Burma is one of the few countries in Asia that has preserved its deep religious and historical roots. Today, the country has just started opening up for foreign visitors and we are pleased to offer a workshop to this alluring land led by award-winning photographer Steve McCurry. Drift down the Irrawaddy to capture life along the river, admire the thousand-year-old temples and pagodas that dot this magnificent country. Dig into the myriad dishes of the local cuisine, from a hearty bowl of mohinga noodles for breakfast to the fermented tea-leaf mixture that’s a popular finish to a Burmese meal. Swap cocktails and canapés for snacks and tea sweetened with condensed milk at tea houses where you can chat with locals.
Steve is recognized universally as one of today’s finest image-makers, and has won many of photography’s top awards. Best known for his evocative color photography, Steve, in the finest documentary tradition, captures the essence of human struggle and joy. Steve’s work has been featured in every major magazine in the world. McCurry is driven by an innate curiosity and sense of wonder about the world and everyone in it. He has an uncanny ability to cross boundaries of language and culture to capture stories of human experience. “Most of my images are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person, a person caught in a broader landscape, that you could call the human condition.”
Upon arrival you will be picked up at Mandalay airport and transferred to our hotel. After dinner there will be an introduction to the workshop with Steve McCurry presenting his magnificent work. This will be followed by a session on how to capture great portraits and how to approach people along the way.
Set off on an all-day cruise on the Irrawaddy River, stopping first in Sagaing, where myriad pagodas gleam white and gold on the hillside. Take in the view from the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, and observe daily life at a convent and a community school. Continue up river to Inwa and hop onto horse carts to visit Nan Myint Tower, Menu Ok-kyaung Monastery and the teak Bagaya Monastery. Enjoy lunch on board as we sail to Mingun, home to a massive, unfinished pagoda. Watch the sunset over the river on our return to Mandalay. After dinner there will be private image reviews by Steve.
Rise early to witness the morning face-washing ceremony of the Mahamuni Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Mandalay. Admire the carvings of the Shwenandaw Monastery and see the 729 chiseled marble slabs of Kuthodaw Pagoda. Explore the city wall and its moat and then stop in at a gold-leaf workshop.
Morning workshop: We will work on our images and Steve will offer constructive feedback of your best shots. We will visit the beautiful U Bein’s Bridge, a 1.2 km long walkway across the Taungthaman Lake built in teak more than 200 years ago. The bridge is used daily by many monks and locals, and is one of the most photographed sights in Burma. After dinner, Steve will present his most iconic and award-winning pictures.
Street photography. The program for the day is quite flexible. Steve will assist, guide and teach you how to approach people and locations, and there will be great opportunities to practice portrait and reportage photography in some of world’s most stunning locations. After dinner Steve will present his most iconic and award-winning pictures.
Fly to Heho and travel overland to Inle Lake, visiting Shweyanpyay Monastery and Nyaungshwe village along the way. Enjoy an afternoon on the lake, stopping at floating villages and pagodas on shore, and gliding past fishermen poling their skiffs with one leg.
Spend the day exploring the lake, from lush floating gardens to vibrant lakeside markets. At the Phaung Daw U Pagoda, see five Buddha images so smothered in gold leaf that they have lost all trace of their original forms. Take a Shan cooking class or watch artisans at work at a silk weaving workshop. After lunch in a floating house, wander among hundreds of Shan-style stupas in Inn Dein, and visit Ngaphechaung Monastery, perched over the water on stilts and teak planks.
We will enjoy the beauty of the hazy blue Shan plateau and the hilly region. We will also visit the Pindaya Cave houses, see 8,094 Buddha images, visit an umbrella workshop made of pulp. Later in the day we proceed to Inle and visit Shweyanpye Monastery, a typical Shan Monastery made of wood, which is about 500 years old, and its 700-year-old pagoda. We will see the small Buddha images in niches painted traditionally by Shan people. Farewell dinner and a thorough review of some of your best workshop photos led by Steve.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for our return flight to Mandalay from where you can fly back home.
Thanks for choosing Better Moments for your workshop.
22 February – 1 March 2020
Number of guests: 8-16
Local transport: Plane and boat
Exertion level: Easy
Accommodation: Hotels are included
Meals: All meals are included
Travel to and from the workshop destination: Not included
Visa and taxes: Not included
Alcoholic beverages: Not included
Travel insurance: Not included
€ 9,450 in shared double room.
€ 9,950 in single room.
Groups sign-up a group of 4+ participants and receive a group discount.
All prices are per person.
Better Moments is a member of the Travel Guarantee Fund, your guarantee that traveling with Better Moments is a safe experience.
All international flights arrive at Mandalay airport. The most common route to Mandalay airport is via Bangkok.
All visitors are required to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay, and all visitors will need a visa. The visa application process is handled by the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar, and can be done in person, by representative, by post or online (https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/). It takes 5-10 working days to get the tourist visa application processed.
The southwest monsoon starts around the end of May, bringing frequent rain until October, peaking from July to September. March to May brings intense heat. At this time, the daily temperatures in Yangon often reach 40ºC, while areas around Bagan and Mandalay go a few degrees higher.
