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Burma Heritage Trails – 12 Days

Mandalay, Ngapali Beach - Myanmar
  • 01Ava — Innwa ruins
  • 01Innwa – decoration of royal staircase to old monastery
  • 01Mahamuni Buddha and devotees applying leaf gold
  • 01Boat trip by Ubein Bridge
  • 01Morning mist at Inle Lake
  • 01Inle Lake boat excursion
  • 01Thatbinnyu temple from birds eye view
  • 01Dhammayangyi temple in Bagan
  • 01Monks at Shwedagon Pagoda
  • 01Mandalay U Bein Bridge Sunset
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Experience Myanmar (Burma) with style and comfort. This luxury tour offers best possible service and accommodation in luxury hotels. You do not have to worry about a thing as you travel trough interesting historical sights and get in touch with local culture. You can relax in Myanmar’s top beach destination and soak in magnificent surroundings as you travel along Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) River on a luxury cruiser.  We’ll make sure that all your wishes come true and you can spend a memorable time in this magical country.

 

 

Yangon.

Colonial architecture in Yangon.

DAY 1: COLONIAL YANGON

Arrival at Yangon international airport. You will be welcomed by Discovery DMC team with flowers and transferred to your hotel (approx. 1 hourr) with luxurious Elephant Coach, a 1930’s Chevrolet bus replica. Enjoy a welcome drink on the way. After freshening up we drive to 2000 year old Sule Pagoda in the heart of the city where we start our Rangoon (former name of Yangon) walking tour through the colonial administrative quarter containing the most beautiful heritage buildings. Along our route you will see book merchants, food stalls and various kinds of shops and entrepreneurs.

We make a stop at Yangon landmark hotel, The Strand, for an afternoon tea (an assortment of savories desserts and tea or coffee). Developed to a luxury hotel by Armenian Sarkies brothers like the sister property Raffles in Singapore, the Strand has been one of the finest heritage hotels in Asia for over 100 years already. Visit River Art Gallery next to Strand hotel showcasing some of Myanmar’s most famous artworks. We continue our old Rangoon exploration with a visit to the Scott’s (Bogyoke Aung San) Martket housing hundreds of colorful shops selling merchandise from sandals to sapphires and rubies.

From the Scott’s market we make a photo stop and a short visit at the Pegu Club, once premier leisure and entertainment club in the country. We complete the day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline. Legends state that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here.

The Shwedagon is an iconic symbol of the country, a sight not to be missed. In the evening you will be treated to great Indochinese and French fusion cuisine delights at the best restaurant in Myanmar, Le Planteur.

  • Meals included : Afternoon tea set at Strand Hotel, dinner at Le Planteur restaurant
  • Overnight stay : Hotel in Yangon

Ubein Bridge Mandalay, Myanmar

Ubein Bridge at sunrise, Mandalay, Myanmar

DAY 2: ROYAL CAPITALS NEAR MANDALAY

After breakfast transfer to airport for flight to Mandalay. Discovery DMC local guide will welcome you at Mandalay airport and transfer 15km to Ava (Inwa), the ancient capital of Shan and Burmese Kingdoms for over four centuries. Crossing the Myint Nge River by ferry, the small roads of Ava are explored by horse cart.

We visit the Bagaya Teak Monastery, over three hundred years old yet well preserved and still in use by local monks; the Nanmyin watch tower, the last standing structure of the Ava dynasty palace compound also known as the “Leaning Tower of Ava”; and the Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery, a 300-year old architectural wonder with graceful archways.

We continue to the Ancient Kingdom of Sagaing, located across the mighty Ayeyarwaddy (Irradaddy) River. From the Sagaing Hills, we enjoy views of the hillside dotted with countless pagodas and pay a special visit to a monastery to learn about the life of Buddhist devotees. We continue to another beautiful ancient capital, Amarapura, famous for its textile industries.

There, we visit a cottage industry workshop to learn how Myanmar longyis and traditional fabrics are woven. Continuing to the Ubein Bridge, a simple yet remarkable teak structure that spans 1,2 km over Taungtaman Lake, we have the option to be rowed onto the calm waters. Ubein Bridge, silhouetted by the setting sun, is a magical experience and a photographer’s dream.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner with cultural show at Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Mandalay

Pyin Oo Lwin

Pyin Oo Lwin

DAY 3: MANDALAY – PYIN OO LWIN (Maymyo) – GOKTEIK BRIDGE

After an early breakfast, we transfer to a former colonial hill station, Pyin Oo Lwin (May Myo) approximately 70 km/1,5 hours away from Mandalay. The tranquil beauty of the town captured the minds of the British Administration, who developed it after defeating the last king of Myanmar. Burmese know the town for the flowers, fruits and vegetables that grow so well in its cooler climes. We board a local train and journey 3 hours to Naungpein Village.

