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What draws people to Myanmar is its unique lifestyles and pure innocence that are mostly untouched by the outside world. 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 before you get to Yangon with all its highlights.
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).
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, 2016 - Apr.30, 2017||Handpicked Comfort||Luxury|
|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 Hotel Shwe Pyi Thar (Handpicked Comfort) / Mandalay Hill Resort (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. Today you will learn more about the city's history at Mandalay Palace. The palace compound was severely destroyed during wartime, leaving only the moat and some walls to remind the Burmese of their golden days until a new version of palace was restored in the 1990s.
Step into 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.
After lunch at a local restaurant, visit 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. Late afternoon is the best time to take good photos of this site.
Get up to the top of Mandalay Hill to get a panoramic view of the city.
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.
After breakfast, drive for 15 minutes to the jetty on the Irrawaddy River to take a 1-hour boat trip upstream to Mingun.
Heavy building boom seemed to be the most important thing in King Bodawpaya's lifetime pursue of immortality. In his grandiose scheme, Mingun Pagoda was constructed to be the world's largest pagoda. However, his brutal toll on people caused a prophecy that with the complete of the pagoda comes the death of the king thus the project was slowed down. With the eventual halt of construction in the late 18th century, the massive pagoda looks like a gigantic rock from distance.
When you get off the boat, you will see two Chinthe lions about 29 meters high, guarding this unfinished dream of the king. Nearby, you will see Mingun Bell, the world's largest bronze bell that was built to go with the pagoda.
Visit the beautiful white pagoda, Hsinbyume Pagoda, also known as Myatheindan Pagoda, which is a premier spot for postcard photos.Get back to Mandalay by a downstream boat ride of 45 minutes, and you will have lunch at Mya Nandar Restaurant, overlooking the Irrawaddy River.
Take a nap in your cozy private car on the way to Monywa.
We will get you a 7-seat local boat instead of big tourist boat. Sun block, hat and sunglasses are needed even though the boat is roofed. Your tour guide will tip the boatman (USD1 for each passenger) on your behalf after the trip.- Accommodations in Monywa:
Monywa is rather a trading center for handicrafts and agricultural produce than a touristic destination and it meets very few travelers. Hotel choice is limited here and our choice, Win Unity Resort Hotel, is a small yet clean and cozy facility. Its friendly staff and spacious room (Deluxe Bungalow with Garden View of 42m²) offer you a nice stay.
1 night at Win Unity Resort Hotel
Compared to Mandalay or other tourism cities in Myanmar, you will see less western faces here, granting a better chance to blend in.
With little attention from the outside world due to its remoteness, Thanboddhay Paya remains a quiet and sublime worshiping center known across central Myanmar. It is a magnificent complex of stupas, shrines and monastic buildings, with the reported record of housing over 500,000 Buddha images. What's more interesting is the brightly painted exterior of the main hall. Pink, azure, green, yellow and all the delightful colors you can see in Disneyland is used here, as if Buddha has made a nice living in the pestal-colored wonderland.
Pay a visit to the imposing Bodhi Tataung before getting lunch at a local restaurant. Later, take a stroll in A Myint Village. The riverside village keeps its rustic looks and raison d’etre for a leg here is the ruined stupas crumbling amidst the village. Take a tea break at a humble teahouse and then we will hit the road to Pakokku.
Take a boat on the Irrawaddy River to Bagan, the 3-hour journey gives you good rest from today's tour and sunset over the river is just amazing.
You will need some instant enegry for today's trip. Pack some snacks for the road, and your tour guide will prepare a simple dinner box for your boat trip to Bagan.
2 nights at Bagan Hotel River View (Handpicked Comfort) / Aureum Palace Hotel and Resort (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 Thanakha Inle Hotel (Handpicked Comfort) / Aureum Inle Resort & Spa(Luxury)
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.
We will have a late lunch by the shore of the lake. Later, travel for 4km to Red Mountain Estate Winery, where you will spend a couple of hours learning about Burmese' finest and sampling 4 glasses of different wines.
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.
We will arrange something else for you if you are not a fan of wine, which will probably be a tea break at a floating tea house or a side visit to a local silver smith's.
Fresh air over the lake clears your mind and soul. After breakfast, another journey begins.
Take a boat trip in Inle Lake to experience the unique lifestyles. Firstly, visit Nga Phe Kuang, a monastery built above the water. This monastery used to be famous for the jumping cats but now cats are not trained with this kind of prowess, instead they will be just laying around and meow to greet you. Burmese believe building new pagodas and monasteries are part of their life merit, but not so in preserving the old ones, which is the reason why this ancient monastery is important as a preservation for ancient Buddha images and the wooden monastery itself holds a lot of history.
Villages around the lake take a 5-day rotation of hosting the market day. Today your tour guide will bring you to one of the floating market to explore the bustling local life. You will also witness the legendary one-leg rowing techniques of the fishermen.
Villages around Inle Lake take a 5-day market day rotation. The hosting sites are Nyaung Shwe, Heho, Taunggyi, Mine Thauk, Shwe Nyaung, where people from over the lake area will gather by boats and trade their goods including home-produced vegatables, handicrafts and daily suppliers. If you are interested, your travel advisor will try to match your travel with one market day if possible.
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 Pleasant View Resort (Handpicked Comfort) / Bayview - The Beach Resort (Luxury)
Enjoy your free days in Ngapali Beach!
Have some free time in Ngapali Beach and then fly to Yangon.
Check in hotel and have the rest of today free at leisure.
2 nights at The Kandawgyi Palace (Handpicked Comfort) / Novotel Yangon Max (Luxury)
Save the best for the last! Today's Yangon city tour brings you to country's bittersweet past and the core value of its people.
Legend has it that two brothers were given eight strands of holy hair of the Lord Buddha in their face-to-face session. Guided by the spirits, also known as the Nats, the brothers went on an arduous journey and eventually found a place to preserve the hair. Once the hair were put in place, layers and layers of stupa began to lay over the hair and all stupas are layered with gold, silver, copper, lead, marble and jade, thus the shimmering Shwedagon Pagoda. Start your visit with this icon and we will move on to the Colonial District of Yangon, where you will see a lot of historical buildings dating back to the colonial era, including the Former Pegu Club, the Former High Court and the Strand Hotel.
After lunch, visit National Museum before experience bustling life in Chinatown. Take a stroll around Aung San Su Kyi's House, where she were held under house arrest for 15 years. End today's trip at Bogyoke Aung San Market.
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. From guesthouses to high-end luxury resorts, just let us know your preferences and we will help you choose.