(Yangon, Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock), Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Ngapali Beach)
As you climb to the top of the illuminated Shewdagon pagoda by night, all of Yangon is laid out before you and you are all at once overwhelmed by the magic of this mystical city.
The capital of Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – is an enchanting mix of crumbling colonial grandeur, bustling local markets and beautiful natural lakes that are ripe for exploration. Elsewhere in Myanmar, you’ll play with the smiling children at a local orphanage; explore the natural majesty of remote Golden Rock; explore the Kyauk Ohnmin cave temple by boat; and take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the expansive temple zone in Bagan. You’ll also visit Mandalay’s most spectacular temples and monasteries; take a horse cart ride through ancient ruins in Ava; encounter elephants in the jungles of Kalaw; explore the haunting ‘pagoda forest’ at Lake Inle; and relax under coconut palms on the pristine white sands of Ngapali Beach.
This extensive grand journey offers an immersive experience of Myanmar that goes far beyond the travel-guide overview of this mysterious time-locked land. From enjoying tea time with a Shan family to tasting the flavorful street food of Mandalay and exploring hidden markets usually off-limits to western tourists, your team of expert guides and private drivers will take you deeper into this complicated and thrilling country that has been protected from foreign eyes for so long.
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A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Yangon and the airport.
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 teashop, visit a pagoda or go to a beer station. This is exactly what you are going to do as well this evening. 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.
Built in 1901, The Strand is a Yangon heritage hotel in a category all its own. This luxury resort offers large suites with lazily whirring ceiling fans, teak floors and luxurious bathrooms. All rooms are tastefully furnished with a touch of colonial style and are equipped with up to date amenities. Adding to the splendid old-world ambience is a valuable private collection of local art and antiques. From the famous Strand Bar, move on to The Café that peers onto the street or to the famous Strand Grill with its elegant Bagan prints, chandeliers and glass roof. Take pleasure in an afternoon tea or enjoy Burmese music in the Lobby Lounge.
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.
Early in the morning, around 7 AM, you will be driven east from Yangon by private car with an English speaking guide. After about 45 minutes a quick stop will be made at a local monastery/orphanage where young boys from all over the country are taken care of by the monks and given education.
Continue onward where you will arrive around 11:30AM in Kinpun base camp. Here you will be transferred to a truck to the second base camp and then walk 1.5 hours until finally coming across the Golden Rock. For the rest of the day, explore the Golden Rock pagoda and the beautiful surroundings. In the evening you will walk back your hotel.
Mountain Top Hotel is adjacent to the Foreigners Registration Office and located on the top of the Mount Kyaikhtiyo and 10 minutes from the spectacular Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock Pagoda) and 30 minutes from Ya-the-taung camp. The Mountain Top Hotel has a vantage point commanding a panoramic view of the lush mountain ranges below, where one can experience spectacular sunrise and sunsets.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before taking a visit one more time to the Golden Rock in the morning.
Afterwards, you will be driven back in the direction of Yangon in the afternoon. You will visit the city of Bago which used to be the capital of Myanmar under King Bayintaung and was called Hanthawaddy. In the city you will see Shwemawdaw Pagoda as well as the Shwetalyaung Buddha and the remains of the former palace. You will also see the Kha Khat Wain monastery which is one of the largest in the country.
From Bago, continue by local train and enjoy the beautiful country side scenery. You will have the opportunity to chat with local people on the train before your arrival in Yangon and be directly transferred to your hotel.
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.
An ideal excursion on your second or third day in Bagan when you feel like you have seen most of the temples (or at least enough) and also want to discover some other things. Cross the river by private boat to Pakkoku and visit a local slipper factory, the market and see where the famous Pakkoku blankets are made. Continue by boat to Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple that rarely sees foreign visitors. After a picnic lunch near this fantastic temple your guide and driver will show you how palm juice is collected and you will visit later in the day a local lacquer-ware workshop in Myinkaba village.
The Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort offers a little piece of tranquil paradise in Bagan. This unparalleled Resort and Spa set amid 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens offers the ultimate in luxury for guests seeking an exceptional and unique vacation experience. Museum quality antiques and artifacts adorn each villa, complementing the majestic ambiance of the resort. Bedrooms are spacious and elegant while bathrooms are large and lavishly equipped with five-star amenities. Indulge yourself in the culinary pleasures of The Shan or The Veranda restaurants, or privately dine on your villa’s terrace for al-fresco dining. Allow yourself to unwind and feel at peace with yourself and with nature in this serene and awe-inspiring setting.
Simply a “must-do” when visiting 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.
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.
This tour is the perfect introduction to Mandalay. We pick you up after lunch and go to 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 only men are allowed to stick gold leaves to the Buddha statue while women can watch and pray to TV screens around the compound with live images of the statue. 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. We walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with hundreds of monks, visit one of the small weaving factories and walk over U-Bein Bridge to the other side of the lake and get back by boat before heading back to your hotel.
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.
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 (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.
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.
Enjoy a dinner of Shan and Nepalese food at the local restaurant Seven Sisters.
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 by private vehicle between Kalaw and Inle Lake. Stop en route for a tour of the Pindaya Caves.
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 is certainly giving 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.
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.
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”. Your guide will take you on a walk for about one hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake where you will then visit the primary school in Sae Ma Village. A home-made cooked lunch is served in a local house before continuing onboard a local canoe in the direction of Phaung Daw Oo pagoda. Whenever you are tired peddling yourself, you can continue by motorboat to the pagoda. From Phaung Daw Oo pagoda you will proceed by motorboat to your hotel.
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 Ngapali Beach.
Enjoy a private transfer with English speaking driver between Thandwe airport and your Ngapali Beach hotel.
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.
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
Fly one way from Ngapali Beach to Yangon.
Enjoy the usage of a private vehicle with English speaking driver and guide at leisure for a half day in 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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