Visit Myanmar - Burma

The Land of the Golden Pagodas

10 day exploration of Myanmar ( Burma)


Immortalized by the likes of Kipling, Masters and Orwell, the mystical land of Myanmar, (formally known as Burma) offers the traveler a kaleidoscope of colors and culture that will remain with you for a lifetime. Until recently closed to western tourism, Myanmar stands as one of the world’s newest destinations. Known as the Golden Land not only for its glittering Buddhist monuments and rich cultural heritage, but also for the phenomenal natural beauty found in its forests, rivers, green valleys and seacoast. However, it is the inhabitants that give Myanmar its characteristic charm. They have often been described as the most friendly, open-hearted people in the world. Unlike other tours in Myanmar,  our guides will take you on foot to places not visited by other travelers, allowing you to experience all that this unique country has to offer. Nobel Prize laureate Ang San Suu Kyi calls Myanmar home, and in the company of guides familiar to the country’s hidden treasures, a singular sense of peace is sure to pervade our journey as well.

 Our accommodations in Myanmar make the most of region’s unique geography. From lakeside chalets to deluxe hotels designed to evoke an exotic charm, guests experience to to the fullest what, for so long, had been a well kept secret. The secret is revealed in traditional style matched with contemporary comfort at every locale on this extraordinary adventure.  

Day 1:

ARRIVAL DAY -YANGON: Aung San Museum and 1 hour hike up and around Shwedagon Pagoda.

Arrival at Yangon International airport and transfer to the hotel. Yangon’s impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes it one of the most fascinating capitals of South East Asia. After a chance to freshen up and have lunch at the hotel, we’ll visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum. The museum is the former home of General Aung San., father of Aung San Suu Kyi. The colonial home, dating from 1920 contains remnants of another era.

After visiting the museum, we continue our exploration of Yangon by walking to the top of the Shwedagon Pagoda for sunset. Kipling called Shwedagon “a golden mystery…a beautiful twinkling wonder. The 2500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda is claimed to be the world’s richest golden stupa. It is considered the most sacred of all Buddhist sites in the country. The golden dome rises 98 meters / 323 feet above its base and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold. As the setting sun casts it last rays of light on the soft orange domes, you can feel the magic in the air.

 We return to our hotel for an orientation meeting and welcome dinner. Sedona Hotel, Yangon

 Day 2:

Dallah, Gem Museum, Scott’s Maket.  1 hour 30 minutes hiking. Easy.

After breakfast, we drive through the colonial heart of the city to the foot passenger ferry terminal. From here, we catch our 10 minute ferry across the bustling Yangon river to the rural area known as Dallah. In Dallah we’ll walk though Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim villages whose communities all live together in harmony.

On returning to the city by ferry, we’ll have a chance to stop and photograph some of the old colonial architecture. We’ll then explore the Bogyoke Market (formally known as Scott’s Market).  Scott’s market is a fascinating covered market where we can find handicrafts, jewels, antiques, and art work from all over Myanmar, at very reasonable prices.

 After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll visit the Gem Museum. This museum is meant to impress and does! It’s home to the world’s largest sapphire, the world’s largest natural pearl, the world’s largest rough ruby and much more. The museum also contains 3 floors of licensed gem stalls selling both precious and semi-precious jewellery and loose stones, as well as souvenir pieces. This is a good opportunity to see what is available in Myanmar.  

We’ll return to our hotel for dinner. Sedona Hotel, Yangon

 Day 3:

Inle Lake. 1 hour easy hike to hot springs.

After breakfast, we fly to Heho, our gateway to Inle Lake. (1 hour 15 minute flight). From Heho we transfer to Inle Lake. (1 hour drive.) The stunning drive winds though heavily forested hills where we’ll see a variety of trees including Banyon’s, Jacarandas, Acacias and rubber trees, to name a few. Dotted amongst the hills are monasteries, stupas and small lakes. We descend to the flat plateau below where most of the county’s rice is grown as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables and sugar cane. Finally we arrive at a small jetty where we pick up our private boat to our hotel, located on the shores of the lake Inle.  It is a 30 minute boat ride to the hotel. Along the way we’ll pass local fishermen who are famous for propelling their flat bottomed boats by standing on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.

 After lunch at the hotel, we set off for a walk to the nearby hot springs. Our route takes us through a couple of small villages where we’ll have the opportunity to enter a local home. We then continue through a bamboo forest. When we reach the hot springs, we usually see the local women enjoying themselves by pouring the warm water over their heads.

We then return to the hotel with a chance to freshen up before enjoying a sunset boat ride out on the lake.

Dinner at the hotel. Inle Princess Resort, Inle Lake.

