Iconic Burma through the lens – 16 Days

After isolation for almost 50 years, Burma opened its doors to the world in 2015. The country is truly a paradise for photography. This 16 days photo tour Myanmar will take you to the beautiful nature of primitive beaches, magnificent mountain ranges and the outstanding Buddhist architectures. Also, it is still deeply rooted with traditions and remains its unique authenticity. All the highlights of the trip are worth your visit and a discovery.

BRIEF ITINERARY

  • Day 1: Yangon arrival
  • Day 2: Yangon – Golden Rock
  • Day 3: Bago – Yangon
  • Day 4: Yangon – Fly to Bagan – sightseeing
  • Day 5: Bagan villages – Mt. Popa
  • Day 6: Bagan – Mindat – Chin State
  • Day 7: Trekking day in Mindat
  • Day 8: Mindat – Bagan
  • Day 9: Bagan – Fly to Mandalay – Sightseeing
  • Day 10: Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin day trip
  • Day 11: Pyin Oo Lwin – Train to Gokteik – Kyaukme
  • Day 12: Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay sightseeing
  • Day 13: Mandalay – Fly to Heho – Inle Lake boat trip
  • Day 14: Local market – Indein boat trip
  • Day 15: Heho – Fly to Yangon – City tour
  • Day 16: Departure

Start City : Yangon
Departure City: Yangon
Visit Cities: Yangon, Bago, Bagan, Mindat, Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin, Gokteik, Heho, Inle Lake
Duration: 16 Days 15 Nights
Departure: Daily, upon your request
Extendable with optional tours from Yangon

PRIVATE TOUR COST:

Prices are quoted in US dollars per person double occupancy.
Group size2 persons4 persons6 personsSingle Supp'
Total/person2,2471,7891,578

