Dates: February 21–March 5, 2018
Begins & Ends: Yangon, Burma/Myanmar
Nearest Airport: Yangon (RGN)
Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart
Maximum Participants: 8
(including 4 domestic flights)
(optional single supplement: $1,000)
Payment Policy: 3 Installments
• $500 deposit to confirm participation
• 50% due by July 1, 2017
• Balance due by November 1, 2017
This photographic adventure begins and ends in Yangon, Burma/Myanmar. Tuition includes hotels/boat (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement), meals, four domestic flights (cost of flights are based on current rates and are subject to change if the airline increases prices), driver and guide tips, and local group transportation for the duration of the adventure. It does not include souvenirs, bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), nor any personal expenses.
This adventure is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.
Tribes of Burma Within The Frame Itinerary
Tribes of Burma is about a deeper experience with some of the fascinating minority groups in Burma (Myanmar), including the Chin with their tattooed faces, the pastoral Muslim Rohingya, and the stateless Moken sea gypsies in the Mergui Archipelago. This photographic adventure deviates from the more classic route in order to see and photograph these disappearing cultures now that more of Burma is open to foreigners.
During the first part of this adventure, we will be land-based at beautiful hotels but will be spending many of our days on the rivers of western Burma in order to reach the remaining Chin villages in which the older women have web-like tattoos on their faces. Then in the Mergui Archipelago of southern Burma, we will transfer to a yacht (yes, a yacht!) as our base for the remainder of our adventure as we explore the archipelago in search of the Moken.
As exotic as we find some of these minority groups, we will photograph these people with cultural respect and human dignity. Jeffrey and Winslow will work to foster an environment of mutual respect when we are photographing these minority groups. The photographs that we create will be stronger as a result of the sincere care that will accompany our cultural curiosity.
This photographic adventure is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities — our vision. It is appropriate for photographers of all levels, and you will be free to photograph independently or always with the assistance of one of the leaders.
Yangon (Day One)
We will all arrive in Yangon, the former capital city (once known as Rangoon), in time for a meet-and-greet dinner and an orientation to discuss our itinerary and events for our shared photographic adventure.
While in Yangon, we will stay at the luxurious Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. Its lakeside setting, beautiful gardens, and traditional teak architecture make it a wonderful place to relax after a long flight or day out photographing.
Mrauk U (Day Two)
This morning we will fly to Sittwe on the Bay of Bengal in the Rahkine state of western Burma and take a private boat upstream to Mrauk U. Life along the Kaladan River hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years, and it will feel like traveling back in time as we cruise upriver to our destination.
Mrauk U was the capital in the 15th century, and at its peak was one of the richest cities in Asia. The plethora of temples easily reminds one of more famous Bagan. However, unlike in Bagan where the villagers were moved away from the temples, life in Mrauk U still takes place in and around the temples. It can be described as a mini-Bagan that is full of village life rather than full of tourists.
For our five nights in Mrauk U, we will stay at Mrauk Oo Princess Resort, which is a beautiful oasis of tranquility right on the river.
Mrauk U (Day Three)
This morning we will take a boat along the Lay Mro River to the Lay Too Chin minority villages. The Chin are famous for their colorful fabrics and for the tribal tattoos on the faces of women. A legend says that the Burmese King found the Chin to be the most beautiful women so girls by the age of thirteen had to tattoo their faces to prevent them from being kidnapped to the Burmese palace. Tattooing is now forbidden, but there are still older women with tattooed faces. We will photograph the tattooed women in these villages — with dignity and the utmost respect for who they are as individuals. This tradition is dying out with the last of these women, and it is a privilege to be able to spend time getting to know and photograph them.
Mrauk U (Day Four)
Today we will explore and photograph some of the more beautiful temples and villages around Mrauk U, making sure to leave some time to process and review some of the previous day’s portraits.
Mrauk U (Day Five)
This morning we will embark on a longer river journey in order to photograph in a rarely-visited Chin village down the Lay Mro River in the opposite direction.
Mrauk U (Day Six)
This morning we will photograph in the colorful village market of Mrauk U, and in the afternoon we’ll have an opportunity to review some of the photographs we’ve created in this magical location.
Yangon (Day Seven)
Early in the morning, we will depart Mrauk U by private boat downriver to Sittwe, from where we will fly back to Yangon for the night.
Kawthaung (Day Eight)
After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport in Yangon for our flight to Kawthaung, which is the southernmost part of Burma. During British rule, it was known as Victoria Point. We will spend just one night here as we prepare to board our vessel in the morning.
Mergui Archipelago (Days Nine – Thirteen)
We will begin our cruise of the Mergui Archipelago at the Myoma Jetty in Kawthaung, where we will climb aboard our sailing vessel that will be our traveling home for five nights as we explore the pristine archipelago in search of the Moken “sea gypsies,” who make these 800 islands their home.
The Moken are one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer populations of Southeast Asia. They make the sea, which they call “Mother Ocean,” their home. Foraging food from oceans and forests, trading fish and shells for other necessities, the Moken have maintained a self-sufficient, nomadic way of life along the Andaman coast of Burma and Thailand for centuries. Most spend their daily lives on small, covered wooden boats called kabang. Moken men use harpoons and nets to catch fish. Moken women and children collect crustaceans and shells during low tide on the beaches. They also dive for food, and a recent study showed that the eyesight of Moken children is 50% more powerful than that of European children. Over hundreds of years, they have developed the unique ability to focus under water, using their visual skills to dive for food on the sea floor. They are born, live, and die on their boats. For a few days we will mimic them — albeit with far great luxury — as we live, photograph, and dine on our boat.
Yangon (Day Thirteen)
Following breakfast on board our yacht, we will sail back to Kawthaung and transfer to Kawthaung airport for our departures back to Yangon in order to connect to onward flights home. (Note that for anybody transiting through Bangkok that it is also possible to cross into Thailand at nearby Ranong for a quick flight to Bangkok.)
Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.
Reserve Your Spot
A $500 deposit is required to confirm your participation. Click on the Pay Deposit button to reserve your spot. You will be able to pay the deposit via PayPal or credit card. To pay by other methods (or if you encounter difficulties), please fill out the Registration Form and request an invoice in the comments. Please read the Cancellation Policy and the Release of Liability.