Golden Wonder Burma

A fascinating mix of ethnic cultures, scenic diversities and much more...

About trip

Myanmar is a fascinating mix of ethnic cultures, scenic diversities, magnificent beaches, Buddhist traditions, golden temples and pagodas.

Destinations

Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay - Pindaya - Inle Lake – Yangon

Duration

06 Nights /
07 Days

Golden Wonder Burma

“This is Burma and it will be quite unlike any land you know about”, wrote Rudyard Kipling in Letters from the East in 1898. Amazingly, even after over a century later, this quote still rings very true as Burma still retains the power to surprise and delight even the most jaded of travellers. In an exotic world where its culture, way of life and mind set have remained pretty much intact despite today’s interconnected world, Myanmar is ripe for the pickings.

 

You will be dazzled by the ‘winking wonder’ of Shwedagon Paya. Contemplating the centuries old 4000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan. Stare in disbelief at the Golden Rock at Mount Kyaiktiyo, the Hkakabo Razi, and part of the Himalayas teetering impossibly on the edge of a chasm. These are all important Buddhist sights in Myanmar where devoted monks are more revered than rock stars. As well as South East Asia’s most pristine and untouched beaches, around 135 different ethnicities make this country one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world.

 

Burma also offers plenty of stepping-back-in-time opportunities, which give the country a sense of adventure, pureness and exotic appearance that is a breath of fresh air. You will be amazed by the variety of travel options and as always, continue to be drawn to one of its strongest feats, its people.

starts £ 1495 per person

Day 00 : Departure from UK

Departure from UK to begin your holiday experience

Day 01 : Yangon

You will arrive at Yangon International Airport as per schedule and upon arrival, you will be welcomed by our fascinating local travel guide, who will brief you about Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon). It is the largest commercial city in Myanmar (formerly called Burma). Evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, natures parks and beautiful lakes, Yangon has earned the name of “The Garden City of the East”. Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small settlement called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. It is a city mix of British colonial architecture, modern high-rises and gilded Shwedagon Paya, the Botataung and Sule pagodas define its skyline. You will be taken to the hotel for your check-in along with welcome drink and snacks.

 

Your tour journey will start with your drive downtown to Yangon Central Post Office, an architectural delight from Myanmar’s colonial past from where you will start your walking tour. You will walk along the historic Strand Road (known as Kanna Lan in Burmese) which runs along Yangon’s riverfront. Alongside this, have a look at Pansodan Street Jetty or Botathaung jetty to witness the contrast of the busy Dala town life on the south of the Yangon River. You will continue your walking trail to Pansodan Street. On the left and right are Rangoon’s famous and most impressive monumental colonial buildings like the Telegraph Office with a classical portico. As you walk forward you will arrive at Maha Bandoola Road to see the Rowe & Company building, a red and yellow architecture built in 1910. It is known as the Harrods of the East, which, after restoration, looks like as an elegant wedding cake with beige fondant striping and a prominent clocktower on the corner. From this road, you will have the perfect view of the Sule Pagoda, City Hall and the 110 year old Rangoon High Court colonial building along with the monumental Secreteriate, which has been closed for decades. As you cross the greens of the Maha Bandoola Garden and continue to 31st Street and Merchant Street, you will come across well known second hand book shops as well as typical historical shop houses and Render Houses, with a rigid window grid and subtle Art Deco features. It was built in 1932 by Indian traders who had migrated to Burma from Rander, a town close to Surat in Gujarat, India and you will continue your walk by discovering the gold shops of Shwe Bontha Street and from there you will head to Bogyoke (Scott’s) Market where hundreds of food, clothes, Burmese handicrafts and gems stores thrive. This is where you can purchase souvenirs for your family and friends.

 

Note: Bogyoke (Scotts) Market is closed on Mondays and on public holidays.

 

You will further continue your walking journey and cross to the animated Indian district of Anawratha Road to see the colourful Sri Kamichi Hindu Temple. You will walk further down the Konzaydan Street to Sri Kali Maa Hindu Temple, which was built in 1871 and dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali. It features a highly decorative Gopuram (entrance tower) and is one of the locations for Thiapusam, the Myanmar festival, famous for its colourful street processions featuring acts of self-mutilation as part of a ritual. You will complete your walking tour in the busy area of China Town including the Chinese Temple.

