Highlights of Myanmar tour

Description of Highlights of Myanmar tour

Watch the sunrise over the Buddhist temples and pagodas of Bagan, discover the ancient capital of Mandalay, cross the iconic U Bein Bridge and enjoy the tranquility of Inle Lake.

Discover the highlights of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) with a private, guided tour of Yangon's crumbling colonial architecture and the gleaming Shwedagon Pagoda, then fly to the ancient city of Bagan to explore transcendent landscapes of ruins on the banks of the Ayarwaddy River. In former capital Mandalay, you'll delve into history and explore Amarapura to see the famous wooden bridge, which spans Taungthaman Lake. Then, you'll journey to Inle Lake to navigate stitled villages, floating gardens, Buddhist pagodas and monasteries by boat.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Yangon - Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your accommodation. Enjoy a private, guided tour of Yangon in the afternoon. See the Chauk That Gyi Pagoda with its magnificent reclining Buddha figure, and Karaweik Hall, a majestic palace located on the eastern shore of Kandawgyi Lake. You can also visit the buzzing Bogyoke (Scotts) Market, home to hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, arts and garment stores.
Day 2:Guided Tour of Yangon - Enjoy a full-day tour of Yangon with your local guide today. Visit the colonial old town with its Sule Pagoda and see the City Hall and Maha Bandula Park, a tranquil space located in the heart of the city. You'll also visit the elegant Strand Hotel, which was built by the Sarkies Brothers and is one of Southeast Asia's most iconic five-star hotels. Venture inside the hotel to visit the River Art Gallery, where the works of some of Burma's most famous and skilled artists are on display. You'll end your tour with a visit to Yangon’s most iconic landmark, the Shwedagon Pagoda. This spectacular, 326-foot pagoda is situated on Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, and dominates the Yangon skyline.
Day 3:Fly to Bagan - After breakfast this morning, you’ll transfer back to Yangon's airport for a short flight to Bagan. In the afternoon, you'll head out on a guided tour to explore some of the most important sites of this ancient city. Your tour starts with a visit to the Dhammayangyi Temple, the largest temple in Bagan, which offers impressive views of the surrounding plains. You'll also visit the Shwezigon Pagoda, one of the oldest and most impressive monuments in the city, believed to house a holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Next on today's itinerary is the Gubyaukgyi Temple in Myinkaba Village, home to well-preserved, richly coloured paintings. While in Myinkaba, you will also get the chance to learn more about how Bagan’s famous lacquerware is made. Today’s temple tour will end with a trip to the beautifully symmetric and majestic Ananda Temple.
Day 4:Explore Bagan & Visit Mount Popa - You'll start your day in Bagan with a visit to Manuha Temple, built by a Mon king in the 1300s to mark his time in captivity under the king of Bagan. Continue your journey to the colourful Nyaung U Market, the largest market in the Bagan region and visit a cigar workshop to learn about how Burmese "cheroots" are produced. Next, you'll drive to Mount Popa. On the slopes of Mount Popa is the sacred Popa Taung Kalat Monastery, perched dramatically atop a huge rocky outcrop. This impressive Buddhist monastery is surrounded by sheer cliff faces and offers spectacular views of the surrounding plains. From the base of this volcanic outcrop, you can climb up the 777 steps to reach the monastery located at the summit, which takes around 20 minutes. Just beware of the monkeys - they look friendly but will steal anything they can get their hands on, including your purse, camera or phone! Later, you'll returnto Bagan, stopping en route at a family-run toddy shop to observe the process of making rich, caramel-like toddy candies from the sap of toddy palms, then enjoy an Ayarwaddy sunset cruise in the evening.
Day 5:Fly to Mandalay - Transfer to Nyaung U Airport for a short flight to Mandalay, located in central Myanmar. Upon arrival, you’ll be driven to Inwa, 20 kilometres south of Mandalay. Along with Mandalay, Inwa (or Ava as it was previously known) is one of Myanmar’s most famous cities. What makes it particularly interesting is that it’s built on an artificial island, made in the 1300s, by connecting the Irrawaddy and Myitnge Rivers with a canal. Enjoy a boat ride in the Myintnge River and explore Inwa on a horse-drawn cart. See the Bagaya Monastery, Nan Myint Watch Tower and Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery before heading to Amarapura, one of Myanmar's former capital citie, famous for its textile industry. You'll visit a cottage industry workshop and learn more about how Myanmar longyis are made. Your next destination is U Bein Bridge, one of Myanmar’s most iconic sites. Its picturesque structure has made the bridge one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. This bridge is also the world’s longest footbridge and spans over one kilometre in length.
Day 6:Explore Mingun - Take a boat across the Ayarwaddy River to Mingun, known for its huge, unfinished pagoda, the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, which was supposed to be the largest pagoda in the world. Return to Mandalay by boat and enjoy a half-day, guided tour of the city. Some attractions you will discover today include the bustling Zegyo Market, one of the city’s oldest and busiest and markets, as well as the Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay Palace, Shwenandaw Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda. At the end of the sightseeing tour, we will take you to Mandalay Hill, a popular place among the locals to watch sunset from.
Day 7:Fly to Inle Lake - Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your short flight to Heho, a small town in Shan State that acts as a gateway to popular destinations in the area, including Inle Lake. Visit the bustling local market in Heho before proceeding to Inle Lake, stopping en route at a workshop to see how Shan umbrellas and papers are made by traditional methods using the fibres of mulberry trees. Transfer to Nyaung Shwe Jetty, from where you’ll take a private boat to Inle Lake. This one-hour boat journey allows for stunning views of the Shan Hills and paddy fields. Check into your hotel near the lake upon arrival, then you are free for the rest of the day to explore Inle Lake at your leisure. Discover the lake's floating islands and gardens, made from the tangled roots of water hyacinths and reeds; see local Intha fishermen demonstrate their unique rowing technique, where they stand on the stern of their boats on one leg and wrap their other leg around the oar.
Day 8:Explore Inle Lake - Board a longboat in the morning to visit the Inn Thein Pagoda complex, located on the western side of Inle Lake. This complex features crumbling, ancient pagodas constructed over 1,000 years ago. Continue to the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, home to some of the country’s most sacred Buddha statues, covered in gold leaf by devotes. Take a trip to Inpawkhon Weaving Village to learn more about how the local garments are woven with silk and lotus fabrics. In Nampan Village, the locals will show you how Burmese cigars (cheroots) are traditionally rolled. End your day with a sunset cruise in a traditional canoe. The boatman will gracefully navigate the canoe through the canals and backwaters of Inle, past stilted villages and floating gardens.
Day 9:Depart from Yangon - Transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe in the morning. From there, it is a one-hour drive back to the airport in Heho from which you will catch your domestic flight to Yangon, in time for your onward international flight home.

