ETHNIC MINORITIES AND TREKKING
IN THE REMOTE PROVINCES OF MYANMAR 

Length

20 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  An incredible itinerary in Myanmar following a route that combines cultural sights with extraordinary excursions to the most remote areas of Myanmar. A great opportunity to meet some of Burma’s most important animist tribes and learn about their culture, religion, lifestyle and customs.

Discover Shwedangon Pagoda in Yangon, the most sacred monument in Myanmar, Bagan, the legendary capital of the Kingdom of Burma, the ancient cities Amarapura, Sagaing, and Mingun known for the considerable 90 tonnes bell, the secondo largest in the world.

Discover Kanpetlet, the Mount Victoria in Chin State, one of Myanmar’s most remote areas, and the Natma Taung National Park where you can meet the numerous tribes of the area, especially the Chin woman with full face tattoos.

Cruise around Inle Lake on a private boat to discover the daily lifestyle of fishermen, craft workshops, the iconic ‘one-legged paddling’ fishermen and explore the impressive archaeological site of Indein. Trek at in Keng Tung, in Shan State, a remote province surrounded by an impressive natural landscape and the Shan, Akha, Wa and Lahu ethnic minorities. 

This suggested itinerary can be customised according to your travel needs as well as combined with other routes.

ETHNIC MINORITIES AND TREKKING IN THE REMOTE PROVINCES OF MYANMAR map © In Asia Travel

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 20G 19N
From : YANGON
To :YANGON
Destinations : Yangon, Bagan, Kanpetlet, Natmataung, Monte Vittoria, Mindat, Mandalay, Amarapura, Ava, Sagaing, Mingun, Pindaya, Kalaw, Lago Inle, Keng Tung, Hokyin, Pin Tauk

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVAL IN YANGON

Welcome meeting by our staff upon arrival in Yangon and transfer to the hotel.

Included : Private pick up from them airport, private transportation and hotel

02. BAGAN

Htilo-Minlo TempleHtilo Minlo – Bagan

Early morning transfer to the airport for the domestic flight to Bagan, the ancient capital Arimaddanapura of the Pagan Kingdom between the 9th and 13th centuries.

Bagan was for many decades the centre of religious studies since the time of the Khmer Kingdom. Of the estimated 10,000 temples constructed, the remains of about 2,200 temples have survived over 700 years of history.

We visit the colourful and crowded local market: a unique opportunity to see the local folklore and to learn about the Burmese daily lifestyle. We carry on with the visit to the Shwezigon Pagoda, a prototype of the stupas later built in Myanmar, to get an insight into the rich historical heritage of Bagan’s archaeological complex.

Afterwards we visit the Wetkyi-In Gu-Byauk-Gyi temple, known for its wall paintings telling the story of the Jataka (previous births of Buddha), then on to the two-storey temple Htilo-Minlo, known for its plaster sculptures.

After lunch we continue to the Ananda temple, one of the greatest architectural masterpieces of Bagan, built in the early Mon-Myanmar style. 

Next, we go to the That-Byin-Nyu temple built in the 12th century and the tallest in Bagan, then to the Dhamma Yangy temple known for its unique brick construction and to the Gawdawpalin temple

We end the day with a romantic sunset from Nyaung The het Hill.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

03. BAGAN

Lady at Minnanthu village © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelLady at Minnanthu village

After breakfast we head to the rural village of Minnanthu, one of the few places where you can observe the picking and processing of cotton. 

Next, we continue to the Laymyathnar monastic complex, the Phaya Thone Tzu temple and the Nandamannya temple, the latter being particularly famous for its mural depicting ‘The Temptation of Mara’ dating from the 13th century. 

In the afternoon we visit Manuha Temple, Nan-Paya Temple and Gu-Byauk-Kyi (Myinkaba) Temple, known for its Jataka murals depicting the previous lives of Buddha. 

We end the day with a slow cruise on the Irrawaddy River to enjoy the romantic sunset while observing the unique perspective of Bagan’s temples and villages on the shore.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

04. KANPETLET

View from Kampetlet © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelView from Kampetlet

Early in the morning we leave Bagan heading for Chauk, home of the Burma Oil Company during the British occupation. We stop at the Chauk market, rarely visited by tourists, to stock up on provisions for the next few days’ trek. 

We continue to Kazunma village where we stop for lunch.

In the afternoon we continue our journey to Kanpetelet, in Chin State, one of the most remote areas of the country, known for Mount Victoria, one of the highest in Myanmar, and for the Natmataung National Park, inhabited by numerous ethnic minorities including the Dai, Da Yindu, Uppu, Mun and Ng’gha.