 Day 4:

Inle Lake. 2 hour easy Hike to Forest Monastery and Lake exploration by boat

After breakfast we set off by boat to the village of Maing Thauk (20 minute boat ride). From Maing Thauk we’ll hike to the Forest Monastery (1 hour). The trail is shaded with Tamorind trees. We’ll also see Mango and sugar cane plantations. As we get higher into the jungle our trail saddles a deep gorge with a stream running below. We’ll enjoy the many bird calls. Sometimes see monkeys swinging in the trees. We’ll arrive at the Monestery in time to see the monks gathering for their mid morning lunch.  Further along the trail from the monastery is a stupa. From here there are stunning views of Inle Lake.

On the way back from the monastery we’ll have a chance to visit the village of Maing Thouk including an orphanage for pre-schoolers and a sugar cane farm where fudge and syrup is produced.

 Next we board our long tail boats for the 45 minute journey to the southern end of the lake. The journey takes us though floating gardens where we’ll see multi colored lotus flowers and hyacinths. The lake is also rich in water fowl including egrets and cormorants. We’ll have lunch at a local restaurant, which is on tall stilts offering excellent views of the lake.  

After lunch we once again board our longtail boars for a leisurely trip through the floating villages and vegetable gardens. We’ll stop to see some of the traditional cottage industries including lotus flower weaving, pottery and cigar making as well as a blacksmith. We’ll also stop at the jumping cat monastery where the monks have trained their cats to jump through hoops.  We then return to the hotel for sunset and dinner. Inle Princess Resort. Inle Lake

 Day 5:

Mandalay. 1 hour easy Hike to Mandalay Hill and Marionnette Show

After breakfast, we enjoy our last boat ride on the lake returning to the jetty. We then transfer to Heho Airport for our short flight Mandalay. (1 hour transfer time. 30 minute flight time). Upon arrival in Mandalay we transfer to our hotel, at the foot of Mandalay Hill. We’ll have lunch at the hotel and time to relax before setting starting our hike to the top of Mandalay Hill (1 hour hike up).Mandalay Hill was the site of fierce fighting in WWll when the British retook the hill from the Japanese in 1945. The summit offers a wide view over the palace and the pagoda-studded countryside. 

After hiking back down, we’ll proceed to the Marrionnette Theatre, across the street from our hotel. We’ll enjoy a 1 hour performance before returning to the hotel for dinner. Sedona Hotel, Mandalay.

Day 6:

Mandalay. 2 hour easy hiking around the old capital of Inwa and sunset boat trip up the Ayeyarwaddy River

After breakfast, we drive out of the city through open farmland until reaching the narrow river crossing point to Inwa, previously known as Ava. (45 minute drive).  Upon reaching the other side by boat, we board our horse drawn buggies for a short ride to the old city wall. From here we enter the old gate and walk through the serene countryside visiting historical sites along the way. There are virtually no cars in Inwa and the farmland includes fields of soy beans, rice and sun flowers. The highlights of Inwa include an an ancient monastery made entirely out of teak and supported by enormous teak posts as well as a crumbling pagoda with large stone statues of Buddha dating from the 15th century. Finally, we’ll return by horse and buggy to a local restaurant located on a quiet spot by the river.

 After lunch, we ride in our horse and buggies to the jetty where we board our local river cruisers for our return to Mandalay. We’ll cruise for about 2 ½ hours up the mighty Ayeyarwaddy (formally known as the Irawaddy) arriving in Mandalay as the sun sets. Dinner at the hotel. Sedona Hotel. Mandalay

 Day 7:

Bagan. 2 hour easy hiking through ancient temples. Visit cottage industries.

After breakfast, we fly to Bagan, formally known as Pagan (20 minute flight time).  We start our exploration of Bagan by visiting a small 13th century Stupa, noted for it’s fine frescoes (called the Gubyaukgyi Stupa). We then stop at the Ananda Temple, one of the largest, best preserved and most revered temple in Bagan. We then take a break from visiting temples and stop at a local lacquerware workshop.  We’ll be able to watch as the men and women use traditional methods to make lacqueware.  We’ll then check in at our hotel and enjoy lunch by the pool before venturing out again for our afternoon hike.

 We start our hike by climbing to the top of one of the castle-like temples, enjoying sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. We’ll then zig-zag our way through various temples along quiet trails. Along the way we’re likely to see cows drinking at a watering hole and farmers harvesting sesame seeds. We end our hike by climbing to the top of the Swesandaw Temple for fantastic sunset views. We then return to our hotel for dinner. Thazin Garden Hotel. Bagan

 Day 8:

Bagan. Optional Balloon flight, 1 hour and 30 minutes easy hiking and the archaeological museum

For those who have booked the balloon flight, there will be an early morning pick-up. The champagne balloon flight is an incredibly spectacular way to see the sunrise over Bagan. It must be rated as one of the world’s finest balloon flights. The balloon is guided by gentle winds not exceeding 15 miles an hour, allowing passengers a serene and bird’s eye view of ancient temples drifting by.  On average the flight lasts between 45 minutes to 1 hour. For those not doing the balloon flight, we’ll visit the morning market.

