Arrival at Yangon International Airport. You will be greeted by your guide en helped into your air-conditioned private car.
Together with your guide, you proceed to the downtown area where you will see Sule Pagoda, Mahabandoola Park and get a colonial whiff as you pass by the countless old English buildings. Finally, you will experience the impressive Botataung Pagoda.
Next stop is Bogyoke (Scott) Market that boasts an almost endless amount of shops with everything from gems to art and T-shirts. Great for souvenirs. Scott Market is closed on Mondays and on some public holidays.
Finally, stroll through the green world of Kandawgyi Park; a great place for your lunch or a refreshment by the cooling lake.
The last stop of the day is mesmerizing Shwedagon Pagoda. Perhaps the paramount Buddhist pilgrimage site in the entire world, this golden behemoth will take your breath away – and the atmosphere is celestial.
Overnight in Yangon.
After your breakfast, it’s time to drive Kyaikhtiyo, the home of the gravity-defying Golden Rock.
Upon arrival, it is time to take a small truck to a sub-camp called Ya The Taung. From here it is about 1,5 kilometres (one hour) to the summit.
Upon arrival up here, you might want to relax a bit or take a shower before sunset, which is the perfect time to behold the Golden Rock – but indeed also the thousands of pilgrims who come here every day.
Overnight in Kyaikhtiyo.
Well full of breakfast, you set out to descend the mountain in a similar fashion to the day before.
Your private car will take you to Bago where you will encounter some astonishing divine constructions. First off, it is time for Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha, which is 55 meters long and allegedly built in 994 by on king of the Mon Empire.
Next stop is the tallest pagoda in all of Myanmar: Shwemawdaw Pagoda is from the same period as above and is also a place of pilgrimage and reverence. Finally you will walk through the golden halls of the – for foreigners – not so aptly-named Kanbawzathadi Palace, which used to be the home of the king back when the Burmese Empire was at its zenith. This unbelievable palace was originally built in 1556 and was rebuilt in the early 1990’ies.
Now, it has become time to travel the last stretch back to Yangon, but on the way we swing by Htaukkyant Allied War Memorial Cemetery before you check into your hotel – and most likely feel the need to put your feet up in your comfortable hotel room.
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to Yangon International Airport to fly to Heho. After arrival in Heho, you continue to Pindaya Cave, which is home to around 9,000 Buddhas of all sizes and materials. The cave itself is a 200 million year old creation and it draws people from all over the country.
On the way to Nyaung Shwe, which will be your home for the next couple of days, you can visit a little workshop that makes its own paper from the bark of the mulberry tree. This used in books and lampshades as well as in ingenious and very decorative umbrellas.
This day is reserved only for incredible Inle Lake.
Today we will take you through more floating gardens that you can enjoy while being surrounded by the towering mountains that cradle this body of water.
An amazing journey of about 1,5 hours will take you to Inn Dein at the south-west part of the Lake. As we approach, we will be moving “uphill” by going through cleverly made steps that have been created through the use of little dams that increase the water level.
This is how we get to Inn Dein, a fascinating place from the 17th Century where pagodas seem to have slowly grown out of the ground. There is almost a thousand of them, and many of them have small trees growing out of them while other plants hug these ancient structures, making the place seem like an obvious shooting location of there ever was to be another Indiana Jones movie.
After lunch, you will be taken through villages with all houses on stilts and the interesting 5-day market. Here you can see all the vegetables, fruits and handicrafts that the various ethnicities grow and produce in their mountain villages.
In the afternoon, there is plenty of time to enjoy floating gardens, visit workshops with silver, boat-building, cigars etc.
It will be a phenomenal day. That we promise.
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and make the transfer to Heho Airport from which you will fly to Mandalay.
Here you will be picked up by one of our friendly and service-minded local guides.
First stop today is the much venerated Mahamuni Pagoda with its Buddha image that has been covered in hundreds of thousands of layers of gold leaf. Legend has it that this image was originally cast in 623 BC.
Again, this is also very much a place where the pilgrims play an important role in a divine atmosphere that is difficult not to love.
After lunch, we visit the only surviving part of Mandalay’s old palace. The Golden Teak Palace was disassembled and moved out beyond the moat prior to World War 2 during which the entire old palace was destroyed. It is fascinating woodcarving, and to think that this was once perfectly covered in gold inside out is hard to believe, but there is actually still a lot of gold remaining if you take a good look.
The last stop of the day is The World’s Largest Book; the Buddhist equivalent to the Bible, and it is just massive.
729 marble tablets have been meticulously carved with Buddha’s teachings and philosophy. If you theoretically sat down and wanted to read the book in its entirety, it would take you no less than six months.
It is a very special place, and it has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The last activity of the day is the sunset on top of Mandalay Hill. If the weather is clear, this is THE spot to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city and observe the sun descend into its pink bed.
After a good breakfast, it is time to visit U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world. It is more than 1200 meters long and was built in 1851.
Next stop is the old capital, Ava, where your driver will drop you off for you to get on a ferry boat that will help you cross Myitnge River. Now it is time for a little trip on a horse cart, and you can enjoy local life around here on your way to Bargayar monastery with its 176 teak pillars, some of which are 17 meters tall and 2,7 meters wide. You will also see Nanmyint tower from 1822.
From Ava, you will go to Sagain by crossing the Ayeyarwaddy River, the greatest in Myanmar, and here in Sagain – unlike other travel agencies – we will show you Thu Baw Dar Yone Monastery, which is basically entirely untouched by tourism, and it is simply fantastic to be here and have a chance to see the life of 280 monks.
