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Wonders of the Golden Land-Myanmar


9 days 8 nights

Code MCT131

Category Myanmar Classic Tours

  • Group Size 1-16
  • Difficulty Level 1
  • Trip Starts From Yangon
  • Trip Ends At Yangon
  • Accommodation Hotels
  • Type Tours
  • Season October through April
  • Destination Yangon Bagan Mandalay Mingun Kalaw Inle Lake
Dates & Prices

Overview

Yangon-Bagan-Manadalay-Kalaw-Inle Lake. In this trip of a lifetime, we explore the pagodas, temples, monasteries and archeological wonders of the golden land of Myanmar, and learn the lives and culture of Burmese people, which are deeply guided by the principles of Buddhism.

The tour begins from the colorful city of Yangon, a fascinating mix of scenes from a bygone era and the modern pulse of bustling streets, serene temples and impressive colonial edifices. From Yangon, we fly to Bagan, the ancient capital and the origin of Myanmar culture, the land of more than 2000 pagodas and temples.

We visit an extinct volcanic site of Mount Popa, the abode of the animistic spirits, and Salay, an important Buddhist center with many active monasteries. From Bagan, we fly to Mandalay, the second capital of Myanmar, where we explore the beautiful temples and pagodas and take a boat trip to laid back Mingun town.

From Mandalay, we travel overland to Kalaw, a former British retreat, and enjoy the colonial flair in its churches and buildings. Our next destination is the Inle Lake where, by boat, we visit the villages in the islands and lakeshore, learning about the vibrant culture on the waters.

In this trip, we take sunset cruises on Ayeyawaddy River (also known as Irrawaddy River) hike to villages to meet local people, attend rituals and prayers in monasteries, watch the monks and novices line up to receive alms, stop at gold leaf making workshops, and explore local arts and textile workshops.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Flight to Yangon

You can book your own flight to Yangon, or we’d be happy to make those reservations. Upon arrival at Mingaladon airport of Yangon (previously known as Rangoon), we are met by our local guide, who will take us to our hotel. After some rest in the hotel, we can explore this 2,500-year-old capital city of Myanmar.

We can begin from the gilded Sule Pagoda and the impressive Karaweik Hall on the Royal Lake; then the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, which dominates the skyline of city. This masterpiece houses an intricate complex of smaller pagodas and Buddha images.

Overnight hotel in Yangon

Day 02~Flight from Yangon to Bagan

After breakfast, it’s off to the airport for our flight to Bagan. At Bagan airport, our local guide will take us to our hotel. Then we can explore the archeological wonders of Bagan, a town that flourished from the 11th through 13th centuries, during which thousands of magnificent stupas and temples were constructed. Many of them are still standing with all glory along the banks of Irrawady River.

We visit the vibrant market of Nyaung U, then drive to the archaeological zone to visit the temples and pagodas of Shwezigon, Gubyaukgyi, Htilominlo, Ananda, Thatbyinnyu Sulamani, Dhammyangyi, all of which speak of their glorious past. In the evening, we can enjoy the spectacular sunset from the terrace of Myaukguni Temple and conclude the tour of the day.

Overnight hotel in Bagan

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03~Excursion to Mount Popa

This morning, we head southeast 48 km (30 miles) to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano with a height of 1,518 m (4,979 ft.). We climb to the top of the volcano ridge for the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Mount Popa has played an important role in Myanmar culture, religion, and history since earliest times. It is believed to be the abode of the “Nats,”ancient Burmese animist spirits. As we climb the stairs to the top, we will get to learn about the Nats and Nat rituals.

We will have lunch break in a local restaurant (pay on your own) and then we will head to Salay, an important Buddhist center with many active monasteries. Salay created a unique style of Bagan-era architecture, including the Yok Stone Kyaung Monastery, one of the oldest in the area. Today, time permitting, we can also take a sunset boat ride on Ayeyawaddy river.

Overnight in Bagan River View Hotel or Bagan Thande Hotel or Thazin Garden Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast
Day 04~Flight from Bagan to Mandalay

This morning we have a flight to Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city. After setting in at out new hotel, we set out to explore the wonders of Mandalay.

We can visit the three former royal capitals, Amarapura, Sagaing, and Inwa, each with its own charm and atmosphere. We begin at Amarapura’s Mahagandayon Monastery, where we watch monks and novices line up to receive their daily alms and food from faithful Buddhists. Next, Sagaing, the spiritual center of Myanmar, abundant with hundreds of stupas, monasteries, temples and nunneries.

