Myanmar - Asia at it's Purest - 20 DAYS
TOUR OPERATES: Myanmar - Asia at it's Purest
The exotic Myanmar (Burma) is emerging from its isolation, into a unique new position: pure Asia with the atmosphere of yesteryear. Cultural highlights like the fairytale Bagan, the ancient imperial cities of Mandalay and many golden pagodas across the country are obviously a must. You’ll walk through the lush nature to minority villages of the Palaung and Pa’o, you can relax and float down the Ayeyarwady to Inle Lake where you can go and feast on delicious dishes. The numerous monks and very friendly people are part of the alluring present of this mysterious destination.
Day 1: Yangon
Day 2: Yangon - Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo)
Day 3: Golden Rock - Bago - Yangon
Day 4: Yangon - Bagan
Day 5: Bagan
Day 6: Bagan
Day 7: Bagan
Day 8: Bagan - Mount Popa - Kalaw
Day 9: Kalaw - Palaung Village - Kalaw
Day 10: Kalaw - Pindaya - Inle Lake
Day 11: Inle Lake
Day 12: Inle Lake - Mandalay
Day 13: Mandalay
Day 14: Mandalay
Day 15: Mandalay - Pyin-Oo-Lwin
Day 16: Pyin-Oo-Lwin - Hsipaw
Day 17: Hsipaw
Day 18: Hispaw - Mandalay
Day 19: Mandalay
Day 20: Mandalay
DAY 1: YANGON
Welcome to Myanmar! Your tour starts in Yangon, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Your travel companions will also arrive this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 12.00 hrs noon on day 1 in the lobby of your hotel in Yangon, after which, you are free to explore. Use your time today to adjust to your new surroundings, relax and take things easy as we will be returning again to Yangon later in the trip. Overnight in YANGON.
DAY 2: YANGON - GOLDEN ROCK (KYAIKTIYO)
We go today to Kyaiktiyo, where we sleep one night near the Golden Rock Pagoda. Our travelling will take about 5 ½ hours, over a distance of 180 km. With our own bus we go to the foot of the mountain, where we transfer to a local truck to continue for another 45 minutes. It is then a (steep) walk of about 1 hour to reach the Golden Rock Pagoda – one of the highlights of your trip to Myanmar.
The legend tells that the golden rock was found at the bottom of the sea and carried to the top of the mountain on a ship with miraculous powers. The ship turned instantly to stone and can still be seen today as the Kyaukthanban or ‘Stone boat’ pagoda. The gold leaf-covered pagoda stands on a large gold-painted rock that appears precariously balanced on a rocky outcrop. The pagoda is an important pilgrimage site and can get very crowded, especially on a full moon. During the pilgrimage season (November to March) visit this sanctuary with hundreds of Buddhist monks. From the top you have a beautiful view over the countryside and can enjoy a lovely walk in the lush surrounds. Overnight in KYAIKTIYO.
DAY 3: GOLDEN ROCK - BAGO - YANGON
You make the return trip to Yangon but stopping on the way in Bago city, famous for its huge statue of the reclining Buddha Shwethalyaung. This reclining Buddha is over 55 meters long and 16 meters high! Bago has some interesting pagodas, including the Shwemawdaw pagoda that was rebuilt after being much destroyed by an earthquake in 1930. Kyaikpun pagoda is a structure with four 30-meter-high Buddha statues, each seated with his back against a huge square pillar. Overnight in YANGON.
DAY 4: YANGON - BAGAN
Free day in Yangon where you can continue to explore. Visit the Sule Paya (230 BC) in the heart of the city, surrounded by busy shopping streets and markets. The nearby Yangon City Hall and the striking red Supreme Court are both remnants of the British rule. West of the pagoda begins the Indian Muslim quarter which turns into Chinatown. In the town are two large lakes. From the terrace of the luxury Karaweik restaurant built in the shape of a boat, you can watch the sun set in the water with the background of the Shwedagon.The largest market is the Bogyoke Aung San Market, where everything is for sale.
In the evening, transfer to the bus station and board the overnight public bus to Bagan. If you would like to transfer instead by flight (including transfers and overnight in Bagan) then please indicate this in your booking form. Overnight in PUBLIC BUS.
