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 that combines the important cultural visits with extraordinary treks in the most isolated 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. 

Explore Shwedangon Pagoda in Yangon, the most sacred monument in Myanmar, Bagan, the legendary capital of the Kingdom of Burma, the ancient cities AmarapuraSagaing and Mingun for the famous 90-ton bell, the largest in the world.

Continue to Kanpetlet and Mount Victoria, in the Chin State, one of the most remote provinces of Myanmar. Trekking in the Natma Taung National Park allows us to meet several tribes and in particular Chin women known for their fully tattooed face.

Visit Kalaw and Inle Lake which we explore by boat to learn about the daily life of local fishermen, the floating artisan farms, and the famous “one-leggedrowersTrekking at Keng Tung, in Shan State, a remote province inhabited by Akha tribes which give us an unique and unforgettable experience in contact with local families.

This example itinerary can be customized according to actual travel needs and can be combined with other routes.

Itineraries-Gran-tour-in-Uzbekistan © In Asia Travel

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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. ARRIVE IN YANGON

Arrive in Yangon and accommodation in Hotel.

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

02. BAGAN

Htilo-Minlo TempleHtilo Minlo – Bagan

In the early morning we catch the domestic flight to Bagan the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from IX to XIII, formerly known as the Arimaddanapura. Of the 10,000 temples 2,200 survived over 700 years of history. Bagan was for many decades the center of religious studies since the times of the Khmer Kingdom.

Upon arrival we visit the colorful and crowded local market: a unique opportunity to observe local folklore and learn about the Burmese daily lifestyle. We continue with a visit to Shwezigon Pagoda, the prototype of the stupas built subsequently in Myanmar, for an introduction to the rich history of the archaeological Bagan temple complex. 

Afterwards we visit Wetkyi-In Gu-Byauk-Gyi temple, known for the narrative murals of the Jataka (previous life of Buddha) and the two-storey temple Htilo-Minlo, known for the plaster sculptures.

After lunch we continue to Ananda temple, one of the greatest architectural masterpieces in Bagan, built in the early Mon-Myanmar style. We proceed to That-Byin-Nyu temple, built during 12th century, the highest in Bagan, to Dhamma Yangy temple, known for its singular brick construction , and to Gawdawpalin temple.

Enjoy the 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 continue the visits to the rural village Minnanthu, one of the places where you can see the collection and processing of cotton.

We proceed to Laymyathnar monastery complex, Phaya Thone Tzu temple and Nandamannya temple, the latter particularly known for the murals depicting “The Temptation of Mara” dating back to the 13th century. 

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

We end the day with a slow cruise on Irrawady river to enjoy the romantic sunset by observing the unique perspective of Bagan temples, fishing villages 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

We leave Bagan early morning in the direction of Chauk, the seat of the Burma Oil Company during the British occupation. Let us pause to Chauk market, rarely visited by tourists, to procure needed to trek the next few days. We continue to Kazunma village for lunch.

In the afternoon continue the transfer to Kanpetelet, in Chin State, among the most remote areas of Myanmar, known for Mount Victoria, one of the highest mountains in Myanmar, and for Natmataung National Park, home to several ethnic minorities including Dai, Da Yindu, Uppu, Mun and Ng’gha. Weather permitting we conclude the day with a beautiful sunset.

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 starting point of the trekking in Natmataung National Park on Mount Victoria : an unmissable experience to meet the local minorities in the area.

From the base camp we reach the summit in about 2h30′ walk following a naturalistic path surrounded by incredible landscapes and a rich flora with wild orchids, rhododendron flowers, cherries, many wild flowers and a lush jungle with colourful butterflies.

During the journey we will have the opportunity to meet the local tribes and observe their daily lifestyle. The ethnic minorities in the area have animist roots and many of them still practice ancient ritual ceremonies. We will meet women from some villages with their faces completely covered in tattoos that recall precise references to their clan: an ancient tradition officially abolished by the Burmese government in 1960 but practiced until the late 1990s.

After the packed lunch we continue the trek up to the meeting point with our driver and transfer to Aye village (about 1 hour) where we will spend the night in a local guest house.

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 transfer by car to Shame village and continue on foot for about 45 minutes. We reach the singular Kyedoe village whose lifestyle is decidedly different from the rest of the Burmese people. Animal sacrifices of bulls and pigs are still practiced today. The animal skulls collected in the surrounding forests are used to decorate for spiritual rituals and to decorate homes as a sign of power, well-being and prestige.

We proceed to the Lote Bell and Pukwan villages and continue the trek for about 30′ 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

In the early morning visit to the Mindat market.

After we proceed to Makaan village to attend the traditional flute performance (played with a nose) by the women of the tribe.

Later we begin the transfer to Bagan (about 6h), passing Kyauk-Htu Pauk Townships, and crossing the Ayeyarwaddy River on the Pakokku bridge, the longest in Myanmar.

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

08. AMARAPURA – AVA - SAGAING

U-Bein-bridge © Gabriele StoiaU Bein bridge

In the morning transfer to the airport for the domestic flight Bagan – Mandalay.

