$ 1820

Myanmar Encounter

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Route complexity
min $ 1820
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Myanmar (Burma)
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 1820 — max $ 2100
Group size: min 2 — max 15
Duration: 14 days
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  • Itinerary
  • Inclusive
  • Good to know

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Yangon 

Upon arrival in Yangon Airport you will be met by one of our guides and transferred to the hotel of your choice downtown.

 In the afternoon we take you on a Heritage Walk through the old center. On this heritage walk, discover the highlights of downtown Yangon, where you will find some of Asia’s most impressive examples of late 19th and early 20th century architecture, dating from the British colonial era. This walking tour will take you back in time to discover these beautifully constructed monuments to colonialism, some of which have been neglected, while others have been purposefully restored. Stop off at the abandoned Ministers’ Building, formerly known as The Secretariat, where the ‘Father of the Nation’, General Aung San, started the path to independence. Built in 1889, this impressive building and its gardens take up a whole block in the downtown area.  After the tour you will have time to enjoy some refreshing drinks at Gekko, a stylish and popular restaurant and lounge bar on the ground floor of the historic Sofaer Building.

The day ends with a visit to the Bothataung Pagode, close to the Yangon river, which attracts pilgrims from all over Asia.

Day 2: Yangon

On this interactive half-day tour we take you on an off-beat adventure, not just to see Yangon’s spiritual Shwedagon Pagoda, but to experience the daily lives of people living in the community around this impressive monument. Learn about the history of Shwedagon and come out with a deeper insight into Myanmar’s Buddhism and how animist beliefs in spirits still play a part in Buddhist rituals and ceremonies. We begin this intriguing tour at the bottom of the hill and wend our way to the top through bustling streets, passing local businesses, workshops, markets and temples – all of which play an essential role in the upkeep and worship of Shwedagon Pagoda. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks at the pagoda, a visit to a traditional fortune teller, and a Burmese lunch.

 Afternoon enjoy your free at leisure.

Day 3: Hsipaw

Transfer to the airport in Yangon for domestic flight to Lashio. Your Shan guide will pick you up from the airport for a 1.5 hour drive through Shan state towards Hsipaw. Arrive in this small town in Northern Shan state known for the beautiful scenery which happens to have one of the last remaining residences of a former Shan prince. 

In the late afternoon your guide will take you for a 2.5 hour walk through a panoramic scenery of paddy fields and other seasonal crops passing small creeks, Shan villages and local schools and monasteries. The guide will explain in detail about Shan life around Hsipaw and show you some home industries like cheroot (cigar) rolling and bamboo weaving. He will explain why each Shan village has a spirit house build at the entrance of the village and make sure you will get to know the spirit of the local people in Northern Shan state.

Day 4: Kyaukme Hike

Going local today! The 7:30 AM local bus will depart opposite the post office (an impressive colonial wooden building). And when we say local we mean local… the bus is stopping at every village to let people or goods in an out and basically functions a bit like the local postman (for letter, packages or big bags of rice). Expect to be surrounded (or sit on top of) vegetables, rice and anything else you can imagine surrounded by local people. We suggest you to leave at 7:00 or 07:15 AM from hotel to go to the bus station by tuk-tuk. The local bus will stop everywhere to pick up more passengers, goods, letters and whatever on the way. The end stop of this bus is Kyaukme market which is about 1 km off to the right from the main Lashio – Mandalay road (that’s where everybody gets out) so stay seated till the end.

 Arrive around 8:30 in Kyaukme and get out at the final bus stop right at the market where a local representative will be waiting for you. During a full day trekking through the mountains surrounding Kyaukme the guide will give you an insight in the life of the Palaung people living in the hills. We have lunch in one of the Palaung villages.  A great day out in the nature in an area where you can still find people who have never seen a western foreigner in their life and who live according to century old traditions.

 Your guide will discuss with you if you want to do a tough trekking or a more relaxed walk through the villages. Overnight in a local village house.

Day 5: Gokteik Viaduct - Pyin Oo Lwin

After breakfast around 07:30, walk back to Kyaukme town to take a train ride to Pyin Oo Lwin. We have reserved seats for you till Pyin Oo Lwin station on the spectacular train crossing the mighty Gokteik Viaduct which was constructed in 1901 by constructors from the Pennsylvania Steel company and was once the second highest railway bridge in the world. 

The train departs at 11:05 from Kyaukme station and will pass the Gokteik viaduct around 1:30PM. Through spectacular mountain scenery the train will slowly move forward over the old railway track passing small villages and towns where vendors will enter the train to sell drinks and local snacks. Expected arrival time in the Pyin Oo Lwin – the former summer capital for the British colonial administration – around 4PM, but be warned – there might be delays with an historic railway like this one are not unusual.

