Myanmar in Focus

The Spiritual Land - A Photography Journey

Burmese monk is praying

"U Po Kyin, Sub-divisional Magistrate of Kyauktada, in Upper Burma, was sitting in his veranda. It was only half past eight, but the month was April, and there was a closeness in the air, a threat of the long, stifling midday hours. Occasional faint breaths of wind, seeming cool by contrast, stirred the newly drenched orchids that hung from the eaves. Beyond the orchids one could see the dusty, curved trunk of a palm tree, and then the blazing ultramarine sky. Up in the zenith, so high that it dazzled one to look at them, a few vultures circled without the quiver of a wing."

Not much has changed since Orwell spent his time in what was then Burma, penning this passage in his classic novel "Burmese Days," to the delight of travelers who discover a country still firmly planted in the past and largely bypassed by the development that has transformed almost every other destination in Asia. After over forty years of isolation, Myanmar has suddenly opened to the world...

Bagan Plain

Myanmar is often referred to as the "Land of Gold," or variations of that description, but we feel a much more apt name would be The Spiritual Land, for nobody can travel through Myanmar without being moved by the deep Buddhist belief and gentle manner of the people, ubiquitous gold stupas shimmering in the sun, thousands of brick temples in Bagan, and monks at every turn only firm this description.

Monk studyingThis photographic journey travels into remote places, though including classic destinations of the country, focusing on the exceptional, unique landscapes and people-to-people encounters from an up close and personal perspective. This trip will encompass the sacred highlights of the country and far lesser known ones, along with unique activities and sightseeing, while emphasizing religious customs, arts and crafts, and vanishing traditional lifestyles in the villages through personal encounters in areas where few other travelers venture including monasteries and the Buddhist University in Mandalay where we will learn about the region's unique expression of Buddhism firsthand. We'll also savor the region's stunning diversity of landscapes, from lush river valleys, desert plains, and verdant high-mountain ranges of the Shan State.

The Inle Lake basin offers a sublime setting, a visually intriguing landscape and where a diversity of colorful hilltribe cultures converge in the tranquil setting. Differing from popular destinations, Bagan and Mandalay, Inle features the scenic mountain landscapes and a rich diversity of hilltribe villages in the heart of the Shan State.

During this trip, explore Myanmar's remote and untrammeled landscapes in out of the way Pyin-O-Lwin, Hsipaw and Kalaw, where few other travelers venture.

Top English-speaking guides are the most-experienced and knowledgeable, trained to canvas the most intimate details of their culture, not simply to recite statistics about temples. A tour manager, based in Yangon, will also monitor your trip to ensure your journey will be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Accommodations feature the finest boutique or luxury hotels in deluxe rooms, chosen for historical interest, character, amenities, location and/or staff and client favorites.

Myanmar in Focus

Few other countries and people are as photogenic as Myanmar and the destinations in Myanmar have been chosen to provide maximum visual possibilities, with an emphasis on the great variety of people within the country comprised of over 150 ethnic groups. In this way our trip will serve to enlighten and expose you to not only the photographic possibilities, but also provide a deep cultural travel experience few other countries in the world can match.

We also hope to address a bigger question during this trip. How do we develop a personal vision? With the advent of digital photography, everyone has become a "photographer" yet there are few who really see and create images that are compelling and dynamic. Each photographer should develop his or her unique vision, creating a collection of images that will be visual gifts to us all. Each evening, we will share, delight to, and critique each others photographs in a positive manner.

Burmese monkChanting in the temple
Burmese cigaretteMorning bath
BaganBurmese girl
A fisherman at Inle LakeBurmese baby with mom
Traffic policeman in Burmaa richshaw
Making coffeeRiding a bus in Burma
Shower at the templesoccer game

Myanmar in Focus Download: Overview | Itinerary | Hotel

All Photographs by Mark Tuschman & Patrick Morris