DAY 5: BAGAN
Early this morning we will arrive into Bagan, where you hotel room is already available. Once you are in Bagan, take things at your own pace, enjoying the beauty of the landscape. It’s well worth renting a bicycle or a horse and cart. It’s a good idea to plan in advance what you would like to see because it is impossible to see Bagan in its entirety. The Ananda Temple would be a fine choice. According to legend, King Kyanzittha was so impressed with this unique whitewashed building, he executed the architect to avoid duplication. Some temples house beautiful Buddha statues or paintings which are lovely to see (take a flashlight along). Bagan books are for sale with information on the main temples. In some temples, it is permitted to climb to the top for a unique viewpoint. In the late afternoon, we transfer to the Ayeryarwaddy River for a PRIVATE SUNSET CRUISE where views of the temple silhouettes and bustling shore can be accompanied by cocktails on board. Overnight stay at hotel in Bagan.
DAY 6: BAGAN
You have two days off in Bagan. It is a sprawling area with thousands of temples, pagodas and pagoda ruins, certainly an abundance with which to feed the imagination. Bagan was founded in AD 848 as a walled city. It developed under the glorious and mighty great King Anawratha. There were huge temple complexes built of glistening white stone, brick and dark wood. Many of the temples contain beautiful murals. The king conquered the land of the Mon in the south and took the royal family back with him, but also artists, craftsmen and Theravada Buddhism. That combination led to an unprecedented building of pagodas, a custom that later kings took over. Thanks to the dry climate many of these ancient structures still stand in good condition. Overnight on BAGAN.
DAY 7: BAGAN
You are free again to visit more of the temples is this fascinating region. The Shwezigon Paya/Pagoda in Nyaung-U should not be missed. The golden stupas gleam in the sunlight and the significance of Shwezigon should also be noted as it served as a prototype for many other stupas, built in later years.
Cool down at a restaurant in Nyaung-U or arrange to visit one of the pagodas offering great sunset views (your tour leader will help with suggestions). Sit atop the pagoda of choice and marvel at one of the most amazing sights you will see on this trip! Overnight in BAGAN.
DAY 8: BAGAN - MOUNT POPA - KALAW
Today we drive east of Bagan to Kalaw. En route we visit Mount Popa. This mountain was once a volcano, but that has eroded, and all that remains is the steep (600-meter) volcanic plug where the core of the volcano once stood. Atop the mountain are a ruined monastery and some pagodas. Here the 37 nats (spirits) are housed, to whom Buddhists should regularly consult and sacrifice. If you are in tune with the spirits then all will be well with you.
You can walk (optional) half an hour up steep stairs with uncovered feet (no shoes). Beware of the monkeys at the foot of the mountain. Superstition forbids wearing red or black clothing. Often there are festivals recently underway and the view from the top is magnificent.We then drive on to Kalaw (1320 m), arriving early evening. Kalaw was also formerly a popular ‘hill station’, where the British kept cool during the hot season. Here the temperature is much more moderate. You’ll find beautiful British colonial houses, pagodas, monasteries, churches, mosques and temples. The total travel time for today is about 8/9 hours. Overnight in KALAW.
DAY 9: KALAW - PALAUNG VILLAGE - KALAW
In the pine-covered hills around Kalaw live different mountain tribes, each with their own language, dress and culture. With any luck we encounter a particularly colourful market which takes place once every five days.
Accompanied by a local guide you will be taken on a walk to a Palaung village. The women of the Palaung wear colourful blue and red clothes. In the villages you attract a lot of attention and the local guide will tell more about the traditional customs of the inhabitants. In the vicinity of the villages’ tanapet ” is grown, the raw material for making the local cigars. The minorities are very hospitable and happy to invite you for a cup of home-grown tea. During the walk you walk along cart tracks through beautiful rice fields and bamboo forests. The terrain is somewhat hilly, sometimes dense, sometimes completely open so you can enjoy views.
Note: Good walking shoes with adequate profile for the hike is a requirement. During the rainy season the trails are muddy and slippery. If you do not want to walk, you can of course remain in Kalaw, where you can relax and explore the area. Overnight in KALAW.
