Fascinating Myanmar

12 Days / 11 Nights

  Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay - Inle Lake

12 Days / 11 Nights

Fascinating Myanmar

  Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay - Inle Lake

With an impressive itinerary of 11 cities, towns and small villages, this 12 day tour takes in the very best of fascinating Myanmar. In Bagan, gaze in awe at thousands of crumbling temples and in Mandalay wander through streets lined with beautifully restored colonial architecture. Admire rural Myanmar with a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady River and through visits to the charming towns of Pakokku, Salay and Sagaing Hill. Get off the beaten track with tours to Indein Stupa Forest and a Burmese Winery, alongside the iconic sites of U Bein Bridge.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Exploring the bustling streets of downtown Yangon and trying out the famous BBQ street
  • Spending time among the thousands of temples of Bagan and enjoying sunset with panoramic views
  • Wandering through the charming town of Salay, with its 50 monasteries and untouched colonial architecture
  • Photographing Ubein Bridge at sunset- one of the most photogenic scenes in Asia
  • Visiting the Sagaing Nunnery to learn about Buddhism in Myanmar and the lifestyles of Burmese monks and nuns
  • Taking a picnic beside the stunning stupa forest of Indein, one of Inle’s most important religious sites
  • Sipping locally made Burmese wine as you watch the sun set behind the mountains of Inle

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • Carefully selected accommodation with breakfast
  • Other meals listed in the itinerary
  • Expert English-speaking local guide
  • Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
  • Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
  • Boat cruises and rides while on tour
  • Flights to tour destinations (Economy Class)
  • Service charges and government VAT tax

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Arrive in Yangon – Yangon city tour

DAY 1 - Arrive in Yangon – Yangon city tour

Arrive in Yangon and meet your guide at the airport to transfer to your hotel. Freshen up and relax at the hotel or take a stroll in the nearby streets of this historic city.

Although Yangon is no longer the official capital of the country it is still one of the most dynamic, and busiest, areas of the country. On your first day explore the many cultural and historical highlights that can be found among the hustle and bustle. Downtown Yangon is the perfect place for a photo walk around the Town Hall and along old streets lined with colonial buildings. See the colossal reclining Buddha of Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and take a stroll in the park surrounding Kandawgyi Lake. In the afternoon, grab a bargain at Scott Market (closed on Mondays and public holidays). Then, in the evening take in the spectacular view of Shwedagon Pagoda all lit up against the night sky. This is the most important Buddhist site in the country and is said to hold strands of Buddha’s hair and other relics. The spire reaches up to 110m and is encrusted with diamonds and covered by gold plate, so that it glistens in the light.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Yangon – Flight to Bagan – Bagan temple tour and sunset cycling

Meet your guide at your hotel for your transfer to the airport. Hop on a short flight to Bagan, where the landscape is a sea of stupas and temples. This ancient city and important archaeological site once held more that 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries. With the ravages of time only 2,200 temples survive, but exploring the remaining temples today is still awe-inspiring.

After checking into your hotel take your choice of regular or electric bicycle for a day among the temples with your guide. Cycle out from downtown Bagan to the viewing tower, passing temple after magnificent temple along the way. Take the time to admire the details up close as your final view will take it all in from up high. From the outdoor roof top of the viewing tower, marvel at the 360 degree panoramic views of the temples and out as far as the Irrawaddy River in the distance. Watch the sun setting over the plains of Bagan while enjoying a beer or soft drink with your guide. Cycle back to the hotel before the sky darkens and the stars light up the city.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Discover Pakokku full day tour

Enjoy scenes of life on the river on the 1 hour drive to Pakokku on the Western Bank of the Ayeyarwady River. Pakokku is a bustling market town that is famous for making the best velvet sandals, or slippers, in the country. Wander through the town where you can also see local artisans making cheroot cigars, weaving and selling Thanaka. The Thanaka here has a distinct yellow tinge compared to the paler versions throughout the rest of the country which you can see on the faces of the locals. Drive on to Shwe Ku pagoda and admire the Buddha seated on a beautiful carved wooden throne. Before making your way back to Bagan, enjoy a picnic lunch with a lovely view of rural Myanmar.

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Salay tour and sunset cruise

Meet your guide at your hotel for another trip outside of Bagan, and make the 1.5 hour drive to Salay. Your first stop is Yoke Sone monastery, famous for its spectacular woodcarvings. Wander the complex and marvel at the intricate designs. There are over 50 monasteries in this small town so it’s a great time to take the opportunity to chat with the monks and learn a little about Buddhism in Myanmar. Wander on to see the collection of untouched British colonial buildings and to Man Paya to admire the largest lacquer Buddha in Myanmar.

On the way back to Bagan, stop for lunch at West Phwa Saw village. Sit down to eat in a local home and chat with the family about their lives, before a demonstration of how to apply Thanaka and how to wrap a Longyi. These traditional forms of make-up and clothing will be very familiar by the time you leave Myanmar!

In the late afternoon, transfer to the Aye Yar Jetty. Cruise up river for a short time to reach a quiet part of the river, where fewer boats go. Choose from a selection of drinks to enjoy while floating down river as the sun sets. Admire the glistening reflections on the calm waters and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of the area. Chat with your guide about life on the river and then transfer back to your hotel as the sky darkens.

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Bagan – Flight to Mandalay – Mandalay city tour and hot pot experience

Your guide will meet you at your hotel once more for your transfer and flight to Mandalay. Mandalay is the last of the royal cities and is encompassed by smaller capital cities dotted around its edges. The center piece of the city is the reconstructed palace which is surrounded by a large moat. Visit Mahamuni Pagoda with its statues created in Buddha’s true likeness. Proceed to Marble stone carving and an artisanal gold leaf workshop. See the largest book in the world at Kuthodaw Pagoda, where stories are etched upon 79 stone tablets. End the day with the sunset from high up on Mandalay Hill.

