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Burma – Beyond the Tourist Trail (15 days)

offered by supplier M19089 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 4 - 12 people
Destination(s): Myanmar  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1979 Pound Sterling (GBP)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2329 Pound Sterling (GBP)

Isolated for decades, Burma holds a wealth of cultural and historical treasures, and this trip spends time exploring its rich heritage and culture. Our tour covers the main highlights of the country but also includes some hidden gems and areas that rarely see Western tourists. From chaotic and charming Yangon, where we take a spiritual Shwedagon tour, to the Shan villages, local schools, and the grave of the first prince of Hsipaw, this tour really goes beyond the tourist trail. You have the chance to go trekking to the hill tribe villages in Kyaukme and take a spectacular train crossing over the mighty Gokteik Viaduct. Add in a cycle tour of Mandalay and a visit to a conservation project for retired elephants run by locals around Kalaw, and you can see why this tour is so different. A highlight for most travellers will be left until near the end of this trip. Bagan is one of the most spectacular sites in Asia, a vast collection of ancient temples which rise out of the dusty plains next to the Ayeyarwaddy and make for superb exploration. Burma is one of the most stunning parts of Asia.

Day 1: Yangon Arrival

Arrival in Yangon and you will transfer to hotel. Overnight at Clover City Centre Hotel or similar.

Day 2: Yangon

This morning we visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. You will learn about the history of the pagoda, the daily lives of the people living in the immediate surroundings and a deeper insight into the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. Pass workshops, markets and monasteries along the way. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda, and a visit to a fortune teller. The afternoon is free to discover downtown Yangon with all its heritage buildings on your own. You may wish to revisit Shwedagon in the evening to see this magnificent pagoda illuminated in all its glory. Overnight at Clover City Centre Hotel or similar (B)

Day 3: Yangon – Mandalay

This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Mandalay. On arrival transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon visit the Mahamuni pagoda and have a look at the century’s old Buddha statue originating from Mrauk Oo. Continue to Amarapura, a quiet village where you can hear the sound of weaving machines. Finally visit the famous Mahagandayon Monastery complex with hundreds of monks, a 100-year-old weaving vocational training institution and watch the sunset from the charming U-Bein Bridge, and taste a sip of Mandalay rum which has been produced since 1886. Overnight at Victoria Palace Hotel or similar (B)

Day 4: Mandalay explored by bike

This morning we explore Mandalay by bike. The ride starts in the back lanes of town, passing markets and through lively neighbourhoods heading for the north east of the city. After a short ride we find ourselves in the true countryside where farmers tend to their fields, and villagers go about their daily rituals, often stopping to wave as we pass by. We make some interesting stops, first at a market to learn about the different produce on sale, and then to see bamboo being woven which is used to construct everything from roofs and walls to fans. We take a walk through a typical central Myanmar village and learn about their way of life and their different crops. On our way back to town we stop at a tea shop for a refreshing drink and snacks. We return from our ride around noon and take you by motorbike back to the hotel. Please note: you should wear clothing suitable for this activity: quarter length pants, shorts, t-shirts are all advisable, as are comfortable closed shoes. Sunscreen and hat are a must. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Victoria Palace Hotel or similar (B)

Day 5: Mandalay to Bagan

This morning we take the public bus to Bagan where we arrive at lunchtime and transfer to the hotel. This afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour with a guide who will show you the best known temples of the area. We start by climbing a pagoda to get a first impressive view over the whole plain. From here the guide plans his way to some of the other impressive temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you. Overnight at Nyaung U Thande Hotel or similar (B)

Day 6: Explore Bagan

Today is a free day in Bagan to discover its delights at your own pace. You can rent a horse cart, a bicycle or an electric bike or if you book early enough (at least 6 months is a good guide) you may be able to take a spectacular early morning balloon ride over the Bagan plain. Overnight at Nyaung U Thande Hotel or similar (B)

Day 7: Bagan to Kalaw

This morning we have a long drive (around 6 hours) to an elephant conservation project near Kalaw. If time allows after the journey, we will take a wonderfully peaceful walk in the forest before encountering the elephants and their mahouts. The project was started by local school friends with a focus on protecting the local environment, elephants and the traditions of local people living in the area. The project includes a natural environment for retired working Asian elephants and helps the local population through education and micro finance. We will learn about the elephants and have time to help wash them in the river and feed them in beautiful surroundings. We will also have lunch at the project in its perfect natural setting before continuing on to Kalaw. Overnight at the Dream villa hotel or similar (BL)

