Upon arrival you will be welcomed by one of our many professional guides who are all fluent in English.
There are so many things to see here, but you certainly do not want to miss out on the colonial splendour that still adorns downtown Yangon. Therefore we will take you on an easy walkabout where you will encounter a variety of the icons, such as City Hall, Telegraph Office and many more.
If you wish, you can also shop around at Scott Market where you can find everything in souvenirs; from T-shirts to rare gems. This market is closed on Mondays and on some public holidays.
You will also pass by (or enter for about 2 dollars) Sule Pagoda, which is one of the holiest places in the country and around which some of the most brutal crackdowns were conducted by the military Junta during the Saffron Revolution in 2007.
There is also time to stroll around beautiful and blissfully tranquil Kandawgyi Park where you can choose to have your lunch – or perhaps enjoy a cold beer next to the lake.
At this time you will probably want to check into your hotel for a shower and some relaxation, and around 16:30, the time is ripe for an unforgettable visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, which is arguably the most iconic place of worship in all of Buddhism. This is the perfect time to experience the place as the receding sun will shower this golden behemoth in its soft light, and you will find yourself speechless in an atmosphere you have never experienced before. This truly is something utterly unique.
After a filling breakfast, you will be transferred to Yangon Airport from which you will fly to refreshingly cool Heho in Shan State.
Upon arrival you will be greeted by your driver who will take you to the impressive Pindaya Cave (the drive is about two hours), which are more than 200 million years old and that has been adorned by locals with more than 9,000 Buddha statues.
After experiencing this special place, you will enjoy a good lunch at the best place in town.
Finally, for the next five hours, you will travel through lush surroundings until you reach Loikaw, which is still a place that very few visitors get to see.
Leisure at hotel in Loikaw.
After breakfast you will drive about 45 minutes to the village of Pan Pae. Here you will encounter the almost mythical “giraffe women” who have earned their name by layering bronze rings around their necks, under which weight the shoulders gradually sink – and the result is what looks like a very long neck.
This peculiar tradition has been discontinued and today only elderly women can pride themselves of this spectacular look.
The real name of these woman – and the tribe they are from – is Padaung. Many erroneously think they are originally from Thailand as they are often encountered there, but the only reason why there can be seen there is because they have been pushed there by the civil war that used to go on here. Those times are long gone, however.
From Pan Pae you really should walk another 45 minutes to the next village to get an even deeper insight into this fascinating tribe. The surroundings are fantastic. This is a very fertile and lush place, indeed.
In the afternoon, you will be driven back to your hotel, and then you can immerse yourself in your favorite novel or explore your surroundings.
Having consumed a good breakfast, you will be so ready for this magical journey.
For about 2,5 hours, you will venture through the very southern part of Inle Lake, a place, as stated earlier, very few foreigners go. The landscape you will be venturing through is staggeringly pristine, and you should not expect to forget this any time soon.
The destination is Sagar village where you will stroll through this quite little dwelling with your guide while you absorb local life. There is a good ethnic mix here; the local Intha people mix with Shan and Pa-O and many other ethnicities, and their individual custom and traditions are there be experienced full scale.
The village is also known for their wheelwrights that mend the wooden wheels of the ox carts that are still widely used for transportation and in agriculture.
You will also visit the Tha Gaung Relic Pagoda, which boast a big amount of stupas that comprise an impressive sight.
After lunch we will peek inside legendary Paung Daw Oo Pagoda, which is the most sacred place of the entire region, and which is the centre of Inle Lake’s huge 18-day Pagoda festival that takes place every year.
Inside the pagoda there are five small wooden Buddha images – but you wouldn’t know, really, because they have been covered in so many thousands layers of gold that they have lost their shapes, and today they look more like overdimensioned golden eggs.
Depending on the time – and most importantly your energy level – we will immerse ourselves in local handicrafts, such as the weaving of all sorts of garments using local silk and fibres from the lotus plant.
On our way to Nyaung Shwe by boat, we will gently travel through floating gardens and observe the unique local fishing methods.
You will arrive at your hotel in Nyaung Shwe in the late afternoon, and after a shower and some down-time, you are advised to check out the plethora of great restaurants in town.
*If you wish to stay at a hotel on Inle Lake itself (for an additional cost) this is easily arranged.
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 moving “uphill” by going through ingenious 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 local market, that runs in a five-day cycle, is also always interesting to visit. 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, boatbuilding, cigars etc.
It will be a phenomenal day. That we promise.
After breakfast at hotel and transfer to Heho Airport, you will fly for 25 minutes before you reach Mandalay. Our driver will pick you up, and take you safely to your hotel.
The rest of the day is up to you. If you wish to go on sightseeing, this is entirely feasible for an extra cost.
We set out after an early breakfast today. You will be picked up by your guide and driver who will take you to the magnificent Mahamuni Pagoda. The centrepiece of this graceful complex is the Buddha image, which is said to be one of only five images that look exactly like the real Buddha. The amount of gold that has been plastered on this image is breath-taking, and pilgrims come from all over the country to absorb the almost uncanny atmosphere here.
Finally, we go south and cross the bridge that spans across the might Ayeyarwaddy River. Around 10 o’clock, we arrive at a very special monastery that is no guide book, and where other tourists are not allowed to go. It is an entirely untouched place where around 290 monks live. Other travel agencies will take you to Mahagandayon Monastery in the southern outskirts of Mandalay, but trust us, you do not want to go there – it is a chaos of tourists as has been reported by CNN, among others.
Around 10:30, the monks will line up for their last meal of the day; they will not eat for another sunset and sunrise. This, we promise, is really an unforgettable experience, and this has had such an impact of some of our clients that they simply couldn’t hold their tears back when the monks subsequently prayed before quietly eating their meal. As this is a place we want to protect from being overrun, we do not write the name of the monastery in any official material.
We return to Mandalay where we stroll across the longest teak bridge in the World, U Bein.
If you wish to see how all the gold leaves, that are used all over Myanmar, are made, your guide will show you a small workshop. It is a backbreaking job that produces the thinnest sheets of gold in the whole world.
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.
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 not 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 and check-out, you will be picked up by your private car that will take you to Mandalay International Airport, after which you choose yourself which will be your new adventure.
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.