Feel the Burm
Burma’s where it’s at. Check out Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon and some pretty awesome archaeological sites in Pagan, hang in pretty Mandalay, lap up some mountain time in Kalaw en route to the ridiculously beautiful Inle Lake, trek to see one of the holiest sites in Burma, see more giant Buddha’s…
When we talk about getting off the beaten track, we’re talking about Burma: hill tribes who’ve never seen foreigners, one-legged rowing fisherman, 2000 temples in one valley and a balancing rock held in place by Buddha’s hair. Did someone say bragging rights?
TRIP CHANGES FOR 2015:
From 1st January 2015, this trip will be reduced to 12 days from 15. These changes are based on feedback that travellers would prefer a shorter and more economical trip. The trip will finish on arrival in Yangon on Day 12 and will no longer include the overnight trip to Kyaiktiyo. The new trip code and name for this tour The Burmese Breeze (GTBR).
Day 1-2 - Rangoon (Yangon) - overnight train
Shwedagon Pagoda is made from 8688 sheets of gold and encrusted with 5448 diamonds and 2317 rubies. That’s more bling than a bunch of rappers at a Mr T convention.
Arrive in Rangoon and explore the city
Attend a Welcome Meeting at 6pm
Go on an orientation tour around the busy streets of Rangoon (now officially known as Yangon)
See Rangoon's most famous structure Shwedagon Pagoda - resplendent with a golden spire that dominates the skyline
Optional visit to Sule Pagoda, located in the centre of the city
Enjoy some free time, perhaps visit some other important temples and pagodas or shop at the centrally located Bogyoke Market
Transfer to central railway station for a train to Pagan (Bagan)Yuzana Garden or similarBreakfast
Day 3-4 - Pagan (Bagan)
After an overnight train, discover the magnificent archaeological site of Pagan (Bagan). Riding a bike, explore many of the temples, stupas and pagodas that litter the lush plains.
Arrive into Pagan (Bagan) after an overnight train journey and a road transfer - once the capital of a great civilisation dating from 849 AD to 1287
Over 2000 monuments dot the plains by the banks of the river, a testament to the city's glorious past
Spend a whole day exploring these wonderful temples on bicycle - some still contain frescoes from historic times
The spires of many of them form a dramatic skyline and provide excellent vantage points to view the other temples and pagodas
Nyaung U itself has one of the more interesting markets to be found in the country
If you are keen to take a hot air balloon ride over Pagan this can be booked on the morning of day 4 only. Please see the "Other Important Information" heading in your trip notes for further details on how to pre book these rides as they sell out in advance.Breakfast
Day 5-7 - Mandalay
Perhaps see the Buddhist monk procession over U-bien Bridge at sunset, take a optional boat ride on the Irrawaddy River and witness daily rural life unfolding and, in nearby Mingun, see the big bell and the foundations for what would have been the world’s biggest stupa.
Board a public ferry before dawn and cruise up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River to Mandalay
Arrive at our inner-city hotel
Take the chance to go an optional trip to Mandalay Hill, for a sunset view over town
Go on another optional excursion, this time by boat on the Irrawaddy River up to the village of Mingun, home to the world’s largest unfinished pagoda, as well as a gigantic bell
In your free time, perhaps visit some of the surrounding elaborate pagodas or temples around town - Kyauktawgyi Paya, Kuthodaw Paya (home to the 'world’s biggest book') and Shwenandaw Kyaung
Maybe take a half-day trip up to the hill town of Maymyo (Pyin-u-Lwin)Breakfast
Day 8 - Kalaw
En route to Inle Lake we stay in Kalaw, this town is nestled in rugged mountain scenery and has a backpacker vibe with many options for hikes.
En route to Inle Lake, stay in the chilled town of Kalaw - sitting high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau and once a popular hill station in British colonial days, now a backpacker mecca
Perhaps go on a hike in the area
If you prefer to chill there's plenty of 'teashops' serving chai (Indian-style tea), where you can enjoy great interaction with the localsBreakfast
Day 9-11 - Inle Lake
Encircled by towering mountains deep in the highlands, Inle Lake is absolutely stunning. From our base in the township of Nyaungshwe, enjoy a full day boat tour of the lake, see the floating gardens and markets, and the artistry of the leg-rowing Intha fishermen. We have a free day to explore Inle Lake.
Journey to the highlands of the Shan State, spend a couple of nights at the township of Nyaungshwe, next to Inle Lake (the road condition is pretty poor here, prepare for some long and arduous travelling on this stretch)
Enjoy a full-day lake tour by long-boat, visit some local villages, explore unique temples and monasteries, and meet the famous local leg-rowing fishermen from the Intha tribe
Perhaps enjoy walks in the beautiful surrounding countryside, or simply appreciate the cool climate - a welcome respite from the heat of the plainsBreakfast
Day 12-13 - Kyaiktiyo-Bago-Rangoon (Yangon)
We travel to Heho and catch a flight to Rangoon. We then head to Kyaiktiyo and spend the night on the hilltop alongside the incredible balancing rock - one of the country’s most holy and moving sites. Afterwards, drop in to Bago to see the reclining, 55 metre-high Shwethalyaung Buddha, before returning to Rangoon.
Transfer to Heho and join a flight to Rangoon,
Drive out of town to Kyaiktiyo, where we spent a night near the Golden Rock
It is a five-hour drive to the base camp at Kinponsakan, where we transfer to an open truck and drive for 45 minutes up a steep hill to Rathedaung
Trek up a path following groups of Buddhist pilgrims - this is one of the holiest sites in Burma
Accommodation standards here are quite basic - it is a place of pilgrimage rather than a resort
Return to the lowlands. Bago, formerly known as Pegu, is a small town with some of the most famous structures in the country
Visit the reclining 55 metre-high Shwethalyaung Buddha, before returning to RangoonBreakfast
Day 14-15 - Rangoon (Yangon)
We have a free day to explore Rangoon so there will be time to visit some of Rangoon's other sights or shop for souvenirs in Bogyoke Market. Our tour finishes after breakfast on Day 15.
Enjoy a free day
Perhaps find your way to the monastery of the Reclining Buddha (Chaukhtatgyi Paya), visit the National Museum or shop at Bogyoke Market
The trips end after breakfast on Day 15.
2015 Itinerary changes
Please note that for 2015 this trip will be 12 days in length and will no longer visit Bago and Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) - it will still finish in Yangon.
The 2015 itinerary will be avaialble online on the 1st October 2014.Breakfast
What to Know
All tours are led by an experienced local tour guide, all transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Feel the Burm
Mariana - Australia, 2 September, 2014
I loved the train trip, running on Burmese time, visiting so many wonderful places. Next time it would be great to visit some of the island areas.
Feel the Burm
Mark - United States, 23 Jun, 2013
This was one of the most AMAZING experiences of my life! Everything was perfectly organized and our guide (Min Aye Than) had the knowledge of a college professor and the eye of a professional photographer. See Myanmar soon, as big changes are already happening! The people are warm and friendly, the food is always fresh and incredibly inexpensive, and the scenery is breathtaking. Exceeded all of my expectations! A trip, a journey, an ADVENTURE!
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