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Myanmar tour – premium small group travel. Feel free to ask for references.
Yangon – Bagan – Inle Lake – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay – Bangkok
On this meticulously planned Myanmar tour, you’ll explore this amazing country in depth with expert guides and in an intimate small group setting.
Formerly known as Burma, the beautiful and culturally rich country of 60 million in 100 ethnic groups is rapidly emerging from more than 50 years of military dictatorship. As Myanmar leapfrogs to the top of the list of travel destinations for so many travellers, its frontier feel is quickly disappearing. Now is the time to visit this extraordinary land, where the traditional ways of Asia endure and areas previously off-limits are opening up. The friendly people of Myanmar are thrilled to have tourists after being closed off to the West for so long. And the country is incredibly safe. Myanmar’s glittering golden pagodas, enigmatic ruined temples, picturesque countryside and colourful culture are ready for you to explore.
- Small group size (20 max)
- Experienced tour leader
- Expert local guides
- No forced shopping stops
- Authentic local cuisine
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers included.
- Unlimited supply of bottled water
- Free Wi-Fi in all hotel
- Cultural show
- Village and school visits
Nights per location:
Yangon: 3 | Bagan: 2 | Inle Lake: 2 | Mandalay: 3 | Bangkok: 1
Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner
Scroll down for dates, prices, hotel list and visa requirements.
Day 1/Wed: Departing Home City
The Myanmar tour begins with your transpacific flight departing from a city of your choice. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Thu: Arrival in Yangon
Welcome to Yangon. Meet your guide on arrival and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Day 3/Fri: Yangon (B/L/D)
Yangon is the former capital and the largest city of Myanmar. Once known as Rangoon (“end of strife”), it was founded in the 11th century starting as a fishing village and was transformed into a commercial and political hub after it was seized by the British in 1852 during the Second Anglo-Burmese War.
Our walking tour of the historical downtown core this morning takes in Sule Pagoda (entry not planned), Independence Park, the City Hall, photo gallery by Yangon Heritage Trust, Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue (the only synagogue in Myanmar), the Secretariat complex and famous buildings constructed during the British colonial, especially those on Strand Road.
We retreat to the hotel after lunch to avoid intense heat in early afternoon. Later today, just before sunset, we arrive at the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Situated on a hilltop, the spectacular Buddhist temple thought to be more than 2,500 years old is the city’s most significant landmark.
Day 4/Sat: Yangon (B)
After a stroll along lovely Kandawgyi Lake and a visit to the National Museum of Myanmar, we spend the rest of the day exploring Yangon on our own. We recommend the famous Scott Market which is very popular among jewelry and handicraft shoppers.
Day 5/Sun: Yangon – Bagan (B/L)
The early morning flight to Bagan takes 1 hour 20 minutes. Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region. From the 9th to 13th century, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day.
The most prominent monuments we will visit in Bagan include Shwesandaw Pagoda and Ananda Temple. We will also learn about the local lacquerware during our visit to a traditional workshop. Viewing the vast forest of spires of temples from above is another highlight of our visit to Bagan.
Day 6/Mon: Bagan (B/D)
We start the day with a stroll through a local market. We then proceed to Shwezigon Pagoda built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century. This is followed by a stop at Khay Min Ga Temple for a panoramic view of the pagodas and temples in the area. We return to the hotel after lunch. Later we drive to Bupaya Pagoda or Mingala Zedi Stupa to watch sunset over the Irrawaddy River. This evening, we enjoy a traditional dinner accompanied by a cultural performance.
Day 7/Tue: Bagan – Inle lake (B/L/D)
After a relaxing morning, we fly to Heho, gateway to the tranquil Inle Lake.The freshwater lake sitting at 880 metres above sea level is the second largest of its kind in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 116 square kilometres (44.9 square miles). The average depth of the lake ranges from 2.1 metres in dry season to 3.6 metres in raining season.
The lake is lined with simple villages on stilts and dotted with unique floating gardens tended by farmers in their boats. The state of Shan, where the lake is situated, is known for its traditional papermaking and we can witness this craft during a workshop visit.
Buffet dinner at resort.
Day 8/Wed: Inle Lake (B/L/D)
This morning we explore the Indein Stupa Complex, a stunning forest of 1,000 ancient towering spires. We then get in a small boat to visit one of the lake’s villages perched on stilts. After lunch, we visit a charming silk-weaving village and stop by at one of the village’s floating gardens.
Buffet dinner at resort.
Day 9/Thu: Inle Lake – Mandalay (B/L/D)
Free morning to relax. Fly to Mandalay in late afternoon.
Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 716 km north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city has a population of 1.3 million and is the economic hub of Upper Burma. During the Second World War, Mandalay suffered massive damages by Japanese air raids. On April 3, 1942, Japanese bombers dropped incendiary bombs on the city, creating a huge firestorm and resulting in the death of about 2,000 civilians.
After hotel check-in we drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for a panoramic view of the city in sunset.
Day 10/Fri: Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay (B/L)
After breakfast, we embark on a 67km drive to Pyin Oo Lwin. The scenic hill town was once known as Maymyo, named after Colonel James May (later Major General) of the 5th Bengal Infantry stationed there in 1886. The town located at 1,070 metres above sea level was developed during the colonial era and used by the British to escape Rangoon’s summer heat and humidity. Many of the locals in Pyin Oo Lwin still prefer to call their town Maymyo. Although the British have been long gone, the bungalows, villas and public buildings built by them still remain.
