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Whatever impression or fantasy emerges when you think about Myanmar, realize it in this insightful and in-depth tour of 16 days. Read the world's largest book in Mandalay, watch sunset over the Irrawaddy River while boating to Bagan, climb up the sacred mountain Mt.Popa, easy trek up to hill tribes in Kalaw, take a boat ride in Inle Lake, have some free days in beautiful beach of Ngapali. With passion and professional guiding, you are about to see what others don't ever see.
The best time to make this trip is during October to next April. Stromy weather during monsoon season (May to September) shuts down all flights to Thandwe (Thandwe is the airport city, 10 minutes of driving to Ngapali Beach). Also, the water level of the Irrawaddy River is just congenial to a relaxing downstream cruise.
Overland option is not optimism either, bad road conditions makes the 400km distance between Yangon and Ngapali Beach 20 hours of driving. However, if your travel plan falls during monsoon season, Ngapali Beach will be replaced with Ngwe Saung Beach, which is 5 hours away from Yangon by car.
|Oct.1, 2017 - Apr.30, 2018||Handpicked Comfort||Luxury|
Note: We will guarantee you get the price as showed above except that there will be a price fluctuation in festival seasons (such as National Day, Myanmar New Year and etc).
Flying into Mandalay and meet your private tour guide. Transfer to hotel and rest well for the journey to come.
1. Connection: Bangkok is an all-time-good transit if you are flying from other continents. Bangkok - Mandalay flights most take off from BKK at noon, so it's better to plan a in Bangkok the night before. Please let us know if you need our assistance in Bangkok.
Besides Bangkok, you can also reach Mandalay from Kunming in China and Singapore.
2. Extension: Myanmar is just a part of your globale travel plan? After this trip, extend to China, Singapore, India, Hong Kong, or Vietnam directly with non-stop flights from Yangon; for other countries, take Bangkok as a transit.
For a quick glance at the World Heritage Site Angkor Wat, roll down to the bottom of this page and you will find our special deal for a 5-day trip in Siem Reap.
People of all nationalities, except those from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), are required to obtain visa for Myanmar. Our Myanmar tours include the fee for your Myanmar visa, e-Visa to be accurate. Your passport information and flight details are to be provided to your travel advsior at least 1 month ahead of your travel date. It will take about 3 working days before the visa is issued.
Take the e-Visa with you when land in Yangon, Mandalay or Nay Pyi Daw airport. You may go straight through the customs check without paying the visa stamp fee.
1. No language barriers: Although the country is now partly open, more and more people are encouraged to learn and use foreign languages. Besides English, we also have some Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian-speaking tour guides with extra cost.
2. Food to your taste: Just like other Asian countries, Myanmar cuisines is a bit heavy in taste and spices and with a menu based in rice, fish, chicken, beef and vegetables. All restaurants in the itinerary are simple, local but hygienic restaurants with tableware sterilized every day and setting well-kept. However, we can arrange Halal, Kosher and vegetarian meals upon your special request.
Most hotels for foreign tourists in Myanmar were built in the late 1990's without A/C and limited choices. It is until recent years that A/C rooms and family rooms have become a standard for hotels when more and more foreign-funded hotels are being built. Hotels of Asia Highlights' selection are all with A/C. To ensure a cozy stay, it's smart to choose a hotel above 3-star.
2 nights at Sadona Hotel Mandalay (Handpicked Comfort) / Rupar Mandalar Resort Hotel (Luxury)
Mandalay is the last royal capital and it was founded by King Mindon in 1857 in attempt to fulfill a Buddhist prophecy that a great city will be established in the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism at the foot of the hill that is Mandalay Hill. Start early today, drive out of town to Inwa Ancient City. On the way, stop at Mahagandayon Monastery during the lunch time for the local monks. Impressive to watch thousands of monks dining together and interesting to learn about how local people help out the monastery.
After a boat trip accross the river, you will go for a lunch in a garden-set restaurant before a horse cart ride to get around Inwa Ancient City. Make stops at Ava Palace, Bagarya Monastery as well as a small village.
