Myanmar Through the Lens

Description

Capture the beauty of Myanmar’s epic monuments, spectacular landscapes and dazzling smiles of its people. Take a 10-day journey filled with special excursions designed to maximize photographic opportunities. Visit the highlights and then stray off the beaten track to collect a camera-full of amazing Myanmar memories.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Upon arrival at the Mandalay Airport, meet with the guide and driver and head south of the city to Ava, the capital of Myanmar from the 14th to 18th centuries.

  • Take a short ferry ride across the river to a waiting horse and carriage and hop aboard.

  • Visit the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the remains of the Royal Palace and Fort.

  • Along the way, pass by charming little villages nestled between Ava’s and get a glimpse of local life in the Burmese countryside.

  • Stop for lunch in Ava before returning to the car.

  • Return towards the city and stop at Amarapura, a former capital whose name means ‘City of Immortality’.

  • First, visit a silk weaving workshop, then head to U Bien Bridge. This 200-year-old teak wood structure is constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace. At more than a kilometer in length, it’s the longest teak wood construction in the world. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge soaking up fabulous views of the Taungthaman Lake and the surrounding countryside, then prepare for something special. U Bien Bridge’s real claim to fame rests in its legendary sunsets. As the sun dips below the horizon the entire area becomes bathed in golden light, making for one of the best photographic opportunities in all of Asia. Be sure to take advantage of it by taking a few snaps.

  • Overnight in Mandalay.

 

Day 2

  • After breakfast, you will be picked up by the guide and head out for an incredible and photogenic morning.

  • Transfer to 86th street for a walking tour of some hidden highlights as the city wakes up. Part of the reason Mandalay has such historical significance in Myanmar is its strategic vicinity to nearby ruby, gold and jade mines. This position has allowed the jade industry to flourish. Visit Mandalay’s main jade market for a look at this hidden side of Myanmar’s heritage. In addition to white, yellow and green jade, there are also precious gems of all forms. From raw, unpolished stones to beautifully handcrafted jewellery, this is the perfect place to learn about the industry or even come across an amazing deal -the guide will be on hand to help negotiate if needed! Be sure to take a few photos of this unique place before leaving.

  • Continue to Mahamuni Pagoda. Considered one of Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist sites, worshippers have covered the Buddha image it houses with so much gold-leaf that it has taken on a distinct ‘lumpy’ appearance. The palpable religious fervour of Mahamuni Pagoda makes it the perfect place to photograph local traditions and culture.

  • Nearby, observe skilled local craftsmen as they create beautiful traditional works of art such as wood carvings, kalaga tapestries and gold leaf. Learn how these traditions were shaped and maintained over generations while capturing memorable photos of the processes they use.

  • Next, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title as the ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Walk onwards to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teak wood building is known for its exquisite woodcarving and offers fantastic photo opportunities.

  • Then, head to the top of Mandalay Hill as the sun begins to set to enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the city and Irrawaddy River. Overnight in Mandalay.

 

Day 3

  • After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Heho, where a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images.

  • Depending on the time of arrival, it may then be possible to visit the Nyaung Shwe Morning Market where locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.

  • Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to markets around the country. Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes.

  • Hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet peaceful streets. Make a stop at the ‘Tomato House’, a warehouse-like structure where tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then, continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos at will.

  • Upon reaching water’s edge, board a private motorboat to head out onto Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and iconic sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud, and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.

  • Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.

  • Overnight on Inle Lake.

 

Day 4

  • Explore a 5-day rotating market (if your visit coincides with the schedule) which offers an insight into the life of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha people who come to these markets to sell and buy goods.

  • Next, travel by long-tailed boat across the lake to Indein, at the western end of Inle, for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Passing through the busy village of Ywama, the largest on the Lake, with many channels and tall teak houses on stilts; enter a long, often tree-lined canal, either side of which farmers cultivate their land against the backdrop of the Shan Hills.

