Tailored from £3,700 per person excl. flights
9 days Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake
9 days Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake
This streamlined adventure tour through Myanmar gives you the ideal itinerary to cover all the highlights in one great holiday. You will see the colonial era capital of Yangon, the wonderful pagodas of Bagan, the religious and cultural centre of Mandalay and the breathtaking Inle Lake. All this makes for an incredible journey, in little over a week, through a remarkable destination which has just opened up to tourism.
Upon arrival at Yangon international airport you are met by your Wayfairer guide and driven to your hotel. Our journey begins with an afternoon tour through the colonial-style city centre of Yangon. We start to visit Chauk That Gyi pagoda to view its magnificent reclining Buddha figure, and Karaweik Hall to marvel at the uniquely decorated “hamsa-bird-shaped” floating barge on Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake. We visit Bogyoke (Scotts) Market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of color. Relax back at your hotel this evening.
Today is dedicated to your full city tour of Yangon with your local Wayfairer guide. You will visit the colonial old town with the Sule Pagoda, City Hall and Mahabandoo Park which is a heart of Yangon City surrounded by memorable scenes of numerous Colonial style buildings - making for a memorable photo stop. We continue to one of Asia’s architectural landmarks, the elegant Strand Hotel built by the Sarkies brothers. Inside, we visit the River Art Gallery, where the works of some of the most famous and skilled Burmese artists are on display fitting of the grand surroundings. We complete the day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline. Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here. The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed!
After breakfast, we transfer to Yangon airport for a 1hr flight to Nyaung U/ Bagan. Where we begin our journey into the Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan. The Dhamayangyi Temple is our first visit, providing panoramic views of the temple studded plains of Bagan, the gold gilded Shwe Zi Gone Pagoda, purported to contain a holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Not far from the stupa, the Myingabagu Bbyaukgyitemple is a sight to behold, housing Bagan’s best preserved mural paintings of the Buddha’s Jataka re-incarnations. Next, we learn how Bagan’s famous lacquerware crafts are produced in Myingaba Village, and then visit Htilominlo Temple to learn how Burmese sand paintings are created. The day’s temple tour ends with a visit to the beautifully symmetric and majestic Ananda Temple with its four standing Buddha images that seem to gaze at the viewer with fixed serenity wherever the viewer stands. For sunset, a Bullock Or Horse Cart Ride around the Shwe Sandaw Temples offers unparalleled photo opportunities of one of the richest archeological treasures in Southeast Asia as the sun dips behind the temple ruin.
After breakfast, a morning visit to the Manuha Temple, built by the Mon king in the 1300s to represent his time in captivity under the Bagan king. We continue to the colorful Nyaung U Market, the largest market in the Bagan region, and a Cigar Work Shop to learn how Burmese “cheroots” are produced. Next, a 1 1/2hrs drive takes us to Mount Popa, the Burmese spiritual epicenter for those who worship the pantheon of nat spirits and martyrs. After paying respects to the Nat Shrine at the foot of Mount Popa, we climb nearly 800 steps to the pagoda perched at the top of the mountain to admire the views of the surrounding plains and farm lands. Then, we drive back to Bagan and stop enroute at 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. In the late evening, we transfer to the Ayarwaddy River for a Private Sunset Cruise where views of the temple silhouettes and bustling shore can be accompanied by cocktails on board.
This morning we transfer to the Nyaung U airport for your morning flight to Mandalay, a capital of Myanmar Culture. Upon arrival to Mandalay Airport, we proceed to Ava (Inwa), ancient capital of Shan and Burmese kingdoms reign over four centuries. After ferry crossing over Myint Nge River we will explore Ava on horse cart. Visit hundreds years old Bagaya Teak Monastery; Nanmyin Watch Tower last standing structure of palace compound also known as the leaning tower of Ava; beautifully shaped Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery building. Tour visit to ancient city; Amarapure, famous for its’ weaving and textile industry. Visit cottage industry work shop and learn how Myanmar longyis and other handicrafts are made. In Amarapura continue to Ubein Bridge spanning 1.2km over Taungtaman lake. Experience magical sunset by the bridge, or hire a rowboat on lake for classic shots.
After breakfast we embark on a journey to Ancient Kingdoms of Burma. Our day will start with a 1-hour cruise across the mighty Ayarwaddy River (Irrawaddy) to Mingun. Mingun is known for its massive unfinished pagoda cracked by earth quake and largest unbroken bronze bell in the world. Return to Mandalay by boat and then half day city tour in Mandalay include Zegyo Market in the heart of the city to experience real Mandalay, artisan quarters where some of the oldest jobs, dating back to old kingdoms times can still be seen. Observe how gold leaf is pounded by hand, teakwood carvings and Myanmar tapestry are done, and learn how bronze and marble Buddha’s are crafted. Proceed to Mandalay highlights; the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, covered in tons of gold leaf pasted by continuous stream of pilgrims throughout centuries; visit Golden Palace Monastery, the only surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay; Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved on stone slabs, also known as the world’s largest book. End the days sightseeing with fabulous views over Mandalay City skyline from the Mandalay Hill.
After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Airportand fly to Heho. Heho,a quiet transit town with one of the few airport links in the beautiful hills of Shan State. Visit the bustling main Heho Market, the meeting point for different ethnic minority groups of the surrounding areas to trade handmade goods and locally grown produce (on market days only). The second largest lake in Myanmar is situated at an altitude of 900m and is 22km long and 11km wide. Enroute to Inle Lake, we stop at a Local Family Work Shop to learn how Shan umbrellas and paper are made by traditional methods using the fibres of the mulberry tree. Arrival to Nyaung Shwe Jetty, we take a 1-hour drive by private boat to Inle Lake that descends through the valley with views of the Shan mountains and rice paddy fields. After checking into the hotel, we embark on afternoon explorations of Inle Lake, populated with floating islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roots of water hyacinth plants and reeds. Delight in the picturesque sights of fishermen who balance and row with one leg, a technique indigenous to the Inn Thar minority group who do this only on Inle Lake.
After breakfast we journey out by boat, following the currents of a small river to reach the Inn Thein Pagoda Complex, a site that makes us feel as if we’ve stepped through a forgotten portal in time. To access the complex, we walk through verdant bamboo groves that open up to a field covered with the ancient pagodas constructed over 1,000 years ago. We boat back to the lake and visit Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, the home of some of the country’s most sacred Buddha statues covered in gold leaf by devout followers. We also make a visit to the Inpawkhon Weaving Village to learn how local silks, linens and lotus fabrics are handmade and crafted. As an extra treat, we stop at a house for Burmese Cats built over the lake, where we see the preservation efforts and reintroduction of this rare pure breed of felines to Myanmar. At Nampan Village, local craftsmen show us how Burmese cigars, or “cheroots,” are traditionally packed and rolled. We end our day with magnificent sunset canoe ride with boatmen who gracefully navigate and row perched on one leg.
This morning we transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe town and we drive 1hr to Heho airport for flight to Yangon. When you arrive to Yangon airport and transfer to international departure.
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Myanmar is a destination where its tourist industry is still in its infancy. It is essential that best practice and fair wages create a strong bond between tourism and the tangible benefits it brings to the local community. Wayfairer's fair trade ethos ensures that you have the best guides who recieve great training, wages and who are in no way reliant on tipping.