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Best of Burma

Trip type: 
Cultural
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
Max group size: 
16
Avg user rating: 
Awaiting reviews
Asia, Burma (Myanmar) | 17 days
Trip code: 
TTSM
What's included: 

Transport - In country flights, Taxi, Horse Cart, Bus

Accommodation - Hotel (10 nts), Guesthouse (3 nts)

Meals - 14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Trip Highlights: 
Admire Yangon's golden Shwedagon Paya
Explore the magnificent temples of Bagan
Discover Mandalay, Burma's 'Jewel City'
Trek through rarely visited alpine villages and share a cup of tea with locals
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Burma (Myanmar)
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Itinerary options
Unpublished
Itinery Map

Itinerary

(Departures in 2012-13)
  • Day 1 - Trip starts in Yangon (Rangoon)
  • Day 2 - Yangon (Rangoon)
  • Day 3-5 - Bagan
  • Day 6 - Ayeyarwaddy River
  • Day 7/8 - Mandalay
  • Day 9/10 - Kalaw
  • Day 11-13 - Inle Lake
  • Day 14 - Yangon (Rangoon)
  • Day 15 - Trip ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Unpublished
Day
1

Trip starts in Yangon (Rangoon)

Your adventure really begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Your group leader will be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details. Hotel - 2 nights

Day
2
Yangon (Rangoon)

Yangon (Rangoon)

Formerly named Rangoon, Yangon is the country's biggest city and was the capital from 1885, when the British conquered the north and the kingdom of Mandalay, until just a few years ago when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw.

To get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city, take a walk to Sule Paya, then perhaps down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire both the colonial architecture and the bargaining madness of Bogyoke Market. Or sample some of the great Indian food on offer.You'll visit the holiest of all shrines at Shwedagon Paya with your local guide. The most religious site within Myanmar, said to contain 8 hairs of the Buddha, it glitters with gold, 5500 diamonds and hundreds of other precious gems on the hill overlooking the city. Come sunset the lights go on and the impressive stupa, lit with 4 beams of light, sits grandly like a shining beacon.

Day
3-5
Bagan

Bagan

You'll head out early to catch your flight to the ancient wonder of Bagan. 

Spreading out across the horizon are the peaks of 4,500 brick and gilded ancient temples. Dotting the skyline in many shapes and forms some say they compare in splendour to the majestic Angkor kingdom. Theravada Buddhism was introduced by the former kings of Pagan (Bagan) in the mid 11th century, which spurred on the swift building of a swathe of temples to worship their gods, be they Buddhist, Hindu or Nat, over the ensuing 200 or so years. Exploring the temple site by bike is a great way to take in all the atmosphere of this stunning sight. Your local guide, with his wealth of knowledge, will steer you through the large and impressive, such as Ananda Pahto , Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as the smaller hidden gems offering wonderful opportunities to climb stairwells and get those magic photo moments.Hawkers often surround the most popular temples, selling lacquer ware or handicrafts, if a spot of shopping takes your fancy. There are also stalls offering cool drinks and a touch of shade.Enjoy sunset at the nearby Shwezigon Paya and feast on local delicacies opposite these 1,000 year old temples.Consider catching a colourful marionette performance while sampling some traditional Bamar cuisine.There is plenty of free time to get into everything that Bagan has on offer.Grab a map of the Bagan Archaeological Park and explore more temples/paya at your own pace. Check out the Archaeological Museum, relax at Bamboo Garden with a latte, or sip a martini at the Beach Bar on the banks Ayeyarwaddy River during sunset.Take a day trip out to Mt Popa - a single mountain which juts out of the countryside, topped with monasteries and stupas. It is home and shrine to the 37 Nat spirits. Coming in all forms there is even a 'guardian of spirits (as in alcohol)' which gamblers simply know as 'Drunk Nat'. Sweeping views await those who venture to the top. Hotel - 3 nights 

Day
6

Ayeyarwaddy River

This morning you will head to the pier by pony cart for your 2 day cruise up-river to Mandalay.

Running through the country from north to south this important commercial waterway gives you a glimpse into remote rural life, whether that be fishermen casting their nets in search of the days catch or farmers breaking husk from their harvest.You will travel a route that provides excellent 'Kodak-moments' and some of the most scenic backdrops in the entire country. Catch an array of smoke signals rising from the canopies of simple dwellings, dugout canoes gliding past and local villagers playing in the river, as you sit back on a deck chair and let the world unfold before you.

On-board all meals are provided as well as bedding and mosquito nets. There are 2 bathrooms to share on the boat. Sleeping is under the stars on-deck or on the beach beside the boat. Boat - 1 night

Day
7/8
Mandalay

Mandalay

Stretch your legs this morning with a brisk stroll around Yangola village and spend some time interacting with the smiling locals. Back on board your boat, wile away another fascinating day witnessing all the simple daily activities of life along the river.