 

You will then continue the last leg of the day’s exploration with a drive to the see the majestic gilded stupa, the Shwedagon Pagoda or the Shwedagon Paya. It is locally known as Shwedagon Zedi Daw and is also known as the Great Dagon Pagoda or the Golden Pagoda. Gleaming in gold leaves and decorated with diamonds, this is a spectacular work of Burmese temple architecture and is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar. Legends, myth and mystery believe this pagoda to have been built 2,500 years ago by two Burmese merchant brothers who met the Buddha himself. Lord Buddha gave them eight of his hairs to be enshrined in Burma. With the help of several nat (spirits) and the king of this region, the brothers discovered the hill where relics of previous Buddha’s had been enshrined. However, archaeologists estimate that it was first built by the Mon between the 6th and 10th centuries, during the Bagan period. As you explore the Schwedagon Pagoda, you will come across a chamber, which houses the relics that were built on the sacred spot and when the hairs were taken from their golden casket, amazing things happened, you will have to visit to know more about it. The pagoda is a holy place for believers because the stupa is built on the site of the holy relics of the previous Buddha and contains the relics of the most recent Buddha. As a site of miracles and of royal patronage, this is an important stupa for Buddhists across the globe.

 

After your exploration at one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, you will return to your hotel.

 

Do not miss the Yangon Heritage Walking Tour to see old Rangoon, before too much is lost. Your total walking time will be approximately 4½ hours.

 

You will enjoy your Myanmar cuisine for lunch and dinner, which will be on your own account. Your overnight stay will be at the Sule Shangrila Hotel or Horizon club or a similar type of accommodation on availability.

 

Note: Optional Lunch and Dinner can be at “Le Planteur Restaurant” in Yangon. You will find it to be one of the best fine dining restaurants located in the quiet and peaceful corner of the beautiful Inya Lake in Yangon. The restaurant is elegantly set in the garden with green lawns at the bank of the lake, in-direct lighting and candles with the colonial house as a back drop beautifully decorated with selected arts. It serves French and Indochina cuisines and the best Myanmar and international wines.

Day 02 : Yangon - Bagan

Waking up early to the sunrise is a joy, with the sound of birds chirping, you may want to take a stroll through the Yangon morning market on your own where you will already find it bustling by the time you get there, filled with Burmese people selling fresh farm produce, recently butchered meats, ripe fruit, and a handful of already cooked local delicious snacks and meals before returning to the hotel, on time, for breakfast. After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for a domestic flight to Bagan.

 

You will arrive at Nyaung U Airport, also known as Bagan Nyaung Oo Airport. It is located on the eastern bank of the Ayeyawaddy (Irrawaddy) River, in the Mandalay Region of Burma.  Here, you will meet our local Myanmar guide and drive through the lively and colourful market of Nyaung U or the Bagan Market, locally known as Mani Sithu Market, where you will be awakened by a footfall of travelers and discover plenty of stalls with colourful displays of spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, textiles and plenty of traveller oriented goods such as Burmese woodcarvings, local art T-shirts, lacquerware, puppet shops and handicrafts on bamboo to Myanmar Sarong (locals call it “Longyi”).

 

You will get a chance to mingle with local people and experience their bustling daily life. You will also see how artisans turn a block of plain wood into a work of art, get to smell the scent of local Burmese rice and encounter friendly people daubed with yellow face powder (local sunblock “Thankaka”) on their cheeks. You will get to learn where the Thankaka comes from and see serene monks from a monastery nearby collecting alms from local residents. Just remember to take the time to get some good photos of the Nyaung Oo colourful market and make sure you shop around to find a bargain that fits the bill.

 

Astonishingly, Bagan was the ancient temple city capital of the first Myanmar Empire (Kingdom of Pagan) from the 9th to the 13th century and is one of the richest archaeological sites in South-east Asia. The Magic of Bagan has inspired visitors and travellers to Myanmar for nearly 1000 years. It is home to the largest and densest concentration of more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments, ancient temples, golden pagodas and stupas that tower over green plains. There are also ruins some of which date back to the 11th and 12th centuries.

 

Towards the end of the morning Bagan Tour, you will transfer to explore one of the holy monasteries and historic sites around old Bagan such as the ornate Ananda Pagoda, built in 1091 and topped with a golden stupa, the vast 12th-century Dhammayangyi Temple, Gawdaw Palin temple, Myoe Daung Monastery and Tharabar Gate, the Byin Nyu temple and Shwesandaw Pagoda or Pyathada (Pyathatgyi) Pagoda. On your exploration to one of these ancient pagodas, you will receive an introduction and get a chance to chat with the monks and their lay attendants called “Kappiya”. You will have the chance to observe the religious side of monkhood and witness how the monks practice their daily routine in a mood of peace, calm and silence.

