Rudyard Kipling once described Burma (Myanmar) as: “quite unlike any land you know about.” Join us as we explore this Golden Land, perhaps the least discovered country in Southeast Asia. Our itinerary includes Yangon’s Schwedagon Pagoda, the ancient city of Bagan where the landscape is dotted with more than one thousand temples, Inle Lake, where we will photograph local fishermen, bustling local markets and lakeside life seemingly unchanged for centuries. In Mandalay we will photograph monks crossing U Bien’s bridge, a 1.2 Km teak footbridge. The major points of interest on this trip include Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, and the Inle Lake. Each location affords us a wide variety of photographic opportunities including street photography, landscape photography, environmental portraiture and still life. Burma is truly one of the few “authentic” destinations remaining in this modern, ever-homogenizing world.
Yangon, or Rangoon as it was once called, is the largest city in Burma and contains the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda. The origin of the Shwedagon Pagoda dates back over 2500 years. Gautama Buddha presented eight strands of sacred hairs to two merchants, who offered it to King Okkalapa on their return. The king built a pagoda on a hilltop overlooking the port city of Okkalapa, in which the sacred hairs were enshrined. Successive monarchs enlarged the pagoda by building outer structures over the original. The present stupa reaching a height of 326 feet was completed in the mid 1450s by Queeen Shin-Sawpu. The last renovation of the Shwehtidaw (literally meaning the “Golden Umbrella” and comprising the Diamond Bud, the vane and the shaft) was successfuly undertaken by King Mindon in 1871.
Mandalay is the modern center of Buddhism and Myanmar arts, but was once the old royal city. Mandalay, 670 km north of Yangon, is now the home of traditional artisans – including wood and stone carvers, silversmiths, weavers and those producing gold leaf. The former capitol, prior to British rule, and second largest city in the country, Mandalay takes its name from the nearby 240-meter Mandalay Hill, and is rich in monasteries and pagodas.a
Bagan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia, it is located on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Once the capitol of the Myanmar Empire, Bagan covers an area of 42 sq. km containing over 2000 well-preserved pagodas and temples of the 11th – 13th century. At its height, in the early 11th century, Bagan was the world center of Therevada Buddhism, with more than 13,000 pagodas covering the plains bordered by two sides of the Ayeyarwady River. But the city fell to the invasion of Kublai Kahn’s hordes in 1287 and was abandoned, leaving to this day thousands of pagodas remaining in the midst of the Mongol destruction.
At 875 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is surrounded by high hills that help to keep the waters calm and lake area misty. The huge and beautiful lake not only contains a marvelous microcosm of aquatic life and activity, but is also home to a hormonious blend of national races, including the Bamar, Danaw, Danu, Intha, Kayah, Pa-O, Shan, and Taung-Yo peoples. Inle Lake also supports a thriving farming community that produces a wide range of vegetables and flowers. Rice is cultivated at the northern end of the lake on extremely fertile, man-made floating islands. The local men also produce silver and brassware, pottery and lacquerware, while the lake’s women are highly skilled weavers.
“Please note: We are running our September trip on what I will call the “shoulder season”, meaning that it precedes the height of the tourist season. By doing this, we avoid the crowds, however, we might encounter some brief rain showers, mostly in short bursts lasting less than 1 hour each. The brief downpours are usually followed by clearing clouds and “glossy” streets, resulting in images of color saturated fruits and vegetables in the market places and wonderful white, billowing clouds in our landscape shots. Often when it does rain, the few tourists who are at the sights with us, vanish, leaving us with unprecedented “private” photo opportunities.” – Karl Grobl.