Weather permitting, we end the day with a beautiful sunset from a scenic lookout point.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

05. TREKKING NATMATAUNG – MOUNT VICTORIA

Mount Victoria © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelMount Victoria

After breakfast, we drive (about 30 minutes) to the trekking starting place in Natmataung National Park on Mount Victoria – an unmissable experience to meet the local minorities.

From base camp we hike to the summit (approx. 2h30′) following a nature trail surrounded by incredible views and rich flora of wild orchids, lush jungle with colourful butterflies. 

We pass through the villages of local tribes and see their daily lifestyle. The ethnic minorities in the area have animist cultural roots and many still practise ancient rituals. We meet the women of some villages with their faces completely covered by tattoos referring to precise characteristics of their clan: an ancient tradition officially abolished by the Burmese government in 1960 but practised until the late 1990s. 

After a picnic lunch we continue the hike to the meeting point with our driver and travel to Aye village (about 1h) where we spend the night in a guesthouse.

Included : Guesthouse, breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner, tour guide, tickets, trekking permit, private transportation

06. TREKKING LOCAL VILLAGES - MINDAT

Mon tribes women © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelMon tribes women

Wake up early in the morning to watch the sunrise from Aye village.

After breakfast we drive to Shame village and continue on foot for about 45 minutes.

We reach the unique Kyedoe village with a lifestyle and traditions quite different from the rest of the Burmese people. Animal sacrifices of bulls and pigs are still commonplace. Animal skulls are used for spiritual rituals and to decorate homes to symbolise power, wealth and prestige.

We visit the Lote Bell and Pukwan villages and continue the hike for about 30 minutes to the meeting point with our driver for the transfer to Mindat.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, picnic lunch, tour guide, tickets, trekking permit, private transportation 

07. VISIT MINDAT - TRANSFER TO BAGAN

Makan village - flute performance © Gabriele StoiaFlute performance at Makan village

Early in the morning we visit the Mindat Market

Next, we head to Makaan village where we see a traditional flute performance (played with the nose) by the tribal women. 

Afterwards we start the long drive to Bagan (about 6h) passing through Kyauk-Htu Pauk Municipality and crossing the Pakokku Bridge over the Ayeyarwaddy River, the longest in Myanmar. 

On arrival in Bagan, check-in at the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

08. AMARAPURA – AVA - SAGAING

U-Bein-bridge © Gabriele StoiaU Bein bridge

In the morning transfer by car to Mandalay, former capital of Myanmar and the best place to appreciate the Burmese art and traditions.

Upon arrival visit to the Mahar Gandar Yon Monastery to deepen your understanding of the Buddhist religion and learn about the daily life of the monks. 

Crossing a tributary of the river by ferry, we reach Ava (Inwa) and we get on a horse-drawn cart to visit he 27 mt high Inwa Watch TowerNan Myint, as well as the Bagaya Monastery, built with 276 teak wood columns.

In the afternoon we visit Sagaing Hill, home to over 700 monasteries, and continue to Amarapura, the ‘city of immortality’, twice capital of Myanmar in the 18th and 19th centuries, known today for its fine silk and cotton production. 

Afterwards we proceed to the famous U-Bein Bridge over Lake Taungtaman. Built in 1850, its remarkable length of 1200 metres makes it the longest wooden bridge in the world. 

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, domestic flight and private transportation 

09. VISIT MANDALAY AND MINGUN

Boat trip to Mingun © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelBoat trip to Mingun

In the morning we travel aboard a private boat to Mingun, 12 km from Mandalay.

We visit the Pon Daw Paya, Set Taw Ya Paya, the vaulted shrine housing a sacred footprint of the Buddha, the unfinished Mingun Pa Hto Taw Phaya Pagoda built with bricks, the famous Mingun Bell, weighing a considerable 90 tonnes, is the second largest bell in the world, and the Hsin Byu Me Phaya Pagoda. At the end we return to Mandalay.

In the afternoon visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, a major pilgrimage site, known for its revered images depicting the life of Buddha. 

We continue to the Ku-Tho-Daw Pagoda – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – containing the world’s largest book in the form of 729 marble slabs on which are inscribed the Buddhist scriptures. We then visit the Shwe Nandaw Monastery or “Golden Palace Monastery” known for its teak carvings, and the Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda known for the large statue of Buddha carved in a single block of marble.

The day ends with an exciting sunset from Mandalay Hill.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

10. HEHO - PINDAYA - KALAW

Pindaya Mountains © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelPindaya Mountains

After breakfast transfer by domestic flight to Heho.

Upon arrival we drive to Pindaya (approx. 2h) following a route through the beautiful landscapes of the Shan Mountain range where we can observe the daily lifestyle of the inhabitants.

In the afternoon we visit the impressive Pindaya Caves, known for over 8,000 Buddha images of different sizes in teak wood, marble, alabaster and concrete.

Afterwards we continue to the district known to produce traditional coloured paper umbrellas.