Getting back from Inwa, give some time for Shwenandaw Monastery, originally a part of the royal palace and the only part of the palace that was not destroyed by that bombing. Here, you will learn about Buddhism teaching and practice. As the sun dims out, you will walk into Step into Kuthodaw Pagoda and the World's Largest Book located at the north-western corner of the palace, where you can see hundreds of small tablets revolving around a main pagoda and each tablet tells a piece of life story of Buddha.
Every traveler will pay USD10 for entrance of Mandalay and you will have a ticket pass after paying (the USD10 is already included in our tour). Please keep it with you at all times to show at the entrance of each attraction.- Shwenandaw Monastery:
Shwenandaw Monastery offers a nice photo opportunity for pros and shutterbugs alike and late afternoon is always the best time for this site. Bring a tripod for some great shots.
Local people get up early for a holy ceremony at Mahamuni Pagoda, as early as at 0400am before the sun comes up. Why don't you include yourself? Get to the pagoda before the daily Face-Washing Ritual starts. You will see villagers bringing their offersing, chanting and sitting in the main chamber as a presiding abbot cleanses the face of the giant Buddha image. This ritual goes on for 1 hour and then you will return to hotel for breakfast and check out.
Your private tour guide and transfer will take you to the pier in Sagaing where you board the cruise to Bagan. Driving time from Mandalay to Sagaing is about 1 hour.
After a welcome cocktail in the saloon and introduction of the cruise, you will sail off to Bagan downstream (Ashore time: 1030am). A delicious lunch will be served on board at 0100pm while you are approaching to Yandabo Village. An English-speaking tour guide of the cruise will take you onshore for a sightseeing in the village.
Despit of its size, Yandabo Village has an important role in Myanmar's history for it is the location where The Treaty of Yandabo (which ended the First Anglo-Burmese War) was signed on 24th of February 1826. This treaty forced Burma to open up to the British colonists. Nowadays it is just a peaceful village of 300 houses and most dwellers are potters. You will have a chance to see the process of pottery before returning to the cruise.
The cruise reaches Shwe Nann Tint in the evening. Moor near the village and enjoy a starry night on the cruise.
1.The 2D1N plan departs every Thursday. Paukan Cruise has different fleets operating on different dates (Paukan 1947, Paukan 2007, Paukan 2012, Paukan Explore and Paukan 2015), along with its partner cruises (Irrawaddy Voyage I, Irrawaddy Voyage II). Our travel advisor will inform you availablity for specific fleets.
2.When you check out the hotel in the morning, you should take all your luggage with you to the cruise.
3.Your private tour guide will not accompany you to the cruise. The cruise company has an English-speaking tour guide. If you speak other languages and request for your private tour guide to come along, extra cost will apply.
4.Meals onboard are all included except for drinks and wine.
1 night on Makara Queen Cruise (Handpicked Comfort) / RV Paukan Cruise (Luxury)
Have a fresh coffee on the sundeck of the cruise. When the ship is moving slowly onto Bagan, an outline of the ancient city merges in the morning mist. Get onto the shore for a short visit at a riverfront village. At 0930am, you will disembark at the pier of Bagan, where you will meet up your private tour guide and transfer.
On the way from the pier to your hotel in Bagan, you will stop at West Pwa-Saw Village, where you will take an interesting cooking class with the local villagers. This village is part of the JICA Bagan Tourism Development Project and the funds of the cooking class will be spent on supporting the community for schooling and housing. A hands-on cooking class introduces you to some typical Burmese cuisine, including Shan-style tofu, Burmese salad and curry. Have lunch with the locals.
In the afternoon, visit Shwezigon Pagoda, which is the first Burmese-style pagoda and all pagodas across Myanmar are built based on its grandiose pattern. Constructed in 1060, it is still the most worshiped shrine in Nyuang U of Bagan. Take a look at what's inside a villager's dinner basket at Nyuang U Market before getting back to your hotel.
