MYANMAR HISTORY
AND ETHNIC MINORITIES

Length

16 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  The Myanmar History and Ethnic Minorities itinerary is a rich cultural tour combining historical landmarks and excursions to remote areas of Shan State to meet ethnic minorities.

Visit the Shwedangon Pagoda in Yangon considered to be the most sacred monument in Myanmar, Bagan, the legendary capital of the Burmese Kingdom, and the old cities of Amarapura Ava and  Sagaing .

Explore Shwedangon Pagoda in Yangon, the most sacred monument in Myanmar, Bagan, the legendary capital of the Kingdom of Burma, the ancient cities Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing.

Visit the Golden Rock, one of Myanmar’s most must-see monuments and immerse yourself in the beautiful natural landscape and ethnic minorities on a three-day trek to Kalaw.

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, and Kakku Pagoda Complex  with 2400 stupas.

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

MYANMAR HISTORY AND ETHNIC MINORITIES - map © In Asia Travel

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Length : 16D 15N
From : YANGON
To :YANGON
Destinations : Yangon, Bago, Golden Rock, Bagan, Mandalay, Amarapura, Ava, Sagaing, Pindaya, Kalaw, Inle, Indein, Kakku, Taunggyi

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN YANGON

Shwedagon Pagoda © Gabriele StoiaShwedagon Pagoda

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

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 start this incredible journey to Myanmar

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

02. Transfer TO GOLDEN ROCK

Golden RockGolden Rock

After breakfast transfer to the famous Golden Rock, or Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, at approximately 1100 meters above sea level and among the most sacred places in Myanmar. Furthermore, it is a fundamental pilgrimage destination for Buddhist believers after the Schwedagon pagoda in Yangon and the Mahamuni temple in Mandalay. 

Along the way we take a short break at the Htauk Kyant War World II Museum and at a craft workshop. We continue to the Kyakhat Wine Monastery, the religious site where over 1000 monks learn the monastic lifestyle and study Buddhist scriptures.

Once in Kinpun we continue to the Mountain Road to reach the Yatetaung base camp. Given the steep slope of the path, we continue by truck, which has been adapted for the transport of people, to get to the top of the mountain. 

The most striking detail is certainly the huge granite boulder covered with thin gold leaves that clearly appears to be precariously balanced. On top of it stands the small Buddhist pagoda, which is only 7 metres high. From this spot you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama and enchanting sunsets. 

The sacredness of the place derives from ancient legends. The most famous is that Siddhartha Gautama personally handed over his lock of hair to a hermit who, in turn, handed it over to the king with the specific request to keep it under an enormous round rock that had the appearance of the hermit’s head. The king found a suitable rock at the bottom of the sea and had it transported to the top of the mountain. Since then, Gauthama Buddha’s lock of hair has been kept under the rock and ensures its precarious balance.

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

03. GOLDEN ROCK - BAGO - YANGON

After breakfast we drive back to the base camp in our truck and head to Bago, the town formerly known as Hanthawaddy. Visit the Shwemawdaw Pagoda and the Kanbawazathardi Palace

We then go to the Shwetharlyaung, one of the largest images of reclining Buddha. We conclude our visit at Kyaik Pun Pagoda, particularly famous for its shrine with 4 large statues of Buddha (Kakusandha, Kassapa Konagamana and Gautama) each in a different orientation and pose. 

Afterwards transfer to Yangon and hotel check-in.

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

04. 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, domestic flight, tickets and private transportation 

05. VISIT BAGAN BY BICYCLE

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 

06. 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, domestic flight, tickets and private transportation 

07. MANDALAY

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

We then visit the Shwe Nandaw Monastery or “Golden Palace Monastery” known for its teak carvings, and the Shwe Inn Bin Monastery.

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. 

The day ends with an exciting sunset from Mandalay Hill.

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

08. PINDAYA CAVES - 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, domestic flight, tickets and private transportation 

09. 1˚PART TREKKING KALAW - YIN PYAR VILLAGE

Kalaw landscapeKalaw

We start the three-day trek in Shan State to add to the journey an experience of nature and culture through the contact with ethnic minorities.

After breakfast we reach Nyaung Shwe, the starting point of the trek. We proceed to the lower part of Htat Eain village, known for its limestone caves, to Lwe Kin village, where we find many typical local farms, and to the upper part of Htat Eain village.

In the afternoon we continue the trek to Nar Nwet village and end the day at Yin Pyar village where we spend the night in a typical local house.

Included : Local house, lunch, dinner, trekking permit, tour guide and private transportation 

10. 2˚PART TREKKING YIN PYAR - LWE KHAUK VILLAGE

After breakfast we continue the trek towards the Hsin Mee tribal village where we have the pleasant opportunity to meet the Pa O minority.

With about 2.5 million inhabitants it is the seventh largest ethnic group in Myanmar, and the second largest in Shan State. Being descended from a Tibetan-Burmese lineage, the presence of this tribe in the area dates to 1000 years BC.

Afterwards we continue to Kone Son village to enjoy the panoramic view of Inle Lake and to meet the Pa O and Taung Yoe minorities.

In the afternoon we head to Taungbu village through the Red Mountain vineyard, the area known for its local wine production.

We reach Nyaun Phyu village inhabited by the Intha tribe and then we continue to Dalapin village.

We end the day at Lwe Khauk village where we spend the night in a local house.

Included : Local house, breakfast, lunch, dinner, trekking permit and tour guide

11. 3˚PART TREKKING - NYANG SHWE

We conclude the third and last day of trekking visiting other authentic villages such as Hpon Tal, Bawlwtbath and Mine Thauk.

At the end transfer to Nyaung Shwe on Inle Lake and accommodation at the hotel.

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

12. BOAT TRIP INLE LAKE - INDEIN

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.

We visit the villages of Heya Ywana and Phaung Daw OoPhaya where we meet the ‘long-necked women‘ of the Padaung ethnic group.

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).

In the afternoon we continue the visit to the southern part of Inle Lake

We delve into the narrow canals of the lake, surrounded by a stunning natural environment and we head 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. 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 and visit the Red Mountain vineyard to enjoy the incredible views and, for those who wish, taste the local wine.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and bicycle

14. KAKKU PAGODA COMPLEX

Kakku ComplexKakku Complex

After breakfast transfer to Taunggyi (approx. 2h30′) to visit the Kakku archaeological site, one of the largest in Asia, with over 2400 stupas built over many centuries.

Legend has it that the site was built in the 12th century during the reign of King Alaungsithu, while some researchers, despite the absence of written records, date the primary buildings to between the 16th and 18th centuries. However, some structures are certainly much older.

On the way, visit the Phoebe Pwint Shwe Pagoda, located on a mountaintop east of town, from where there is an excellent view of Taunggyi, and the Aye Tharyar Vineyard.

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

15. FLIGHT TO YANGON

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

Afterwards transfer to Heho airport for the domestic flight to Yangon.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, domestic flight, private transportation to/from the airport

16. YANGON - DEPARTURE

Free time at disposal until the private transfer to Yangon airport in time for your departure.

Included : Breakfast and private transfer to the airport

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