(Feb 17 or Sep 6)
|Guests arrive in Yangon, are picked up at airport and transported to Kandawagyi Palace Hotel. Yangon, formerly Rangoon, continues to be a city of the past, as seen by its lyongi-wearing pedestrians, its street vendors, and its pungent smells. If you are arriving early today, you will enjoy having the afternoon free to relax or venture out and explore this amazing city. Afternoon or evening orientation meeting at hotel, then dinner at Sandy's Myanmar Cusine. Spend the night at Kandawagyi Palace Hotel.|
|Day 2:||Morning guided tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, then drive to Bago, guided tour of Bago then drive back to Yangon for an evening shoot at Shwedagon Pagoda. Gleaming in gold and decorated with diamonds, the huge Shwedagon Pagoda is a spectacular work of Burmese temple architecture and is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar. Dinner and spend the night at Kandawagyi Palace Hotel.|
|Day 3:||Morning flight Yangon to Mandalay, where we are then transported to the Sedona Hotel. After checking in, we spend the afternoon on a guided tour to visit Mandalay Hill and City Palace. Mandalay hill is known for its abundance of pagodas and monasteries, and has been a major pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists for nearly two centuries. The view from atop Mandalay Hill alone makes it worth the climb up the stairs. For those not wishing to walk, there is also a one-way motor road. After dinner we are treated to one of Mandalay's famous Marionette Puppet Shows. We'll spend the night in Mandalay .|
|Day 4:||Mandalay all day: visit to Inwa, Sagaing, Amarapura and if we have enough time - Ubien Bridge. Amarapura, the City of Immortals, was a capitol before Mandalay was built. In Amarapura we visit and photograph the Mahagandayone monastery, to observe the morning meal of hundreds of monks. Then it's off to Segaing, a religious sanctuary with the town at the foot of the hills and hundreds of pagodas, monasteries and nunneries tucked into the surrounding valleys and hills. It's a photographer's paradise, with some monasteries made of brick in a combination of Western and Myanmar architectural designs, while others are contructed from massive teak wood trees. We spend the night at the Sedona Hotel.|
|Day 5:||Mandalay: breakfast at hotel then guided day tour to Mingun village by private boat. Mingun is home to the world's largest ringing bell, weighing in at 87 tons. Mingun is also home to the unfinished Mingun Pagoda, which was built between 1790 and 1797 by King Bodawpaya. we return to Mandalay, then after a break, visit and photograph monks at sunset, crossing the U Bein Bridge, the world's longest teak bridge. Spend the night at the Sedona Hotel.|
|Day 6:||Mandalay: breakfast at hotel then visit the scenic hill town of Pyin U Lwin. This small colonial hill town has wide boulevards lined with stately homes from a bygone era. It is well known for its unique "stagecoach" horse carriages. After visiting Pyin U Lwin, if time permits we visit a coffee plantation fefore we return to Mandalay for dinner and spend the night at the Sedona Hotel.|
|Day 7:||Morning flight from Mandalay to Bagan then transport to the Bagan Hotel. In the afternoon we visit Htilomindo Temple, Ananda Temple, Memalaungkyaung Temple, with our final destination being Shwesandaw Pagoda where we photograph the vast pagoda-filled horizon at sunset. Bagan's glory days may be over, but what remain are the fantasic temple ruins, ranking as one of the most amazing sights in Myanmar and a genuine wonder of the world. Tonight we have Dinner at Saraba Restaurant.|
|Day 8:||This morning we are up early to catch our horse drawn carriages for a sunrise shoot at temples near the Bagan Hotel. Then we go for a day tour to see brown sugar, alcohol and plum juice production, on the way to Mt. Popa. Mt. Popa is a place of pilgimage for Burmese of all walks of life and is home to Burma's nats. Locals climb the mountain to make offerings to the nats. We'll witness and photograph this spectacle before returning to Bagan for a sunset shoot at Phat That Gyi Temple, followed by inner at Bagan Hotel.|
|Day 9:||Bagan: Once again we arise early for sunrise photos, this time at Minyangone or Shwesandaw Pagoda, depending upon lighting conditions. After exhausting the good morning light, we return to our hotel using our now familiar horse carts. After breakfast guided tour of lacquer workshop, Kyaukpataung City market, Chauk City Market and weaving village Minnandhu village. Optional sunset shoot at a temple in Bagan. Spend the night at Bagan Hotel.|
|Day 10:||Morning flight from Bagan to Heho, then transport to Inle Lake / Nyaungshwe, stopping to photograph the Heho market on the way. Upon arrival in Nuangshwe, immediately board long tail boats and set out across Inle Lake to the beautiful Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort where we relax and unwind for a few hours. In the afternoon we are treated to a boat ride to photograph local fisherman houses on the lake. Dinner at Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort.|
|Day 11:||Guided tour with private boats from Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort to visit different lakeside markets where the hill tribes come to buy, sell and exchange all types of goods, including fish, produce, farm implements and handicrafts. In addition to all the lakeside market activities we photograph, we will also visit such sites as the Jumping Cats (Nga Phe Kyaung) monastery, and a traditional silk factory where old weaving looms are used. In the evening return to Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort for dinner.
