(Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach)
Enjoy an afternoon picnic on a blanket to a backdrop of Minnanthu’s deserted temples as the sun sets on the mysterious land of Myanmar.
Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar has emerged from its difficult past to offer foreign tourists a glimpse of a charming rural lifestyle practically untouched by western development. Explore the crumbling colonial architecture, vibrant local markets and pleasant tree-lined lakes of Yangon. Visit the former capital – Bago – and see its impressive temple zone from a sunrise hot air balloon ride, and climb to Buledi Pagoda for the photo opportunity of your dreams. And don’t miss the grandeur of the former royal capital of Mandalay, the traditional Shan villages of Inle Lake, and a relaxing getaway to the pristine sands of Ngapali Beach.
From five-star beach resorts to lovingly restored palace hotels, you’ll discover the many faces of Myanmar in the lap of luxury. Your private guides and drivers will help you get the best out of the experience as you are offered a rare insight into a land that has been off limits to westerners for decades. Learn about traditional medicine, discover the ancient secrets of Burmese skin care, visit a fortune teller and enjoy a traditional meal among locals.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.
Yangon is a sprawling city with a relatively small downtown area including several markets, colonial buildings, the Yangon River, and a very green area with tree-lined streets and several lakes. During this full day tour you will be shown the different faces of Yangon from the landmarks to the hidden markets that have only seen a few westerners. During the day you will visit the Sule Pagoda, colonial downtown, the harbor, The Strand, and one of the colorful local markets. The reclining Buddha will be visited just before taking a tasteful lunch of typical dishes from tribes from all over the country like Kachin, Shan, and Rakhine. A local market will lead you to a small station where you will take the famous circular train that will bring you right behind Bogyoke Aung San market before heading back to your hotel. The tour includes a drink at the Strand Hotel and lunch at a local restaurant.
Religion has always been very important for the Burmese and a part from paying respect to Buddha there are many different ways to try to give your body and soul a bit more “peace of mind”, to build up karma or to get directions on what to do or what to avoid in life. During this full day tour the principles of mediation are explained to you at one of the famous meditation centers. A foot massage is given in a school before a traditional lunch. You will get some deeper insight in the Burmese traditional medicine at a local traditional medicine shop and find out the secret of the beautiful Burmese skin. End the day with a visit to a traditional fortune teller who will read your palm. Today’s lunch is vegetarian.
Bago (about 1, 5 hour drive from Yangon) used to be the capital of Myanmar under King Bayinnaung (till 1819). It is an excellent place to visit and see the remains of a former capital, especially if you don’t have enough time to visit Mandalay or Bagan. In the morning we stop at a local market in Insein Township just north of Yangon to buy some fruits and snacks for on the way and we pay respect to the thousands of allied soldiers buried at the Taukkyan War cemetery. In Bago city we will visit the Kyatkha Wain monastery, which is one of the largest in the country. We will try to arrive in time to see the preparations from the monks for lunch. Our own lunch is taken at a local restaurant. During the afternoon we visit Shwemawdaw Pagoda as well as the Shwetalyaung Buddha and the remains of the former palace. We return to Yangon by train to see a different way of local live and country side.
Fly from Yangon to Bagan. Flight time is approximately 1.5 hours.
Minnanthu is probably the most favorite temple area amongst frequent Bagan visitors and you know why? It’s quiet, it’s a beautiful area, and the temples here are often completely deserted. Your guide will bring you by car to this forgotten part of Bagan and will spread out a blanket and serve you a great picnic lunch in this historical setting before or after visiting 2 or 3 ancient temples ruins in this area.
Stay at least 2 nights in Bagan, one to see the sun go down from the top of an ancient temple, the other one to take a boat ride on the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River and have some sundowners on a sandbank in the middle of the river (if the river is not too high). A private boat tour on the river during sunset time will hopefully show you a spectacular sunset while your guide will be serving cocktails and some snacks.
One of the many highlights when visiting Myanmar is taking a hot air balloon ride. In the 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 temple zone in Bagan. The mostly British balloon pilots are operating each balloon under the highest UK safety standards and the views you will get are 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 taking you back to your hotel.
A full day tour by car with an experienced guide through Bagan will show you the best known temples of the area. You will start the day climbing a pagoda to get an impressive view over the whole area. From here your guide plans his way to some of the other amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you. Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant. Around 4:00PM, you will continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda to catch the sunset with some refreshing drinks served.
Fly from Bagan to Mandalay. Flight time is approximately 30 minutes.
It’s not just the former capital cities around Mandalay that are interesting to visit. During this half day tour you will be taken to the most famous monuments of Mandalay starting with the top of Mandalay hill for a great view over the Mandalay fort. Continue to Atumashi and the Shwenandaw monasteries which are excellent examples of the architecture and crafts work of this region. End with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda with the white marble slabs. The rest of the day the car and guide are available for additional visits till 6 pm if wanted – we suggest you to visit Yankin Hill.