 

In the afternoon, you will be taken by your guide for a ride on the colourfully decorated Bagan Ox Cart or a Horse Cart in sunset. You will be surprised to know that ox-carts are still commonly used as a means of transportation in Myanmar’s countryside and there is a must see sunset at one of the amazing temple tops. Alternatively, you can customize your tour with us for a Balloon Ride over the skyline to see Bagan’s ancient sites, trails and smaller temples to take in the stunning views from the sky at sunset.

 

You will enjoy your Burmese cuisine for lunch and dinner on your own account. Your overnight stay will be at the Tharabar Gate hotel or a similar type of accommodation with a deluxe room on availability at Old Bagan.

Day 03 : Bagan – Mandalay – Amarapura – Ava - Sagaing

After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for a domestic flight to Mandalay, which is also known as “Lay Kyun Aung Myei” meaning the “Victorious Land over the Four Islands”. It was called Yadanabon in 1857 when founded, and later borrowed the Pali name Ratnapura – “City of Gems”. It is the second-largest royal capital city of Myanmar (Burma), located to the North of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River. You will find that Mandalay Palace – the “Famed Royal Emerald Palace” from the Konbaung Dynasty, is surrounded by a moat. The present city took its name from Mandalay Hill, where you have to walk up covered stairways on the hill’s southern slope, barefoot, and pass through numerous temples, monasteries and pagodas. You will also get a mesmerizing view of the city from the summit. At its foot, are the Kuthodaw Pagoda houses where hundreds of Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on marble slabs.

 

 

Upon arrival at Mandalay Airport, your Myanmar excursion will continue to Amarapura – which means ‘City of Immortality’. It was the capital of Burma in the early 19th century and is home to the famous U Bein’s Bridge. From here you will drive 15 Kms to visit the magnificient Mahagandyon Monastery, a famous Buddhist monastery founded in 1914 as a center for monastic study and strict religious discipline, where more than three thousand young monks live and study. You will witness the disciplined way of life of the Buddhist monks – at 10:30am every morning, hundreds of monks wait in long queues for their Swan (meals) in a systematic manner, having their meal in total silence in accordance with Buddha’s teachings. Believe it, you should not miss this view for a great memory and you will have strong feelings, which will be hard to describe. Surprisingly, even in the refectory, a novice monk cannot escape from the curious and often intrusive gaze of the visitors; it is because of the hordes of tourists that stand watching and photographing them. You should respect the holy place, the monks and not tease them with inappropriate remarks; it is local expectations of behaviour within sacred grounds.

 

Then, you will continue your journey to the 200-year-old U BEIN Bridge built in 1782 over the Taungthaman Lake when Amarapura was the Royal Capital. Since then, it is noted for silk and cotton weaving. It is the world’s oldest and longest footbridge, measuring 1.2 kilometers, made from gently curved teekwood that stands on 1086 poles, and creates one of Myanmar’s most photographed sites. Alongside this, you will visit a traditional hand-woven silk workshop before proceeding to explore Bagaya Kyaung. This magnificent 1834 teak monastery in Inwa is also known as Maha Waiyan Bontha Bagaya Monastery which is housed with a superb collection of Buddha statues. It will be your most memorable attraction, as you will find the monastery is supported on 267 teak posts and is 60ft high and 9ft in circumference, creating a cool and dark prayer hall that feels genuinely ancient. You will get to see and admire the stained timbers which are inscribed with repeating peacock and lotus-flower motifs. Despite the constant flow of travellers, this remains a living monastery with globes hung above the little school section to assist you in the novice’s geography lessons.

 

Note: Be careful of protruding floorboard nails at Bagaya Monastery.

 

In the afternoon, your excursion will proceed to the former royal capital of Inwa (Ava) by a short boat trip and will include a visit by horse-drawn carriage to see the Nan Myint Watch Tower or the Look Out Tower. This 90 foot (30 m) tower is the remains of the Bagyidaw’s palace, which was built in 1822. It has a square campanile of fine solitary masonry and the palace building nicknamed “The Leaning Tower of Ava“. The only monument of palace buildings at ancient Inn-wa is one of the examples of Myanmars architectural style of the early 19th century. The tower does not hold a clock but a large drum beaten to mark the hours according to the Myanmar clock, which is no longer used.

