Unseen Myanmar

If you are looking for a holiday to throw yourself into – this is IT! Step back in time and experience the incredible culture, history, food, people and lifestyles of Myanmar. This tour will take you around the major sights of Yangon, Inle Lake, Bagan and Mandalay but you will also get to spend time in some lesser known cities. A truly wonderful and never to be forgotten itinerary.

Planning your holiday is easy, and speak to your friendly Consultant.

Day 1: Arrive Yangon

On arrival at Yangon International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free at leisure.

Hotel: Sule Shangri-La Yangon, 2 nights

Day 2: Yangon

Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon), the capital of Myanmar is also called the “Garden City of the East” because of its many parks and beautiful lakes. This morning visit the Botataung Pagoda, which is hollow and you are able to walk through and see many ancient relics and artifacts. We then visit downtown Yangon and from here we walk along Pansodan street to view its many large colonial buildings which are still in use today. It is also interesting to see the sidewalk markets including those selling old books and magazines dating from the 1960’s to today. We will then visit China town before going to the famous Scott Market, a sprawling complex which was built in 1926 and it is noted for its variety of handicrafts and other items which provides an excellent opportunity for a shopping spree. This afternoon sightseeing includes the colossal reclining Buddha Chaukhtatkyi, and the National Museum, which is filled with artifacts and cultural exhibits of Myanmar. We finish our tour with a visit to the awe-inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda which towers over all of Yangon. It is perhaps the most beautiful pagoda complex in all of Asia and is one sight that no visitor to Myanmar should miss

Day 3: Yangon – Golden Rock

This morning depart Yangon by car for a 5 hour drive to Kyaikhtiyo which is located in the Mon state. It is the site of the famous ‘Golden Rock’, a large boulder painted in gold, which appears to balance delicately on the edge of a cliff near the mountain top. It is believed to be balanced with the assistance of a hair of the Buddha and is one of the most revered Buddhist shrines. From the base camp we take a local truck to the beginning of the trail where you enjoy a 45-minute walk to the top where you enjoy mountain views and the Buddhist pilgrims at the Golden Rock.

Hotel: Mountain Top Hotel

Day 4: Golden Rock – Yangon

Enjoy the beautiful morning sunrise at Kyaikhtiyo before descending the mountain for transportation by “flatbed truck” back to base camp before driving back to Yangon. On the way we pass through Bago (formerly Pegu), the pre-eminent city of the region for centuries with a rich and complex history, primarily as the capital of the Mon kingdom. There are still vestiges of this culture that we can see as we visit Shwemadaw Pagoda, the tallest pagoda in the country. Then drive to Yangon. On the way we visit the beautifully landscaped Taukkyan War Cemetery, which commemorates 27,000 allied soldiers who died in WWII.

Hotel: Sule Shangri-La Yangon

Day 5: Yangon – Heho – Inle Lake

You will be transferred to Yangon Domestic Airport early this morning for your flight to Heho. On arrival in Heho, you will be met and transferred transferred to the unique and magical Inle Lake. Located about 900 meters above sea level and 20 km long by 6 km wide. On arrival at Nyaung Shwe Jetty, we start our sightseeing tour by long tailed boat to Innpawkhone Village where you can see the lotus and silk weaving industries. Our next visit is to Nanpan to see traditional boat making and cheroot (Burmese cigar) making factory. We then continue our visit to the Phaungdaw U Pagoda and if time permits, take a short visit to the Leshae Village where you can see the making of a Buddha image from dried flower powder. Later visit the ‘jumping cats’ monastery and the floating gardens. Transfer to the Inle Lake Princess for check-in.

Hotel: Inle Lake Princess, 3 nights

Day 6: Inle Lake

This morning visit the moving 5 days market (if today coincides with a good Inle market day) and then take a small canal leading to the Pa-oh Village of Indain. On the way, stop at Ywarma Village where you can see a silver smith and the Padaung tribes. Then, continue to the Indain area on foot, strolling around the village, visiting a local school if we have chance. Here you can climb the covered stairway to the top of a hill which is covered with picturesque ancient stupas and has magnificent views of the lake below.

Day 7: Inle Lake

After breakfast, travel by boat to the southern end of Inle Lake for a journey to Sangha and Thakong Villages. This relaxing boat journey (about 3 hours one way) enables us to get off the beaten path and see unspoiled culture and the traditional life-styles of the ethnic groups living in the area. On the way we will visit Kyauktaing, a shan village who live on earthenware pottery works. On our trip we will see beautiful landscapes, flowering trees and settlements dotting both sides of the canal.

