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Myanmar Travel Agents FAM Tour


10 days 9 nights

Code MYFM2019

Category Fam Tours

  • Group Size 2-16 persons
  • Difficulty Level 2
  • Trip Starts From Yangon
  • Trip Ends At Yangon
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Yangon Mandalay Bagan Kalaw Inle Lake
Dates & Prices

Overview

22 Sep-01 Oct 2019 

This journey combines the significant highlights of Burma with some hidden treasures away from the primary tourist circuit. The trip also offers travel agents 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 that 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. From Mandalay, we take a road trip with a stop to at Mount Popa-an extinct volcano on the top of which stands the sacred Popa Taungkalat monastery. We spend two days in the vast plains of Bagan, exploring the temples and also experiencing the local culture and history.

A short flight whisks us to the northern Shan state of Myanmar. We visit Pindaya cave where we explore the fantastic cave stuffed with thousands of golden Buddha statues and also explore a typical Palaung village where we experience local hospitality.

Our final destination is the Inle Lake where we explore the island temples, stilt houses of inthar people and take an excursion to Sagar Village. The trip overlaps with Phaung Daw Woo Pagoda festival in Inle Lake.

We take the return flight back to Yangon and connect with the international trip back home.

Trip highlights

  • A night train journey from Yangon to Mandalay-an excellent 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.
  • 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.
  • Pindaya Cave stuffed with thousands of Buddha figures.
  • Boating excursion in Inle Lake, visiting Inthar villages with stilt houses, weaving villages, island temples, floating gardens and side trip of an authentic community.
  • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Trip Cost

US$ 1499 per person for the agent.
US$ 1599 for companion
US$ 480 Private room Supplement. (Mandatory if no one to share the room)

Trip Dates

22 Sep-01 Oct 2019

Click here for 6-15 June 2020 trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Yangon

Arrive in Yangon International Airport (RGN) on your own. Airport transfer is not included. If you want to book it, it costs US$ 20 for a saloon car with a driver. 

Check in hotel and take rest today. Our local guide will contact you and give you the schedule for the next day.

Overnight: Excelsior Hotel Yangon
Day 02~Yangon sightseeing and overnight train to Mandalay

After breakfast, we ’ll venture downtown to explore the diverse city center with its range of architecture, ethnicities, and religions. We will walk through the lively streets of this neighborhood. You will likely pass by a mosque, synagogue and Hindu Temple. We continue by witnessing Sule Paya-a golden stupa built to enshrine a hair of the Buddha. You will get the chance to meet with a palm reader near Sule. Many Burmese consults with a palm reader or astrologist regularly and especially before a big moment such as a marriage, exam, and the childbirth. 

Then take a short walk to the Post Office, passing many colonial-era buildings, including the famous Strand Hotel

Time to have lunch now (pay on your own). A recommendation: Sofaer & Co., styled as serving “Modern Mekong” cuisine, Sofaer & Co is in the Sofaer Building.

Early afternoon, we will continue to Shwedagon Pagoda. Standing tall above 300 feet, the bell-shaped Shwedagon Pagoda is the landmark of Myanmar. Following the tradition, we go around the pagoda on a clockwise direction-learn about the 2,600-year-old history of the pagoda-be blessed by pouring water on Buddha statue-and enjoy the sounds of prayers chanted by the individuals or groups of Buddhist devotees. We will offer you the chance to interact with a monk and get to know his lifestyle, the monkhood, or share any point of view. 

Transfer to the train station for a fabulous journey to Mandalay from Yangon. The train trundles out of Yangon at just 15mph with the local children trying to hang on to the outside, accelerating to 40-45mph once clear of the city, clickety-clacking past small villages of palm-thatched cottages built on stilts, ox carts trundling slowly along dusty roads, and occasional white or gold stupas.  Burmese children love to wave at trains, especially if they see a western face at the window. You'll be traveling along a railway initially built by the British - look out for the old-fashioned semaphore signals and mock-Tudor signal boxes at Bago. 