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

We continue to Ava (Inwa) and visit the 27 mt high Inwa Watch Tower, Nan Myint, and Bagaya Monastery, built with 276 teak wood columns.

In the afternoon we visit Sagaing Hill and continue to Amarapura, the “city of immortality” twice capital of Myanmar in the 18th and 19th centuries, known today for the precious silk and cotton processing.

Afterwards we proceed to the famous U-Bein teak bridge on Lake Taungtaman, built in 1850, 1.2 Km long and considered the longest wooden bridge in the world.

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

09. VISIT MANDALAY AND MINGUN

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

In the morning board on a private boat to Mingun, 12 km from Mandalay. Visit the Pon Daw Paya, Set Taw Ya Paya, the vaulted shrine containing a sacred footprint of the Buddha, the unfinished Mingun Pa Hto Taw Phaya Pagoda built in bricks, the famous Mingun Bell, which with 90 tons of weight is considered the second largest bell in the world, and Hsin Byu Me Phaya Pagoda. At the end we return to Mandalay.

In the afternoon visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of the major pilgrimage sites, known for the revered images that express the representation of the life of the Buddha; Ku-Tho-Daw Pagoda – UNESCO World Heritage Site – considered the “largest book” in the world of the Buddha’s doctrine engraved on 729 marble slabs; Shwe Nandaw Monastery (Golden Monastry) known for its exquisite wood carvings; 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 to Heho by domestic flight. Upon arrival transfer to Pindaya (about 2h) by following a path through the beautiful scenery of Shan mountain range, where we will have opportunity to observe the daily life of rural residents.

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

We continue to the district for the construction of traditional and characteristic colourful paper umbrellas and lake.

After we proceed to Kalaw.

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

11. TRAIN KALAW - INLE LAKE

Transfer by train from Kalaw – Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake).

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

12. BOAT TRIP INLE LAKE

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

In the morning we board a private boat to explore Inle Lake and discover ethnic and craft villages: an exciting opportunity to closely observe the famous method the Burmese unique style of fishing “one leg rower”, farms, floating gardens and small islands. Visit Inthar Heritage House, a decorated compound in Inthar art.

In the afternoon we continue the visit to Nampan village known for its traditional production of cigars. We continue to Phaung Daw Oo-Phaya Pagoda, the most sacred in the state Shan, to the weaving workshops in Inpawkhon and to one of the markets on Inle Lake (vary by day of week).

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

13. FREE DAY

Inle Lake © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelInle Lake

Free day at Inle Lake.

Included : Hotel, breakfast 

14. BICYCLE TRIP AT NYAUNG SHWE

We spend the morning to bike ride to the local villages, to Nyaung Shwe market and Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery.

In the afternoon we continue to explore other surrounding villages. 

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

15. KENG TUNG

Keng TungKeng Tung

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

Upon arrival visits to major attractions including Standing Buddha Image, Long Hill Tree over 250 years old, Zawmmoon Matyan Monastery, Naung Tong Lake, the craft production workshops of traditional lacquers, Wat Zom Kham Pagoda and the beautiful Watin Monastery.

Nearby are still standing the remains the ancient walls, the ancient city gate, Old Gate Pa Len, and some colonial buildings.

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

16. TREKKING AT HOKYIN

Keng TungKeng Tung

After breakfast stop at the local market to procure needed for lunch at one of the local villages during the trekking.

Transfer by car to Hokyin (about 1h) and continue to Pankwai Hill where we leave our vehicle and continue on foot.

The first part of the trek follow a path among green rice terraces that leads us to the villages of the Akha minority. In the area there are four Akha villages, each with different traditions and religious beliefs. The visit allows us to get in touch with the people of the tribes and learn their way of life and survival techniques.

Stop at a local home for lunch that will be prepared in the traditional way inside the local house.

In the afternoon we return to the hotel in Keng Tung.

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

17. TREKKING LAHU SHI

In the morning transfer by car Kon Ma village (about 1h) where we leave our vehicle and continue on foot. The path towards the top crosses beautiful forests from which we have beautiful views of the valley.

We reach the Shi Lahu village on the peak at about 1500 mt. The area is definitely among the most isolated and our presence will stimulate curiosity by the inhabitants, especially children.

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

Later we continue the trekking to other villages and reach our car to return to Keng Tung.

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

18. TREKKING AT PIN TAUK

After breakfast we continue to Pin Tauk (about 45 min), an area known for trekking in Khaing Tong area.

We proceed on foot to Wan Pin village following a path not too strenuous allowing us to immerse ourselves in the local community of these remote areas of Myanmar and meeting the tribes Akha, Ann (at Pan Lea village) and Lahu.

After visiting the villages we return to the hotel in Keng Tung.

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

19. KENG TUNG - YANGON - CITY TOUR

Nukus_Art_Museum © ChanOJ / CC BY-SAShwedagon Pagoda

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

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

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

After visiting the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred pagoda in Myanmar. The massive bell of the stupa is gold-plated and the tip is embellished with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and topazes. An unmissable show and the most suitable place to end your journey.

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

20. DEPARTURE

Transfer to international airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Breakfast, private transportation to airport

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