Myanmar / Birma / Burma
in November I will travel to Myanmar. I've never been to Asia before, but I have plenty of experience travelling with film in South America (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia).
Basically I have two questions:
1. any problems/experience with film in hand luggage in Myanmar? The flight will be Frankfurt (no problem) - Singapore (no problem?) - Langon (Rangoon) and two domestic flights in Myanmar.
2. any tips regarding photography in Myanmar? This will be a guided tour visiting Langon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle lake, Kalaw. Hotels and transportation are fixed but there is plenty of personal time. As usual I plan to use Kodak Elitechrome 100 slide film, a 28-75/2.8 and 70-200/4 zoom along with my EOS50 or EOS3.
Thanks for your input.
1) I don't see any problems taking film with you. Burmese authorities have nothing against tourists taking holiday shots but you should not take photos of anything military or even police etc.
2) If it's a guided tour they'll show you everything so just take a LOT of film. You might want to take a flash too as it can be very dark inside pagodas and other constructions.
Bagan is a dream destination so make sure to be on top of a pagoda when the sun sets. Mandalay itself is a mess but there are a lot of nice historical places around it. Burma in general is very beautiful, almost untouched. Burmese people in general like to be photographed so no problems there either. Be prepared to the fact that you cannot buy any photo gear inside Burma. No film, no batteries, absolutely nothing.
What do you mean with "Mandalay is a mess"?
Andreas, I mean Mandalay town (where you'll stay overnight I suppose) is not very nice in my opinion. Rangoon (Yangoon) on the other hand is quite interesting place and you'll find a lot to photograph over there.
Pretty much everything you need to know has been said. I was there in May with a good 40 rolls of 120, and never had problems shooting anywhere (though I guess the 6 days of 47˚C was a shooting problem, but that was only my fault for going in May!). Airports were fine with film (though didn't want to hand inspect, but ask). I sort of forgot about what was ok to shoot and not to shoot, so I took a few photos inside airports with no problems. Even taking photos of planes out on the runway at Heho. Didn't get hounded by anyone, and actually noticed a significantly larger amound of military and police on the streets in Nepal than in Myanmar.
As a personal note on places, I found Nyaung Shwe/Inle Lake to be the least enjoyable. Touring around on the lake is really cool, but both places are just so touristy compared to the rest of the country, and the people seemed less friendly than everywhere else too.
Also, try to find a copy of The New Light of Myanmar. A nice cheap newspaper full of hilarious propaganda!
That's good to know Chris! I plan on visiting in Feb/March next year, so hopefully won't have the heat issues you had!
I'm jealous. The temperatures should be much more bearable then! Most locals were complaining that it was 3-4ºC hotter than normal this year, and Yangon had 40 straight days over 100ºF, which made for another great tourist souvenir newspaper. I'm looking to go back sometime in November when the climate allows you to actually do things between the hours of 10am and 4pm too (and get a good night's sleep!).
Originally Posted by mooseontheloose
Keep a close eye on what happens with this years 'elections' in October, too. I had a couple of quite frank conversations with local people who were absolutely fed up with the government and who sounded like they'd be wiling to stand up and do anything for their country if the elections weren't fair. I fear it could be the last straw for a lot of people and things could get quite bad, but you really never know. Fingers crossed things get better for everyone soon, the people and scenery are equally wonderful and it's a great country to travel around.
And, Chris, special thanks for your Nepal album on flickr.
I'm a b/w guy but on vacations like this I always choose color slides. Your album shows what impressive b/w photography is possible even in a colorful country, even only with a single focal length.
For sure I will add some b/w to my hand luggage.
Did you use a filter to darken the blue sky?
Thanks! Sad story is I ordered a 45mm lens from KEH a good 6 weeks before leaving for that trip for some wider shots in the hills, only to have it turn up on my doorstep 2 days after leaving. Very frustrating, but it was a good experience making one focal length work (and gives me reason to go back!).
Originally Posted by ath
I didn't use any filters for that trip either. The skies are darker due to the altitude more than anything I think. Quite funny to compare to Myanmar where I shot everything with a #15 yellow and still got hardly anything out of the skies because of the heat/haze everywhere.