|Day 12:||After a leisurely breakfast our private boats take us from Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort to Nuangshwe town and check into Amazing Nuangshwe Resort. Today you will have the afternoon free to explore Nuangshwe town, with its shops, monasteries, pagodas, and bustling markets. Dinner at Golden Kite Restaurant.|
|Day 13:||This day we rise early to photograph monks from the local monasteries, walking through town collecting their daily alms from the local population. Later we have a guided walking tour of Nuangshwe town including the many monasteries, pagodas and the local market. Those wishing to hike or rent a local bicycle are free to do so. Spend the night at the Amazing Nuangshwe Resort. Dinner at the hotel.|
|Day 14:||After breakfast we are transported back to Heho for flight to Yangon. After checking into our hotel, we have the afternoon to relax, shop or continue photographing, including one last optional visit to Shwedagon Pagod. This evening we have a farewell dinner, then spend the night at Kandawagyi Palace Hotel.|
(Mar 3 or Sep 20)
|Today guests are transported to the airport for flights back home.|
Karl Grobl is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. His images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, but the largest majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients. Karl’s non-NGO work is represented by Zuma Press, the premier international editorial picture agency and wire service. His 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award.
Over the last ten years, Karl has worked in over 50 countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, East Timor, Cuba, and Haiti.
Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Karl spent more than a month embedded with five different non-governmental organizations documenting tsunami relief efforts in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. One year later he returned to document the reconstruction. He has covered post conflict peacebuilding efforts in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and East Timor, HIV/Aids issues in Africa and Asia as well as Human trafficking in Cambodia and the Philippines.
In addition to his rigorous international travel schedule, Karl teaches photography workshops and leads international photography tours. He is a regular lecturer on photography and photojournalism and a long time member of the National Press Photographers Association. Karl is a member of the Advisory Counsel of Focus For Humanity, a non profit organization, who’s mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers wishing to work with NGOs. He also works as a technical consultant for several photographic and photography-related technology companies and was featured in a world wide advertising campaign for SanDisk memory cards.
Dates: September 6-20, 2013 & February 17-March 3, 2014
Price is based on double occupancy. A single supplement of $1210 applies.
Cost includes three in-country flights, all ground transport, all 14 nights hotel accommodations, airport transfers, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, boat rides, entrance-fees at tourist sites, and English-speaking local guides.
Cost does not include: tips, international flights, passport & visas fees, travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, and personal expenses such as beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees etc.
An optional, 5 day/4 night extension to Ngapali Beach & fishing villages on the Bay of Bengal. (September 20 – 24, 2013 or March 3 – 7, 2014) . Price details coming soon.
*All prices subject to change without notice, owing to the variable nature of international currency exchange rates and sudden changes in local costs.
A deposit of $600 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.
Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.
Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC, and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change.
It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.
To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.
While Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.
Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website. The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Visa requirements are:
Visa Requirements, Health, Travelers Info: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1077.html
We want to thank you for signing up for our Amazing Myanmar, Photo Tour. Your trip leader, Karl Grobl works regularly in Southeast Asia doing photo assignments for humanitarian organizations and leading our tours. As an experienced Southeast Asia traveler and professional photographer, Karl will be helping you create some stunning images! Please read the following information about the places you are going to – I hope that it helps you better prepare for the trip.
Documents: You must submit your U.S. Passport, with at least 6 months remaining validity
along with 2 Myanmar Visa Application Forms. #1 the Report of Arrival Form and #2 the Completed Work History Form. You must also include 3 Passport-type photographs, the Completed Cover Page and payment of the visa fee. Additionally, you must also include a copy of your airline tickets showing round trip transportation to/from Myanmar. The tourist visa you will receive is valid for entry to Myanmar for three months from the date of issue. The visa is valid for a stay of up to 28 days and is not extendable. For visa information, the best place to start is the Myanmar Embassy. Their website has the latest information and downloadable forms: http://www.mewashingtondc.com/visas_passports.htm Please allow plenty of time to get this all accomplished, and call the Myanmar embassy in Washington DC if you need additional information.