Burmese is the official language of Burma, and the primary language of instruction. English is the secondary language taught.
The Burmese monetary unit is the Kyat (K).
Basis of rates:
All prices are quoted in Euro (€). The prices are based on current tariffs and are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, if it is necessary to levy a surcharge, we reserve the right to do so, and notification will be given at the time of final invoicing.
A deposit of €1,000 is required at the time of booking. The invoice for the balance of payment will be issued 180 days prior to departure, where after final payment is due. For reservations made within 180 days of the departure date, full payment is required when the reservation is accepted. In order to participate on a Better Moments workshop the participant must have made full payment prior to the start of the workshop. The payment terms can be stricter when the workshop includes chartered ships or planes, and any variation will be communicated clearly on the invoice.
Cancellations and refunds:
All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective on the date, which the letter or email is received by Better Moments. There is no cancellation charge until 180 days before departure, however until 24 hours after making the deposit payment it will be refunded in cash, after which a voucher will be issued. The voucher is valid for a booking with Better Moments for up to 1 year from the issue date., and cannot be exchanged for cash. Cancellation charges less than 180 days before departure are expressed as a percentage of the total price, and are as follows: 179 – 150 days before departure 50%, and 149 days or less before departure 100%. This policy also applies to pre- and post-trip extensions. Any airline tickets issued are subject to the carrier’s refund policy. Leaving a workshop in progress, for any reason whatsoever, will not result in a refund, and no refunds will be made for any unused portions of a workshop.
We reserve the right to cancel a workshop because of inadequate enrollment that makes the trip economically infeasible to operate, or because of good-faith concerns with respect to the safety, health, or welfare of the participants. If a workshop is cancelled prior to departure, you will have a choice between a full refund or a credit towards a future Better Moments workshop equivalent to amount paid. If we cancel the trip in progress, you will receive a pro-rata refund based on the number of days. We are not responsible for any refund for airline tickets, hotel accommodation, etc. purchased by the participant. In the event of the specified photo expert being unable to attend due to illness or other circumstances beyond our control, a photo expert of the same standard will be provided. If this is not possible, then the workshop will be cancelled and the provisions above will come into effect.
In order to participate in a workshop you are required to have comprehensive insurance coverage for personal accident and injury, medical and repatriation costs during the workshop. In addition we strongly recommend that you arrange cancellation and travel insurance covering the loss, expenses and damages arising from, including but not limited to, cancellation of the workshop (whether in whole or in part), loss of baggage and personal money and belongings, as well as flight cancellations and delays.
The itineraries and staff presented in this catalogue are subject to modification and change by the Better Moments workshop or its designated tour operator. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but alterations may still occur after final itineraries are sent.
You must be in good physical and mental health. Any physical condition or treatment requiring special attention must be reported in writing at the time of booking. By registering for a Better Moments workshop, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. Better Moments and its designated tour operator reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Better Moments workshop and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of the participants.
If you have special requests, e.g. dietary, cabin number, bedding type, airline seat or other requests, you should inform us of these at the time of booking. We will advise the relevant supplier of your requirements, but we cannot guarantee that such requests will be met, and will have no liability to you if such requests are not met.
We reserve the right to take photographs or videos during the operation of any workshop or part thereof and to use the resulting photography, videos, or recordings for promotional or commercial use. If the participant prefers that his/her likeness not to be used, he/she must notify us in writing prior to departure.
Better Moments and its designated tour operator and tour administrator shall not be held liable for (a) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, watercraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider; and (b) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against Better Moments and/or its designated tour operator and tour administrator for any such loss, damage, injury, or death.
Better Moments and its designated tour operator and tour administrator shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a non-refundable ticket to or from the participant’s Better Moments workshop departure city. It is the sole responsibility of the participants to organize their own transportation to and from the meeting point as described in the workshop itinerary, e.g. airport, hotel, and to ensure timely arrival. The participant should not book flights and/or hotel accommodation until Better Moments have issued final confirmation for the workshop. In the event of late arrival it is the responsibility of the participant to join the workshop, and to carry all associated expenses. Better Moments is not liable if the participant misses any portion of, or the entire workshop as a result of the delay. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the responsibility of the participant.
Other terms and conditions may apply to some workshops, and details will always be provided with pre-trip mailings. By making the deposit payment, the participant agrees to the terms and conditions and the responsibility statements herein on behalf of all the individuals included in the booking.
.”What I will definitely remember from that workshop is the opportunity to learn a lot about how to get people look their best, whether this is a matter of light, whether this is a matter of the situation we put them in. That is something I always enjoyed doing, but now I am sure I understand much better how to do it.
Not only travelling to Burma, but on the leadership of Steve McCurry. Getting first of all to work together with the master, the landscape, the situation here, the people we met…. That’s just amazing!
If I had three words to describe this workshop to summarize it, that would be: learning, practising, and getting a lot of feedback to improve on what I love doing”.
Bernard Menettrier de Jollin participated in the Burma workshop, lead by Steve McCurry.