Day 1 : Overnight Travel

Day 2 : Yangon

Mingalabar and welcome to Myanmar! The former capital Yangon, also known as Rangoon, remains Myanmars largest city. Its colonial background and religious legacy make it one of the most mesmerizing and genuine places in all of Southeast Asia.

Feeling jet lagged? Start your vacation off with a delightful spa treatment which will restore your mind, body and soul.

No Myanmar expedition can be considered complete if it’s lacking a visit to the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. The visual delights present there alone are worth the trip. As you step on the platform, you will witness the colors transform on the 100-meter chedi, literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaves. Shwedagon Pagoda is largely considered to be the most important religious site of Myanmar. You will have the unique opportunity to take part, alongside local worshippers, to a somber and distinguished event that is steeped in the Buddhist belief. The highly spiritual ceremony of offering oil lamp begins with the local monks chanting “sutras”, a blessing that bestows a lifetime of good health and happiness. You will get a better understanding of Buddhism thanks to this unique ceremony taking place in the most sacred place of the country.

OIL LAMP CEREMONY AT SHWE DAGON PAGODA

You will have the unique opportunity to take part, alongside local worshippers, to a somber and distinguished event that is steeped in the Buddhist belief. The highly spiritual ceremony of offering oil lamp is performed by believers to earn merit through good deeds. A typical ceremony begins with the local monks chanting “sutras”, a blessing that bestows a lifetime of good health and happiness. You will get a better understanding of Buddhism thanks to this unique ceremony taking place in the most sacred place of the country.

Note: we will have to attain special permission to arrange the unforgettable experience of the oil lamp ceremony in Myanmar. Therefore, please book at least 4 weeks in advance.

Lunch and dinner on own account. Overnight in Yangon at Chatrium Hotel

Day 3 : Old Bagan

MORNING YOGA IN THE PARK

The morning will begin with a private yoga session in the peaceful Kandawgyi Park. In the morning light, the park's placid lake and dew-dotted grass combine to stimulate self-reflection.  Your private instructor will lead you on the path of relaxation while you are gazing at Shwedagon from the wooden deck overlooking the lake. With a clear mind, you will then return to the hotel for breakfast.

Note: the session is from 06:00 to 07:00

YANGON HERITAGE TRUST WALKING TOUR

Today you will learn more about Yangon’s architecture and history with a member of the Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT), a non-profit group working to preserve colonial-era buildings. You will start at the YHT office. After an introduction to the Trust and its activities, you will set off with your local guide whose knowledge and expertise is showcased as you walk the streets of downtown. You will visit an array of buildings such as the Armenian Church, the colorful colonial apartments on Pansodan Street, the famed Strand Hotel and the Secretariat. The guide will provide great insight in to the stories of each building.

Walking time: 2h 30 minutes

From 09h00 to 11h30

Note: this tour focuses on architecture and colonial heritage 

If in Theravada Buddhism vegetarianism is not a requirement for the monks – who are allowed to eat pork, fish and chicken if the animal was not killed on their behalf – a vegetarian diet is often implied in Buddha’s teachings in different school of thoughts. Enjoy a healthy and vegetarian meal in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, you will drive to Yangon Domestic Airport to extend your journey to Bagan. Welcome to Bagan, known to be one of the greatest architectural sites in Asia. When Bagan was the centre of Myanmar from the 11th to 13th centuries, the monarchs built multitudes of massive stupas and pagodas, many of which are still present on the shores of the Irrawaddy River.

Upon arrival at your hotel, you will relax and enjoy the pool by the resort or massage at the spa.

Vegetarian lunch at local restaurant. Dinner on own account. Overnight at Tharabar Gate

Day 4 : Old Bagan

Early in the morning, you will set off on a horse cart to enjoy the quiet morning atmosphere and a panoramic view of the area as the sun slowly appears on the horizon, casting light over the holy temples of Bagan.

FOOD DONATION TO THE MONKS (BLESSING AT THE MONASTERY)

You will delve into Buddhist culture with a mid-morning offering to monks of the soan meal, the final meal of the day for the monks. The monks will arrive in line on the red carpet in front of the monastery and you will serve them with rice in their alms bowl. The monks will then proceed to the interior of the monastery where low tables are set up with other dishes already prepared by the monastery kitchen. After lunch, the monks will thank you with a blessing of wishes for health and happiness.

Notes:

  • Dress and behave in a respectful manner and take your shoes off during the ceremony
  • No alcohol or smoking inside the monastery compound

In the afternoon, you will travel to an elevated location amid the temple plains to observe the field of pagodas and temples. From here you will have a look around Ananda Temple – one of the most recognizable of Bagan’s temples. Your guide will ensure you reach this point before the majority of visitors arrive, enabling you to enjoy the beautiful temple in relative tranquility. You will have time to go around the plain to observe a variety of architectural styles in the area, including some artistic wonders of the 9th -14th centuries. Traveling amid the temples, you will get a taste of rural Bagan life as you pass by several villages where farmers and families work amongst the monuments. (Possible to explore by bike or electric scooter)

At the end of the day, you have time to relax and enjoy the atmosphere that surrounds this impressive archaeological site.

