Pack your bags and get ready to experience the best of Myanmar! Guided through the eyes of local experts, this handcrafted adventure showcases the classic highlights and hidden wonders of this incredible country. Wander off the beaten path, discovering a world still rather untouched by western influence. The rich history, fascinating culture, and pristine natural beauty make for a new adventure with every day. From viewing the plains of Bagan and its limitless sea of temples to exploring the rural lake villages, you can expect to be captivated from the moment you arrive!
Welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival at the airport in Yangon, you will clear Immigration, collect your luggage and exit Customs. A friendly local representative will be waiting to greet you in the arrivals area, holding a sign with your name on it. For a smooth and comfortable start to your adventure, you will be driven directly to your hotel to check-in and freshen up. (This service is on a private basis.)
Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is Myanmar’s largest city and most important commercial hub, located at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers. This former Burmese capital, creatively blends tradition, culture and modernity. It is home to the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, which dates back more than 2,000 years. From pilgrimages and pagoda festivals, to ubiquitous tea shops and cosmopolitan avenues, you can find it all in Yangon. Often called the "Garden City of the East", nature lovers will enjoy the city’s pristine lakes, verdant tropical trees and spacious parks.
Mingle with the locals during this energetic tour that makes use of public transportation to see lesser-known parts of this vibrant city – traveling by taxi, train, ferry, and trishaw. Your guide will first pick you up by taxi from your hotel, and you will head to the city’s main station, where you climb aboard the Yangon Circular Railway for a fun ride passing through a number of city districts. You then take the ferry across the Yangon River to Dala Township, a still largely rural and undeveloped part of the city on the south side of the river, opposite downtown Yangon. From here you continue on foot passing through lively markets, trying local snacks, chatting with locals, and taking in the rural sights of this picturesque township community. From Dala you'll take the ferry back across the river and return to your hotel by taxi.
At the end of the day, many locals may go shopping, meet with friends at a tea shop, visit a pagoda or grab a beer, on their way home from the office. This evening, you are invited to experience this nightly tradition for yourself. The highlight of your adventure includes a stop at the illuminated Shwedagon Pagoda. Embrace this enchanting experience, at a time when the pagoda is not bustling with tourists on the main platform. From this impressive attraction, you will follow in the footsteps of your guide to taste some of the city's traditional snacks and sip on a draft beer or fresh lime juice. Your tour includes drinks, a walk through the downtown night market, tea, snacks and a tasty bowl of noodles, shared with some lovely locals. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Yangon and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Lashio. Upon arrival, you will be greeted at the airport by your guide and transferred to your accommodation in Hsipaw (drive duration: approximately 1.5 hours). (This service is on a private basis.)
In the late afternoon your guide will take you for a 2.5 hour walk through a panoramic scenery of paddy fields and other seasonal crops passing small creeks, Shan villages and local schools and monasteries. The guide will explain in detail about Shan life around Hsipaw and show you some home industries like cheroot (cigar) rolling and bamboo weaving. He will explain why each Shan village has a spirit house build at the entrance of the village and make sure you will get to know the spirit of the local people in Northern Shan state. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning the day begins with a visit to the Baw Gyo Pagoda. You will then proceed to the jetty to embark on a boat tour along the Dokthawaddy River. Traditional tea leaves salad and local tea will be served onboard. You will disembark the boat and continue by vehicle to visit a local monastery that was originally built by a prince of the Hsipaw Royal Family. A delicious Shan lunch will be served in a lovely garden setting next door to the monastery.
After filling your belly the tour continues with a visit to Hsipaw's Shan Palace. Mrs. Fern, the wife of Donald - who is the cousin of the last prince of Hsipaw, will welcome you and tell you her family history (if she is at home, if not the guide will explain the history). This interesting story is also documented in the book “My Life as a Shan Princess” from Inge Sargent and starts like a fairy tale for the Austrian born writer when arriving in Myanmar but ends in a tragedy. Recommended reading material!(This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you will be met and transferred by tuk-tuk to the starting point of today's trek. Today's journey will take you through colorful fields and forests, making stops to visit 2 to 3 Palaung tribal villages along the way (hike duration: approximately 5 hours). The Palaung people are one of the Shan state's most colorful tribes, famous for their high-quality tea plantations. (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy a wonderful train journey through the Shan mountains crossing the mighty Gokteik Viaduct which was constructed in 1901 by the Pennsylvania Steel company and was once the second highest railway bridge in the world.