  • Disembark at the jetty and walk for 15 minutes through Indein village to reach the 14th - 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. Many pagodas here remain charmingly untouched, with plants and even small trees growing out of them, making the area very atmospheric. A covered walkway popular with souvenir stallholders leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th - 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed.

  • Returning to the river you continue by boat downstream past Yethar village, watching local life on the banks and birds in the trees until rejoining the Lake. Stop at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State.

  • Continue to Nampan village, meeting with residents to witness traditional Ikat weaving techniques firsthand. Continue to Inpawkhon village, where you interact with locals, immersing yourself in village life. Visit a boat builder’s workshop, blacksmith shop and cheroot making factory, where you can try your hand at making the fabled Burmese cigar. Overnight on Inle Lake.  

 

Day 5

  • After breakfast, transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and overland to Heho Airport (32 km – 1 hour) for a domestic flight back to Yangon and with connecting flight to Sittwe.

  • On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your to Mrauk U by a private car via stunning landscapes and paddy fields. Enjoy scenic ride and a few stops at villages and at ancients’ cities and temple ruins of Yakhine Dynasty. If time permits we can also visit the Rakhine Traditional Longyi weaving center.

  • Drinks and snacks will be served at a local shop.

  • End of the day get to your hotel in Mrauk U.

 

Day 6

  • Mrauk U (once known as Myo Haung) was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Arakan (now Rakhine State) in the 15th century, when it enjoyed great wealth and was an important commercial port. A visitor described it as one of the richest cities in Asia, and as a result it was coveted by many surrounding kingdoms. Mrauk U declined after two disastrous earthquakes in 1761 and 1762, and in 1784 the Arakanese kingdom was taken over by the Burmese King Bodawpaya. In the wake of the first Anglo-Burmese war in 1826, and the subsequent founding of Sittwe by the British as an administrative centre, Mrauk U's oblivion became complete. Today there are few visible remains of its greatness, but Mrauk U has charm, with significant ruins, local markets, wooden houses and friendly people. Some of the ruins can be visited on foot from the town, whilst others require a bullock cart or vehicle.

  • Visit Laungbankpyauk Pagoda, locally known as 'plate pagoda' because a wall at the front is embedded with plate-like tiles in bright colours.

  • Then visit Mrauk U's main market and Koe Thaung Pagoda, the largest in Mrauk U, where a large octagonal tower covers a rock cave tunnel holding some 90,000 Buddha images.

  • Afterward, continue to visit the famous Shittaung Pagoda, perhaps the best preserved. It is home to some 80,000 Buddha images. 33 smaller ones, rising from platform to platform, flank the large central stupa, and are similar in style to Indonesia's Borobudur. Inside the pagoda it is fascinating to wander through the interior passages admiring reliefs and Buddha images in niches.

  • Visit Andaw Pagoda, an octagonal monument smaller than Shittaung but with a similar linear layout.

  • Opposite Shittaung, visit Dukkanthein ordination hall, a construction of laterite and sandstone bricks that resembles a huge bunker from the outside. Enjoy sunset at Haridaung Pagoda hill. Overnight in Mrauk U.

 

Day 7

  • After breakfast, start a scenic journey on a bumpy road by car about 30 minutes to the village.

  • Then continue by boat up along the Lay Mro River to the Lay Too Chin minority villages for 2-3 hours. There are some 50 Chin villages in the southern Rakhine region, maintaining a distinct culture and traditional lifestyle. Chin people are probably best known for their colorful fabrics, as well as tattooed faces of the women. A legend said that former Burmese Kings considered Chin women to be the most beautiful of all the ethnic tribes. They would travel to the Chin State looking for women to bring back to the capitol as their concubines. Chin girls, from the age of 13, began to tattoo their faces to make them ugly and to prevent them from being taken to the Burmese palace. Though this tattooing practice has mostly stopped, you can see the tattoos on the older generations.  You will also visit local weavers keeping this ancient tradition flourishing.