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Soak up the hustle and bustle on colonial streets of Yangon
  • Observe ornate beauty of legendary Shwedagon Pagoda.
  • Admire beauty of giant Golden Rock glistering after dark
  • Visit thousands ancient architectural temples in Bagan’s plain
  • Get closer to tribal life and culture with a trek through hill villages in Mindat
  • Learn about Buddhism in Mandalay, known as the hub of Buddhism in Myanmar
  • Explore Inle lake, one of the most photogenic place of Myanmar.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Yangon Arrival
Arrival at Yangon International Airport, you are greeted by our tour guide and driver.
Welcome to Myanmar, the country has just opened its doors to the world after 60 years of isolation and now waiting people to explore its unique heritage and culture.
Yangon is the former capital and remains the most developed city of Myanmar. The bustling city of Yangon is the best place to witness the country in transition, where century-old buildings from the British colonial period vie for space with the emerging modern skyline. Head to the hotel to check-in and freshen up.
Meals: N/A
Accommodation: Hotel in Yangon
Day 2: Yangon – Kyaikhtiyo
After breakfast at hotel, you are leaving Yangon; enjoy a scenic journey to Kyaiktiyo, 190km to the east. One of Myanmar’s great pilgrimage sites is the Golden Rock, a huge boulder covered by gold leaf and delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff. The pagoda at the Golden Rock is said to hold a hair of the Buddha. Late morning, arrive at Kyaiktiyo base camp and transfer to the transit junction with one of the small open trucks in one-hour ride, followed by up to an hour challenging walk up to the hill top.
Here, you visit Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, built on the top of a huge gilded boulder and enjoy sunset from this unforgettable site.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Hotel in Kyaikhtiyo
Day 3: Kyaikhtiyo – Bago – Yangon
After breakfast, return to the base-camp by open truck and head back to Yangon. Have a stop to explore Bago, an ancient capital dating back to the 6th century. Sightseeing in Bago includes the beautiful 55m long reclining Buddha called Shwethalyaung, the Mon style Shwemawdaw Pagoda – one of the most venerated in Myanmar. Its spire stands 114m high and is taller even than the Shwedagon Pagoda. Also visit the old Palace of Kambozathadi and the huge four sitting Buddhas. Transfer back to Yangon by late afternoon.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodations: Hotel in Yangon
Day 4: Yangon – Fly to Bagan – Sightseeing
After breakfast at hotel, you are leaving Yangon for Bagan. Spend the whole day exploring Bagan where over 2,000 ancient temples blossom from the countryside. Our first temple visit is to Ananda Temple, Shwezigon Pagoda, Nanpaya Temple, Thatbinnyu… In the afternoon, you visit a traditional lacquerware workshop, try creating some products yourself and bring home some unique the handicrafts. Later on, from an elevated vantage point, you witness the panoramic view of the archaeological wonders in sunset. This is the most relaxing way to end a day in Bagan.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel in Bagan.
Day 5: Bagan rural sightseeing – Mt. Popa
Begin the sightseeing with a visit at the colorful Nyaung U market which remains very authentic with a wide range of local grown products. Next, you take an exotic horse cart ride around the ancient land, feel free to drop by any temples in Bagan and many other interesting sites nearby. Now you proceed to the typical Burmese villages, discover their agricultural lifestyle, such as Min Nan Thu Village and Shwe Hlaing village…
Continue your journey to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano standing 1518 metres high. It is the worshipper center of the pantheon of Burmese ‘Nat” spirits (which form an essential part of Buddhist beliefs in Myanmar).  Climb 829 steps with bare foot to reach the revered Popa Taungkalat Monastery perched dramatically on a large rocky outcrop. The adventurous is rewarded with sweeping views of Popa National Park.
In the afternoon, drive back to Bagan and stop en-route at the workshop making traditional palm sugar, cigar maker and peanut oil distillation. You cap the day with an unforgettable sunset from a boat on the Irrawaddy River.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel in Bagan.
Day 6: Bagan – Mindat – Chin State
Breakfast at hotel, now you are picked up at hotel and drive to Chauk before we cross the bridge, we change to the 4wheel drive vehicles. Then, we cross the bridge and from here onwards, we only have dirt roads for the coming days. Pick-nick on the way. This drive will take about 7 – 8 hours and towards the evening we will reach the district town of Mindat (20’000 inhabitants). Mindat is located on 4860 feet above sea level.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Mindat
Day 7: Mindat (4 hours trekking)
This morning we walk to the village of Pang Oo located on a steep slope outside Mindat. We will visit the first Chins and get acquainted with their tradition. In this village, an elder man is specialized in reading the future in a particular way. He heats up bamboo sticks and holds them on emptied eggs and through the appearing cracks he reads the future. Return for lunch to Mindat. In the afternoon, visit another nice and very photogenic village, Ng’Nam Thai.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel in Mindat
Day 8: Mindat – Drive back to Bagan
Full day drive back to Bagan via Saw. On the way, we stop for several photos chances: Kyauk Htu – Pauk – Kamma village. We will arrive Bagan by evening and relax at hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Hotel in Bagan
Day 9: Bagan – Fly to Mandalay – Sagaing – Inwa
Take the morning flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival, meet our tour guide and Embark on a private boat upstream Irrawaddy River to visit Mingun. Upon arrival, the first site attracting your attention is Mingun Pahtodawgyi, the uncompleted yet the largest pagoda in Mandalay. Continue the sightseeing to Mingun Bell, the world’s largest ringing bell, which is said to weigh around 90 tons. Then take a walk to the incredibly-white Hsinphymae Pagoda with its special structure and history. A visit to Mingun is definitely the highlight of your journey in Mandalay. Continue to Mandalay Royal Palace, the last home of the last Burmese monarchy. Afterward, you proceed to Mandalay Hill at the height of 240 metres for a superb view over Mandalay. From the highest point of the city, enjoy the sunset panoramic views of Mandalay, you can also see the square of the Royal Palace, some pagodas dotted surrounding, and the mighty Irrawaddy River.
Meal: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel in Mandalay
Day 10: Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)
Escaping from the high temperatures of Mandalay, you have a 2-hour-driving to Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly Maymyo). At the altitude of 1,070m, Pyin Oo Lwin is blessed with the pleasant weather and once was a summer retreat during British rule. This hill station is well-known for its colonial buildings and lush botanical gardens. Late in the morning, you reach the hill town and wander around to explore the landmark, including the colorful local market, Purcell Clock Tower in the town center. Following up is the traditional horse drawn carriage through the streets which is very different to the one in Ava. During the ride, you experience the small taste of the colonial past, especially the unique brick and timber British houses. Finally, you have a visit at Botanical Gardens. This 175-hectare garden allows you to leisurely stroll around and enjoy the wonderful landscape of peaceful lake, flower galore, and forestland.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin 
