Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Yangon
- 2 nights Bagan
- 1 night Mandalay
- 2 nights Inle Lake
- 1 night Yangon
Day 1: Arrive Yangon
On arrival into Yangon you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel.
After check-in you will be taken on a walking city tour around Sule Pagoda and Mahabandoola Park taking in the historical buildings before enjoying lunch in a local teashop where you can sample Burmese tea and a selection of local snacks and noodles. After lunch it’s off to Mawtin Jetty to the bustling market set up on the banks of the Yangon River, after exploring the foodstuffs on offer you will get the chance to head into Chinatown before experiencing dinner at 19th Street, a popular spot for meat and vegetable satays as well as draught Myanmar beer!
Day 2: Yangon to Bagan
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bagan. On arrival you will be collected by your car and private driver and taken into the city to explore some of Bagan’s most important pagodas, starting with the Shwezigon Pagoda, the prototype of Burmese stupas, and ending with the elegant Htilomino Temple, noted for its fine plaster carvings.
Lunch is served at a local village where you will be treated to authentic local food in a traditional home before heading to Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, where you will enjoy a horse and carriage tour through the temple studded landscape.
After watching the sunset over Bagan from one of the upper terraces the rest of the evening is free at leisure.
Day 3: Bagan
Today you have the opportunity to try out some traditional Burmese cooking for yourselves! Firstly, a visit to the colourful Nyaung Oo Market where you will pick out your fresh ingredients ready to use in your cooking lesson. Your cooking class will take place in a local restaurant, and you will not only get the chance to learn cooking techniques but also about Burmese culture and ways of life.
After a lunch of your delicious home cooked offerings it’s time to head out of town to visit a palm garden, paying a visit to the family of a toddy palm climber, who will provide a fascinating insight into the daily life of these workers and explain how they collect the juice from the toddy fruit and process it into molasses, alcohol and other items.
In the afternoon its back to Bagan and a cruise down the Irrawaddy River, offering magnificent views of the temples and riverside villages as the sun starts to set.
Day 4: Bagan to Mandalay
After breakfast your driver will collect you for your transfer to the airport and onwards to Mandalay, Myanmar’s cultural capital.
On arrival you will be greeted and taken on a sight-seeing tour; visit the Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its venerable statue of Buddha covered in gold leaf, and take a tour of the traditional workshops learning about crafts such as marble masonry and Kalaga tapestry.
For lunch you will stop at a popular tea house that serves two of Mandalay’s most popular dishes: Mandalay monte & khotaung monte. Tea houses in Mandalay are used as a hub for socialising and doing business so this is a great opportunity to see how the locals live and soak up the atmosphere.
After a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda you will get to enjoy the sunset from Mandalay Hill to complete your day.
Day 5: Mandalay – Heho – Inle Lake
A private driver will collect you for your flight to Heho this morning. On arrival enjoy a scenic drive in a private car to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake, where you will pay a visit to the morning market and witness the locals gathering to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake. Take a trishaw ride through the quiet streets before enjoying lunch at View Point, which specialises in creative Shan tapas.
After lunch you will be taken to the Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery, located at the north-eastern part of Inle Lake; here you can enjoy magnificent views of the stilted villages whilst sampling the local tipple and observing the grape varieties grown in the estate. A private cruise is last on the agenda today and a chance to observe the leg-rowing fishermen and their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud, anchored to the bottom with wooden poles.
Tonight is spent at Inle Lake.
Day 6: Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
After breakfast visit the daily market on the lake before heading to Inthar Heritage House, which serves as a restaurant, training centre, organic garden and even a home for Burmese cats! The host and chef will take you to a classroom and brief you before taking you to the organic garden to forage for fresh ingredients before teaching you how to prepare a series of traditional Inthar and Burmese dishes, which you will of course get to enjoy for lunch afterwards.
This afternoon comprises of a visit to the village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk weaving techniques of the Inthar people, a trip to a cheroot factory where Burmese cigars are rolled by hand and a journey round Khaung Daing village, famous for its traditional Shan Tofu, where you will get a chance to watch and even participate in the creation of this local delicacy.
Day 7: Inle Lake – Heho - Yangon
A private transfer will escort you to the airport after breakfast today for your flight back to Yangon. On arrival you will be greeted and taken to catch the circular train, a unique opportunity to witness the lively and colourful life of the rural Burmese people.
After lunch the afternoon is at leisure to explore the city or relax at your hotel.
Day 8: Depart Yangon
Your day is free today for a final explore of Yangon, a private car will escort you to the airport in time to meet your onward flight arrangements.