Get picked up at your hotel to transfer by private car to a lively night market. Wander around the stalls and chat to the vendors selling fruits and vegetables and delicious Chinese food. After working up your appetite perusing the fresh produce, head over to a popular hot pot restaurant to try something a little different. Burmese cuisine features plenty of noodles and curry, but this hearty stew is a unique favourite among Mandalay locals. Sit around a cauldron like pot, simmering with delicious broth and cook up a selection of tasty ingredients with your guide and travel friends. All manner of meats, seafood and vegetables are available so let your taste buds get creative. We promise you won’t leave hungry.

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Mandalay nunnery tour – Sunset U Bein bridge

Drive an hour outside of downtown Mandalay, crossing the Ayeyerwady river, to reach Sagaing Hill and the serene Sagaing Nunnery complex. Meet the Abbess of the nunnery, the head of the Nuns to chat about the daily life of the Nuns, the role of Nuns in Myanmar and how they study the Buddhist literature. The Thilashin, novice nuns, at the nunnery school here are some of the most highly educated in the world.

Take a stroll through the grounds and admire the beautiful and unique lacquerware Buddha, before taking part in a 30 minute meditation practice guided by the Nuns. At 10:45 it is time for lunch, which involves the whole complex. Watch as 100s of shoes are placed in neat lines outside the communal dining area, where each day everyone comes together to dine on a delicious vegetarian meal. The ingredients are all donated by the local community and the food is cooked by the Nuns themselves.

That evening, watch the sunset over one of the most famous sights in all of Myanmar, the Ubein teakwood bridge. This beautiful bridge is the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world and one of the most photographed sites in the country. Watch the locals passing along the bridge, their silhouettes beautiful against the setting sun. Enjoy the view with a drink and make sure your camera is fully charged to snap your own classic silhouette shot.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Mandalay pottery village tour

Drive 2.5 hours outside of Mandalay, along the Ayeyerwady River and through the untouched countryside of Myanmar, to Kyaukmyaung. Break up the journey with stops at a Tamarind grove, Lat Pan Hla village to chat to the locals and a bustling goods market in Mattayar. Once you arrive in Kyaukmyuang, enjoy a delicious picnic lunch and then take a long meander through town to observe the daily life of this pottery village. The whole community is involved in the industry in some way and the main production is large glazed water pots than can hold up to 200 litres of water! Learn about the history and significance of the town from your guide and chat to the locals about their lives.

 

DAY 8

DAY 8 - Mandalay – Flight to Inle Lake

Meet your guide at your hotel and head to the airport to start your journey to Inle Lake.  Take a boat ride across the lake and admire the unique one-legged rowing style as you pass by floating gardens filled with fruits and vegetables that provide an income to the lake dwellers. Visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, famed for its five small gold-gilded Buddha images, now covered in so much gold leaf they are more like round balls! See traditional handicrafts villages and Nga Pe Kyaung Monastery better known as the Jumping Cat Monastery. Although the performing cats no longer remain, the monastery houses an impressive collection of Buddha images.

DAY 9

DAY 9 - Indein exploration tour

Meet your guide at your hotel and then take a boat ride across the lake towards Indein. Admire the floating gardens filled with fruits and vegetables that provide an income to the lake dwellers. After you dock wander up a long and beautiful path through the forest towards the magnificent stupas of Indein. Many of these 16th century stupas have been untouched for centuries, left to the overgrown jungle. Others have been restored and gleam brightly next to their crumbling neighbours. Have a gourmet picnic overlooking the stupa forest before heading back in the boat towards your hotel.

DAY 10

DAY 10 - Inle Lake trekking and cycle to Red Mountain

Start the day with a boat trip across the lake to Thale U Alemyaung Village, observing the fisherman and floating sellers on the way. Begin the trek to Intha Village, passing sugar cane, garlic and onion plantations and remote homesteads. Stop by a local family for a refreshing tea and a chat before heading on to a forest monastery. Situated at the top of a hill with stunning views of the lake, take a break here and enjoy the serene atmosphere before heading back to your hotel.

Cycle along the banks of Inle Lake and up into the hills to reach Red mountain winery. The vineyard is perched on a hill overlooking the lake and the perfect place for sunset. Located 1,000 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is also the perfect place for winemaking in tropical Mynamar with locally grown grapes, sourced from Italy, France, Spain and Israel. Take a stroll through the grounds and in the factory, observing the production of Cabernets and Sauvignon and then sit down to take a try. Enjoy 4 different wines, with a light snack, as you watch the sun glisten on the calm waters of Inle.

DAY 11

DAY 11 - Flight to Yangon – Chinatown foodie evening tour

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight.
After a quick spin through the streets of Yangon from your hotel, begin your evening exploration of the city at Sule Pagoda. This glistening landmark is the heart of the city and the perfect starting point for a stroll along the orderly streets of downtown Yangon. As we approach our destination, 19th street in Chinatown, the smell of BBQ grows stronger and the clink of beer glasses increases.

Peruse stall after stall piled high with ready to grill skewers of all varieties and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Sit down at our vendor of choice and refresh with a cold beer or soft drink. Let your knowledgeable guide pick out the best BBQ choices and make some suggestions of your own from the wide variety of meats and vegetable pairings on offer. The whole fish is especially delicious! When your food arrives at your little plastic table, BBQ-ed to perfection, take the time to savour every bite while chatting about local life with your guide. End the evening with a short stroll to the fruit vendors for dessert.

DAY 12

DAY 12 - Depart Yangon

Your guide will meet you at your hotel for your final transfer to the airport for your flight out of Myanmar.

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