Day 11: Pyin Oo Lwin – Train to Gokteik – Kyaukme
Wake up early and get ready to experience one of the most exhilarating train rides in Myanmar After breakfast, you are picked up for a short transfer to Pyin Oo Lwin train station. Here, you will start a bumpy yet safe ride towards the Gokehteik Viaduct.  Finished in 1900, it was one of the world’s largest steel structures and considered a spectacular feat of engineering. Crossing throughout the Shan hills, you enjoy the authentic and peaceful scenery. You also have interesting opportunities observing the locals from different villages as they get on and off with their numerous wares. Arrival at Kyauk Me in the afternoon & take a stroll around this charming trading town amid the Shan Hills. Late afternoon, transfer back to your hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin
Day 12: Pyin Oo Lwin – Amarapura – Sagaing – U Bein Bridge
After breakfast, drive all the way back to Mandalay. Upon arrival, you head to Amarapura, the royal capital from 1783 until 1859, now has the country’s most prominent monastic college named Mahagandaryone Monastery. Here you have great chance to experience the monk life in Mandalay. Every day at mid-morning, monks and novices line up silently to receive their daily offering of alms and food from faithful Buddhists.
Continue to Sagaing, which is renowned as the religious center of not only Mandalay but also Myanmar. Here you will be impressed with the view of the countless white and gold pagodas dotting along the river and around the Sagaing Hill. Furthermore, it is also the home to more than 100 meditation centers and 3,000 monks. Here you will have the visit at U Min Thonze Pagoda and U Ponya Pagoda. In the afternoon, visit Mahamuni Pagoda that is the famous construction with the exquisite wood carvings and stunning perfection in every detail. It is the sole surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, which offers a glimpse of the original style and traditional architecture of the Myanmar royals. The next stop is Kuthodaw Pagoda, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, well-known as the world’s largest book inscribed on 729 stone slabs. It’s time to learn about the story and scriptures with our experienced tour guide. If time permits, you Artisan quarters with some of the oldest craftsmanship are showcased dating back to the last kingdom of Myanmar. Here you visit the handicraft workshops, observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teakwood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry. You also see how bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded. End of the day, you have a drive to the world’s longest teak footbridge – U Bein Bridge, which crosses the shallow Taungthaman Lake. This is a fantastic place to take beautiful photos and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the bridge as the sunsets.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel in Mandalay
Day 13: Mandalay – Fly to Heho – Inle Lake discovery
This morning, you Mandalay Bagan for Heho, gateway to Inle Lake and the Shan region. This freshwater lake is Myanmar’s second largest and measures about 70 square kilometres. There are an estimated 70,000 people living in more than 200 villages on or around the lake. To get a real sense of the lake’s expanse, you will take a longboat cruise navigating pass floating gardens and stilt houses, observe the “one-leg rowing technique” of the Intha fisherman with incredible balance. It’s indispensable to immerse yourselves in the magnificent view of peaceful lake and cascading mountains.
Journey by boat to the most outstanding sites, including: Phaungdawoo Pagoda, the holiest one of Inle Lake with five 800-year-old golden Buddha images. In the afternoon, you continue to Ngaphechaung monastery, the biggest and oldest one over Inle Lake. Here you observe the unique architecture, remarkable collection of Buddha images (But it’s best known for the ‘jumping cats’. In the past, they were trained to jump through hoops in the air). From here, you proceed to Nam Pan village; cigar house, cotton and lotus weaving factory of Intha people. Wrap up the fruitful day trip with fantastic sunset over the beautiful lake.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodations: Hotel in Inle Lake
Day 14: Local market – Indein boat trip
Boarding on boat again and sail toward Indein. En-route, you visit local 5-day market which is rotating between 5 different lakeside villages over 5-day period. The market is a unique culture; people all around the lake and mountains come here to exchange not only their daily products but also the indigenous cultures. Finally, you reach Indein village. Take an easy walk through verdant bamboo groves to the hilltop of more than 1000 ruined stupas embracing the Shwe Indein pagoda in the middle. All were constructed during the 17th and 18th centuries. You then visit small communities that live along the lake.
If time permits, stop for some moments at Inthar Heritage House on the way back. The restaurant reflects the style and elegance of the Inthar. It’s also a hotel and catering school, a gallery and a Cat Sanctuary for nearly extinct Burmese cats.
Meals: Breakfast.
Accommodations: Hotel in Inle Lake
Day 15: Heho – Fly to Yangon – City tour
Today we take the flight back to Yangon. Next you have a trip downtown with a walking tour through the historic quarter. Along the way you visit the former City Hall and various other examples of 1940’s colonial British architecture. The hidden art galleries inside the small alley could also be the next stop on your tour. Continue to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, which houses the sacred reclining Buddhas as well as the country’s largest one. Spend time at Bogyoke Market, formerly Scott Market (closed on Mondays and public holidays). Built in the 1920s under British rule, the side is listed a heritage of Yangon. It has more than 2,000 stalls dominated by large selections of antique Burmese handicraft, clothing and jewelry…
Last but not least, you go to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist site of Myanmar and the oldest one in the world. The Pagoda contains a 99m high golden stupa and spires, adorned with 7,000 diamonds, sapphires and rubies and allegedly, hairs belonging to the Gautama Buddha. If you are fortunate, have a chance to join a special oil lamp lighting ceremony with thousand oil lamps are lit around the gilded pagoda. This ancient and symbolic Buddhist ritual will be the truly awe-inspiring spiritual experience.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel in Yangon
Day 16: Yangon departure
Breakfast at hotel. Today is your free day and we arrange you the airport transfer.
Get ready for the International flights. Thanks for your trust and traveling with us!

INCLUDED

  • Internal flights: Yangon – Bagan, Bagan – Mandalay, Mandalay – Heho, Heho – Yangon
  • Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
  • Service of English speaking guides in every location
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees, performances, boat trips & excursions.

EXCLUDED

  • International flights
  • Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels.
  • Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
  • Tips for guides and drivers
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Myanmar Visa fees (contact us for further information).

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