 

Your post lunch day’s exploration will continue with a visit to the Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, commonly known as Me Nu Oak-kyaung and also known as the Brick Monastery of Menu, which was built in 1822 by Nanmadaw Me Nu, Chief Queen of King Bagyidaw, for the royal abbot Nyaunggan Sayardaw U Po. It was restructured in 1873 by Sinphyumashin, the daughter of Me Nu and a queen of King Mindon. This monastery is one of the finest examples of artistry and of Myanmar’s architecture. It is a simulation of wooden monasteries with multiple roofs and a prayer hall of a seven-tiered superstructure of the 19th century Konbaung Period. As you explore the grand brick monastery, you will admire the traditional monastic architecture and see its stunning stucco-carvings sharing the breath-taking beauty. You will be mesmerized by its floor, which is lifted by large teak-posts and corridors with balustrades then crowned by spiral roofs. The decoration of flora designs and fauna forms, especially peacock and leograph figures are richly carved in most of the parts of the building beautifully, that will stun you as well.

 

Later, towards the end of the day, you will visit Bargayar Monastery. It was built in 1834 A.D. during the reign of King Bagyidaw and as you walk towards the monastery, you will see a magnificient brick and stucco structure of great dimensions of around 188 feet in length and 103 feet in breadth, with the biggest post measuring 60 feet in height and 9 feet in circumference among the impressive ornate wood carvings, 267 gigantic teak wood posts is a showcase of Innwa era heritage. Your travel diary will note that this ancient architecture monastery is a storehouse of Myanmars cultural heritage, housing 500 Buddha images and 5,000 sets of Pe-Sa, or palm-leaf manuscripts and other several old age artistic objects, which are rarely found in monasteries of a later date. If time permits, you will continue your third day trail to Sagaing Hills to visit the Soon Oo Ponya Shin Pagoda. The oldest temples on Sagaing Hill were built in 1312 by Minister Pon Nya. Do not miss the Pagoda Festival, which is held on the full moon day of Waso. You will notice that this hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centres and is known as a peaceful place and is popular among devotees for Buddhist studies. It is a place where you can enjoy the magnificent views over Sagaing upon sunset.

 

You will enjoy a Myanmar authentic cuisine for lunch and dinner on your own account. Your overnight stay will be at the Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel or a similar type of accommodation with a deluxe room on availability at Mandalay.

 

Note: An option for dinner is that you can have it at Kinsana Garden in Mandalay hill Resort. It is set at the foot of Mandalay Hill; within a 10 minute drive from the city center. It offers panoramic views on the myriad of Pagodas and the Royal Palace. The hotel was known as the Novotel Mandalay and features a beautiful restaurant. The Kinsana setting in the hotel’s big garden is for both in-house and outside guests which offer a variety of international buffet choices. During the dry season, a sizzling BBQ is offered. You will witness a great traditional cultural show performance while enjoying the food.

Day 04 : Mingun – Mandalay

After breakfast, enjoy an excursion by boat on the Irrawaddy River or Ayeyarwady River, which is a large river and the most important commercial waterway that flows from the north to the south through Myanmar. The boat journey will take you to Mingun, a town in the Sagaing Region, about 11 km (1h) upriver from Mandalay. Your tour visit will start with the Mingun bell, a striking sight of the biggest and heaviest uncracked functional bronze bell in the world since it was dedicated by King Bodawpaya in 1790 to be suspended at the Mingun Temple. It is also known as the Mingun Pahtodawgyi pagoda, a monumental uncompleted stupa due to an astrologer claiming that once the temple was finished, the king would die. The weight of the bell is 55,555 viss (90 tons) and is about 13 feet tall. This number is conveniently remembered by many people in Myanmar as “Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw”, with the consonants representing the number 5 in Burmese astronomy and numerology. As you explore, look for the weight of the bell and its mnemonic words which are written on the surface of the bell in white.

