Price

$5274 AUD per person twin share

$1557 AUD single supplement

Inclusions

  • 11 nights accommodation
  • 11 x Breakfasts, 2 x Lunches
  • Private local English speaking guide
  • All entrance fees to all mentioned sights and activities
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • 1 bottle of water per day
  • Domestic economy flights Yangon/Mandalay/Nyang U/Heho/Yagon
  • Scrubba Wash Bag

Exclusions

  •  International flights
  • Visas
  • Gratuities
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc
  • Scuba Diving equipment

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Myanmar Mystique

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Sitting at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilisations, India and China, Myanmar is one of the South East Asia’s most diverse countries. It also remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered destinations. On your journey with us, you will encounter warm welcomes, quaint charm and a country of the yesterday years bursting with traditional delights and a rich heritage spanning more than two thousand years.

Spectacular monuments and ancient cities attest to a vibrant culture that is still home to 135 different ethnic groups, as horses and carts rattle down dirt roads through pagoda scattered landscapes. Come and discover Asia's 'Last Frontier' with us.

Day 1 – Yangon Arrival

Mingalabar and welcome to Myanmar! The former capital Yangon, also known as Rangoon, remains Myanmar’s largest city and continues to be the country’s most important commercial hub and gateway for most of its international visitors. Its colonial background and religious legacy make it one of the most mesmerising and genuine places in all of Southeast Asia. You will be met by your guide and driver then you will be transferred to your hotel for check in. The room will be at your disposal from 13:30 on. The afternoon is free at leisure.

Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in a Superior Room

Day 2 – Yangon

This morning you head downtown and start your adventure on Mahanbandola Road where the Immanuel Baptist Church, originally built in 1830, is located. Continuing east, you will pass a couple of alleyways crammed with food stalls and markets. Venture onto Pansodan Street with its many stalls selling second-hand and photocopied books. You’ll pass the High Court Building, the grand Inland Water Transport offices and even grander Myanma Port Authority building before you reach Strand Road. Your next stop will be outside the majestic Strand Hotel. Take a walk along Strand Road and you will see the Customs House and the Law Court, an impressive-looking colonnaded building.  Veering onto boisterous Bank Street and up onto Sule Pagoda Road, you can consult one of the many fortune tellers who hang out under the trees. Be sure to make a photo stop at Sule Pagoda, downtown’s symbol whose construction dates back to over 2,000 years ago and have a glimpse of Independence Monument and Mahabandoola Garden. After a complete rotation seeing the twice rebuilt City Hall, continue west down Mahanbandoola Road through the chaotic Indian and Chinese quarters. Explore the gold shops of Shwe Bontha Street and have a look from outside at the Moseh Yeshua Synagogue on 26th street. You’ll reach Theingyi Zei market, where you can engage in a little pickled-snake hunting. Turn onto Anawratha Road until you reach the Sri Kali temple, Yangon’s most colourful Hindu temples.

The afternoon will start off with a trip to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to see a 70 metre long reclining Buddha statue around the size of a blue whale. Most countries and cultures have examples of what might be termed ‘quintessentially’ and the drinking of tea can certainly be describes as ‘quintessentially Burmese’. To share in this staple of Myanmar living, a visit to a local tea shop is a must. Here, in addition to the obvious ‘cuppa’, you will also find a wide choice of delicious morsels to sample while you soak up the atmosphere and observe the locals as they use the drinking of tea as a backdrop to both social and professional conversations.

No Myanmar expedition can be considered truly great if it’s lacking a visit to the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. Ready for an amazing experience? The visual delights present there alone, are worth the trip. Begin at the eastern entrance to find a row of shops at the base of the temple selling various religious items. Here you will find monks robes, alms bowls, offerings, incense and other unique Buddhist objects. As you browse the stalls your guide will explain the use and rituals of Myanmar’s Buddhist people. Then continue up the stairs to the main platform. Witness the colours transform on the 100-metre chedi which is literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaf. Shwedagon is largely considered to be the most important religious site for the Burmese. Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening. (B)

Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in a Superior Room

Day 3 – Yangon – Mandalay

In the early morning, you will be transferred with your guide to the Yangon airport for your flight to Mandalay. Arriving at Mandalay airport you will be met by your guide and a car to begin the day with an expedition to Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, known as the pagoda of the Great Marble Image. Admire the huge Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. It’s said that the colossal marble block took 10,000 men almost two weeks to transport it from the riverside to its current location. You will continue on to Kuthodaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed as ‘The World’s Biggest Book’ for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.

