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Experience Myanmar on our 10-day Burma Family Beach Vacation. Discover the enchantment of Myanmar, a land of ancient traditions, glittering stupas, Buddhist pagodas, stunning landscapes and friendly people. Wander the streets of Yangon with its faded colonial architecture, discover the sea of stupas and temples at Bagan plain. Watch the one-legged rowers on Inle Lake, then fly to Ngapali Beach to enjoy white stand and clear waters of the Bay of Bengal.
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Day 01: Yangon Arrival
Mingalabar! Welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, our Asia Senses local guide and driver will pick up then transfer you to your hotel for check in.
Start our full day tour with an oriented sightseeing of Yangon’s cultural and historical highlights. First, pay a visit to Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda which is built in 1966 and houses a striking reclining Buddha image that measures an impressive 65 metres long and 16 metres high.
After lunch, stroll at the Kandawgyi Garden, where Karaweik Hall also known as Karaweik Palace is one of Yangon’s many landmarks. From a distance the Karaweik Hall looks like a huge golden barge floating on Kandawgyi Lake, glittering in the sun.
After that, visit Bogyoke Market - Scott Market where you can find largest selection of Myanmar handicrafts and souvenirs from lacquerware and Shan shoulder bags to puppets and jewellery, slippers, longyi etc.
Note: The market is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
In the late afternoon, take in the spectacular view of Shwedagon Pagoda all lit up against the night sky. Shwedagon is one of most important Buddhist sites in Myanmar. The massive 99 meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond studded spire set on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon. Its massive bell-shaped golden spires are plated with 60 tons of gold, while the tip of the stupa is inset with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and topaz. Wander through this magnificent structure and its courtyards, stupas, bells, temples, and Buddha images, and see religious and secular visitors from all parts of the globe.
Following breakfast in this morning, visit to colourful Thiri Migalar Market, a massive, bustling produce market set on the banks of the Hlaing River. Open 24 hours, it’s an especially interesting place to visit in the early hours of the morning when the sea of brightly-coloured vegetables, fruit and flowers shine under the light. This market also has a number of 24-hour teas shops and beer stations.
Then, transfer to the railway station to take a unique train ride on the city’s circular train ride pass through the outskirts of town (20-30 minute ride). This slow-travelling train provides a unique opportunity to observe the lively, colourful lifestyle of the local people.
Upon arrival to Yangon Railway Station, begin the walk downtown Yangon, an area dense with colonial-era buildings and religious landmarks. The 3-hour walking tour will cover 4-5 kilometres in the central district of downtown. Many of the buildings visited are on the Yangon City Heritage List.
Highlights include City Hall, the old railway station and the former Minister’s office where General Aung San was assassinated. There are also many other examples of British architecture and influence throughout the tour. Interspersed in the guided walk are various religious sites such as the St Mary’s Cathedral, built in 1899, and the Buddhist landmarks of Sule Paya and Botataung Pagoda.
By walking through the streets, have a chance to witness the lifestyles of the locals - from the busy bus and boat stations to the tea shops and hidden street markets. There are plenty of chances to interact with Yangon residents and learn more about the Burmese culture.
The rest of the day is spent at your own leisure and exploration.
Today, you will catch a domestic flight to Bagan. On arrival in Nyaung U Airport, you will be welcomed by our local guide and transferred to the hotel for check in (if rooms are ready).
After a short break at your hotel, take your choice of car (as regular) or electric bicycle for our Bagan exploration today. Begin our sightseeing tour by visiting Nyaung U Morning Market which offers a colourful display of fruit, vegetables, flowers, fish and textiles. Morning time is the best time to visit market, you would see it at its liveliest and ways of life of local people.
Then ride to Bagan central to visit towers, pagodas and magnificent temples including Shwezigon Pagoda, served as a prototype for later stupas built throughout the country, Ananda Temple which is considered to be one of the most surviving masterpiece of the Mon architecture. Also known as the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples.
Move to visit Thatbyinnyu Temple - the tallest temples of all monuments in Bagan; 61m high overlooking the Bagan scene. Afterwards, take a break at the local coffee shop to have cold drink under the shade or return to hotel to relax.
In the afternoon, drive to Myingabar Village to visit a Lacquer Ware Workshop - one of Myanmar's most treasured handicrafts.
Continue to Dhammayangyi Temple - one of massive temples in Bagan. It was built in 12th century by Narathu King. It is infamous for its mysterious, bricked-up inner passageways and cruel history.
To finish our today’s Bagan tour, stop to visit Shwesandaw Pagoda, a perfect spot to enjoy a magnificent sunset. Enjoy sunset from the temple then ride back to the hotel. In the evening, stroll through the town, meet and chat with local people. Enjoying some Myanmar dishes and Myanmar beer at local restaurant.
Optional: Wake up early this morning for a 45-minute Hot Air Balloon ride to watch the stunning sunrise over the temples of Bagan. Floating on a hot-air balloon over Bagan is one of the iconic images of Myanmar.