 

Then, you will continue your journey to Hsinbyume Paya, also known as the “Myatheindan Pagoda”, where you will see a mesmerizingly beautiful snow white structure on the banks of the Irrawaddy River just north of Mandalay and the northern part of Mingun town, a few hundred meters from the massive Mingun Pagoda. It was built in 1816, under King Bagyidaw of the Konbaung dynasty, probably using materials pilfered from Mingun Paya. This stunning pagoda rises in seven wavy, whitewashed concentric terraces describing the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru, and the mythical pagoda at Mount Meru called the Sulamani Pagoda, a depiction of the mythological mountain which is said to be the centre of the Buddhist universe. As you explore the Paya, you can see all ornamenting representations of mythical creatures in the niches of the shrine like Ogres, Serpents, or Nagas, and the Nats, or the Spirits.

 

Towards midday of your site tour, you will visit the impressive and unfinished Mingun Paya also known as Mingun Pahtodawgyi or the Mantara Gyi Pagoda on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, built as one of the world’s largest stupas by King Bodaw Paya. It stands as a massive unfinished ancient ruin pagoda in Mingun, approximately 11 kilometres northwest of Mandalay. As you approch, you will see a richly decorated entrance in front of the pagoda facing the river where the remains of two giant Chinthe lions about 29 meters high, guarding the temple and inside the pagoda, you will come across a small shrine with a Buddha image. As you climb to the top of the pagoda using a stairway to the right of the structure, you will have a magnificent view of the area with the nearby Hsinbyume Pagoda, several other pagodas on the Irrawaddy River and the mountains to the back drop of the pagoda.

 

In the afternoon, after your Myanmar lunch, you will experience the sights and sounds of Mandalay including a visit to one of the most revered religious monuments in Myanmar, the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, the Shwe Inbin Monastery, the Golden Palace Monastery or the Kuthodaw Pagoda.

 

The Mahamuni Buddha Temple, also known as the Mahamuni Pagoda, is located southwest of Mandalay and was built in 1785 by King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung dynasty. The image of Buddha was brought by his majesty after his invasion; Buddha had visited the Dhanyawadi city of Arakan in 554 BC. Here you will see the most highly revered live expression representing the Buddha’s life in the five images of the Mahamuni or The Great Sage that is defined in the temple which originally came from Arakan, according to the legends. The Mahamuni image is enshrined in a small chamber topped with a seven tiered Pyatthat Burmese style roof. You will see that the 3.80 meter high Mahamuni’s, which is a great image covered with a thick layer of gold leaves, is seated in the Bhumisparsha Mudra posture on a very ornate 1.80 meter high pedestal. Several shops around the temple sell offerings for the Mahamuni Buddha image such as incense sticks, candles and flowers. If you wish, you can purchase these and make offerings to the image.

 

You will have the choice to visit the Shwe In-Bin Monastery, which is locally known as Shwe In Bin Kyaung. As you explore here, you will witness the pagoda, one of the most attractive monasteries in Mandalay. You will find it gorgeously impressive carved from traditional teak wood, built in 1895 by a pair of Chinese jade and wealthy merchants. The monastery complex, which is held up by a classical teak foundation, has the central building that stands on tree-trunk poles and the interior which has a soaring dark majesty. It has a carved teakwood exterior, balustrades and tiered roof cornices that are covered in stunning engravings and it also has admirable works of art with a surrounding wooden deck. You will find Shwe InBin spectacular and the atmosphere solemn with accommodation for 35 monks. If you wish, you can check for the donation box by asking a monk and put a small share as a donation that can be used for the maintenance of this monastery.

 

The other option for you would be to visit Shwenandaw Monastery, also known as Shwe Nandaw or Shwe-Kyaung-pyi to the Burmese. It is the only surviving original building from Mandalay’s wooden royal palace which is also commonly known as the Golden Palace Monastery or the Shwenandaw Kyaung, built by King Mindon in the mid 19th century as it was moved from Amarapura Mandalay and named Mya Nan San Kyaw. You will find the palace well-preserved, and made out of Burmese teakwood architecture, which is covered in a masterpiece of a traditional wood-carver’s art intricately carved figures from Buddhist mythology and this would be a valuable stop for you, if you are significantly looking to absorb Mandalay’s rich history. As you approach the palace, you will see that the outside carvings are in different weathered and restored states, with glimpses of faded gold leaf patches. On the inside, the main hall has a golden interior where you will see the massive teak pillars, the imposing ceiling, the replica of the Lion Throne, the rich carvings displays and the inscripted tales of Buddha’s life. Only men are allowed to enter and worship the Buddha image in the main room, displayed alongside carvings of the nat spirits beings, worshiping the Buddha image.

 

Note: Read the Notice for Foreigners – no smoking in the wooden monastery, like don’t even think of doing that!

