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OVERVIEW

Inle Lake / Mandalay / Mrauk U / Mawlamyine and Hpa An / Yangon

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

Exo Travel

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Tour Highlights for Myanmar Through The Lens: Iconic Photography Tour
Photograph Myanmar’s diverse landscapes-

Photograph Myanmar’s diverse landscapes-

Photograph spectacular rice paddies and caves near Hpa An, majestic Inle Lake, Moeyungyi wetlands and more.

Document local lifestyles

Document local lifestyles

Capture the lives of the Myanmar people with market visits, pilgrimage trips and encounters with farmers and fishermen.

Explore spectacular Mrauk U

Explore spectacular Mrauk U

Travel to remote Mrauk U and admire 15th-century temples and meet the tattoo-faced women of the Chin ethnic group.

Exo Travel

ITINERARY

Myanmar Through The Lens: Iconic Photography Tour - 14 Days / 13 Nights

DAY 1 - Arrive MandalayMealsMEALS [L]

Exo TravelMandalay Airport to Mandalay city centre (41 km): 60 minutes Mandalay-Amarapura (13 km): 30 mins

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 toward 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 kilometre 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 - Mandalay MealsMEALS [B]

This morning the tour starts at 08:00.

After breakfast, 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 jewelry, 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 - Mandalay - Heho - Inle LakeMealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelHeho Airport to Nyaung Shwe (28 km): 45 mins Nyaung Shwe Jetty to Hotel on Inle Lake (10 – 20 km): 30 – 60 mins

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 - Inle Lake - In Dein - Inle Lake MealsMEALS [B]

Today the sightseeing begins at 08:00 with a visit toAfter breakfast, visit  the lake’s morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5 day rhythm and is visited by colourfully dressed inhabitants of surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. (Note: market is daily except on dark and full moon days).

From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of Indein.  Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village and wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area.  Here, climb a covered stairway to the top of a hill covered with picturesque ancient stupas. From this lofty vantage point, enjoy magnificent views of the lake below.

After exploring Indein, return to the boat and continue along the lake for additional sightseeing before returning to the hotel in the afternoon.   

Overnight on Inle Lake.

DAY 5 - Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon - Hpa AnMealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelYangon – Hpa An (293 km): 6h

After breakfast, transfer to Heho Airport for a flight to Yangon.

Upon arrival in Yangon, the guide and car will be waiting. From there, begin a scenic 5-to-6 hour drive (293 km) to Hpa An. On the way, take rest stops at several interesting sites. 

Arrive at Hpa An late in the afternoon and check in to the hotel. Take some time to explore this town’s unique charm independently or simply sit back and relax at the hotel. 

Overnight in Hpa An.

DAY 6 - Hpa AnMealsMEALS [B]

This morning the tour starts at 08:00 Aafter breakfast., c

Choose one of the below optional trips

Option 1: Trek Mount Zwe Kabin.  Transfer to the base 722 metre-high Mount Zwe Kabin, a sacred mountain with thousands of identical Buddha statues lining its base.  A 4-to-5 hour out-and-back trek to the top of this mountain affords one of lower Burma’s most spectacular sights.

Option 2: Walk up Phar Pu Mountain. Transfer to Hpa An’s downtown jetty. Embark on a 10-minute boat trip across the Thanlwin River. Walk for 30 minutes up Phar Pu, which has stunning views of the river and downtown Hpa An.   

In the afternoon, visit Sadan Cave for an Indiana Jones-like experience. Typically only accessible from November to March, Sadan Cave starts off as a typical Burmese cave, full of Buddha images and even a reclining Buddha. On the way to the back of the cave, a natural tunnel comes into view. Follow a row of lights through the tunnel for about 15 minutes to get to the other side. At the end of the tunnel a magnificent view of a hidden lake and meadow come into sight, making for a spectacular photo opportunity.

Stop and have tea or coffee at the tea shop at the edge of the lake. From here, hop on a local boat for a tour around the lake and pass through another cave accessible only by boat.

On the route back to Hpa An, stop at Kyauk Ka Lat. This natural rock sculpture, surrounded by a manmade lake, offers spectacular views of Mt. Zwekabin and the surrounding area.

Overnight in Hpa An.

DAY 7 - Hpa An - KyaikhtiyoMealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelHpa An – Kyaikhtiyo (147 km): 2h

Today the tour begins at 08:00 Afafter breakfast at the hotel. , tTransfer to Kyaikhtiyo Base Camp (around two hours drive, 125 km).

En route, visit to Bayint Nyi Cave and Kaw Gun Cave. The former has a hot spring lake with beautiful views of the temple complex and cave. Kaw Gun Cave is also fascinating, with over 2000 stone tablets with Mon inscriptions and hundreds of Buddha statues.

