Land with two names (Myanmar or Burma), great culture, breathtaking historical sites, mindblowing sunrises, and a huge variety of landscapes...
Best Time: Typical sunset spot
Remarks: The fishermen of Inle Lake are world-famous, at least since National Geographic put them on its cover. These photos are not taken in a fortunate moment, they are staged. I know, there is a huge discussion going on if it is okay to pay for photos or not. In this case, the fishermen are waiting on a certain spot at the lake and if you want to take pictures it is fine. I guess they are paid by the local communities to do so. Of cause, if you are happy with their performance a small tip would be a nice gesture but they are not aggressively asking for it. To get to that certain spot, all around the lake are boats + drivers for hire. So I guess it is up to you to decide if you want to support this kind of "industry" or not. If you do so, make sure to bring a camera with a good ISO performance and a decently fast lens. A fixed focal lens would have here some advantages but as the boats are moving all the time, I decided to go with zoom lenses to be more flexible on the composition. The awesome clouds in the background were just luck.
GPS Location: 20°35'36.1"N 96°54'33.0"E
Best Time: Sunrise spot
Remarks: The sunrise in Bagan is also a super famous subject. Unfortunately, to take one of these incredible shots you have to climb the temples. This is forbidden now. And yes it is forbidden on all temples. On the one hand, I was super disappointed, on the other hand, I can understand that UNESCO forces Myanmar to protect the ruins to keep the world heritage status. Instead of climbing the temples, Myanmar tries to put up alternatives. Some "little" man-made hills were created. They are not as high as the temples but the view is let's say decent. To be clear, it is not the same but it is better than nothing. This picture was taken from one of these hills. So the balloons are clearly visible and as you can see one of the bigger temples as well. What is not visible is the "fog" on the ground. In reality, the fog is smoke from the villages. Another spot is a tower, which is part of a luxury hotel resort. This one is much higher, you can see the smoke but the perspective in relation to the temples is not good at all. So I would recommend using the hills and please respect the prohibition of climbing the temples. Maybe, Myanmar figures out a way to protect the temples and restore that unique experience. Fingers crossed - I would come again.
GPS Location: 21°9'41.352"N 94°53'1.596"E
Best Time: Mid-day shot
Remarks: This picture is taken next to the Shwezigon Pagoda. There is that walkway to provide people shade. At the beginning of the way, there are some little shops with souvenirs but if you follow it, it gets more and more empty. The monk on the pictures was randomly passing by. As tall western tourists are still a bit rare I could make a deal with him. He got a selfy with me and I got another chance to get a picture of him closer to the columns. Again here, a fixed focal length has advantages concerning the speed but as everything is very dynamic and you get only one shot, I prefer zoom lenses with aperture 2.8.
GPS Location: 21°11'48.288"N 94°53'50.508"E
Best Time: Sunrise Spot
Remarks: U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay is also a spot where you have to take a boat. Boats are available on the west side of the bridge. The boat owners know where to go and if you have a tripod with you, they even bring you to dry spot on land. The scenery is of the sunrise is amazing. More and more people crossing the bridge, reflecting in the water. Finally, the sun rises behind one of the little cabins of the bridge. Just put up your gear and enjoy the show. On the way back to the hotel, I got even the chance to shot some mendicants. Therefore, Tuck Tucks are not just cheaper, they are also much better to shot some daily life subjects.
GPS Location: 21°53'30.5"N 96°03'14.5"E