Spiritual Pagodas of Yangon
You’ll start your trip off in the former capital Yangon, a historic city bustling with many attractions. You will stay nearby the beautiful Kandawgyi lake within easy reach of the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most iconic sites in the Buddhist culture, you’ll have plenty of time to explore. You’ll take a half day city tour with an English-speaking guide to the Pagoda to learn it’s history and more about the Buddhist religion; there are even some tasty Burmese dishes to sample!
Planes, Trains and Watermobiles
Next you will explore the Northern Shan state over four days, taking in the rolling views across the mountains and learning about rural life in this remote spot in Myanmar. Starting in laid back Hsipaw you’ll learn about home industries like cigar-rolling and the spiritual beliefs of this area and cruise down the river for another perspective of life here.
On day 3 you will take a local bus from Hsipaw to Kyaukme where you will trek through rural villages, home to the Palaung community who live according to century old traditions. Your guide will be able to tell you all about their way of life. You’ll round of your time in Shan state with a tasty home-cooked meal delivered straight to your hotel.
High Tea in the Highlands
You’ll arrive in Pyn Oo Lwin in the afternoon by train, where you’ll be whisked to your hotel in style by tuk-tuk! It’s a short ride to your chalet style accommodation where you’ll spend two nights. Nothing is planned for your first evening so you can choose to relax at the hotel or head out and explore your new surroundings. Your hotel is dotted in between the green hills and close to the stunning botanical gardens.
The next morning after a hearty breakfast you’ll hop on your bikes, map in hand to discover what this picturesque town has to offer. You’ll clearly see the British influence here, with the quaint churches and imposing mansions. After exploring the colourful markets and botanical gardens we’ll arrange a tasty Burmese high tea at a charming hotel to refuel. The following day you’ll head onward on your journey through Myanmar.
Magical Monasteries of Mandalay
The former royal capital of Myanmar, Mandalay may lack the splendour and beauty of some other Burmese towns and cities but there’s still plenty of sightseeing to be done! In between the maze of streets are small craft shops, monasteries and quaint churches. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of the city. The decor is truly something to behold, from gold-leaf ceilings to rich teak wood flooring and sumptuously rich touches throughout.
On your first day, you’ll head out with a local guide to nearby Sagaing. This small town is the centre of Buddhism in Myanmar and houses more than 6000 monks and nuns. Set on a hill on the riverbank of the Ayeyarwaddy River it’s a peaceful place with some stunning views. Next, it’s on to the old capital of Amarapura, a small rustic village where only the sound of the weaving machines and locals going about their daily routines can be heard. Take a walk through the famous Mahagandayon monastery complex with hundreds of monks and walk over the U-Bein Bridge.
Bagan: Temples in the Mist
You’ll now arrive in striking Bagan, located in the centre of Myanmar and nestled between rolling hills with over 2000 Buddhist monuments. The most impressive temple, Ananda Pahto, can be spotted above them all, dominating the skyline. Your accommodation is located in New Bagan, a boutique style hotel perfect for a few tranquil days.
During your time in Bagan you will have bikes and a map at your disposal, so you can head out to explore the stunning scenery and hidden temples through the labyrinth of dirt tracks. You will be joined by a guide on the morning of day 2 to show you around some of the abandoned temples before heading off on your own.
Hiking through Emerald Hills
Get off the beaten track and learn about local hill tribes in this trip from cool Kalaw to shimmering Inle Lake. Starting in Kalaw, a former hill station for the British to escape the summer heat, you’ll head off with your guide to explore the lush landscape, sample local cuisine and soak up the cool climate before arriving at the vast Inle Lake. This trip will give you a glimpse into rural life and feel like a breath of fresh air. You’ll stay in a simple yet traditional lodge in a Pa O village.
Village Life on Inle Lake
Next, you’ll head to the tranquil Inle Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Myanmar, stretching an impressive 13 miles long. Dotted along the lake are many enchanting Burmese villages, with stilted houses along the water’s edge. It’s a relaxed way of life that you can’t help but adapt to when visiting. You’ll stay in a guesthouse in nearby Nyaungshwe where you can relax in the peaceful gardens.
On day two you will get the chance to head out by boat on to the lake and explore the floating gardens and craft shops before finally enjoying a tasty Burmese dish of Shan noodles with a local family. It’s a unique experience which brings you closer to the locals and allows you to experience village life in Myanmar. After another night in the town of Nyaungshwe you will head off on your next destination.
A peek at your accommodation
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If you would like a bit more comfort during your Myanmar adventure then this In Style version is for you. You will be upgraded in the majority of destinations you will visit with a couple of exceptions in Northern Shan State and during trekking to Inle Lake as these remote areas offer only basic or standard accommodation and experience you’ll have will be truly special. You’ll have a mix of boutique and colonial style hotels with pools for a refreshing dip and a lakeside bungalow overlooking the water.
Prices from: £ 2,368 - per person - In Style Option