Lunch and dinner on own account. Overnight at Tharabar Gate 

Day 5 : Old Bagan

OPTION: BALLOON OVER BAGAN

In the morning, you will set off for an exciting hot-air balloon ride above the Bagan countryside. Observe the one-of-a-kind view when the sun begins to rise over the Irrawaddy River and various stupas in the region.

COOKING CLASS AT LOCAL FAMILY HOME

You will start from the vibrant Nyaung Oo Market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily. You will be invited into a local home to join a family for a traditional cooking experience. Your host will briefly introduce you to the local vegetables and herbs, hand-picked in their garden or freshly brought back from the morning market before starting the class. You will then spend some time to share with the host their cooking methods, stories and some laughs. After a lesson about the traditional family recipes, you will enjoy the authentic taste of Burmese vegetarian cuisine in a cozy atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to finish everything on your plate, it is the Myanmar way to show your appreciation to the hosts.

Note: Request if there are any particular dietary requirements

Free time for the afternoon at the hotel. 

SUNSET COCKTAIL AND YOGA SESSION ON THE BANK OF IRRAWADDY RIVER

At the end of the afternoon, you will board a wooden boat for a short cruise on the Irrawaddy. Disembark on a sandbank in the middle of the river, the setting of today’s yoga session. Feel the energy and the power of the quiet landscape and gently flowing waters of the river. Stretch your body under the setting sun, awaken your soul and find inspiration in the setting. As the sun begins to sink low in the sky, after your revitalizing class, a refreshing cocktail accompanied by local snacks will be served while you enjoy the unique setting. Then you will cruise back to Bagan shortly after sunset, completely relaxed.

Note: This activity is subject to weather conditions and the water level of the Irrawaddy River. It can only be organized from October to February

Vegetarian lunch at local home. Dinner on own account. Overnight at  Tharabar Gate 

The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Day 6 : Old Bagan

Free time for the whole day to fully enjoy the atmosphere of this impressive archaeological site.

Guide and driver at your disposal to explore the wonders of Bagan. You can also relax at the resort by the pool or massage at Spa.

Lunch and dinner on own account. Overnight at Tharabar Gate.

The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Day 7 : Mandalay

You will drive to Bagan Airport on time to check in for your domestic flight to Mandalay. Welcome to Mandalay, Myanmar's second largest city and former royal residence. It is often described in the literature as Asia in its most traditional way, timeless and most charming shape. Mandalay is often considered the cultural heart of Myanmar where you can encounter a rich tradition of music, dance and theater performances.

UNIQUE ENCOUNTER AT THE NUNNERY

You will begin with an expedition to the previous capital of Sagaing. With 600 ivory colored pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is generally seen as the spiritual hub of Myanmar and claims residence to around 3,000 monks and nearly 100 meditation shrines. You’ll visit some of the most beautiful pagodas, a small local market and a pottery village. Delve into the spirituality of the area as you will also have time to stop at a local nunnery. Though monasteries are often what comes first to mind when thinking about Buddhism, nunneries play a similarly important role in the country. After presenting your donation to the nuns, sit around the table with them to share a cup of tea. The peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of the nunnery will probably inspire you with many questions.

Duration: 1 hour

Notes:

  • Clothing covering the shoulders and knees should be worn and shoes are to be taken off during the visit to the nunnery
  • It is forbidden to smoke in the nunnery compound

SUNSET VISIT TO SHWE KYIN MONASTERY

Before sunset, you will head over to the Shwe Kyin Monastery. Observe how right after sunset the young student monks gather and line up for their evening prayer. You will discretely observe their evening rituals while walking around the magnificent teak monastery. A unique evening which will allow you to fully delve into the spirituality of the area before returning to your hotel.

Duration:1 hour

Lunch and dinner on own account. Overnight at Mandalay Hill

Day 8 : Mandalay

WASHING OF THE BUDDHA’S FACE

In the early morning, you will join the local worshippers at Mahamuni Pagoda and witness the ritualistic washing of the Buddha's face. This ritual starts every morning at 4:00 or 4:30 when monks wash the face and brush the teeth of the Buddha image. It’s performed for over an hour by a senior monk dressed in monastic attire, assisted by several lay helpers, dressed in white and wearing formal a headdress.

Duration:1 hour

Note: Women cannot approach the Buddha Image, but are allowed to observe from the lower area

After breakfast at hotel, you will visit Kuthodaw Pagoda and its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. Directly south of Mandalay Hill, stands Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, you next visit, also known as the pagoda of the Great Marble Image. At the end of your half day tour, you will visit Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery and the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century.