Even when night falls, you'll see the palm trees silhouetted in the moonlight, and the smell of the village cooking fires will drift into your sleeper compartment through the open window. Make sure you have a jumper or fleece handy if you travel overnight, as it can get cold a few hours after dark.  The track is not the best in the world and in places it will put your carriage suspension through its paces, but you stand a good chance of arriving at the other end within 5 or 10 minutes of the advertised time. However, delays of 30 - 60 minutes or more are not uncommon, so make allowances.

We will provide you a prepared meal for dinner.

Overnight: Overnight in train
Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 03: Arrive in Mandalay and sightseeing of Mandalay

You will arrive at the Mandalay early morning around 05:30 am, and we will go straight for a local breakfast. We will take the time to discover the significant culinary dish of the city, “Nan Gyi Tok,“ an exceptional noodle salad. 

We will then proceed to the visit of the astonishing ghost market, located on both sides of the railway, offering a complete singular show for all travelers curious to discover it. Along with the colorful slacks, the strange passage of the train in the middle of the market, thus ensuring perfect pictures and the first impression of many surprises to come along the journey. 

Visit the most famous Buddhist sites and significant pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, Mahamuni Pagoda, also known, as Mahamuni Buddha Temple, Payagyi, Big Paya, or the Rakhaing Paya, is located in southwest Mandalay and initially built by King Bodawpaya in 1784. The 13ft-high bronzed Mahamuni Buddha image is always the center of many activities, especially during festivals. Each morning at 4 am, a team of monks washes the Buddha's face and even brushes its teeth. 

We will then continue to drive to Mandalay city center, and more particularly at the base of the Mandalay Hill, where you will stop at Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung, Golden Palace Monastery, which displays exquisite woodcarvings.  Ku Tho Daw Monastery, which is also known as ‘the world’s largest book’ due to its 729 inscribed marble slabs. A small temple houses each slab, and it is incredible to see the whole complex. 

Check in at the hotel and time to rest until for the sunset viewing at U Bein Bridge. Easily one of Burma’s most photographed sights, U Bein is a teak bridge stretching close to 1200 meters across Taungthaman Lake. While busy throughout the day, it sees the most activity at dusk: fishermen in the still waters, monks streaming crimson from one end to the other, Burmese biking from shore to shore on their way home from work. You will love standing to the side and watching the world go by, a world I’ll never be a part of but one that left me wide-eyed and smiling. A small canoe will be at your disposal if you wish to watch the sun fade over the water.

Overnight: Rupar Mandalar Resort
Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Explore the former capitals of Sagaing, Inwa and Amarapura

Breakfast at the hotel.Embark at Mandalay jetty at 09:30. You will enjoy the slow boat trip up the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay, offering a peaceful glimpse of everyday life in the Burmese countryside. We then set sail to Mingun. You will be able to visit the beautiful ancient city of Mingun before the hoard of visitors arrives from Mandalay. Visit Pondawphaya, Settawya, Pahtodawgyi pagodas and the legendary Mingun Bell, one of the giant intact ringing bells in the world.

We suggest having lunch under the beautiful frangipani trees. Then, drive up to Sagaing Hill and more particularly to Umin Thonzeh. The name translates as ’30 Caves Pagoda,’ but in reality, the temple is one long hallway built alongside a hill with thirty recessed entrances giving it the appearance of being filled with caves. Inside the building, you will find 45 Buddha images, an auspicious number 45 reflecting the number of years that Gautama Buddha lived as an enlightened being.

You may have a chance to meet the nuns and chat with them. It is so tranquil, and the abbess is charming and makes one feel genuinely welcome. The youngsters are heart stealers. ‘’You can observe the daily life of Burmese nuns, and it will give you some thoughts about Burmese religion.

You will continue towards the former royal capital of Innwa (Ava) located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. You will visit the Island of Ava by horse cart, including stops at famous Bagaya Kyaung & Me Nu Oak Kyaung Monasteries. After a thrilling long day of visits, relax, and we drive back to Mandalay for a beautiful evening.

Optional Motorbike Ride: 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 on the back seat with your local driver.

