11 April 2013

Local Guides: Burma - Bagan

Htay Win - Burmese Photographer and Guide
Htay Win poses next to some of his photographs.
"Local Guides" will be a recurring theme here at Global Goebel Travels, where I recommend local guides from the various locations that I visit around the world.

Burma, and especially Bagan, was a destination to which I wanted to travel since soon after I began traveling internationally in 2001.  Like many travelers to Burma, I spent my time seeing the "Big Four" destinations of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake when I was there.  While researching the trip online, I came across some webpages advertising photography tours of Bagan.  With my interests in old temples and in photography, I thought this sounded like a great way to spend a day or two of my trip.  The dates mentioned online didn't fit into my travel schedule.  Nevertheless, after sending a few emails, I was referred to a licensed Bagan guide named Htay Win, who happened to also be a photography enthusiast.

Buddhist Monks Collecting Alms

I wasn't sure what a personal photography tour would be like, but I found that I quite enjoyed it.  It was interesting to go around with another photographer who was very knowledgeable of Bagan and its surroundings, including the times to be at each place for the best available natural lighting.

Although he prefers to think of photography as just a hobby, he is proud to point out that several of the postcards being sold around Bagan are his photos.  He also has a book published with his photos and runs a gallery out of his house in New Bagan where you can buy large versions of his prints.

Bagan Sunrise

If you are heading to Bagan and are interested in photography, I strongly recommend using him as your guide.  He's a genuinely nice guy and is thrilled to discuss photography.  He can be contacted by email at magicalbagan@gmail.com. 

Also, he shoots with a Canon 5D Mark I and is more than interested in upgrading both his camera and some of his lenses (especially anything with image stabilization).  However, it's difficult to buy them in Burma or have them shipped there, so if you have any old gear around, you may be able to sell it to him when you get to Bagan.

I've Seen The Light

You can see more of my photos from Bagan and from the rest of Burma here.


  1. Thanks for sharing this post. I'm finally visiting Burma for the first time this year and I'm especially exciting about exploring Bagan.

    1. Samuel, Burma is great. It's getting more and more crowded, but that's just relative to the way it used to be. I wish I would've had more time there. It's still a beautiful country with some of the friendliest people in the world. Travelers always seems to compare Bagan and Angkor, and most have a definitive favorite between the two. Personally, I think both have their merits. I can't wait to read about your opinions and experiences in Burma on your blog.

  2. I was there last Sept and I enjoyed the sunset most! We compared Angkor and Bagan cuz both have many many temples but history wise, its totally different!


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