Peregrine | Magical Myanmar

The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are once again revealed to travellers in this landmark journey. Travelling by road, by air and on water, we discover why the country is often dubbed the ‘Golden Land’. We start in Yangon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, then fly to Mandalay, before journeying on the Ayeyarwady River down to the fabled 11th century capital, Bagan. The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and enables us to sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country.

  • Highlights

    • Enjoy plenty of time to explore Yangon, home to one of the world's true religious jewels, Shwedagon Pagoda
    • See how Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock), balanced on the edge of cliff, covered in golden leaf and topped with a small stupa, embodies the beauty and spirituality of Myanmar
    • Support communities directly, from the hill market of Myanmar's "vegetable garden" to the hospitality training initiative of Friends-International
    • The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and will enable you to sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country
    • Witneses the incredible sight of Bagan's 4,000 temples and monasteries, plus take in the memorable scene from a sunset cruise on the Ayeyarwady River
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      • End Date:29 Dec 16
      • Price:$4,522
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  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Yangon - Welcome to Myanmar (Burma) and Yangon. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. There will be a welcome meeting at 6pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception or your booking agent in advance. Yangon (formerly Rangoon) is the country's biggest city, though no longer the capital. To get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city, perhaps take a walk to Sule Paya, then down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire the colonial architecture and the bargaining excitement of Bogyoke Market. Maybe take the circle train through the city and suburbs and see local life in Yangon.

     

    Day - 2

    Location: Golden Rock - With an overnight bag, embark on the journey to the Golden Rock. Along the way, stop at Bago (about 1.5 hours from Yangon), an ancient centre of the Mon kingdom in the 13th century. Here you'll visit the Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which is even larger than the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, and the Shwethalyaung Buddha, one of the largest Reclining Buddhas in existence. Then, it's an approximately 2.5 hour drive to the base camp at Kinponsakan. Here you'll transfer to an open air truck with basic wooden bench-style seating. The next hour, towards the summit, will be bumpy. But the views are well worth it. The Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda) is a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists. The small pagoda (7.3 metres high) sits atop a gilded 25-metre boulder, which appears to balance precariously on a tabular rock. Legend has it that the boulder is held in position by a strand of Buddha's hair. Spending a night in Kyaiktiyo is one of Myanmar's most spiritual experiences.

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Yangon - Enjoy a morning of strolling around Kyaiktiyo (the name means 'pagoda borne on a hermit's head' in Mon language). After descending from the summit, return to Yangon, retracing your path from yesterday (approximately 5 hours). You'll arrive back in Yangon late in the afternoon. This evening why not soak up the unique atmosphere of this irrepressible city with dinner at a local restaurant.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Yangon - Mandalay - Take a walking tour of downtown Yangon this morning. As you stroll through the streets lined with dilapidated colonial edifices and their restored neighbours, your leader will bring the past to life, as well as explain the present activity. Afterwards, leave for the airport and take a flight to Mandalay – departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approximately 1 hour, and after landing it’s approximately a 1 hour drive to the city and your hotel for the next three nights. Mandalay is Myanmar’s ‘Jewel City’, and you’ll and savour the sights, sounds and flavours of this bustling metropolis. Tonight you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle or bargaining for local wares.

     

    Day - 5

    Location: Mandalay - Make your way down to the city’s lively waterfront, which offers an interesting backdrop for a boat trip upriver. The archaeological site of Mingun is your destination, the location of a number of interesting sights, including the world's largest, albeit unfinished, pagoda – Pahtodawgyi. It’s also home to the world’s second largest ringable bell, the beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda, and temples dating back hundreds of years. The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting route and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way. The journey usually takes 1 hour on the way there, and 40 minutes on the way back. On the return journey, your leader will show you how to make a Burmese salad of fermented tea leaves, a staple in Mandalay as it’s the centre of the tea leaf trade. The leaves are brought down from the nearby Shan hills and all those visiting the city usually leave with a handful of tea for home. Your leader will show you the different regional ways to prepare the salad, and it doesn’t get more local than sitting back on the boat, eating local salad and sipping green tea while cruising the Ayeyarwady. Later in the afternoon, embark on a tour that visits the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay – Amarapura, just 11 kilometres south of the city. Weather permitting, you might also glimpse a breath-taking sunset over the 200-year-old U Bein wooden bridge.