The train departs around 9:30 AM from Hsipaw station and will pass the Gokteik Viaduct around 1:30 PM. Through spectacular mountain scenery the train will slowly move forward over the old railway track passing small villages and towns where vendors will enter the train to sell drinks and local snacks. Expected arrival time in Naung Cho is around 2:00 PM. From here you will be met your private driver and transferred the remainder of the way to Mandalay.
Mandalay, the last royal capital of Burma, lies in central Myanmar on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. The name "Mandalay" evokes visions of rich history and exotic cultures. However, this relatively young royal city, considered by many to be the heart of Burmese culture, was actually built in 1857. The locals are known for their generous and charitable nature, primarily due to the fact that the area holds the world's largest number of monks to be found in any one place.
From the jetty in Mandalay, you will take a leisurely boat cruise to visit some local community villages. The journey begins with a visit to Sin Kyun community where you'll have the opportunity to learn more about the art of bamboo hat making. After your visit, you'll continue on your cruise to Sein Pa Kone where you'll stop to enjoy a delicious lunch followed by an introduction to Ayeyarwaddy River dolphins presented by local fishermen.
You will depart the village and continue by boat to Myit Kyan Gyi community. If you're lucky you may be able to spot some dolphins along the way! Upon arrival at the village around 3:30 PM you will get to stretch your legs and enjoy a nice 1-hour walk with your guide. This evening's dinner will be hosted by the community, enjoy some fantastic storytelling by the village elders before heading back to the boat for your overnight stay. (This service is on a private basis.)
Rise early this morning to catch the spectacular sunrise! After a simple breakfast on board you'll meet with the local fishermen. They will teach you how to throw a cast-net, and demonstrate how they fish with the help of the dolphins. You will also have the chance to learn more about the daily life in the village including planting and harvesting seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Around 10:30 AM you'll take a boat ride to visit the Sheinmaga community village for lunch. From here you can walk to the nearby Sacred Forest, which was created by King Mindon, in search of wildlife tracks including the elusive Golden Deer. This afternoon you'll set sail for Mingun. Here you'll visit the famous bell and cracked temple. At 5:00 PM you'll begin cruising back to Mandalay.
Upon arrival at the jetty you'll be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel.
Traveling through Myanmar is all about getting to know village life and discover communities that have lived in the same traditional ways for many centuries. It’s about getting out of the cities and exploring the countryside where the majority of the population lives. During this overland trip from Mandalay to Bagan, you will enjoy an overnight stay in Yandabo village.
Before you arrive in Yandabo village, you will visit Paleik and the Minzontaung Wildlife Sanctuary. The snake temple in Paleik is known for the three pythons sleeping at the Buddha statue that are washed and fed daily by local worshipers. Lesser known are the ancient temple ruins in the same area, many of them over 200 years old and partly overgrown by vegetation. It’s a sort of “mini Bagan” and you probably find yourself alone surrounded by temples, feeling like the first foreigner ever to discover this place.
After, continue your drive to the Minzontaung Wildlife Sanctuary, where you will learn more about their star tortoise project. The Burmese star tortoise is an endangered species originally from the dry zone in Myanmar and urgent need of protection. The Minzontaung Wildlife Sanctuary has been doing an excellent job with breeding the tortoises and setting them back out in the wild. You will have the opportunity to track wild tortoises in the forest, accompanied by a local ranger (duration: approx. 1 - 1.5 hours). Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before continuing your 2-hour drive to Yandabo Village. (This service is on a private basis.)