Arrive at Kyaikhtiyo Base Camp. Travel by open-air truck along a winding road (45 minutes) and be dropped off at the junction camp to travel the final distance to Golden Rock on foot. The uphill trek is along a paved trekking path and offers great views of the surrounding area. For an easier alternative, employ the services of four porters and literally be carried uphill in a specially-made sedan chair to enjoy amazing views without all of the hard work! (Extra cost not included) 

After about one hour of trekking, reach the Golden Rock.  A huge boulder covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff, Golden Rock is one of Myanmar's most holy pilgrimage sites.  The pagoda here is said to hold a hair of the Buddha and Buddhists from across the country, and indeed the world, come here to pay homage. 

Overnight near Golden Rock.

DAY 8 - Kyaikhtiyo - Moeyungyi Wetland MealsMEALS [B|L|D]

For those wanting a truly spectacular experience who are willing to wake up well before the sun rises to see it, it’s possible to head to Golden Rock again very early in the morning. Starting in the blue hours before dawn, local pilgrims gather by the rock to make offerings in the solitude of morning while the sun crests over the surrounding mountains casting its rays upon the rock. It’s a spectacularly photogenic experience that we highly recommend trying.

Afterwards, return down to base camp by the same route on foot and by open-air truck.

Afterwards, the journey continues at 09:00 and embark on an incredibly scenic 3-hour drive north to Moeyungyi. 

Moeyungyi Wetlands is a vital shelter for some 55 species of resident birds. Due to its proximity to the East Asian-Australian Flyway, it also hosts some 70 species of migratory birds who stop here for a rest while migrating. The area is also home to famously friendly locals who live off the wetlands.

Upon arrival, check in to Moeyungyi Wetlands Resort and Eco Lodge -the area’s only accommodation.  Enjoy lunch at the resort and prepare to go wild with a wetlands adventure tour.

With a boat excursion through the wetlands, discover buffalo bathing in the shallow waters, see a vast number of birds,and encounter local fisherman.  Afterwards, head back to the resort and take some time to explore the area on foot.
Dinner at Resort.

Overnight at Moeyungyi Wetlands Resort.

DAY 9 - Moeyungyi Wetland - Yangon - Sittwe - Mrauk U MealsMEALS [B|L]

Exo TravelMoeyungyi Wetland to Yangon (119 km): 2h

Today the tour starts at 08:00 Afafter breakfast.,

tThere is an opportunity for more bird watching before transferring back to Yangon Domestic Airport for a flight to Sittwe, capital of the Rakhine State.

Upon arrival, transfer to Sittwe Jetty and board a private boat heading to Mrauk U. The journey takes about 5-6 hours, travelling upstream on the Kaladan River.

Lunch will be served on board.

Midday arrive in ancient city of Mrauk U. Mrauk U was Myanmar’s capital in the 15th century and, at its peak, was one of the richest cities in all of Asia. This period was one of prolific building, and the riches that were left behind make Mrauk U one of Asia’s most enchanting archeological sites. 

Check in to the hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring at leisure or relaxing.

Overnight in Mrauk U.

DAY 10 - Mrauk U MealsMEALS [B]

Awake early in the morning and depart hotel after breakfast around 06:00 to enjoy the unforgettable experience of witnessing the sun as it rises over the misty hills and mysterious temples of Mrauk U. (Note: departure time will depend on the season)

Afterwards, return to the hotel for breakfast and continue sightseeing in Mrauk U.  Begin with a visit to the local market and continue to the ruins of the Royal Palace. At the peak of Mrauk U’s power, the Royal Palace loomed high over the city. Although today only a small brick platform remains, it’s still an impressive sight. Continue along the tour for visits to Koethaung Temple, the Pitakataik Library, Laungbanpyauk Pagoda, Yadana Mannaung and Sakaya Mannaung Pagodas. These temples and pagodas are in a low-lying area surrounded by hills and are some of the most important religious shrines of the medieval Mrauk U period.

After lunch time, visit Shitthaung Temple, Mrauk U's most important monument. Built in 1535 with a labor force of more than 1,000 architects and workmen, Shitthaung Temple contains a remarkable collection of Arakanese Buddha images and reliefs.  

Continue to the multi-spired Andawthein Ordination Hall, which is filled with unique stone carvings.  Then visit the circular Ratanabon Pagoda and the fortress-like temple of Dukkhanthein, whose vaulted passages contain interesting stone sculptures. The last stop of the day is at Laymyetnha.  Built in 1430, Laymyethnha was the first and oldest pagoda in Mrauk U.

Overnight in Mrauk U.

