A Q&A with our Burma photographer, Corrie Wingate

Bodhi Tataung, (photo by Corrie Wingate)
Bodhi Tataung

Burma is our destination of the month for April. Photographer Corrie Wingate tells us about her experience travelling through the country during her shoot for the new edition of Insight Guide Burma.


 

1. How long was your trip to Burma? What do you think would be the perfect amount of time to go for?

My trip to Burma lasted 30 days, the maximum length of time allowed on any tourist visa. Two weeks would be enough time to cover the major tourist sights, but longer could enable you to go beyond these regions and make all the necessary arrangements to visit government-restricted areas. One month was definitely enough time to get a feeling for the people, the religious and political aspects of every day life.

2. Did you get a sense of the history of the country when traveling around?

Yes of course, Burma is multi-layered with history as well as being frozen in a time. The Buddhist temples are a great example of how Burma rebuilds itself time and time again, and Burma's youth are a constant reminder that change is ever present.

 

3. What was the atmosphere like when exploring Burma as a tourist?

The country was bristling with excitement about the future; the prospect of democracy and the free press, as well as the current tourism boom. The people were most welcoming and on the whole Burma felt like one of the safest countries I have ever travelled in.

4. Which places would you recommend for a tourist and keen photographer to visit in Burma?

Obviously Burma is famous for being incredibly photogenic and many iconic images have been captured so often that a photographer often feels it necessary to repeatedly shoot the classics - U Bein bridge at sunrise/sunset, Bagan temples from a height, the Inle Lake one-legged boat men, etc, etc.  However, for me personally, it was an absolute pleasure to photograph local people going about their everyday business. I was always greeted with a welcome smile and was never once asked to pay for an image.

5. What was the highlight of your trip?

On my first evening in downtown Yangon, I chanced upon a peaceful demonstration against the recent power cuts. I was fortunate enough to take a front row view of Aung San Suu Kyi as she arrived to address the crowd and bid farewell to the country before embarking on her first overseas trip in more than 20 years to claim her Nobel Peace prize.

6. What were the best and worst things you ate?

A simple bowl of handmade Shan noodle salad, delicious peanuty flavour with fresh crunchy herbs. I disliked the oil-heavy Burmese curries, but once you got the hang of sieving from the bottom of the bowl, they weren't too bad.

 



7. Was your trip very tour-based, or did you get a chance to head out on your own?

I didn't take a single tour for the entire month, though I had some good contacts and was met by locals in most towns/cities throughout the country. I would say that Burma is a very easy country to travel around independently – you just need to factor in a bit of extra time and a lot of patience!

 

 


About Corrie

Corrie has provided the images for many Insight Guide titles as well as international NGO's, Corporations and charities.

 

Find out more at her website.

 

 

We feature many of Corrie's images in our free Travel Photography App.


 

Plan your trip to Burma

Insight Guides Burma 

To read the full lowdown on where to go and what to do in Burma, buy our brand-new Insight Guide to Burma.


And for practical advice on building a trip to the country, you can also visit our trip planner page


Other great Burma features include the best Buddhist monuments; unique cuisine, including breakfast Burmese style; Longyi, the national costume; and Burma's eccentric take on football...



This April we're exploring Burma as our destination of the month. For more updates keep following the Insight blog, or check us out on Twitter @InsightGuides or on our Insight Facebook page, or why not look at some lovely travel photography on Pinterest


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