Your motorbike driver will pick you up from 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 the cultural 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. (Drinks on own account)

Overnight: Rupar Mandalar Resort
Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 05~Road trip to Bagan via Mount Popa

After breakfast, we depart for Mandalay. In about 2h30 minutes from Mandalay, we stop for a hike to Mount Popa-an extinct volcano. On the top sits the sacred Popa Taungkalat monastery dramatically. We climb up the 777 steps to get to the top, where we are rewarded with a 360-degree panorama and a labyrinth of shrines to explore. The monastery-surrounded by sheer cliff faces and offers stunning views of the surrounding plains and Mount Popa itself. The monastery at Taungkalat(meaning ‘Pedestal Hill’) is famed for being home to 37 nats (Burmese spirits), which are represented by statues at the base of the volcanic outcrop.

Then, we continue to Bagan, located 1h30 min away from Popa. We reach Bagan in the afternoon, and we enjoy an excellent introduction of the site overlooking the plain. The beautiful landscape and quiet surrounding will bring you back into time. Our local guide will expertly bring you around to experience the culture and history of Bagan so you will not get overwhelmed by Bagan’s 2,000 over numbers of pagodas. In the evening, enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise – truly unique! 

‘’Bagan by night’’ - we offer you to share a unique moment. You’ll discover a temple well lighted, and you will get the chance to live an exclusive and mystical experience, a moment that you will set apart in your memory. 

Lunch and dinner are on your own.

Overnight: Bagan Lodge
Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Bagan: Temples, villages and crafts tour

After breakfast at the hotel, proceed with your guide for the exploration of amazing Bagan!

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

Take your electric bike and start riding through the fabulous Bagan archaeological sites. Visit the Shwezigon Pagoda and its wonderful golden stupa, the mural painting of Wetgyi Inn Gubyaukgyi Temple and then Htilominlo for its beautiful stucco’s ornament. If you are not keen on taking the bike ride, we will provide the alternative horse-cart ride.

Then get to learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan’s most popular products: lacquer ware and wood crafts. Watch as the skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items. You will be invited to produce your lacquerware and share unique moments with the crafters.

Next continue to Ananda Temple, one of the most revered temples in Bagan. After discovering the Bagan masterpiece, enjoy the horse cart 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. 

Lunch and dinner are on your own

Overnight: Bagan Lodge
Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Pindaya: Exploration of Palaung village.

Today, we fly to the Heho airport in the northern Shan State. It's 40-minutes long scenic flight. Upon arrival, meet your local tour guide. What do we do today: Meeting local ethnic tribes! Yes! To find out what do they do every day; we’ll hit the road from Heho and reach Myinka, a typical Taung Yoe village. 

From here, we take a pick up truck along the sand road for half an hour, and then we get to a Palaung village called Peinnebin. The Palaung people in the area live from growing tea and oranges. You will have a chance to see tea and orange plantation on the hillside with beautiful scenery.

Enjoy fire-cooked lunch in a local home! The people here wear hand-woven traditional clothes. We will have a chance to see how they weave their fabrics.

After enjoying your time there, drive to Pindaya (1-hour). Pindaya is a charming town with a quiet lake on its center, also known for its manufacture of Shan paper Umbrella. But a huge limestone cave network stuffed with thousands of Buddha images is the main attraction of this town.

Overnight: Hotel Conqueror
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 08~Inle Lake: Inthar Villages, floating gardens and temples

After breakfast, we will visit the Pindaya cave-a 426 ft deep cave packed with more than 8000 Buddha idols that you see everywhere from the floor to the ceiling. The idols are sponsored by Buddhist devotees from all over the world.

From Pindaya, a scenic two-hour drive will lead us to Nyaung Shwe through Shan Mountains.  Nyaung Shwe is the gateway village to Inle Lake. 

On the way to the jetty, we will stop at the stunning Red Mountain Vineyard. Ideally perched on a hill overlooking Inle Lake, the Red Mountain Vineyard is one of the best places in Myanmar to put your feet up and enjoy a glass (or bottle!) of locally made wine. We appreciate this is not something you would usually associate with a trip to Myanmar, but the cold climate and nutrient-rich soil have all helped to create some unique varieties of wine.

Afterward, continue to Maing Thauk Jetty and board a private motorboat and head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sites. 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.  

