- Mandalay's pagodas and Bagan's temples, Inle Lake's gardens, Yangon's colonial districts
- Meet with monks, cooking lessons, cycling tours, photography walks: it's all included in the itinerary
- Ngapali, white sand beach on the Bay of Bengal: personalise your trip
- Private tours and charming places to stay close to temples: all reasons to travel with us
Contact one of our Myanmar specialists + 44 (0) 20 3958 6120
PAGODAS AND MONASTERIES
Men and women dressed in long skirts tied at the waist walk around proudly; monks dressed in pink and apricot robes carry lacquer bowls; street vendors balance bamboo canteens on their shoulders; children with yellow 'thanaka' paste on their faces play in the alleyways; golden dusk and incense scents: this is enchanting Myanmar. The journey begins in Mandalay, walking through rice fields to a monastery where psalms are being recited. The following day, stroll through the ancient capitals along the banks of the Irrawaddy River – Sagaing, Ava and Amarapura – witnessing monks file across the U Bein Bridge chanting mantras, from a wooden boat. Finally, spend a morning exploring Mandalay's temples and wooden pagodas; and
To make the most of the trip without getting bogged down in the practical organisation, a guide is on hand for all the tours throughout the journey. We have selected charming accommodation for its delightful atmosphere and prime location. In Mandalay, at the foot of the royal palace, a marble and teak hotel, in the heart of a lush garden. In Bagan, a set of sprawling villas, inspired by traditional Burmese architecture, that are adjacent to the large temple complex. At Inle Lake, a beautiful residence inspired by Shan and Intha cultures, at the foot of the blue mountains, surrounded by rice fields. Finally, in Yangon, a hotel whose colonial charm has been tailored to the requirements of contemporary guests: teak furniture and terraces, curtains and fine crafts, right opposite the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda.
Flight to Mandalay
Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
Meet your guide, private transfer and three-night stay a short distance away from the royal palace, in a hotel that honours traditional architectural design. It features a marble and teak interior, lush gardens, a spa, a swimming pool and a gourmet restaurant.
Mandalay is home to some of the country's most famous monasteries, and the monastic community – 40,000 monks among 500,000 inhabitants – is particularly large. Here, age-old culture is passed on in the shade of pagodas.
Incuded in the itinerary - Stroll through the countryside's rice fields and villages to the top of Yankin Hill to watch the sun go down. On the way back, stop at a monastery inhabited by 350 monks to witness their daily psalm recital. After the ceremony, meet them to talk about their beliefs and way of life.
Included in the itinerary - Private tour of ancient capitals. Situated on the west bank of the Irrawaddy River, Sagaing is the spiritual centre of the country: it boasts nearly 600 Buddhist pagodas and monasteries, and is home to 3,000 monks; golden roofs peak out everywhere above the treetops. Across the river, spanned by the famous Ava Bridge, lie the wondrous sights of the palace's watchtower and Bagaya Monastery, all made of teak. Finally, Amarapura, with its Mahagandayon Monastery, a centre for monastic and religious studies, and the legendary U Bein Bridge. The day concludes with a private sunset cruise aboard a small wooden boat.
Included in the itinerary - Tour of Mandalay, the Mahamuni Buddha Temple (with nearly seven tonnes of bronze, and standing 13ft high. Made with gold leaf, it originally came from the ancient kingdom of Rakhine); Kuthodaw Pagoda, with its collection of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddha's teachings; and Shwenandaw Pagoda, one of the finest examples of Burmese wooden art: the last vestige of the wooden royal palace of the 11th century. In the afternoon, continue to explore the city and its surrounding area, this time through the eye of a lens: the alleyways along the Red Canal are perfect for capturing scenes of everyday life, the bustling street stalls and craftsmen's workshops; and, in the surrounding villages, freshly dyed textiles from weavers' workshops. Finally, at sunset, Shwe Kyet Yet Pagoda offers stunning views of the Sagaing Hills and the river.
Mandalay - Bagan
In the itinerary - Head to Bagan. Drive along the east bank of the Irrawaddy River fringed by a rolling patchwork of villages, sesame, cotton and rice fields. Cross the bridge leading to Pakokku, a large settlement that you ride through in a tuk-tuk, to visit its 'thanaka' paste market, in an ancient monastery, and a factory making cheroots, the famous Burmese cigars, which Pakokku is renowned for. Then, take a boat ride down the river. A succession of small fishing villages lie on the banks. After two hours on the river, arrive in Bagan for a three-night stay near the temples - vast villas built in pure Burmese architectural style. They feature a swimming pool, restaurant, spa and service to meet the expectations of 21st century guests.
Bagan is home to over 2,724 temples, stupas and pagodas, erected between the 11th and 13th centuries, which span over 16 square miles. It's the largest concentration of Buddhist monuments in the world.
Included in the itinerary - Day tour of Bagan's most important temples and stupas, a day that includes a trip to Nyaung U Market; Shwezigon Pagoda; the great Ananda Temple, one of Burma's largest pilgrimage centres; the well-preserved frescoes on the walls of Wetgyi-Inn's Gubyaukgyi Temple and Dhammayangyi Temple. Bagan is also renowned for its lacquerware workshops that are also included on the tour.
Included in the itinerary - Cycling through the Bagan countryside, on the dirt trails and along the Irrawaddy River. This is the perfect opportunity to meet the inhabitants of the city's neighbouring villages, from stalls to picturesque cinemas, from village hairdressers to cabinetmaking workshops.
