GRAND TOUR MYANMAR

Length

15 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  Grand Tour Myanmar takes us on a journey to discover the Burmese culture and traditions, covering the mountain villages off the beaten track, surrounded by incredible views.

From the cities of Mandalay and Amarapura, to the wonderful temples of Bagan, the ancient Burmese capital, through the mountain villages of Kampetlet, inhabited by authentic ethnic minorities.

Visit the Shwedangon Pagoda in Yangon considered to be the most sacred monument in Myanmar and cruise around Inle Lake on a private boat to discover the daily lifestyle of fishermen, craft workshops as well as the iconic ‘one-legged paddling‘ fishermen.

Discover the suggestive archaeological site of Indein and visit the notorious Mount Popa, located in the heart of an extinct volcano that was active approximately 2500 years ago and home to 37 magical spirits.

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

Grand tour Myanmar - map © In Asia Travel

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 15D 14N
From : MANDALAY
To :YANGON
Destinations : Mandalay, Mingun, Amarapura, Ava, Sagaing, Monywa, Bagan, Kampetlet, Mindat, Mount Popa, Inle Lake, Indein, Yangon

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN MANDALAY - AMARAPURA

U-Bein-bridge © Gabriele StoiaU Bein bridge

Arrive in Mandalay, former capital of Myanmar and the best place to appreciate the Burmese art and traditions. 

We continue to Amarapura, the ‘city of immortality’, twice the capital of Myanmar in the 18th and 19th centuries, known today for its fine silk and cotton production. We visit the Bagaya Monastery, built with 276 wooden columns, to see the famous collection of Buddha images. 

Next, we continue 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. 

In the afternoon we continue our visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda, a major pilgrimage site, known for its revered images depicting the life of Buddha. We visit a craft workshop to learn about the ancient tradition of making ‘gold leaves‘ as an offering to Buddha statues. 

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.

The day ends with an exciting sunset from Mandalay Hill.

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

02. MINGUN - AVA

Aung Myay Bonza monastery © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelAung Myay Bonza monastery

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 Myatheintan Pagoda, considered to be the best representation of the Universe. 

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 Tower, Nan Myint, as well as the Aung Myay Bonza Monastery built of wood, brick and stucco. 

Return to the hotel at the end of the visits.

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

03. SAGAING - MONIWA

After breakfast we head to Sagaing Hill, home to over 700 monasteries, and to the Kaungmudaw Pagoda

Following this, we travel to Monywa (110 Km – about 2h). Along the way we visit the Mohnyin Than Buddhay Pagoda and admire the 582,357 small images of Buddha. 

Afterwards, transfer to the hotel for the night.

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

04. TRANSFER TO BAGAN

In the morning we cross the Chindwin River and continue to the Phoe Win Taung cave complex to visit the ancient murals dating back to the 17th century. 

Afterwards we go to Pakokku jetty and embark on a boat for the transfer to Bagan.

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

05. TRANSFER TO 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 Kanpetelet, in Chin State, one of the most remote areas of the country, known for Mount Victoria, one of the highest in Myanmar, and the Natmataung National Park, inhabited by many ethnic minorities including Dai, Da Yindu, Uppu, Mun and Ng’gha. 

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

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

06. MOUNT VICTORIA - AYE VILLAGE

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

07. MINORITIES VILLAGES - MINDAT

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

Wake up early in the morning to admire 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 

08. MINORITIES VILLAGES - 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 

09. BAGAN

Htilo-Minlo TempleHtilo Minlo – Bagan

Today we visit 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 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 

10. MOUNT POPA

Mount Popa © Laura D'AddioMount Popa

Morning car transfer to the notorious Mount Popa, approximately 50 km from Bagan (1 h drive), located in the heart of an extinct volcano that was active approximately 2500 years ago. 

It is known for the popular animist belief that recognises Mount Popa as the home of the Nats: 37 god-like spirits feared and venerated by most of the Burmese people. The mountain rises to 1520 meters and to reach the top it takes around 45 minutes. 

Visit the Mahagiri Sanctuary, Mahagiri Shrine, dedicated to the Nats. A spectacular view of the valley awaits us at the summit. 

Afterwards, return to the hotel in Bagan.

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

11. INLE LAKE

Inle Lake © Gabriele StoiaInle Lake

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the domestic flight to Heho.

Upon arrival, car 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.

We visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda which houses the 5 most revered images of Buddha in Shan state. 

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

12. INLE LAKE - INDEIN PAGODA COMPLEX

Indei Pagoda Complex © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelIndein Pagoda Complex

After breakfast we continue the visit to the southern part of Inle Lake.

We visit the floating market to observe the daily life of the minorities and their activities.

Afterwards we delve into the narrow canals of the lake, surrounded by a stunning natural environment and we head to a small village inhabited by the Pa O tribe.

From the village we continue along an old path that leads to a 13th century monastery and to the impressive ruins of the Indein Pagoda Complex, the astounding archaeological site housing hundreds of Buddhist Pagodas hidden under vegetation and dating back to the 14th-18th centuries. The main stupa, located on the top of the hill, offers a breath-taking view of the surrounding mountains.

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

13. YANGON

Shwedagon Pagoda © Gabriele StoiaShwedagon Pagoda

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

Upon arrival we continue with a scenic walk among the magnificent colonial buildings and the new skyscrapers, a symbol of the recent economic progress of the country. 

Visit the 3rd-century Sule Pagoda, now part of the city’s economy. 

We continue 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. 

We end the day at 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. 

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

14. YANGON

Chinatown © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelChinatown

In the morning we continue to the Bogyoke Aung San Market, or “Scott Market” one of the largest bazaars in Yangon, where over 2000 traders sell souvenirs, clothing, precious stones and traditional handicrafts. 

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

In the late afternoon stroll around in the colorful Chinatown area.

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

15. YANGON - DEPARTURE

Transfer to airport for departure flight.

Included : Private transfer to the airport

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