If in Theravada Buddhism vegetarianism is not a requirement for the monks – who are allowed to eat pork, fish and chicken if the animal was not killed on their behalf – a vegetarian diet is often implied in Buddha’s teachings in different school of thoughts. Enjoy a healthy and vegetarian meal in a local restaurant.

PEACEFUL MEDITATION AT THE MONASTERY

In the afternoon you will travel to a monastery in a serene and quiet environment, at the foot of Mandalay Hill to enjoy a unique introduction to meditation. You will be introduced to the basic techniques of meditation and its importance in Buddhism. Your teacher will open your eyes and soul, and guide you on your way to your own self-perception. Challenge yourself and learn how to control your thoughts.

Notes: Meditation session lasts from 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the interest of the guests

SUNSET COCKTAIL AT LEGENDRY U BEIN BRIDGE

As the sun sets on the city of Amarapura, you will enjoy the special atmosphere on the legendary U Bein bridge, said to be the longest teak bridge in the world. Built in 1782, while Amarapura was still a royal city, the bridge is still used daily by locals to head home in the evening. From a small local boat, you will admire the sun casting long shadows of the villagers crossing the bridge. Enjoy some refreshing cocktails and delicious snacks to celebrate the end of a perfect day before returning back to hotel.

Duration: 30 minutes

Vegetarian Lunch at local restaurant. Dinner on own account. Overnight iat Mandalay Hill.

Day 9 : Kalaw

You will drive to Mandalay Airport on time to check in for your domestic flight to Heho.

Upon arrival to Heho airport, you will meet with your driver and experience a lovely scenic two-hour’ drive to Magwe Village near Kalaw. Magwe is home to the Green Hill Valley Elephant Project whose aim is to protect local ecology, elephants and traditions of the regions’ people. The project has taken on 7 Asian elephants from logging camps where they were no longer able to be looked after and given them a home, medical care and other support. The activities for visitors are intended to expose the natural beauty of the area as well as the role of elephants and mahouts in Myanmar.

You will be greeted by the local team at the camp rest house and, while having a refreshing drink, will be given a briefing on the camp’s background and activities. From here it is a short walk to the river where the elephants may be bathing or foraging for food. Encountering these animals in their natural environment is a truly special treat.  At your arrival at the main camp, you will enjoy a lunch of locally-grown produce and then visit the re-forestation project where, if you wish, you can get your hands dirty and plant a sapling.

You will return to Kalaw in the late afternoon or continue your journey to Kalaw with unforgettable memories of this unique encounter.

Note:

  • As the elephants are allowed to roam free and are not kept chained at night, there is a rare occurrence where the elephants are not around. However please understand that this project is aimed at preserving the natural ways of life of these animals and their mahouts and not developed as a ‘zoo’. Similarly, the program may need to be altered in the case of severe rain.
  • Schedule is approximately 9:00 to 14:00

Lunch at Green Hill Valley Elephant camp. Dinner on own account. Overnight at Amara Mountain Resort. 

Day 10 : Inle Lake

Slowly wake up in the peaceful hill station. Before you continue your journey to Nyaung Shwe, you will have enough time to discover Kalaw morning market where ethnic minorities from the surroundings villages meet to trade their products.

BIKING TOUR AROUND NYAUNG SHWE CITY

Upon your arrival in Nyaung Shwe, you will go on a morning ride around the town. From the local jetty where villagers from around the lake come to unload their goods to the local market, you will experience the small town waking up to its everyday morning activities. You will then leave the buzz of the Nyaung Shwe and escape to its neighboring countryside. The dirt tracks will lead you to small villages on the lake’s shores. Enjoy the pure, fresh air while you ride through the fields.

Distance and biking time: 10 kilometers – 1h 30min

Easia level: level 0 

TRADITIONAL LUNCH AT VIEW POINT LODGE

The ride will probably make you quite hungry, so in the end you can enjoy a tasty traditional lunch at View Point Lodge where you can find the best Shan food in the country, Viewpoint delivers not just excellent food but also fabulous views and service. Their ‘discovery’ menus present an array of flavours and textures commonly found in the local cuisine offer a chance to really delve in to the Shan culture.

Then you will continue to your hotel for check in and you will have free time to enjoy massage and pool by the resort. The views on Inle Lake will help you focus your mind and will bring you to a state of well-being and consciousness. Enjoy the lights shining on the quiet water and let your mind floating in the fresh air of the Shan hills. 

Lunch at Viewpoint Lodge. Dinner on own account. Overnight at Amata Garden Resort. 