DAY 11 - Mrauk U - Chin Villages - Mrauk U MealsMEALS [B|L]

This morning the sightseeing begins at 08:00 Aafter breakfast andt,  start a scenic 30-minute ride to a small village jetty.

Then continue by boat along the Lay Mro River for 2-3 hours to the Lay Too Chin Minority Villages. Chin people are best known for their colorful fabrics, as well as the tattooed faces of the women. According to legend, a central Burmese King believed Chin women were the most beautiful in the land and would travel to the Chin State to take Chin girls as concubines. Chin girls older than 13 years of age began tattooing their faces in an effort to appear ugly so as to prevent them from being taken by the King.  Nowadays, elderly women are the last remaining remnants of this fading tradition.

A picnic lunch will be served in the village (lunch box).

After visiting two to three Chin villages, return back to Mrauk U by boat and car.

Overnight in Mrauk U.

DAY 12 - Mrauk U - Sittwe - Yangon MealsMEALS [B]

Exo TravelYangon Airport to Yangon city centre (20 km): 30 – 60 mins

After an early breakfast, board a chartered local boat at around 06:00 to travel from Mrauk U to Sittwe (around 5-6 hours). Along the way, witness the unique riverine lifestyle of local people in the Rakhine State.

Upon arrival in Sittwe, stop for lunch at a local restaurant (own account) before transferring to Sittwe Airport for a flight to Yangon.

Arrive in Yangon in the evening and transfer to the hotel for check-in.

Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 13 - YangonMealsMEALS [B]

Today the sightseeing begins at 08:30.

After breakfast, meet with the guide and driver at the hotel for a full day of exploring Yangon. Formerly known as Rangoon, it is a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes it one of the most fascinating cities in Southeast Asia.

Transfer to Yangon Railway Station to take a local Circular Train journey to the outskirts of town (45 minutes ride). The slow travelling train provides unique opportunities to observe the lively and colorful lives of rural Burmese people. 

Disembark at Insein Market for a look at the huge variety of street vendors selling colorful wares.  Enjoy exploring the market and meeting friendly locals before returning by road back to Yangon.

Then, take a tour of downtown Yangon. On foot or by car, venture down city streets lined with fading colonial buildings, bustling markets and tea shops. Visit Mahabandoola Park and the Sule Pagoda before heading to Chinatown, a hub of activity at all hours of the day.

Stop for lunch midday at Feel Myanmar, one of Yangon’s most popular Burmese restaurants. While brushing shoulders with locals, sample tasty, fresh dishes typical of Burmese cuisine. (Client’s own account)

After lunch, venture downtown to explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architectural sites. Start at the post office – a lovely historic building- and walk to Sule Paya in the middle of downtown, passing by the Strand Hotel, Mahabandoola Garden and Independence Monument along the way. Then visit Little India and Chinatown, a colorful cacophony of restaurants, temples and markets. Reach Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, and browse through dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods, so be sure to pick up some souvenirs while there.  (Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays).

Late in the afternoon, visit Shwedagon Pagoda -the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar.  The central stupa is 90 metres tall and gilded with gold leaf.  As the sun begins to set, enjoy breathtaking views of the Pagoda and surrounding skyline before transferring back to the hotel.

Overnight in Yangon.

DAY 14 - Depart Yangon MealsMEALS [B]

Today is at spent at leisure until transferring to the airport for the onward flight.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Our Service include:

  • Accommodation on shared twin room basis with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the program (B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • English-speaking guide throughout the trip ( Supplement rate for special photography guide, please refer to separate table)
  • All transfers and excursions with private air-conditioned vehicles with drivers except Kyaikhtiyo (transfers by open non-air-conditioned vehicles)
  • Horse cart tour in Ava
  • Trishaw in Nyaung Shwe
  • Private motorized boat in Inle Lake excursions & Moeyungyi Wetland
  • Circle Train Ride in Yangon
  • Porter fees at airport & jetty
  • Drinking water while touring
  • Entrance fees for the visits mentioned in the program

Our services do not include:
●    International ticket to/from Yangon
●    Meals other than mentioned (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner) 
●    Domestic flights (rate: please refer to our flight tariffs)
●    Visa arrangements for Myanmar 
●    Fuel Surcharge for domestic flights 
●    Visits not mentioned in the program 
●    Drinks and personal expenses
●    Tips and porters at the hotels
●    Credit card fees (2-3%) or bank transfer fees for non-cash payments
●    Any other items not mentioned
●    Camera fees in visited area

  • This program is only available from October to April due to rainy season closures
  • Surcharges or compulsory meals may apply for holiday periods like Christmas, New Year, Water Festival, etc.
  • All itineraries are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control including, weather, road or trail conditions, changes in transport times, etc.
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