JICA, short for Japan International Cooperation Agency, is a Japan-based international NGO that has been devoting to reducing poverty and pollution, enhancing living environment and education and addressing food safety and human security in over 150 countries since 1974. Its main mission in Myanmar, is to provide assistance to minority ethnic groups, prompt faciltiy for economic development and infectious disease control over malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
3 nights at Aye Yar River View Resort (Handpicked Comfort) / Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort Bagan (Luxury)
Today you may have a late start since we only have one major site to cover: the Bagan Archaeological Zone.
The wide-sprawling complex covers a land of 40 sq miles and consists of over 2,000 temples, pagodas and towers. Built by different kings during mid-to-late 9th century, most temples and pagodas are left hollow and un-attended yet some are still in use as spiritual centers. Your local tour guide will pick some temples for you to visit, including the most famous Ananda Temple, Bupaya Pagoda, Dhammayangyi Temple and Htilominlo Temple.
After lunch at a local NGO-run restaurant, the trip continues. At the evening, you will take the stairs up one of the temples and view the beautiful sunset over the plain.
Flying up in the sky, overlooking all the temples at sunrise, a 1-hour hot air balloon ride can be something special to tell your friends back home. It is available for booking during October to next March, morning time schedule every day and sunset flight upon request.- Sanon Restaurant in Bagan:
Providing training and working opportunities for local youngsters, Sanon Restaurant is a delight in your trip to Bagan. Shan Khauk Swe (Spicy rice noodles with chicken, tomatoes, radish, coriander and peanuts) is their speciality.
One of the most-practiced religions in Myanmar, besides Hindu and Buddhism, is Nat Worship. Nat Worship predates Buddhism and it explained that everything has its own spirit. King Anawrahta of Bagan, who founded the first Burmese empire during his regime from 1044–1077, set up the official institution of 37 nats, some of which are souls of those who died tragically and remain unsettled, roaming the earth. This animism was later merged with Buddhism and now it is still widely practiced in rural Myanmar.
During today's 1 ½ hours of driving, you will have the chance to explore the rural life of Myanmar. At a local village, you will see palm-tree climbers get up to the treetop to collect palm juice for making sugar; then you will see how locals extract oil from peanuts and sesames in old-fashioned way.
After we arrive at Mountain Popa, you will visit a sanctuary of the 37 nats and learn about interesting stories. Later, climb up 777 stairsteps to reach the summit where Popa Taungkalat Monastery awaits. The mountain is 1518 metres above sea level and views at hilltop takes in the Bagan plain with numerous temples.
Lunch will be served at a mountain top resort facing Mt.Popa. Get back to Bagan in the afternoon.
1. Visitors to Popa Taungkalat Monastery who wear red, black and green are considered to offen the Nats.
2. About 2,000 Rhesus macaques have taken residency here. Offering food to monkeys used to be considered as good merit and you will see a lot of local vendors selling feeding snacks along the way. However, nowadays it only leads to trash on the ground as the monkeys became too picky for good food, thus we would suggest you no feeding.
3. Monkeys can be very aggressive and anything in their sight can be snatched easily, so make sure your camera, sunglass and backpack are on a tight hold.
4. Distance lends enchantment to the view. It's ok if you don't feel like taking the 45-minute climb. We will take you to Mountain Popa Resort, where you can have a nice cup of coffee on a shaddy terrace whilst interesting stories told by your tour guide.
Fly to Heho, the airport city for Inle Lake in Taunggyi District, Shan State. Transfer to Kalaw and check in hotel. Free to walk around this peaceful town.
Surrounded by hills and villages, Kalaw town never sells itself as a fancy stopover. We will choose a clean, comfortable yet simple hotel for your stay.
1 night at Heritage Hotel
Located at an elevation of 1320 metres, the former British hill station Kalaw enjoys a mild and cool climate and offers perfect trekking with natural landscape and laid-back hill tribes. A trek in Kalaw is like traveling back in time to see what life was like without electricity, internet, expresso machine, cars and drinkable tapping water.
At sunrise, have a fresh coffee and breakfast at your hotel before we hit the road. Trekking 9km from Kalaw gets you to our first destination Ywa Thit Village, home to the humble Palaung People. The Palaung is a Mon-Khmer ethnic group living in Myanmar, Thailand and south-western part of China and they live mainly on agriculture and weaving.