We cross the river by ferry, on this amazing day, to the ancient capital of Inwa, situated on the shores of the Irrawaddy River, which is now a quiet rural oasis. We can enjoy a leisurely horse carriage ride in the peaceful countryside and visit the beautiful teak wood monastery. On the way, we stop at a workshop where locals make the famous alms bowls out of iron.

We conclude the day at U Bein‘s Bridge in Amarapura. It is a picturesque teak bridge that extends more than one kilometer across Taungthaman Lake. At dusk, the bridge is swarmed by monks and local people as they stroll home or linger to enjoy the colors of the sunset.

Overnight hotel at Mandalay

Meals : Breakfast
Day 05~Explore Mandalay in the morning and afternoon excursion to Mingun with boat trip

This morning, we visit Mahamuni Paya, enshrined with the Mahamuni Image and covered in more than six inches of gold leaf. The image is probably the most revered Buddhist image in Myanmar. Devotees flock to the shrine at four in the morning to observe the unique face-washing ceremony. En route to the pagoda, we will stop at a workshop to observe the amazing and laborious process of making gold leaf. We may also stop by a craft shop.

More options include the Golden Teak Monastery, built entirely of golden teak with intricate carving. The monastery was once the part of Mandalay Palace, used by King Mindon and his chief wife as their private chamber. Next, we can visit Kyaukawgyi Paya, known for a seated Buddha, carved out of a single marble block. The Kuthodaw Paya, a huge walled temple complex is at the base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill. Kuthodaw Paya was built by King Mindon at about the same time as the Mandalay Royal Palace.

This afternoon, we board a ferry up the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to a laidback riverside village of Mingun. We can enjoy the serene beauty of the river and glimpse the lives of the people who live and work on these waters. It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to arrive at Mingun, but we can see the attractions of Mingun luring us from far away. There is the 12-foot-high, 87-ton Mingun Bell, which is definitely the world's largest bell. Just south of the bell lies Mingun Pagoda, a giant brick structure built in 1700s; it was never completed due to economic troubles, but it is still an impressive site. Mingun's other attraction that we don’t want to miss is the Hisnbyume Pagoda, a white-washed temple built to resemble Mount Meru. Mingun is full of small neighborhoods crafting traditional basketry and other artistic items, and we’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop by and interact with the craftsmen and friendly locals.

We take the ferry ride back at dusk, floating through the river’s beautiful colors.

Overnight hotel in Mandalay

Meals : Breakfast
Day 06~Drive from Mandalay to Kalaw

After breakfast, we embark on our overland journey to Kalaw, which will take most of the day. We will pass by small towns and villages and get glimpses of the rural life away from the cities.

Kalaw, situated at an elevation of 4,000 feet on the western edge of the Shan Plateau, served as a popular retreat during British Era. It is still a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere reminiscent of those colonial days. The small population here is a mix of Shan, Indian Muslim, Bamar and Nepalese ethnics.

Overnight hotel in Kalaw

Meals : Breakfast
Day 07~Explore Kalaw and later overland travel to To Inle Lake

Today we embark on the tour of Kalaw. We begin from Thein Taung Pay, a temple perched on the hill overlooking the main road. There are many Western-style buildings still standing in Kalaw, including Christ the King Church, founded by an Italian missionary. We will also take a light trek to a nearby hill tribe village. One of the main sources of income is the cultivation of large leaves used to wrap Burmese cigars.

After the trek, we continue overland to Inle Lake, where we will take a ferry ride to get to the hotel.

Overnight hotel in Ine Lake

Meals : Breakfast
Day 08~Excursion by boat on Inle Lake and flight back to Yangon

Inle Lake, situated Shan State, is beautiful, with calm waters dotted with patches of floating vegetation and fishing canoes. The lake is surrounded by high hills on all sides, with 17 villages on the lakeshore and on islands. The villages are mostly inhabited by Intha ethnic people. Our boating trip takes us through spectacular scenery with skilled fisherman using their leg-rowing technique to propel themselves around the lake. We visit the floating gardens, a floating market and an Intha village. Please note that markets do not take place on full moon days. We will also visit the Phaung Daw Pagoda and the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery.

Later in the day, a ferry ride takes us back to the lakeshore to meet our ride to the airport for flight to Yangon. Our local guide will get us to our hotel.

