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Experience Myanmar


12 days 11 nights

Code

Category Myanmar Classic 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 Kyaikhtiyo Hpa-An
Dates & Prices

Overview

This journey combines the major highlights of Burma with some hidden treasures away from the main tourist circuit.The trip also offers 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, that gives us opportunity 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 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.

A short flight whisks us to the northern Shan state of Myanmar where we visit a shelter for the retired elephants from the logging industry. We join the caretaker team in feeding and washing the elephants. A short drive brings us to the beautiful Inle Lake where we explore the villages made up of stilt houses, island temples, floating gardens and take an excursion to a village seldom visited by foreign tourists.

We take flight back to Yangon and then head out to remote Kyakhityo where we visit Golden Rock Pagoda. The pagoda is built on the top of a huge granite boulder which is delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff.

Our final destination of the trip is Hpa An-a remote town where the major attraction is Kyauk Kalap-an unusual pagoda on top of a karst outcropping in the middle of a lake! In Hpa An, we also visit two interesting caves that houses several thousand Buddha images and carvings in the walls and roof of the cavern.

Trip highlights

  • A night train journey from Yangon to Mandalay-an wonderful 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 .
  • Spend quality time with the retired elephants at “ Green Hill Elephant Camp” in Kalaw. Join the caretakers feeding and bathing the elephants.
  • Boating excursion in Inle Lake, visiting Inthar villages with stilt houses, weaving villages, island temples, floating gardens and side excursion of an authentic village.
  • Visit one of the most sacred pilgrimage destinations in Myamar-the Golden Rock Pagoda.
  • Touch the natural wonder of most beautiful limestone Kawgun Cave in Hpa-An and it is well furnished with 7th century artwork consists of thousands of tiny Buddha Images.

Trip Cost

US$ 1990 per person on double occupancy basis
US$ 780 Private room Supplement.

Note: Price is valid with minimum 6-participants. If groups size falls below 6 persons, following small group supplement will be added.

US$ 135 per person (4-5 persons)
US$ 485 per person (2-3 persons)

Trip Dates 2018:

23 Apr, 21 May, 16 Jun, 11 Jul, 6 Aug, 1 Sep, 4 Oct, 15 Nov & 10 Dec

Trip Dates 2019:

16 Jan, 17 Feb, 11 Mar, 14 Apr, 6 Jul, 23 Sep, 8 Oct, 8 Nov

Dates don't work for you? Chose your own date for a private trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Yangon

Myanmar visa now can be obtained online! After completing immigration and custom 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 finest example 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 any trips to Myanmar. 300 feet tall, the gold-gilded bell shaped pagoda is the landmark of Myanmar. This 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 opportunity to see the lighting ceremony.

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

Overnight: Melia Hotel Yangon, 4* or similar
Day 02~Experience the train journey from Yangon to Mandalay

After a 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 is embedded with the traditional symbols. There are 8 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 together with 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 is closed on Monday) 

Around 4 pm, you are transferred 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 leisurely 404 miles journey on a colonial railway line will give you a lot of memorable experiences! You can see different sceneries of countryside such as green fields, villages, small towns, the struggling lives of 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 quiet 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 that you will miss if you take flight.

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

Overnight: Overnight in train, private cabin
Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 03~Explore the former capitals of Sagaing, Inwa and Amarapura

Upon arrival, You are met by your Mandalay guide at the train station upon arrival. Proceed with him to a local tea-shop for breakfast. Select local Burmese food and drink. The major 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 venerated temple of Myanmr. The 13 ft high image here is believed to be the exact likeness of Buddha; it was cast in Buddha's life time and Buddha himself breathed upon it!

Now, 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 image has different sizes and unique 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 the 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 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 attraction! 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: fishermen in the still waters, monks streaming crimson from one end to the other and 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.

Small canoe will be at your disposal if you wish watching 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 ride back seat with your local driver.

With prior arrangement, your motorbike driver will pick you up at your hotel, and you will speed off into 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 local 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: Mandalay Hill Resort, 4 star or similar
Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~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 hotel early morning and transfer to the jetty in time for breakfast on board with 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 in lunch.

On board, the crews demonstrate how to wear Longyi-the national costume and Thanatkha paste that Burmese women apply on their cheeks as protection against 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: Heritage Bagan Hotel, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 05~Bagan: Temples, villages and crafts tour

Following breakfast, your guide will take you for the exploration of the ancient city of Bagan. We ride electrical bike-clearly the best way to explore the temples! We first visit the Thagyar Pone Temple, that offers spectacular views over the surrounding plains. This is the perfect introduction to the grandeur and scope of Bagan’s architecture.

Next, we ride to Myinkaba Village and visit Gubyaukgyi Temple, which is noted for its gorgeous mural paintings on its inner walls and well-preserved plaster carvings on its exterior. Nearby is Manuha Temple and Nan Paya Temple, two smaller temples with pretty Buddha statues and stonework.