After a short break at Ywa Thit, we will get to Taryaw Village, also home to the Palaung people. This humble village is known for the longhouses. Palaung people are very skillful in construction and every Palaung man takes the leading role in building a longhouse for their married sons and daughters-in-law. Houses are much smaller these days, but in old times, some longhouse can accommodate up to 50 families. We will have a simple lunch in this village.
Going through the forest in the afternoon provides you a nice journey to Kalaw Reservoir. The reservoir was built in the 1920's and some endangered bird species have been found and recorded here, including red-headed vulture, Mrs.Hume's pheasant, oriental pied hornbill and sarus crane.
Stretch your legs after today's trekking on the way to Inle Lake, which is about 1 ½ hours by car.
Heho, Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake are the three major settlements around Inle Lake area.
1. Heho, 1 hour away by car from Inle Lake, has an airport and a railway station, also the termnial of some long-haul buses. Travelers who plan to spend at least 5 days in Inle Lake favorite this place for budget-friendly accommodations and easy transfer.
2. Nyaungshwe, the main town of Inle Lake area, is 45 minutes by car to both the airport in Heho and to the lake itself. It offers a big share of mid-range hotels, great value resorts, nice restaurants and the lively main town atmosphere is just good for people-watching.
3. Inle Lake, particularly around the lakeshore, is where the finest resorts are located. Featuring with nice lake view and mostly garden-setting, these hotels are made for great stay more than just 1 night, which makes up the limited choice of getting around in these laid-back villages. Asia Highlights chooses hotels that are within half-hour driving to the lake with nice rooms and great services in Nyaungshwe.
3 nights at Inle Resort & Spa (Handpicked Comfort) / Aureum Inle Resort and Spa (Luxury)
Ever wonder how the villagers living in the floating houses get their daily suppliers? Today you will check out the 5-Day Market of the lake.
A 5-day rotation of hosting market is kept for ages by the major villages around Inle Lake, namely Nyaung Shwe, Heho, Indein, Taunggyi, Mine Thauk and Shwe Nyaung. Flat-bottomed boats squash the canel at the dork and vendors yell to sell their home-grew products and beautiful handicrafts.
Your journey goes on after a lunch in a floating restaurant, next stop is Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, the most worshipped shrine of the lake. During festivals, four Buddha images will be carried by boat on a river parade over the lake. As your boat gets into some smaller waterways, you will have a chance to spot those legendary fishermen who row their flat-bottomed boats with only one leg. Learn about how the locals grow tomoatoes, lentils and other vegetables in the floating gardens. Get back to your hotel and rest at leisure.
1. Boat trip to Indein is only available during the rainy season and winter, which is May to next February. The water is too shallow for boating during other time of the year.
2. For safety, one canoe can only take 4 passengers including the boatman and each passenger will have a life jacket.
3. The canoe is not shedded, sunglasses, hat and sun block are necessary.
4. A small gratitude of USD1/person will be made to the boatman by your tour guide after the ride.
A narrow and twist creek connects Indein Village with the massive Inle Lake and it makes a great day trip to the famous Indein Pagoda Complex .
Paddling a canoe into the complex brings you into a fascinating world: farmers tendering the floating gardens by both side of the creek, villagers loading up goods to their boats and children over the floating houses waving hands to you from afar. The first-reached site is Nyaung Ohak, a hidden locale with hundreds of brick pagodas. Take an easy walk to Shwe Inn Dain Pagoda (Shwe Inn Thein), which is scarterred with over 1,000 pagodas.
After lunch at a floating restaurant, you will be taken back to your hotel for free time.
Fly to Thandwe and transfer to Ngapali Beach. Free at leisure for the rest of today.
Most hotels in Ngapali Beach offer free airport transfer. Your travel advisor will offer you the contact information for your pick-up.- Shy Burmese:
Burmese people are relatively shy and they avoid too much body exposal or affection display in public. It is also nice to respect their culture and lifestyles while sunbathing on the beach.
3 nights at Bayview - The Beach Resort (Handpicked Comfort) / Aureum Resort and Spa (Luxury)
Enjoy your free days in Ngapali Beach!
