12 day tour of Myanmar

Price

$3600
single supplement
$650

Contact form

11 + 12 =

Festival Special tour date:      02 – 14 October 2017

    

Escorted by:

 Ian Stanford

Itinerary

(Yangon – Heho – Pindaya – Nyaung Shwe – Inle Lake – Bagan – Mt. Popa – Mandalay)

Pay Deposit Here

(credit card fees are waived for deposits)

Day 1

Yangon

Met on arrival | Welcome dinner 


Upon arrival to YANGON airport, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel.

Welcome dinner at hotel.

Overnight stay at Panorama Hotel  or similar in Yangon.

X / X / Dinner

Panorama Hotel

Day 2

Yangon

Circular train | Neighbourhood stroll and banana and coconut market | Feel restaurant for lunch | Visit your first Buddha | Shwedagon Pagoda | Karaweik Palace Restaurant


First up, you will have a taste of the Myanmar Railway services with a short ride on the Circular Train (not 100% punctual).

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First up, you will have a taste of the Myanmar Railway services with a short ride on the Circular Train (not 100% punctual)The Circular Train does a loop around the city of Yangon and provides cheap transport for the locals. It was built during British colonial times, is old and not very punctual. This is the real Yangon that normal tourists do not experience. There will be a stroll in the neighbourhood culminating at the riverside banana and coconut market.

Lunch will be served at Feel Restaurant which is full of locals – expats and tourists come here as well as it serves typical Burmese dishes from across the country

This will be followed by a visit to the Chaukhtet Reclining Buddha where you will gain a different aspect of Buddhist devotion in Myanmar. This Buddha is rather large.

It will then be time for you to go and visit the great Shwedagon pagoda shining like a mountain of gold enhanced by the rays of the setting sun. You will have a leisurely visit here. You will be able to observe the local devotees performing their rituals and experience the many and varied pagodas of all shapes and sizes. You will also be able to calm your mind and take in the wonderful atmosphere of peace and tranquillity that Buddhism embodies.

Afterwards, you will board the coach again to go and have dinner including a cultural show at Karaweik Palace Restaurant. This will take your breath away with its traditional architecture in the shape of a barge and the beautiful women in exotic and sophisticated dress serving samples of Burmese food prior to entering the dining hall for your main meal. During the meal you will be entertained with an outstanding traditional performance – an amazing experience not to be missed.

Overnight at your hotel in Yangon

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Panorama Hotel

Day 3

Yangon

Interact with the locals in an English class | Walking tour of Old Rangoon’s colonial centre | Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott’s Market)


You will pay an educational visit to an English class taught by local teachers.

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You will be able to interact with the students and learn about their lives as they alternatively are able to listen to and absorb your native fluent English. This is a win-win situation and will be a truly memorable experience as others have stated on previous trips.

Lunch will be at a local restaurant. After lunch you will visit Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott’s Market). This is a major two story bazaar located in central Yangon. It is known for its colonial architecture and inner cobblestone streets having been built by the British in 1926. It contains many small antique stores, jewellers selling Burmese ruby, jade and other precious stones plus art galleries, handicraft shops, restaurants and clothes stores.

This will be followed with a downtown walk to take in the atmosphere and the central landmarks.

Dinner will be on your own account to discover Yangon for yourself.

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Breakfast / Lunch / X

Panorama Hotel

Day 4

Yangon – Heho – Pindaya – Nyaung Shwe

Fly to Heho | Pindaya caves | Craftsman making parasols


After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight from Yangon to Heho.

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Upon arrival in Heho, there is about a 2 ½ hour drive to Pindaya which will fascinate you with its fantastic landscapes of rolling hills covered with colourful patchworks of seasonal vegetables and flowers with the minority tribes going about their daily chores.

Upon reaching the town of Pindaya, driving through a banyan tree grove, you will pay a visit to the sacred Pindaya Caves with 1000s of Buddha images placed there by local devotees as offerings over centuries which will give you a sense of the people’s deep devotion. Many of the Buddha images there were created not only by locals but also by pilgrims from all over the world.

Afterwards, you will proceed to visit a craftsman’s workshop where you will get to see the craftsman making parasols from the basic wood ingredients to the end product all created from hand-made paper and carved wood.

And then, you will back track the same colourful road and be driven to Nyaung Shwe, the main gateway to the famed Inle Lake.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Nyaung Shwe.

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5

Nyaung Shwe – Inle lake – Indein

Trishaw to the jetty and long tail boat to Inn Dein | Weaving house and Padaung women | Jumping Cat Monastery, Floating Gardens and Inthar’s stilt houses | Phaung Daw  Oo Pagoda, Burmese cheroot cigar makers and lotus weaving village | Visit one of your boatmen’s homes for dinner


After breakfast at the hotel you will hop on a trishaw to go to the jetty.