Weather and Clothing: Our September trip will take place in what is considered the rainy season (June to October), however, rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low, even during the rainy season. For example, during last year’s trip (2009) it rained on the group about 3 or 4 times, mostly in short bursts lasting less than 1 hour each. So you may want to bring a light rain jacket or travel poncho. (Regardless of where I travel, I always keep a travel poncho in my camera bag – they are small and you can buy them for $1.99 at a travel store). Also, a small travel umbrella can come in handy for walking to dinner, etc. The average temperatures this time of year run from 25 – 30°C (77 – 86 F). Temperatures are generally lower in mountainous regions (where we will be part of the time). In general we suggest that you prepare for warm weather but you may want to include a sweatshirt or light jacket for cool mornings or nights. You may also want to bring shorts, though women will not be permitted in the temples in some areas in shorts or sleeveless tops. A pair of sports sandals such as Tevas is recommended, though you should bring a pair of good walking shoes or light boots as well.
There may be a pool at one or more of our hotels, so you may want to bring a bathing suit. The style of dress everywhere we go is very casual, please try and pack light, as you’ll be moving around checking in and out of hotels, and packing your bags in and out of the bus. There may not always be bellboys available, so you should be able to carry your own bags from the bus to your room and back. Also, remember that laundry service will be available in many of our hotels, so you will have opportunities to have some of your clothing washed during the trip.
Money: Cold hard US dollars are what you need. The bills must be new, un-torn, un-marked, in as perfect condition as you can find them. I visit my local bank and ask for brand new 100’s, 50’s and 20’s. It pays to be picky while you are still in the USA. Please note that you must bring along enough cash for the whole trip. Since you have paid us for hotels, transportation and all meals, all you really need to budget for is cash for your personal use. Budget some money for drinks, tips, as well as personal purchases and souvenirs as gifts to bring home. We will have the opportunity to exchange money at our hotels and at certified money change locations. Credit cards, travelers checks and ATM cards are totally and utterly useless in Myanmar. The local currency used is called Kyat (pronounced “chat”). The current official exchange rate is around 6.4 Kyats to US Dollar. When you change $100 US into Kyats you will have a stack of bills 2 inches high which is always fun to stuff into several different pockets! The good news is that in Myanmar, $100 goes a long way!
Hotels: You’ll be staying at nice hotels throughout the trip.
For those of you bringing laptops and other electrical appliances, the electrical current in Myanmar is 230V 50HzHz. To be safe you may want to check your electrical devices to confirm that they can handle this voltage. Mine say: Input: 100 – 240 volts. It may be on the item, or somewhere on the cord or plug. You will need the plug adaptors for this region which you can find at travel or luggage stores, or outdoor stores such as REI. They can also be found on the internet. Feel free to contact me about this if you have any questions, or visit www.KarlGrobl.com under Equipment Reviews for more info.
Food and Health: You’ll be eating in nice restaurants wherever you go, so I don’t expect anyone to have stomach problems. Of course you shouldn’t drink the tap water – purified water will be provided at our hotels and found in all the local stores. However it’s common when traveling to a new region of the world for your stomach to have some problems due to the different oils, spices, and other ingredients in the food. Wherever I go, I pack Pepto Bismol tablets and Imodium AD in my bag.
Since most of you will be transiting through Thailand, One thing that’s different for Thailand is the use of Zithromax instead of Cipro for intestinal problems….due to resistance to Cipro. Zithromax is most often prescribed as a Z-PAK containing six 250 mg tabs or a TRI-PAK containing three 500 mg tabs. This drug is thought to be highly effective world wide and is the preferred drug for travel in Thailand due to bacterial resistance to ciprofloxacin. Be sure to consult your physician on this issue.
The areas you will be visiting are not at risk for malaria. You may want to confirm with your doctor.