Day 8: Inle Lake – Heho – Bagan

You will be transferred to Heho Domestic Airport early this morning for your flight to Bangan. On arrival in Heho, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon, sightseeing highlights include the Sulamani Temple built by King Narapatisithu; Dhammayangyi Temple, a massive later period temple with the finest brickwork in Bagan, and Thatbyinnyu Temple which towers above other monuments of Bagan. We can also visit a Thanaka museum, dedicated to the tree bark and root of the Thanaka tree used in making a fragrant white colored paste which Myanmar women wear for skin beauty and protection from the sun. Visitors can learn how to make and apply the Thanaka paste. As the day wanes we will be at Bupaya, a Pyu-style stupa located on the banks of the Ayeyawady River.

Hotel: Aureum Palace Resort & Spa Bagan, 3 nights

Day 9: Bagan

Start our visit to one of Asia’s most stunning archeological destinations with its more than 3,000 pagodas doted the plains along the legendary Ayerwaddy River. Sightseeing include some of Bagan’s most distinctive pagodas such as Shwezigon, a prototype of later Myanmar stupas and Wetkyi-in- Gubyaukgyi, a 13th century ‘cave temple with fine wall paintings. One of the most outstanding is the magnificent Ananda Pagoda, one of the most revered pagodas in all Myanmar and containing four tall standing Buddhas within. This afternoon we continue our sightseeing of more Bagan impressive pagodas and temples. Sightseeing highlights includes Manuha Temple built by King Manuha to represent his displeasure of captivity, Nanpaya close behind the Manuha and which is also Bagan’s first “gu-style” (cave) shrine and next to visit Gubaukgyi Temple, in the old Bagan village of Myinkaba, is an early period temple with well-preserved paintings inside. After that we will visit a lacquer ware craft shop to see the process of hand-making these beautiful pieces. Then visit Lawkananda Pagoda, a riverside stupa rich in history and where the sunset views are excellent.

Day 10: Bagan

After breakfast take a leisurely drive (about one hour) through the Bagan countryside to Mt. Popa, which supposedly rose from the ground in a massive earthquake in 442 BC. Mt. Popa is famous as the abode of the Nats (Spirit Gods) and for its panoramic view of the local tropical region. There is a volcanic plug with a temple on top that we can walk up to if we like (777 steps ! ) On the way to Mt. Popa we will visit a local toddy palm farmer at his hut and see how he collects the toddy palm from the palm trees to make the strong alcoholic toddy palm drink and also the toddy palm sugar candy. Return back to Bagan.

Day 11: Bagan – Mandalay

You will be transferred to Bagan Domestic Airport early this morning for your flight to Mandalay. On arrival in Mandalay, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternonn visit the highly revered Mahamuni Pagoda with its sitting Buddha covered in gold leaf. A particular highlight is the beautiful Shwenandaw Monastery, one of the last wooden monasteries in Myanmar. Next we visit the intriguing looking Kuthodaw Pagoda, renowned as the World’s largest book for its 729 stone slabs containing the entire Buddhist scriptures. If time permits we will go atop Mandalay Hill for a view over the city and the Irrawaddy River.

Hotel: Sedona Hotel Mandalay, 2 nights

Day 12: Mandalay

After breakfast transfer to Mandalay jetty where we board our private boat for a short and pleasant ride up the Ayerwaddy River to the ruins of the Mingun pagoda, the site of what would have been the world’s largest pagoda had not King Bodawpaya died in 1819 thus halting all further work. Later an earthquake in 1838 split the monument and reduced it to partial rubble. Nonetheless, the mammoth base of the unfinished pagoda is still a very impressive sight as we approach from the river. Nearby we can also visit the Mingun Bell, moved from the pagoda after the earthquake and now hangs in a new shrine building. It is said to be the largest hanging un-cracked bell in the world. Return to Mandalay.

Day 13: Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin

After breakfast, drive to the former British Hill Station of Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly Maymyo). It is located 42 miles northeast of Mandalay up a winding road, and at an elevation of 1070 meters and enjoys a cool and pleasant climate. Once the summer capital of the Raj in Burma, the town still retains much of the ‘hill station’ look, including horse drawn carriages and the Purcell Tower, a gift from Queen Victoria. The town is especially noted for the National Kandawgyi Gardens which cover nearly 400 acres. The gardens were laid out in 1915 by Sir Alex Roger and Lady Cuffe, a botanist from Kew Gardens in England. In 1924 they were declared a national botanical garden and forest reserve. A great variety of orchids and other flowers can be seen along with hundreds of tree varieties and many bird species. There is also an impressive butterfly museum and the Nan Myint viewing tower gives a wonderful view over the town and BE waterfall. Other sights include the bustling morning market, colonial era churches.

