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Hidden Myanmar

From $3,695

  • Explore the beautiful architectural treasures of Myanmar, from thousands of ancient Buddhist temples in Bagan to Yangon's sacred Schwedagon Pagoda—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
  • Hike forested trails to hidden tribal villages and experience authentic hill tribe life, largely unchanged for centuries

On this adventure you’ll discover the glories of a rich and rare land, from Myanmar's dizzying array of authentic and intact tribal cultures and the majestic floating gardens of Inle Lake, to the grandeur of Yangon’s gold-plated Shwedagon Pagoda and thousands of 800-year old temples beside the Irrawaddy River at Bagan—described by Marco Polo as “one of the finest sights in the world.” Taking the road less traveled, you’ll experience village life firsthand and see enduring traditional practices, like those of Inle Lake’s renowned leg-rower fishermen. You’ll hike amid the beauty and serenity of Myanmar’s rural countryside to the remote villages of hill tribes like the Eng—and enjoy cultural encounters with gentle, gracious people that will etch memories for a lifetime. And there’s no time like the present as Myanmar’s drive toward modernity makes change inevitable and indeed, it has already begun. This MTS journey is your chance to enjoy the best of “old Burma” balanced with the vitality of modern Myanmar.

Day 1: Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar

Arrive in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar and a popular gateway to this fascinating country. An MTS representative will meet you at the airport and help you transfer to a nearby hotel, where there will be a trip briefing in the evening.

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,100 feet elevation.

  • Accomodation:Avenue 64

Day 2: Fly from Yangon to the heart of Kengtung

This morning we’ll depart from Yangon to Kengtung. The few flights there are to Kengtung are often cancelled, so if it's not possible to fly there directly, we will fly to Tachileik, have lunch and then take a scenic four-hour drive through the countryside to Kengtung. Located near the border with China in the far eastern corner of Myanmar, Kengtung is a beautiful area with great trekking and an intriguing variety of temples, thanks to the diverse population of ethnic tribes in the region. Upon arrival, we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Golden Star Hotel

Day 3: Go back in time in historical Kengtung

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we’ll begin our exploration of Kengtung’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. We’ll experience the distinct culture, traditions, and language of each village as they welcome us into their homes—a fascinating introduction to the ethnic diversity that is so typical of Myanmar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Golden Star Hotel

Day 4: Hike forest trails and encounter remote hill tribes

Shortly after breakfast, we’ll take a 1½-hour drive to the starting point of today’s trek, which will lead us along steep, forested tracks that link villages of the Pin Tauk Lahu, Eng, and Akha hill tribes. The Eng are particularly unique, and are found only here. Striking in appearance, they're known for their black clothes and their custom of blackening their teeth with tree bark and betel nut. We’ll enjoy a hearty picnic lunch along the way, and finish our hike in the late afternoon, when we’ll return to our hotel in Keng Tung.

Please note that today's hike is strenuous, so good walking shoes and a high level of fitness are essential.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Golden Star Hotel

Day 5: Fly to Heho and drive to picturesque Inle Lake

After breakfast at the hotel, we'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho. Upon arrival, we'll drive to picturesque Inle Lake, famous for its floating villages and traditional leg-rower fishermen. These fishermen perform the acrobatic task of standing on one leg while rowing with the other, leaving a hand free to maneuver their large, conical fishing baskets. The lake’s edge is dotted with villages, monasteries, and beautiful hotels, all perched gracefully atop wooden stilts. Tonight, we'll enjoy dinner at our resort.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Pristine Lotus Resort

Day 6: Visit the villages and pagodas of Inle Lake

We’ll depart the hotel shortly after breakfast to enjoy a full day of exploring Inle Lake. We’ll visit the lively Indein village market, then stroll among the hundreds of stupas that adorn the hillsides above the village. Some of these towers are centuries old, while others are more recent additions, but collectively they're an impressive sight.

Next, we’ll visit Phaung Daw Oo, a lovely Buddhist pagoda known for its Buddhas covered in gold leaf, and Nga Phe Chaung monastery, a wooden building perched on stilts over the lake. We’ll also see the floating gardens of the local leg-rower fishermen’s village, blacksmiths and cigar makers at work in Nampan village, and silk weavers in Inn Paw Khong. Plus, we'll have the option to explore the lake’s peaceful villages further by canoe. We’ll enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant, and have the opportunity to sit down with locals for a cup of green tea and a friendly chat before returning to our hotel in the afternoon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Pristine Lotus Resort

Day 7: Take a scenic drive to the Pindaya Buddhist Caves

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll take a two-hour drive to Pindaya, passing through the Pa-O tribal farmland of the scenic Shan Plateau. We’ll stop and take advantage of photo opps along the way, as the area offers spectacular views of fall foliage, enchanting pagodas, and pastoral scenes of villagers and their buffaloes working the fields.

