Buddha images in an astonishing variety of shapes and sizes. From here trek back to Kalaw (approx. 2 hrs) crossing through the ridge of Minelong mountain at 1450m above sea level. (B,L)
Trekking Distance: 15km over 5-6 hours
Day 4 - Kalaw – Inle
This morning you will take a scenic drive along the Shan Plateau with marvellous views of Inle Lake, a UNESCO listed Biopshere nature reserve. You will reach the lake’s gateway village, Nyaung Shwe where you will board an authentic long-tail boat that will take you to the southern region of Inle Lake.
This afternoon you may like to kayak for an hour to Lin Kin village, famous for its floating gardens on the lake. On your way back, stop at some of the village houses to see the process of making traditional snacks. You will notice that the weather is much cooler here due to the high altitude. (B)
2 nights Pristine Lotus Spa Resort – Inle Lotus Villa Room or similar
Day 5 - Inle Lake
This morning at 8.30am, you will depart by boat to visit the floating gardens, where you will witness the local people working, harvesting and growing fruits and vegetables. Around 10:00am, take another boat trip to the Nga Phael Chaung Monastery which is the most famous monastery in Inle Lake. You will also have the opportunity to experience daily life on the lake, as you visit the home of a local family.
For lunch today, you will visit Inthar Heritage House, which offers a unique tasting menu derived from the chefs grandmother’s traditional recipes. After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of the Heritage House property, learning about their vocational training school for disadvantaged youths, and their pioneering project to re-introduce the Burmese cat, the former Royal feline, back into Myanmar.
Continuing on to visit the Inthar Heritage Museum, making your way by boat to Indein (approx. 45min). Make sure you have plenty of battery life in your camera, as the view of over 1,000 stupas overlooking Inle Lake from the top of this historic temple is simply mesmerising, and well worth the 800 or so steps you will climb to get there! Following this, take the boat back to your hotel in time for a sunset photography tutorial. (B,L)
Day 6 - Inle – Heho – Bagan
Following breakfast at your hotel, visit the hustle and bustle of the ‘5 Day Market’, so called as the market rotates to 5 different locations on the lake over 5 days. With origins as a tricky way for the former Shan state princes to collect taxes from many market holders, the market exists today as a way for local communities and hill tribes to have access to a ‘local’ market.
From here, transfer to Heho airport for your flight to Bagan, home to the 10th century archaeological site considered one of the richest and most amazing sites in Asia. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon you will visit a lacquer ware workshop – the lacquer is the sap tapped from the Thitsee tree which grows wild in the forests – to observe the process of this traditional Myanmar craft. This evening enjoy a sunset photo shoot over one of the ruins in Bagan. (B)
3 nights Auruem Palace Hotel – Deluxe Room or similar
Day 7 - Bagan
For those early risers, dependent on the weather, there may be an opportunity to take a hot air balloon over Bagan’s spectacular landscape. (Please enquire at time of booking if this of interest to you).
Today will be an exciting day as you explore Bagan. In addition to seeing the splendid Bagan temples, you will also be introduced to the Burmese culture and see traditional craftsmen at work. Your first stop will be at an elevated temple, which provides panoramic views of the Bagan plains. This viewpoint offers a fantastic location to photograph the sheer number of temples, and see the many distinctive styles of temple that litter the plains. Continue to various other temples in the area to experience a variety of architectural styles as well as the artistic wonders from past centuries.
As you explore the temples, you will also get a glimpse of rural Bagan life and see the farmers and their families going about their daily business. Learn more about the local culture by visiting two workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products – lacquerware and wood crafts. Watch in amazement as the skilled craftsmen use traditional techniques passed down through generations. Later this afternoon, visit Thatbyinnyu, the tallest temple in Bagan, the gigantic Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and of course, Sulamani Temple, followed by another extraordinary sunset from the upper terrace of one of the surrounding temples. (B)
Day 8 - At leisure and evening sunset by boat
After breakfast, the day is yours at leisure. Later this afternoon, you will be met and transferred to the jetty, boarding a relaxing sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwaddy River. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the unique looking Ayeyarwaddy dolphins! (B)
Day 9 - Bagan – Mandalay – Mingun
This morning, transfer to Nyaung U airport for your flight to Mandalay, transferring on arrival to Kyawzun jetty, a great place in itself to observe and photograph farmers working their water buffalo and witness the flurry of riverside activity. Cross the Ayeyarwady River aboard your privately chartered boat for Mingun, where you will see the Mingun bell, the world’s largest ringing bell, weighing in at a hefty 90 tons! You will also visit the Settawya Pagoda with its marble foot print of Buddha and the crumbled bicks that is all that remains of King Bodawpaya’s Pahtodawgyi. Explore Mingun Village and the 19th century Shinbume Pagoda, considered the ‘most attractive pagoda’. (B)
2 nights Red Canal Hotel – Shan Room or similar
Day 10 - Mandalay – Sagaing – Sunset at U Bein
After breakfast, visit Phayagyi pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in Myanmar which still retains its original size, shape and design, to pay homage to the most revered Mahamuni image.
Continue to the ancient capital of Amarapura, meaning ‘city of immortality’. Here you will discover the country’s largest monastery, Mahagandayon Monastery, and observe the lunch process of hundreds of Buddhist monks.
Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing is widely regarded as the religious centre of Myanmar and is home of 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres. This evening witness the fantastic sunset from the unique 200 year old U Bein wooden bridge. (B)
Day 11 - Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing for Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo, along beautifully scenic twisting and turning roads winding through traditional small villages.
Maymyo is home to many ethnic tribes as well as considerable numbers of Nepalese and Hindus who migrated here during British occupation. It is like you have taken a step back in time, this hill station town from the colonial days retains its charming churches and colonial styled buildings with gables, turrets and chimneys. Horse-drawn carriages still play a major role as a means of transportation here.
Visit the enchanting Maymyo market bursting with multicolored flowers and vegetables, and take time to wander through the 432 acre botanical garden, originally modelled on the Kew Gardens of England, it is home to a diverse range of Burmese flora and fauna, as well as other botanical species from around the world. (B)
Overnight Kandawgyi Hill Resort – Deluxe Garden View Room or similar
Day 12 - Pyin Oo Lwin – Viaduct – Mandalay
Following breakfast, drive to Pyin Oo Lwin station at 8:00am for an adventurous day on the ‘historic’ train to Naung Pein (approx. 4-5hrs). The photographic highlight of the journey is the pass over the Gokteik Railway Viaduct. Constucted over 100 years ago by the Pennsylvania Steel Company, the viaduct spans a 300 metre deep gorge, and was once the second highest bridge in the world. The view from the train, and indeed the train ride itself is fascinating, and the surrounding scenery is simply beautiful. Upon arrival at Naung Pein you will be met by your driver and return to Mandalay.
This evening, after a sometimes challenging walk up Mandalay hill, you will be reward with yet another a fantastic Myanmar sunset. (B)
Overnight Red Canal Hotel – Shan Room or similar
Day 13 - Departure
Today is yours at leisure until it is time for your transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)