It’s a bit after the fact but I’m finally getting around to posting about this year’s  optional extension to my Myanmar photo tour in which we visited the 600-year old temples & stupas of Mrauk U.  Mrauk U lies on a rocky isolated plateau in western Myanmar, and was once one of most spectacular royal cites of Asia which served as a free port for trading with Middle East, Portugal, Spain, and Holland in its heyday.

Nowadays, some 157Buddhist shrines and pagodas still remain. Several of the most well-known have been renovated while others in various stages of decay, veiled with dense jungle vegetation.

Compared to Myanmar’s more popular locations, Mrauk U is much smaller in scope with limited transport and accommodation facilities.  In recent years Mrauk U has been on and off the list for tourism due to the Muslim-Buddhist sectarian violence which has been flaring up in recent years. Lucky for us, the area was open to tourists when we visited in February.

One of the main reasons we came to Mrauk U is because there exists a tiny, remote, ethnic, Chin village, where 9 of the last remaining Burmese tattoo faced women can be found. I’d visited this area in September of 2012 while scouting out locations for our photo tours and decided it was the perfect extension to our main Myanmar Tour.

For those who make the extra effort to visit this out of the way place, the rewards are plentiful. The tattooed women are charming, delightful, and photogenic, but as they say, it’s not so much about the destination, but rather, the journey itself, which makes a visit to this seldom visited corner of northwestern coastal area Myanmar so special.



3 Responses to “Myanmar Photo Tour: Sittwe & Mruak U” Subscribe

  1. Michael Clayton May 8, 2014 at 4:59 am #

    Brings back memories. I’ve visited these ladies among others. A long journey with rich photographic rewards. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Terry Wheeler June 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Hey Karl,

    Awesome images! I’ve never seen anything quite like these tattoo faced women. As always, your use of light, shutter speed, aperture, etc, makes the viewer feel like they are there with you.
    Are you still shooting mainly in aperture priority? Do you go full manual at times as well? Either way, your photos are always so consistent and have that KG style!


  3. Terry Wheeler June 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

    I had to leave another reply because I put the wrong twitter url and don’t like the pic of the “other” Terry Wheeler :)

Leave a Reply

Amazing Myanmar Photo Tour: Part 2

More images from the Jim Cline Photo Tours 2015 Amazing Myanmar Photo Tour. The following 19 photographs include images from [...]

Amazing Myanmar Photo Tour 2015: Part 1

Rudyard Kipling once described Burma (Myanmar) as: “quite unlike any land you know about.” Myanmar, the “Golden Land”, is perhaps [...]

Ghana: Seven Years Ago

In 2008 I traveled to Ghana to do an NGO shoot for Freedom From Hunger. A few days ago, while [...]

Papua New Guinea Photo Tour #4

With more than 1,000 different tribes, Papua New Guinea is, to put it mildly, a people photographer’s paradise.  As if [...]

Papua New Guinea Photo Tour #3 Black & White

Papua New Guinea is indeed a colorful place, so much so that with a palate of competing colors in your [...]

Papua New Guinea Photo Tour #2

During this Papua New Guinea photography adventure we journeyed through vast expanses of the environment of Papua New Guinea to [...]