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Mandalay - Today you’ll enjoy a full day tour of the city. You’ll visit the Mandalay Palace, built as the residence for King Mindon and the Burmese aristocracy in the 19th century, it sits inside a walled fort at the bottom of Mandalay Hill. Continue to Shwe In Bin Kyaung, the intricately carved teak monastery, then visit the nearby cottage industries where gold leaf is made. This gold leaf is used extensively in the important pilgrimage site of the Mahamuni Buddha Temple. Here local Buddhists climb to an impressively decorated 2,000-year-old central Buddha statue and press gold leaf to its exterior. Get another insight into Mandalay’s role as the centre of Myanmar’s arts and crafts industry with a visit to a stone-carving workshop. The surrounding mountains are made from quality marble (Sa’kyin) and there are numerous artisans plying their trade along Kyauk Sitt Than, which literally means ‘Stone Carving Road’. You’ll finish your tour around 2pm, and then have some free time to relax. Later, visit various temples, notably Kuthodaw Pagoda, which claims to house the world's largest 'book' – 729 slabs contain the complete text of the Tripitaka, Theravada Buddhism's most sacred text. You’ll then be transported to the top of Mandalay Hill, where Lord Buddha is said to have left a footprint. A clear day reveals beautiful sunset views from the summit, and a host of religious shrines scattered along the hill.

     

    Day - 7

    Location: Bagan - Today you will drive to Bagan (approximately 5 hours), which is one of the most impressive archaeological wonders of Asia. You’ll be in a comfortable vehicle and you’ll stop along the way in a local village. When you arrive in Bagan you’ll transfer to the hotel and have some free time rest up or stretch you legs. Later today you’ll take a cruise out on the Ayeyarwady River as the sun begins to set. This will be a private boat, with snacks and drinks provided (about 1 hour in total). This is one of the highlights of the trip, a wonderful way to experience local Burmese life as you drift along the river around Old Bagan and look out for some of the thousands of stupas that fill the area.

     

    Day - 8

    Location: Bagan - You can explore the incredible sights of Bagan today, travelling by private vehicle between temples sites. This archaeological site is where Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the Kingdom of Bagan, and was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. Today, the ancient city still has over 4,000 brick and gilded ruins, and is a remarkable sight. Nyaung U’s lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon – all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The graceful ageing of the temples, the stucco peeled off by the dusty winds, has revealed beautifully rusty red bricks that glow golden brown in the sun. Marvel at the spire-lined skyline, the lion-guarded doors, the wood carvings inside, and the foliage-covered ruins. Stop for lunch at the newly establish restaurant operated by Friends-International. The restaurant is a working hospitality training centre, with profits reinvested back into the training and education of youth in Myanmar, and further social enterprise projects. After visiting a local lacquerware workshop to gain insight into a craft this place is famous for, you might catch a glorious sunset from one of the ruins. To fully enjoy the day out, please make sure you wear comfortable clothes and adequate protection from the sun (long sleeves, sunglasses and hat).

     

    Day - 9

    Location: Bagan - A short drive (approximately 1 hour) takes you to mystical Mount Popa, an incredibly photogenic extinct volcano that's home to local spirits or deities known as ‘nats’. It’s a spiritually significant place for the locals’ belief in nats – spirits or gods who take human form and guard objects. When people die they can become nats, and they can be vengeful or troublesome – therefore they require claiming, food, and offerings. 1,000 years ago, after unsuccessfully trying to eliminate nat worship, King Anawrahta formalised a list of 37. For the energetic, there is a chance to remove your shoes and socks and climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. There are great views from the crater rim, and all around lovely dense vegetation filled with birds. Returning to Bagan, the afternoon is free to further explore this amazing area. You might hire a bicycle or even take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the seemingly endless archaeological sites. If you’d rather stay in town then there are the cafes or the nearby Nyaung U Market – one of the more interesting markets in the country. Other places of interest include the Archaeological Museum and the Royal Palace. Your leader can help you organise getting to these.

