Best of Myanmar Soft Adventure
- 15 Days
- 15 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 3,170
A visit to Myanmar 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.
This is a small group (maximum 16) soft adventure staying in moderate and economy accommodations (one night basic boat) and includes some easy trekking.
Kipling described Myanmar as ‘quite unlike any place you know about.’ Up until 2010 when a quasi-civilian government took control of the country, this was undoubtedly true, and Myanmar was firmly off the tourist radar. To visit now is to experience a Southeast Asia un-jaded by tourism. With that said, Myanmar is just about the hottest destination on the Asian map right now, so that experience may not last much longer.
This 15 day round trip from Yangon takes you through Southeast Asia’s most misunderstood country, including the pagodas of Bagan and fabled Mandalay.
Reaching over 100 metres into the air, the Shwedagon Pagoda rises above the Yangon skyline and is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in the country. It makes an ideal starting point to your sightseeing in the former capital. You may wish to explore some of the sites that tell Myanmar’s complex political story, such as Aung San Suu Kyi’s House or the Martyrs Mausoleum. Alternatively, roam beautiful parks such as Kandawgyi Lake.
Three days in Bagan gives you plenty of time to explore Myanmar’s most spectacular attraction, where thousands of brick and gold stupas spread over 42 square kilometers to create one of Asia’s most beautiful sights. Needless to say, hot air balloon rides here are popular and a readily accessible option.
Spend the night on a riverboat on the Irrawaddy River on your way to Mandalay. With a name that conjures intrigue, Mandalay is an ethnically diverse and surprisingly young city, founded only in 1857 by King Mingdon Min. The influence of British colonialism is keenly felt here, with plenty to see including the exquisite teak Shwenandaw Monastery and the Royal Palace. You can even find the world’s largest book at Kuthodaw Paya.
A taste of Burmese village life awaits at Kalaw, high in the mountains where little has changed over centuries. Continue through the mountains to Pindaya and Inle Lake, where you can explore the floating markets, rent a bike, indulge in the hot springs or see the caves of Pindaya, home to over 8,000 images of Buddha.
Return to Yangon for one more day of sightseeing before you depart.
- 15 Days
- 15 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 3,170
Itinerary View Trip Map
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm today. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore Yangon on your own.
Start the day with a city walking tour of Yangon. Your leader will show you the city centre and some major attractions around town. In the afternoon, head down to Kandawgyi Lake, where you'll see Karaweik Hall, a reconstruction of a golden royal barge floating on the eastern side. Then visit the holiest shrine in the country, the Shwedagon Paya. This gold-gilded pagoda is 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.
Yangon to Bagan
Rise for a very early start today, for your morning flight to Nyuang-U. From there, transfer to the ancient city of Bagan. Bagan is an archaeological site where Theravada Buddhism was first introduced to the Kingdom. It was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries and still has over 2,000 brick and gilded ruins. You'll start your visit with an orientation tour of the town and visit the archaeological site tomorrow. After the orientation tour, head to the nearby Shwezigon Paya, one of the town's main Buddhist sites, also incorporating a compound dedicated to the pre-Buddhism deities, the 37 Nats.
Spend the entire day sightseeing in Bagan. You'll be given a bicycle and will tour the archaeological site with a local guide. Visit some of the largest and impressive temples, including Ananda Pahto, Htilominlo Temple, That Bin Nyu Paya (the highest pagoda in Bagan), Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as some of the smaller hidden gems. Exploring the temple site by bike is a great way to take in the atmosphere of this amazing place. There are also many opportunities to climb stairs to vantage points and capture some magical views. After touring the temples, head back to the hotel for a short rest before heading out again to see the enormous Shwe Sandaw Temple at sunset.
Bagan at leisure
Today is a free day for you to explore the magical city of Bagan on your own. You may like to spend 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.
Bagan to Myaing
Venture off the tourist path today into central Myanmar. Travel north of Bagan by private minibus to Myaing, stopping along the way at a local market. Arrive at your unique community lodge just outside Myaing, and head out on a bicycle for the afternoon to explore the nearby villages. Stop at the first village for lunch and enjoy a presentation from a local member of the community. 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, help out with a tree-planting project. Dinner this evening will be cooked by some of the nearby villagers, and entertainment will follow. (Please note: accommodation at the community lodge is basic. You'll 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. You can refill your water bottle from the large water containers provided.)
|Meal Plan||Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner|
Myaing to Mandalay
Wake up early this morning and cycle to the small, 170-year-old wooden monastery nearby. A couple more minutes on the bike and you'll stop at a village for a simple local breakfast prepared by the residents. After breakfast, continue to another village and visit a women's cooperative to learn about their weaving, sewing and crafts. Pedal back to the lodge mid-morning and bid farewell to the community, then travel by private bus towards Mandalay (around 6 hours). Stop for lunch en-route, and also make a stop to visit the beautiful Sagaing Temples, a collection of gilded stupas on the nearby hills. Total driving time from the community lodge to Mandalay is about six hours.