Without learning about Bagan's lacqueware and wood crafts, the trip will be incomplete! So, we stop in the craft workshops and watch the skilled craftsmen using techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items. You will get the opportunity to sit with the craftsmen and start producing your own lacquer ware, a unique moment where you may share great feelings with locals.

We 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.

Re-energized, we begin our after trip from Ananda Temple-one of the most revered temples in Bagan. We take horse-carriage and meander through the temples and finally end up in a high temple where we climb to the top for panoramic sunset view over the Bagan horizon!

Experience Bagan By Night!

Bagan is totally different at night. Pagodas under dim light give different perspective view and the atmosphere is peaceful, charming and you feel relaxed to walk escaping from intensive day heat. You’ll see a temple well-lit, and you will get the chance to live an exclusive and mystical experience, a moment that you will set apart in your memory

Overnight: Heritage Bagan Hotel, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, Kalaw

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Heho. A 30-minutes long flights whisks us to Heho in the northern Shan state. Meet your local guide and then proceed on an hour and 15- minutes long scenic drive to Kalaw(25 miles).

Check into your room. You will have some time to settle into your room before we proceed to visit the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Magwe Village (17 miles, 1 hour).The camp is a shelter for retired elephants from the logging industry. Upon arrival, you are met by a in-house guide and escorted to the main camp. We will attend a briefing session about the camp's schedule for the day and the history and activities of the camp. Now, we leave for a short walk to the river passing through a reforestation project set up by the camp and local villagers; here you will be amazed to see the elephants really greet the visitors! The guide tells you the name of the elephants, their age and how they were brought to the camp. Join the staff feeding the elephants bananas and sugarcanes.

Next, try something exciting! Get dressed in traditional Shan costumes and join the caretakers as they lead the elephants to a natural pool for bathing! Elephant bathing is a fun activity. You will have opportunity to wash and bathe the elephants as they splash and play in their bathing lake, one of their favorite rituals of the day. The camp discourages riding atop the elephant back!

Now, we return to the reforestation area to plant a tree before heading to the main camp for lunch. There is time in the afternoon to explore more on foot with the local trekking guide or interact with the elephants or visit the dwellings of elephant caretakers.

Late afternoon, bid farewell to the elephants and their caretakers and retrace drive back to the hotel.

Overnight: Royal Kalaw Hill Resort, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 07~Inle Lake: Inthar Villages, floating gardens and temples

From Kalaw, a scenic two-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, through a scenic road across the Shan Mountains. Nyaung Shwe is the gateway village to Inle Lake. Spend time exploring Nyaung Shwe, travelling through this quaint town past local houses, small nunneries and monasteries. A stop will be made at the ‘tomato house’, where the lake’s produce is gathered, sorted and distributed throughout the country.

On the way to the jetty, we will stop at a vineyard, perched on a hill overlooking the lake. Shan state has a cool climate and rich soil and so it's not surprising to see a vineyard here. It's a perfect place to put your feet up and enjoy a glass of locally made wine with the views!

Afterwards, continue to Maing Thauk Jetty and board a private motorboat to our resort in the lakeshore. We pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by local Intha people. Observe the famous leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.

We will also have stops in the local crafts of Inle Lake, such as weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where traditional Burmese cigars are made by hand.

Check in to your accommodation by the lake and if time permits, later you can enjoy a short walk to a nearby lakeside village.

Overnight: Thanakha Inle Resort, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Inle Lake: Excursion of Sagar Village

After breakfast, we take a relaxing boat trip to Sagar-an interesting town but rarely visited by tourists. On the way, we take a tea-break in Inthar Village and witness the local life. The boat trip takes about two hours or little more but our eyes are always kept busy with the views of blue mountains, scattered floating vegetations, fishermen with their leg-rowing boats.

The Sagar Village, once a thriving princely town boasts rustic beauty, pristine nature and authentic culture. Here, you will meet the innocent looking Pa-O tribe people with their blushing faces and welcoming smiles. We will meander through the village dotted with pagodas and monasteries.

After lunch at the gorgeous "A Little Lodge of Samkar", we take boat ride back to our resort in Inle Lake. Enjoy the poetic beauty of the lake at dusk, the busy life of people in the lakeshore and stilt houses and admire sunset view over the lake.

Overnight: Thanakha Inle Resort, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 09~Kyakhtiyo: The unusual Golden Rock Pagoda

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for the flight to Yangon. It's one hour 10 minutes long flight.

Upon arrival at Yangon airport, meet your local guide and proceed to Kyaiktiyo (125 miles, 4 hour)-renowned for a pagoda built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees and so the temple is better known as Golden Rock Pagoda! After nearly a three and half an hour drive, we are arrive in Kinpun village at the foot of the mountain, where we switch to an open-air truck, shared with locals, for an adventurous ride along a winding road (45 minutes). From the drop off point, the actual Pagoda is a 5-minute walk. The huge boulder is delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff, perhaps ignoring the law of gravity! Golden Rock Pagoda is believed to enshrine a hair relief Buddha and hence it makes Myanmar's one of the most important pilgrimage destinations. You will be amazed to see the extra ordinary structure of Golden Rock and the faith of people in this temple.