DAY 10: KALAW - PINDAYA - INLE LAKE
On the way to Pindaya you ride through a picturesque patchwork of sesame and mustard fields. Everywhere you see Pa’o minorities at work, they ride ox, laiden with cauliflower and monks shelter under their umbrellas, made of locally produced paper. After about two hours you’ll arrive in Pindaya. This quiet town is famous for its mountain of limestone caves, which you can visit (optional). The caves hold more than eight thousand Buddha statues in all shapes and sizes. These are donations from pilgrims and kings from different periods and some hundreds of years old. Once you enter the cave (in bare feet) the gold leaf shines ahead of you. Walk further and you reach a great high cave where a maze of trails filled with buddhas arose. Further afield, the images of Buddha are getting older, and you need a flashlight to admire them. Some images are only seen if you crawl through wet and very dark caverns. Behind every corner there are new images to see.
After a visit to Pindaya you’ll drive to the quaint town of Nyaungshwe, access point to the Inle Lake, where you’ll stay for two nights. The total travel time for today is roughly four hours, over a distance of 142 km. Overnight in INLE LAKE.
DAY 11: INLE LAKE
Time to explore the Inle lake and the surrounding area. The 22 km long and 11 km wide Inle lake is beautifully situated, surrounded by high mountain ridges and known for the fishermen who travel by rowboat using the intha technique of standing with one leg on the stern and the other around the oar. They fish with conical nets with long poles and which are lifted up from the lake.
A cruise on the lake, through creeks and canals, under wooden bridges, past villages built on piles, floating water hyacinths and purple water lilies is an unforgettable experience. In Inle Lake the wooden Ngahpe Kyaung, the charming monastery of the “jumping cats”, is well worth visiting. You can select visits to the silversmiths, silk and cigar factories. Overnight in INLE LAKE.
DAY 12: INLE LAKE - MANDALAY
Today we will drive from Nyaungshwe, on Inle Lake, to Mandalay. This journey will be made by private mini bus.
We stay for 3 nights in Mandalay, allowing plenty of time to explore the city and the surroundings. Overnight in MANDALAY.
DAY 13: MANDALAY
Mandalay greets you with streets filled by numerous tricycles and old cars. It offers a colourful mix of members of Myanmar’s many ethnic minority groups and there are many attractions. Mandalay Hill (236 m) is well worth the trip. Along the slopes are numerous statues and pagodas and there’s a lovely view from the top of the Ayeyarwady valley. At the foot of the hill stands the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Around the central pagoda are the marble tablets on which the entire Tripitaka was written. This temple is also called the Temple of the biggest book for the same reason. The carving of the Shwenandaw Kyaung monastery is very impressive.
You may decide to take an optional trip to visit picturesque Mingun. A boat trip along the Ayeyarwady takes you there, passing semi-flooded villages and simple fishing boats with colourful sails of all shapes and sizes. In Mingun you can find the remains of the Mingun pagoda. Only the base of the pagoda remains after earthquake damage, yet it is still very impressive. Mingun has beautiful pagodas and is home to the largest intact bell in the world; and it can still toll! Overnight in MANDALAY.
DAY 14: MANDALAY
Outside the city you can take an optional excursion to the ancient imperial cities: Amarapura (Taungmyo), Sagaing and Ava. You can now visit the temples within these city ruins and marvel at the grandeur of these places. Amarapura is famous for the U Bein Bridge, the longest teak pedestrian bridge in the world (1200 m) on the nearby lake. The location of Sagaing is spectacular, set in a bend on the Ayeyarwady River and with pagodas and monasteries crowding the surrounding hills. Near Mandalay are some 600 monasteries. Sagaing is also a good place to see the morning round of begging monks. The views from the buildings are beautiful. Ava (INWA) is an excellent choice for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic sites. Overnight in MANDALAY.
DAY 15: MANDALAY - PYIN-OO-LWIN
This morning we set off by bus to Pyin-Oo-Lwin (formerly Maymyo) in the mountains, 67 km away from Mandalay. British colonialists came here because of its’ cool, pleasant climate in the hot season. Pyin-Oo-Lwin is situated at an altitude of 1040m. Around the town are coffee and banana plantations and there are all kinds of delicious fruits grown here including splendidly sweet strawberries. There are many houses built in the English style. There is a golf course, botanical gardens and neatly kept lawns, it is like the British never left!
Pyin-Oo-Lwin has a colourful morning market with many flowers and fruits. It is a real feast for the eyes. Using public transport, (wooden carriages), you can move easily within the city. It is also possible to get around comfortably on foot. Overnight in PYIN-OO-LWIN.
DAY 16: PYIN-OO-LWIN - HSIPAW
Our bus takes us to the train station where we take our seats in first class for our journey to Hsipaw. The town of Hsipaw (pronounced Thibaw) sits in a valley in the Shan state. It was once the centre of a small Shan state of its own, located on the main Mandalay to Lashio (capital of northern Shan state) road; the main route for trade between Myanmar and China.
The Shan Palace, at the northern end of town can no longer be entered but is still beautiful (if slightly faded) to see from the outside.
Also worth visiting is the Mahamyatmuni temple which contains a large buddha image, inspired by its namesake and the Bawgyo Temple, 8 kms from town, which is particularly interesting architecturally and has a number of Hindu statues in the surrounds. Overnight in HSIPAW.
DAY 17: HSIPAW
Free day in Hsipaw. For the very-earlybirds, the Central market of Hsipaw is one of the best in the entire country. It starts around 3.30 am and is more or less over by 6am. It is mainly a market for villagers and other tribespeople who come to shop for a variety of local products. Enjoy something very local, indeed you’ll see few other tourists in attendance. Watching the sunset from Five Buddha Hill or Nine Buddha Hill is also recommended. Both these hills are about 2km out of town and are easily accessible by bicycle. Overnight in HSIPAW.
DAY 18: HISIPAW - MANDALAY
Early this morning we will take a public express bus (with air-conditioning) back to Mandalay, where you will spend the rest of the day. There will still be plenty to see in Mandalay. The most important religious building in the city is the Mahamuni Pagoda. The Mahamuni Buddha statue is visited by pilgrims from around the world. It is 3.8 m high and covered with several inches of gold leaf. In the south of the city you will find the bustling district of artists: sculptors, wood carvers, gold leaf makers, silk and cotton weavers, copper and silversmiths. Overnight in MANDALAY.
DAY 19: MANDALAY
Mandalay has some excellent ice cream shops where you can taste delicious ice cream flavours. The Nylon Cold Drinks Bar now has a reputation for participating in our tours. Ice creams, milkshakes and fruit juices are the perfect thirst-quenchers there. In the evening, a visit to the local puppet theater (Mdy Marionettes Theatre) or pwe (a combination of singing, dancing and cabaret) in Mandalay is very entertaining. Overnight in MANDALAY.
DAY 20: MANDALAY
The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in Mandalay until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Myanmar.
When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 20) is not included.
* Hotel check-out times are midday. Late check-out is not included.
Based on group 02 persons
Price per person
*Accommodation & Transportation is subject to availability at booking moment & Tour price is subject to seasonal fluctuations
- Private tours and transfers with air conditioned vehicles as specified in our itinerary.
- 2 bottles of water & 2 refreshing towels per passenger per day
- All entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking station guide (different guide in each region)
- Truck rental in Kyaikhtiyo & Mandalay Hill
- Breakfast only for the whole trip
- Boat rental in Inle Lake
- local puppet theater on Day 19 (Marionettes Theatre) (during 20:30 to 21:30)
- Boat rental & Horse Cart in Ava (Inwa)
- Sunset Cruise (With cocktails and snack)
- Bus ticket from Yangon to Bagan on Day 04
- Luggage handling fees at airports
- International air fares
- Meals or any other item not described in the itinerary
- Early check-in, late check-out. Normal check out time from hotels in Myanmar is 11am or 12 o’clock noon
- Expenses of personal nature
- Drinks during meals, hotel extras and personal spending
- Travel insurance & Tips & gratuities
- Compulsory Xmas and New Year Eve dinner
Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Bagan
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Hotel Upgrade to 4 stars
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Pre-Tour / Post-Tour accommodation in Yangon
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Please request price !