Myanmar offers a wealth of cultural, historical and scenic highlights: ruins of ancient kingdoms, awe inspiring temples, former colonial hill stations, stretches of deserted beaches, an archipelago of 800 pristine islands, the last true primary jungles of the Sub-Himalayan mountain range, and much, much more. Over 130 ethnic minority groups inhabit the country, forming a rich tapestry of cultural identities, beliefs and languages to be explored. Whether your trip involves beach and relaxation, trekking and ethnic minority villages, classic luxury river cruises, hot air balloon rides, or active biking and walking tours across the country, this latest addition to many travelers ‘wish list’ offers it all.
DAY 01: Arrival in Yangon
Today you arrive in the Yangon and are met by your Sweetway Asia guide at the airport. Its only a short drive from the airport into the city where your adventure begins! First stop is at the beautiful Sule Pagoda, with a history that spans 2 millennia this temple has stood like a sentinel whilst the fortunes of those around waxed and waned.
Speaking of fortunes, we visit the fantasic Scotts Market, where the labyrinth of shops and stalls offer trinkets, bargains and souvenirs galore. Closed on a Monday, this market (known locally as Bogyoke Market) also gives you a chance to pick up the locally worn sarong, or Longyi. Your guide will be able to tell you what the different colours mean, and more importantly how to tie it so that it doesn’t fall off at the wrong time!
No visit to Yangon is complete without a visit to the iconic Swedagon Pagoda, the spiritual heart of the country. Pilgrims come from all corners of the country to pray and meditate. Novices monks begin their spiritual journey here whilst locals come to ask help and wisdom in the challenges of everyday life. We visit in the cooler late afternoon and take time to reflect on our own journey ahead.
DAY 02: Bagan
This morning we depart for our short flight to Bagan. On arrival your guide will start the tour with a visit to one of the most significant Stupa in the region, the Dhamayazeka Zedi. From here you have commanding views across the plains, flat except for the jagged stupa that serve to break up the horizon. The immensity and harmony are breathtaking.
We continue with a visit to the Archaeological Museum to learn in greater detail about the region before we visit some more of the most significant sites, including the Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi, Htilominlo and Ananda Temples. Bagan is home to some of the finest lacquer-ware production in the region and we stop at a small factory for you to see how these beautiful items are made and even pick up a small memento or two.
DAY 03: Bagan – Mandalay
This morning is kept free for you to take on the experience of a lifetime, a balloon ride over the temples at sunset! There are few sights as memorable, and the combination of effortless flight, the dawning of a new day and stunning views will stay with you forever.
We relax after the flight with breakfast before later taking a flight to Mandalay, Burma’s last royal capital. After hotel check in we head to the famous teak bridge at Amarapura for yet another iconic experience as the sun departs. The perfect day, sunrise and sunset framed by memories to last a lifetime.
DAY 04: Mandalay
Following breakfast we head to the jetty for a pleasant boat ride upriver to Mingun to visit the remains of what could have been the world’s largest pagoda. Intended to reach a staggering height of 152 metres, work on the pagoda stopped after the death of King Bodawpaya in 1819. Dramatically split by an earthquake in 1838, the monumental structure is still incredibly impressive. We also visit the huge Mingun Bell and the beautiful white Myatheindan pagoda nearby.
Returning by boat to Mandalay the afternoon is spent exploring the Royal Palace, the teak carvings of the historic Shwenandaw Monastery and the world’s largest book at the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Our day concludes with Mandalay Hill and depending on the time, a spectacular sunset with vistas across the city.
DAY 05: Mandalay – Inle Lake
A morning flight takes us from Mandalay to Heho, where our guide meets us and takes us for a short visit to the lively market before we continue on to our hotel on the banks of the beautiful Inle Lake. The afternoon is free for you to relax and enjoy the scenery around your hotel.
DAY 06: Inle Lake
This morning we set off by private boat to explore this peaceful lake. We first visit the picturesque Inn Thein Pagoda Complex, sailing up narrow rivers and walking through bamboo groves to get there. This 1000 year old complex feels timeless and we take time to explore before returning to our boat and sailing to the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda.
The nearby weaving village gives you the rare chance to buy your souvenirs at source, and you have time to learn how the ancient skills have been handed down from generation to generation. Cat lovers will never forget the next stop! A stilted house built over the lake where the rare Burmese Cat is being preserved and reintroduced to its home country.
DAY 07: Inle Lake – Yangon
The morning is kept free before your midday transfer to Heho Airport for your flight on to Yangon. On arrival you transfer back to your hotel for a final evening in the city.
DAY 08: Yangon – Program Ends
Depending on your ongoing travel plans you have time this morning to explore the city. You are transferred to the airport in time to catch your flight home.