Following this, transfer to Kalaw.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, domestic flight and private transportation 

11. TRAIN KALAW - INLE LAKE

Train transfer to Inle Lake.

An excellent opportunity to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of Burma on board a local train.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, train ticket

12. BOAT TRIP INLE LAKE

One leg rower © Lauda D'AddioOne leg rower – Inle Lake

In the morning we transfer to Nyaung Shwe pier to board on a private boat and we explore Inle Lake where we find ethnic and handicraft villages: a thrilling experience to see up close the iconic ‘one-legged paddling’ fishermen, farms, floating gardens and the islets in the lake.

Visit the Inthar Heritage House, a facility decorated in the Inthar style.

In the afternoon we continue to Nampan village, known for the production of cigars. 

We continue to Phaung Daw Oo-Phaya Pagoda, the most sacred in the state Shan, then to the Inpawkhon weaving workshop and to one of the markets on Inle Lake (they change according to the day of the week).

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

13. FREE DAY

Inle Lake © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelInle Lake

Free day to walk around Nyaung Shwe or relax on Inle Lake.

Included : Hotel, breakfast 

14. BICYCLE TRIP AT NYAUNG SHWE

We spend the morning cycling to visit local villages, Nyaung Shwe Market and Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery.

In the afternoon we keep exploring other villages in the surroundings.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, private transportation

15. KENG TUNG

Keng TungKeng Tung

After breakfast transfer to the airport for the domestic flight to Keng Tung, in the heart of the Gloden Triangle, located in a valley of the mountainous area between the Mekong and Salween River, a few dozen kilometres from the Chinese and Thai borders. 

Upon arrival, we visit the main surrounding highlights such as the Standing Buddha Image, the Long Hill Tree a 250-year-old tree, the Zawmmoon Matyan Monastery, Naung Tong Lake, the craft workshop of lacquers, the Wat Zom Kham Pagoda and the beautiful Watin Monastery.

Nearby, the remains of the ancient wall, the old city gate Pa Len and some colonial buildings are still visible.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, domestic flight and private transportation

16. TREKKING AT HOKYIN

Keng TungKeng Tung

After breakfast we head to the local market to buy provisions for the lunch that we will be having at one of the villages visited during the trek.

Next, car transfer to Hokyin (approx. 1h) and on to Pankwai Hill from where we start the trek.

The first part of the trek follows a path through the rice fields leading to the villages of the Akha minority. There are four in the area, each with different traditions and religious beliefs. The visit allows us to get in touch with the inhabitants of different tribes and learn about their lifestyle and survival techniques. 

We stop at a local house to have lunch, which is prepared according to the local tradition.

In the afternoon we keep hiking before heading back to the hotel in Keng Tung.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, tickets, trekking permit, private transportation

17. TREKKING LAHU SHI

Morning car transfer to Kon Ma village (approx. 1 hour), the starting point of the trek.

The path proceeds towards the top of the mountain through beautiful forests with incredible views over the valley.

We reach the Shi Lahu village on the top of the mountain at an altitude of about 1500 meters. This area is certainly one of the most remote and our presence will rouse the curiosity of the inhabitants, in particular the interest of children.

Most likely, we will be invited to a local house to relax over a cup of tea while we will offer them some biscuits that we have bought before departing at the local market in Keng Tung.

Following this, we keep hiking, and we visit other local villages before heading back to the hotel in Keng Tung.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, tickets, trekking permit, private transportation

18. TREKKING PIN TAUK

)After breakfast we carry on hiking to Pin Tauk, a popular trekking area in the Keng Tung province.

We proceed on foot to Wan Pin village. It is a gentle trek, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the local community of these remote areas and meet the tribes of Akha, Ann (at Pan Lea villages) and Lahu.

Once finished, we return to the hotel in Keng Tung for an overnight stay.

The hike takes about 3-4 hours with several stops in between. 

Included : Hotel, breakfast, lunch, tour guide, tickets, trekking permit, private transportation

19. YANGON - CITY TOUR

Nukus_Art_Museum © ChanOJ / CC BY-SAShwedagon Pagoda

After breakfast transfer to the airport for the flight to Yangon.

Upon arrival we visit the Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha Temple, known for its 72 meters long reclining Buddha statue, one of the largest in Myanmar.

After checking in at the hotel we continue to the Kandawgyi Park, from where we enjoy a stunning view of the Karaweik barge, the sumptuous palace built in the 70s on a royal barge.

The day ends with the visit to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred in Myanmar. The massive bell of the stupa is gold-plated while the very top is tipped with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and topazes. An absolute must-see and the best spot to end this incredible journey in Myanmar

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets, domestic flight and private transportation 

20. YANGON - DEPARTURE

Transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Breakfast, private transportation to airport

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