After lunch, you will be transferred to your hotel for check in. Take a short rest before getting ready for your afternoon tour.

The afternoon’s activities will kick off with a visit to Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital. Amarapura means ‘City of Immortality’, though its period as capital was relatively brief. First you’ll stop at a silk weaving workshop known for their exquisite merchandise. Continue to Mahagandayon monastery, home to more than a thousand young monks and renowned as a centre for monastic study and strict religious discipline. Once the sun starts to set, you’ll want to stroll along the legendary U Bein Bridge, which was built in 1782 when Amarapura was the Royal centre of attention. It spans 1.2km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake and is said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide. Enjoy this very special atmosphere as the late afternoon sun casts long shadows and illuminates the local people heading home. As a stunning day comes to an end, head back to Mandalay for the night. (B)

Overnight at Rupar Mandalar Resort in a Premier Suite

Day 4 – Sagaing – Mandalay

This morning, travel across the Irrawaddy River in to Sagaing. With 600 ivory coloured pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is generally seen as the spiritual hub of Myanmar and claims residence to around 3,000 monks and nearly 100 meditation shrines. You’ll visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, U Min Thone Sae and Shin Pin Nan Gyaing. You’ll head over to a small pottery village which is recognized for manufacturing ubiquitous water pots to observe the tradesmen here applying their traditional methods for producing their goods.

Return back across the river to the city centre at noon and transfer by road to your hotel. The afternoon is free at your own leisure. Lunch and Dinner on own account. (B)

Overnight at Rupar Mandalar Resort in a Premier Suite

Day 5 – Mandalay – Bagan

After breakfast at your hotel, your driver will transfer you to the airport to meet your flight to Bagan. Be met by your guide and driver at Bagan airport and get ready to begin your Bagan excursion.

Discover the best of Bagan today. Not simply a chance to see the splendid Bagan temples, you will also be introduced to the Burmese culture. Your first port of call is an elevated temple with its panoramic views of the Bagan plains. This viewpoint will give you a taste of the sheer number of temples as well as some of their distinctive styles. From here you will have a look around the Ananda Temple – one of the most exalted of Bagan’s temples. We will ensure that our tour reaches this point before the majority of tourists arrive, enabling you to enjoy the splendour of the temple in relative tranquillity. You will explore various other temples dotted around the temple plains to experience a variety of architectural styles in the area as well as the artistic wonder of the 9-14th centuries. Travelling amid the temples you will get a taste of rural Bagan life in this ‘living museum’ setting where farmers and families work amongst the monuments.

In the afternoon, visit some more interesting temples in Bagan before driving to the jetty where a private wooden river boat awaits you. Sitting either under the shade or on the open-deck you’ll be treated to fabulous views as you cruise down the Irrawaddy River. You’ll cruise past several small villages, fishermen, local boats and of course many of the ubiquitous Myanmar Buddhist temples. The views of Bagan from the river are particularly spectacular and offer a different perspective from the land based excursions. As the sun begins to sink slowly from view, you will prepare to disembark before being driven back, greatly relaxed, to your hotel for the evening. The perfect end to a busy day of sightseeing in Bagan. (B)

Overnight at Tharabar Gate Hotel in a Deluxe Room

Day 6 – Bagan Biking tour + Villages

Start your biking day with a visit to the most noteworthy pagodas and temples in Bagan. Pedal with your bicycle from your hotel to the vibrant Nyaung Oo Market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily. Proceed to Old Bagan and visit the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda, constructed by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious memorial. Bike towards Ku Byauk Gyi, a temple with wonderful murals of Jataka scenes, Bu Lei Thee Pagoda celebrated for its all-encompassing view of the region’s various monuments. Head back to your hotel for a midday break or rest at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon continue your bike expedition until you’ll reach the settlement of Myinkaba village where you will have the chance to examine the village itself as well as the local craftsmen. Learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products: lacquer ware and wood crafts. Watch as the skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items. You’ll also visit the Gu Byaukgyi Temple with its beautiful frescos before a chance to see Manuha Temple (constructed in 1059). Investigate Nanbaya Temple, one of the oldest temples in the region. Nanpaya is reputed to have been built in the eleventh century by the Mon King Manuha and has several Buddha images. Your next stop is the Myazedi (Jade) Stupa, a place of worship for Buddhists due to the relics held within. Here you can see the twelfth century inscriptions written in Burmese, Pyu, Pali and Mon, giving rise to the stupa’s sometime nickname of ‘Myanmar’s Rosetta Stone’. The final stop of the tour will be a chance for you to look around the Bamar temple at Sulamani with its marvellous seated Buddha images. If time and weather permits, enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of a surrounding temple. (B)

