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13-Day Luxury Myanmar In Depth

Luxury Myanmar In Depth -- Trip Photo of Southeast Asia tour  Southeast Asia map

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Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive Yangon, and enjoy a leisure stroll with your guide

Visiting: Yangon, Myanmar

Welcome to Myanmar! On arrival in Yangon International Airport, you'll meet your private guide and driver and transfer to your hotel in Yangon.

As time allows today, we'll enjoy a Yangon heritage walking tour that includes high tea at Rangoon Tea House, a delightful introduction to historical Rangoon!

The Yangon (once known as Rangoon) downtown is unique with much of its colonial-era architecture still standing. You'll find one of Asia’s most impressive collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth- century buildings, religious and secular.

Starting after lunch this walking tour will take you through downtown Yangon, focusing on its old colonial buildings. Your guide will walk you through the back streets in a relaxed tempo and explain the history of each building some of them empty, some getting restored, and some used for different purposes than when originally built. This walk along the streets of Yangon will architecturally "take you back in time," with a fine finish enjoying typical Burmese tea & snacks at Rangoon Tea House, which harkens to a lost colonial time. After the tour, you will might have time to enjoy a drink at Gekko, a cozy restaurant on Merchant Street in a compelling historical building.

  • Meals:
  • Luxury Lodging: Savoy Hotel – Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Governor’s Residence Hotel – Deluxe

Day 2 : Discover more of Yangon

Visiting: Yangon, Myanmar

Today discover the famed Shwedagon Pagoda. During this engaging half day tour, we'll take you through the back door and show you the full history of the pagoda, the daily life of all people living in the immediate surroundings of the pagoda and a deeper insight in the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. An intriguing half day tour starting from the bottom of the hill and passing the workshops, markets and monasteries which is essential to understand more of the country during the rest of your journey. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda, a visit to a fortune teller and a traditional Burmese lunch.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Savoy Hotel – Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Governor’s Residence Hotel – Deluxe

Day 3 : Arrive in Mandalay, tour active monasteries and more!

Visiting: Mandalay, Myanmar

This morning, transfer to Yangon airport and fly to Mandalay, where on arrival, you're met and transferred to your hotel for check-in.

After a quick break to freshen up, we'll begin a delightful Mandalay orientation tour, including Amarapura & Mahamuni. Your morning tour is the perfect introduction to Mandalay.

We start in the old capital of Amarapura, now a quiet village where you hear the sound of weavers in the open air. We walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with it's hundreds of monks, plus visit a 100 year old weaving teaching institution where we can meet teachers, students and learn more about this ancient and revered art form in Myanmar. Afterwards, we'll walk over U-Bein Bridge where we'll have a shot at tasting the famous Mandalay rum which has been produced since 1886 (if so inclined).

Then we'll make a visit to the Mahamuni pagoda and have a look at this century’s old Buddha statue originating from the grand era of Mrauk Oo. It is a very lively temple where men are sticking gold leaves to the Buddha statue. The Mahamuni is also an excellent place to shop around for the perfect Buddha statue (bronze or wood). Can’t find what you are looking for? Find a marble statue at the next stop which is the marble carving street before heading out to lunch with the guide.

Enjoy lunch at local restaurant.

It’s not just the former capital cities around Mandalay that are interesting to visit. This afternoon we'll take you to the most famous monuments of Mandalay starting at the top of Mandalay hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort. We continue to Atumashi and the Shwesandaw monasteries which are excellent examples of the architecture and fine craftsmanship of this region. We'll finish with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda famous for it's white marble slabs.

The rest of the day, the car and guide are available for additional visits until around 6 pm if wanted – we'd suggest you visit Yankin Hill if you're interested!

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Mandalay Hill Resort – Superior
  • Elite Lodging: Rupar Mandalar Hotel – Deluxe

Day 4 : Travel Mandalay – Yandabo via private car or boat

Visiting: Yandabo, Myanmar

Traveling through Myanmar is all about getting to know village life where we discover communities that have lived in the same traditional ways for many centuries. While the cities are magnificent, and places like Bagan absolutely priceless, for many travelers, the true highlight of their Myanmar trip is getting out of the cities and exploring the serene countryside where the majority of Myanmar's people reside. During this overland trip from Mandalay to Bagan, we take you to Yandabo village to experience authentic country-living in Myanmar.

You'll go with private car and guide from your Mandalay hotel towards Yandabo village. Allow for about a 3-4 hour drive.

** Optional: Instead of travelling by car, you might want to board a private boat for a leisure trip on the mighty Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay to Yandabo. We stop on the way in local villages and enjoy a tasty lunch on board! (optional = $195 per person)

Along the way or on arrival Yandabo, depending on when hunger strikes you, we'll lunch at a local restaurant.

