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Myanmar

Asia at its purest, with the atmosphere of times past. - Trip for singles

Book From   € 1,499,-
GROUP SIZE: 6-24 | 20 DAYS

Myanmar

Here you can find the day-to-day description for Myanmar

Highlights

There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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Yangon

Yangon

Yangon is a mix of the English colonial past and golden pagodas. Yangon is a city that seems to be hectic, but feels very rural. |Myanmar

Kyaiktiyo

Kyaiktiyo

Legend has it that the Golden Rock balances dangerously on the edge of a canyon on Buddha hair.|Myanmar

Mandalay

Mandalay

Mandalay has always been the city where you'd go to enjoy a puppet- on-the-string play. On the other side of the river, you can admire the Burmese variation of the Tower of Babel, Mingun.|Myanmar

Pyin Oo Lwin

Pyin Oo Lwin

Enjoy the English colonial town Pyin Oo Lwin. The public transport system consists of Gharry's, wooden horse carriages. |Myanmar

Hsipaw

Bagan

Bagan

Bagan consists of an area of 40 km² with many impressive, very old Buddhist temples and Stupas. They are the most beautiful od all of Myanmar. |Myanmar

Kalaw

Kalaw

Kalaw is an old colonial English garden with the typical houses, inhabited by the Burmese and surrounded by colourful minorities like Palaung, Danu and Pa’O. |Myanmar

Inle Lake

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Yangon Yangon
2 Bus Yangon - Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo) Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo)
3 Bus Golden Rock - Bago - Yangon Yangon
4 Bus, Plane Yangon - Mandalay Mandalay
5 Mandalay Mandalay
6 Mandalay Mandalay
7 Bus Mandalay - Pyin-Oo-Lwin Pyin-Oo-Lwin
8 Bus, Train Pyin Oo Lwin - Hsipaw Hsipaw
9 Hsipaw Hsipaw
10 Public transport Hsipaw - Mandalay Mandalay
11 Public transport Mandalay - Bagan Bagan
12 Bagan Bagan
13 Bagan Bagan
14 Bus Bagan - Mount Popa - Kalaw Kalaw
15 Walk Kalaw - Palaung village - Kalaw Kalaw
16 Bus Kalaw - Pindaya - Inle Lake Inle Lake
17 Inle Lake Inle Lake
18 Bus, Plane Inle Lake - Yangon Yangon
19 Yangon Yangon
20 Yangon End of tour

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Day 1: Yangon

Welcome to Myanmar!

Your tour starts in Yangon, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Your travel companions will also arrive this first day, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 12.00 hrs noon on day 1 in the lobby of your hotel in Yangon, after which, you are free to explore.

Use your time today to adjust to your new surroundings, relax and take things easy as we will be returning again to Yangon later in the trip.

Day 2: Yangon - Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo)

We go today to Kyaiktiyo, where we sleep one night near the Golden Rock Pagoda. Our travelling will take about 5 ½ hours, over a distance of 180 km. With our own bus we go to the foot of the mountain, where we transfer to a local truck to continue for another 45 minutes. It's then a (steep) walk of about 1 hour to reach the Golden Rock Pagoda - one of the highlights of your trip to Myanmar.

The legend tells that the golden rock was found at the bottom of the sea and carried to the top of the mountain on a ship with miraculous powers. The ship turned instantly to stone and can still be seen today as the Kyaukthanban or ‘Stone boat’ pagoda.

The gold leaf-covered pagoda stands on a large gold-painted rock that appears precariously balanced on a rocky outcrop. It is an important pilgrimage site and can get very crowded, especially on a full moon.

Day 3: Golden Rock - Bago - Yangon

You make the return trip to Yangon but stopping on the way in Bago city, famous for its huge statue of the reclining Buddha Shwethalyaung. This reclining Buddha is over 55 meters long and 16 meters high! Bago has some interesting pagodas, including the Shwemawdaw pagoda that was rebuilt after being much destroyed by an earthquake in 1930. Kyaikpun pagoda is a structure with four 30-meter-high Buddha statues, each seated with his back against a huge square pillar.

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Day 4: Yangon - Mandalay

Free morning in Yangon where you can continue to explore. Visit the Sule Paya (230 BC) in the heart of the city, surrounded by busy shopping streets and markets. The nearby Yangon City Hall and the striking red Supreme Court are both remnants of the British rule. West of the pagoda begins the Indian Muslim quarter which turns into Chinatown.

In the afternoon you will transfer to the airport and take a flight to Mandalay where you have the rest of the day free. 

Day 5: Mandalay

Mandalay greets you with streets filled by numerous tricycles and old cars. It offers a colourful mix of members of Myanmar's many ethnic minority groups and there are many attractions. Mandalay Hill (236 m) is well worth the trip. Along the slopes are numerous statues and pagodas and there's a lovely view from the top of the Ayeyarwady valley. At the foot of the hill stands the Kuthodaw Pagoda. Around the central pagoda are the marble tablets on which the entire Tripitaka was written. This temple is also called the Temple of the biggest book for the same reason. The carving of the Shwenandaw Kyaung monastery is very impressive.