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Today if you are lucky you will need to get up very early again because there could be a market taking place in the lake vicinity – market places here rotate on a once-every-5-day basis – you will be able to observe how locals dress, trade, eat etc and then you will head out by boat again to Inn Dein Village.

Upon arrival there you will be tempting souvenir shops at the jetty and along the streets. You will walk through the village along a stream with a beautiful grove of bamboo trees for about 30-45 minutes. At the end of the walk you will be confronted by an array of ruined stupas which picturesquely dot the hillside. Then you will walk on through the complex of stupas, pay a brief visit to the main stupa atop the hill and return by following a long covered stairway lined with souvenir vendors to tempt you.

Next it will be a visit to Ngaphechaung Village Communal Monastery which boasts an impressive collection of old Shan Buddha images with their intriguing and delicately ornate headdresses which is unique for this area. The monastery is also known among tourists as “the jumping cat monastery” thanks to some pet cats that the monks have trained to jump through hoops. You might be able to see them if the monks happen to have them performing.

Then hop on the boat again to continue your exploration of the lake and cruise along some narrow street canals to explore the Floating Gardens with a stop en-route to have a close-up look (from the boat) at how they cultivate a variety of vegetables on the incredibly fertile floating gardens. The vegetables (mostly tomatoes) are actually growing in soil which is floating on the water.

Moving on you will cruise through some villages of the Inthars where their houses are mostly on stilts.

Afterwards a visit will be made to the most revered shrine of the region, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, noted for its 5 Buddhas. You won’t be able to recognise them as they have been so heavily covered with gold-leaf by devotees that they are hardly recognisable as Buddha images.

Then, it will be time to see some cottage industries still thriving in this region beginning with the Burmese cigar makers, who produce handmade “cheroot” cigars.

Then on to the weaving village of Inpawkhone, which is famous for its unique patterns and designs. The material is made from lotus stems.

You will pay a brief visit to a souvenir shop where there is usually a few Padaung women famous for their long necks. Inle Lake is not their homeland but they often come here to make a living selling their wares. There is no guarantee of seeing them as their neck ring practice is dying out and they may not be in attendance. Also known locally as Kayen, the Padaung women begin wearing stacks of brass rings around their necks from the age of 13 and continue to add more as they grow up. Nowadays few women follow this tradition.

Afterwards, board your boat and pay a visit to one of your boatmen’s homes to learn about their lives and where they will serve you a traditional dinner.

Overnight at your hotel in Nyaung Shwe.

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Breakfast / Lunch / X

Day 6

Nyaung Shwe

Transfer by toke-toke for an 8 hour soft walk | Inn Thar and Taung Yoe tribal villages | Lunch and talk with the locals in one of their homes | Wine tasting at a winery


This morning you will be transferred by toke-toke to a starting point to begin a soft walk.

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Good walking shoes will be required as there will be approximately 2 ½ hours of walking broken up into 20 min, 1 hour and 1 hour stretches of walking with long breaks between each leg of the journey and stops along the way to observe and interact with the locals. You will visit the villages of the Inn Thar and Taung Yoe tribes in the north eastern part of the lake. You will get to meet and interact with the villagers.

You will see them toiling in their fields and witness the cultivation of cheroot leaves, corn and beans and finally stop by at a natural spring for a refreshing break.

You will get the opportunity to talk to the villagers and learn about their lives, challenges and aspirations while enjoying a simple lunch prepared by a family in a home in one of the villages that you will pass through.

Your trekking will finish at a winery where there will be a wine tasting while relaxing and enjoying the view overlooking the lake.

Then it’s back to Nyaung Shwe by coach.

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Breakfast / Lunch / X

Day 7

Nyaung Shwe

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival | Boat races | Fly to Bagan 


We will start very early today to catch the colourful ceremonial barge which is the centrepiece of the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival.

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This is the most important festival of the year and is reported to be the most spectacular in Asia. People will be in their boats surrounding and escorting the barge on its annual journey around Inle Lake and they will be in their traditional dress and putting on a display in veneration of the holy Buddha images on board the barge.

Today is the highlight of the festival so you will see boat races with leg rowers doing their utmost to be the best.

Fly to Bagan

Overnight at your hotel in Bagan.

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Floral Breeze Hotel

Day 8

Inle lake – Heho – Bagan

 Visit a subsistence living but happy village | View Mt. Popa monastery from Popa Mountain Resort | A toddy palm farm | Sunset over Bagan


After breakfast at the hotel you will board your bus and depart Bagan.