 Later this morning, hike through the Paya-thone-zu group of temples (a short ride to the east of our hotel). 

We’ll then have lunch at a local restaurant located on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River. After lunch we’ll visit the Archaeological Museum. The museum is home to a collection of world class Buddha Images saved from the Bagan region. After our visit to the museum, we’ll start our hike through Old Bagan. We’ll walk by the oldest stupa and the tallest temple. We’ll see frescos at the Thamya Temple and climb to the top of the Swegugyi Temple. We’ll end our walk at Bagan’s 9th century gateway, guarded by brother and sister spirits (represented by gold statues). 

After our walk, we’ll have some free time for shopping at one of the region’s best handicraft shops. We’ll then take a short ride to the jetty for a sunset cruise. In Mandalay we enjoyed the upper Ayeyarwaddy.  Here in Bagan we’ll enjoy the lower Ayeyarwaddy. We’ll then return to the hotel for dinner. Thazin Garden Hotel. Bagan 

Day 9:

Yangon. 2nd visit to Scott’s Market. Home-hosted farewell dinner

This morning we’ll fly back to Mandalay. (1 hr and 30 minute flight time). After lunch we’ll return to Scott’s market for last minute shopping. Our farewell dinner will be at the home of our delightful Burmese hosts.  Also at the dinner will be a gem expert who will show us the different qualities and types of precious and semi precious stones. Sedona Hotel, Yangon

 Day 10:

Departure Day

After breakfast, we depart for the airport for our onward flights.

 4 day Ngapoli Beach Extension

 

Extend your stay by visiting the remarkably unspoiled beaches called Ngapoli. A 50 minute flight from Yangon and a 15 minute drive brings you to this 2 mile long stretch of pristine beach with clear azure waters and no buildings above the level of the palm trees. There are no loud beachside bars, no jet skis, and no vendors pressing you to buy souvenirs. There is just the sea, the sand, and the sun. Watch the local fishermen drawing their nets and the women carrying their baskets of fish to the resort. The outstanding seafood, fabulous swimming beach, relaxed atmosphere and friendly locals all make this an excellent way to unwind before returning home.

We’ve arranged your stay at Ngapoli beach on a ½ board basis (breakast and dinner) so that you have the flexibility to try one of the very reasonably priced nearby seafood restaurants or order a la carte at the resort. We’ve also included a ½ day snorkeling trip by boat as well as a ½ day bicycle rental. Just let the hotel staff know when you would like these activities. The resort has a stunning location, right on the beach surrounded by swaying palm trees. The fiery sunset, for which the Bay of Bengal is noted for, can be watched right from your doorstep.   

Day 10:

Ngapoli Beach

This morning we’ll fly to Ngapoli Beach. Transfer to the hotel.   Bayview Beach Resort or Ngapoli Beach Resort. Ngapoli Beach 

Day 11: Today we can relax, collect shells, stroll to the nearby fishing village, hire a bicycle, or take a ½ day boat trip for snorkling.  Bayview Beach Resort or Ngapoli Beach Resort. Ngapoli Beach

 Day 12: Enjoy another relaxing day at Ngapoli Beach with an opportunity for either bicycle riding or snorkeling. .  Bayview Beach Resort or Ngapoli Beach Resort. Ngapoli Beach.Ngapoli Beach

 Day 13:  After breakfast, fly back to Yangon. You’ll be met and transferred to the Airport Transit Hotel before being transferred back to hotel for the evening flight to Bangkok. Season of Yangon Airport Hotel, Yangon

 Itinerary Changes

 Please bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary and that the actual walks and sites may vary according to season, special events, or weather. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. 

Myanmar Politics:

 It is important to note that Myanmar (formally Burma) is a country run by an authoritarian military junta. Myanmar has just recently opened it’s doors to international travel and travel is restricted to certain areas. Some travelers may have concerns about the current political regime; however, the “people” of Myanmar welcome tourists with open arms. Tourists provide much needed jobs and income to the local people. We believe that by visiting and experiencing Myanmar we are supporting the people. We are also assisting the local people by using a local operator, local guides, and independent, privately run hotels and restaurants.   

  Information on reserving this tour may be made by emailing Rachel Baker at Travel Tour Myanmer - Burma

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