Beauty is meaningless until it is shared.
– George Orwell, Burmese Days.
- Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
- Mandalay (Last capital of the Burmese kingdom)
- Yandabo Village (a charming rural village on the Irrawaddy river).
- Bagan (Over 2,000 temples and pagodas spread an area of 40sqkm)
- Inle Lake (inhabited by the Intha people living on floating villages and houses on stilts)
Welcome to Myanmar! On arrival at Yangon International Airport you will be met off your flight and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, offers a mix of British colonial architecture, modern high-rise and gilded Buddhist pagodas.
First stop of the tour will be lunch at the Padomar restaurant for a truly home-style taste of Myanmar cuisine.
After lunch you will visit the Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda. The Buddha image we see today is almost 66m long and 17m high and adorned with 108 auspicious signs. Our next stop is the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. Covered with hundreds of gold plates and with the top of the stupa encrusted with 4,531diamonds the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond, it is clearly one of the wonders of the religious world. Shwedagon Pagoda is a repository of the best of Myanmar’s heritage – architecture, sculpture and arts - and consists of hundreds of colorful temples, stupas, and statues that reflect this heritage of the last 2,500 years.
Before returning to your hotel a table is reserved for dinner at Seeds Restaurant and Lounge (a member of Secret Tables) by the Inya Lake, in a lush, green, tropical garden (additional charge applies).
Hotel: Savoy Hotel (Deluxe Room)
An early breakfast before heading to Yangon domestic airport for your flight to Mandalay.
On arrival at Mandalay you will be taken to board your private boat for a 1hr cruise on the Irrawaddy river to Mingun village on the river’s western bank. Here you will visit the Pahtodawgyi pagoda. Never completed and damaged by an earthquake, what remains of King Bodawpaya's planned stupa is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest pile of bricks. You will also see the Mingun Bell, the world's largest ringing bell weighing in at 90 tons. And Shinbume Pagoda, a beautiful pagoda built in 1816 by King Bodawpaya's grandson in memory of one of his wives.
You will return to Mandalay by boat and enjoy lunch at Mandalay Kitchen a local eatery, set within a traditional teakwood building overlooking the river.
After lunch you will visit the Maha Muni Buddha image. Thousands of colourfully dressed faithful venerate Mahamuni's 13ft-tall seated Buddha, a nationally celebrated image that is believed to be some 2,000 years old. Centuries of votary gold leaf applied by male devotees (women may only watch) has left the figure knobbly with a 6inch layer of pure gold. You will visit some handicraft workshops to see artisans at work using techniques that have remained unchanged for centuries before visiting the Shwenandaw Monastery, the most significant of Mandalay's historic buildings. The Golden Palace Monastery remains the sole major survivor of the former wooden Royal Palace built by King Mindon in the mid-19th century. And the last visit of the day is Mandalay Hill, the perfect vantage point for views over Mandalay.
Dinner at the hotel.
Hotel: Rupar Mandalar Resort (Deluxe Room)
After breakfast, you will take a short 11km trip south of Mandalay to Amarapura (a former capital city of Myanmar). You will visit the Mahagandayon monastery, one of the largest teaching monasteries in Myanmar and home to up to 2,000 monks. Followed by a visit to the U Bein Wooden Bridge – a 1.2 kilometer long wooden bridge – where you can visit a silk-weaving workshop which produces exquisite handmade products.
You will then be heading to Yandabo village, about 3hrs drive, taking in lunch along the way at a local eatery.
Yandabo is a small, rural village and you will be able to walk among the villagers' houses, watch them patiently working clay into earthenware pots and enjoy sitting on the river's shore to watch the sunset.
Dinner will be prepared at Yandabo Home on the wooden deck overlooking the river.
Hotel: Yandabo Home (Chalet Room)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast watching the river flow past before taking a guided visit of Yandabo village. It is a very picturesque village, a photographer’s delight, that specializes in pottery and is also the location where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese War was signed on Feb. 24, 1826. You will have the chance to visit some pottery workshops and to visit the local school and the monastery. Lunch will be served at Yandabo Home.
The afternoon’s visit will be to Pan Nyo Village by boat to see their agricultural way of life. Here they cultivate rice and plant seasonal vegetables and fruit. You will have time to explore the village before returning to Yandabo Home for dinner.
Hotel: Yandabo Home (Chalet Room)
Today you leave the slow life of Yandabo and after breakfast make the 2-hour drive to Bagan.
Morning sightseeing begins with Shwezigon Pagoda, a prototype of Burmese stupas consisting of a circular gold leaf gilded stupa surrounded by smaller temples and shrines, followed by a visit to Wetkyi-in Gubyakkyi Temple famed for its fine mural paintings and before lunch, Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine stucco plaster.
Lunch in a local restaurant beside the river, before visiting a lacquer-ware factory - Bagan is the centre for traditional lacquer-ware in Myanmar. You will then visit Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and Thatbyinnyu, the tallest of Bagan’s temples, from where you will enjoy the spectacular sunset.
Dinner at the hotel in your preferred setting, in the garden, at the terrace, or by the pool.
