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Discover Myanmar


12 days 11 nights

Code MAT-01

Category Myanmar Adventure Tours

  • Group Size 2-10 persons
  • Difficulty Level 2
  • Trip Starts From Yangon
  • Trip Ends At Yangon
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Yangon Mandalay Bagan Kalaw Inle Lake
Dates & Prices

Overview

Discover Myanmar (Burma) by train, bus, boat, and on foot!

This journey combines the significant highlights of Burma with some hidden treasures away from the primary tourist circuit. The trip also offers the opportunity to experience the authentic life and culture of rural areas.

The journey begins from Yangon- the colonial capital of Myanmar, exploring the colonial buildings, market, and the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. We take an overnight train to Mandalay- the former royal capital. This place allows us to see "behind-the-scenes" and get a closer look at the real-life of people that is certainly impossible if we take flight. We will enjoy a scenic cruise down Ayerawaddy River, enjoying the natural scenery and people's life along the river with a side excursion of an authentic village. We will meander through the vast plains of Bagan dotted with temples by electric bike and horse cart.

From Bagan, we take a scenic bus ride to Kalaw in the northern Shan state of Myanmar with a cool climate. After spending a night in Kalaw, we start our trekking trip through the ethnic villages of Shan mountains. We stay a night in a local home and experience the local lifestyle. We finish our trek in Sagar village and take a boat to our hotel by Inle Lake. Here we explore the villages made up of stilt houses, island temples, floating gardens, and take an excursion to a town seldom visited by foreign tourists.

We take a flight back to Yangon and connect with an international flight back home, or if you wish, you can extend your trip.

Trip highlights

  • A night train journey from Yangon to Mandalay-an fantastic way to get around and experience the country. Along the road, you’ll see pristine nature and authentic local lives.
  • Discover Mandalay, with its strong Buddhist monastic influences and atmospheric side streets.
  • Visit the old royal capital of Inwa (Ava), now lying in ruins among paddy fields.
  • Cruise on Ayeryawady River from Mandalay Bagan.
  • Witness one of the world's most breath-taking views over the thousands of ancient stupas of Bagan.
  • Explore Bagan temples and villages by electric bike and horse cart.
  • A scenic bus journey from Bagan to Kalaw.
  • Trekking trip through the ethnic villages of Northern Shan State.
  • Boating excursion in Inle Lake, visiting Inthar villages with stilt houses, weaving villages, island temples, floating gardens, and side trips of an authentic community.

Trip Cost

US$ 1799  per person on double occupancy basis.
US$ 350 Private room Supplement.

Trip Dates 2019:

8 Nov & 3 Dec

Trip Dates 2020:

6 Jan, 7 Feb, 1 Mar, 17 Mar, 11 Apr, 2 May, 24 Jun, 22 Aug, 15 Sep, 28 Oct, 26 Nov & 8 Dec

Dates don't work for you? Choose your departure date for a private trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Yangon

Myanmar visa now can be obtained online! After completing immigration and customs formalities, meet your guide at the arrival gate! You may want to change some money at the counter by the gate before you leave the airport. Following introductions with your guide and driver transfer to the hotel for check-in.

You will have time to settle into your room before your guide leads you on a walking tour of the downtown or the Central Business District. Explore the city center and its fabulous mix of colonial architecture and sites. Yangon- the former British colonial capital, has the highest number of colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia. We will take a trishaw along the strand road and visit the famous Strand Hotel- one of the most beautiful examples of colonial buildings of the bygone era! If you wish, you will have time to enjoy the high tea and snacks in the elegant Strand Café (Pay on your own). 

Late afternoon when it's cooler, we proceed to Shwedagon Pagoda, which is the highlight of many trips to Myanmar. Three hundred feet tall, the gold-gilded bell-shaped pagoda is the landmark of Myanmar. It is also among the most sacred temples of Myanmar as it enshrines the hair relics of Buddha! We learn about the 2600 years old history of the pagoda and join the devout pilgrims walking in the clockwise direction around the pagoda. There are several other small chapels and temples around with devotees busy in performing rituals and prayers. If you wait till after sunset, you will get the opportunity to see the lighting ceremony.