Finally you will take in the view from Sagain Hill, which is possibly even nicer than the view from Mandalay Hill.
Drive back to Mandalay.
After breakfast, we set out in our private car and drive around 1,5 hours up onto the Shan Plateau via the “Snake Track”, which winds its way up the mountain to a final altitude of 3500 feet above sea level.
Upon arrival in Pyin Oo Lwin, we explore the local market where most things are for sale and where you really get to see the local way of life. It is a fragrant and “busy” experience, and it is very interesting, indeed.
Next stop is PyiChit Pagoda that was founded here in 1997 when a bus transporting big and heavy marble Buddhas from Mandalay to China dropped some if its cargo. Because the Buddhas were so heavy, it was decided they would have to stay – and thus the story of this pagoda began. It is a very nice place with great views of the lush surroundings.
This is a good time for a little time-out, so we go to Anisakan Falls where the water drops an incredible 122 meters and where your will feel rejuvenated by the views – and maybe by a local brew or a cocktail.
Last sight today is the large and legendary oasis of Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens, which were established by the British colonial masters in the beginning of the 20th century. There is so much to see, but for most visitors the Orchid Garden is an absolute must-see.
Relax at your hotel and let a fantastic day settle in your mind.
Early in the morning, around 07:15, your driver will pick you up at your hotel to send you to Pyin Oo Lwin Train Station. This is your starting point for a special – and by now very famous – train ride that will take you through lush nature, jungle and traditional agriculture for about 3 hours. It is a bumpy ride and most people cannot help laugh a bit when they really have to grab the armrest to stay level.
During the journey, you can try to communicate with the curios locals some of whom also sell snacks and different kinds of drinks.
Finally the train will reach the famous Gotheik Viaduct, which was built by the British in 1899 and still, to this day, plays an important role in the infrastructure of Shan State. Many people hold their breath when the train slowly rolls across the gorge below… it is picturesque and slight nerve racking.
You get off at Naung Bein Train Station, the first stop after the viaduct, and here your driver will be waiting to take you back to Mandalay.
We set out after breakfast, and today we will show you something that few – if any other – visitors go to see. Why, we do not know, because this is a very interesting place:
Mandalay today can often be felt is a place with a lot of hustle and bustle, but if you take a local boat just around five minutes across the river, you reach a village that has developed very little the last 50 years. It is like a time capsule that has resisted any influence from the metropolis across the river.
Bullock carts are still the primary means of transportation and there are not many jobs outside of the agricultural sector.
There are so many things to see, and we will also peek into the local school and get a sense of what it is like to be a child here.
You will have lunch with a local house and their family.
We return to the river bank on the Mandalay side from where we get on another boat (soda, water and beer is for sale on board) that takes us the ancient capital of Mingun. Nothing remains from back then – apart from an absolutely gigantic ruin of what was meant to become the biggets stupa in the world. However, it only 50 vertical meters of solid brick were completed when the King’s astrologers convinced the king that his kingdom would disintegrate if he chose to complete it.
The bell that used to hang on this ridiculously large structure – with its many cracks serving as a reminder of this place being a tectonically active area – has now found its permanent resting place only a five-minute walk from the ruin.
In the afternoon, after returning to Mandalay, we explore Zay Cho Market, which is a kaleidoscope of tropical spices, fruits, activity, sounds and… real life in Myanmar. This place is not to be missed.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to Mandalay International Airport for your international flight – and we are sure that you will have had a terrific and unforgettable experience here.
English speaking station guides
Car with air-conditioning and driver for mentioned program
Accommodations for 10 Nights
Toll fee and fuel charges for car
Domestic flight tickets 2 sectors (Yangon- Heho- Mandalay)
Private Boat in Mingun
Public Boat in Ava
Horse cart in Ava
Private boat in Inle
Village Lunch in Thonezepay village
Ox cart in Thonezepayvillage
Horse Cart in Ava
Airport transfers without guide
Water and snow towel on tour
Government tax and service charges
Donations for leaving slippers at temples
Q – 1 :What currency do you use in Myanmar? What is the current exchange rate for that currency against the US Dollar?
Ans :The local currency used is called Kyat (pronounced “chat”, abbreviated as Ks). The currency exchange rate is around 1,500 Kyats against the US Dollar. This rate is of September 2019. You can see an updated rate at www.xe.com.
Q – 2:During travel in Myanmar, will I be able to use my credit cards? If so, what types of credits are commonly accepted? If not, what types of currencies should we bring?
Ans :Currently, credit cards are generally accepted in Myanmar. We advise you to bring enough US Dollars for your travel, accommodation, shopping and dining expenses. Some travel agencies and hotels may accept but you have to check with them before you arrive.
With few exceptions, you should only rely on VISA and Master Card. Only up-market shops and hotels will accept these as way of payment. Most of the time, you will use your credit card to take out local cash currency.
It’s absolutely imperative that your US dollars appear BRAND NEW. Literally the slightest shadow of a crease, a mark from a pen or any kind of blemish will immediately render your money useless. Over the years, thousands of tourists have had to leave Myanmar earlier than planned as a consequence of not heeding this advice!
Please also note that US dollars will be accepted as payment at your hotel and for flight tickets, but whenever you go to a regular restaurant, shop or market, only local currency is accepted.
Q – 3:How much should I bring for within country travel?
Ans :The amount of US Dollars you should bring will depend on your length of stay and which part of country you will be traveling. You are welcome to contact us at Myanmazing if you would like some help to calculate your specific need.