Hotel: Aureum Resort at The Governors House

Day 14: Pyin Oo Lwin – Naung Pain (Train) – Hsipaw

After breakfast, transfer to the train station to board a local train for a scenic journey over the Goteik Viaduct. Completed in 1901, it was the largest railway trestle in the world at the time. The bridge was designed and fabricated by the Pennsylvania Steel Company in the U.S. and then shipped to Myanmar. It is 689 meters from start to finish and 102 meters high above the gorge. From Pyin Oo Lwin, it is about two hours by train to reach the viaduct. Enjoy the rural scenery on the way and then the slow crawl of the train across the bridge with dramatic views from the carriages straight down. After crossing the bridge we disembark at the next village, Naung Pain and drive for about one hour to reach Hsipaw, one of the oldest and most important of the Shan cities. This small picturesque town is enjoyable to walk around and also a good place for easy day hikes to local villages. Enjoy afternoon sightseeing in the town and visit the 12th century Shan style Bawgyo Pagoda and watch a panoramic sunset from the top of Theintaung Hill.

Hotel: Mr. Charles River View Lodge, 4 nights

Day 15: Hsipaw – Boat Trip to Shan Village

After breakfast at the hotel, we take 1 hour scenic boat ride upstream on the Dokhtawadi River with its mountain and valley views and many fruit plantations. We disembark and enjoy a short trekking adventure up the hill slope through a fruit plantation for approx. 45 minutes to visit the old Tai (Shan) monastery which is 150 years old and sitting alone in the forest. On the way we pass through plantations of pineapple, papaya and oranges which are widely grown in the area. On arrival we learn the history of the monastery before returning to the jetty where we board our boat then continue to the river confluence where swimming is available for the more adventurous. On the return journey we include a visit to a Shan village which has typical houses featuring small, charming gardens.

Day 16: Hsipaw – Trek to Waterfall

After breakfast, you will be met by your guide for a walk through rice fields to reach the Nam Tok Waterfall, which has a nice pool at its base. Visit a limestone cave on the side of the waterfall and climb up 100 ft. (30 meters) to enjoy a splendid view over an ancient pagoda and Shan Royal Tomb as previously seen on the path in the rice field. We return to Hsipaw for lunch after about four hours of walking. The reminder of the day is free at leisure.

Day 17: Shan Villages

After a local breakfast, we observe farmer’s villages by walking along trails with panoramic scenery including fields with seasonal crops, mountains and streams. We also learn about the style of living in the Shan villagesand the work by the housewives whose home duties include the making bamboo hand fans, basket weaving and cheroot rolling process.

Day 18: Hsipaw – Pyin Oo Lwin

After breakfast drive back to Pwin Oo Lwin. After check-in, we visit Pwe Kauk waterfall located along the Mandalay/Lashio road which were named Hampshire Falls by the British. On the way visit local Shan villages of the Yechando and Ye Negye. The waterfall is a pleasant picnic spot and is popular with locals on weekends. Proceed further to Peik Chin Myaung cave, a limestone stalactite cave located on the Lashio Road, 23 km from Pyin Oo Lwin. It is several hundred million years old and its name means numerous Peik Chin (local plants) which grow here. The entrance is approx. 6 metres wide and 500 metres long and where various Buddha images and pagodas of many different sizes are placed on the cave ledges and niches. Inside the cave, there are many underground streams and pilgrims collect this water as they believe it can cure skin-diseases, sore eyes etc. Outside the cave there is a three layer waterfall where locals can swim and there are local herbal medicine stalls and souvenir shops which are also of interest.

Hotel: Aureum Resort at The Governors House

Day 19: Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay

Breakfast at hotel and later drive to Mandalay (approx. 2 hours drive) and to the Sedona Hotel Mandalay. The remainder of the day free at leisure.

Hotel: Sedona Hotel Mandalay

Day 20: Depart Mandalay

Depending on your flight, you may have time at leisure before you will be transferred to Mandalay International Airport.

2020 Dates & PricesTwin ShareSolo Traveller
Departs daily from Yangon:Price on ApplicationPrice on Application

Meals:19 breakfasts
Transport:Airport Transfers & private air-conditioned vehicle
Flights:Flight Ticket: Yangon / Heho / Bagan / Mandalay
Train:Train Ticket: Goteik Viaduct
Accommodation: 19 nights
Guide:Local English Speaking Guide
Entrance Fees & Touring:Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary

* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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