We will also take a chance to meet a monk and learn about the monkhood and monastic lifestyle.

Overnight: Best Western Green Hill
Meals : Dinner
Day 02~Experience the train journey from Yangon to Mandalay

After leisurely morning breakfast, check out hotel around 10 a.m. We start the day with a visit to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda (Pronounced as Chauk Htat Gyi), known for a 65m or 213 feet long and 16 m or 52.5 ft high, reclining Buddha statue with murals depicting the life Buddha and the feet contains the traditional symbols. There are eight smaller images around the main image, and each represents a day of the week of Asian astrology. Do not be surprised as Wednesday is split into two days! Burmese people pray to the image that represents the day of their birth!

Nearby is the Kandawgyi Lake, where we can see the glittering Karaweik Barge, a replica of Royal Barge. We can also see the views of vast Lake and Shwe Dagon Pagoda in the background.  

After lunch, visit the famous Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott's Market-known for its colonial architecture and inner cobblestone streets. There are more than 2000 shops and stalls, dominated by antique, Burmese handicraft and jewelry shops, art galleries, and clothing stores. (Note: The market remains closed on Monday).

Around 4 pm, your guide will transfer you to the train station. We take an exciting overnight train journey to Mandalay. (Current departure time is 5 pm, arriving Mandalay at 8 am). The slow 404 miles journey on a colonial railway line will give you a lot of memorable experiences! You can see different sceneries of the countryside such as green fields, villages, small towns, the struggling lives of the majority of the people. On the stops at the train stations, you will see a lot of street snack sellers. The cities, towns, and villages sleep quietly under the dim lights.

The train journey is long and a bit bumpy, but you will go "behind-the-scenes" and get a closer look at the real lives of local people. You will miss this if you take flight.

A packed box of dinner will be provided to eat on board. 

Overnight: Overnight in train, private cabin
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Arrive in Mandalay. Sightseeing of Mandalay

Upon arrival, meet your Mandalay guide at the train station. Proceed with him to a local tea-shop for breakfast. The main culinary dish of the city is “Nan Gyi Tok,“ an exceptional noodle salad. You will experience the lively and active atmosphere and authentic local food that you will miss in tourist restaurants.

Now, transfer to the hotel for check-in. After wash up and change, proceed for the exploration of Mandalay and the former capitals. We first visit the Mahamuni Pagoda- a highly revered temple of Myanmar. This 13 ft high image is believed to be the exact likeness of Buddha as it was cast during Buddha's lifetime. And also, Buddha himself is believed to have breathed life upon it!

In the afternoon, visit Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, known as the Golden Palace Monastery, that displays exquisite woodcarvings. Next is the Ku Tho Daw Monastery, renowned as  ‘The Largest Book of the World!’ due to its 729 inscribed marble slabs. A small temple houses each plate, and it is impressive to see the whole complex.   

Then, stop at Mandalay Hill and enjoy the beautiful sunset and the panoramic view of the city. 

Overnight: Eastern Palace
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 04~Visit the former capitals-Sagaing, Ava and Amarapura

After breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of the day.

First, we drive up the Sagaing Hill and visit U Min Thonzeh Pagoda. This pagoda contains 45 beautiful gilded Buddha images in a crescent-shaped colonnade, partly built into the side of the Sagaing Hill. Each statue is different in size and facial expression! The number 45 relates to the number of years Gautam Buddha lived after getting enlightened!

Today, we possibly visit a nunnery and meet the nuns, an opportunity to learn about monastic life.

Our next destination is the former royal capital of Innwa (Ava), located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. It was the capital of Burma from the 14th century until 1839 A.D. We explore the remains of the ancient city that includes the old watchtowers, city walls, monasteries, and temples.

