This 10-day classic journey showcases Myanmar’s complex history, visiting important and iconic sites such as the temples and stupas of Bagan, the colonial buildings of Yangon, and the stilt-house villages of Inle Lake. Accompanied by expert guides and translators, you’ll gain insight into the tapestry of ethnic cultures that form modern-day Myanmar and see some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery. Visits to different ethnic communities and private time with local families, artists and experts are part of this enlightening journey.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Your 10-day classic journey begins in the capital, Yangon. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel to check in and freshen up. This afternoon, get acquainted with the city formerly known as Rangoon on a colonial architecture walking tour. Myanmar became a colony of Britain in 1824 and remained so until 1948, leaving behind the highest concentration of colonial buildings in the world. Though many of these beautiful structures now stand in disrepair, they are still stunning and tell of the history they have seen over the years, including colonial control, a Japanese invasion, military rule, and the struggle for peace. In the late afternoon enjoy sunset over Shwedagon Pagoda’s beautiful golden spires. It is said four Buddhist relics that belonged to previous incarnations of Buddha are preserved at this sacred temple.
Have a light breakfast at the hotel and save room for a crash course in Burmese cuisine this morning. Led by a local expert on the streetfood scene, roam the city's favorite haunts on rickshaw and sample signature dishes such as tea leaf salad, mohinga rice noodles, homemade tofu, and a plethora of curries. Walk it all off with visits to popular temples, Botataung Pagoda and Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, followed by a local nunnery where families admit their young daughters to become nuns. Speak to the studious students to learn about their daily chores and lessons. Stop at the busy Bogyoke Aung Sun market, also known as Scott's market, where you’ll find local tea, silk, and rattan products. Finally, have your fortune read at the fortune-telling pagoda before ruminating your newly-revealed, if not slightly vague, fates over snacks and sights in Chinatown.
Travel to the old capital of Bagan early this morning, landing at an airport that is barely more than an air strip and humble terminal building. Bagan has an intriguing history, and here you’ll see it unravelled in its architecture. You will be traveling between the temples by electric bicycle, arguably the best way to enjoy the serene atmosphere and hundreds of small and large pagodas littered everywhere you look. After this fascinating tour through the old city, check into your hotel in Bagan.
Get up early today for a sunrise hot-air balloon ride, available in from October to April. This unforgettable experience allows you to appreciate the true extent of Bagan’s beauty, its thousands of temples and its serene countryside. After breakfast back at the hotel and time to rest, head back out to see Bagan's signature sites such as Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Pagoda, and the Minnanthu village temples. Ananda Temple was built nearly a thousand years ago and features a spectacular gold spire and four standing Buddha statues. Shwezigon Pagoda was constructed for Theravada Buddhism, with its immense circular gold-leafed stupa, one of Bagan’s most compelling and iconic sights. At Minnanthu Village, learn about their staple handicrafts, lacquerware. Lacquer is naturally skillful work. In Bagan, artisans laboriously coat 7-16 layers of lacquer over a frame made using bamboo strips, wood, or horse hair. This profession is practiced by families in Bagan for generations.
Today you’ll fly to Mandalay to explore the city’s historic highlights. Start with the Mahamuni Paya and see the famed Buddha, covered in gold leaf by pilgrims every day. Following is Kuthodaw Pagoda, one of Mandalay’s most striking locations. This 19th-century complex is home to the “world’s largest book”, comprising 729 white marble tablets engraved with Buddhist scriptures. The tablets are arranged in groups, each crowned by a white stupa, making for a remarkable sight. Finally, survey the city and surrounding lands from the top of Mandalay Hill, a popular site in the city to watch the sunset. It also hosts a cluster of moansteries and convents, of course.
Start the day with a short trip to Amarapura, a former capital of Myanmar which is now a part of Mandalay city, a result of urban sprawl. Regardless, Amarapura remains distinctively its own town and is known for its traditional silk and cotton weaving in the indigenous Burmese style of achiek textile. Also visit the nearby town of Inwa, another ancient imperial capital. Though much of it was destroyed by a series of major earthquakes, the remaining traces of its former grandeur can still be observed. Then, visit a couple of stunning monasteries built entirely of teak wood and renowned for the quality of wood carvings and harmonious layout, Shwe in Bin and Shwenandaw Kyaung. Finish the day at U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world spanning over half a mile.
Travel to the peaceful Inle Lake today - another must-see destination in Myanmar. This is the site of floating farms and stilt-house villages where more than 70,000 people of different ethnicities call home. Get a feel for river life with a visit to the floating markets and villages. Kaylar village is known for its aquaponics, plant and vegetable farms also grown on the water. As you explore the lake, you will see one of Inle's unique sights: fishermen who use their legs to row their boats. These leg rowers expertly use one leg to row their boats so their hands are freed up for fishing. They use a special fishing net draped over a bamboo cone frame which they quickly plunge down into the water, trapping large fish.
