Best of Burma (Myanmar)
TTSM

From AU$ 2990 15 Days
  • burma (myanmar)
  • Max 12 passengers
  • Yangon Yangon
  • Plane, Bus, Bicycle, Horse Cart, Songthaew, Private vehicle, Longtail boat
  • Hotel (10n) Guesthouse (3n) Overnight boat (1n)
15 days From AU$ 2990

Overview

Explore Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.   Discover the magnificent temples of Bagan, get to know locals and experience village life, trek through rarely-visited highland villages, delve into the underground at Pindaya and relax by tranquil lakes.   Your 15 Day Best of Burma adventure will excite, impress and intrigue you. A visit to Burma is to experience the South-East Asia of twenty years ago, full of rarely seen sights and generations of stories just waiting to be told. Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Yangon

Your 15 Day Best of Burma adventure kicks off with a welcome meeting in the evening.  Arrive at leisure during the day, check in at the hotel and spend the day exploring Yangon at leisure.  Why not take the Yangon Circle Line train for a three-hour local journey, or head over to Bogyoke Market and haggle with the locals? There’s also Sule Paya Pagoda, a 2000-year-old golden temple, and the Gems Museum, which houses some of the world’s largest sapphire, ruby and jade pieces.  Just make sure you are back for the important group meeting at 6pm


Day 2 Yangon

Discover Yangon by foot, as we set out to explore the city on a walking tour of the city centre and some major attractions around town. After lunch, we explore the holiest shrine in the country, the Shwedagon Paya. You will be amazed with this gold-gilded pagoda, studded with diamonds and gems, and said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. It’s a particularly impressive sight at sunset when the lights come on and the stupa shines beautifully. We visit Kandawgyi Lake which boasts Karaweik Hall, a beautiful reconstruction of a golden royal barge floating on the eastern side.


Day 3 Bagan

This morning we leave the capital and board an early flight to Nyuang-U (about one and a half hours). We then travel the short distance to the ancient city of Bagan (about 20 minutes). Bagan is sure to impress, it is an archaeological site where Theravada Buddhism was first introduced to the Kingdom, once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries, it still has over 2,000 brick and gilded ruins. Today we enjoy an orientation tour of the town, before heading to the nearby Shwezigon Paya where we are treated to a beautiful sunset and perhaps get your taste buds dancing with a bite of local street food.


Day 4 Bagan

Today we enjoy an entire day of archaeological sightseeing in Bagan, with pedal power!  Jump on a bicycle and join a local guide to discover this lost city. Explore many impressive temples such as Ananda Pahto, Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as some of the smaller hidden gems.  Travelling by bike is a great way to soak up the atmosphere of this amazing place, but there are also many opportunities to climb stairs to vantage points and capture some magical views.  You can also take an optional hot air balloon ride here for more amazing views (this needs to be pre-booked in advance and is at own expense).  Enjoy a short rest at the hotel after you have explored the temples, before we head out again to see the enormous Shwe Sandaw Temple at sunset.

Please note: The bike ride is on flat terrain and at a leisurely pace, you don’t have to be a serious cyclist to do the tour, however if you’re unable to participate, your leader can arrange a pony cart to take you around the sights (at own expense). Also, helmets are not a local requirement in Myanmar and may not be available.


Day 5 Bagan

Enjoy a day at leisure in Bagan. Enjoy more time exploring the stalls at the archaeological site, the cafes in town, or the nearby Nyaung U Market – one of the more interesting markets in the country. Other places of interest include the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Palace, or a day trip to Mt Popa.  A mountain topped with monasteries and stupas, with incredible views you can also visit a strange shrine devoted to the 37 Nat spirits.


Day 6 Community Lodge

Today we leave the beaten track and our journey takes us further into central Myanmar to a unique community lodge outside the town of Myaing, north of Bagan. Be one of the first to experience this new community-based tourism initiative – the first of its kind in Myanmar.  After arriving, we jump on bikes again, and head out for an afternoon ride around the nearby villages. We stop at the first village for lunch and enjoy a presentation from a local member of the community (your leader will translate).  Visit a thanka farm and try out the genuine product that you will see on the faces of many Burmese. Ride to a second village and learn about the local farming and seasonal crops. Back at the lodge, get your hands dirty as you help out with a tree-planting project. Enjoy a delicious dinner cooked by nearby villagers, and entertainment will follow. Perhaps take this opportunity to interact and share your own culture with the locals, this is a great place to practice your Burmese.