Day 11 : Inle Lake

MORNING YOGA SESSION NEAR THE LAKE

Another unique yoga venue waits as you set off0020early by boat. With an open terrace with 360-degree views, in the heart of the lake, you will enjoy practicing yoga surrounded by morning sunlight and the quiet waters of the lake. Breathe in the fresh air and relish the sublime views as you stretch out your body and clear your mind.

After breakfast back at the hotel, you will head out onto Inle Lake. The quiet waters of Inle Lake are dotted with floating gardens, leg-rowing fishermen and stilt houses. You will take time this morning to walk around the 5-days market visited every day by the locals of the lake, as well as ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages.

A one hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein. You will take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending the staircase leading to the pagoda. The Indein Pagoda complex consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery.

LUNCH AT BAMBOO FOREST

Treat yourself to a culinary experience unlike any other! You will have a delicious Shan picnic in a glad of the bamboo forest of Indein after paying a visit to the intriguing pagoda complex. A splendid market, ancient pagodas and ruins will surround this unique “Dejeuner sur l’herbe”. Enjoy traditional Shan delicacies in a private and remote setting surrounding by a soothing bamboo forest.

Note: - Please notify us in advance if you have any allergies or dietary requirements.

  • Free flow of local wine, local beer and soft drinks is included

CANOE RIDE AROUND THE LAKE

In the afternoon, you will get aboard a small wooden canoe usually used by the lake farmers to take care of their gardens. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and give in the serenity of the place. Alongside a local who will paddle for you, you will float across thousands of tomato patches, cross narrow garden paths and observe firsthand the farmers at work on the peculiar floating gardens.

The day will come to a close with a return trip by boat back to your hotel.

After a full day of visit of the lake, calm your mind and seek tranquility with an evening yoga session at the hotel.

Lunch at Bamboo forest and dinner on own account. Overnight at Amata Garden Resort. 

Day 12 : Yangon

SERENE SUNRISE ON THE LAKE

In a scenic spot, the boat driver will turn off the engine and a mug of hot tea or coffee will be served while enjoying the quiet reigning over the lake – as the villagers are slowly waking up. At this time of day you will be privileged to have the lake for yourself, with local fishermen and market vendors being the main people out at this hour. After the sun has appeared from behind the hills surrounding the lake, you will continue through a local village to see the morning activities of the lake’s residents as they prepare for their day. You will then return to your hotel in the soft morning light for a complete breakfast.

Note: temperatures may be very cold from October to March. A blanket will be provided however we recommend dressing appropriately.

WALKING TOUR AROUND VILLAGES

You are about to experience the traditional agricultural methods on the lake shores in Thalae U, a typical lakeshore village, to enjoy the scenery and observe the traditional ways of life here. You will then continue to Alae Myaung village, where the residents rely upon the fertile soil to grow an abundance of vegetables. Depending on the season and the crops cultivated, you will join the farmers in the fields to pick vegetables and learn more about the day-to-day activities of these communities. A simple, but authentic encounter with the villagers of the lake.

Distance and walking time: 5 kilometers – 2 hours

LUNCH AT LOCAL FAMILY HOME

You will join an Intha family for a unique experience that will remain etched in your memory. The Intha, ethnic minority in the region of Inle, have the distinction of living in houses on stilts and maintain incredible floating gardens on Inle Lake. Your hosts will let you discover all the traditional ingredients and culinary techniques of the Intha and will prepare traditional dishes right before your eyes. Enjoy your delightful meal in an authentic stilt house on the lake.

Note: Please notify us in advance if you have any allergies or dietary requirements. And we can also arrange vegetarian meals if you prefer.

Your driver will pick you up and drive you to Heho airport to catch your domestic flight back to Yangon.

Note: only hotels with an entrance on the shore can be reached by car

Car timing depends on the location of the hotel on the lake

Distance and timing: 32 kilometers – 1 hour by car from Nyaung Shwe to Heho

Lunch at local home. Dinner on own account. Overnight at Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon.

Day 13 : End of Itinerary

After 12 days of traveling and discovering the country, it’s time to say goodbye to one of the most impressive countries in the world and head home with a clear mind and a strong body.

HIGH TEA AT THE STRAND HOTEL

If time allows you will have an option to taste a traditional afternoon tea at one of the best places in Yangon. Influenced by the British-era, enjoying high tea became the center of expat life during the 1900’s and the High Tea has become a Yangon institution. Amidst a lush garden or inside houses adorned with elements that reflect the charms of a by-gone colonial era, you will take a midday respite from the heat and buzz of the city. You will slip back in to the days of the colonial time as you enjoy tea or coffee and a selection of afternoon snacks.

Do not miss a visit to the bustling Bogyoke Market, better known under the name of “Scott Market”, to stroll around the stalls filled with handicrafts and do your last minute shopping.

Notes: the market is closed on Monday, full moon and black moon days as well as during public holidays

According to your international flight timing, you will drive to Yangon International Airport and proceed to the check-in for your flight back.

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