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Tribal Myanmar: October 1-15, 2017


Trip full, wait list available!

Myanmar is a golden land of breathtaking beauty, saffron-clad monks and friendly, charming locals, steeped in fascinating history and traditions. Explore the magical, mystical, off-the-beaten-track locations of "tribal Myanmar" on this epic two-week photographic journey, under the leadership of photojournalist Karl Grobl and his long-term experienced charming local guide.

Tribal Myanmar is a great trip for first timers to Myanmar, as well as for those who have already experienced more well-known locations in the country, and who are looking to dive deep into the remote, fascinating, vanishing cultural diversity of this amazing country. The tour concentrates less on the well-known landmarks, (although we do visit a few), and focuses more on the last remaining vestiges of tribal cultures that still cling to the traditional ways of life.

We will see and photograph the Padong Long-Neck women, the ornately decorated Akha tribal people. From there, we will make the long journey to the last remaining Tattoo-Faced Chin ladies, up river from Mrauk U, in the Rakhine State. But that's not all, we will also explore and photograph the Silver Palung and Ta’Ang, and Eng black-teeth people. Then we will make several visits to Wa and Kun Shan villages, Lwe tribes in their distinctive longhouses, and the fascinating Lahu tribes.

During this trip, you’ll receive daily photographic instruction from Karl. Optional nightly image-sharing sessions will be offered to help ensure that your photography is on track. This is an intensive, immersive trip with several short, easy treks through some of the most scenic areas of Myanmar and through countless traditional villages. 

If you are looking to get off the beaten track to capture unique, once in a lifetime images, then this is the trip for you!

Day 1:
(Oct 1)

Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. In the evening, orientation will be presented in the hotel lobby, followed by a welcome dinner. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 2:

In the morning, we will fly from Yangon to Sittwe. There we'll photograph the town’s monasteries, the central market, and the bustling cottage industries. Later, we will enjoy sunset photography from a local viewpoint. Overnight in Sittwe.

Day 3:

While in Sittwe, we will have an early-morning shoot at the busy local fish market. Then, after breakfast at the hotel, we will go by car to the jetty, and board a private boat for a trip to the ancient capital Mrauk-U. If we arrive on schedule, we’ll head to a hilltop for what usually is some amazing sunset photography. Overnight in Mrauk-U.

Day 4:

This morning in Mrauk-U, we will photograph a misty sunrise from our favorite hilltop location. After breakfast, we will spend the day photographing the local markets and most beautiful ancient temples around Mrauk-U. A sunset shoot from different venues will include women gathering water in distinctive Bangladeshi style pots. Overnight in Mrauk-U.

Day 5:

Today we will take a private boat journey up the Lay Mro River to visit the last remaining tattooed women of remote tribal Chin villages. We’ll spend the day photographing these vanishing tattooed-face women at several different villages along this river. Overnight in Mrauk-U.

Day 6:

Today, an early-morning boat ride will take us from Mrauk-U to Sittwe. The departure time may vary depending on the tidal conditions and our flight time. In the afternoon, we will fly to Yangon, where there will be time to photograph and explore the iconic Shwedagon pagoda before sunset through the incredible, but fleeting, cobalt-blue twilight sky. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 7:

We will fly to Heho this morning. A five-hour journey by private coach will take us to Loikaw. Then, on the ride from the airport, we can shoot along the way. The scenic beauty with rice paddies, typical ethnic villages, and colorful farms, will add charm to your portfolio. We will reach Loikaw in the late afternoon.  Overnight in Loikaw.

Day 8:

Today we will explore and photograph at Panpet Padaung longneck village in Dee Maw So township, which is about 2 hours away from Loikaw. Overnight in Loikaw.

Day 9:

After breakfast, there will be an opportunity for street shooting and photography at Loikaw central market and the town’s most revered Taungkwe Zedi. Afterwards, we will ride in a coach to Hpe Hkon town, then a enjoy a long-tailed boat ride to Inle Lake. On the way, we will visit and shoot at Sagar ancient Shand kingdom ruin. Overnight in Inle Lake.

Day 10:

We have arranged a shoot, from the hotel deck, of Inle’s famous leg rowers. Then we will have a full day of photographing on and around the lake. The day’s shoot will conclude with sunset photography of fishermen on the water. Overnight in Inle Lake.

Day 11:

Before we leave Inle Lake, we will have a half-day shoot at different 5-day markets. Then we take a boat to Nyaungshwew, where we will transfer by coach to Heho airport.  This morning’s activities will depend on the flight time from Heho to Keng Tung.  We will fly to Keng Tung around noon, then explore and shoot at the town’s many Wats (monasteries). Overnight in Keng Tung.

Day 12:

Today we will explore Pintau, and shoot at different tribe villages, including the seldom-visited Silver Palaung. Overnight in Keng Tung.

Day 13:

From Keng Tung, we’ll drive northeast towards the China border and explore Wennyut Loi longhouses and a centuries-old village monastery. We will also have a chance to explore ethnic Khun Shan villages on the way. Overnight in Keng Tung.

