Myanmar Travel Photographer | Michael D Photography .ca

Myanmar Travel Photographer:

This past October, I had the privilege of travelling to Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) to shoot a destination wedding for a Vancouver couple. During our 2 week stay, we were fortunate enough to travel to a few different cities throughout the lovely, untouched country. So I’ll narrate as I take you along on the journey with me =)

Day 1: We arrived in Yangon at about 11 am and headed to our nearby airport hotel. We pretty much dumped our bags in our room and hopped in a cab so that we could explore downtown Yangon. We pretty much followed tips from our Lonely Planet book. We headed to the massive Shwedagon Pagoda below. Just remember to take your shoes off before you enter every pagoda in Myanmar. (for ease, bring a bag with you to put your footwear inside)

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, Shwedagon pagoda
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, Shwedagon pagoda

Larger pagodas usually have areas dedicated to each of the 7 days of the week. You are meant to find the day corresponding to the weekday in which you were born & pay respects (either with money, lighting a candle, or bathing the buddha statue located in each area).

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, Shwedagon pagoda

That is the Shwedagon in the distance amidst the chaos of Yangon. The second photo is of our hotel in Bagan, which we travelled to the very next day via airplane. Travelling around the country is most easily done by air. Although travel by bus & train are possible. We found it best (and cheapest) to buy airline tickets at the airport the day before (or a few days prior). Online booking for airlines is done by a means of sending an airline company an email for your request. A return email is usually not received. And you may book with one of the many popular airlines (Mandalay Air, Air Bagan, Air KBZ, Golden Myanmar Airlines, etc) only to find out you board a completely different airline when you go. 😉

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Oasis Hotel Bagan Myanmar

Bagan literally has over 4000 pagodas big & small, short & tall. Each uniquely sculpted with brick & mortar, these structures are truly mesmerizing!

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple

We rented bicycles from our hotel for something like $1 or $2, or you could rent a scooter if you’d prefer not to over exert yourself in the extreme heat and humidity of the hottest part of the country!

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple, horse-drawn carriage
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple

We went to the markets of Bagan. Such interesting (fishy) aromas filled the air. Souvenirs galore. Vendors chant “Looky-looky” or “Look for free” behind every step you take. Those green leaves are the betel nut leaves. They are used to wrap up the betel nut, with lime paste & spices or flavours. It acts like a stimulant similar to caffeine. When chewed, the chemical reaction creates a bright red saliva, which men and women spit everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE!!!) I have a few more photos of this further down in the post from Inle Lake…

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, red dye nicotine chewing tobacco

On day 4, we woke up at 5 am to make it to the top of an ancient pagoda for sunrise. I really wanted to go on a hot air balloon for sunrise. But I couldn’t quite swallow the nearly $400 price tag that went along with the 2 hour ride. Is hot air ballooning in Bagan for sunrise really worth it? Many tourists that I talked to absolutely loved it. When I called the 2 companies who run daily trips, both were full. However, I was absolutely loved the fact that we could stand on the pagoda and watch the balloons rise over the horizon; whereas the balloners flew in from the other direction where the view (for them) would be a little disappointing… Who knows. I preferred my 360 degree views of the misty, pagoda-laden valley on top of the Shwesandaw Pagoda. All of the photos below are from on top of the Shwesandaw Pagoda, where you can walk around the top part to absorb the breath-taking views of the Old Bagan valley.

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple, sunrise
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple, sunrise
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple, sunrise
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple, sunrise, Balloons Over Bagan photo
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple, sunrise

Our hotel had many exotic plants that were so beautiful to look at, and some like the Plumeria rubra flowers (frangipani) that smell like heaven!!!