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Departure information

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Responsible tourism

Highlights of Myanmar tour

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

On this holiday you’ll explore the beautiful Buddhist pagodas of Bagan, which are protected as part of the Bagan Archaeological Zone, with a local guide. Authorities recently introduced a ban prohibiting visitors from climbing the temples in order to preserve the ancient ruins, as well as to prevent potential accidents for those attempting to climb them. You’ll see that the temples have ‘do not climb’ signs in place and we ask that you respect these signs.

This itinerary also includes a visit to Ngapali Beach, located on the Bay of Bengal coast. Here you can snorkel in the clear waters and explore the colourful coral reefs, however we urge our clients to take care not to touch, kick or stand on the coral.

Myanmar has a huge litter and waste disposal problem. We ask our clients to help keep the country clean and within our detailed pre-departure packs we suggest that our clients take items, such as empty shampoo bottles and batteries, back home with them and recycle them in their own country.

Community

This holiday offers plenty of opportunities to engage with the local communities, either by stopping for a pot of tea at a homestay or visiting many of the local handicraft shops. For example, in Bagan we visit a family-run Toddy Shop to observe the process of making the rich and caramel-like toddy candies from the sap of the toddy palms, as well as visiting the Flat Mango Village, home to Danu families, an ethnic group of the Shan people. Your day is spent meeting the villagers and learning more about their typical rural life which helps to support them, as well as a fascinating cultural experience for you.

Myanmar is a very conservative and religious country, therefore we ask our clients to ensure that they dress modestly and respectfully. In our detailed pre-departure pack we inform our clients that men and women should have their legs and shoulders covered, especially when visiting rural villages or religious sites.

We visit numerous Buddhist pagodas and monasteries on this holiday and we ask our clients to respect the Buddhist beliefs and observe the temple etiquette. Our local guides are on hand to inform our clients of certain dos and don’ts when visiting these religious sites, for example you should remove your shoes and socks before entering pagodas or monasteries, you should refrain from stretching your legs in public or pointing your feet, and you should never touch Buddhist monks or their clothes and never hand objects directly to them.

We strongly encourage our clients to interact and engage with the Myanmar people. It is important to remember that tourism in Myanmar is still relatively new and the locals are curious about visitors and they welcome any opportunity to engage with them, however we do remind our clients that many people feel uneasy talking about politics - if someone is willing to talk about politics, then you can ask questions, but you should not impose your own views.

If you want to gain a true insight into the local way of life we suggest that you get up early. The people of Myanmar are most active early in the mornings and if you go out and about before breakfast you’ll see fishing boats out on Inle Lake, vendors setting up their stalls in the markets and horse and carts heading to the Bagan temples to beat the crowds.

We encourage our clients to spend their money locally rather than in government-run establishments. Our local guides will take our clients to local markets and villages where it is possible to buy authentic handmade products such as Marionettes (a Burmese tradition), silks, cotton fabrics, bags, wood carvings, lacquerware, pottery and silver jewellery – and this will ensure that the money goes directly to the local people and not to the government. Shopping at the zei (markets, often spelt zay) can be great fun and it offers a fantastic opportunity to interact with the locals.

The final days of this holiday are spent at Ngapali Beach, located on the Bay of Bengal coast. One of the properties we have chosen to work with at Ngapali Beach is Pleasant View Resort as they are strongly committed to supporting their local community. The resort employs villagers from the surrounding communities, including carpenters, cooks and cleaners, which has meant that local people have been able to secure employment rather than bringing in people from the cities. The resort currently employs approximately 100 people from the neighbouring communities. Pleasant View Resort also supports their local communities by providing safe drinking water for the public, medical care and treatment for the poor, and books for the local school library, plus they also make financial contributions to the Home for the Aged in Sandoway Town. During your stay here the resort are very happy to arrange visits to local villages to get an insight into the culture and daily life of the local people.

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