Tip: go to the Kyaukme market in the morning and buy water, biscuits, banana etc for your lunch in the train today. Buying a small pillow to sit on could be useful as well as the train has only hard wooden seats.

On arrival transfer to hotel. 

Day 6 : Mandalay

Continue by private car in about 1,5 – 2 hours to Mandalay. Lunch will be served at local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we make an orientation tour through Mandalay, the second largest city and last royal capital of Myanmar. We first visit the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, a major pilgrimage site, situated in west Mandalay. A highly venerated temple, it is home to the Mahamuni Buddha statue, said to be only one of five true likenesses of Gautama Buddha himself. The temple is full of activity as pilgrims from all over the country arrive to worship and make merit. Beautiful bronze and wooden Buddha statues can also be bought in the Chanmyathazi neighborhood streets around the temple. We then head for the Buddha statue workshops where young men and boys carve Buddha statues out of solid blocks of white marble.

From here it’s on to Amarapura, a township in southern Mandalay that was once the capital of Myanmar. Known for its traditional silk and cotton weaving, as well as bronze casting, it’s a truly fascinating experience watching the weavers at work. We then walk through Mahagandayon Monastery, the country’s most prominent monastic college and also visit a 100-year-old weaving vocational training institution, before walking over U- Bein Bridge where we sample some Mandalay rum – in production since 1886!

Day 7: Mandalay River Cruise

Around 08:30, your guide will pick you up at the hotel and start a full day private cruise over the river.                                                         

Mandalay and the other ancient imperial capitals in the region all prospered over the centuries, because they lay on the Irrawaddy River, an important waterway for commerce and transport. On this tour, your guide will pick you up from your hotel and head for the jetty in Mandalay. We first take a leisurely cruise upstream to Mingun town, home to a ruined stupa monument. We then cruise downstream toward Inwa, an ancient capital belonging to successive Burmese kingdoms between the 14th and 19th centuries. On the way, we enjoy a simple picnic lunch, prepared in advance. A horse and cart is waiting for you in Inwa to take you around this magnificent former capital, home to a number of palace and temple ruins that for 400 years were a part of this illustrious city. You then return to Mandalay by car.

Day 8: On the road to Bagan

This full-day excursion takes you to explore rural Myanmar and includes a visit to a wildlife sanctuary and a fantastic boat ride down the Irrawaddy River.
Your guide will meet you in the morning at your hotel with a private car and take you to Ta Moke Shwe Gu Gyi, an enormous temple complex, west of Kyaukse that is one of the best archaeological sites in the country. It boasts magnificent stucco reliefs that include scenes from the life of Buddha, as well as depictions of animals, plants and mythological beings.
You then continue on to the Minzontaung Wildlife Sanctuary to see the endangered star tortoise, indigenous to Myanmar’s dry zone. Here you will go on a walk through the forest with the wildlife sanctuary rangers, seeking out the released tortoises in their natural habit. Following the walk, you visit the sanctuary’s breeding center to see some of the new-born baby star tortoises. Your visit to the Sanctuary helps to support funding for the project. Lunch is at a nearby restaurant before heading the city of Pakokku for a leisurely boat cruise to Bagan. If time permits we stop at the rarely visited Kyauk Gu Umin cave temple.


Day 9: Bagan         

Your guide will meet you at hotel for an activity-packed day that will take you to experience the wonders of Bagan, visiting by (E)-Bike to some of the best-known temple ruins in the area. You begin by first climbing a hill to see a pagoda for an impressive view and orientation of Old Bagan. From the top, you will see the ancient ruins rising up from the rice plains in every direction. From here, your guide will plan a route to some of the most famous temple ruins that have been here for centuries. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu, will leave you in awe of the skills of ancient craftsmen.

 We then take you by private car to Minnanthu village, a favorite area in Old Bagan for temples among frequent visitors to the region, who know how to avoid the crowds. This is a beautifully peaceful part of Bagan where the temple ruins are often completely deserted. On arrival your guide will spread out a blanket and serve you a tasty picnic lunch in this historical setting, surrounded by the ancient ruins. You will also have the opportunity to visit several of these sites, either before or after your al fresco luncheon. The rest of the day the car and guide are available for additional visits to temples, if required.

In the late afternoon you continue by horse and cart to a location where you can catch the setting sun as it slides below the horizon, lighting up gold the prangs and spires of this age-old kingdom. As you contemplate the sinking sun and a bygone age, you will be served a refreshingly cool drink.


Day 10: Optional Ballooning - Mt Popa - Salay

In the early morning you can take a balloon excursion over the plain of Bagan (bookable in advance around 300 USD). This includes all transfers, breakfast, ballooning and glass of bubbles after landing. 

Later we make a full day excursion to Mount Popa and Salay.