We will drive past numerous British buildings and visit one or two of them along the way, but the main reason we come here is the well maintained Kandawgyi Botanic Garden.
The National Kandawgyi Garden complex is a 435-acre botanical garden first established in 1915 as the Maymyo Botanical Gardens by Alex Roger, a Forest Officer. The original site was 30 acres and modeled after the Kew Gardens of England with the help of an amateur gardener called Lady Cuffe. On December 1, 1924, the site, with a total area of 240 acres at the time was declared the Government Botanical Reserve. This is also the year when the Burmese Ministry of Forestry designated the Botanical Gardens a “protected forest area”. In the year of 2000, the garden underwent a major renovation. Since then it has been heavily used by the Burmese government to promote ecotourism. The Botanical Gardens has more than 480 species of flowers, shrubs and trees. The $5 admission fee (locals pay less) covers the butterfly museum, the orchid garden and the aviary.
Day 11/Sat: Mandalay (B/L)
Our full-day sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda complex, a boat cruise on Irrawaddy River that takes us to Mingun Pahtodawgyi ruins, and U Bein Bridge.
Mingun Pahtodawgyi is an incomplete monument stupa in Mingun, approximately 10 kilometers northwest of Mandalay across the Irrawaddy River. The ruins are the remains of a massive construction project begun by King Bodawpaya in 1790 which was intentionally left unfinished on advice from his astrologers. The Pahtodawgyi is seen as the physical manifestations of the well known eccentricities of Bodawpaya, who set up an observation post on an island off Mingun to personally supervise the construction of the temple.
U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura, not far from Mandalay. The 1.2-kilometre bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Construction began when the capital of Ava Kingdom moved to Amarapura, and the bridge is named after the mayor who had it built.
Day 12/Sun: Mandalay – Bangkok (B)
Free morning to explore on your own. Transfer to the airport for afternoon flight (1 hour 55 minutes) to Bangkok where we stay at Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is connected to the hotel through an air-conditioned corridor. The balance of the day is at leisure. Those departing Bangkok late the next day and wishing to explore Bangkok may ride the airport express train to downtown, which takes only 20 minutes.
Day 13/Mon: Bangkok – Home City (B)
Walk back to the airport terminal to check in for return flight arriving home the same day.
|Yangon||3||Sule Shangri-La Yangon||luxury|
|Inle Lake||2||Novotel Inle Lake||luxury|
|Bangkok||1||Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport||first class/4 stars|
Dates and Departures
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Passport, Visa & Photograph
A passport with at least two (2) blank visa pages and six (6) months validity at the end of the tour is required.
You won’t need to bring any photos to enter Myanmar, but you are advised to carry one or two photos of passport type just in case.
The country has done much in promoting inbound tourism and along the way the government of Myanmar has made it easy for international visitors to obtain tourist visa. Please go to http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ to get familiar with the requirements and be sure to apply only within 90 days of your intended arrival. You may pay your visa fee with a Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card. Please don’t be surprised when you notice that the payment processing is done through a secure website located in Singapore. Visa on arrival is not available at the moment.
Be sure to carry with you a clearly printed copy of your Entry Visa Approval Letter as shown on the right. If you don’t have it, the immigration and customs officials there may assist you in locating a printer but you must first locate the document in your computer or smart phone. You should also expect significant delay in clearing immigration as the officials treat others with such letters in hand with priority.
Thailand Tourist Visa (Bangkok)
Visa is not required of nationals from Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and a host of other Western countries if the stay is within 30 days.
Health & Immunization
You are not required of any inoculation certificate to enter Myanmar. However, we do suggest you visit your family physician or a travel clinic to determine what precautions you should take. We recommend inoculation shots for hepatitis A and suggest that you check out advice provided by the US CDC and Health Canada.
Tap water is not safe to drink. Ask for bottled water when eating in restaurants. When buying bottled water from street vendors, especially at tourist sites, make sure the cap is properly sealed because some vendors may be selling tap water in recycled bottles.
Try to avoid uncooked food. Even the food you eat is clean, you may still experience stomach upsets or diarrhea due to ingredients your stomach is not used to.
Always carry a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer containing more than 60% of alcohol, no matter where you go. Since you will be asked to remove shoes and socks to enter Buddhist temples in Myanmar and the ground can be very dirty, we recommend that you always carry some wet wipes or towels during your stay in that country.
Burmese currency is called Kyat (MMK). You do not need to get any Kyat prior to arrival because you can use a debit card to withdraw local cash from automated teller machines available at airports, hotels and shopping malls. Be sure to bring a few hundred US dollars in cash as your Plan B in case your bank card is incompatible with local ATM. The banknotes should be a combination of large and small bills and they must be in perfect conditions, free of stain, marking or missing corner or else they would be rejected by local banks and currency dealers.
Major credit cards are widely accepted for major purchases. U.S. dollars are accepted almost everywhere in Myanmar.
We maintain an updated reading list on Myanmar covering a range of subjects including history, politics and religions. The list would be available once you sign up with us.