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(Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake)
Board your hot air balloon at dawn and silently float high above Bagan as the morning light illuminates the city’s ancient temples.
Welcome to the wonders of Myanmar. Formerly known as Burma, this is a place forgotten by time where you can get a real sense of the South East Asia of the last century. Be among the first western tourists to visit this land of timeless spirituality where you’ll interact with the local Shan people in their stilt villages; explore the overgrown ruins of a lost pagoda; visit an authentic monastery constructed centuries ago from ancient teak; taste the wine of Nyaung Shwe; take a horse-cart tour of the majestic temple ruins at Ava; sample the flavorful local delicacies and beer on offer at Yadnar night market; and explore the rich colonial history of Yangon.
From visiting a primary school in Sae Ma village and enjoying tea time in the home of a local family to sampling a Burmese-made cigar, your experienced local guides will take you well beyond the guide book to deliver a genuinely authentic Myanmar experience. You’ll stay at a collection of impeccable five-star hotels, lakeside villas and natural sanctuaries where the local staff will move mountains to ensure your comfort.
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.
Built in 1901 the Strand Hotel endures as a Myanmar landmark with its three-stories of Victorian colonnaded charms. 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 the different faces of Yangon from the landmarks to the hidden markets that have seen only a few westerners. During the day you will visit the Sule Pagoda, colonial downtown, the harbour, The Strand, and one of the colourful 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.
Bago is about an hour and half drive from Yangon and it used to be the capital of Myanmar under King Bayinnaung until 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, you will stop at a local market in Insein Township just north of Yangon to buy some fruits and snacks. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to pay your respects to the thousands of allied soldiers buried at the Taukkyan War cemetery. In Bago city, you will visit the Kyatkha Wain monastery, which is one of the largest in the country. Arrive in time to see the preparations from the monks for lunch. Enjoy your lunch at a local restaurant and in the afternoon visit Shwemawdaw Pagoda as well as the Shwetalyaung Buddha and the remains of the former palace. Return to Yangon by train to see a different way of local live and country side.
Fly from Yangon to Mandalay.
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 and then 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.
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 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.
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.
This is an ideal excursion in Bagan when you feel like you’ve seen most of the temples (or at least enough) and also want to discover a bit more of the Myanmar countryside. Go by private car to Kyauk Gu Ohnmin cave temple that rarely sees foreign visitors. Continue to Pakkoku and visit a local slipper factory, the market, and see where the famous Pakkoku blankets are made. A private boat is ready for you at the jetty in Pakkoku for a leisurely two hour trip downriver while lunch is being served on board. In the afternoon your guide and driver will take you to see local village life in the dry zone and later in the day, visit a 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.
Fly from Bagan to Inle Lake.
Enjoy an exhilarating day with great views over the lake and southern Shan State. From Nyaung Shwe you leave around 8:00AM for an hour bike ride passing the famous monastery with the oval windows. You will have the opportunity to take the local train up the mountain for about two hours and then hop off in Heho. A lunch is taken on the way. From Heho, bike mostly downhill towards the lake with fantastic panoramas on the way. Once you are at the same level as the lake you will continue leisurely for about an hour and half back to Nyaung Shwe through idyllic scenery of the Shan countryside.
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 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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