Rest of the day, you are on your own to pursue your own interests.

Overnight hotel in Yangon

Meals : Breakfast
Day 09~Yangon-departure

Transfer to the airport for flight back home or next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on choice of superior or deluxe category hotels as listed in the itinerary.
  • Daily breakfast in the hotel.
  • All transfers and tours by a private vehicle.
  • English speaking local guides.
  • Sightseeing admission fees.
  • Internal airfares Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay and Heho-Yangon.
  • All sightseeing, cruise and hikes per itinerary.

Cost Does Not Include

  • Lunch and dinner.
  • International airfare to Yangon and return.
  • Airport taxes.
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Extra expenses or loss due to nature and unforeseen events due to nature and unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, illness, accident, civil unrest etc.
  • Travel insurance.

Note on the Itinerary

We will try our best to adhere to the itinerary but for various reasons such as flight cancellation, weather problem or other reasons beyond our control, itinerary is subject to change. The hotels listed are our preferred properties and are subject to change.

Best time to Travel

The best time to travel to Myanmar is from November through February. The weather is wonderfully cool both during the day and at night. You will enjoy wonderful sunny days. The country is vibrant green right after the long monsoon rains. The chances of rain is very slim or none. October and March are also fine but slightly warmer. The hottest months are April and May, temperature exceeding 100 °F, particularly the areas of Bagan and May and also the humidity is very high. The monsoon begins from mid-May or early June and lasts through early summer. During monsoon time, it's a bit cooler but the roads become impassable.

Passport, Visa and Travel Documents

You will need to apply Myanmar Visa beforehand from the nearest Myanmar Embassy. Remaining validity on your passport must be 6 months on the last date of the tour and make sure you have enough blank pages for visa stickers, arrival and departure seals.

Accommodation

Accommodation will be in choice of your first class or superior and deluxe hotels and best available and the best available in the remote areas with limited choices. All the hotels do provide en suite bathroom with running hot and cold water.

Meals

Trip includes daily breakfast only in the hotel. Usually, there will be full breakfast but some hotels do provide continental half breakfast only. During the tour, there will be lunch breaks. You need to budget US$ 12-15 per meal.

Guides

Your tour is escorted by English speaking local Guides whom you will meet at the airport upon arrival. Guide and driver are not the same person and guides in difference cities will be different persons, especially when you are taking flight from one city to another.

Vehicle

Depending on the group size, we use Japanese or Korean made Sedan Cars, SUV, Minivan or coach. Our vehicles are clean, well maintained and drivers are trained to drive the western travelers.

Trip Difficulty Level

This is basically motor vehicle based tour, suitable for travelers of all ages with normal health condition. There are some easy walks in the markets, lakeshores and village. No strenuous hiking or adventures are involved in this trip but travelers are advised to stay fit and start some mild exercises like jogging, swimming, cycling at least 2-3 months ahead of the trip. The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip.

Booking and Cancellation

When you are sure you are traveling, please don't delay in booking. The internal flights are the key factor in determining whether your trip can be realized or not. A non-refundable deposit of US$ 300 is requested at the time of booking. Deposit can be charged on your credit card.

Balance Payment

Balance payment is due 90 days prior to your departure. Depending on the number of applicants, we may set an early payment date. Credit card payment attracts additional fee 3.5%.

Cancellation fee

  • 180 days prior departure: No penalty unless stated as non-refundable.
  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 300 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%.

Travel Protection Plan

While we plan and do our best to make your trip smooth and seamless, there may be chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather, 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

Superior

Yangon: Jasmine Palace or Sedona Hotel

Bagan: Bawga Theiddhi Hotel

Mandalay:Hotel Amazing Mandalay or Bagan King

Kalaw:Hill Top Villa Resort

Inle Lake:Pristine Lotus or Myanmar Treasure

Deluxe

Yangon: Chatrium Hotel or Sule Shangrila

Yangon: Aureum Palace Hotel or Areindmar Hotel

Bagan: Mandalay Hill Resort or Rupar Mandalay Resort

Mandalay:Hotel Amazing Mandalay or Bagan King

Kalaw:Hill Top Villa Resort

Inle Lake:Pristine Lotus or Myanmar Treasure

Note: Hotels listed above are our preferred properties and are subject to availability.

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1 866 838 5818
(Toll Free from USA & Canada)

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(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

United States

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Minneapolis, MN 55425
Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

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Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
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Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


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