For my first day in Burma, I made it an early morning to spend a few quick hours sightseeing before I joined the start of my tour through the country. Much of the day was spent walking the streets of Yangon, and getting a feel for the nation's former capital. As I've said before, much of the beauty of South East Asia can be found in seeing the numerous scenes that unfold before your eyes throughout the streets and markets. There's always plenty going on.
I general prefer setting my own itinerary and exploring on my own when possible, or at least having a private tour. But, that's not always feasible, and in those cases, a small group tour will do fine. As a photographer, I much prefer the control to spend as long or as little as I like in a place, so small group tours can be a little hard at times. Lately however, I'm really starting to appreciate the benefits of not spending the time to plan out a week or two trip in detail just so I can explore on my own.
I'm trying to find the harmony and balance of planning a mix of guided and unguided tours. Even when I do plan everything, I've sometimes found out the place I wanted to shoot is better at sunset, but I arrived in the evening with plans to leave in the morning. Or been there for sunrise when it's really the night sky to see. I keep trying to get better, but there'll always be misses anyways, so why kill yourself over planning? Go with the flow!