Have some free time in Ngapali Beach and then fly to Yangon.
Have lunch in a local restaurant before the afternoon sightseeing starts. First stop will be Bogyoke Aung San Market, which is named after General Aung San. No matter you want to do some memorabilia or just browsering, this place can be an intriguing experience. Suanter in the Colonial District with historic buildings full of stories.
Local believers shuffle in during the sunset hours to Shwedagon Pagoda, the landmark of Yangon. As the sun is setting down, heat goes off and lights go on, creating a sublimely spectacular outline of the glittering pagoda in the night sky. On some important days, there will be some rituals such as novitiation ceremony when the parents send their young sons to the monastey or temple to be a monk.
2 nights at Sadona Hotel Yangon (Handpicked Comfort) / Novotel Yangon Max (Luxury)
Usually people don't see Yangon as a metropolise as the city is rather laid-back compared to Bangkok, Singapore or Ho Chi Minh City. Today take a train ride around the city to observe the cityscape.
Yangon Circular Train is 45km in length but it takes about 3 hours to complete the loop, which means it is rather slow and you will be granted a great opportunity to watch the local commuters on their ways to school, workplaces or markets. You will start the ride at about 09am from the Main Station. The train stops every 5 minutes and the locals only have a couple of minutes to hop on or hop off. Get off at a local market in the Insein Station and saunter through lines of veggie and fruit vendors, eventually meet your private transfer at the exit.
Get back to downtown for a simple lunch at a local restaruant before your visit to the National Museum of Myanmar. A good collection including historic relics and household items is on display at this museum, providing an outline of the country. Visit to the predominant Sule Pagoda, which is literally the center of Yangon city. Learn about Aung San Suu Kyi's life while passing her old house, in which she was help arrest for over 20 years.
Good time always flies fast. Today you will say goodbye to this amazing country and fly back home. Hope to see you again soon!
1. Yangon can be connected with most Asian capitals including Bangkok, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and etc.
2. What's your next destination? Entrust us with your Asia travel plan and extend the nice experiences in your next steps.
- A local Khmer scholar sharing insights of Angkor Wat
- Sparkling diamonds:Bantey Srei and Beng Meala
- Meet those who live above water in a floating village
- No time wasted - Airport Fast Track Services only for VIPs
- Helping while traveling - give back to the local community
Note: Taking Bangkok as transit, you can easily extend your trip to Siem Reap from Yangon.
Asia Highlights chooses hotels with a balanced mixture of traditional local style and modern comfort, easy access to everything yet quiet enough for a good night's sleep.
- One of the most popular mid-range hotels in Mandalay.
- To Mandalay Hill: 10min driving, to Mandalay Palace 15min of driving.
- Burmese royal style, good view, soft beds, swimming pool and free Wifi.
- #1 hotel in Monywa with appreciation amoung western travelers.
- Clean and well-equipped rooms in a quiet and natural setting.
- Outdoor swimming pool, river view, great food and warm services.
- Winner of 4 years of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
- Close to Bagan Archeological Zone, by the riverbank.
- Hand-built teak wood, swimming pool, big A/C rooms and free Wifi.
- Ranked 5/10 and with a score of 4.5 points on TripAdvisor.
- Colonial style building with morden comfort, dating back to 1903
- Soft bed, nice view from window, centrally located and friendly staff.
- Ranked 4 of all hotels in Inle Lake, a winner of Certificate of Excellence.
- Wood-constructed villas located in a quiet village, Inle Lake.
- Rooms of 100sqm, nice natural views and outdoor swimming pool.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor and ranked 8/16.
- Facing the ocean and features with white sand private beach.
- Free wifi, soft bed, spacious room, great food and attentive staff.
- Winner of Certificate of Excellence and ranked 12/138 on TripAdvisor.
- Royal-court style deco, outdoor swimming pool and big rooms of 40sq.
- Centrally-located, by the royal lake, nice view of Shwedagon Pagoda.
Note: Your comfort counts! It's totally possible to change hotels based on your interests and budget. Just let us know your preferences and we will help you choose.