Explore the hidden gems of this magical Southeast Asian paradise
“This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.” Rudyard Kipling wrote those words more than a century ago, and they are as true as ever today. Journeying to modern-day Myanmar is an opportunity not only to see and experience one of the world’s last unspoiled, exotic paradises, but to witness its movement towards modernity following decades of internal difficulties. Its spectacular payas (pagodas), temples, and monasteries are elegant and moving reminders of an earlier age, as are the remnants of its days as British colonial Burma. And the hustle and bustle of its largest city, Yangon, belies this energetic nation’s eagerness to join the world’s economic and political mainstream. And now is the time to visit Myanmar, while traditional bullock carts still outnumber cheap, imported motorbikes and the renowned fishermen of Inle Lake still ply its waters using traditional leg-rowing rather than outboard motors.
On this new adventure you’ll discover the spectacular glories of this rich and rare land, from its dizzying array of authentic and intact tribal cultures and the majestic floating gardens of Inle Lake, to the grandeur of Yangon’s Shwedagon Paya and thousands of 800-year old temples beside the Irrawaddy River at Bagan. And our itinerary is designed to take the road less traveled, so you’ll be sharing these treasures with fewer tourists than with other companies’ groups. You’ll experience village life firsthand at markets and in the homes of locals who will invite us in, see enduring traditional practices like those of Inle Lake’s renowned leg-rower fishermen, and hike amid the beauty and serenity of Myanmar’s rural countryside to the remote villages of hill tribes like the Eng, who traditionally dress largely in black, with their teeth blackened—they are truly striking in appearance, and found only in this corner of Myanmar! Each tribe we visit will have cultures and traditions so distinct, you’d never suspect how near to one another they actually are.
Myanmar’s magnificent scenery and breathtaking cultural monuments will etch memories that you’ll keep for a lifetime, and its gentle, gracious people will bring you closer to this land than you could ever imagine. And there’s no time like the present—Myanmar’s drive toward modernity makes change inevitable and indeed, it has already begun. This journey is your chance to enjoy the best of “old Burma” balanced with the vitality of modern Myanmar. Then you will surely understand why Marco Polo described Myanmar as “one of the finest sights in the world.”
Note: The entire trip is below 6,000 feet elevation.
3 days moderate trekking and 9 days easy to moderate touring
- Explore the beautiful architectural glories of Myanmar: sacred pagodas, ancient Buddhist temples, and monasteries that defy the imagination
- Discover Inle Lake, where high hills rim calm waters dotted with floating gardens, and leg-rower fishermen ply the lake in flat-bottomed boats
- Visit hidden tribal villages and experience authentic hill tribe life, largely unchanged for centuries
- Enjoy a highly authentic experience, as we visit less touristed places and more pristine areas of even the well-travelled "must see" sites
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Bangkok End Location: BangkokDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand.
Day 2 : Bangkok - Chiang Rai - Tachilek - Keng Tung
Fly to Chiang Rai, then transfer to the border and cross into Myanmar at Mae Sai. Once in Myanmar you'll meet your trip leader and then drive (4 hours) or fly (if possible) to Keng Tung.
Day 3 : Keng Tung
In the morning, we’ll begin our exploration of Keng Tung’s historical attractions and exquisite monasteries with a walk to Wat Sonkhan, Wat Inn, and Maha Myat Muni. In the afternoon we’ll walk to some nearby hot springs (possibly taking a dip ourselves!) and visit a few of the more easily accessible hill tribe villages: Wan Pauk, Palaung, and Kong Ma Wa.
Day 4 : Keng Tung
Full day of cultural activities, beginning with a visit to a village market followed by trekking to hill tribe villages.
Day 5 : Keng Tung - Heho - Inle Lake
Spend the morning relaxing in the hotel or taking a walk around the village. In the late morning we’ll fly to Heho, then drive to picturesque Inle Lake, famous for its floating villages and traditional leg-rower fishermen.
Day 6 : Inle Lake
Full day of exploration on beautiful Inle Lake, visiting the Indein village market and the striking religious sites that dot its shore.
Day 7 : Inle Lake - Pindaya
Drive to Pindaya through the scenic Shan Plateau. Once in Pindaya, we’ll walk to a nearby village of the Htutni Da-Nu tribe, then continue on to the Pindaya Buddhist Caves, where a dazzling array of more than 7,000 Buddha statues awaits.
Day 8 : Pindaya - Bagan
Morning free at leisure. In the early afternoon, we transfer to Heho Airport for our flight to Bagan, where we'll transfer to the beautiful Thande Hotel overlooking the Irrawaddy River.
Day 9 : Bagan
A full day to experience the beauty of Bagan, wandering through its hundreds of peaceful Buddhist temples and other stunning sites by bicycle.
Day 10 : Bagan - Yangon
Morning sightseeing in Bagan, followed by an exciting longtail boat ride on the Irrawaddy River. In the afternoon we'll take a short flight to Yangon.
Day 11 : Yangon
Full day to explore the bustling, metropolitan center of Yangon (formmerly Rangoon), including afternoon tea at the elegant, Victorian-era Strand Hotel and a visit to gold-gilt Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset, a particular treat for photographers.
Day 12 : Fly to Bangkok (and onwards)
Transfer to the airport for departure to Bangkok and onwards.
DATES: Best time to go: November - December Departures: Nov 15 - 26, 2014 Dec 2 - 13, 2014 Nov 3 - 14, 2015 Dec 2 - 13, 2015
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport HotelBangkok
The Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport is a 4 star hotel located 10 min walk from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok. Boasting 612 comfortable and contemporary rooms, the hotel also offers 2 bars and 4 restaurants. With a 24 hr airport shuttle every 10 min from Gate 4 Level 2 and parking available, there is no better place to stay.
Bagan Thande HotelBagan
The Bagan Thande Hotel is proud to be considered one of the most exclusive hotels in Bagan. The property boasts a charming setting, with wonderful views of the Ayeyarwaddy River and located inside the Bagan Archaeological Zone. Facilities include a stunning outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi; Thande spa, art gallery and a beautiful riverside restaurant.
The colonial-style Chatrium Royal Lake Yangon is a luxury property committed to excellent service. The outdoor pool area is a tropical respite from frenetic Yangon. The hotel's amenities also include a fitness center, Nemita spa and several restaurants (Chinese, Japanese and Continental). The hotel is centrally located in Yangon, near many attractions including the world's oldest pagoda, the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Pristine Lotus ResortInle Lake
This new boutique resort features individual villas set on Inle Lake in a lush garden setting. It is a perfect place to unwind, sitting on your veranda with a book, or having a drink in the spacious gardens. Other amenities of Pristine Lotus include an extensive on-site spa, indoor and outdoor dining, business center and salon. The resort is close to many nearby attractions and has it' own jetty and boat rental.
Inle Inn PindayaPindaya
Inle Inn Pindaya features alpine-style chalets in a picturesque mountain setting. The property is hidden off a small road and boasts a quiet, old world charm. There is a large grassy courtyard where guests can enjoy a drink, read or just relax. The restaurant has warm wood decor and delicious food.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Kyaw Zaya grew up in Burma and has long had a passion for guiding. After earning his diploma in Gemology, he went on study Tour Guiding. He has led groups for numerous overseas travel companies for the past two decades--from budget trips to high end and experiential travel. The majority of his clients hail from the UK, the US and Belgium. He is a strong leader and is comfortable with groups of any size. In his free time, he enjoys bicycling and reading. Kyaw looks forwards to sharing this adventure in his home country with you.