Optional - Meet the Director of the Bagan Archaeology Department, a unique opportunity to learn more about Bagan's history, through objects housed at the Archaeological Museum.
Bagan - Heho - Inle Lake
Private transfer to the airport and flight to Heho. Another private transfer to Inle Lake, paddling by canoe to the hotel on the shores of Inle Lake, for a four-night stay. The wooden architecture of the hotel's chalets is inspired by the style of the Shan people. The spa treatments draw on the heritage of the mountain people and are delivered in exquisite surroundings. The restaurant reflects the crossroads of cultures in these regions: Burmese, Shan, Chinese, European cuisine... A perfect balance for tuning into the lakeside lifestyle.
Included in the itinerary - Board a traditional canoe to explore the floating gardens, meet the market gardeners and fishermen in and around Inle Lake. And on the eastern shore of the lake, take a stroll through villages to learn about traditional Intha market gardening techniques.
Optional - Lunch on the water, on an old rice barge, converted into a pop-up restaurant.
Inle Lake is a world of its own. The Intha villages on stilts, fringed with floating gardens, make it a truly unique place. The peace and quiet is only disturbed by the gentle swish of the fishing boats on the water.
Included in the itinerary - Spend the day crisscrossing the lake in a traditional canoe, exploring the stilt houses, floating gardens, markets and pagodas. The Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery is great for stretching your legs. Admire its collection of ancient images of Buddha; meeting its inhabitants, with your guide, is an interesting and enriching experience.
Included in the itinerary - Private cooking lesson with a Shan family. Enjoy meeting a family from the village of Inn Phaw kone, in the heart of the lake, as they welcome you into their small home mounted on stilts for a cooking lesson that will introduce you to Shan specialties. The gastronomic experience begins by picking herbs and vegetables from the family's floating garden, then preparing fresh salads and fish dishes, before enjoying them on the lovely terrace looking out over the lotuses.
Optional - Cycling tour of Indein's Buddhist complex.
Included in the itinerary - Reach the Sagar region by canoe. Off the beaten track, at the very far southern end of Inle Lake, it is one of the most beautiful in Shan State, with its mountains, small villages and rice fields. Explore the 108 sunken stupas built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Have lunch in the home of a family from the Intha ethnic group.
Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon
Private transfer to Heho airport and flight to Yangon. Another private transfer and overnight stay in a hotel whose colonial charm has been tailored to the requirements of contemporary guests: teak furniture and terraces, beautiful craftsmanship and curtains, a swimming pool and spa. The rooms are spacious and elegant. In the evening, at the restaurant window, the Shwedagon Pagoda's stupa shines in the royal blue sky.
There are two sides to Myanmar's former capital. The former is imbued with the old-fashioned charm of the different periods in its history: golden pagodas and giant Buddhas, parasols and 'longyis', colonial facades swamped in greenery: The British atmosphere lives on under the banyan trees. The second is creative and dynamic, giving Yangon a new lease of life. Rampant urban development brings with it a host of different surprises, from contemporary art to gastronomy.
Included in the itinerary - Tour of Yangon's historic colonial centre, with a local guide: a great opportunity to learn about the city's colonial heritage and the efforts undertaken to preserve it. Visit to the Yangon Heritage Trust Fund, a local organisation dedicated to preserving the historic centre of the city, rounds off the tour of the city.
Optional - A night walking tour, with a local guide, to experience the buzz of Yangon by night: secret districts, markets, street food shops and trendy bars.
YANGON - RETURN FLIGHT
Included in the itinerary - Private half-day tour of Yangon. A visit that starts at Le Planteur, a beautiful colonial house nestled in a tropical garden that has retained refined culinary know-how from the British colonial era, transporting guests back to the Burma of Kipling during an afternoon tea in the pure English tradition. Then, board the circular railway that connects Yangon to its outskirts - onboard, school children sit alongside street vendors and workers returning home after a day's work. And in the city centre, stroll between ancient colonial neighbourhoods and art galleries that are testament to the city's revival.
Private transfer to the airport and catch your flight home early in the evening. Arrive the next morning.
A la carte
Ideal for getting the full insight into Bagan's pagodas and other wonders. We make it easy for you. A tour guide is available for all tours in the itinerary.
LUNCH ABOARD A RICE BARGE - INLE LAKE
Taking a trip out onto the lake on one of the sturdy boats used to carry grain is a great way to soak up the special atmosphere of Inle Lake, designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2015, to observe the wildlife that lives along the banks, fish and birds, such as brown-headed gulls and black-winged stilts... And the cuisine of the lake has its own unique flavours that are especially delicious on the water.
BIKE RIDE FROM THE SHORES OF INLE LAKE TO INDEIN
Reach Kyay Zar Kone village by canoe, for an 11-mile bike ride to Indein, along a narrow channel that connects the lake with the inland area, before crossing a dense bamboo forest, to reach the road that leads up to the top of a hill and Indein's splendid Buddhist complex.
EXPLORE NGAPALI WITH A FEW EXTRA DAYS
After the countless depictions of Buddha in the temples, after the ceremonies and processions, palaces and rice fields, take it easy for a few days on a white sandy beach by the Bay of Bengal, in Ngapali. Palm trees, the blue sea... the perfect setting for relaxing body and mind and reflecting on all the experiences of the trip.
Optional - October - April
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