You will arrive in Mandalay late afternoon, just in time perhaps to for an ice-cream/latte or frappuchino at the famous Nylon Bar or consider checking out the traditional Shan cuisine at Lashio Lay.Once known as 'the golden city' Mandalay was the last capital of the former Kingdom of Myanmar, abolished in 1885 by the British as a result of the 3rd and final Anglo-Burmese war. The kingdom was pretty much given away by the last king - Thibaw Min, however its remnants still remain sitting in a grid of streets similar to that of Manhattan.This evening you visit the impressive Mandalay Hill with a local guide. Lord Buddha is said to have left his mark on this mountain in the form of a footprint, signalling wealth and prosperity for the land standing before it. Discover all the glittering stupas, colourful mosaics and sensational lookout points as you relish in sunset views over the city.
There is plenty to do on your free day. Travel by river to the World Archaeological site of Mingun, with the world's largest uncracked bell and glistening white stupa; or jump on a trishaw and check out the city, visiting the sacred Buddha image of Mahamuni Paya along the way. Covered in a massive 6 inch layer of gold leaf it is said to be more than 2000 years old and bears a perfect likeness to the Lord Buddha. The intricately carved teak monastery, Shwenandaw Kyaung, is not far away; or perhaps for a change of pace see a puppetry or dance performance at the Madalay Marionettes or Mintha Theatre. Hotel - 2 nights

Day
9/10

Kalaw

On route today you pass the impressive U Bein's Bridge - at 1.2 kilometres long it is the world's longest teak bridge - where you will perhaps stop off for cup of tea.Heading along the 'great road of China' (the new super highway built by the Chinese), you make your way into the mountains of Shan state which offer stunning scenery and some fine opportunities for photo stops.

As a former British hill station Kalaw make a welcome retreat from the heat of the lower lying areas. While the surrounding hills are the home to various ethnic minority groups, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O.Tonight you will relax with some friends at a local restaurant and prepare for tomorrow's 12 kilometre trek.
You'll have two local guides to lead you through the tea plantations and small villages, as you explore tracks away from other tourists and traffic. But what makes this experience all the more meaningful will be that you have the opportunity to work alongside our good friends from the Rural Development Society (RDS), who have been providing wells, filtering systems and schools to many remote villages through the goodwill of local, Tommy Aung. Mingling in villages along the way, you'll head for your lunch stop viewing point. After a break you loop around and make your scenic descent back down to Kalaw. Hotel - 2 nights

Day
11-13
Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Setting off across the mountains and plateau crammed with farms you make a stop at the caves of Pindaya. As one of the 'Golden Caves' in Shan state, pilgrims flock to worship the 8000 or so Buddha images which adorn the caverns, tunnels and meditation chambers of this huge limestone cave. You'll venture into the labyrinth of tunnels with your guide to gain a better insight into its history.

Pushing on towards Taungyi, you take the turnoff to the resort town of Nyuangshwe, set at the northern end of Inle Lake and your base for the next few days.
The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities found in stilt houses in lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas.
Heading out in motorised boats you spend the day taking in all the sights from the distinctive leg rowing of local fishermen casting their nets and Nga Hpe Kyaung Monastery with its jumping cats and collection of ancient Buddha images to the floating tomato plantations and plethora of cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. You may even come across the floating market which circles the lake each 5 days, where locals sell traditional wares and you can take advantage of shopping opportunities which might come your way.

Stopping for lunch in the shadow of Phaung Daw Oo Paya , the most religious site in Shan State, take a few moments to check out the gold-leaf coated Buddha images and many paintings which tell of the origin of the 4 statues. The gilded barge used during the Phaung Daw Oo festival to sail to all the temples around the lake is also on display. Continuing on your adventure, you visit local villages, where the locals greet you with smiles and handicraft items, as you make your way back into Nyaungshwe.This evening you can sit back and enjoy a traditional Shan banquet.There is lots to choose from on your free day! Perhaps visit the markets, take a wander around the nearby waterfront, cycle off into neighbouring villages or see old payas/temples and the lovely teak monastery. Guesthouse - 3 nights

Day
14

Yangon (Rangoon)

You bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state as you make your way to the airport for your flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon.

The spectacular vistas from the viewing deck of the Sakura Tower is the ideal setting for your final evening together.If you find yourself with a bit of extra time Yangon has many cultural delights and excellent sights on offer, with the circular train providing great access to different parts of the city. Hotel - 1 night

Day
15

Trip ends

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart your accommodation at any time. 

This trip includes 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners