Photographing Myanmar's Ancient Sites and Landscapes - November 8, 2019 - Atlas Obscura Trips
Photo Credit: John McDermott
Photo Credit: John McDermott
Photo Credit: John McDermott
Photo Credit: John McDermott

Photographing Myanmar's Ancient Sites and Landscapes

from $4,980 USD per person for 11 days, 10 nights
See Dates and Prices
  • Max Group Size: 10
  • Easy
  • Overland Adventure

Myanmar is an incredibly diverse country, home to over 100 hundred different ethnic groups. Each unique stop on this 11-day expedition will feel like a world unto itself. We'll photograph on land, on water, and by air; we'll see sunrises and sunsets; we'll explore shadowy caves by day and striking stupas by night. John McDermott, a professional photographer who has worked throughout Myanmar and neighboring regions, will provide the group with hands-on guidance and expertise. Throughout the journey, our cameras will act as a constant reminder to pause and observe, to pay attention to details and ask questions about the rituals, traditions, and cuisines that we'll experience together. 

We'll begin in the city of Mandalay, Myanmar's former royal capital, stretching along the Irrawaddy River. From there, we'll take to the waterways, bound for the ancient capital of Bagan, a vast flood plain dotted with hundreds of temples and stupas stretching into the horizon. Next, it’s on to Pindaya to explore limestone caves home to thousands of shining Buddhas, and then to Inle Lake, a pristine body of water featuring floating gardens, markets, monasteries, and traditional fishing boats. Our final days together will bring us to Yangon and the Shwedagon Pagoda, the country’s largest and most important religious shrine.

  • Visits to ancient and royal capital cities: Mandalay and Yangon
  • Myanmar’s most stunning archaeological spectacle, the remains of Bagan
  • Monasteries and floating gardens of Inle Lake


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Additional Info

Arrival & Departure

Note that the trip begins in Mandalay and ends in Yangon. When planning your travel, we recommend flying into Mandalay International Airport (MDL) by 3 p.m. on November 8 and departing from Yangon International Airport (RGN) anytime on November 18. Thailand's Bangkok International Airport (BKK) is a convenient hub for connecting flights. We are happy to refer you to our flight specialists for assistance in booking your travel.

Activity Level

You should feel comfortable walking four to five miles over the course of each day and remaining on your feet for long periods of time. The trip includes transport by foot, boat, and private van, in addition to two regional flights.

Photo Experience & Gear

Participants should have a strong basic understanding of the digital photographic process, including some post-processing skills using Adobe Lightroom and/or Photoshop, or their equivalent. A good DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera is suggested along with the proper user manual and/or complete understanding of the camera’s menus. Each participant should have a good kit, but one that is compact and easy to carry on your person at all times. Lens selection is a user choice but situations will call for both wide-angle and telephoto capabilities, and fast lenses are preferred. Tripods are optional but recommended as they will come in handy in low light and dusk settings. Email us if you'd like our full set of suggestions for your photo gear kit.

Remember that it is always important to ask permission to photograph someone, even if it is just with a nod of the head, and especially from anywhere close-up.

Dates and Prices

Nov 08–18, 2019
Shared Room
$4,980 USD per person
Single Room
$5,475 USD per person
The total cost of this trip is $4,980. A $500 deposit is required to hold your space. The deposit is non-refundable after three days. The final payment of $4,480 will be due by August 5, 2019. All reservations will be final after this date and subject to our cancellation policy. By submitting your deposit, you agree to the trip's Terms & Conditions. For travelers wishing to have single accommodations during the trip, an additional $495 will be due at the time of the final payment.
  • Ten nights of accommodations in boutique hotels.
  • All meals during the trip, beginning with dinner on November 8 and ending with dinner on November 18.
  • Transport throughout the trip in private, air-conditioned vehicles and boats.
  •  Internal flights from Bagan to Heho (Day 6) and Heho to Yangon (Day 10).
  • Entrance fees for all included visits and activities.
  • Gratuities to hotel staff and drivers.
  • The company of a talented photography instructor and experienced local guide.
  • International flights to/from Myanmar: Note that the trip begins in Mandalay and ends in Yangon.
  • Myanmar visa; see costs and requirements. (Apply at local consulate or online with eVisa.)
  • Photography equipment and gear.
  • Optional hot air balloon flight in Bagan ($300 per person).
  • Travel insurance (recommended).

Trip FAQ

November is the start of Myanmar's more temperate winter season, with daytime temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s°F (32–34°C), dropping down to the low 70s°F at night (22°C). Keep in mind that we’ll be spending lots of time outdoors and moving around.