This morning, we will take a short transfer to Mount Popa, a volcano 1518 metres above sea level, and located in central Myanmar about 50 km southeast of Bagan in the Pegu Range. Mount Popa is known as the home of the “Nats” spirits among the locals. The Popa Taungkalat shrine is the favoured home of 37 Mahagiri Nats or aminist spirit entities. To reach the top, you need to remove shoes and socks and climb the 777 steps to the summit.
Along the way, make a stop to visit a local village and watch the collection of juice from palm trees and its conversion into palm sugar. Then, drive back to Bagan and take a relaxation at hotel to avoid the heat in Bagan.
In the afternoon, embark on a half-day bike trip toward Kyauk Gu U Min Temple, stopping at will to take photos or mingle with locals. The Kyauk Gu U Min is a beautiful temple with exquisite stone carvings depicting religious figures. The temple itself is built against the side of cliff with a cave entrance behind the wall of the main hall. Inside the cave there are several small niches where individuals can practice meditation. Legend states that the cave was built during the 13th century and used by locals to hide in during the Mongol invasion.
After exploring Kyauk Gu U Min, head to a jetty on the eastern side of the Irrawaddy River and board a comfortable riverboat. Follow the graceful bends of the Irrawaddy River while taking in fantastic views of riverside villages and Bagan temples. After about an hour, reach Bagan and transfer back to the hotel.
Day 05: Bagan – Fly to Heho – Nyaungshwe/Inle Lake
After an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for a flight to Heho Airport. From Heho, a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images.
Start with a visit to the Nyaung Shwe Morning Market where colorfully dressed locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.
Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to markets around the country. Take some time to absorb the unique vibe of this bustling cultural atmosphere.
Afterwards, hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the Tomato House, a warehouse-like structure where tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos along the way.
Lunch at local restaurant in Nyaung Shwe. After fuelling up, begin a tour of the area by mountain bike.
First, cycle to the west of the lake toward the village of Khaung Daing. From there, cross over the town’s main canal to a verdant rice paddy. Then head south for around 8 kilometers to Khaung Daing. Take time to explore this village, famous for its production of soya bean products. Then catch a local ferry boat across the lake to Maing Thauk Village. The relaxing boat trip takes around 20 minutes and is not only a perfect break from biking, but also affords some amazing photo opportunities.
From here, turn north up the lake's eastern shores for around 10 kilometers to Red Mountain Estate. The ride is gorgeous, passing many local farms and villages along the quiet roads. Take a break to visit Red Mountain Winery, a collaboration between the Pa-Oh people and a French wine expert.
Then descend to Nyaung Shwe, arriving in the late afternoon. Our boatman will be awaiting to transfer you to the hotel on the lake.
Take a visit to the lake’s five-day market for unique insight into the local cultures of the area. The market is called “five-day market” because the local people rotate between 5 different locations over a 5-day-period. Villagers from the surrounding hill tribes come to the market to sell and trade tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, peppers, betel, beans, garlic to cheroots. There are some people selling lacquerware, Buddha statues, carvings, longyis, Shan bags, textiles, ornamental objects and other hand-made goods for both local use and trading.
Note: The market is daily open except on dark moon day and full moon day.
Continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.
Optional: Prepare lunch with a local family. This cooking course is a fun and interesting way to learn about the traditional flavors and preparation techniques of Burmese Cuisine. Join a local Intha family in their kitchen to cook local dishes. Then sit on the floor at a round table and dine the local way.
After lunch, explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand.
From the middle of the lake, continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of Indein. On arrival at the village, visit Nyaung Ohak and Shwe Inn Thein, two groups of ancient pagodas. Many of these 16th century stupas have been untouched for centuries, left to the overgrown jungle. Others have been restored and gleam brightly next to their crumbling neighbours. Explore the area on foot and wander through the beautiful pagodas. Then, climb up to the top of a hill which is covered with picturesque ancient stupas. Enjoy magnificent views of the lake below from this vantage point.
After enjoying the visit to Indein, return to the boat. Continue along the lake for additional sightseeing before returning to the hotel.
Free at leisure until our guide and driver transfer you to Heho Airport for your domestic flight to Ngapali Beach. Upon arriving at Thandwe Airport, be greeted by the driver and transferred to Ngapali Beach, a 20-minute drive.
Ngapali Beach is a quiet 3-kilometre stretch of white sands lined by coconut palms. The warm, clear waters are perfect for water sports such as snorkeling, and there are several small islands which can be reached by boat.
Ngapali beach in Myanmar is one of the best beach travel destinations in Asia with its pristine, palm-tree-fringed white sand, the clear waters of the Bay of Bengal. The warm, clear waters are perfect for water sports such as snorkeling and there are several small offshore islands which can be reached by boat.
Optional:Beach Safari at Maung Shwe Lay - We can also arrange, with advance notice, a visit to Maung Shwe Lay for a ‘private beach’ for the day. This beautiful spot is a typical fishing village in the Rakhine State and is, due to its remote location, rarely visited by tourists.