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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.