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(Yangon, Mandalay, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Bagan)
The wide smiles of the forgotten children at one of Myanmar’s many orphanages will fill your heart as you spend the day playing with and cooking for these remarkable kids.
Here you’ll witness first-hand the effects of Myanmar’s – formerly known as Burma – brutal past and meet the gentle, generous people who are building a new future. You’ll also learn the hair-raising myths and anecdotes of the ancient Burmese Empire among its best-preserved temples in Bagan; explore the colonial monuments of Yangon; cruise the Ayeyarwaddy River in Mandalay and encounter its remote river-side villages; meet the hill people of Kalaw and their beloved elephants; visit the floating gardens of the traditional Shan villages of Inle Lake; and take a thrilling mountain bike ride through Pa O village to the ancient ruins of Indein.
From ancient temples to cooking classes, horse and carriage rides, boat cruises and even a visit to the temple of snakes, this trip is designed to keep both the kids and adults in your family entertained and delighted. The whole family will enjoy stays in five-star heritage hotels, boutique resorts and mountain villas, and your team of expert guides and private drivers will ensure your trip progresses seamlessly while relating the many colorful stories and myths of this profoundly spiritual land.
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.
The Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon situated in its privileged position on the shores of the tranquil Kandawgyi Lake also known as the Royal Lake and was originally opened in 1934 as the Rangoon Rowing Club. It is a good choice for visitors looking for a Yangon hotel near the historic city centre. The hotel was constructed with Golden Teak Wood, and is surrounded by a beautiful natural "Rain Forest" with trees that are over a hundred years old. If you want to relax in Yangon, in a boutique hotel then Kandawgyi Palace Hotel is the place to be. All of its traditionally styled guest-suites offer a range of comforts including a cable TV, air conditioning and a mini bar. Restaurants and bars are located on the property, as well, you will also find a spa and an outdoor swimming pool for you to enjoy at your pleasure.
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 you the different faces of Yangon from the landmarks to the hidden markets that have sees only few westerners. During the day you will visit the Sule Pagoda, colonial downtown, the harbour, The Strand, one of the colourful local markets and Kandawgyi lake. The reclining Buddha will be visited just before taking the famous circular train to bring you right behind Bogyoke Aung San market before heading back to your hotel.
At the end of the day many Yangonites leave their office and on the way back home they stop for some shopping, catch up with friends at a tea shop, visit a pagoda or go to a beer station. This is exactly what you are going to do as well this evening. The highlight of the tour will be the evening visit to the illuminated Shwedagon Pagoda – a magic and mystical moment at a time that it’s not very busy on the main platform. After the pagoda visit there will be local snacks to be tasted as well as a local draft beer or a fresh lime juice. The tour includes drinks at the highest tower in Yangon, a walk over the night market in downtown, tea and snacks as well as a simple local dinner shared with some locals.
Fly from Yangon to Mandalay.
This is the perfect introduction to Mandalay. Start with the Mahamuni pagoda and have a look at this century’s old Buddha statue originating from Mrauk Oo. It is a very lively temple compound 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. The old capital of Amarapura is a very quiet village nowadays where you only hear the sound of the weaving machines. Walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with hundreds of monks, visit one of the small weaving factories, and walk over U Bein Bridge and take a boat ride before heading back to your hotel.
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 & beauty spa.
Mandalay and the other former royal capitals around it have all been capital cities for a while 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 boat cruise for about 3 hours downstream to Ava. A simple lunch packed in rattan baskets will be served while cruising down. 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.
A fun tour to get to know the real Mandalay, starting with a visit to a viewpoint near the Ayeyarwaddy River for a cold Mandalay beer during sunset. Continue to the busy Yadanar night market to have some traditional snacks and a walk around before heading to one of the most famous beer stations and BBQ restaurants in Mandalay. Your guide will order the food and make sure you’re satisfied. Continue before 8:30 PM to the excellent Mandalay marionettes theatre for a show performed by a mix of traditional dancers, musicians, and puppeteers.
Fly from Mandalay to Inle Lake.
Transfer from Inle Lake to Kalaw with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide.
Your guide will meet you in Kalaw and take you for a rewarding day in the forest where you will encounter elephants, their mahouts, and hill tribe people. Drive to the starting point and begin trekking through beautiful mountainous areas. Depending on your arrival time and how long you want to walk through the forest you will find yourself in the natural surroundings of the jungle. A delicious lunch with local specialities, often from Nepalese origin, will be served in a traditional village in the jungle or in the camp. After lunch it will be time to help the mahout washing and feeding the elephant. In the afternoon you will walk back to the main road and continue by car back to Kalaw.
The Amara Mountain Resort is located on a hill, on the outskirts of Kalaw. It takes about 15 minutes walk to reach the center of Kalaw. The Heho (Inle Lake) airport is 45 minutes drive from Kalaw. The lobby and all the rooms have genuine British colonial-style that is mixed with Asian features. All 10 comfortable Deluxe Rooms in the Resort are equipped with an open fireplace and bathroom that is made of marble and wood. There are a saloon and a separate dining room, where the traditional Myanmar or European food is served. The Resort Restaurant is situated on the terrace, where the guests can see a wonderful view of Kalaw while enjoying the food. There are a park-like garden and a 9-hole golf course in the Resort area as well as Spa facilities.
Transfer from Kalaw to Heho with a private vehicle, driver, and English speaking guide.
Nyaung Shwe is a very lively little town which used to be the home of the Shan prince of Nyaung Shwe (Mr. Sao Shwe Thaike, who later became the first prime minister of Myanmar after independence). Nowadays, the town’s market still functions as a busy trading centre for all surrounding villages. During this day excursion on a bicycle, start from the centre of Nyaung Shwe where you will visit the local Mingala market, bike through some gorgeous scenery to the ancient teak wooden Shwe Yan Pyay monastery with the oval windows and visit the former palace of the last Shan prince. Enjoy a pleasant Shan lunch at the Viewpoint restaurant. In the afternoon, peddle yourself in a small boat (2 persons per boat) through the small canals and floating gardens to see local life from the water and then continue to visit the picturesque pagoda near Nanthe village. Finish the tour with a visit and some wine tasting of the excellent wines at the Red Mountain winery in Nyaung Shwe. The total biking distance is approximately 8 km.
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.
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 colourful 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 Bagan.
Minnanthu is probably the most favourite 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.
The Tharabar Gate Hotel is located in the most unique Archeological Site of South East Asia, the Ancient capital of the Burmese Empire, Old Bagan. Surrounded by more than 4000 ancient temples and Pagodas, you will be enchanted by the breathtaking views. The Hotel offers 84 luxury rooms including 4 Suites. Every room is decorated with teak floors and typical Burmese furniture.
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. Please note, this is optional and is not included in the tour price.
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 Yangon.
Enjoy the usage of a private vehicle with English speaking driver and guide at leisure for a half day in Yangon.
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!! "
Denise Abadi ,
June 21, 2013
"We have just returned from our trip to Malaysia and wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the itinerary you put together for us. Our guides were personable and very knowledgeable about the various places we visited. We were amazed by the sights, sounds and friendliness of the people we encountered. Needless to say, it was a most memorable trip and one of the
highlights of our traveling careers!
July 11, 2013
"Sunita, my wife and I had a wonderful time in China. The hotels were superb. Our guides were excellent. They spoke good English, were knowledgeable, and flexible. It was a wonderful trip. We particularly enjoyed the Yangtze River cruise. We will certainly consider your firm for international travel in the future."
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