The final stop of the day will be at Amarapura- a former capital. We tour the ancient city, and when it's sunset time, we visit the U Bein Bridge- Burma's one of the most photographed attractions! U Bein- a teak bridge stretches close to 3936 ft. or 1200 m across Taungthaman Lake. While the bridge remains busy throughout the day, it creates the most captivating scenery at dusk. Some sights to see are fishermen in the still waters, monks streaming crimson from one end to the other. And also the locals biking from shore to shore on their way home from work. You will love standing at the side and watching the world go by, leaving you awe-stricken, wide-eyed and smiling.

A small canoe will be at your disposal if you wish to watch the sun fade over the water.

Optional: Mandalay by Nights

Not a part of the tour but if you wish, you can experience the night in the city by motorbike! You will ride through the busy streets of Mandalay, as you experience what its nightlife has to offer. Enjoy the warm breeze as you journey back seat with your local driver.

With prior arrangement, your motorbike driver will pick you up at your hotel. You will then speed off into the frantic streets of Mandalay until you reach the vibrant vegetable market. After exploring the colorful vendor spreads, hop back onto your private motorbike to grab some of Mandalay's most infamous street food. Savor some of the best crispy duck the city has to offer and wash it down with a chilled Myanmar beer or soft drink.

After satisfying your appetite, head off to enjoy a performance, a traditional Daw Ma Ma Naing Marionette show. Finally, before being transferred back to your hotel, stop at a district beer station to sip on some cold drinks, enjoy snacks, and dance to the roaring music.

Overnight: Eastern Palace
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 05~Cruise the Ayeryawady River to Bagan

An opportunity to experience Myanmar from a different perspective! Some villages are accessible only by boat, and so they are away from the tourist crowds! This cruising trip offers you an opportunity to experience the rural life of Myanmar and meet the innocent and friendliest people of Myanmar.

We check out the hotel early morning and transfer to the jetty in time for breakfast on board with a beautiful sunrise view from the deck. Today, we cruise downstream Ayerawaddy River, enjoying the natural scenery and life along the river. You will enjoy Myanmar cuisine at lunch.

Onboard, the crews demonstrate how to wear Longyi- the national costume and Thanatkha paste that Burmese women apply on their cheeks as protection against the sun! We will take a side excursion of a typical village on the way.

Enjoy the sunset view over the river, and by now, it's time to dock. Meet your local guide and transfer to the hotel.

Overnight: Bagan Umbra
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 06~Explore Bagan

Start to discover Bagan by visiting the lively Nyaung U local market. There, you can find nearly all Myanmar goods in its different sections from the traditional Longyi to other kinds of clothes. This is also an excellent occasion for you to take pictures of amazingly fresh veggies, fine rice, and mingle with native people, studying a part of their life.

Visit the Shwezigon Pagoda and its incredible golden stupa, the mural painting of Wetgyi Inn Gubyaukgyi Temple, and then Htilominlo for its beautiful stucco’s ornament.

Then get to learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products: lacquer ware and wood crafts. Watch as the skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items. If you wish, you can try to make the lacquerware and share unique moments with the crafters.

Back to the hotel and time to get some rest over the hottest period of our day.

Next, continue to Ananda Temple, one of the most revered temples in Bagan. After discovering the Bagan masterpiece, enjoy the horse ride and the serene panoramic view of the sunset over Bagan horizon from one of the pagodas that you can climb, or at the unknown clay pot mountain.

 

Overnight: Bagan Umbra
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 07~One more day to explore Bagan and around.

Visit the Bupaya Pagoda-located at the northern end of Old Bagan, on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. Bupaya means "gourd," and when you see the pagoda, you will know how it gets its name.

Then we continue to Gawdawpalin Temple. Gawdawpalin is a beautiful temple located in the center of old Bagan. Suggestion: There is an unimpressive little pagoda next to the Gawdawpalin temple. You can climb a flight of stairs inside, which gives you a magnificent view of the Gawdawpalin. 

Late morning, visit the Manuha Temple, which is undoubtedly the most famous temple of Bagan. There are, therefore, several Buddha statues occupying almost all space. There are three Buddhas in the front room and an enormous reclining Buddha at the back of the temple.

