Our trip to Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan was the perfect choice of countries with dramatically different experiences. The 74-year-old head monk informed us we were the first foreigners he had ever met or to enter the monastery.
For several centuries, Bagan was the capital of the eponymous Bagan kingdom, a powerful empire that first conquered and consolidated the territory of modern-day Myanmar. During this time, Bagan became a prosperous, cosmopolitan city, drawing visitors and travelers from across Southeast Asia. Additionally, over 2,000 ancient temples, stupas, and palaces were erected by the Bagan Empire - many of which still stand today, concentrated on a single plain along the banks of the Irrawaddy River.
Highlights of any trip to this city include cruises on the Irrawaddy River, long a vital artery of the region; a hike up Mount Popa, whose 4,000 foot (1,219 meter) summit is adorned with temples; and viewing the myriad temples through the morning mist.
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Our co-founder & CEO Catherine Heald enjoys going to Myanmar and trekking in remote hilltribe villages, where the way of life has remained the same for hundreds of years.
With its stunning glided spire, the Ananda temple is nearly 1,000 years old and is famous for its four statues of different manifestations of the Buddha, corresponding to the cardinal directions. Though the original structure was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1975, the temple has been completely restored to its former glory.
Hot-Air Balloon over Bagan
A hot-air balloon ride is a perfect complement to ground touring and is arguably the single best way to take in the full splendor of Bagan’s temple-studded landscape.
Irrawaddy River Cruise
Board a simple, private boat and cruise up the Irrawaddy River, a scenic stretch with vestiges of bucolic Burmese life on the riverbanks. Stop at Sae Lan, one of the riverside villages where the residents’ main source of livelihood is farming and fishing.
Nyaung-U Market and Private Cooking Class
Visit Bagan’s vibrant Nyaung-U market, where a wide range of exotic fruits, vegetables, fish, and more are sold. Select ingredients and then proceed to one of Bagan's best restaurants, situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy, for a private cooking class where you'll learn how to prepare traditional Burmese dishes.
Visit Mt. Popa, a soaring volcanic peak dramatically crowned with gold stupas, monasteries and shrines believed to be the abode of the powerful nats, or animist spirits. The devout worship of these animist spirits coexists with Buddhism, and Buddha is considered the greatest of the 37 nats. Mt. Popa is an important destination for pilgrims, who must remove their shoes before climbing the 777 steps to the summit rising almost 4,000 feet above the desert.
Dating back to 1113. Kubyaukkyi Temple is best known as the home of the Myazedi Stone, also known as “Burma’s Rosetta Stone.” Discovered in 1887, the stone contains inscriptions in the four 12th-century languages – Burman, Mon, Pali, and Pyu – and allowed the translation of the latter for the first time ever.
One of the oldest pagodas in Bagan, Shwezigon was built as a center of prayer and reflection for the new Theravada faith, established here in the 11th century. It encompasses three tiered terraces, with four 12-foot high bronze Buddhas surrounding the terrace stairs, and includes replicas of Buddha’s footprints.
Enjoy a 10-day luxury tour of one of Southeast Asia’s most mysterious countries: Myanmar. You’ll discover the charming nation’s most adored spots, flying in a hot-air balloon over Bagan’s temples, shopping at an Inle Lake floating market, dining with monks in Bagan, and staying in the country’s most luxury hotels.
Experience mysterious Myanmar from top to bottom on this thrilling 14-day journey through its hotspots. You’ll take in the temples of ancient Bagan, interact with locals at a local silk weaving factory, and cruise down the calm waters of Inle Lake, all the while spending your nights in some of Myanmar’s best hotels.
Explore Myanmar’s great outdoors on this exhilarating 14-day adventure. You’ll make friends with local villagers, check out Bagan’s 2,000 temples, cruise down the legendary Inle Lake, raft the exciting Malikha river, and stay in some of Myanmar’s most luxurious hotels, like the iconic Governor’s Residence.
This 6-day luxury Myanmar adventure will take you to remote ethnic villages in the Northwest of the country. Make friends with members of the Mon Chin, Dai Chin and Magan Chin tribes, whose female members have intricate facial tattoos. You’ll trek alongside scenic rivers and farms, and stay in luxury hotels.
