Myanmar Photo Tour – Lost City Expedition


Luminous Myanmar

Journey to the Lost City

Nov 17 – 30, 2018

Designed & Led by Burma’s own Hasselblad Award Winner

A.P. Soe

Price: $6495$6295! (Only $449 per day)

Hotels: 4 & 5 Star (best available in Mrauk U & Sittwe)

Highlights: Magical Inle Lake & Intha Fishermen – The Lost City of Mrauk U – Remote “Tattoo Tribes” of Rakhine – The Mandalay Array – Irrawaddy River Cruise to Mingun – Hot Air Balloon over Bagan – Shwedagon Pagoda – The Wonderful People of Myanmar!

Let’s Get Started!

A.P. Soe is the winner of numerous international photography awards including garnering the most popular vote at the 2010 Hasselblad Masters. He’s perhaps the most popular photographer in Myanmar, as well as one of the country’s most experienced photo tour leaders.

As unique and rewarding as travel photography in Myanmar is, the key to maximizing the experience is having leadership that not only has intimate knowledge of the land and its people, but who always puts their client’s image making above their own. A.P. Soe has shown himself time and time again as this kind of leader, always genial and generous with his time & willingness to share. He warmly welcomes all skill levels, novice to advanced.

The goal of any Luminous Journeys Myanmar photo tour workshop – and it’s an earnest one – is to deliver everything you need and more to have one of, if not THE greatest travel photography experiences of your life. No hype. A key aspect of this, and often the highlight of the trip, is taking you off the beaten path to places the competition is neither willing or able to.

For Luminous Myanmar, the place is the “lost city” of Mrauk U. Not only does the ancient, dynastic kingdom offer its otherworldly collection of some 700 unique, and often jungle clad temples, but also the rare opportunity to photograph three vanishing Chin “tattoo tribes”, who live along the Lay Myo river.

Myanmar photo tours are uniquely hard to beat. High impact image making opportunities abound in Iconic Myanmar’s “Big 4″ destinations, and you’ll be taken to inside locations at each. Free shoots will be generously mixed with model shoots, both impromptu and prearranged. A.P. doesn’t just settle for the types of Myanmar images you see on the internet these days, but is always looking for new angles and new ways of interpreting his country’s remarkable photogenics.

As with ALL our publicly available photo holidays, they are open to ALL skill levels. It’s not an issue mixing beginners, intermediates, advanced and even semi-professionals, at least not with Luminous Journeys. Our guys look after you!

For more location information and a look at the itinerary, just hit the Game Plan tab above. For pricing & details, see Pricing & Details. If you have questions and you may well, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We promise a prompt response! Benn-home

Luminous Myanmar Photo Tour, Nov 17 – 30, 2018

Nov 17: Yangon – Orientation – Shwedagon Pagoda & Environs
Nov 18: Yangon – Bagan – Novice Monastery – Temple-scapes
Nov 19: Bagan – Hot Air Balloon Aerials – Low Light Portraits – Sunset Temples
Nov 20: Bagan – Mandalay Array – Sunset @ U Bein Bridge
Nov 21: Mandalay Hill Sunrise Landscapes – River Cruise to Mingun – Temple Monks
Nov 22: Mandalay – Lake Inle – Novice Monastery – Fishermen Sunset
Nov 23: Lake Inle – Indein – Ruins of Nyaung Oak
Nov 24: Lake Inle – Sunrise of the Fishermen! – Sittwe – Local Bengali Village
Nov 25: Sittwe Fish Market Shoot – Riverboat to Mrauk U
Nov 26: Mrauk U – Fortress Temple Landscapes & Portraits
Nov 27: Mrauk U – Chin Vanishing ‘Tattoo Tribe’ Villages
Nov 28: Mrauk U Sunrise Temple-scape 2 – Sittwe – Yangon
Nov 29: Yangon – Circle Train – Novice Nunnery – Free Time – Farewell Dinner
Nov 30: Yangon – Departure Day

*Note – All photo travelers will receive a detailed 40+ page photo travel info kit with detailed itinerary approximately 100 days prior to departure. (Visas are available only within 90 days of arrival).

Hotels: Sule Shangri La, Amazing Bagan, Eastern Palace, Golden Island Cottages, Hotel Memory, Mrauk U Hotel, Sule Shangri La.

Yangon is best known for the golden magnificence of Shwedagon Pagoda and it’s crumbling British colonial architecture, much of it now under renovation. What most people miss is the intriguing street shooting opportunities around every corner. It’s people are as warm and welcoming as can be, once engaged. No other major city on earth opens up to a traveler more — especially one with a camera — than Yangon!