Take a break with lunch at a local restaurant and then return to the hotel for a short rest and escape the extreme heat of the midday sun. 

Close to Manuha Pagoda, discover the well-known "Nanpaya." It is said to have been used as a Manuha prison, although there is little evidence to support the legend. There is also another story that tells the shrine was initially Hindu. His captors would have thought that it would be easier to use as a prison than to convert him to a Buddhist temple. But some also say that Manuha's grandnephew, known as Prince Naga Thaman, built the temple at the end of the 11th century. It consists of stoneware masonry blocks embedded on a brick core. According to Myanmar legend, the face of barley represents the guardian and eats flowers instead of meat.

Kyanzittha built the south of Myinkaba, the temple of Ngayon, elegant and well preserved. It is a place where Kyanzittha was protected by a snake while fleeing her brother and angry predecessor, Sawlu Min. Therefore, during his reign on Bagan, King Kyanzittha built this temple under the name of "Ngayon," which means "sheltered by a snake."

Optional: Explore the wonders of Bagan with electric-bike. We’ll cycle beyond the main sites, traversing smaller paths and crossing through local villages. You will pass through the less visited temple area, winding your way along the roads past dozens of monuments. Stop as you wish to take photos or explore the temples. Price approximately US$ 7.-per person

Overnight: Bagan Umbra
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 08~A scenic journey by bus to Kalaw

It's a long day bus ride! It takes approximately7 hours, but we will have occasional stops along the way. We enjoy the sceneries, experience life along with the roadside villages and terraced fields.

Picnic Lunch on the way to Kalaw.

We arrive in Kalaw late afternoon. A local guide welcomes you at the bus park and transfers you to the hotel. You can take rest, or go for a light walk: Kalaw is an old hill station with a laid-back atmosphere, refreshing climate, and scenic views. Many of Kalaw’s original colonial-era buildings remain, and it is also known as Myanmar’s trekking mecca.

Overnight: Kalaw Heritage Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 09~Trek to Naungthaya to Hsaungkhar

Trekking day! After breakfast, with our guide, we leave the comfort of the hotel and begin our trekking adventure.

The trail takes us through the villages of ethnic tribes, farmlands, fruits, and tea plantations.

First, we arrive in Naungtayah and Paoh village, where we can witness colorful market with where they sell locally grown fresh veggies. From Naungtayah, the trail leads towards the little Lapay village, followed by Klarpu village. After about one hour, the trail drops down the hill and stop in a village where we’ll share a delicious lunch with locals. After lunch, we continue the walk for an hour to lovely Ngola village, located on the hillside. 

Our trekking of the day ends at Hsaungkhar village. We stay in a private homestay.

Distance 9 miles, trekking duration approximately 5 or 6. 

Overnight: Homestay
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Trek to Sagar and by boat to Inle Lake

After breakfast at the homestay, we begin our second day of trekking. As we trek through the fields and hills, we breathe the fresh air, enjoy the sceneries, and exchange greeting with the local people.

We cross the villages of Hsaungdwee and Narmoon, and a couple of hours later, we arrive at Tharkhaung pagoda, on the west side of Sagar Lake. After lunch, we take a boat trip to visit Sagar Village. Visit Takkhaung Mwedaw with Pagodas hidden in the bushes and some of them even in the water.

Around dusk, we take a boat trip to Inle Lake, followed by a transfer to Nyaung Shwe. Nyaung Shwe is a little picturesque town near the Inle Lake. 

Total trekking time and distance:7.5 miles in 5 hours.

Overnight: Royal Inle Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 11~Excursion of Inle Lake and Indein

After breakfast, we proceed with our guide for the exploration of Inle Lake and the attractions around. First, we visit the morning market, which rotates in various locations of the lake on a 5-day basis. This daily market attracts people from all over the lake’s shores who gather to buy and sell their wares. We have chances to see Pa-Oh, Inthar, and Shan people in their traditional outfits. We wander amid the stalls and learn about the local produce and merchandise for sale.