Once in Pindaya, we’ll walk to the nearby village of the Htutni Da-Nu tribe, then continue on to the Pindaya Buddhist Caves. These are the largest such caves in Myanmar, and a popular meditation site for local Burmese. Here, we’ll discover a dazzling assortment of over 7,000 Buddha statues, as our guides share local myths and legends with us. Then we’ll walk among hundred year-old banyan trees to Singaung village, where we’ll learn about the villagers’ cottage industry: making bamboo umbrellas.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Inle Inn Pindaya

Day 8: Fly from Pindaya to the temple-studded plains of Bagan

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and the remainder of the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the airport in Heho for our flight to the temple-studded plains of Bagan. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer to the stunning Thande Hotel, perched on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy this beautiful hotel’s amenities during our two-night stay, whether it's unwinding at the nature spa, enjoying a drink at the poolside bar, or strolling through the bird sanctuary gardens.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Bagan Thande Hotel

Day 9: Discover Bagan's spectacular temples

Gracefully lining the shores of the muddy Irrawaddy River, thousands of peaceful, scenic Buddhist temples make up the spectacular and ancient city of Bagan. Covering an area of about 25 square miles, the temples range from grand structures to simple places of worship. Though the oldest date back some 2,000 years, Bagan’s brief period of grandeur lasted a mere 200 years before its destruction at the hands of Mogul hordes in 1287 A.D.

We’ll take to bikes to explore Bagan’s highlights, including Htilominlo Temple, the finest example of late 12th century stucco carving; Tharabar Gate, a 9th century city wall; Myingaba Gubyaukgyi, with its fine early 12th century murals; Minanthu Village; Phayar Thonesu Temple; and stunning Ananda Temple, built by King Kyansit around 1105 A.D., during Bagan’s heyday.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Bagan Thande Hotel

Day 10: Marvel at Bagan's astounding Shwezigon Pagoda

This morning, we’ll visit a vibrant local vegetable market then continue on to the astounding gold-gilt temple of Shwezigon Pagoda. Completed in 1102 A.D., Shwezigon is considered the prototype for all Burmese stupas and believed by some to enshrine holy relics of the Gautama Buddha. We’ll then continue on to the Kyaukgu Umin, an elaborate three-tiered cave temple built into sandstone cliffs. The temple contains beautiful stone devotional sculptures, and we’ll likely find locals meditating among the ruins. After visiting the temple, we’ll stroll down to the banks of the Irrawaddy and board longtail boats for our return trip to Bagan. We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then visit a toddy palm farm before transferring to the airport for our short flight back to Yangon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Chatrium Hotel

Day 11: Explore the wonders of Yangon

Today we trade the laid-back feeling of the past several days for the bustling energy of Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar and the largest city in the country. We’ll spend the day exploring Yangon’s large metropolitan area, taking in the striking contrast of modern skyscrapers and coliseums, Victorian-era structures that hearken back to colonial Burma, and ancient pagodas. We’ll also witness the ethnic diversity of Yangon, as we pass churches, mosques, synagogues, Burmese pagodas, and Hindu and Chinese temples.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll visit Bogyoke Market, where we’ll see locals shopping. In mid-afternoon, we’ll take tea at the elegant and romantic Strand Hotel, a Victorian mansion that was once the haunt of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham. After tea, we’ll visit one of Buddhism's most sacred sites, the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda, which is believed to enshrine relics from four different Buddhas. We'll linger to witness the awesome beauty of the temple at sunset, when the evening light glints off the gold-plated dome, which is encrusted with over thousands of diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires. We'll then finish the evening with a festive farewell dinner at Le Planteur Restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Chatrium Hotel

Day 12: Depart from Yangon

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport for departure flights.

  • Breakfast

Nov 03 - 14, 2015

Dec 02 - 13, 2015

Feb 17 - 28, 2016

Nov 02 - 13, 2016

Dec 02 - 13, 2016

pricing

2015 / 2016 Prices
$3,695 (11-18 members)
$4,095 (8-10 members)
$650 internal airfare
$1,200 single supplement

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Avenue 64 — Yangon


Bagan Thande Hotel — Bagan

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.

Chatrium Hotel — Yangon

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.

Golden Star Hotel — Keng Tung


Inle Inn Pindaya — Pindaya

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.

Pristine Lotus Resort — Inle 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.