     

    Day - 10

    Location: Inle Lake - Today drive approximately 25 minutes to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, and then hop on a plane to Heho (approximately 40 minutes), the gateway for Inle Lake. The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities. They live in stilt houses along the lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas. You’ll drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to your final destination, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe. (approximately 1 hour). This afternoon, feel free to rent a canoe and row to Lin Kin village, with its famous floating garden. There is also the optional extra of visiting local village houses for an insight into how traditional snacks are made.

     

    Day - 11

    Location: Inle Lake - A full day is spent on the lake seeing local life, exploring the floating gardens, and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. The Intha leg-rowers navigate their long, narrow craft by standing on the stern with one leg and wrapping the other around the oar. This unique style evolved because the reeds that cover the lake and the floating plants make it difficult to see above them while sitting. The lake is also home to a wide array of bird-life including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey. Visits may be made to some of the local villages, home to cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. If you’re lucky, you might even see the floating market which circles the lake every five days. Here you can buy traditional wares produced by the locals.

     

    Day - 12

    Location: Inle Lake - After breakfast, take a longtail boat a long a narrow canal to the Indein ruins complex (approximately 45 minutes). Disembark and discover a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. Explore the atmospheric ruins; crumbling stupas being reclaimed by greenery, and up a hill over 1000 zedi from the 17th and 18th centuries. Enjoy views across the valley and lake from the pagoda, browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill, or just marvel at the surroundings. After some time exploring, start a walk towards to the Yankin, Pa O and Taung Yoe villages (1.5 kilometres, approximately 45 minutes). Along the way, explore the mystery of more than 300 ancient stupas around the village and then continue 1 kilometre, approximately 30 minutes, to a Buddhist monastery. Next, head north to Naydaw (1.5 kilometres, approximately 45 minutes) to Taung Yoe ethnic tribe village through farmland and bamboo forest. From here, turn south-west (5 kilometres, approximately 3 hours) through the valley ups and downs to west Taung Mauk, Pa O village. A 20 minute walk will get you to east Taung Mauk village. Finally, turn east through valley to Indein (3 kilometres, approximately 45 minutes) where you’ll meet your boat and return back to the hotel this afternoon. This evening, reward all your efforts today with a traditional Shan dinner, where you’ll get to sample some of the local-style culinary specialties.

     

    Day - 13

    Location: Yangon - Take a morning flight back to Yangon (approximately 1 hour – departure time will depend on flight availability) and discover more of this beguiling city in some free time. Visit Sule Pagoda in the heart of downtown Yangon or acquire some local handicrafts at the nearby Bogyoke Market, a major bazaar known for its colonial architecture and winding cobblestone alleys. In the evening, after exploring the banks of the centrally located Kandawgyi Lake on foot, you will discover one of Yangon's grandest sites, Shwedagon Pagoda. The legendary gold-gilded pagoda is studded with diamonds and gems, and is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. Some time will be spent exploring the complex and learning of its history and spiritual devotions. The mix of people it attracts – monks, pilgrims, worshippers, tourists – is almost as striking as the tower itself. You will also have the unique chance to take part in candle lighting ceremony at the pagoda, something that will truly help you experience the ambiance of this extraordinary place.

     

    Day - 14

    Location: Yangon - This trip comes to an end today after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included but can be pre-booked with our reservations team. Your leader will be on hand to advise you on onward travel arrangements should you require.

     

    Magical Myanmar
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
HLO Ref# 2488