Upon arrival in Yandabo, enjoy a walk around this beautiful pottery village, historically recognized for the signing of the Yandabo Treaty which took place under a tree on the riverbank in 1826, between the British and Royal Burmese House-hold of Ava. If time allows, you will continue by local ferry to Pan Nyo village for a look around this village famous for the buffaloes. A trip with many unique picture opportunities! (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast you'll be driven approximately 2-3 hours to Pakkoku. Here you'll stop to see the production process of the famous Pakkoku blankets, along with a slipper factory, and visit to a local market. You will then proceed to the jetty where you'll board a private boat and enjoy lunch onboard as you cruise towards the somewhat isolated Kyauk Gu Ohnmin Cave Temple. After the cave visit, you will continue on to Bagan, arriving around 5:00 PM.
Located on the eastern banks of the Irrawaddy River in central Myanmar, Bagan is famous for its picturesque Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins. More than 2,000 of these extraordinary treasures cover an area of 16 square miles, many of which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Bagan is the ultimate photographer's paradise. No matter if it's the colorful hour of dawn or the balmy late afternoons, the impressive pagodas that decorate the landscape, is truly picture perfect.
Today, you will embark on a full day tour by car through Bagan. Learning through the eyes of your experienced guide, the focus of this tour introduces the best known temples of the area. Your adventure begins with a climb to the top of a hill from where you can truly appreciate the iconic temple views. From the top, you will see the ancient ruins rising up from the rice plains in every direction. It is this enchanting scenery that puts Bagan on the map. After time for plenty of photos, your exploration continues to other nearby temples, including some that are several centuries old. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you.
This afternoon, you will stop for lunch at a local restaurant, before riding by horse cart to the Pyathagyi Pagoda at 4:00 PM. You will arrive just in time to admire the colorful sunset. Enjoy the enchanting scenery, as your guide serves refreshing beverages and another beautiful day in Bagan comes to an end. Please note that during this tour, whenever you pass by a temple that interests you, you can simply ask your guide to pull over. There is no set schedule, so you can discover the attractions at your leisure, catered entirely to your requests. (This service is on a private basis.)
Start today with a visit to the bustling market in Myinkaba. The lively affair starts every morning when people from all around town come and buy their vegetables, herbs, meat and other ingredients for dinner. Your guide will challenge you to buy and taste three different kind snacks typical for the region. There will be also some time for you to explore the vibrant market and purchase souvenirs. Following the market, you will continue to the Taungbi village, where you will visit the old wooden monastery built for royalty and two temples, that may not be very well known, but are certainly worth a visit! (This service is on a private basis.)
This afternoon, you will visit Minnanthu Temple. A favorite among frequent Bagan visitors, this historic temple is set in a quiet area, that is often entirely deserted. In this enchanting forgotten part of Bagan, your guide will lay down a blanket for a nice picnic lunch surrounded by the ancient ruins. After lunch, you will have time to visit a few other ancient temples in the area before heading back into the city. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Bagan and transferred to the Nyaung U airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Heho. Upon arrival, your guide will transfer you to the Green Hill Elephant Camp in Kalaw. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today, a specially trained elephant conservation guide will take you on a rewarding adventure in the Kalaw forest, to encounter elephants, their mahouts, and locals from the surrounding areas. Young tourism professionals from Kalaw are the ones who decided to work towards a better future for the local area. The project they are working on focuses on protecting nature, elephants, and traditions of the people. A major part of this private protected forest can grow undisturbed, securing a natural habitat for animals that could otherwise be easily hunted.
The tour begins with a private car ride to the main camp where the specialized staff will explain the project and the camp's daily activities. A delicious lunch of Nepalese food will then be served to you. In the afternoon, it's time to help the mahouts wash and feed the elephants. After this unforgettable experience, you will be invited to plant a tree before saying goodbye to your new friends and heading back to your hotel.