  • Explore the beautiful architectural treasures of Myanmar, from thousands of ancient Buddhist temples in Bagan to Yangon's sacred Schwedagon Pagoda—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
  • Hike forested trails to hidden tribal villages and experience authentic hill tribe life, largely unchanged for centuries

On this adventure you’ll discover the glories of a rich and rare land, from Myanmar's dizzying array of authentic and intact tribal cultures and the majestic floating gardens of Inle Lake, to the grandeur of Yangon’s gold-plated Shwedagon Pagoda and thousands of 800-year old temples beside the Irrawaddy River at Bagan—described by Marco Polo as “one of the finest sights in the world.” Taking the road less traveled, you’ll experience village life firsthand and see enduring traditional practices, like those of Inle Lake’s renowned leg-rower fishermen. You’ll hike amid the beauty and serenity of Myanmar’s rural countryside to the remote villages of hill tribes like the Eng—and enjoy cultural encounters with gentle, gracious people that will etch memories for a lifetime. And there’s no time like the present as Myanmar’s drive toward modernity makes change inevitable and indeed, it has already begun. This MTS journey is your chance to enjoy the best of “old Burma” balanced with the vitality of modern Myanmar.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar

Arrive in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar and a popular gateway to this fascinating country. An MTS representative will meet you at the airport and help you transfer to a nearby hotel, where there will be a trip briefing in the evening.

Please note that this entire trip is below 6,100 feet elevation.

  • Accomodation:Avenue 64

Day 2: Fly from Yangon to the heart of Kengtung

This morning we’ll depart from Yangon to Kengtung. The few flights there are to Kengtung are often cancelled, so if it's not possible to fly there directly, we will fly to Tachileik, have lunch and then take a scenic four-hour drive through the countryside to Kengtung. Located near the border with China in the far eastern corner of Myanmar, Kengtung is a beautiful area with great trekking and an intriguing variety of temples, thanks to the diverse population of ethnic tribes in the region. Upon arrival, we’ll check into our hotel and enjoy a welcome dinner.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Golden Star Hotel

Day 3: Go back in time in historical Kengtung

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, we’ll begin our exploration of Kengtung’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. We’ll experience the distinct culture, traditions, and language of each village as they welcome us into their homes—a fascinating introduction to the ethnic diversity that is so typical of Myanmar.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Golden Star Hotel

Day 4: Hike forest trails and encounter remote hill tribes

Shortly after breakfast, we’ll take a 1½-hour drive to the starting point of today’s trek, which will lead us along steep, forested tracks that link villages of the Pin Tauk Lahu, Eng, and Akha hill tribes. The Eng are particularly unique, and are found only here. Striking in appearance, they're known for their black clothes and their custom of blackening their teeth with tree bark and betel nut. We’ll enjoy a hearty picnic lunch along the way, and finish our hike in the late afternoon, when we’ll return to our hotel in Keng Tung.

Please note that today's hike is strenuous, so good walking shoes and a high level of fitness are essential.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Golden Star Hotel

Day 5: Fly to Heho and drive to picturesque Inle Lake

After breakfast at the hotel, we'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Heho. Upon arrival, we'll drive to picturesque Inle Lake, famous for its floating villages and traditional leg-rower fishermen. These fishermen perform the acrobatic task of standing on one leg while rowing with the other, leaving a hand free to maneuver their large, conical fishing baskets. The lake’s edge is dotted with villages, monasteries, and beautiful hotels, all perched gracefully atop wooden stilts. Tonight, we'll enjoy dinner at our resort.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Pristine Lotus Resort

Day 6: Visit the villages and pagodas of Inle Lake

We’ll depart the hotel shortly after breakfast to enjoy a full day of exploring Inle Lake. We’ll visit the lively Indein village market, then stroll among the hundreds of stupas that adorn the hillsides above the village. Some of these towers are centuries old, while others are more recent additions, but collectively they're an impressive sight.

Next, we’ll visit Phaung Daw Oo, a lovely Buddhist pagoda known for its Buddhas covered in gold leaf, and Nga Phe Chaung monastery, a wooden building perched on stilts over the lake. We’ll also see the floating gardens of the local leg-rower fishermen’s village, blacksmiths and cigar makers at work in Nampan village, and silk weavers in Inn Paw Khong. Plus, we'll have the option to explore the lake’s peaceful villages further by canoe. We’ll enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant, and have the opportunity to sit down with locals for a cup of green tea and a friendly chat before returning to our hotel in the afternoon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Pristine Lotus Resort

Day 7: Take a scenic drive to the Pindaya Buddhist Caves

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll take a two-hour drive to Pindaya, passing through the Pa-O tribal farmland of the scenic Shan Plateau. We’ll stop and take advantage of photo opps along the way, as the area offers spectacular views of fall foliage, enchanting pagodas, and pastoral scenes of villagers and their buffaloes working the fields.

