Faces of Bagan Photography Tour

A local farmer stops for a photo on her way home from the fields in Bagan.
A local farmer stops for a photo on her way home from the fields in Bagan.

Beyond Bagan’s Temples

Take an adventure into the heart of modern Myanmar on our Bagan village photo tour 

A young monk poses for a photo before a Buddha image in Bagan
A young monk poses for a photo before a Buddha image in Bagan

Capture the authentic daily life of the people of Bagan on this private guided photography tour. You’ll begin by shooting the sunrise over the ancient monuments of Old Bagan, away from the buses and crowds. After breakfast, we’ll visit local village communities on foot with a walking tour. Photograph traditional crafting from local artisans on a village walking tour in the morning, and shoot amazing temple ruins in the late afternoon pre-golden hour light. This is a great place to capture some compelling portraits and street scenes. Our trip leader will help you guide your subjects to create the perfect photo. 

Bagan Village Photography Tour Highlights

  • maximize your limited time available in Bagan for capturing the epic sunrise, balloons, shrines, architecture, and amazing local people
  • get closer to real people and communities your tour fees support to capture the everyday beauty, culture, and colors of Myanmar on this Bagan village photo tour
  • late afternoon village life under warm pre-sunset light
  • sunset by private boat cruise on the Irrawaddy

Experience Bagan’s People

  • pre-sunrise pickup and orientation to position ourselves to make the most of available light during the sunrise/sunset “golden hour”
  • get closer to real people and communities your tour fees support to capture the everyday beauty, culture, and colors of Myanmar
  • late afternoon village life under warm pre-sunset light
  • sunset in intimate location for capturing exceptional moments otherwise inaccessible
  • journey by private taxi and boat

Visit temples and villages off the tourist track and discover authentic Bagan through its people

We will explore several different communities and sites throughout the day, both inside and beyond the Bagan archaeological zone. Once in the villages, we will spend most of our time on foot, visiting our neighbors in their workshops and on their farms. An intimate look into the amazing lives of local people, their culture, and communities that make Myanmar such a unique place to visit.

Sample Itinerary

05:30: Pickup from your hotel by air-conditioned private taxi to position for sunrise

05:45-07:30: Sunrise balloon shooting within the monument zone, location based on your subject and perspective preferences.

07:30-8:30: Visit to farming and bamboo crafting village within the monument zone for close-up photography and bushcraft knowledge sharing.

08:30-09:30: Al fresco light breakfast with local pastries, fruit, and fresh coffee/tea. Opportunity for sitting/walking meditation and shooting in secluded temple gardens. Relax with caretakers and shoot local agricultural activities.

09:30-12:00: Visit to rare irrigated village outside monument zone with terraced rice paddies in golden bloom, with little contact with foreigners. We have a small organic permaculture farm in the village that affords many close-up/portrait opportunities. This is an “oxcart village” with limited access to motor vehicles and feels like a journey to the bronze age.

12:00-13:30: Lunch break and travel time

13:30-16:30: Journey by taxi to remote village location on the Irrawaddy, a cluster of pagodas situated on an isolated clifftop. Visit remote sites and areas on foot, including many not listed on any map or guidebook. Amazing murals and panoramic views, visit to magical meditation caves and cliff monasteries. Fantastic late-period temples with murals and stone carvings, expansive views, and small monastic community.

17:00-18:30: Return to Old Bagan by private boat, including cold drinks and snacks. Views of mast notable Bagan monuments along riverside.

18:30-19:00: Return to your hotel or drop-off at local restaurant by private taxi

Price Includes:

  • Air-conditioned private taxi and driver
  • Experienced English-speaking licensed tour guide
  • Bagan sunset cruise on the Irrawaddy
  • Outdoor breakfast
  • Chilled drinks all day

Price Excludes:

  • Bagan Archaeological Zone fees
  • Lunch

Why Choose Us?

Part of what makes our Bagan photography tours so special is the direct contact with locals as we share our community connections with our tour guests. This allows our guests to experience Myanmar more authentically than any other tours on offer, and to capture better, more intimate photos of local people and activities. Our photography tours are operated in cooperation with Myanmar SEEDS, our development nonprofit and founding partner.

Ethical Travel Photography

We understand that some visitors have concerns about staged photographs and paid models. These concerns are especially serious when photographing monks, monasteries and religious sites in Myanmar. What makes our Bagan photography tours unique is that we work directly with local communities in authentic settings.

Your Bagan photography tour fees go directly to local community projects, including monastery education programs for children. We offer these photo tours only after building long-term relationships with village leaders, including the abbots of local monasteries where we shoot. The monks who participate in our photography tours are not paid; a portion of your tour fees is donated to the monastery directly or into the monastery education fund. During your tour you are welcome to meet these village leaders who welcome your participation on our tours.

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