En route, the train crawls slowly across Gokteik Bridge, the scenic highlight of the day as the bridge spans a 300 m deep gorge. From Naungpein Village, we return to Pyin Oo Lwin by car and enjoy lunch en route. Then, at the Botanical Gardens, we feast our eyes on the variety of flora available in the region. To close the day, we see the beautiful colonial architecture of houses built during the British rule.

We stop at the historical Candacraig Hotel, a British mansion built in 1906, to enjoy the sunset.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch in a local restaurant, dinner at hotel
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin

Mandalay

Mandalay

DAY 4: PYIN OO LWIN – MANDALAY

After breakfast at the hotel, we visit Pyin Oo Lwin market where local farmers and flower merchants come trade their produce. We continue to Peik Chin Myaing Cave and Pwe Kauk Waterfall and then drive back to Mandalay for lunch. Today we sample local cuisine and tea in one of the popular tea shops in Mandalay. Try some national favorites Shan noodles, ‘Mohingar’, ‘Ounou Khaow Suay’ (Coconut noodles) or local curries accompanied with green tea as well as ‘La Phay Ye’ sweet tea.

After lunch we continue to the Artisan Quarters, where some of the oldest craftsmanship are showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar. We observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teak wood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry.

We also see how bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded. Next, we proceed to the major highlights of the city: the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in wars between competing kingdoms. Near Mahamuni visit a fortune teller / astrologer.

Fortune tellers play important role in Myanmar society and are found all over the country. It is common practice to drop in for a consultation every now and then with a palmist or astrologer before committing to great new endeavors. It is important to know auspicious timing of planetary positions and to get advice on actions that lead to success and to avoid mistakes and ill-fortune.

From the fortune teller we continue to Shwenandaw Monastery, the sole surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner at local restaurant
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Mandalay

Bagan

Bagan Temples

DAYS 5-6: PAUKAN CRUISE MANDALAY – BAGAN

After breakfast transfer to jetty and board Paukan river cruise. Paukan river cruise fleet is modern luxury boats built from model of colonial river steamers that used to transport people and goods along the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwaddy) and Chindwin rivers. During your 2 nights cruise experience you will be treated with shore excursions, on board entertainment and cooking demonstrations on board.

Luxuriate with great cuisine, spa treatments (additional charges apply) and library during your relaxing cruise. The comfortable and well-appointed boat facilities and cabins are decorated in oriental style.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: On Paukan Cruise

Buddha

Standing Buddha in Bagan.

DAY 7: BAGAN

Breakfast and morning arrival to Bagan. Your Bagan guide will be welcoming you on arrival at the jetty. We begin our journey into the Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan. The Dhamayazeka Zedi is our first visit, providing panoramic views of the temple studded plains of Bagan.

We continue to the Archaeological Museum and the gold gilded Shwezigon Stupa, purported to contain a holy tooth relic of the Buddha. Not far from the stupa, the Myingaba Gu Byaukgyi Temple is a sight to behold, housing Bagan’s best preserved mural paintings of the Buddha’s Jataka reincarnations.

Next, we learn how Bagan’s famous lacquer ware crafts are produced in Myingaba Village, and then visit Htilominlo Temple to learn how Burmese sand paintings are created. The day’s temple tour ends with a visit to the beautifully symmetric and majestic Ananda Temple with its four standing Buddha images that seem to gaze at the viewer with fixed serenity wherever the viewer stands.

For sunset, a bullock or horse cart ride around the temples offers unparalleled photo opportunities of one of the richest archaeological treasures in Southeast Asia as the sun dips behind the temple ruins (weather permitting).

  • Meals included: Breakfast on cruise, lunch in riverside restaurant, dinner with marionette show
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Bagan

Mount Popa

Mount Popa.

DAY 8: BAGAN – SALEY – MT POPA

After breakfast, we begin a full day’s excursion outside of Bagan with a 35 miles/1,5 hours drive to the teak wood monastery in Saley village. The monastery both houses the largest lacquer ware Buddha image in Myanmar and is one of best preserved teak wood monasteries in the country with intricate carvings adorning its walls and doors.

Next, a 1,5 hours drive takes us to Mount Popa, the Burmese spiritual epicenter for those who worship the pantheon of nat spirits and martyrs. After paying respects to the Nat shrine at the foot of Mount Popa, we climb nearly 800 steps to the pagoda perched at the top of the mountain to admire the views of the surrounding plains and farm lands.