Mount Popa is one of the places to be visited in the surroundings of Bagan as it is the birth place of the 37 “nats” of Myanmar which are the protective spirits. We will steer you away from the normal trodden paths and visit today also the country side including rural village life in Shwe Si Tine village as well as the fruit and flower market and plantations near Popa. We continue drive to Salay about 1.5 hours’ drive.

 Lunch will be taken at Salay House located at the bank of Ayeyarwady River. After lunch we explore the Salay town, we visit the beautiful wood-carved monastery and from here, we start the walking about an hour to explore the old monastery, temple ruins and colonial buildings.  We drive back to Bagan where we arrive at the end of the day.

Day 11: Heho - Kalaw 

Your guide will pick you up at your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to HehoOn arrival at Heho airport met by your guide and transfer to the start point for your visit to Elephant Camp. On this adventurous tour your guide will take you for a rewarding day into the forests surrounding Kalaw, where you will encounter elephants, their mahouts, and people living in the region. Young tourism professionals from Kalaw town decided to set-up Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, a project that is focused on protecting nature, providing care for elephants that are no longer fit to work, and preserving the traditions of local people living in and around Kalaw – a hill station during British colonial rule that today is popular for hiking and trekking. In a big part of this privately protected forest, a natural habitat has been set aside for animals that would otherwise be vulnerable to hunting and poaching. The tour begins with a private car ride to the starting point of this trek, which is mainly downhill, walking through forest.  You arrive at the main camp where the specialized staff will explain to you about their project and the daily activities at the camp.  A delicious lunch of Nepalese food will be served to you. It’s then time to help the mahouts wash and feed the elephants. You will also be invited to plant a tree, before driving back in the late afternoon to Kalaw town.

Day 12:  Kalaw Hike - Inle Lake


Day 12: Kalaw Hike Inle 


This is a trek that begins early in the morning at your hotel in Kalaw. Your guide will take you into the surrounding countryside, passing colorful fields of crops like sesame, tea, cauliflower and rice, before entering forested areas, and eventually arriving at an ethnic Danu village, where you will see Danu hill tribes going about their daily activities. You then arrive in Myin Dike railway station, where you board a train for a fantastic train ride passing through picturesque Kalaw, a former British colonial hill station, and then on over the mountains and through the valleys to Inle Lake. A simple lunch will be served on the way. This is a unique local experience that offers great views and a glimpse of local life in the Shan Hills. Your arrival in Shwenyaung is planned around 5:30 pm, but could be delayed if the train stops longer than normal in local hill tribe villages to on, or off load, local goods. On arrival in Shwenyaung a transfer is arranged to your hotel. This is a fascinating way to arrive in the Inle Lake region that will give you some real insight into the terrain and its friendly people.

 Day 13: A Day on the Lake 

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 wooden houses built entirely on stilts. Today you will travel by private motorboat around the lake to discover its natural beauty, visiting floating gardens, observing the famous leg rowers in action and enjoying tea at a local family’s home. On and around the lake traditional markets are held in different villages according to a five-day rotating schedule, and on this day you will visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and Pa'O people living nearby. There will also be a chance to see a local workshop where the Burmese cheroot cigars are made. You will make a stop at Hpaung Daw U Pagoda, a famous pilgrimage site that is home to five golden Buddha statues. A home-cooked lunch will be served to you during the day at the home of an Intha family, who will be happy to welcome you to their beautiful house on the lake. If time permits, you can also visit a local silk weaving factory.

Day 14: Paddling on Inle Lake

Real adventure is waiting as we bring you this morning to the starting point of a fascinating trip by kayak to rural villages on Inle Lake. Depending on the location of your hotel, a short transfer by motorboat over the lake will bring you to In Phaw Khone, the famous weaving village on stilts belonging to the Intha people. Light-weight kayaks are ready for you to start paddling on the lake (2 persons per kayak) for a trip to rural areas few outsiders have had the opportunity to visit. After about an hour of paddling you stop in a village to learn more about the Intha people and their local food production. You then continue your journey by kayak, before stopping to have lunch at the home of a local Intha family, who welcome you for a delicious home-cooked meal. You leave the kayaks behind and return to your hotel by motorboat. There is an option to continue visiting other places on the lake with the motorboat and guide. 

Day 15: Fly to Yangon

Fly to Yangon from Heho with onward connection  or continue your journey through Myanmar with e.g. a beach extension in Ngapali, a visit to Golden Rock or a longer stay near Inle  

Inclusive

Inclusive in this tour:

      • Domestic air tickets
      • All transfers and transport as per program
      • All accommodation as per program (based on double/twin sharing rooms)
      • Service of English speaking station guides
      • All meals as mentioned (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
      •  All entrance fees on tour

      Good to know

      The tourist visa for Myanmar can be obtained online for most Nationalities.

      This is just a sample tour: we are specialised in tailormade tours to Myanmar with very flexible routes and accommodation of your choice. We will be happy to make you a personalised qoutation.

      All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of MyHimalaya
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