Please note: Accommodation is basic; you will be staying in simple twin share rooms, with mattresses on the floor in the traditional style. Linen and mosquito nets are provided. Bathroom facilities are shared. There is no air conditioning and only cold running water and showers. Electricity is intermittent, so we recommend that you bring a torch and charge all your electrical items before arriving. Drinking water is available.  You can expect your stay here to be wonderful and rewarding, but keep in mind that the project is only new and there may be a few hiccups along the way. This area has had less contact with tourists than other places in Myanmar, which means you’ll have an authentic experience of the country while you’re here.


Day 7 Mandalay

Enjoy an early start, as we cycle to the small, 170-year-old wooden monastery nearby before stopping at a village for a simple local breakfast prepared by the residents. This is another great chance to practice your language skills and have a chat with the locals. After breakfast, we hop back on the bikes and cycle to another village to visit a women’s cooperative to learn about their weaving, sewing and craft (this is where Intrepid bags are made). We return to the lodge mid-morning and sadly bid farewell to the community.   We begin our journey towards Mandalay, stopping along the way to visit the beautiful Sagaing Temples, a collection of gilded stupas on the nearby hills.


Day 8 Mandalay

Enjoy a morning walking tour of Mandalay before taking a boat down the famous Ayeyarwady River to Mingun. Discover the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an enormous stupa which would have been the largest in the world if it had been completed. In Mingun also discover the world’s largest ringing bell and the beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda.  On our return to Mandalay enjoy some free time, perhaps find some quiet moments at the ancient Sweinbin Teak Monastery, or try your hand at gold leaf making in the Gold Pounders District. Or explore the giant golden Buddhat at the Mahamuni Buddha Temple.  In the evening, why not catch a traditional show by the Mandalay Marionettes, or a non-conformist comedy show by the Moustache Brothers?


Day 9 Kalaw

Today our journey takes us to Kalaw. We break up the drive with a stop at the U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world.  We then hit the Great Road of China, a new superhighway built by the Chinese then we are blessed with stunning scenery as we way into the mountains of Shan state before arriving in Kalaw.


Day 10 Kalaw

Today we pull on our hiking boots and get off the beaten track away from the tourists as discover the hills of Kalaw on foot.   Experience a tea plantation and some small villages. Practice your Burmese as you stop and chat with locals along the way and have lunch at one of the small settlements.  If you still have some energy and time in the evening, you might like to visit some of the lovely pagodas around town, or discover a local market. Please note: Today's walk is not difficult, about 20 kilometres in total.  However you will need a reasonable level of fitness and appropriate hiking shoes. A support vehicle can be arranged to access the trails upon request from the halfway mark, so this means that you’ll need to be able to walk at least 10 kilometres unsupported.


Day 11 Inle Lake

Enjoy the scenic drive to rest your tired legs as we leave Kalaw for Nyuangshwe and Inle Lake today.  Keep your cameras at hand as we set off across the mountains and farms and stop off at the Pindaya Caves, and discover the 8,000 golden Buddha images within the caverns, tunnels and chambers of the huge limestone cave. Arriving in the resort town of Nyuanshwe, this will be our base for the next few days as we explore Inle Lake.


Day 12 Inle Lake

Enjoy a faster pace this morning as we head out in a motorised boat. Experience local life on the lake including fisherman with their distinctive techniques, floating tomato plantations and cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. If you’re lucky, you might even see the floating market which circles the lake every five days, a real treat!  Enjoy lunch at Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the most religious site in the region. Look out for a golden barge which is used during Phaung Daw Oo festival. Enjoy a few more stops at local villages to meet the locals before heading back to Nyaungshwe.


Day 13 Inle Lake

Enjoy a day at leisure.  There are so many options to explore more, perhaps visit the Mingala morning market or Nyuangshwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya.  If you are wanting to leave the resort town, why not hire a bike and cycle to the nearby hot springs, villages or temples. You could also join a tour to the Red Mountain Estate Winery or a boat trip to the Inthein villages (all activities are at own expense). In the evening, enjoy a traditional Shan banquet.


Day 14 Yangon

We leave the stunning Shan state and take the one-hour flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. Back in Yangon, take advantage of your last night with the group and enjoy anoptional final dinner and let your hair down with a night out on the town.


Day 15 Yangon

This morning we say our final farewells to new friends made on this amazing 15 Day Best of Myanmar adventure.  On check out of your hotel this tour unfortunately comes to an end, however Yangon is a fantastic place to end, with so many more sights to see and restaurants to enjoy one last Burmese meal with your new friends.


Included

  • Hotel (10n) Guesthouse (3n) Overnight boat (1n)
  • Plane, Bus, Bicycle, Horse Cart, Songthaew, Private vehicle, Longtail boat

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