Mandalay and the other former royal capitals around it have all been capital cities for one major reason: they are all situated on the Ayeyarwaddy River. Feel the breeze of the river and imagine how it must have been to arrive by boat in Mingun or at the court of Ava. From the jetty in Mandalay you will be taken upstream to Mingun and visit the Mingun Pagoda with the big crack caused by an earthquake and the giant bronze bell. Take a leisurely 3 hour boat cruise downstream to Ava. A simple lunch packed in rattan baskets will be served on the way. Arriving in Ava, horse carts are ready to take you around this magnificent site with various ancient temple ruins that used to be majestic buildings during the 400 years that Ava was the capital. Return to Mandalay by car.
Fly from Mandalay to Inle Lake. Flight time is approximately 30 minutes.
As described in many books, the Shan culture is very interesting and rich and especially in Nyaung Shwe you still get a bit of the feeling of the former Shan kingdom of Nyaung Shwe. Begin with a visit of the Buddha museum which is housed in the former “Haw” (palace) of the last Shan prince of Nyaung Shwe (Mr. Sao Shwe Thaike, who later became the first prime minister of Myanmar after independence). Enjoy a nice Shan lunch at the Viewpoint restaurant and then continue the tour to the local market looking for some traditional Shan cotton and Shan traditional dresses. A visit to the ancient teak wooden Shwe Yan Pyay monastery with the oval windows gives the opportunity for some great pictures. You will be peddled around some small canals and pass floating gardens in a small wooden boat for about half an hour to see more of the local Shan life from the water. End the tour with a visit and some wine tasting of the excellent wines at the Red Mountain winery in Nyaung Shwe.
Inle Lake 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, you'll be taken by a private motorboat around the lake to discover its natural beauty, visit the floating gardens and hopefully see some of the famous leg rowers as well as enjoy tea time 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 you will visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and Pao people living nearby. Afterwards, visit a local cheroot factory where the Burmese cigars are made, floating tomato gardens, Intha Heritage house where the Burmese cats are bred, and if wanted, you can visit a weaving factory. Return to your hotel around 4:00 PM, in time for sunset.
In the south of the lake, the ruins of Indein are certainly worth a visit. Partly covered by vegetation, the area looks like a pagoda forest. You will walk about an hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake and visit a school in Tha Ley village. A homemade cooked lunch is served by a local family in their house. Continue towards the Nam Pan village like the locals, in a small canoe. Whenever you are tired peddling yourself you can continue by motorboat back to your hotel.
Fly from Inle Lake to Ngapali Beach. Flight time is approximately 1.5 hours.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Fly from Ngapali Beach to Yangon. Flight time is approximately 1 hour.
Enjoy the usage of a private vehicle with English speaking driver and guide at leisure for a half day in Yangon.
Belmond Governor's Residence is located within the elegant Yangon Embassy Quarter and close to the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda. It is just ten minutes from the city centre and 30 minutes from Yangon airport. The hotel is perfectly placed for enjoying Yangon's great cultural attractions. The golden pagodas, fascinating National Museum and lively Bogyoke Market, piled high with local handicrafts, gems, and antiques. Set in a verdant garden dotted with lotus pools, the hotel is truly magical. Dinner is served alfresco in the balmy evening air by lantern-light, as tropical fragrances scent the breeze.
Set within Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone amongst the ancient temples of The Kingdom of Bagan, the Aureum Palace is set amidst 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens offering the ultimate in relaxation for guests seeking a unique experience for the historical traveler. Bedrooms are spacious and elegant with all modern facilities: bathrooms are large and lavishly equipped with luxurious amenities. Enjoy indoor or al-fresco dining options and bars, cultural entertainment or rest by the poolside for ultimate repose.
The Rupar Mandalar Resort is a romantic boutique hotel in an exotic atmosphere surrounded by nature. The hotel has 16 rooms with modern facilities, swimming pool, tennis court, and a health and beauty spa.
Villa Inle Resort & Spa is located beside the cultural and natural icon that is Myanmar’s Inle Lake. Spread over more than 20 acres on the eastern fringe of the lake near the village of Maing Tauk, the property features 16 secluded lakeside villas. All villas at Villa Inle Resort & Spa are designed to harmoniously blend in with the natural environment and feature hand-selected local paintings and antiques, high wooden ceilings, spacious living areas and well appointed bathrooms. Rooms include king size beds, air conditioning with heating facility, LCD television, WiFi access and lakefront balconies. Hotel Restaurant serves Western & Shan, Myanmar and Inthar cuisine. The hotel also features a spa services on site.
Nestled against coconut palms on the pristine beach frontage of Ngapali Beach in the Bay of Bengal, Myanmar, the luxurious resort consists of 56 villas & cottages, scattered throughout the 6 acres of 450 metres long beach frontage and tropical gardens, most with ocean views. The resort is designed in traditional South East Asian elegance and is constructed in local materials of various kinds of hard wood, stone carving, and marble.
Olive Ramchand ,
June 03, 2014
"I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.
Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on, from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
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