Overnight at Tharabar Gate Hotel in a Deluxe Room

Day 7 – Bagan

Today is free at leisure. Please advise at the time of making your reservation if you would like to proceed with any of the below optional excursions. (B)

Optional Excursion: Sunrise Breakfast and Horse and Cart Ride

$110AUD per person supplement (Minimum 2 adults)

Rise early this morning in the pre-dawn light and transfer with a car to Bagan’s scrub land. Reaching a small hill after a short ride, you will be welcomed by a warm cup of tea or coffee in an intimate outdoor breakfast setting. Immerse in the silence and changing shades of sky over panoramic Bagan while a light breakfast is being served. After enjoying breakfast and the sunrise view, it’s time to leave the little hill behind and take advantage of a quiet morning to explore a legendary temple of Bagan with a horse cart. At this time of day, you will have the privilege of the most popular attraction sites being free from tourists, with the opportunity to peacefully observe the temple’s architecture details or ancient paintings on the wall. If time permits, continue to Shwe San Taw temple and climb up to the top for a grand vista of Bagan. Then it’s time to return to your hotel for a full breakfast.

Optional Excursion : Cooking class in a Local Home

$37AUD per person (Minimum 2 adults)

You are invited to a local home to participate in a Myanmar traditional cooking experience. Meet the friendly host who awaits you in the humble kitchen whilst preparing an array of ingredients for today’s cooking. The host will briefly explain her market finds of the day, and if you’re in luck, some seasonal vegetables native to the Bagan region will be on the menu. Whilst the host storms up the kitchen, you will find some time to share cooking methods, stories and some laughs. After approximately 1.5 – 2 hours of cooking, it’s time to enjoy the meal together in your hosts home garden. Explore the authentic taste of each dish and big consumption is a Myanmar way to show your appreciation to the host.

Overnight at Tharabar Gate Hotel in a Deluxe Room

Day 8 – Bagan – Heho – Nyang Shwe – Inle Lake

Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and then transfer with your guide to the airport for your flight to Heho, in the heart of the Shan State. From Heho, you will experience a lovely scenic one-hour drive (32km) which leads to Nyaung Shwe, gateway village to Inle Lake. Although located adjacent to Inle Lake, few travellers take the time to visit this charming Shan town. Hop on a local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to the markets around the country. Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes. Hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘tomato house’, a warehouse-like structure where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos as you go. Then you will be transferred by boat to the hotel on Inle Lake for check in. (B)

Overnight at the Pristine Lotus in a Floating Duplex

Day 9 – Inle Lake sightseeing

After breakfast you will board your wooden motorised boat and begin heading out onto Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and breathtaking sights. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. Pay a visit to the lake’s morning market (the market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days). The market’s location rotates between the lake’s villages in a five day schedule and is also visited daily by the lake’s inhabitants as well as the surrounding natives who also come to sell and trade their wares. Along the way you will pass several villages that are built on stilts over the lake, which are inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the daily activities of the local leg-rowing fishermen and see their ‘floating gardens’, which are built up from strips of water hyacinth, earth and anchored to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles. You will also visit Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha Images. In the past this temple was known for its ‘jumping cats’ but these days there are only a few felines roaming around and none are jumping any more. Yet the Buddha images are still worth the visit. Continue on to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main haven, which contains five sacred images of Buddha decorated in gold leaf. There are also many traditional crafts originating on Inle Lake and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making incredible woven items from lotus silk, boat builders (depending on the time of year), a cigar making workshop, blacksmiths or even silver smiths. If time allows you will also pay a visit to the local silversmith and a pirogue workshop in the village of Nampan. The day will come to a close with a return trip by boat back to your hotel.  (B)