Overnight: Mountain Top Hotel, 3 star
Meals : Breakfast
Day 10~Hpa-An, a different Burma

Useful Tip: This morning, you have an option to visit the Golden Rock again to see the rising sun casting its rays upon the rock. Starting before dawn, local pilgrims gather by the rock to make offerings in the solitude of the morning. It’s a unique and memorable experience that shouldn’t be missed.

After breakfast, we take the open-air truck ride down to the base camp and meet our transport and then proceed for a two-hour drive to Hpa-An-a small town surrounded by beautiful limestone rock formations. Hpa-An is also the capital of Karen state.

You will have time to settle into your accommodations before we set out to explore the town and its attractions. We visit the unusual pagoda of Kyauk Kalap, on top of a karst outcropping in the middle of a lake. It is truly unique, aesthetic surreal place.

Spend the balance of the day in easy pace. Take your own free time to enjoy biking, walking and swimming or as you wish.

Overnight: Hpa Inn Lodge, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast
Day 11~Hpa-An: Explore the cave temples

After breakfast, proceed to visit Kawgone Cave; eight miles south of Hpa-An, the hidden gallery of 7th Century artwork within the cave. Thousands of Buddha images and carvings line the walls and roof of the cavern. The pagoda was first recorded in 1893 in an Archaeological survey of India Report.

One headless carving of an elegant torso is believed to represent a queen who donated some images to the cave pagoda. Saddan Cave; this breathtakingly huge cavern contains a pagoda near the entrance with many Buddha images.

Afterwards, take a leisurely walk on the road along the Thanlyin River for a beautiful photographic backdrop of mountains and boats.

Overnight: Hpa Inn Lodge, 4 star
Meals : Breakfast
Day 12~Depart Yangon

After breakfast, we retrace our drive back to Yangon (170 miles, 6 hours). Depending on your flight time, you will be transferred to the airport directly.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip includes

  • Accommodation in a shared twin or double room with daily breakfast.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B,L,D)
  • English speaking local guides.
  • All transfers and excursions with private air-conditioned vehicles with drivers.
  • Zone fees for the visits mentioned in the program.
  • Night train from Yangon to Mandalay.
  • Two domestic airfares (Mandalay to Heho and then back to Yangon)
  • RV Panorama cruise from Mandalay to Bagan
  • Horse cart in Ava and Bagan
  • Electric Bike in Bagan
  • Visit to Green Hill Elephant Camp
  • Private motor boat in Inle.
  • Open truck from Base Camp to Golden Rock or vice versa.
  • Water and refreshing towels on touring days

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.
  • Tips and porters at the hotels.
  • Any other items not mentioned
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events.
  • Travel and medical insurance 

Myanmar Visa

You need Myanmar visa beforehand. You can apply visa at the nearest Myanmar embassy. Since September 2014, you can also apply eVisa online. You will receive your eVisa by email within 5 working days.
Myanmar eVisa Online

Accommodation

We provide superior four star properties by local standard, where possible and the best available where choices are limited. All the hotels provide private bathroom with running hot and cold water. Most hotels provide toiletries such as shampoo, body wash and its advisable that you bring your own toiletry supplies as well. Hair dryer and iron are available on request. Hotels are staffed with friendly locals.

Meals

The tour includes daily breakfast at your hotel which is usually served in buffet style. Some lunch and dinners are included as indicated in the itinerary. Please budget $10-15 per meal for lunch and dinner. Most hotels have on-site restaurants and they cater Burmese, Chinese, Thai and western style cuisines.

Guide

The tour features local English speaking certified guides. Guides changes when you travel from one city to the other. Your guide will bring 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 2 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

US$ 300 deposit is requested along with the completed trip registration and normally balance payment is due 90 days prior departure but we may also request you second payment if need be. Payment by credit card except the initial deposit will attract additional 3.5% fee. We reserve the right to refuse certain form of payment.

Final trip dossier

A comprehensive trip dossier will be sent to you about 2 months before the trip date. The trip dossier includes the final itinerary, list of confirmed hotels and flights and service details. The document will also include the travel notes including weather, packing suggestions, currency information etc.

Travel Insurance

While we plan and do our best that your trip goes smoothly as planned but there are always chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather conditions, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that 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 get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High's Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.

Accomodation

Melia Hotel Yangon
Melia Hotel Yangon
Mandalay Hill Resort
Mandalay Hill Resort
Heritage Hotel Bagan
Heritage Hotel Bagan
Royal Kalaw Hill Resort
Royal Kalaw Hill Resort
Thanaka Inle Resort
Thananka Inle Resort, Inle Lake
Mountain Top Hotel Kyaikhtyo
Mountain Top Hotel Kyaikhtyo
Hpa An Lodge
Hpa-An Lodge

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