Set off on a private jet to discover a few of the best destinations the region has to offer. Stroll the streets of emperors in Vietnam, visit old-word temples scattered across Southeast Asia, and try your hand at bargaining with the locals at different fresh markets. This trip hits all of Southeast Asia’s must-see destinations,...
Leave the hustle and bustle behind: in Western Myanmar's Chin State, one of the least-developed areas of the world, you’ll come face-to-face with traditional tribal culture and pristine and untouched natural landscapes, from rivers to waterfalls to the incredible Mount Victoria.
Explore the exquisite countryside of Myanmar’s Chin State on this exhilarating 5-day luxury journey. You’ll boat, jeep, and trek through remote villages, meeting local tribespeople, and taking in the colorful, fragrant surroundings. You’ll finish off at the summit of Mt. Victoria, where you’ll capture an epic sunrise.
Set back in 27 acres of lush, tropical gardens, The Aureum Palace Hotel is a tranquil retreat in the heart of Bagan. Spacious villas lace the resort’s expansive gardens and are lavishly appointed with hand-crafted teak furnishings, antiques and local artifacts. Dining options are extensive. For traditional Myanmar and Thai cuisine, visit The Shan, or for Italian cuisine and wines, dine at Casa D’Enzo. Casual cocktails and lighter fare are available at the resort’s many outdoor patios and cafes and poolside dining is available throughout the day. The Spa at the Aureum Palace offers aromatherapy treatments and massage by appointment. There is a swimming pool and fitness center, as well as a business center for Internet access.
Road to Mandalay
Belmond cruisers offer the opportunity to explore Myanmar in style, aboard beautiful, sumptuous, floating accommodation. Spend three to 11 nights aboard the Road To Mandalay and experience the treasures of the Ayeyarwady River. This boat offers spacious, airy en-suite cabins, tastefully designed with guests’ comfort in mind. Breakfast is available in the room, while full buffet lunches and exquisite international dinners are served each day in the restaurant with delicious wine pairing options, to add a splash of indulgence. What’s more, there are talks from well-heeled guides and the chance to explore the stunning landscape of Myanmar, not to mention daily entertainment from resident and guest musicians and dancers. There is a well-equipped gym and fitness area while less active guests can relax with a drink on the observation deck or take a dip in the pool to unwind as the world sails by. This is one of the best ways to travel Myanmar.
The Sanctuary Ananda seeks to truly cater to guests’ every need whilst delivering gorgeous, uninterrupted views of the stunning Burmese scenery, in tastefully decorated, elegant surroundings. A choice of 20 cabins, all of which face outwards with a balcony, are all equipped with air conditioning and WiFi, with en-suite bathrooms featuring top quality toiletries. Guests can enjoy local and international cuisine, buffet and a la carte, al fresco or in the Talifoo restaurant; drinks can be enjoyed in the lounge or out on the deck at sunset. There are activities to suit all tastes, from sunrise yoga and swimming on the deck, body maintenance in the gym and lectures and demonstrations about local culture and history in the lounge, to complement the daily excursions into Myanmar. What’s more, Thambyadine spa offers all manner of pampering and treatments. Travelers will be mesmerized by the temples and pagodas of Myanmar aboard this floating palace.
Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel
Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel is a grand property situated on the banks of the evocative Irrawaddy River, in the ancient city of Bagan. This charming, classically decorated hotel was originally established thirty years ago by the Myanmar government, and the property is now under Japanese management. The hotel has since undergone extensive renovation, upgrading and expansion. Set in a beautiful riverfront location, amongst 24 acres of well-landscaped gardens, this hotel is a truly luxurious sanctuary. The Resort has been host to international political and business leaders and celebrities, and is considered to be Baganâ€™s foremost hotel. Guest rooms are spacious and tastefully appointed. Every room is thoughtfully decorated in a traditional Myanmar style using local materials and teak wood. The hotel boasts superlative cuisine, a spa, a lounge bar, a coffee shop, Jaccuzzi and the biggest outdoor pool and sundeck in the area. A choice collection of Myanmar souvenirs is offered at â€œThe Thiripyitsaya Boutique," located next to the Reception. Hand-woven lotus fabric, antique lacquer ware, originally designed jewellery, photographs and artwork, handicraft, silverware, longyi, books and postcards, as well as film, sunblock, bathing suits and other practical goods are available.