This morning, you will depart from your hotel in Kalaw and embark on a scenic trek. Your guide will take you into the surrounding countryside, passing colorful fields of crops like sesame, tea, cauliflower and rice, before entering forested areas, and eventually arriving at an ethnic Danu village, where you will see Danu hill tribes going about their daily activities. You then arrive in Myin Dike railway station, where you board a train for a fantastic train ride passing through picturesque Kalaw, a former British colonial hill station, and then on over the mountains and through the valleys to Inle Lake. A simple lunch will be served on the way. This is a unique local experience that offers great views and a glimpse of local life in the Shan Hills. Your arrival in Shwenyaung is planned around 3:20 PM, but could be delayed if the train stops longer than normal in local hill tribe villages to on, or offload, local goods. On arrival in Shwenyaung a transfer is arranged to your hotel. This is a great way to reduce carbon emissions by private vehicles and also a fascinating journey that will give you a real insight into the terrain and friendly locals.
Inle Lake is surrounded by traditional Shan Villages, where the Intha people have been living for many centuries, in villages built entirely on stilts above the water. Today's tour begins with a ride on a private motorboat around the lake. This offers the chance to truly appreciate the natural beauty of the lake, visit the floating gardens, observe some of the famous leg rowers and enjoy some tea at a local family’s home. On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in various villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule. During this excursion, you will visit one of these colorful markets, frequented by the local Shan and PaO people. You will also stop at a local cheroot factory, where Burmese cigars are made, before visiting a floating tomato garden and the beautiful Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. This afternoon, you will be invited into a local Intha home for a traditional lunch, served to your liking. Your guide can also take you to a weaving factory if you are interested, before returning to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Explore the enchanting scenery between Inle Lake and Samkar Lake by boat and on foot on a full day excursion. Your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Inle Lake and take you for a leisurely boat ride passing fishermen, floating gardens, and some of the traditional Intha villages built on stilts on the lake while heading further south to the starting point of today’s trek - a beautiful bamboo forest. After passing the famous Taung To pagodas you'll stop for a break. After walking for approximately 2.5 hours, you'll return back to the boat for a cruise to a scenic lunch spot among the fields. You will then head to Samkar Lake by boat where you'll visit the Samkar temples and village and then continue on a leisurely 2.5 hour boat ride back to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today's adventure includes a fascinating kayaking trip through rural villages in this part of the Shan State. Depending on the location of your hotel, you may take different modes of transportation, including a motorboat ride across the lake to In Phaw Khone. This is the famous weaving center of the Intha people in the middle of Inle Lake. Light kayaks will be waiting at the starting point of your excursion. With 2 people in each kayak, you will take off on your 2 hour gentle paddle through Inle Lake's most rural treasures and best kept secrets. The picturesque scenery includes a landscape of remote villages, flourishing nature, rolling Shan Mountains and floating gardens. Along the way, you will stop to explore a variety of traditional Intha villages.
One hour into your ride, you will visit your first village, where you are invited to meet the local people and take a walk through their town. The villagers will welcome you into their home, where you can learn more about their life in rural Inle Lake and discover some of the region's locally produced food. From there, you will continue paddling until lunch time, when you will be taken to your next Intha house. The lovely villagers will invite you in for a delicious home cooked lunch. Enjoy a relaxing meal together, before taking a motorboat ride back to the hotel. If there is time, your exploration on the lake may be able to continue by boat and guide. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Inle Lake and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight Thandwe. Upon arrival, you will be greeted at the airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel in Ngapali. (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy this free time to simply rest, relax, and enjoy the beach at your leisure!
Although your adventure must come to an end today, you will be leaving with new friends, amazing experiences, and memories to cherish for the rest of your life. Once you have checked out of your hotel in Ngapali, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the Thandwe Airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Yangon. For the remaining time in Yangon, you will have the services of a driver and guide to set out on one final adventure if there is time before your flight. At the appropriate time, you will be taken to the airport for your international flight.
We wish you safe and happy travels home!
Discover the vibrant beating heart of Myanmar through its ancient capital city, Yangon (Rangoon). Plunge into its surprising history, absorb its impressive culture, and discover its museums, art galleries, and street markets. With light steps and a peaceful mind, admire the colorful colors, or enjoy the religious and ethnic diversity of the city. Immerse yourself in the British colonial heritage of this fantastic city, a culture dating back to the end of the 19th century. And finally, turn to the lower town, put down your suitcases, and stay at one of the jewels of the city’s heritage lying on the banks of the Yangon River – the Yangon Excelsior.
