Burma photography tour

“Whether a beginner or experienced photographer, this tour will leave you captivated by Burma’s rich landscapes, ruined cities, glorious temples and bustling street-life. ”

Highlights

Yangon | Rangoon circular line | Mandalay | U Bein Bridge | Photography workshop & Mingun visit | Irrawaddy river boat trip | Bagan | Mount Popa | Kalaw | Paluang hill-tribe villages | Pindaya Cave Temples | Inle Lake | Opportunity for winery visit, canoe trip to village

Map

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
09 Jan 2017
£ 3450
including UK flights
Full
 
30 Jul 2017
£ 3330
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 30 Jul 2017 departure
24 Nov 2017
£ 3330
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 24 Nov 2017 departure
06 Jan 2018
£ 3330
including UK flights
Available
Click here to enquire about or book the 06 Jan 2018 departure
Our top tip:
You
Trip type:
Small Group, max 10 people
Activity level:
Leisurely - moderate
Accomm:
12 nights comfortable hotel
Solos:
Solo Travelers welcome
Included:
Transport, accomm., local guide, photography tuition, listed activities.
Meals:
12 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 2 dinners
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Burma photography tour

Environment

Benefits arise with a small group (max 10) with respect to any nature based activities: hiking, snorkelling, bird watching etc. Not only do smaller groups have less negative impact on the natural environment but, as above, it is easier for a guide to transmit instructions and knowledge. There is also far more chance of spotting birds and wildlife with lower numbers.

If governments see that creating and maintaining National Parks can create revenue, then it is an incentive for them to preserve such areas and create new ones instead of short term gain from logging, plantations etc. And if local communities can see that National Parks, Forest Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries etc bring in revenue for local communities and employment for local people then it is an incentive for them to respect such protected areas and participate in tourism schemes.

We therefore feel it is essential to incorporate as many such protected areas into our itineraries as possible – not only to show the scenery and exotic flora and fauna to visitors, but also to encourage authorities and local people to establish and take care of.

Community

Our Images photographic tours, in keeping with our philosophy, emphasise photography that appreciates local people, their cultures and religions, and encourage a positive impact on the places and people we visit.

We have included destinations not usually included in Burma itineraries such as Aung Ban, Kalaw, Pindaya, Pyin U Lwin as well as including less ‘touristic’ sites such as local markets in the more frequented destinations such as Mandalay and Yangon.

We are also hoping to shortly introduce an extension of our itinerary to Sittwe and Rakhine State.

Experience has shown that our small group sizes offers major benefits in various areas, and is integral to our concept of responsible tourism.

• Socially, small numbers create a much more cohesive group with far less chance of cliques or 'groups within groups' – it's often been described by those who travel with us as "more like a group of friends and not like a tour group at all".
• Service is inevitably improved with a high ratio of guides and tour-leaders to customers and we are able to offer a more personalized service. Information and directions are passed on far more easily and a high level of flexibility can be maintained, which isn't possible with larger groups.
• Transport; we are able to use smaller types of transport as well as making public transport more practical. i.e. pick–up trucks and minibuses instead of large coaches. This has practical as well as ecological benefits
• Restaurants and Accommodation; we use smaller, locally run restaurants and accommodation that larger groups wouldn't be able to do - again another essential element of our tours.
• Interacting with local people; another significant advantage is when visiting local people, villages, tribal groups and so on, a smaller group has far less impact, is far less intimidating and there's a much greater chance of a warm welcome and opportunities for genuine interaction. (No villager is going to invite 16 people in for a cup of tea!)• Nature and the Environment: Similar


Great care has been made to insure that a maximum of expenditure goes to privately owned and local companies, hotels, restaurants etc and a minimum amount to government owned properties such as unavoidable entrance fees to sites such as Bagan, as well as actively endeavouring to avoid places or companies that may be privately owned but have close contacts with the government.
Indeed certain state-run museums and sites we judged non-essential have been deliberately omitted from our itinerary.

Additional specific schemes supported on this itinerary include;

Visits to local handicraft manufacturers and ‘cottage industries’ in for example Inle and Pindaya.

Visits to local markets

Use of local forms of transport where practical such as cyclos/rickshaws and ox or horse carts.

Visits to hill-tribe villages – Palaung and Danu and a visit to a Palaung school where we are looking at possibilities of material assistance in terms of books, pencils, sports items etc

Reviews of Burma photography tour

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 11 Feb 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Balloon flight over Bagan

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring instant coffee and teabags, most hotels offer prepacked mixture with milk and sugar added

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The only benefits were the merchants received trade from us, but we all interacted well with the locals.