Overnight at the Pristine Lotus in a Floating Duplex

Day 10 – Inle Lake - Maing Thauk – Inle Lake

The tour will start at around 9am with a boat ride from your hotel to the village of Maing Thauk. After a look around the village you will be faced by a gentle climb (20-30 minutes) towards a truly inspirational Myanmar orphanage. Witness the great work that the local helpers around U Tet Tun and the headmaster have been doing there. You won’t be asked to give money but any small donation you can make towards its maintenance and running costs will be greatly welcomed. Continue walking (20 minutes) until you reach the Holy Retreat. Upon arrival you will immediately be struck by the peace and stillness surrounding the monastery and meditation centre. You’ll have enough time to explore the centre, watch the monks preparing their last meal of the day and find out more about their monastic life. After a brief period of instruction in the art of meditation you will then have the chance to be left alone with your own thoughts in a private bamboo hut where you can allow the peace of meditation to wash through you. Resume trekking into the Shan Plateau until the village of Dalapin (1 hour). A further 30 minutes walking takes you to the village of King Tal. This relatively short hike may take slightly longer as your eyes will be drawn again and again to the stunning views of the dramatic Shan Mountain range. There will be plenty of time for you to explore the villages on the way that will seem to be virtually untouched by time. The locals go about their daily chores in much the same way as generations of forebears had done before them and as you move around the villages you cannot fail to notice the easy going nature of the locals. With a life lacking many of the facilities more urban communities take for granted, the people here lead a simple existence as they rely on being able to grow anything that they need to survive. The final leg of your trek will take you back to Maing Thauk (1 hour). The scenery varies and passes through beautiful farmland and over rolling hills. Return by boat to your hotel and stretch your legs after a wonderful trekking day. Simple lunch at the monastery or a picnic lunch is included. (B,L)

Optional Excursion: Kayaking on Inle Lake

$105AUD per person (Minimum 2 adults)

Enjoy a scenic boat ride from your hotel until you reach the starting point (around 45 min) of your kayaking adventure near Impakhone village. Located right next to a small restaurant you can have a quiet cup of coffee and some snacks and get changed before embarking on your kayaking expedition. Equipped with life jackets you will start kayaking southbound the narrow waterways of the lake. Feel close to nature as you move on the tranquil waters flanked by high mountains passing by small weaving villages on stilts, vegetable farms, one-hut schools and one leg rowing fishermen that have become the symbol of the local Intha tribe. After around one hour and half paddling stop at a floating village and take a well-deserved break (water and soft drinks provided). The last leg of your journey (about 45 minutes) takes you to the village of Taung Tho from where you will head back by boat and continue your sightseeing program. (Note: 4 Kayaks available for max. 8 persons. We recommend wearing shorts and t-shirts. As you will get wet please bring an extra set of clothes to change and a towel. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat).

Optional Excursion: Serene Sunrise on Inle Lake

$70AUD per person (Minimum 2 adults)

Awake early this morning and travel in the pre-dawn light out on to Inle Lake. In a scenic spot, the boat driver will turn off the engine and a mug of hot tea or coffee will be served while enjoying the sunrise over the lake. At this time of day you will be privilege to have the lake almost free of tourists, with local fishermen and market vendors being the main people out at this hour. Continue through a local village to see the morning activities of the lake’s residents as they prepare for their day and then return to your hotel for breakfast. (Note: Temperatures can be cool. A blanket will be provided however we recommend dressing appropriately)

Overnight at the Pristine Lotus in a Floating Duplex

Day 11 – Inle Lake - Shan Picnic In The Bamboo Forest – Heho – Yangon

Treat yourself to a culinary experience unlike any other. Have a delicious Shan picnic in the bamboo forest of Indein while visiting this intriguing pagoda complex. A splendid market, ancient pagodas and story-telling ruins will surround this unique ‘petit dejeuner sur l’herbe’. A cosy picnic station will be laid on a natural woven palm mat, cold towels will be served upon arrival and guests will be seated on pillows. Enjoy traditional Shan food and a unique surrounding

Later in the afternoon, you will be transferred with your guide to Heho airport for your flight to Yangon. Be met by your driver in Yangon airport, you will check in the hotel with the remainder of the day free at leisure. (B,L)

Optional Excursion: Inle Lake – Indein – Inle Lake – Supplement of $60AUD per person (Minimum 2 adults) 

A 1-hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein, positioned on the western shores of Inle Lake. Take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending the moss-covered stairway to the top of a hill. Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you will be greeted buy an iconic Buddha image which sits enshrined amongst hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery. Here, from the peak, you will also be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the placid surroundings. The Indein Pagoda complex is undoubtedly one of the most amazing sites around the shore of the lake and it consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery. Then it’s time to embark on a 45 minutes trek to Sae Ma village. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the natural beauty and panoramic vistas of the area while basking under the shade of the bamboo grooves in the area. Upon arrival at the village, observe the daily lifestyles of the rural inhabitants. On your boat ride back, should time allow, you’ll stop at the Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people

Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in a Superior Room

Day 12 – Departure

This morning is yours at leisure to explore until it is time for you to transfer to the airport to meet your departure flight. Your room in Yangon will be available until noon. (B)