Bagan, one of the great archaeological sites of the world, once boasted a temple-scape of more than 13,000 temples, pagodas and zedis. 2,220 are still standing today. The site offers surreal panoramas, aerial shooting from hot air balloons, and some awe inspiring, beautifully preserved temple interiors. Low light and chiaroscuro portraits are awesome!

Mandalay is often given short shrift as just a dusty economic hub, is filled and surrounded with more than enough of interest to take up the entire two weeks! We call it the Mandalay Array, and will just touch on it here: Ornately carved teakwood monasteries; the longest teak bridge in the world for incredible sunsets and silhouettes; the ancient rock temple edifice at Mingun made famous by Steve McCurry in National Geographic; the 600 monasteries and nunneries of holy Sagaing perched above the Irrawaddy River; and the intriguing ruins and “leaning tower” of the ancient capital, Inwa. To name a few!

Inle Lake: Whatever you may have heard about magical Inle Lake is not hyperbole, even if the increase in floating garden farming has made it more of a canal system that the wide open lake it was a decade ago. There is just something so tranquil about the place that it seeps into your pores, and never really leaves you. Photo opportunities include the mysterious 1054 zedi ruins of Nyaung Oak, colorful floating markets and pagodas, and the ever photogenic Intha fishermen, who row their skiffs with one leg wrapped around a single oar.

Off the Beaten Path: The Lost City of Mrauk U is the stuff of legend. It was virtually unknown outside Asia in its prime; and remains so even now. It was as wealthy as Amsterdam or London by 1635, with a population of 160,000 including thousands of foreign traders, merchants & mercenaries. The Arakan Kings even employed Japanese Samurai as trusted bodyguards!

Legendary Photo Holidays Bonus: Mrauk U is included at no extra charge. Try that at Nat Geo, who not only charges an extra $3K for Mrauk U, but uses one of our guys’ — David Lazar– photos to promote it!

Brief History: The kingdom controlled vast coastal regions from western Myanmar well into eastern India, its reign lasting 354 years. When the city finally fell to the Bamar in 1784, it was abandoned and largely forgotten. Grand palaces, 19-miles of fortifications, and some 700 uniquely designed Buddhist temples were slowly swallowed by the jungle.Today the jungle is thick only with irony; these grand symbols of a once bustling Dynastic Capital serving as little more than an exotic backdrop for what is now a sleepy rural village. The world still doesn’t know it’s here. You do, and you’ll have the rare opportunity to photograph it with two Mrauk U veterans, who will also take you to visit a “vanishing tribe” of Chin people, whose women have adorned their faces with intricate tattoos for centuries.

Luminous Myanmar

Designed & Led by

A.P. Soe

Nov 17 – 30, 2018

14 Days, 13 Nights
$6495 (10 persons max*)
Single Supplement – $1100
Minimum Deposit – $1500
Tour Leader – A.P. Soe
Program Director – Benn Stevens
Travel Director – Soe Soe Lwin

*4 person minimum to run this photo tour. If only 4, a $485 supplement will apply. The average number of participants for an AP Soe photo tour is 7 or 8. Any discount offers are on a per room basis.

Price includes:
list-infoTop Rated English speaking station guides
list-infoAll Accommodation
list-infoAll Meals, except arrival/departure days
list-infoAll in-country airfare, airport taxes, air porter fees
list-infoAll transport, including airport welcome and send-off
list-infoAll entrance, zone and camera fees
list-infoModel fees & “Set Donations” to Monasteries
list-infoAmple bottled water & refresh towels throughout
list-infoDonations to Luminous Journeys Charities
Price does not include:
– international airfare
– Balloons over Bagan
– any private transportation
– trip/medical insurance
– medical expenses
– drinks @ meals or extra food
– personal purchases and services
– hotel porter gratuities
– local driver/station guide gratuities
– Myanmar visa fee
– end-of-trip gratuities for photography tour leader
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Testimonials - A.P. Soe, Luminous Journeys Photo Tours

“AP, what a star he is… Travelling and photographing the beauty and heritage of this fabulous country with him was an experience I will never forget. His enthusiasm and passion for both craft and country were never-ending… I learned so much just from watching how he set up for a shot and brought his vision to life. Throughout the tour he would go to any lengths (including lending lenses!) to make sure everyone captured great shots…  A.P. Soe is without a doubt the friendliest, happiest photo tour leader I have ever had the pleasure of photographing with… I cannot wait to chase the light with him again soon.  I will certainly recommend his photo tours to anyone I know. An amazing experience.” — Richard Cawthra, United Kingdom

“Since attending a Luminous Journeys photo tour in Myanmar with A.P. Soe, I’ve become so passionate about photography that I started traveling more, trying to apply the valuable techniques I learnt during the tour. People who see my photos sometimes ask me if I’m a professional photographer. This is how much AP helped me improve! I am very grateful to AP for that but also for being such a nice person and friend, it really made the photo tour an absolutely memorable experience that I keep building on day after day.” — Eddie Hui-Bon-Hoa, France