Hotel: Blue Bird Hotel (Deluxe Room)
A slow boat ride south of Bagan after breakfast to visit Salay, a vibrant religious center. Active since the 12th century, ancient monasteries stand beside 18th century teak wood monasteries and a scattering of British colonial era buildings all making for a very interesting and attractive assemblage. You will also visit the Yoke Sone Kyaung monastery, a teak wood monastery built in 1882 which is now a museum. From here you will visit the ancient Shin Pin Sar Kyo Hla pagoda, a 10 minute drive from Salay.
Lunch will be served at Salay House which is situated on the riverside on Salay’s historic strand, a heritage site from the British colonial period. On the way back to Bagan by car, you will pass through Chauk City where the Burma Oil Company was established in 1886.
Dinner at Nanda Restaurant, famous for its Myanmar Marionette shows accompanied by a live traditional Burmese orchestra.
Hotel: Blue Bird Hotel (Deluxe Room)
Start the day with a short morning flight from Bagan to Heho where you will be transferred by car from Heho Airport to the lakeside town of Pindaya, a scenic 1hour’s drive through farmland. Pindaya is a sleepy Shan town set against the beautiful Ponetaloke lake and famed for its Shan handicrafts and the limestone Buddhist grottoes that overlook the town.
Lunch will be served at the Green Tea Restaurant in their open-air dining room which is set over the lake (a gastronomic picnic lunch can be prepared by Pindaya Farm House’s chef for an additional supplementary charge). After lunch you will check-in to Pindaya Farm House, a traditional Shan farmhouse located just outside the town. After check-in, you will visit the famous Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave pagoda (Pindaya Cave), an enormous limestone cavern filled with thousands of gilded Buddha statues.
Dinner at the Pindaya Farm House.
Hotel: Pindaya Farm House
After your breakfast at the farmhouse you will head to Inle Lake by car. It’s a scenic 2hour drive through country that has been called the Tuscany of Myanmar. Inle Lake is located in the heart of the Shan plateau, 900 meters above sea level. The lake is 22km long and 10km across and inhabited by many different ethnic groups. The Intha people live on the lake and are renowned for their unique leg rowing. Leg rowed traditional boats are one of the main attractions of Inle Lake.
Lunch will be at Inn Thar Lay restaurant, set on stilts over the lake and serving classic Shan dishes. After lunch you will tour the lake taking in sights of local life from the lake residents’s floating gardens to seeing the local fishermen employing their unique methods of fishing on the lake, and a chance to visit the local weaving village of Inpawkhone to see local craftspeople at work.
You will also visit the Phaung Daw U Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most revered shrines, and the Ngaphae Chaung monastery, a Shan teak wood monastery built in 1850 on stilts over the lake and famed locally for its feline residents.
Dinner at Inle Princess Resort.
Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Today you will visit the village of Indein. A journey time of about 1.5 hours through the Indein creek, this boat journey from the hotel to Indein is one of the most scenic boat trips on the lake.
Indein is a small market town off the western side of Inle lake set between two groups of ancient pagodas. The site is believed to date back to the 3rd century BC when the Indian emperor, Ashoka, sent monks out to spread Buddhism across Asia. Enigmatic ancient ruins crumble alongside complete and renovated stupas where architectural styles from across the centuries of the more than 1,000 stupas combine to make this a photographer’s paradise.
Lunch will be at Mr Toe Restaurant, local fare using fresh herbs and vegetables grown on the lake. The restaurant is located next to the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda offering stunning views of the temple. After a leisurely lunch you will take the boat back to your hotel for a relaxing afternoon followed by dinner at the Inle Princess Resort.
Hotel: Inle Princess Resort
Departure day, heading to Heho Airport by car after breakfast to take the short flight to Yangon. On arrival at Yangon you will head to downtown Yangon for lunch at the Monsoon restaurant, set within a beautifully remodeled colonial building. After lunch, a visit across the river to Dala for a trishaw tour to see local life in old Yangon and a chance to visit the Chi Chu workshop where plastic bags are recycled into useful products. Then you will return back across the river heading to Yangon International Airport to meet your departure flight.
Rupar Mandalar Resort
Blue Bird Hotel
Pindaya Farm House
Inle Princess Resort
Starting price from 3,300 USD net per person (based on 2 people sharing the same room).
Valid for travel before 30 April 2018.
The total price includes:
- Accommodation for two (twin sharing) with breakfast.
- All meals where specified in the programme (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner).
- All road transfers and excursions as specified, in private car or air-conditioned van.
- All internal transfers (flight, car, boat).
- Service charges and baggage handling (maximum 20 kg).
- An English-speaking guide service for all excursions.
- All excursions as specified in the programme.
- All entry fees.
The total price does not include:
- International flights.
- Meals not specified in the programme.
- All services not specified in the programme.
- Fees for Myanmar visas (approx. 50 USD per person, apply online or at the Burmese Embassy).
- Porterage fees and excess baggage handling fees (where baggage exceeds 20kg per person).
- Video and camera tax.
- All tips.
This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Orchestra Travel (License N°629-1994/1995)