 

You will have another option which is to continue your day’s journey to the gorgeous and glittering solid Gold Temple of Kuthodaw Pagoda. The true spectacle lays within the stark white stupas that surround its base which is the World’s Largest Book made of 729 marble tablets, on which the entire Theravada Buddhist Pali Canon is inscribed with text, its “Tipitaka” – a phrase meaning “three baskets”, which is a reference to the baskets in which the original teachings of Gautam Buddha were held. While the 730th tablet describes their creation, the book is covered on both sides with dense script.  Each stone tablet depicts one page of the holy book that is arranged around the central golden pagoda which is housed in its own shrine, called “Kyauksa Gu”, with a precious gem on top.

 

Ancient history reveals, that the Kuthodaw Paya or “Royal merit pagoda” is a Buddhist Stupa that was built by King Mindon Min in 1857 at the foot of Mandalay Hill. It was built to leave a great work of merit for future generations. You will find the pagoda’s entrance gate is an ornate gold and red. The South gate is adorned with sculptures of deities and animals from Buddhist and Hindu mythology and the long corridor leading to the central zedi has mural paintings from the late Konbaung period i.e in mid 19th century adorn its walls, while towards the end of the corridor is a pavilion enshrining an image of the Buddha.

 

 

 

 

Later on, as part of the day’s tour, you will visit the Mandalay center for Bamar arts and crafts. You will find endless shops that sell precious stones and gems including jade, ruby, sapphire, jewellery and gold and countless shops selling an abundance of souvenirs such as Burmese handicrafts, sculptures and Buddha images which you can buy for your family and friends. During your market walk, you will take a short visit to see the Kalaga tapestries craftsmen’s shop before proceeding to Mandalay Hill for a mesmerizing sunset view.

                       

A Burmese cuisine lunch and dinner or diet of your own choice will be on your own account. Your overnight stay will be at the Mandalay Hill Resort or a similar type of accommodation with a deluxe room on availability at Mandalay.

Day 05 : Mandalay – Heho – Pindaya – Inle Lake

Wake up early for an awe inspiring view of the sunrise over Mandalay’s lush green hills. After an early breakfast, from the hotel you will be transferred to the airport for a domestic flight to HeHo, a beautiful small highland town in Kalaw Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State of Myanmar that primarily serves as the air gateway to tourist areas such as the Inle Lake, Pindaya and Taunggyi. At Heho, you can enjoy the Shin Pyu Festival, also known as the Buddhist Orders Festival, which is held annually by the town’s locals. It is a traditional festival with a special ceremony by the locals in which the master will admit the sons of some of the families to be a monk for a new life without possession and worrying.

 

Upon arrival at HeHo, you will be received by our guide before being driven by road across one of the most densely farmed areas in Myanmar. At first glance, the patchwork of fields and hedges may remind you of the landscape from central Europe. You will reach Pindaya, a town in the Shan State of Burma, famous for its limestone caves, its attractive lakeside setting and the traditional Shan paper umbrellas that are manufactured here. After you reach Pindaya, you will walk to the Pindaya Caves, a unique site set deep in the hillsides passing between gigantic trees whose trunks and branches weave unusually along the ground. As you approach the caves, you will see a 15 metre tall “”Shwe U Min Pagoda” sitting at the entrance. These caves served as meditation chambers by the monks and as you continue your exploration in the caves, the interior will stun you with the view of six thousand Buddha idols of various sizes that are made of white marble, bronze as well as plaster of Paris, and coated with gold leaves, that have been placed there by pilgrims over the centuries. You will then return from the caves to Pindaya along the covered walkway that follows the hillside, where you will find a beautiful teak wood built monastery.

 

You can tailor-make your day’s tour and take to the skies for spectacular views of Pindaya and the awesome surrounding countryside with a hot air balloon ride.

 

On the last leg of your exploration at Pindaya, you will drive to reach Nyang Shwe, a township also locally known as Yawnghwe. Located at the north end, is the main access point of the Inle Lake. The Nyang Shwe town was once the capital of a thriving Shan kingdom that was the former palace of the Saophas, or Sky Princes, who ruled here. It has now been converted into a museum. From here, you will be transferred to your hotel on the Inle Lake (Myanmar).

 

During the day’s tour, lunch and dinner will be of your choice and will be on your own account. Your overnight stay will be at the Inle Princess Resort, a four star Lake house or similar type of accommodation with a deluxe room on availability on Inle Lake.