This morning your leader will take you on a walking tour of Mandalay. After seeing the town close up, take a boat down the famous Ayeyarwady River to Mingun. Here you'll see the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an enormous stupa which would have been the largest in the world if it had been completed. You'll also see the world's largest ringing bell and the beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda which sits nearby. After the excursion to Mingun, return to Mandalay and the afternoon is at leisure. You might wish to spend some quiet moments at the ancient Sweinbin Teak Monastery, or try your hand at gold leaf making in the Gold Pounders District. There's also the Mahamuni Buddha Temple, an important pilgrimage site complete with giant golden Buddha. This evening, visit Mandalay Hill, which is where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint. Stay here for sunset and to enjoy views over the glittering stupas and vibrant mosaics of the city.
Mandalay to Kalaw
Today you will embark on a long road journey to Kalaw. Along the way, visit the U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world. Continue on to the Great Road of China, a new superhighway built by the Chinese. Finally, make your way into the mountains of Shan state and experience the stunning scenery of the area.
Today is a full day of hiking around the hills around Kalaw (approximately 6 hours). A local guide will take you to a tea plantation and some small villages. Stop and chat with locals along the way and have lunch at one of the small settlements. This experience will take you off the beaten track and away from the tourist throng. If there's time in the evening, you might like to visit some of the lovely pagodas around town as well as a local market.
|Meal Plan||Breakfast and Lunch|
Kalaw to Inle Lake
Depart Kalaw for Nyuangshwe today, where you'll be spending time around Inle Lake. Set off across the mountains and farms and stop off at the Pindaya Caves, one of the Golden Caves in Shan state. Pilgrims flock here to worship the 8,000 golden Buddha images within the caverns, tunnels and chambers of the huge limestone cave. Continue on to the resort town of Nyuanshwe, which will be our base for the next few days as we explore Inle Lake.
Start the day by heading out in a motorised boat to witness local life on the lake. You'll see fisherman who use a distinctive leg-rowing technique on their boats, 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. Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the most religious site in the region, and also have a look at the golden barge used during the Phaung Daw Oo festival. Make a few more stops at local villages to meet the locals, then head back to Nyaungshwe.
Inle Lake at leisure
Enjoy a free day around Inle Lake. Perhaps visit the Mingala morning market or Nyuangshwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya. For those wishing to venture further afield, you could hire a bike and cycle to the nearby hot springs, villages or temples. Perhaps visit a nearby winery to sample a local drop, or take boat trip to the Indein temple complex and nearby villages. The price of these activities will depend on the number of people joining. Ask your leader about doing these optional activities. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Shan banquet.
|Meal Plan||Breakfast and Dinner|
Inle Lake to Yangon
Bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state and make your way to the airport in Heho. From here, take a one-hour flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. You may choose to spend the remainder of the day exploring independently, or join in on an optional final dinner and night out on the town.
After breakfast you are free to depart at any time.
2018: Jan 2, 6, 13, 18, 20, 25, 30; Feb 1, 3, 8, 10, 13, 15, 22, 24; Mar 1, 8, 17, 22, 29, 31; Apr 7, 12, 14; May 3, 17, 31; Jun 28; Jul 12, 26; Aug 9, 23; Sep 6, 13, 20, 27, 29; Oct 4, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27; Nov 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29; Dec 1, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29
2019: Jan 1, 3, 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 29, 31; Feb 2, 7, 9, 12, 14, 21, 23, 28; Mar 7, 16, 21, 28; Apr 11, 13, 18, 20; May 2, 16, 30; Jun 27; Jul 18, 25; Aug 8, 22; Sep 5, 12, 19, 26, 28; Sep 5, 12, 19, 26, 28; Oct 3, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 31; Nov 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 30 Dec 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, 31
- 14 nights’ accommodation
- Guided touring as per itinerary
- Inter-country air and land travel as per itinerary
- Meals as specified
- Travel insurance
- International airfare & airfare taxes
- Visa fees if applicable
- Optional excursions
- Meals and beverages not specifically idicated
- Arrival and departure airport transfers
- Items of a personal nature
Single travellers on this tour will be matched with a traveller of the same sex for twin/multi-sharing. Alternatively, a single supplement is available for a private room (except day 6) – please enquire.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please enquire.
3 May 2018