Everything was well executed and our guide was amazing!
A mother and daughter from Delaware

Gems & Dolphins in Central Myanmar

The center of Myanmar (Burma) combines the best of lush wildlife, exciting industries and diverse history, all waiting to be discovered on this exciting journey. This compact six-day adventure itinerary takes visitors from the former British outpost of Pyin Oo Lwin and the local gem mining areas, to the Ayeyarwady river to meet the iconic Irrawaddy dolphins and enjoy a memorable two-night cruise. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • See how life was in colonial times with a visit to the former British stations in Pyin Oo Lwin
  • Stop at several markets selling local gems and learn how they are mined in nearby areas
  • Cruise down the beautiful Ayeyarwady river
  • Watch local fishermen interacting and working with the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins 
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Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1

Arrive at Mandalay international airport and head two hours east to Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British military outpost located in the Shan Highland. Spend the afternoon exploring this picturesque town: visit former British stations; enjoy a local botanical garden; and take a pony cart around the forested outskirts.

Day 2

On the second day, head two hours north to Mogok, a city renowned for its mining and gemstones. Check in to the comfortable three-star Golden Butterfly Hotel and then visit the central gem market in the city - perhaps picking up a few precious finds. Spend the evening enjoying a sunset and panoramic views from Padamya Pagoda, an incredible monument that sits high above the city, or taking a dip in the hotel pool.

Day 3
Kyat Pyin

Today you’ll visit the mines to learn about the exciting gemstone industry. On the drive out of town, you’ll stop at the gem market once again, and then visit Kyat Pyin to see how it all works. Tour the mines and meet the miners themselves - perhaps you’ll even get to see them find some rubies! On the way home, you’ll stop at another gems market to see how the selection varies.

Day 4
Ayeyarwady river cruise

Today, you’ll head out on an exciting cruise down the Ayeyarwady river. Enjoy the beautiful landscape on the four-hour drive to the river, then sit back and relax as you float down the Ayeyarwady valley. Enjoy lunch and dinner on board before we stop near Kyauk Myaung Village for the night, as the boat calmly rocks you to sleep under a star-blanketed sky.

Day 5
Kyauk Myaung - Sein Pan Kon village (on Board)

After breakfast, your dolphin excursion will begin with visits to a local fisherman village, Kyauk Myaung village and Ngwe Nyein village to learn how fishermen interact with dolphins and use them to help with fishing. Get up-close and personal with these friendly animals - and perhaps watch as they help with that day’s catch! After the exciting day, you’ll spend another night on board.

Day 6

On the final day of your excursion, you’ll cruise down to Mingun, famous for its unfinished monument, the Mingun Pahtodawgyi - unfinished, the story goes, because an astrologer once said if the monument was completed, the King would die. Afterward, enjoy a final lunch on the boat before disembarking in Mandalay.


Suggested Accommodations

Kandawgyi Lodge

Kandawgyi Lodge

A beautiful colonial-style red and white lodge positioned atop a hill, this renovated hill station is a quaint retreat. The renovated series of lodges are nestled in among the trees. Less than 70 km from Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin is a charming town in the Shan Highlands, filled with colonial architecture, pine trees, silver oaks and refreshing eucalyptus plants. The highlands are also Myanmar’s principle fresh fruit and vegetable source. At the lodge, you can choose from 15 stylish rooms. The lodge’s restaurant serves savory Chinese cuisine as well as local favorites. Resting 3,605 feet above sea level, the lodge is truly a quiet retreat in Myanmar’s natural beauty. 

Mandalay Hill Resort, Red Canal, Rupar Mandalar

Mandalay Hill Resort

With 206 guest rooms and suites featuring beautiful views of the Irrawaddy River and the Royal Palace, the Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel is a comfortable retreat located at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Amenities include a fitness center, two tennis courts, a swimming pool, massage services as well as a number of dining options to choose from. Enjoy an international barbecue buffet and culture show at Kinsana Garden Theater or traditional Chinese cuisine at Ming’s Chinese Restaurant. Kipling’s Lounge offers a tapas menu and performances by a live band while Yadanabon Cafe provides guests with local Myanmar cuisine. The Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel is approximately 15 minutes from the Mandalay airport.

Red Canal

Being a boutique property this hotel prides itself on its high standards of Myanmar grace and hospitality. The hotel is a celebration of all things Myanmar, featuring teak furniture, fixtures and fittings made from rattan, mother-of-pearl and Myanmar marble. Each room bears the name of a Myanmar ethnic group, the design and decoration of each room reflects their respective cultural heritage. Chin and Shan suites feature a terrace overlooking the pool and gardens. The Rakhine suites are spacious and ideal for the business traveler. An outdoor shower with a slate wall of cascading water is the highlight of the honeymooner Kachin suites. Onsite dining includes the Spice Garden an elegant restaurant serving Myanmar, Northern and Southern Indian cuisines. Step into the stylish spa for beauty and health treatments. The spa’s interior is inspired by traditional construction methods of rural villages in Myanmar. The building remains at a comfortable temperature, even in summer with walls plastered with natural mud mixed with rice husks and straw. Running water features, rattan fixtures and terracotta tiles combine to give this retreat a rustic and earthy feel.


Rupar Mandalar

The Rupar Mandalar is a recently opened boutique resort just outside of Mandalay, with 10 rooms and six suites. Set amidst tropical grounds, the resort fuses the traditional and the contemporary, with teak wood construction and Burmese fabrics. There is a business center for Internet access and a state-of-the-art fitness center equipped with weight lifting machines as well as cardiovascular machines. The hotel is equipped with saunas, a Jacuzzi, pool, tennis courts and a spa. The hotel is approximately a 30-minute drive from Mandalay Airport (MDL).
Meet An Asia Expert
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall has been visiting Myanmar since 1993. He prefers to escape to remote areas such as Loikaw & the Chin State, as well as sailing in the Mergui Islands.
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