Once we arrive, we'll walk around Yandabo on foot. It’s a beautiful pottery village, historically recognized for the signing of the Yandabo Treaty which took place under a tree on the riverbank in 1826, between the British and Royal Burmese House-hold of Ava. We continue by local ferry to Pan Nyo village for a look around this village famous for the buffaloes. A trip with many unique photo opportunities!

Accommodations in the countryside are limited, so tonight, we stray, out of necessity, from the luxury concept and stay at a simple guesthouse where you can see real life in rural Myanmar right out of your window -- it's so rewarding and memorable that you have to try it!

  • Meals: BL
  • Standard Lodging: Yandabo Home – Standard room

Day 5 : Exploring the unspoiled villages around Bagan

Visiting: Bagan

After breakfast at the guesthouse, we'll enjoy some biking through remote villages and a boat ride to a 12th century hidden cave temple.

In Yandabo, you'll meet your Bagan guide and start a biking trip to Myingyan (a total of about 15 km on unpaved, quiet roads). Passing through remote villages that rarely see foreign visitors is a great experience, the trip is mostly flat and passes a fascinating montage of lush palm trees, rural farm fields and villages. We'll then continue by car to visit the Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple that rarely sees foreign visitors. After our visit here, we continue cruising via a private boat to Bagan where we'll arrive around 5 pm in time for sunset.

*** A non-biking Alternative:

If you don’t like biking that is no problem! In that case, we organize the following excursion (please let us know in advance if you don’t like the biking idea):

We go by private by car to Pakkoku (2-3 hours) and visit a local slipper factory, the market and see where the famous Pakkoku blankets are made. A private boat is ready for you at the jetty in Pakkoku for a leisure trip while lunch is being served on board. We visit Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple and continue cruising to Bagan where we arrive around 5 pm.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Bagan Lodge – Villa
  • Elite Lodging: Aureum Palace Hotel – Orchid Villa

Day 6 : Optional sunrise balloon over Bagan, more Bagan highlights

Visiting: Bagan

** Optional: Optional: Ballooning over Bagan – classic service – early morning (Supplement of US$ 330/person)

This one of the many unforgettable highlights when visiting Myanmar! Early morning, before sunrise, you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the launch site for a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the temples in Bagan. The mostly British balloon pilots are operating each balloon under the strictest UK safety standards and the views you get are simply breathtakingly spectacular. After floating in the air and following the wind you will land safely and be welcomed back on the ground by a smiling crew serving cold champagne before bringing you to your hotel.

Today enjoy a full day tour by car, with your experienced guide through Bagan who will show you the most well-known temples of the area. We start the day climbing a pagoda to get your first expansive view over this remarkable area, with temples virtually covering the horizon. From here your guide plans the way to some of the most amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Temples such as the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will profoundly impress you. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant and around 4pm we continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda for a delightful sunset with some refreshing drinks served. One item of note - whenever you see a temple you like, just ask you guide to stop to have a look at it – simply pick your own favorite temple. After an amazing day in the ruins, we'll return to the hotel for the evening.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Bagan Lodge – Villa
  • Elite Lodging: Aureum Palace Hotel – Orchid Villa

Day 7 : Visit local villages off the beaten track!

Visiting: Bagan

Today enjoy a unique jeep trip without temples but instead to discover pure village living in what's called "the dry zone." Drive out of Bagan with 4x4 while local women carrying fire wood etc. for the market and communities are starting their day. Nyaung Gyi is the first village visit and we stop to visit a working blacksmith shop. In Se Ywa village, we visit several other traditional shops (plum purifying, cooking oil production and a wooden slipper maker). Then we continue to Taung Kong village, where the majority of the people are farmers but also known for their attractive pottery. In total it's about 5 hours of driving with stops. This is an epic day trip for photographers and anyone interested in real daily life of rural Myanmar.

When finished, you'll return to your Bagan hotel for a little time at leisure and rest or explore more of the ruins on your own!

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Bagan Lodge – Villa
  • Elite Lodging: Aureum Palace Hotel – Orchid Villa

Day 8 : Travel Bagan – Heho – Pindaya Cave– Kalaw

Visiting: Kalaw, Myanmar

This morning, transfer to the Bagan airport to fly to Heho where upon arrival, you'll drive to the Pindaya caves for a visit. When finished, we continue to Kalaw. The rest of the free day is at your own leisure to enjoy your resort.

  • Meals: B
  • Luxury Lodging: Dream Mountain – Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Amara Resort Hotel – Deluxe

Day 9 : Kalaw - Trekking in the elephant preserve

Visiting: Kalaw

Today enjoy some classic trekking in the forest with a visit to exceptional Elephant conservation project.

Your guide, specialized in Elephant conservation, will take you for a rewarding day in the forest surrounding Kalaw encountering elephants, their mahouts and people living in the surroundings.

Young tourism professionals originating from Kalaw decided to set-up a project in Kalaw that is focused on protecting nature, the elephants and the traditions of the local people living around Kalaw. In a huge chunk of this private protected forest, nature can grow undisturbed, creating a natural habitat for animals that could otherwise be easily hunted down and killed. The project includes creating a natural environment for Myanmar elephants and helping the local villagers to grow out of the vicious circle of poverty through education and micro finance.

Depending on your arrival time, and how long you want to walk through the forest (walks from 30 min up to 4-5 hours are possible – simply let us know what you prefer), you will find yourself in the natural surroundings of a lush Asian jungle.

A delicious lunch with local specialties (many, interestingly, with Nepalese origins) will be served in a traditional village, in the jungle or in the camp.

After lunch it's time to help the mahout washing and feeding the elephant. We'll walk back in the afternoon to the main road and continue by car back to Kalaw town.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Dream Mountain – Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Amara Resort Hotel – Deluxe

Day 10 : Travel Kalaw – Inle Lake by bike from Aung Ban

Visiting: Inle Lake

This is the best way to arrive to Inle Lake! Mountain bikes are ready for you to start a 4-5 hour biking trip to Indein, the gateway to fantastic Inle Lake. The trip is mostly off-road and technically easy with most of the roads flat or downhill although the first hour some a couple of parts going uphill. You'll be cycling through numerous Pa O villages in an area where few foreigners have been before - it's a special experience. We'll stop on the way to enjoy the fantastic views over the lake and the Shan countryside. Lunch is included in a local village. From Indein we continue to your hotel by private motorboat where the luggage was already delivered by our vehicle and is waiting for you in the room.

Note: the last part of the biking trip is a fast and fun downhill but we urge everybody to go down slowly and use your brakes or even walk your bike downhill and stretch your legs. If you'd prefer a flat bike ride, we can re-route the ride from Thaung Lay Lone to Indein.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Sanctum Inle Resort – Cloister Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Villa Inle Resort & Spa – Lake Front Single Villa

Day 11 : A day exploring Inle Lake!

Visiting: Inle Lake

Inle Lake in southern Shan State is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself, the Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts on the lake. Today we'll take you by private motorboat around the lake to discover the natural beauty of the lake, visit the floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowers and have some tea at a local family’s house.

On and around the lake traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and today we will take you to visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and PaO people living nearby.

We will certainly also visit a local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, an Intha house where a traditional Intha lunch is served and if you'd like, on request, we can also visit a local Shan weaving workshop.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Sanctum Inle Resort – Cloister Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Villa Inle Resort & Spa – Lake Front Single Villa

Day 12 : Authentic Shan cooking class in a lakeside house

Visiting: Inle Lake - Yangon

Meet Tin Tin – an Intha native from the lake who will share her traditional Shan recipes with you today during a traditional Shan cooking class in a family house built on stilt on the lake. It’s not a Master Chef course from a Michelin restaurant owner but it’s simple, tasteful, home-cooked food from a local lady who has been cooking her whole life for her family and enjoys it! Together with an English speaking translator, we visit the local market to find all the ingredients, go by boat to a traditional home and help cleaning vegetables, chopping the ingredients, frying or boiling it, adding the right herbs and mixing in the right ingredients.

Dishes to be taught so you can prepare them at home as well include:

* Shan Pumpkin soup

* Fried rice cake

* Shan noodles

* Steamed Inle fish in banana leaves

* Vegetable curry cooked Shan style

* Tomato salad from the lake with pounded peanuts

Naturally the class ends with a delicious lunch. Depart with a kitchen apron, some specific local kitchen tools and a list with all ingredients to try it at home. This is simply a fantastic way to learn a bit of delicious cooking and gain insight into local life of an Intha on the lake.

Afterwards, transfer to the Heho airport to fly back to Yangon and upon arrival, transfer to hotel in Yangon.

Note: If your departure is late tomorrow evening, we may be able to arrange another overnight in Inle Lake tonight on request.

  • Meals: BL
  • Luxury Lodging: Savoy Hotel – Deluxe
  • Elite Lodging: Governor’s Residence Hotel – Deluxe

Day 13 : Departure

Visiting: Yangon

Following breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide and driver to transfer to the Yangon international airport for your departure.

  • Meals: B

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