Visit the beautiful Inle Lake and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf and Nga Phe Chaung Monastery. 

We keep cruising up to Indein, on the southwestern shores of the lake. The boat will travel down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of Indein.  Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village and wander through the beautiful Alaung Sitthou area. Alaung Sitthou is filled with picturesque stupas and has magnificent views of the lake.

Lunch at the local restaurant.

We also visit the weaving village of Inpawkhone village and discover the local crafts of Inle Lake. Stop at a cheroot factory, where they make traditional Burmese cigars by hand. 

Overnight: Royal Inle Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 12~Flight back to Yangon

After breakfast at the hotel, your guide will transfer you to the airport for the journey back to Yangon. It's one hour 10 minutes long flight. If you plan to depart Yangon today, please, book a flight that departs at 3 p.m. or later. 

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip includes

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or double room.
  • Meals, as indicated in the itinerary.
  • English-speaking local guides.
  • All transfers and excursions by a private air-conditioned vehicle.
  • Zone fees for the visits mentioned in the program.
  • Train ticket (Yangon to Mandalay)
  • Bus ticket ( Bagan to Kalaw
  • Domestic airfare (Heho- Yangon).
  • RV Panorama cruise from Mandalay to Bagan.
  • Horse-cart in Ava and Bagan.
  • Electric Bike in Bagan.
  • Private motorboat in Inle.
  • Drinking water and refreshing towels during sightseeing.

The trip does not include

  • International ticket to/from Yangon.
  • Myanmar Visa.
  • Meals other than mentioned (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Visits not mentioned in the program.
  • Drinks and personal expenses.
  • Gratuities to the guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
  • Any other items not mentioned.
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel and medical insurance.

Myanmar Visa

You need a Myanmar visa beforehand. You can apply for a visa at the nearest Myanmar embassy. Since September 2014, you can also apply eVisa online. You will receive your eVisa by email within five working days.
Myanmar eVisa Online

Accommodation

The trip includes decent mid-range hotels in the towns and one-night homestay. All the hotels offer a private bathroom with running hot and cold water. Most hotels provide toiletries such as shampoo or soap. However, bring conditioners, body wash, etc. on your own. Hairdryer and iron are available on request. The hotels have friendly local staff.

Meals

The tour includes a daily buffet breakfast at most of the hotels and a set menu in others. The trip also includes some meals, as indicated in the itinerary. Please budget $8-10 for a meal when you have to buy it on your own. Most hotels have on-site restaurants, and they serve Burmese, Chinese, Thai, and western-style cuisines. You have one night in a homestay, and the family prepares the meal for you. During trekking, they will provide you with a cold lunch pack.

Guide

The tour features local English speaking certified guides. Guides change when you travel from one city to the other. Your guide will bring the necessary vouchers and air ticket copies. They will help you check in the flight and coordinate with the driver and porters.

Transportation

Depending on group size, we will use Sedan Car (for two persons), Japanese Toyota Hiace minivan for 3-8 persons and Toyota Coaster or luxury coach for group 9 persons and above. Vehicles are air-conditioned all the time.

Booking Deposit and Payment Schedule

We request an initial deposit of US$ 300 along with the completed trip registration and passport scan. The balance payment is due 90 days before departure. Payment by credit card except the initial deposit attracts an additional 3.5% fee.

Final trip dossier

We will send you a comprehensive trip dossier with a finalized itinerary, trip notes, and local contact details about two months before the trip date.

Travel Insurance

We plan and do our best that your trip goes smooth as expected. However, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather conditions, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage, etc. It may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip, putting your hard-earned travel investment in jeopardy. It's also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation, or medical transportation when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High's Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses. We strongly recommend that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

Accomodation

best western greenhill
Best Western Green Hill
eastern palace mandalay
Eastern Palace
bagan umbra hotel
Hotel Bagan Umbra
kalaw heritage hotel
Kalaw Heritage
royal inlay hotel
Royal Inlay Hotel, Inle Lake

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