In the afternoon, we drive back to Bagan and stop en route at a family-run toddy shop to observe the process of making the rich and caramel-like toddy candies from the sap of the toddy palms.

(You can start your morning with magnificent sunrise hot air balloon trip over the temple filled plains. This is truly a unique experience and a photographers dream while the sun colors the beautiful scenery golden.) 

ALTERNATIVE TOURING ITINERARY FOR THIS DAY IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE TIME IN BAGAN

We continue the exploration of Bagan with visits to the Manuha Temple, built by the Mon king in the 1300s to represent his time in captivity under the Bagan king. Continuing to the Thanaka Museum and a Cigar Work Shop, we learn respectively about the traditional uses of the fragrant thanaka paste and how Burmese make the local cheroot cigars.

A visit to the Nyaung U Market, the largest market in the Bagan region, gives us a glimpse into local life. We also see how cottage industries like brick making are carried out with traditional methods. During a visit to a monastic school that provides disadvantaged children with free primary level education, we have the opportunity to interact with the school children.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Bagan

Ngapali beach

Ngapali Sandoway front.

DAYS 9 & 10: BAGAN – SANDOWAY (NGAPALI BEACH)

Breakfast at hotel and transfer to Bagan airport for 30min flight to Thandwe near Ngapali Beach. Thandwe (the British called it Sandoway) was a trading seaport of historical significance for hundreds of years in the Rakhine State. Nestled within gentle valleys at the mouth of the Sandoway River, Thandwe was reputed to have once been the capital of an ancient Arakan empire. Located 10 km north of Ngapali, it offers glimpses into British colonial times buildings of colonial design and invokes a sense of frozen time.

Ngapali Beach is a tropical paradise of pristine sand, clear blue waters and groves of picturesque coconut palms. Over 10 km of white sand beach runs along the Bay of Bengal, with a smattering of only a dozen or so resorts to create a sense of seclusion and hidden discovery. The limited development and small number of visitors means the beach never feels crowded, a dream come true for lovers of the sun, sea and sand.

Besides the usual sunbathing and swimming, leisure activities include snorkeling, sailing, scenic walks and bike trips. Far away from tourist crowds, Ngapali Beach is still a truly undiscovered paradise. The long beach is dotted with charming boutique style resorts built in local materials, the architecture blending harmoniously with the natural surroundings.

There are no high rises, no noisy roads, no booming discotheques, no jet-skis and no packed rows of oiled bodies baking in the sun. The stretch of white sand, natural beauty of the blue sea, swaying palm trees and quiet privacy are guaranteed ingredients of an exquisite beach holiday.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Ngapali

Ngapali Beach

Ngapali Beach.

DAY 11: SNORKELING, FISHING AND VILLAGE VISITS

After breakfast Discovery DMC Ngapali representative will pick you up from your hotel and transfer to boat jetty where we begin our Rakhine coast expedition. Our boat is managed by a foreigner residing in Ngapali. We pay great attention to safety. The boat is equipped with life jackets, sun roof, fishing rods, stands and lures. There will be cooler box with refreshments on board.

Picnic style BBQ lunch will be served on the beach during the trip. This trip will take you to remote bays and secret snorkeling spots of which very few people know about. You will have an opportunity to visit some remote Rakhine fisherman villages that have received very few foreign visitors until today. Some of the fish our guests have caught includes Barracuda, Tuna, King fish and Mahe Mahe among many other. If you catch something we will cook with it and also share it with locals so nothing goes waste.

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch
  • Overnight stay: Hotel in Ngapali

Yangon

Colonial heritage Yangon.

DAY 12: NGAPALI – YANGON

Breakfast at hotel and transfer to Thandwe airport for your flight to Yangon. In Yangon Discovery DMC team will be at hand to assist you to international airport for your departure flight.

  • Meals included: breakfast

Please, contact Discovery DMC sales team for tailor-made pricing.

What’s Included In Trip Costing

  • Private tours and transfers with air conditioned vehicles as specified in our itinerary.
  • 2nts cruise on RV Paukan in main deck cabin (2 people sharing).
  • All entrance fees to the sites mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Private transfers & tours with English speaking guides (language guides with supplement). In Ngapali Beach all transfers are handled by hotels.
  • 2 bottles of water and 2 refreshing towels per person on full day excursions.
  • Lodging with breakfast as specified in the itinerary.
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary.

Not Included In Trip Costing

  • Visa to Myanmar.
  • International air fares or domestic air fares.
  • Meals or any other item not described in the itinerary.
  • Early check-in, late check-out, services and non-mentioned meals in the itinerary.
  • Drinks during meals, hotel extras and other expenditure of personal nature.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Tips.