  • After arriving back in Mrauk U via boat and car, you have the rest of the day free to spend at your leisure.

 

Day 8

  • Enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel, then travel back to Sittwe by boat.

  • Sit on the deck and watch the scenery change as you draw nearer to the Bay of Bengal.

  • In Sittwe, you have time to explore the main market to watch local fisher families and farmers ply their wares, before making your way to the airport to take the flight back to Yangon.

  • After breakfast, transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and overland to Heho Airport (32 km – 1 hour) for a domestic flight back to Yangon.

  • On arrival, you will be met and transferred to downtown.

  • The former capital of Myanmar, Yangon is a bustling city featuring colonial architecture and ancient pagodas. Rangoon remains the commercial center of a country steeped in mystique and rooted in tradition. Relatively unexplored by tourists, this magical country is now opening up, offering a unique opportunity to discover a culture that is a world away from our own.

  • Complete your day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline. Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed.

 

Day 9

  • After breakfast, you will be met and drive downtown to the Central Post Office from where you will start your walking tour.

  • Walk along Strand Road passing by the landmark Strand Hotel and the Pansodan Jetty. See the daily life of the local people including workers, busy street vendors and the shoppers during rush hour.

  • Go up Pansodan Street famous for some of Yangon’s most impressive colonial buildings.

  • Arrive at Mahabandoola Road from where you have the perfect view on Sule Pagoda, City Hall and the High Court.

  • Cross the greens of Mahabandoola Garden and continue to 31st street well known for second hand book shops as well as typical historical shop houses.

  • Continue your walk by discovering the gold shops of Shwe Bontha Street and from there head to Bogyoke (Scott's) Market with hundreds of food, clothes, handicrafts and gems stores (closed on Mondays and on public holidays).

  • In the afternoon, cross to the animated Indian District of Anawrahta Road to reach a Hindu Temple.

  • Stop for a refreshing drink at a typical Myanmar tea shop crowded with people who have completed the day’s tasks.

  • Go further down on Kon Zay Dan Street and complete your walking tour in the busy area of Chinatown visiting a Chinese Temple.

  • Total walking time approximately: 4½ h.

  • Overnight in Yangon.

 

Day 10

  • Today, you will be met in your hotel lobby and transferred to the airport for your flight to next destination.

Myanmar

April to September 2020 From

R 69 289.00*

per person

October 2020 to March 2021 From

R 71 263.00*

per person

10 Days / 9 Nights

Validity: Immediately - March 2021

* All above pricing is based on 3* accommodation and 1 traveler, inquire with us for 4* accommodation and bigger groups.

Including

  • 9 nights shared Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast at the indicated room types (see hotel category list) (check in and check out around noontime)

  • All transfers and transportation with air-con vehicles (types of vehicles depending on the number of pax):

    • 1-2pax: Saloon car or similar 

    • 3-5pax: Hiace car of similar

    • 6-10pax: Coach of 18-24 seats 

  • Local ENGLISH speaking photography guide throughout

  • All entrance and zone fees as program

  • Meals (B/L/D) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) as indicated in the program (Local food)

  • 2 bottles of mineral water per person per day on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing only

  • 1 tour leader free of charge from +8 pax, based on twin-sharing room (exclusive of airfares and other surcharges)

Excluding

  • Airfares (international and domestic)

  • Meals (other than mentioned in the program)

  • Drinks 

  • Visas to Myanmar

  • Mineral water beyond that supplied

  • Tips

  • Early check in or late check out

  • Insurances

  • Optional excursions and activities

  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation

  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, beverages…)

  • Peak season surcharges if any

  • All not mentioned above

Surcharges apply for high season or late bookings. Prices are in ZAR, subject to availability & tax fluctuations.

+27 (010) 035 5205

1st Floor, 65 Knoppiesdoring St, Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg, 2156

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