Day 06 : Inle Lake (Bike Tour)

Inle Lake, also known as Inle Sap, is a freshwater shallow lake located in Nyaungshwe. It is 14 miles long and 7 miles wide, surrounded by mountains. As magnificent as the scenery is, what you will love most is seeing the unique inhabitants of tribal life and their entire community living on and around the water. The lake and mountains are picturesque and beautiful. The one-legged fishermen steer their one-man boats with a characteristic rowing style, wrapping one leg around their oar while the colourful tribal markets, the stilted wooden houses and the impressive floating gardens will keep you at Inle Lake longer than you would have ever planned.

 

Wake up as dawn breaks at Inle Lake in Myanmar and you will get to see the entire fishing community making their way through the mist. Though visibility at this hour is zero, their ray of hope is high in the belief that their nets will catch their daily livelihood. This mystic scene remains a possibility as long as you can witness sunrise.

 

After your breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked-up by our guide at your hotel and be transferred to Khaung Daing Village by a colourful decorated boat, drifting over the smooth ripples of lake water. You will then make an easy walk uphill under the shade of the trees to the wish-fulfilling pagoda overlooking the lake. Then you will cycle through Khaung Daing village, a native village on the northwestern shore of the Inlay Lake in Shan State, known for its production of soybean cakes and noodles. You will come across a few interesting Shan style temples just outside the village and a little north of Khaung Daing is the Khaung Daing Hot Spring. Cycling on the road along the shore of the lake, you will spot Nyaung Shwe. You will witness the unique life of the Intha people as you stop at a fishing site and witness the one legged fishing style like a cross between fishing and ballet and the farming villages on the way. Once you touch base at Nyaung Shwe, you will visit the cultural museum of the Shan Lords, which is housed in a large teak-and-brick mansion with Burmese local artifacts, historical paintings and photographs which are on display. Your day’s tour ends with a transfer back to your hotel by car and/or by boat.

 

The tour on Inle Lake in Myanmar (Burma) is stunningly crisp. Explore to believe this serene beauty of South East Asia

 

Note:

 

Khaung Daing –        Nyaung Shwe 10 km / 7 miles

Cycling hours   –        1 ½ hour

Road condition  –       Partly tarred winding road with pot holes in many places, partly narrow  path ways. Light traffic. Difficult to cycle during the monsoon months from May to September.

Places to see    –      Scenery, villages, agricultural farms, fishing, view point over the lake and market (mornings only on market days).

 

In the afternoon, you will board a colourfully decorated boat to the western shore of Inle Lake where you will find the beginning of a stair path leading to the well hidden Shwe Indein Pagoda also collectively known as the Shwe Inn Thein pagodas. Located at the top of the hill is a group of Buddhist pagodas in the village of Indein, near Ywama, west of the Inlay Lake in Shan State, Burma. The pagodas were commissioned during the reign of King Narapatisithu and King Anawrahta. Traditionally, these groups of magnificent pagodas were built by King Ashoka, who was also known by the Burmese people as Dhammasoka in the 3rd century. As you continue your exploration towards the center of the Shwe Inn Thein group, you will find the shrine of the Inn Thein Buddha image and holy shrine which houses a Golden Buddha sculpture in the meditation mudra. You will also find a top element that is shaped like an ornamental umbrella. Surprisingly this is missing at many of the unrestored stupas.

 

From the top of the hill, visitors will have a mesmerizing view of the Indein village and the surrounding area. Then you will be transferred to your hotel at Inle lake.

 

Your lunch and dinner will be of your choice that will be pocketed to your own account. Your overnight stay will be at the Inle Priness Resort, a four star Lake house or similar type of accommodation with a deluxe room on availability on Inle Lake.

 

Note: The day’s Tour has an option available for cookery enthusiasts: Cooking Classes catered by local restaurants.

 

The diversity of Myanmar’s cuisine has been contributed to by the myriad local ethnic minorities and characterised by extensive use of fish products like fish sauce and ngapi – a fermented fish paste.

 

Mohinga is a rice noodle and fish soup from Myanmar and is an essential part of Burmese cuisine. It is considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar. There is also a Burmese salad called Thoke that is centered on one major ingredient, ranging from starches like rice, wheat, rice noodles, glass noodles and other local farm ingredients including ngapi.