4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Good but would benefit by extending the duration from 10 to 15 days

Read the operator's response here:

We are so pleased that your photographic tour of Burma was a success and hope it
produced many wonderful images as well as memories. We'd love it to be longer, but we
do find that 14 day tours are often the most popular, despite 2 of those days having
to be spent traveling. We are glad you were able to take the opportunity of doing one
of our range of extensions and visit Bago and the Golden Rock.

Interaction with local people is so important on our tours and we do want our
customers and those we visit to be left with positive memories of each other. We
support those local communities by exclusively staying in locally run hotels and guest
houses, eating in local restaurants, using privately owned transport and visiting many
markets. Our Tour Manager is currently identifying a school where she wishes to focus
our support as part of our ongoing commitment to the local community.

Thanks for your comment on the coffee/tea, you obviously enjoy an early morning cuppa
in your room, unfortunately these can be the 3 in 1 type, but hotels offer regular tea
and coffee at breakfast time.

Reviewed on 09 Feb 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Traveling to remote places and visiting villages and watching people in their everyday lives. Our route was well planned by our agent. Also, it was fantastic to be in the company of our excellent small group led by an experienced photographer who showed us many different ways of using light and lenses and who was also relaxed and fun to be with. Our experiences felt real.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Read about the country and be well prepared - some of the routes and the food! are demanding on the body. Have a completely open mind. The people of Myanmar are gentle and welcoming, steeped in the Buddhist dharma.Then relax and enjoy this emerging country and be as generous as they are!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I do hope so, they really need the sharing of whatever foreigners bring to their country.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


It was a really interesting adventure and we learned a great deal about local life and about photography, a fine combination, and we were lucky enough to have four days relaxing at the beach at the end.

Read the operator's response here:

So pleased that you enjoyed your photography tour so much and that our photographer,
Gary, met up to your expectations. We do everything we can to make sure that our tours
benefit local people and indeed, this was our concern about Burma, and why we delayed
going there for so many years. We very carefully selected our local partner to ensure
they were a private organisation who thought along exactly the same lines as us when it
came to responsible travel. We visit many off the beaten track places and thus take
tourists (and our/your cash) to areas not widely visited. Our genuinely small groups
enable us to select restaurants and guest houses which are locally owned.

Reviewed on 29 Nov 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Having Nathan Horton on the trip gave a very interesting slant to an already enjoyable vacation. Nathan had a flair for taking the group to places which were not on the tourist trail and this was very much appreciated. His photographic tuition was well worth the premium paid for this service and my photography improved whilst enjoying the country and the people - Boom.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Just enjoy it.

One tip is that Nathan does not hike at a leisurely pace and, as a resident of Cambodia, is used to the heat and humidity. Unless you are able bodied (I have a worn knee joint so am not) and reasonably fit (my wife is not), group members might find the pace of hikes somewhat challenging. I would not, personally, categorize the treks as 'Easy' for those of mature years although they are very simple for anyone in their 30s. The categories might make this clearer perhaps.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


It is difficult to answer this. I did feel that we were able to put money into some local places, such as restaurant and transport services and with donations made to monasteries. However, at Lake Inlay we were herded into very tourist orientated outlets and it was difficult to judge how much the locals benefited from our being there, or whether any money was going into the pockets of better-off entrepreneurs.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I believe that the Asia Plaza Hotel used on the first and last day of this vacation was sub-standard and provided a very disappointing gateway to each end of the vacation. On each visit we had to get rooms changed and the overall quality was very dismal - although the staff were friendly enough. It was also suggested that the hotel is, or perhaps was, owned by the Junta Government and, if this is true, goes against the ethos of Responsible Travel. In any event, I would have preferred to have paid more for the vacation and stayed in much better accommodation, especially after a long and tiring flight.

The tour, overall, was terrific. It was exactly what I had hoped for although

Read the operator's response here:

We thank John for his comments and are pleased he enjoyed the tour and that his photography improved. Our Images tours are organised along the same lines as our regular tours and have other guest photographers - Gary Latham also leads tours (no idea whether he walks slower than Nathan, but we can ask him to as the tours should be suitable for all). Apologies that the hotel in Rangoon was not up to scratch - we have had difficulties with hotels in Burma as it is an increasingly popular destination, however we have noted John's comments and will endeavour to a different hotel whenever possible.

Lake Inle is touristy as it is one of the most famous destinations in Burma. Like tourist attractions throughout the world, local people try and make some money from selling handicrafts to visitors as well as providing the boats and boat pilots that carry the visitors around.

We try and avoid the least interesting and most blatantly commercial stops even though they are still run by local people and our trips generally include stops to see the following handicrafts; cheroot making, silk weaving, silver making and a Padaung handicraft shop. All are genuine village cottage industries run by locals and employing locals and of course each handicraft manufacturer has a shop attached if visitors want to buy and products. If we don’t include such stops, then we are simply photographing the floating villages and local people and leave without the opportunity to contribute any money to the local people and handicraft makers.

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