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En route, you will pass through quaint villages and small towns finishing at the Popa Mountain Resort for a drink and to enjoy the breathtaking views of a mystic landscape including the captivating Mt. Popa monastery perched on the top of a precipitous rocky pinnacle, which the resort overlooks. After a leisurely stay here you will be ready to move on again.

About half an hour after leaving the resort, you will visit a subsistence living village where you will see their very basic living standards. Their homes are made of palm timber and fronds with bare earth floors. Their water is carted by cattle drawn water carts from a reservoir. All this is a far cry from the standards we enjoy. However the village is clean, orderly and everyone is very happy. Maybe they can teach us a thing or two.

After a stroll through the village you will continue by coach and stop at a toddy palm farm where the farmer is happy to show you how he harvests the toddy, makes it into toddy sugar, toddy liqueur and a lot of other products all from the toddy palm.

And then you will proceed back to Bagan where you will arrive around sunset in time for viewing the sunset from the top of a temple.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Bagan.

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Floral Breeze Hotel

Day 9

Bagan

Optional cycle tour by peddle bike or battery scooter | A lacquerware workshop | Archeological Museum | Ananda Temple and Shwesandaw Pagoda | A home-hosted dinner with the locals  


This morning is at leisure with optional tours available:

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CYCLING TOUR

Cycling through the ruins of Bagan and passing farmers and their villages is indeed a memorable experience apart from being good exercise and fun. For those who are not quite so keen on the exercise then battery powered scooters are available. You can even have your own scooter driver if you wish which means you would just sit on the back.

This afternoon you will visit a lacquerware workshop, Archeological Museum, Ananda Temple and Shwesandaw Pagoda.

A home-hosted dinner with locals will be a speciality tonight where you will have the ability to interact with and come to a better understanding of the lives of the locals living in Bagan.

Overnight at your hotel in Bagan.

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Floral Breeze Hotel

Day 10

Bagan – Mandalay – Ava- Sagaing – Amarapura

Fly to Mandalay | Myeceta Monastery – feed the monks | Boat trip to Ava (Innwa) | Bargayar Monastery and Nanmyint Watch Tower | Maha Aung Myay Bon Zan Monastery | Swon Oo PonNya Shin Pagoda | U Bein Bridge at Amarapura


After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for a short flight to Mandalay.

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Upon arrival you will travel by coach to the Myeceta Monastery where the monks will ready themselves for the day by partaking in their first and only meal of the day. You will be given the chance to make your offerings of food to be placed in their bowls as they pass by on their way to the Mess Hall for their collective meal taken in silence. You will be able to follow them in to observe this daily activity however total silence and respect will be required of you.

You will then travel to to Ava (Innwa), one of the ancient capitals of Myanmar (approx 45 minute drive) which is to be reached by crossing a small river on a make-shift ferry. Ava was a royal city for centuries and yet upon arriving in Ava this time you will feel as though you were thrown back in time by at least 200 years and hence the mode of transport here will be horse-drawn carts.

You will board your waiting horse and cart and be driven by your driver to visit a 150-year old monastery still in use called Bargayar Monastery. It is one of the oldest teak monasteries in Myanmar and provides a superb example of a traditional monastic structure from days gone by.

From here you will continue with your ride to visit Nanmyint Watch Tower, one of the few remaining structures of the old palace albeit in a ruined state. Climbing up the tower on its steep wooden steps you will be rewarded with a great view of the surrounding areas as well as the distant Sagaing Hills covered with numerous pagodas.

Continuing the tour from here, you will reach another remnant of the old royal capital of Ava in the form of a huge monastery “Maha Aung Myay Bon Zan” built of bricks but still following the traditional wooden architectural style.

After that you will board your horse-drawn cart again to go back to the jetty to take the ferry back, board the bus and proceed across the Ayerwaddy River, up the holy hill of Sagaing to pay a visit to Swon Oo PonNya Shin Pagoda on Sagaing Hill. There are marvellous views from here.

Next you will visit a monastery to learn about the lives of the monks.

Then, you will backtrack to Amarapura to enjoy the romantic atmosphere on the U Bein Bridge, reputed to be the longest teakwood span in the world, built in 1847 with teak logs and planks dismantled from the Ava Palace, which was moved to Amarapura that year.  U Bein Bridge is a very popular attraction not only with international tourists but more so with the locals. In fact for many local visitors to Mandalay it is the most visited site.

After the sun sets, you will return to the hotel for your overnight stay in Mandalay.

Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Mandalay.

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Floral Breeze Hotel

Day 11

Mandalay

Mandalay Hill | Mahamuni or Payagyi | Gold-leaf making workshop | Golden Palace Monastery and Kuthodaw Pagoda | Free afternoon and dinner


You will skip your hotel breakfast today and join the locals for breakfast at a local teashop where the locals have breakfast before they start their long day.