 

The cookery class will be led by a Burmese Master Chef; you can participate actively in the shopping for meat and vegetables at the local market, which are necessary for the menu that they are going to cook. The chef will explain about the ingredients they use. Cooking lessons on authentic Burmese cuisines take place in the private area of the restaurant’s kitchen. At the end, every participant enjoys a Myanmar special meal which you will have prepared together.

Day 07 : Inle Lake – HeHo – Yangon - Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the HeHo airport for a domestic flight to Yangon. Upon arrival, you will visit the 100 year old Chauk htatgyi Pagoda also spelt Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda with a 70-metre long and 16 meter high reclining Buddha image. This highly revered image is housed in a large shed which is north of the Kandawgyi Lake. There are also temple sacred relics and precious gems that are installed inside the Buddha’s head and cushion under the arm. As you explore inside, you will see a magnificent Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha image wearing a golden robe, the right arm supporting the back of the head, and the reclining Buddha image decorated with stunning expressive colours, white face, red lips, blue eye shadow, golden robe and red finger nails. You will be in awe! This reclining Buddha is the best-known large image in Yangon.

 

Then, you will enjoy a walk on the teak wood bridge located on the Kandawgyi Royal Lake which runs along the southern and western sides of the lake. The British built this artificial lake as a reservoir and you will find it beautiful as it offers picture perfect views of the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda when reflected in its calm waters at sunset. You will walk on the bridge and reach to admire the Karaweik Hall, a modern architecture built in the ancient traditional style in the shape of the sacred mythological bird known as Karaweik. It is an imposing royal barge gilded with gold that floats on the lake. Its beauty is enhanced by the Kandawgyi which adds to the grandeur of Yangon. The place is perfect to catch a beautiful view of the Shwedagon Pagoda.

 

Karaweik Palace serves lunch and dinner with Myanmar, Chinese and Eastern as well as Western cuisine at moderate prices in their ornate halls accompanied by a variety of Burmese traditional entertainment. Lunch will be pocketed to your own account.

 

Afterwards, you will be transferred to Yangon International Airport for your departure to your next destination.

 

Note: Itinerary is subject to changes depending on flights, road conditions and the availability of rooms. A supplement for changes might apply.

 

Early check in and late checkout are subject to availability and surcharges by hotels.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, which means “End of Strife”, was a former capital of Myanmar and is the country’s largest city, home to bustling markets, numerous parks, lakes and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains ancient Buddhist relics and dates back to the 6th century. Officially, in March 2006, Naypyidaw city became the capital of Burma and as you continue your journey in this country, you will not fail to notice the energy, hope and possibilities for the future that hang in the air. You will see all Burmese joining their fellow countryman in rising to the challenge of bringing their country charmingly into the 21st century and at the same time preserving the best of the ancient past.

 

You will travel through the most popular tourist destinations in Myanmar including the big cities such as Yangon and Mandalay, explore the religious sites in Mon State, Pindaya, Bago and Hpa-An, be mesmerized by its nature trails in the floating gardens of Inle Lake, Kengtung, Putao, Pyin Oo Lwin and continue your journey to visit the wondrous ancient cities of Bagan and Mrauk-U, as well as relaxing and rejuvenating at the exotic beaches in Nabule Ngapali and Maungmagan Ngwe-Saung, Mergui. Astonishingly, the big draw for you is the chance to see a Burma where the 21st-century world has barely intruded. This is changing but there is still a strong sense of the old orient here. It is a place where following the percepts of Buddhism is a way of life.

 

It will be a blessing in disguise when you plan your Myanmar travel itinerary to go beyond the main tourist areas, spend time in the traditional teak villages, teahouses and small-town markets, getting to know some of the most endearing people you will meet anywhere in the world.

 

You can go on balloon rides, as they are a popular way among tourists to see pagodas and other areas of scenic beauty in Myanmar (Burma)!

 

Note: The Burmese dress conservatively and regard sleeveless T-shirts and shorts as underwear. As travellers to this country, you should wear loose casual clothes (no cleavage, no bare shoulders, no see-through skirts, no leggings and no short pants). Shoulders and knees must be covered in temples and shoes and socks removed. Always hand over money using your right hand to avoid giving offence. Be careful of discussing Burmese politics in public or trying to draw locals into such conversations, as this could get you into trouble.

PRICES / TERMS & CONDITIONS

(All prices as offered in Pound Sterling – Minimum two persons traveling)

 

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