We make our way to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images and starts experiencing the fabulous atmosphere on the lake. You will witness pilgrims from all over the country come to this festival to pay homage to the four Buddha images and gain merit while enjoying the festive air of the event. Over the years these images have become so embalmed by gold leaf that it is difficult to recognize them. The mysterious fifth Buddha image is left to 'guard' their original resting place at the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda while the festival takes place. Do make sure you ask your guide for the story of the fifth image! 

Our trip overlaps with Phaund Daw Oo Pagoda festival, and sightseeing order may change so that you can witness the celebration.

Overnight: Sofitel Inle Lake
Meals : Breakfast
Day 09~Inle Lake: Enjoy the Phaung Daw Oo festival

As dawn is breaking, you will leave the hotel, and you will come out onto the open lake it’s hard to see where the water ends, and its marshy banks begin. Silhouetted fishermen stand on the bows of their boats, casting nets against the mountainous backdrop, one leg wrapped around the long oar in a rowing style unique to Inle Lake. A boat pulls up its catch, fish flashing in the first rays of sunlight. 

Today, you join the festival and participate in the activities on the lake. During this festival, four out of five Buddha images of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda are carried in procession across the lake for 18 days. This festival is one of the grandest celebrations of Myanmar. Most probably, today is the longest distance procession from Kay Paw Kong to Indein. 

You will be joining rafts of onlookers as the procession of longboats row past, playing music and dancing in the shade of their brightly colored, tasseled umbrellas. They haul along with the crowning glory of the golden pagoda to the monastery where boats break off, and rowers pass round bottled water and banana leaf parcels, all still in high spirits. 

Back to the hotel and relax if the fatigue sets in or visit other local attractions as available.

Overnight: Sofitel Inle Lake
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10~Depart

After breakfast, you are transferred to the Heho airport for flight to Yangon. It's a 1h15m long flight, usually departs Heho airport mid-morning. If you are connecting your international flight back home, please, book your flight that departs late afternoon.

If you need an additional night hotel room, let us know. Excelsior Hotel costs $ 125 (for single/double) and airport transfer $ 25. An airport hotel also costs about the same including the airport transfers.

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.
  • English speaking local guides.
  • All transfers and excursions with private air-conditioned vehicle.
  • A night train journey from Yangon to Mandalay.
  • Two domestic airfares (Mandalay to Heho and then back to Yangon).
  • Horse-cart in Ava and Bagan.
  • Electric Bike or horse ride in Bagan.
  • Private motor-boat in Inle.
  • Water bottles and refreshing towels on touring days.

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 guide, driver and hotel staffs.
  • 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

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

Meals

The tour includes daily buffet breakfast at your hotel and some meals as indicated in the itinerary. Please budget $10-12 for a decent meal when you need to pay on your own. Most hotels have on-site restaurants, and they serve Burmese, Chinese, Thai and western style cuisines.

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.

Trip difficulty level

It's a motor vehicle based cultural sightseeing that anyone with average fitness level can partake in, except the 777 steps climb of Mount Popa that you can skip if you don't want to. The trip involves some mild adventure such as electric bike ride, horse cart ride, and boating trips.

Transportation

Depending on group size, we will use 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.

Travel Agent Eligibility

Travel agents must have valid IATA or CLIA or TRUE Code and active in selling land and sea tours. You are allowed to bring one companion with you. Please, do not purchase your international ticket until we confirm your participation on the trip.

Group Size:

Minimum 4 persons and maximum 16 persons.

Booking Deposit and Payment Schedule

We request an initial deposit of US$ 300 along with the completed registration form and a passport scan. The final payment is due ninety days before the trip date. Payment by credit card except the initial deposit attracts an additional 3.5% fee. We reserve the right to refuse a certain form of payment.

Final trip dossier

We will send you a comprehensive trip dossier about two 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 cover travel notes including weather, packing suggestions, currency information, etc.

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. 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

Excelsior Hotel Yangon
Excelsior Hotel Yangon
Rupar Mandalar Resort
Rupar Mandalar Resort
Bagan Lodge Bagan
Bagan Lodge
Conqueror Hotel Pindaya
Conqueror Hotel Pindaya
Sofitel Inle Resort
Sofitel Inle Lake

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