Day 14:

We will make a morning visit to Wan Sai village of the adorned Akhu tribal people. Then we will fly to Yangon in the afternoon. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 15:

Participants will be transferred to Yangon airport for departure flights out of Myanmar.



Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl, (co-founder and trip leader), is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. Calling upon his superb photography talents, both technically and creatively, he proficiently leads photo workshops and international photo tours (on this website). Beyond his photography attributes, tour clients frequently commend his helpfulness, professionalism and savvy about navigating global travel.

In 2013, Karl relocated from San Diego, California to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where he now lives full time. Karl considers Cambodia the perfect place for his Asia-based NGO work and photography tours and workshops. When ‘deplaning’ from his rigorous international travel schedule, Karl lecturers on photography and photojournalism, works on personal photography projects, and scouts out new off-beat photo tour destinations in Asia. In his free time, Karl says that he enjoys "hanging out at the nearby temples of Angkor, the rural villages and rice paddies, and occasionally getting completely soaked by the refreshing monsoon rains".

Many of Karl’s images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, though the majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients.  

Over the last ten years, Karl has worked in over 50 countries and has covered and photographed post conflict peace building 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. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Karl spent more than a month embedded with five different non-governmental organizations (NGO) documenting tsunami relief efforts in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.  The international press has taken notice of Karl’s provoking images:  The 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award. Karl is a member of the Advisory Council of Focus For Humanity, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers wishing to work with NGOs.

    “From an early age, my parents instilled in me a desire to explore and learn firsthand about the world around me. Our family vacations and weekend excursions were general education courses disguised as fun. Knowingly or unknowingly they set me on course for a journey that today, is still just beginning. For me, the ongoing quest to document the world’s people and global events that shape our common humanity, have been instrumental in breaking down stereotypes, preconceptions and prejudices. 

I believe that the more of the world we see and experience, the more we understand. It seems people everywhere, share similar goals, aspirations, hopes and desires. It is with a strong sense of obligation that I share through photographs, the people, places and events that have profoundly shaped my vision of our world. By sharing these experiences with you, I hope to make a small, positive contribution to a heightened sense of world community.” -K. Grobl

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Cost includes: All hotel accommodation, all modes of transportation such as Car/Coach for all transfers and sightseeing programs (Sittwe/Mrauk-U and Keng Tung do not have A/C cars), private chartered boats for Sittwe/Mrauk-U and Chin villages visit; Inle Lake sightseeing / transfers, all domestic flights using private airlines only (Air KBZ, Yangon Airways, Asian Wings, Air Mandalay, Air Bagan), 14 dinners or lunches, all breakfasts, English Speaking guides, all entrance fees, (excluding museum admission fees), Current Domestic Airlines fuel surcharges and all Prevailing taxes  

Cost does not include: international flights, passport & visas fees, travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, meals not specified, tips to guides, drivers and bellboys, personal expenses such as alcoholic beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees, etc. 

Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $800 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.


On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.

  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

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. All participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s departure.


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.

Country Info



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 on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  To see whether this country is currently affected by Malaria click here.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money: Currency in Myanmar is called kyat. Currency exchange rates

United States currency (USD) is necessary and the bills must be new, un-torn, un-marked, in as perfect condition as you can find them. We will have the opportunity to exchange money at our hotels and at certified money change locations. Bring enough cash for the entire trip as credit cards, travelers checks and ATM cards are totally and utterly useless in Myanmar. The local currency used is called Kyat (pronounced “chat”).  

Internet Access: The Internet in Myanmar is available however, the military government works aggressively to limit and control Internet access through software-based censorship, infrastructure and technical constraints, and laws and regulations with large fines and lengthy prison sentences for violators. The government also charges high prices to connect to the Internet, and then charges on a per-hour basis once connected.  Internet cafés are common in the country and many folks use different pieces of software to bypass the government's website-restricting system. 

Electrical: Converters & Adapters Required

VISA ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: The Government of Burma strictly controls travel to, from, and within Burma. Burmese authorities have often prohibited entry or exit at most land border crossings, unless the traveler is part of a package-tour group that has received prior permission from the Burmese authorities. You must have a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity and visa to enter Burma. You should apply for your Burmese visa at a Burmese embassy or consulate abroad before you arrive in Burma. In Burma, you will be required to show your passport with a valid visa at all airports, train stations, and hotels. Security checkpoints are common outside of tourist areas.


Packing Ideas

We take pride in our trip testimonials. We hope you’ll take a moment to read those below written by previous participants of this tour. 

"I got much more photographically out of this trip than I ever expected. I have a bunch of shots that are keepers and at least one that really thrills me.  Schwedagon was truly the trip’s highlight for me and I could have spent much more time there. I feel that I got good value for the money on this tour, as this trip is already pretty well tuned and it's hard to see how to make it better. The pace of the trip and the hotels were fine, the food [at restaurants] were delicious.  Karl is great and I learned a lot from him and he is one of the best tour leaders I have ever travelled with (and I've travelled a lot). The local guide MM was wonderful to add the cultural information to compliment Karl's artistic and technical expertise.  I can't wait to go again!" 
~Zoe K.