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, lotus photo

On one of the last 2 days in Bagan, we booked some traditional Burmese massages at the Amazing Hotels – Bagan hotel … it was $55 USD for 3 hrs and 15 mins of extreme torture and agony (at least for me!) So painful that I could not say that it was worth it…

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, shrine, pagoda, temple

On day 5, we flew from Bagan to Inle Lake. A taxi from the airport costs about $20 for up to 4-5 people. We only had 2 nights in Inle so we wasted no time. We stayed at the Hotel Brilliant which was about 1 km from town. The hotel offered from bicycles for trips into town, or you could rent one for $2 per day. We rented a bike that first day and travelled to the opposite side of the lake (~15 km each way) to the Khaung Daing Hot Springs (which we found to be dirty so we never used the facilities)… However, we did stop for a bite to eat at their restaurant, where I discovered lychee juice… sweet, sweet lychee juice (which I later found out mixes well with both vodka and rum! haha!!

On Day 6, we took a private boat tour for sunrise over Inle Lake, and to see the sights around the vast Lake.

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake

I was so fascinated by the traditional ways of the Inle fishermen.

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake sunrise, Burmese fisherman
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake school children, Inle Lake school bus

Above are children going to school. We even saw some school kids paddling their own way to school. The life-skills of these people are just incredible!

We stopped at many floating shops along the way. This one (below) was a traditional weaving shop. This woman from the Padaung tribe demonstrates her weaving skills. Further below was the neighbouring umbrella shop, where this lady was making paper umbrellas for decoration or for screening from the sun.

padaung woman photo, Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake

This is the floating market which extends forever. Most vendors sell the same products (probably imported from China). Nevertheless, it was an interesting experience.

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake

This was another weaving shop, but this one a little different. They weave not with cotton, but with lotus thread (which takes about 1 hr to make 15 feet of thread). Needless to say, the prices were high; for example, a small table runner costs about $200 USD.

lotus thread photo, loom photo, Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake
Inle Lake monastery photo, Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, Inle Lake

On Day 7, we flew back to Yangon in preparation for the wedding on Day 8. We ventured in to town again, scoring vegetarian spring rolls for 10 cents each & delicious baked goods for a reasonable price. Below are some photos of the diverse street food, along with the little girls at the bottom selling fried cockroaches.

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer

On Day 10, we headed to the popular beaches of Ngapali. We stayed at the Bayview – The Beach Resort which was absolutely amazing!!! We booked a basic room and even that was amazing! No need to upgrade! Seriously! The food was amazing too! And the beaches were clean and the water was like bathwater! So so warm!!!

In the morning the sand is covered in these little alien-like patterns made by tiny crabs that sift through the sand looking for food. Nature’s art for sure!

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, crab art, crop circles, beach art
Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, beach

The fruit in Myanmar is amazing! Especially the pomelo!!! Blush-colored meat and so juicy! I ate so many of these! Women even brought it to you on the beach for $1. I also had a coconut as well  =)

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, burmese fruit, coconut, pomelo photo

Seriously this resort is amazing! Highly recommended! And the staff are so friendly and helpful!

Burma, Myanmar, Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Ngapali, travel photographer, butterfly, Ngapali flora

That’s all from my vacay photos! I hope you enjoyed. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to comment and I’ll be sure to respond back (so make sure you return back to check for your reply!) Happy trails!

 

 

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Michael Drofenik is a Vancouver-based International Wedding Photographer who specializes in Vancouver wedding photography & Destination wedding photography. Each wedding is uniquely crafted with care & creativity that is not found with most Vancouver wedding photographers. We offer wedding photography services in the Vancouver, Lower Mainland areas, as well as Victoria, Tofino, Vancouver Island, Whistler, Kelowna & other destinations such as Hawaii, Maui, Mexico & Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. We are located near the New West bridal / New Westminster bridal shops in downtown New Westminster, BC. If you are not looking for a Vancouver wedding photographer, Michael D Photography is also available for Boudoir, Maternity, & Newborn photography in Vancouver. Please be sure to consider us for your wedding photography, boudoir photography, maternity photography & newborn photography needs in the Vancouver area!

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