You should also check with your doctor and the CDC for recommendations for any vaccinations you may need. It’s recommended to have tetanus, typhoid, and Hepatitis A vaccinations before visiting any developing nation. You should do this soon, because it’s necessary to begin some vaccinations several weeks prior to the trip.
Also, sunscreen and/or a hat (and good sunglasses) are a necessity.
Physical condition: You will be doing some walking on the trip, so it would be a good idea to try and be in good walking condition. In most situations, you won’t have to walk all that far, but you may want to, to get better photos, etc.
Telephone & E-mail: Internet is hard to come by and often very slow or not working at all. Phone service is a bit better but unreliable and expensive at best. I have found that on average I have been able to communicate with relatives back home by email, about once every 3 days.
Safety: Some of our hotels have safe deposit boxes for safe-keeping of your valuables. It’s a good idea to make a photocopy of your passport ID page to carry with you for identification purposes, and keep your passport at the hotel. However when traveling to any poor country, it’s advisable to leave any expensive jewelry at home – there’s no reason to draw any undo attention to yourself.
Language: There is English spoken in the more touristy areas, but it always helps to pick up a few phrases in Burmese. Even if you know just a few words, the locals will appreciate that you are trying.
Photography: You’ll be photographing a wide variety of subjects on this trip, so you may want to bring a good range of lenses. I always bring a tripod when I travel, as you never know when it will come in handy. You may want one for photographing temples, palaces or street scenes at twilight, night, or at other locations when the light is low. When shooting from a tripod it’s best to have a cable release, and a small flashlight to keep in your camera bag. We always recommend that you bring a flash – though you may not need it often, it may come in handy at times. Also, I always keep a circular polarizing filter in my bag. Be sure to bring more memory space than you think you will need! You should have a chance every night to download memory cards. Both Karl and I use laptops, and recommend you bring one as an editing and learning tool, but there are other devices to use for this.
Be sure to pack all of your film and memory cards in your carry-on bags. Some airports use X-ray machines that can be harmful to film and cards in your check-in luggage. There’s no harm to digital equipment from the screening equipment used on your carry-on bags. Please feel free to contact me (or Karl at Karl@KarlGrobl.com) with any questions you may have about any of this.
What to pack: For a host of information on what to pack, and other travel and photo equipment advice log on to http://karlgrobl.com/EquipmentReviews/index.htm
Flights: our travel agent Vicki McCuistion of Protravel Intl Inc is quite knowledgeable and can book your flights. Her phone number is 619-850-1821, and her email is Vicki.Mccuistion@protravelinc.com . Please give me your flight details when you can so I can make ground transportation arrangements.
Misc: On some days you’ll be getting up very early and shooting before breakfast. I recommend bringing along some energy bars or other compact snack food for these situations. There also may be times when you’ll have to wait to have lunch or dinner later than normal to accommodate your shooting and traveling schedule. Also, a travel alarm clock is important, as you can’t always rely 100% on hotel wake-up calls. And please remember to pack fairly light as you’re going to be on the move – checking in and out of hotels, and loading the bags in and out of the van. There may not always be a bell-boy available.
“I have participated in five of Jim Cline tours in 2011, all to Asia and led by Karl Grobl. I mentioned the number of trips to emphasize my very high the satisfaction on two levels: (i) JimCline Tours as an organization which offers great service and all is done with a smile, and (ii) Karl’s ability to teach and engage with all participants no matter the level of one’s photographic skills. He is a delight to travel with and the locations are always great. Accommodations and local guides are really nice. They are hotels which fit into the local scene rather than a western style. I much rather walk into such hotel than stay in a copy of a Hyatt. MM is the local guide in Myanmar and he is just super. He knows his country’s in an outs, he does not ignore the political situation, he talks and explain with honesty and respect.
The trip itself is just so beautiful. The people of Myanmar are very nice and hospitable and eager for to interact with you, it is just a pleasure to there. The number of great photographic opportunities is endless. Every turn of your head will bring along an image you would like to capture. The trip is also a nice mix of people and landscape photography. It is absolutely FANTASTIC.”
“It should be telling that all of the people on the last Myanmar tour except my wife and me have been on other Jim Cline trips with Karl. Often paying guests, my wife and I were the only newbies. Some were very serious photographers but others were more interested in the trip and only wanted to gain some familiarity with photography. If I heard correctly, two of the people on our tour started traveling with Karl with just point and shoot cameras but graduated to entry level DSLRs on this last trip. One is a 79 year old retired college professor and the other was an 80 year old retired attorney.
