ASIA › MYANMAR › EXPERIENCES
Yangon is a city rich in traditional, colonial and spiritual heritage. Its infectious blend of tree and market lined streets harbor verdant parks and tranquil lakes, earning its moniker as the ‘Garden City of the East. In contrast the expansive plains of Bagan in Central Myanmar are peppered with over 2,000 ancient stupas and temples built between the 11th-13th centuries. In the north of Myanmar lie barren snow capped mountains, ancient hilltribes and lost cities while the south offers endless stretches of pristine tropical beaches with jungle clad offshore islands surrounded by glistening coral reefs
In Yangon, highlights include a pilgrimage to the Shwedagon Pagoda as well as opportunities to peruse art, antiques and the city's famous architecture. Bagan can be experienced by balloon, bike or by horse cart, while Inle Lake offers a peaceful setting and opportunities to savor delicious Shan cuisine and local wine.
- See the very best highlights of Yangon on an exclusive city tour
- Enjoy an in-depth look at the plains of Bagan by a unique choice of transport
- Discover the tribes and traditions as well as taste the local wines at the famed Inle Lake
- Yangon For Foodies (Half Day): Underrated by many, the food scene in Yangon is faultless for those who like to travel with their taste buds. With an expert guide on hand, guests can work their way from breakfast to lunch through a number of local dishes. Delicious treats include palata (thick pancakes), sweet local tea, le phet thoke (Burmese tea leaf salad) and a range of curries at the popular Feel Myanmar restaurant.
- Downtown Yangon: A Place Between Times (Half Day): A world removed from the chrome and glass skyscrapers of other cities in the region, Burma's former capital offers a lingering glimpse of old Asia. This excursion lifts the lid on one of the region's most charismatic cities, witnessed from the battered carriages of the city's urban rail network chugging past hidden neighborhoods, colorful markets and track side tea shops.
- Oil Lamp Lighting at Shwedagon (Evening): Despite modernization, huge swathes of Myanmar remain resolutely traditional. Yangon, of course, is the country's most contemporary city, but it is also the best place to learn about activities such as oil lamp lighting. At the Shwedagon Pagoda locals and pilgrims alike donated oil lamps so all could enjoy the pagoda in the late evenings. On this journey, guests can partake in this ritual right before sunset.
Bagan has a wealth of stimulating experiences for all the family. At the Nyaung U Market kids can check out local toys and handicrafts, while a trishaw ride to local villages to observe traditional jam making is another guaranteed crowd-pleaser. The highlight, of course, are the temples themselves with unique relics such as Kyan Sitthar Cave temple invoking a spirit of adventure appealing to both the young and old.
- Travel by private horse-cart across the temple-studded plains of Bagan
- Discover the stunning surrounds of Mount Popa
- Cruise along the Irrawaddy river for authentic encounters at remote local villages
- Bagan By Night (Evening): Beguiling at all times, the temples at Bagan are particularly enchanting at night. Chartering a local boat for a cruise along the Irrawaddy River, guests can immerse in river life before disembarking to explore the temple complex. Highlights of the archaeological site are many and include the Shwezigon Pagoda, considered by many to be the religious heart of Bagan, which is particularly peaceful at night.
- Bagan Temple Biking (Half Day): Bagan's collection of wondrous Buddhist relics is perhaps best explored by bike. This half-day journey gives guests the choice of a variety of bikes on which they can pedal at will around the complex. While big-hitting temples such as Dhammayangyi and Ananda are ever popular, bikes offer scope to explore some of the lesser known temples and detour into a traditional village nearby.
- Mount Popa & Toddy Farm Lunch (Full Day): Imbued with spiritual significance, Mount Popa is a place of great importance to the Burmese who believe it is the house of 37 Nats, Burmese ancient animist spirits. On the way to the top of the mountain, guests will learn about nats and nat worship as they climb past shrines and see local pilgrims. After returning to the base of the shrine, they will depart for a crash course in the production of palm toddy - a potent local spirit.
Myanmar is a spectacular destination. Sharing borders with three of Myanmar's equally beguiling neighbors; China, Thailand and Laos, the northeast Shan State is a prime example of the country's wondrous natural surroundings and awe-inspiring landscape. Combining wildlife, trekking, religion and culture, this new tour provides a range of exciting and thought-provoking experiences that culminates in a beautifully balanced trip.
- Trek through bucolic rural farmlands en route to Inle Lake
- Get up close and personal with retired elephants at Green Hill Valley
- Overnight in a boutique lodge at Sagar, a Pa-Oh village on Inle's shores
- INLE LAKE ADVENTURE (Full Day): Inle Lake's beautiful appearance is a huge part of its appeal. However, the way the body of water forms a centerpiece to the lives of those around it is just as entrancing as its physical attributes. During this journey by bicycle, guest will be able to see how the lake touches locals and how deep-rooted hill tribe traditions have remained unchanged by time.
- INLE LAKE CULTURAL KAYAKING (Half Day): Not only is Inle Lake one of Myanmar's most visited destinations, it is also one of its most culturally rich. Here, amidst the mountains of Shan State, local tribes have built entire communities on stilts 'floating' over the water. Guests can witness the ingenuity of these constructions by piloting kayaks through the intricate network of canals on the lake's busy northern shore and on its more tranquil southern reaches.
- PINDAYA VILLAGE & COOKING EXPERIENCE (Full Day): Discover the beauty of the Shan State through interaction with its people, learning about cuisine and exploring the local markets. Pindaya market is teeming with culture and tradition, it is here guests can admire the daily activities of people before joining in a cooking demonstration and discovering the secrets to preparing delicious Shan State dishes before sharing them.
With some of the best scenery and most romantic towns in Myanmar, northern Shan state is the ideal place to explore by train. Kicking off in Mandalay, this journey heads into the hills to Pyin Oo Lwin. Guests will board a train here to the small town of Hsipaw, around 6 hours away by rail. After exploring Hispaw, it is a scenic road journey back through the mountains to Mandalay.
- Uncover Myanmar's most charming and cleanest city, Pyin Oo Iwin, the `City of Flowers'
- Unveil the many hill tribes and rich culture of Hsipaw
- Experience a time-warped adventure from the bygone era of the world's great train journeys
Mandalay Nights By Motorbike (Evening): One of the best ways to experience Mandalay is to take to two wheels on the back of a motorbike. Riding pillion, guests will encounter amazing scenery, friendly locals and cool breezes as they speed through the night. Chinese influence is strong in Mandalay and the city's Chinatown is a riot of colors sights and sounds. Take it all in and ease off with an icy cold Myanmar beer.
Meditation at Sagaing Hill (Half Day): Buddhist beliefs lie at the very heart of culture in Myanmar. One of the central tenets of the religion is the practice of meditation and Sagaing - with over 600 monasteries, nunneries and stupas - it is the ideal place to find peace. During this half day journey guests will be advised on traditional meditation techniques and then given the chance to put them into practice.
Balloon Over Mandalay (Half Day): A thrilling balloon ride provides an awesome perspective on Mandalay and its surrounding countryside. Guests will float over the beautiful and busy city as it comes to life in the morning before landing on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, in the rice fields or perhaps even on an island in the middle of the river. Upon touchdown, a glass of chilled sparkling wine served with fruit provides the perfect.