"The trip was fantastic [I would rate it] a true 10 out of 10. Karl takes a personal interest in each of us and gently pushes us to see and make our best images. The places that Karl and MM selected for us to visit and shoot were outstanding. The richness and depth [of the locales] was amazing. Karl did pre-research to ensure that the group had lots of photo opportunities and the unique photo shoots that I don't think other trips offer. My photography definitely improved and I got some great pictures. Seeing what others shot during earlier outings help me be more creative with my photography. The people of Myanmar are the warmest and friendliest that I've encountered. I've been on three of Karl's trips, and the pace is always intense, and I love it!"
~Steve C.


"The country, 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."
~Ruti A.


"I had a very good experience on the Myanmar tour last September. I found that the tour was well organized, food was excellent and accommodations comfortable to luxurious. As for Karl, he was very approachable. When we were on longer bus rides, he would do a short lecture on camera functions, settings, exposure, etc. He also set up "office" in the back of the bus to spend one on one time with the participants. He also roamed around at the various markets and temples to check in with each of us in a very non-aggressive manner. He would peek at the back of our cameras, see if we had any questions and generally encourage us, if we needed it.

At one point, I came across a young woman at the Shwedagon Pagoda who was shy but didn't seem to mind me photographing her. I snapped a few shots and started to walk away, not wanting to be intrusive. Karl caught me walking away and said: “Hey, she is a willing subject, get in there and go for it!” I spent about 10 minutes with her and she never resisted my snapping shots from different angles. I learned to take advantage of a "gift" in street photography!  He also advised us to put some eye candy in a simple portrait, something of interest in the frame to add interest or to tell a story about the person in the shot. That was very valuable to me.

He arranged some excellent shoots, with young monks at some of the temples. It was good experience and we benefitted greatly from those set-ups.  You just don't get those opportunities on a self-guided tour or an organized tour that is not photography focused."
~Margaret K.


" not hesitate. I go on 3 or 4 photo tours and workshops a year...and Karl is the absolute best. My spouse and I spent 3 weeks with Karl last September in Myanmar and Cambodia and it was an excellent trip...we are going to be with Karl again this November in Pushkar, India for two more weeks. You will not be disappointed."
~Joe M.

"I have travelled with Karl on five trips now (Peru, India, South East Asia, Cambodia and Myanmar) and cannot speak highly enough about him and his tour organization.

He is an outstanding photographer who is willing to pass on his knowledge to his tour members – he is more interested in helping you get your perfect shot than taking photographs himself. In addition he is a gentleman with a warm personality who always puts the welfare and interests of his clients first.

Karl’s local fixer in Myanmar is very knowledgeable and exceptionally well organized – in fact he is the best fixer of all the fixers I’ve encountered on my five tours."
~Darrell M.


"This trip was a full 10+. You know the trips are fantastic when you want to sign up for another one before the first is finished. The country [Myanmar] itself presents visual overload as soon as you arrive… I feel like I need to go back now and savor a few special places again…

I loved having so many different photo ops, all were super, and it was great to be able to stop for parades and ox cart races etc., that just popped up. The markets were stupendous. My photography improved and I captured some great pictures. I learned a lot from Karl and other participants- the mini lecturers and discussions were great.

Karl was amazing! Everything I’d heard about him was right on. Best teacher ever in the field. He was attentive to each of us in the way we needed. Also the local guide (MM) is the best ever, he is so smart, kind and thorough. I can’t say enough good stuff about him. I’m sold on Jim Cline Photo Tours, because of the superb planning and organization."
~Judy B.


"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.

We went to many places where I doubt other tours visited because those places would not accommodate a larger group. I felt like the tour was very well researched and prepared. 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.

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.

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.

Overall, an excellent tour of the area and a terrific value for anyone interested in photography."
~George S.


"I've travelled on a number of photographic trips, and Karl is easily the best [trip leader]. I've been with him on the Cambodian (Angkor) Workshop and the Myanmar Photo Tour, and I heartily recommend both. Karl knows the locations and the people, so always has you in the right place at the right time. His ground agents are knowledgeable and informative, and pay attention to detail, so that your travel is smooth and interesting.

Karl himself is a joy! He makes a point of spending time with each participant. He takes a real interest in his travel companions and their photographic abilities and needs. Most importantly, his love of the people in the communities that he guides his participants through, is obvious. I am looking forward to my next adventure with Karl in India in November."
~Ursula W.


"Amazing country, amazing people, amazing photo ops. Pictures in every direction. The people charming and often ask for their photos to be taken. Karl [was] there for us always! [Local guide} MM is terrific. Knowledgeable, helpful, aware of us, and articulate! [I] 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. Overall, fantastic country, great photo ops, and opportunity to learn more about shooting."
~Elaine B.

Trip Evaluation Form
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