You may decide to take an optional boat trip along the Ayeyarwady to visit picturesque Mingun. In Mingun you can find beautiful pagodas and the impressive remains of the earthquake damaged Mingun pagoda. Mingun is also home to the largest intact bell in the world; and it can still toll!

Day 6: Mandalay

Outside the city you can take an optional excursion to the ancient imperial cities: Amarapura (Taungmyo), Sagaing and Ava. You can now visit the temples within these city ruins and marvel at the grandeur of these places. Amarapura is famous for the U Bein Bridge, the longest teak pedestrian bridge in the world (1200 m) on the nearby lake.

The location of Sagaing is spectacular, set in a bend on the Ayeyarwady River and with pagodas and monasteries crowding the surrounding hills. Near Mandalay are some 600 monasteries. Sagaing is also a good place to see the morning round of begging monks. The views from the buildings are beautiful. Ava (INWA) is an excellent choice for a horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic sites.

Day 7: Mandalay - Pyin-Oo-Lwin

This morning we set off by bus to Pyin-Oo-Lwin (formerly Maymyo) in the mountains, 67 km away from Mandalay. British colonialists came here because of its' cool, pleasant climate in the hot season. Pyin-Oo-Lwin is situated at an altitude of 1040m. Around the town are coffee and banana plantations and there are all kinds of delicious fruits grown here including splendidly sweet strawberries. There are many houses built in the English style. There is a golf course, botanical gardens and neatly kept lawns, it is like the British never left!

Pyin-Oo-Lwin has a colourful morning market with many flowers and fruits. It is a real feast for the eyes. Using public transport, (wooden carriages), you can move easily within the city. It is also possible to get around comfortably on foot.

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Day 8: Pyin Oo Lwin - Hsipaw

Our bus takes us to the train station where we take our seats in first class for our journey to Hsipaw. 

The town of Hsipaw (pronounced Thibaw) sits in a valley in the Shan state. It was once the centre of a small Shan state of its own, located on the main Mandalay to Lashio (capital of northern Shan state) road; the main route for trade between Myanmar and China.

The Shan Palace, at the northern end of town can no longer be entered but is still beautiful (if slightly faded) to see from the outside.

Also worth visiting is the Mahamyatmuni temple which contains a large buddha image, inspired by its namesake and the Bawgyo Temple, 8 kms from town, which is particularly interesting architecturally and has a number of Hindu statues in the surrounds.

Day 9: Hsipaw

Free day in Hsipaw. For the very-earlybirds, the Central market of Hsipaw is one of the best in the entire country. It starts around 3.30 am and is more or less over by 6am. It is mainly a market for villagers and other tribespeople who come to shop for a variety of local products. Enjoy something very local, indeed you'll see few other tourists in attendance.

Watching the sunset from Five Buddha Hill or Nine Buddha Hill is also recommended. Both these hills are about 2km out of town and are easily accessible by bicycle.   

Day 10: Hsipaw - Mandalay

Early this morning we will take a public express bus (with air-conditioning) back to Mandalay, where you will spend the rest of the day. There will still be plenty to see in Mandalay. The most important religious building in the city is the Mahamuni Pagoda. The Mahamuni Buddha statue is visited by pilgrims from around the world. It is 3.8 m high and covered with several inches of gold leaf. In the south of the city you will find the bustling district of artists: sculptors, wood carvers, gold leaf makers, silk and cotton weavers, copper and silversmiths.

Mandalay also has some excellent ice cream shops. The Nylon Cold Drinks Bar now has a reputation for participating in our tours. Ice creams, milkshakes and fruit juices are the perfect thirst-quenchers there. In the evening, a visit to the local puppet theater or pwe (a combination of singing, dancing and cabaret) is very entertaining.

Day 11: Mandalay - Bagan

Early this morning we take the express bus to Bagan, where your hotel room is already available. Once you are settled, take things at your own pace, enjoying the beauty of the landscape. It's well worth renting a bike or a horse and cart. It's a good idea to plan in advance what you would like to see because it is impossible to see Bagan in its entirety. The unique Ananda Temple would be a fine choice. Some temples house beautiful Buddha statues or paintings and in the evening you can eat on the river by the light of oil lamps and candles.

You may also rent a boat to explore the Nyaung channels where you will easily reach a teahouse serving wonderful tea, ice cream and delicious lassi. In addition to her temples Bagan is also famous for beautiful paintwork. In the village Myinkaba you can see how the process works.

Day 12: Bagan

You have two days off in Bagan. It is a sprawling area with thousands of temples, pagodas and pagoda ruins, certainly an abundance with which to feed the imagination. Bagan was founded in AD 848 as a walled city. It developed under the glorious and mighty great King Anawratha. There were huge temple complexes built of glistening white stone, brick and dark wood. Many of the temples contain beautiful murals. The king conquered the land of the Mon in the south and took the royal family back with him, but also artists, craftsmen and Theravada Buddhism. That combination led to an unprecedented building of pagodas, a custom that later kings took over. Thanks to the dry climate many of these ancient structures still stand in good condition.