Once in Pindaya, we’ll walk to the nearby village of the Htutni Da-Nu tribe, then continue on to the Pindaya Buddhist Caves. These are the largest such caves in Myanmar, and a popular meditation site for local Burmese. Here, we’ll discover a dazzling assortment of over 7,000 Buddha statues, as our guides share local myths and legends with us. Then we’ll walk among hundred year-old banyan trees to Singaung village, where we’ll learn about the villagers’ cottage industry: making bamboo umbrellas.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Inle Inn Pindaya

Day 8: Fly from Pindaya to the temple-studded plains of Bagan

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and the remainder of the morning at your leisure. In the afternoon, we’ll transfer to the airport in Heho for our flight to the temple-studded plains of Bagan. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer to the stunning Thande Hotel, perched on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy this beautiful hotel’s amenities during our two-night stay, whether it's unwinding at the nature spa, enjoying a drink at the poolside bar, or strolling through the bird sanctuary gardens.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Bagan Thande Hotel

Day 9: Discover Bagan's spectacular temples

Gracefully lining the shores of the muddy Irrawaddy River, thousands of peaceful, scenic Buddhist temples make up the spectacular and ancient city of Bagan. Covering an area of about 25 square miles, the temples range from grand structures to simple places of worship. Though the oldest date back some 2,000 years, Bagan’s brief period of grandeur lasted a mere 200 years before its destruction at the hands of Mogul hordes in 1287 A.D.

We’ll take to bikes to explore Bagan’s highlights, including Htilominlo Temple, the finest example of late 12th century stucco carving; Tharabar Gate, a 9th century city wall; Myingaba Gubyaukgyi, with its fine early 12th century murals; Minanthu Village; Phayar Thonesu Temple; and stunning Ananda Temple, built by King Kyansit around 1105 A.D., during Bagan’s heyday.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Bagan Thande Hotel

Day 10: Marvel at Bagan's astounding Shwezigon Pagoda

This morning, we’ll visit a vibrant local vegetable market then continue on to the astounding gold-gilt temple of Shwezigon Pagoda. Completed in 1102 A.D., Shwezigon is considered the prototype for all Burmese stupas and believed by some to enshrine holy relics of the Gautama Buddha. We’ll then continue on to the Kyaukgu Umin, an elaborate three-tiered cave temple built into sandstone cliffs. The temple contains beautiful stone devotional sculptures, and we’ll likely find locals meditating among the ruins. After visiting the temple, we’ll stroll down to the banks of the Irrawaddy and board longtail boats for our return trip to Bagan. We’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then visit a toddy palm farm before transferring to the airport for our short flight back to Yangon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Chatrium Hotel

Day 11: Explore the wonders of Yangon

Today we trade the laid-back feeling of the past several days for the bustling energy of Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar and the largest city in the country. We’ll spend the day exploring Yangon’s large metropolitan area, taking in the striking contrast of modern skyscrapers and coliseums, Victorian-era structures that hearken back to colonial Burma, and ancient pagodas. We’ll also witness the ethnic diversity of Yangon, as we pass churches, mosques, synagogues, Burmese pagodas, and Hindu and Chinese temples.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we'll visit Bogyoke Market, where we’ll see locals shopping. In mid-afternoon, we’ll take tea at the elegant and romantic Strand Hotel, a Victorian mansion that was once the haunt of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham. After tea, we’ll visit one of Buddhism's most sacred sites, the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda, which is believed to enshrine relics from four different Buddhas. We'll linger to witness the awesome beauty of the temple at sunset, when the evening light glints off the gold-plated dome, which is encrusted with over thousands of diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires. We'll then finish the evening with a festive farewell dinner at Le Planteur Restaurant.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Chatrium Hotel

Day 12: Depart from Yangon

After breakfast, we'll transfer to the airport for departure flights.

  • Breakfast

Avenue 64 — Yangon


Bagan Thande Hotel — Bagan

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.

Chatrium Hotel — Yangon

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.

Golden Star Hotel — Keng Tung


Inle Inn Pindaya — Pindaya

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.

Pristine Lotus Resort — Inle 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.

Dates and Pricing

Nov 03 - 14, 2015

Dec 02 - 13, 2015

Feb 17 - 28, 2016

Nov 02 - 13, 2016

Dec 02 - 13, 2016

pricing

2015 / 2016 Prices
$3,695 (11-18 members)
$4,095 (8-10 members)
$650 internal airfare
$1,200 single supplement

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