“What a great trip we had! David Lazar and A.P. Soe are amazing photographers and teachers — and just great people. My photography improved by leaps. It was a fabulous tour with real pros that actually care that you become a better photographer. What more can one ask for?” —Patricia Pomerleau, USA

“The Myanmar photo tour with A.P. Soe has been the highlight of my photography experience.  Traveling with a local photographer is a privilege and we got to see and do things that are otherwise not accessible to foreigners.  I learned a tremendous amount from him.  He is a talented, patient and generous teacher with a keen eye and an excellent understanding of both artistic and technical aspects of photography.” — Ora Buerkli, Switzerland

“A.P. Soe is not only is a truly great photographer – he is an artist, knowing exactly how to take technically perfect shots – but he also knows how to transport emotions in a photograph! A.P. taught me a lot of valuable things, but two in particular that as a beginner changed my thinking – that having expensive gear is NOT important, while understanding light and how to work with it is absolutely critical!

The trip was relaxed and wonderfully organized. The inside access from A.P. would not have been possible for a foreigner like myself without him, and every day delivered one highlight after another to experience and photograph. It was an absolutely overwhelming experience that will stay with me for a lifetime!” —Dr. Thomas Kreis, Germany

“The Myanmar photo tour was wonderful…the group was so funny, we had a great time together. The trip was flawless; we were treated like VIPs and of course the shooting was amazing! I can see you [Luminous Journeys] continuing to organize these trips for a very long time. You are the best at inspiring people to attend your photo tours, and living up to your promises. I just read the itinerary for India and I am very interested. I would love to join David [Lazar] on this tour!” —Paul D’, Switzerland

“I am always impressed when a company actively seeks feedback. The organisation during the photo tour was seamless & very impressive… KK & AP Soe are tremendous photographers and the standard of their work was amazing. There is no doubt this was the real deal. Care also was obviously taken over restaurant choice as none of our group was ill at all… Overall, this was a fantastic & memorable holiday – it is going to take me ages to sort out all the photographs!” – Steve S., United Kingdom

“A.P. Soe makes things happen.  That sounds deceptively simple.  But I can assure you that many of the high points for the photographers were made possible through A.P’s interaction with the monks, fishermen and others…  His mastery of landscape photography also ensured us that we were in the right place at the right time to be able to bring home special images of Myanmar.

This trip convinced me… As someone who has always traveled solo I now understand the value of a targeted photo tour that has been carefully designed to maximize shooting opportunities. With good leadership and smooth logistics from Luminous Journeys, I was free to photograph.” — Sandy McElroy, Canada

“Luminous Journeys has a number of excellent photographers who assist with the group’s needs. A.P. Soe was ours and he was able to set up shots and give us directions on settings and best angles. It is only after you see the images that you realise how crucial his input has been. Apart from A.P.’s relaxed and jovial manner, he is an excellent photographer who I will always credit for having taught me the art of low light portraiture. A great journey through a very interesting country; many thanks!” —Roger Wood, Australia

“I had the pleasure of traveling in Myanmar with A.P. Soe in November 2014. AP is an excellent photographer, skilled, imaginative, and extremely helpful. I have been all over the world shooting, and Myanmar was one of my photographic highlights, largely do the presence of A.P. Soe. I would do this trip again….anytime!” – Dr. Jeff Landman, USA

“A.P. was fabulous. He’s a great photographer and a patient teacher. If I return, I won’t hesitate to hire him again. I really can’t say enough good things about A.P. Soe. Thanks Luminous Journeys for the opportunity to work with him.” – Steve L., USA

“A.P. was always a genial and attentive host, and of course, an outstanding photographer.    It was great to be given the benefit of inside local knowledge for shooting pictures.  I got the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy myself  and produce some good work at the same time. You can’t ask for anymore than that. Thanks A.P.! ” — Dick Beilby, Australia

“We were very pleased with our experience and with leaders A.P. Soe and Boothee. The entire trip was well organized and the leaders optimized the time we had in various areas… Luminous Journeys gets an A+ in its response to Bob’s fall in Mandalay and their ability to access the medical care necessary to evaluate him and allow us to continue on with the tour… Boothee and local guide San San accompanied us on three separate clinic visits and were very professional and reassuring… You can be proud of them both. We will be happy to recommend Luminous Journeys to any potential clients.” – Bob & Bunkie Ludwig, USA

“I enjoyed the Myanmar photo-workshop with A.P. and Boothee. They genuinely created pictures rather than merely taking pictures, and were impressive in doing so! The workshop exceeded what I had expected. Overall, I had excellent experiences and I will recommend it to my friends.” —Harry Joh, USA