(Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw, Inle Lake)
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.
Book by June 15th and save $200 per person or $800 for a family of four. Travel by September 1, 2013
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Yangon and the airport.
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. The tour includes a drink at the Strand Hotel with lunch.
Religion has always been very important for the Burmese and apart 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 built 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 a one of the famous meditation centres. A foot massage is given in a school dumb people 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.
Overlooking the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, The Savoy Hotel is ideally located in a picturesque area of Yangon and is easily accessible from popular regional attractions. Each guest room is comfortably furnished with colonial-style wooden fittings, traditional Myanmar antiques and beautifully appointed bathrooms. Dine at Kipling's Restaurant where a splendid assortment of Asian flavors are served, or savor traditional Italian cuisines at Rossini. Sip your favorite drink at the Captain's Bar and enjoy refreshments and tea specialties at the Cafe Yangon. Spend your day absorbing the aromas, sights and sensations of a different world, at The Savoy Hotel.
A program to really help the local population in Myanmar and donate something directly to the people who need it most. Kensington Tours would like to take you to a local orphanage in Yangon with over 100 orphans who live, play and study at a simple compound in Yangon taken care of by local staff. The orphanage has just enough money to feed everybody a simple meal with steamed rice, some fish paste and maybe a small spoon of vegetables. A healthy meal including lots of nutrition is simply not possible to give daily and you are going to change that today! Together with a translator you leave from your hotel around 8:00AM and head to a local vegetable market to buy tomatoes, cucumbers and all kind of other vegetables. Drive to the orphanage and after a meeting with the head teacher and a visit to the compound it’s time to head to the kitchen, where you will help cleaning and cutting the vegetables for a 100 children and help preparing the meals. Around 11:30AM, when the children have their lunch break from class, you will help serving all the kids. Of course you can join lunch with them and taste the food you prepared for them. Doing the dishes is part of the job this morning. Around 1 PM we will bring you back to your hotel and you can proudly say that you have truly made a contribution to some of the people who need it most. You not only provided them a healthy meal, you also put a smile on their face and made them feel happy, knowing that somebody from overseas cared enough for them to spend a small part of their holiday budget and time to offer a healthy meal for a day.
Fly one way from Yangon to Bagan.
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Bagan and the airport.
The history of the Bagan temples and the Bagan kingdom does not only have a sunny side from the glory days but has also seen a lot of bloodshed in the past. During this half day tour, your guide will bring you to all places with a scary history and tell you hair rising myths and anecdotes. Is the spirit of the Tharaba gate really the soul of a person buried alive inside the doorpost? How many construction workers had their arm chopped off at that stone at Dhammayangyi stupa? And are there still ghosts here at night? The guide will tell you all during this tour around Bagan, give you an insight in the behaviour of kings and queens during this period and explain what happened when the Mongols invaded.
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.
An excellent add on to any temple tour in Bagan! 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 highest UK safety standards and the views you will 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. The cost is not yet included in your tour, ask our experts to add this in!
A full day tour by car, with an experienced guide through Bagan will show you the best known temples of the area. You will begin the day climbing Buledi Pagoda to get a first impressive view over the whole area. From here the 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 and around 4:00PM, you will continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda to catch the sunset with some refreshing drinks served. The best part of this tour; whenever you see a temple you like, just ask your guide to stop to have a look at it. Simply pick your own favourite temple.
Fly one way from Bagan to Mandalay.
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Mandalay and the airport.
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 (Irrawaddy). 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 us 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. An ideal excursion if you don’t take the boat from Mandalay to Bagan since the most interesting part of the long boat ride is covered in this shorter cruise.
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.
Today, you will leave around 10:00AM in the direction of Paleik so take your time for breakfast! The snake temple in Paleik is known for the 3 pythons sleeping at the Buddha statue and being washed and fed daily at 11:00AM by local worshippers. Lesser known are the ancient temple ruins in the same area, many of them over 200 years old and partly overgrown by vegetation. From Paleik you will take a motorbike (1 person per motorbike taxi) over a small road leading through “the back door” to the former capital of Ava (Inwa). Enjoy a picnic lunch right next to one of the ancient temple ruins that used to be frequented by kings and queens of the Ava court. Next, continue on by motorbike and stop at any temple you like before taking a ferry across the small river and heading back towards Mandalay around 5:00 PM.
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, musician and puppeteers.
Fly one way from Mandalay to Inle Lake.
Transfer by private vehicle between Heho and Kalaw. The drive is 2-3 hours on a sealed road.
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. After 45 minutes of walking (mainly flat terrain) you will arrive in the monastery of a hill tribe village where you will have a jungle lunch based on Nepalese food as is customary in the area. After a 2 hour downhill walk through the forest, arrive in the elephant camp and you will be welcomed by a well deserved cocktail and have time to watch the elephants being washed and fed. Then you will ride the elephants out of the forest and continue from the main road 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.
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 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 Spa Services on site.
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 village built entirely on stilts on the lake. Today, you will 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.
Probably the best way to arrive in Inle Lake! Mountain bikes are ready for you to start a 4 hour biking trip to Indein. The trip is mostly off-road and technically easy with most of the roads flat or downhill. Biking through numerous Pa O villages in an area where few foreigners have been before is a great experience. Stop on the way to enjoy the fantastic views over the lake and the Shan country side. Lunch is included in a local village and at the end of the trip you will visit the ancient ruins of Indein. From Indein continue to your hotel by private motorboat where your luggage will have already been delivered to your room. This is a great trip that can start from Kalaw, Heho or Pindaya.
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Inle Lake and the airport.
Fly one way from Inle Lake to Yangon.
A passport and visa are required for entry into Myanmar for both US and Canadian citizens. We will provide a letter of invitation which you can then use to acquire your visa. Visas must be obtained prior to arrival. Processing generally takes 8 working days along with a visa processing fee of approximately $30. Travelers are required to show their passports with valid visas at all airports, train stations, and hotels. Security checkpoints are common outside of tourist areas.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Myanmar for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is required. Medical facilities are not widespread and poor quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/burma.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Yangon (Rangoon). Government: Socialist Republic since 1974. Power assumed by the army in 1988. Language: The official language is Myanmar (Burmese). There are over 100 dialects spoken in Myanmar. English is spoken in business circles. Religion: 89% Theravada Buddhist. The remainder are Hindu, Muslim, Christian and animist. Time: GMT + 6.5. Electricity: 220-230 volts AC, 50Hz. Telephone: Country code +95. Only larger cities can be dialed direct from within Myanmar; smaller towns still use manual switchboards and callers need to ask the operator to connect them to a specific town operator. International calls are difficult to place outside hotels. Mobile Telephone: There is no international roaming in Myanmar. Note: Mobile phones may be collected by customs on arrival and released to you upon departure. Internet: There are a few Internet cafes, but access to many free international e-mail services is blocked. All Internet use is monitored by the government and is usually expensive.
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