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Then you will start your city tour of Mandalay – visits include:

  • Mandalay Hillwhich overlooks and provides a panoramic view of Mandalay. 
  • Mahamuni or Payagyi,which means “Great Sage”.
  • gold-leaf making workshopwhere they pound the gold into wafer thin pieces to be bought by Buddhist devotees to be stuck on their favourite Buddhist image.
  • Golden Palace Monasterynoted for its fabulously ornate wood-carvings.
  • Kuthodaw Pagoda, nick-named the biggest book in the world with its 729 pages made of marble slabs.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

Transfer to the hotel and the rest of the day is at your leisure and dinner is on your own account.

Overnight at your hotel in Mandalay.

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Breakfast / Lunch / X

Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel

Day 12

Mandalay – Mingun – Mandalay

Boat to Mingon  | Pahtodawgyi | Mingon Bell |  Chinthes | Hsinbyume Pagoda | Afternoon free


After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the jetty where you will board a private boat to go upstream at a leisurely 11 km per hour.

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You will be able to enjoy the bustling life on the riverbank from the sundeck of your boat as it wends its way to Mingon.You will see various activities on the river such as fishermen, teak rafts and sand-diggers plus observing the lifestyles of the riverine crofters on the banks. After one hour of leisurely cruising you will arrive at Mingun which, despite being a small village, has a number of historical sites and some rather large edifices:

  • the unfinished Pahtodawgyi, a mammoth project which if completed would have claimed to be the biggest temple on earth.
  • the world’s largest “uncracked” Mingon Bell (weighing in at 90 tons) which would have accompanied the immense temple.
  • the buttocks of gigantic Chinthes, which would have served as suitably large guardians of the king of temples.
  • Hsinphyumei Pagodawith its unique architectural design reminiscent of Mount Meru from Buddhist mythology.

You will then return to Mandalay by boat, transfer to the hotel and the rest of the day is at your leisure including finding your own lunch.

Meet back at the hotel and hop on the coach and head to the venue for the farewell dinner.

Overnight at your hotel in Mandalay.

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Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel

Day 13

Mandalay – Departure

Morning free until transfer to the airport


After breakfast you will be transferred to Mandalay International Airport for your departure flight. Free time will be dependent on the departure time of your flight.

Hotels:

Panorama Hotel in Yangon (Superior rooms)

Grand Nyaung Shwe Hotel in Nyaung Shwe (Deluxe rooms)

Floral Breeze Hotel in Bagan (Deluxe rooms)

Yadanarpon Dynasty Hotel in Mandalay (Deluxe rooms).

Breakfast / X / X

This tour of necessity needs to be flexible. Sometimes something listed on the itinerary may not be possible and additions may be made depending on the circumstances at the time. Spontaneity will be part of the essence of the tour and will result in unforeseen opportunities for interactions with the locals. No tour is ever exactly the same but every tour results in unforgettable experiences.

Tour Details

Included in the tour price

  • Private transfers and tours with English speaking local guide(s) in air-conditioned coaches as per the itinerary
  • Domestic flights, ferry, boat(s) and horse carts
  • Standard rooms at hotels with breakfasts as per the itinerary
  • Meals as specified
  • All entrance fees
  • Bottled water
  • Baggage handling

Not included in the tour price

  • Early check-in or late check-out (subject to availability)
  • International air ticket
  • Camera fees if any
  • Myanmar visa fees
  • Personal insurance
  • Other services which are not mentioned in the program
  • Expenditure of a personal nature such as drinks, souvenirs and laundry

Air Fares

Tours can be combined with any flight itinerary you choose, whether you are planning to visit other destinations or Myanmar only. Please contact Global Tours for suggestions regarding your choice of flights. There are a lot of options to choose from and we are happy to help you choose. We will assume that you are an experienced traveller however if you have difficulties with booking on-line (you do need to be careful) then we will assist and do the booking for you however we will need to add a service fee. Ideally we would prefer you to make your own airline bookings on-line and advise us of your arrival and departure details. We can help with pre and post accommodation if needed if you prefer to use our tour hotels for continuity.

Cancellations

Our cancellations policy is as follows:
  • More than 60 days before departure – loss of non-refundable deposit only
  • Less than 60 days before departure – 25 % of the tour price
  • Less than 45 days before departure – 50 % of the tour price
  • Less than 30 days before departure – 100 % of the tour price
  • No Show – 100 % charge
Refunds will not be given for unused or cancelled services after your tour arrangements have commenced.

Global Tours

We believe the ultimate travel experience includes interaction with the local people of the country. Global Tours provides you with the opportunity to meet and interact with the locals and appreciate the differences which make us all unique. You will also discover that as humans we have far more in common than we have that is different.

© 2017 Global Tours.

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