This morning, visit Phaung Daw U Pagoda, located on the lake. Phaung Daw U Pagoda is one of three main shrines in the country, housing Buddha statues from the 12th century. Nearby is the Nam Pan morning market where all commerce takes place on boats. Then, make your way to Inthar Heritage House, a traditional Shan home utilizing traditional craftsmanship and decorations rarely seen today. We recommend lunch at the Heritage House which also has a restaurant serving a menu inspired by local Inthar cuisine and is one of the best restaurants in the area. If you wish, take a cooking lesson here and learn how to make the dishes you just had. Finally, see something unique in the country - a local vineyard. Enjoy a tasting flight of the local wines while enjoying the countryside, a sublime way to end the day.
You’ll begin your day with a hike to the village of Pa-O, where traditional farming methods are still used to cultivate tobacco and mustard. In Pa-O, you can visit the local markets to observe village life and find out from the locals what it’s like to live so remotely. Continue on to Ywama and Indain villages, the latter which is reached by narrow passage north of the lake. At Indain, see a series of unrestored pagodas and if a breezy day, you can hear the wind chimes on the pagodas produce a peaceful sound.
As you head for the airport, take a worthwhile detour to the Kakku Pagodas complex. Similar to Indain's cluster of pagodas, the ones at Kakku are impressive in sheer number with over 2,500 pagodas. This hidden gem is remote and rarely visited, making it a terrific farewell treat on your classic journey through Myanmar. Continue on the airport and fly to Yangon where you can connect to your international flight onward.
Located in a lotus garden not far from the Shwedagon Pagoda is The Governor's Residence. Once a governor's mansion, it has since been converted in to a 49-room hotel, a 30-minute drive from Yangon airport (RGN). Located in the hotel are two restaurants; the Mandalay Restaurant serves Asian and European cuisine and the Mindon Lounge is a comfortable spot to sit indoors overlooking the garden, or outdoors, and enjoy a refreshment. While there is a swimming pool and massage treatments are offered, there is no spa. The Governor’s Residence has a fitness center and WiFi is available anywhere on hotel grounds, in addition to having a business center for Internet and email access.
This elegant 32-room colonial palace, built at the height of the British rule in Burma, is reminiscent of the romantic era of Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham. It remains an oasis of tranquility in an ever-changing and bustling Rangoon. The Strand was previously part of the Aman group, and is still of Aman caliber in its splendid suites, delicious food and superb service. It is now a part of the GHM Group, which is an Aman affiliate. The hotel offers two dining options, The Strand Café, which features Burmese cuisine, and The Strand Grill, which is said to be one of Yangon’s finest dining venues. A business center is available for Internet and email access with professional secretarial services. The hotel has The Strand Boutique for shopping and The Strand Spa Suite for spa treatments. The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Yangon International Airport (RGN).
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.
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.
Opened in 2010, the Aureum Inle Resort & Spa is perched on the edge of Inle Lake with villas surrounding its banks. Each of the 66 units comes with separate sleeping and living areas, satellite television, private balconies and outdoor terraces. Dine at either one of the hotel’s restaurants (both indoor and outdoor options are available). Other on-site facilities include a spa and beauty parlor, a swimming pool and a boutique shop. Water sport activities are also available through the hotel.
Positioned on the east bank of the peaceful waters of Lake Inle, Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min hotel is an ideal retreat from the non-stop action of the modern world; yet it’s a short drive to the lively attractions of Nyaung Shwe town center for guests looking for the perfect combination of splendid isolation spliced with more metropolitan delights. Tranquillity is at the heart of the hotel’s philosophy, and this is reflected in the cubic buildings, wood-panel walls and vast windows of the hotel’s architecture - designed to bring calm to restless minds. All of the rooms are decorated with dark wood flooring, complimented by royal blue and charcoal gray furnishings. Whether guests opt for an airy suite overlooking the resort's lush gardens, or a spacious villa right on the water, both are enhanced by a choice of either an elegant balcony or a scenic patio. Along with the picturesque surroundings, guests can find further relaxation by slipping into the infinity pools for a cooling dip or reinvigorate tired limbs with a trip to the on-site spa.
Constructed between 20 acres of rice fields and floating gardens, guests of the Sofitel Inle Lake can experience world class luxury in this hotel that merges Myanmar style with the latest technologies. Guests can catch stunning views of the surrounding natural scenery from the terraces of their spacious rooms or from any of the hotel's two restaurants and two bars. The restaurants serve a range of local and international dishes and there are ample opportunities for guests to relax, whether that be at either of the opulent bars, temperature-controlled pools, or by enjoying a professionally administered massage.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking national guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts while touring. Hot-air balloon ride, fortune telling, and wine tasting experiences are included. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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