(Yangon, Inle Lake, Bagan)
Cruise the waters of time back to a tradition evocative of Southeast Asia centuries ago with a pilgrimage to Hpaung Daw U – otherwise known as Myanmar’s leg rowing festival. Held upon the shores of Inle Lake, a trip to this spiritual 18 day pageant is true cultural nirvana. Watch as a golden barge holding four Buddhas is towed by ornamented leg-rowers from your own private boat with expert guide. Go ashore to take part in the eclectic festivities with monks & locals alike, from magic shows, dancing, leg rowing races and fireworks to fortune tellers, blessings and Burmese banquets. To amplify your experience, plan your visit to coincide with Thadingyut, the festival of lights! Held between October 5th and 22nd this year.
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Yangon and the airport.
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.
Fly one way from Yangon to Inle Lake.
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Inle Lake and the airport.
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.
The Inle Lake lies at an altitude of nearly 3,000 feet, fringed by tall grasses and reed beds, ringed by well-forested hills which, according to the season, may often be wreathed in mist. The main body of the lake is some 13 miles in length, with calm and crystal clear waters. Its shores and floating islands are home to villages built on stilts, whose inhabitants are the hard-working and resourceful Intha people. The Leg Rower’s Running Race is extremely unique in Inle Lake, Southern Shan State of Myanmar, especially during the Inlay Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival. It is one of the most attractive events in this region that is a sight not to be missed by anyone visiting Myanmar. These famous leg rowers compete against each other, dressed in their full pageantry and ceremonial splendor while skillfully navigating the lake by rowing in a standing position on the prow of their long, flat bottomed boats, with one leg wrapped around an oar that is pivoted on their hip. This is the same way these fishermen fish on a daily basis; in addition to posing very sturdily so as to plunge a fish trap into the shallow waters beneath their boat. Women still row in a customary style, holding the oars while sitting in the boat. This type of rowing technique takes some serious balance and coordination and people from all villages nearby come to pay homage and witness this phenomenal act during the festivities.
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.
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.
Fly one way from Inle Lake to Bagan.
A private vehicle with driver and guide will pick you up and transfer you between Bagan and the airport.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nestled within beautifully landscaped gardens, Thiripyitsaya Sakura is situated on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River and is conveniently located close to the Nyaung Oo Airport, as well as the city centre. Beautifully decorated units are elegantly furnished with an array of contemporary amenities to satisfy the needs of astute travelers. Guests can relish delicious European, Myanmar and Japanese cuisine in an elegant setting and take in the panoramic views of the garden, pool and the river at the resort’s cozy bar. After an exhausting day, take a dip in the swimming pool, re-energize your body in the Jacuzzi or avail the spa services. If an ideal atmosphere with a relaxing stay is what you seek, this is the ideal place to stay while visiting 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.
Fly one way from Bagan 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.
Stay in the know: Subscribe to our newsletter to have our hand-picked trips & specials delivered to you!
Please enter a destination