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Day 13: Bagan

You are free again to visit more of the temples is this fascinating region. The Shwezigon Paya/Pagoda in Nyaung-U should not be missed. The golden stupas gleam in the sunlight and the significance of Shwezigon should also be noted as it served as a prototype for many other stupas, built in later years.

Cool down at a restaurant in Nyaung-U or arrange to visit one of the custom made ''Sunset Hills'' offering great sunset views (your tour leader will help with this). Sit atop one of these hills and marvel at one of the most amazing sights you will see on this trip!

Day 14: Bagan - Mount Popa - Kalaw

Today we drive east of Bagan to Kalaw. En route we visit Mount Popa. Atop the mountain are a ruined monastery and some pagodas. Here the 37 nats (spirits) are housed, to whom Buddhists should regularly consult and sacrifice. If you are in tune with the spirits then all will be well with you.

You can walk (optional) half an hour up steep stairs with uncovered feet (no shoes). Beware of the monkeys at the foot of the mountain. Superstition forbids wearing red or black clothing. Often there are festivals recently underway and the view from the top is magnificent.

We then drive on to Kalaw (1320 m), arriving early evening. Kalaw was formerly a 'hill station', where the temperature is much more moderate. You'll find beautiful British colonial houses and churches as well as pagodas, monasteries and temples. The total travel time for today is about 8/9 hours.

Day 15: Kalaw - Palaung village - Kalaw

Accompanied by a local guide you will be taken on a walk to a Palaung village. The women of the Palaung wear colourful blue and red clothes. In the villages you attract a lot of attention and the local guide will tell more about the traditional customs of the inhabitants. The minorities are very hospitable and happy to invite you for a cup of home-grown tea. During the walk you follow cart tracks, through beautiful rice fields and bamboo forests. The terrain is a little hilly and sometimes dense but you will find enjoyable views along the way.

Note: Good walking shoes with adequate profile are required. During the rainy season the trails are muddy and slippery. If you do not want to walk, you can remain in Kalaw, where you can relax and explore the area.

Day 16: Kalaw - Pindaya - Inle Lake

On the way to Pindaya you ride through a picturesque patchwork of sesame and mustard fields. After about two hours you'll arrive in Pindaya. This quiet town is famous for its mountain of limestone caves, which you can visit (optional). The caves hold more than eight thousand Buddha statues in all shapes and sizes. These are donations from pilgrims and kings from different periods and some hundreds of years old. Once you enter the cave (bare feet) the gold leaf shines ahead of you. Further ahead is a great high cave where a maze of trails filled with Buddhas arose. Further afield, the images of Buddha are getting older, and you need a flashlight to admire them. Some images are only seen if you crawl through wet and very dark caverns.

Afterwards you'll drive to the quaint town of Nyaungshwe, access point to the Inle Lake, where you'll stay for 2 nights. The total travel time for today is roughly four hours.

Day 17: Inle Lake

Time to explore the Inle lake and the surrounding area. The 22 km long and 11 km wide Inle lake is beautifully situated, surrounded by high mountain ridges and known for the fishermen who travel by rowboat using the intha technique of standing with one leg on the stern and the other around the oar. They fish with conical nets with long poles and which are lifted up from the lake.

A cruise on the lake, through creeks and canals, under wooden bridges, past villages built on piles, floating water hyacinths and purple water lilies is an unforgettable experience. In Inle lake the wooden Ngahpe Kyaung, the charming monastery of the "jumping cats", is well worth visiting. You can select visits to the silversmiths, silk and cigar factories.

Day 18: Inle Lake - Yangon

Today you will have more time to enjoy Inle Lake and it's surrounds before transferring to Heho airport for your flight back to Yangon.

Yangon has two large lakes. From the terrace of the luxury Karaweik restaurant built in the shape of a boat, you can watch the sun set in the water with the background of the Shwedagon Pagoda. The largest market is the Bogyoke Aung San Market, where everything is for sale.

Day 19: Yangon

A full day to explore Yangon that bit further. Maybe head over to the People’s Park, next to the Shwedagon Pagoda. The park consists of flower gardens and ponds; fountains, and for the brave there are tree-top viewing platforms linked by swinging bridges.

Day 20: Yangon

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in Yangon until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of Myanmar.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 20) is not included.

FESTIVAL TRIPS

On the trip departing on September 30, 2018 you can visit the PAUNG DAW OO FESTIVAL around Inle Lake. *           

On the trip departing on November 4, 2018 you can visit the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Taunggyi (around Inle Lake). This excursion will only take place in the evening.*

* Your tour leader will offer a visit to the festival as an optional excursion.

The itineraries can be modified during festival trips. For more information about the various festivals please look under the heading 'Festivals' under the 'More Info' tab.

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