Day 8: Kalaw – Loikaw by Train

An early start this morning to take a spectacular train journey through the beautiful landscape of Pa O area. The train leaves Kalaw at 0600 and arrives at Saung Byaung station around 1600, but be prepared for some delays. On arrival we continue by private car to Loikaw where you will enjoy a traditional, home cooked meal at a local family house. Overnight at Three Season Hotel or similar (BD)

Day 9: Loikaw

Today start with a visit to the bustling morning market of Loikaw, the former palace of the Kayah prince and Kayah Museum and see some of the artefacts of this state. Travel to Kasae Kum village to see how the rings that some Kayah women wear around their necks are made. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the legends of the longneck women. Continue to Pemsong village where we take a 4 hour walk of the ‘trail of the ancestors’. During the walk, your local guide will tell you the story of their ancestors including their belief in spirits, the importance of the totem pole and herbal medicines. Enjoy a picnic lunch before continuing the walk to one of the Kayah villages where you will meet more longneck women. We then drive towards Loikaw and visit a traditional Kayah boxing training centre and enjoy some sundowners with typical Kayah liquor (or simply a beer) with Kayah sausages. Overnight at Three Season Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 10: Loikaw – Kayah Village Walk

This morning we visit Hta Nee La Leh and meet some members of the community who will explain their shrines where animist traditions are practiced, and enjoy lunch in a local home. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Three Season Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 11: Loikaw – Pekon – Samkar – Inle Lake

This morning drive to Pekon where we take a private boat over the wide Pekon Lake towards Samkar village (approx. 2 hours) where we visit Samkar monastery. Continue by boat to Inle Lake (approx. 2.5 hours). Overnight at Hupin Kaung Dine Hotel or similar (B)

Day 12: Inle Lake

Enjoy a full day exploring this magical lake by boat. We discover its natural beauty, visit the floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowing fishermen, and have a cup of tea at a local home. Around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule. Today we visit one of these colourful markets frequented by Shan and PaO people. We also visit a local cheroot factory (where Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Intha Heritage house - where Burmese cats are bred - and if there is time a weaving factory. Overnight at Hupin Kaung Dine Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 13: Inle Lake

We visit the ruins of Indein, partly covered by vegetation and which until recently lay undiscovered. If time allows we will take a short walk to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake and visit a school in Tha Ley village. A home-made cooked lunch will be served in a local house. We continue towards the Nam Pan village for a very interesting trip by small canoe exploring the side channels and observing village life. We ten visit a recently set up vineyard, one of only a couple in the whole country. Overnight at Hupin Kaung Dine Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 14: Inle Lake via Heho to Yangon

This morning, transfer to Heho airport for a flight back to Yangon and on arrival transfer to the hotel. The rest of your day is free in Yangon. Overnight at Clover City Centre Hotel or similar (B)

Day 15: Yangon Departure

Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight. (B)

Supplemental Tour Information:
Tour Rating: Fitness-4; Off the Beaten Track-3; Culture-5; History-4; Wildlife-2; Tour Pace - Moderate.

Tour Highlights
- A visit to the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda
- Getting off the beaten track in Shan state
- Stay at a local home with Burmese people
- Travel like a local – travel on the train and bus
- Includes a spectacular train journey over the Gokteik Viaduct

- Accommodation: Mix of hotels and a stay in a local hill tribe village house
- Included Meals: Daily breakfast (B), plus lunches (L) and dinners (D) as shown in the itinerary.
- Group Size: Maximum of 12
- Start Point: Yangon
- End Point: Yangon
- Transport: Private cars, local bus, train, bikes, boat, scheduled flights
- Countries: Burma

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Domestic flights
- All accommodation
- Services of English speaking guide / tour leader where mentioned
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Price Excludes:
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Visas
- Drinks.

About This Supplier
Location: England
Joined InfoHub: Jan 2009

Our family is a UK based tour operator founded in 2004. The company offers a range of unique, flexible guided private and group tours to a growing number of exciting destinations. Much of the company's product, including the sale of tours in Sudan, Myanmar, Comoros and Sierra Leone is a first in the UK market. The...

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