MYANMAR: PINDAYA FESTIVAL AND CHIN TRIBES
10 DAYS // MAR 16 – 26, 2016
March 16 - Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon (RGN) and transport to the hotel. After our orientation, we will photograph the golden Schwedagon, the largest pagoda in the country at sunset. Welcome dinner and overnight at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel.
March 17 - Yangon-Bagan
Catch an early morning flight at 6:30 am to Bagan. Known as the city of four million pagodas, Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia. With over 2,000 pagodas, temples and monasteries to explore, there is certainly plenty to photograph in this enchanting destination.
We will spend several days photographing the sacred landscape, temple interiors, monks, markets, women walking with brightly colored parasols, artisans, ox carts, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Dinner and overnight at the Aureum Bagan Resort, Orchid Villa.
March 18 - Bagan-Hot Air Balloon Shoot at Sunrise
Take the optional hot air balloon at sunrise (weather permitting). At Mt. Popa visit Nats Shrine, climb to top, then back down and drive to the local village of Shwesiding. This afternoon, take a wooden motor boat to the other side of the Irrawaddy River. When you reach the opposite bank of the river, you will change your mode of transportation to a local jeep. You will be able to visit numerous rural villages. Back to Bagan in time for a sunset shoot at Phat That Gyi Temple. Dinner and overnight at the Aureum Bagan Resort, Orchid Villa.
March 19 - Bagan-Kampalet-ChinTribes
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be met and driven to the Kampalet which is 7 hours away. On the way, pass Chauk town and visit the Chauk market. Dinner and overnight stay at Mountain Oasis Hotel.
March 20 - Kampalet-Chin Tribes
After breakfast, we will have the day to photograph chin tribes and the elderly women who have facial tattoos. We will photograph them in there homes of their villages. They wear heavy beaded skirts and head pieces. We will be passing through Natmatang National Park on our way to Mindat which will take us around 3 hours. Dinner and overnight stay at the Mountain Oasis Hotel.
March 21 - Kampalet-Bagan
After breakfast at hotel, drive back to Bagan and and make stops on the way. Stay at the Aureum Bagan Resort, Orchid Villa.
March 22 - Bagan/Heho-Pindaya
This morning, fly to Heho. Upon arrival, you will be picked up and transferred to Pindaya passing through some of the most fertile and lush scenery in Myanmar along the way. Home to farming communities that have worked the land for centuries, it is not uncommon to see buffalo-drawn carts and groups of famers wearing the traditional dress of the region. On arrival, visit pre-day Pindaya Pagoda festival around the Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Cave. Overnight Pindaya Inle Inn, Chalet.
March 23 - Pindaya
Early morning visit to caves of the area. Set high on a limestone ridge above Pone Taloke Lake, Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Cave is filled to bursting point with buddha images in an astonishing variety of shapes, sizes and materials, many beautifully adorned with beaten gold. At the latest count, all Pindaya caves contained more than 8,700 statues in total, some left centuries ago by Burmese pilgrims and others newly installed by Buddhist organizations.
During the festival at the Shwe Oo Min Pagoda Cave in Pindaya, thousands of devotees throng the cave to pay homage to the pagoda. You will find hundreds of small stalls selling delicious local foods, Shan handicrafts, all kinds of cheroots (Myanmar cigars), Shan umbrellas, and much more. Tribes from all over Shan State join this festivity in their colorful costumes and you will have the unique opportunity to be part of it. Overnight Pindaya Inle Inn, Chalet
March 24 - Pindaya-Nyaung Shwe-Inle Lake
Shan state’s prime attraction, Inle lake, is literally dotted with interesting villages and floating gardens and is one of the most picturesque locations in all of Myanmar. The lake, and the surrounding area, is also home to a number of tribes - mainly Intha, but also Shan, Kayah and Danaw to name a few. There are fantastic opportunities for browsing at local markets and interacting with the local population.
After breakfast, there will be time to explore the caves and the festival again. Then continue the journey to Nyaung Shwe and Inle Lake on which you will have the opportunity to stop at a local workshop and witness the Shan paper and umbrella making process. On the way, visit to Shwe Yanpay Monastery, which is famed for its unique oval windows. Transfer to your private boat and venture onto the lake. Overnight at Inle Resort, Royal Villa Lake View.
March 25 - Inle Lake
The local 5 Day Market rotates between towns in the Inle Lake region. The market is a great place to observe local life with many of the ethnic minorities attending to buy and sell their goods. On the way, there will also be the opportunity to visit a floating garden. And it goes without saying any visit to the lake would not be complete without witnessing the unique technique of leg rowing which is so synonymous with Intha fisherman.
After exploring the market and perhaps buying the odd local handicraft or two, it is time to continue to the ruined stupas and temples at the lake-side village of Inndein. A covered walkway leads to the main Shwe Inn Thein Paya, from where there are great views across the lake (weather permitting). After lunch at a local restaurant by own account, visit the five ancient gold-covered Buddha images at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest monastery on the lake. Late afternoon there will be the opportunity to visit Inn Paw Khone, a small village that specializes in silk weaving. Overnight at Inle Resort, Royal Villa Lake View.
March 26 - Inle Lake-Heho-Yangon-USA
Fly from Heho to Yangon at 9:40 am. Upon arrival in Yangon, transfer to your hotel. Photograph the Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset. Final group dinner. Important: please make sure you book your international flights back after midnight.
Itinerary is subject to change.