This charming, locally owned hotel is made up of traditional style wooden bungalows in a convenient central Hsipaw location. The rooms are a good size and simply furnished in traditional style, with a modern en-suite bathroom. Deluxe rooms additionally feature a bathtub and minibar. Sitting on your private verandah with a cold beer after a day of trekking is a wonderfully relaxing way to end the day.
The 12-acre Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort is set at the foot of Mandalay Hill. It offers panoramic views of pagodas as well as the distinctive architecture of the Royal Palace and its beautiful moat. Mandalay is a 1-hour flight from Yangon and a 20-minute flight from Bagan. It is within proximity to some of the most remarkable archaeological sites in the world.
Spend the night in a comfortable bell tent (4x4m) with shared bath on the shores of the Irrawaddy River.
Overlooking the shores of the Ayarwaddy River, Yandabo Home gently nestles its 12 rooms among the local houses of the charming Yandabo village; where its habitants live in harmony with nature and are well known in the country for their great skill in pottery making. With its rooms showcasing a comfortable design and warm atmosphere, Yandabo Home was created to embody all the vital elements of the magical environment surrounding it and it is true to its concept up to the point that TV, internet/wifi and telephone are not part of the offered facilities. Nevertheless the guest will feel completely bonded with the destination because of the architectural components are graciously combined to offer modern comfort framed by the most unique settings.
Well-placed in the religious interests, sightseeing, culture area of Bagan city, Zfreeti Hotel provides a most conducive spot for you to take a break from your busy days. Only 4.9 km away, this 3-star hotel can be easily accessed from the airport. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city's must-see destinations. At Zfreeti Hotel, the excellent service and superior facilities make for an unforgettable stay. Guests of the hotel can enjoy on-site features like smoking area, business center, safety deposit boxes, Wi-Fi in public areas, restaurant. Guests can choose from 102 rooms, all of which exude an atmosphere of total peace and harmony. The hotel's recreational facilities, which include garden, outdoor pool are designed for escape and relaxation.
Perched on the edge of an archaeological wonderland, Bagan Lodge is a gateway to some of the world's most magnificent temples and pagodas. The elegant rooms and suites evoke the romance of a storied expedition, albeit in posh, air-conditioned comfort. The delicious restaurant and bars are fuel to the fire of local adventure, and the swimming pool and spa promise an oasis at any time of day. You can indulge in your own personal paradise, here at Bagan Lodge.
The Royal Kalaw Hills Resort is a unique 19th Century mansion located at the base of Kalaw Hills. The main building was originally built in 1928 and renovated to its original looks. It is the perfect base to visit colonial railway station, Kalaw market, Shwe Oo Min Pagoda, Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp and Pine Forests at mountainside. With 14 boutique rooms, all with mountain views makes it the perfect place to enjoy the best of the area.
A destination that is as far removed from the wider world as Inle Lake, demands a resort where detachment is a priority. Where simplicity is the essence of elegance. At the Sanctum Inle Resort, arches and cloisters reference the monastic life, opening the doors on a more contemplative and meaningful experience of travel. Featuring a design that celebrates the fundamentals, blending the past and the present, this hotel is a gateway to one of the Asia’s most fascinating locales. Stay in one of four classes of rooms and suites, eat from menus that span Eurasia and explore the wonders of Inle right at your fingertips.
Nestled among coconut palms on the tropical gardens and faces the pristine Ngapali Beach in the Bay of Bengal. The luxurious Sandoway Resort provides more than 50 rooms of spacious villas and cottages, scattered throughout six acres of long beach, most with ocean views. The resort is designed in traditional South East Asian style and built with local materials of various kinds of hard wood, stone carving and marble. The hotel interior furnishings and fittings are custom made and produced exclusively for the Sandoway Resort. The onsite restaurant serves fresh seafood in an open-air veranda. The resort is an ideal destination for travelers seeking a secluded beachside getaway.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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