My earlier travels have involved tours and going on my own with my wife. I don’t particularly like tours unless we are going to an area that is difficult to do on our own. Myanmar would qualify for that. You probably could do it on your own but it would be difficult and you would miss a great deal. Credit cards and travelers checks are not accepted in Myanmar. It is cash only and they demand new unwrinkled bills. There are very few taxis (maybe none come to think of it). With Karl you get to the airport in Yangon and worry about nothing but taking photos after that. The accommodations and all meals were excellent. Our Burmese guide was excellent. Karl was a real treat — very knowledgeable and personable, very low key but always making sure you were getting the photos you wanted and had no questions about what or how to shoot. Otherwise he took us to great places and left us alone. If you did have questions he was right there. I thought I was a fairly advanced photographer before joining the tour but ended up learning a lot more than I expected about different shooting styles. I greatly increased my photographic skills after going on the tour. I thought it was a bargain for what we got. My wife, by the way, is not a photographer and she loved the trip too. She says it was one of the best trips of her life. Myanmar was really memorable.”
Salt Lake City, UT
More from George Sutton:
“Karl and MM were both excellent guides and instructors. I felt I knew my camera well before this trip but found I knew very little really about low light shooting and photographing people. After Karl’s instruction and seeing many remarkable shots from the whole group I feel I can run with the big dogs.
Karl and MM selected very interesting sites for our visit and knew the right times to get us there. Other tours I have been on tended to go to follow the same script as all the other tours in that area and we all ended up tripping over each other. Sometimes that is unavoidable — when is Shwedagon not crowded? But we also went to many places where I doubt other tours visited because those places would not accommodate a larger group. I always felt like the tour was very well researched and prepared. Any less prepared and it could have degenerated into herding cats but there was a good natural flow that never left any of us feeling like we didn’t have enough time or should have been there at a different time or should have been somewhere else.
I thought our group worked well together. My wife, who is not a photographer, tagged along and she had a great time as well. I think that shows how much substance there was to the trip apart from the photography.
The photo opportunities were generally excellent.
Karl is a great guy, perfectly suited to lead a photo tour. His intelligence, experience and passion for what he does (both photographing and taking people to interesting places) were one of the highlights of the trip. When friends ask about our trip leaders my wife mostly describes Karl in terms of his excitement when the light was primo as we pulled into a site. He gave me just as much attention as I wanted, no more and no less. Occasionally he would ask if I had a question or needed help just to make sure I was taken care of. I appreciated his checking to make sure about that, appreciated being left alone when I wanted to shoot, and really appreciated the many things he taught me.
An excellent tour of the area and a terrific value for anyone interested in photography.”
Salt Lake City, UT
“They [hotels] were all excellent. We liked the food very much with local herbs and generous servings. Was a land of plenty for photo opportunities and beyond our expectations! MM (local guide) was the best guide we have ever had he knew so much about his Country and went out of his way to make sure we were all having a good time if anyone needed anything he was there to provide it for us.
Karl is a wonderful person with a big heart and a great teacher! He would start each day going over settings and suggestions for where and what we would be taking pictures of it was so helpful to be prepared ahead of time and while we would be taking our pictures would check to see if we needed any help or give us suggestions that we needed to change a setting and the reason for it. We learned so much and when the Expert Photographer leading the trip said we had some great pictures it made us digital beginners want to go on another trip with you to learn more about taking great pictures. Karl was always there to answer questions or help you. It was an experience we will never forget. We are so glad that we took our trip to Myanmar with Jim Cline Photo Tours. It was FANTASTIC!”
~ Doris & Jerry Brinkman
Amazing country, amazing people, amazing photo ops. Pictures in every direction. The people charming and often ask for their photos to be taken. Karl there for us as always! [Guide] MM is terrific. Knowledgeable, helpful, aware of us, articulate, terrific guide!
Got some great pix and have improved more under Karl’s tutelage. Karl is good at this [photo discussions and mini-lectures] and uses travel time to our advantage.