At Asia Senses Travel we’re adventurers at heart. Our journeys are all about discovering new places and cultures while creating unforgettable memories through physical activity and breathtaking scenery.
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This 8-day Essential Burma Tour will suit the visitors who travel to Myanmar in the first time, providing an affordable tour of Myanmar's main highlights. Our tour starts in the former capital Yangon, with its rich architectural heritage and the shimmering Shwedagon Pagoda, before flying north to Bagan, the plain of temples and stupas. Nearby from Bagan is Mandalay, a city whose significant charms need to be uncovered. Then fly to Inle Lake, with its serene stilted villages and interesting tribal markets. Let’s explore the essences of Myanmar on this leisurely tour that takes in the many sights of this sovereign state in Southeast Asia.
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DAY 01: YANGON ARRIVAL
Mingalabar! Welcome to Myanmar! Arrive in YANGON, you will be welcomed by our Asia Senses local guide, then transferred to your hotel for check in. Take a short break at your hotel.
This Yangon sightseeing tour will introduce you to the main highlights of Yangon, including the revered Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda which was built in 1966, housing a striking reclining Buddha image that measures an impressive 65 metres long and 16 metres high.
Then pay a visit to Sule Pagoda known in Burmese as the Kyaik Athok Zedi, which is surrounded by busy streets, a market and colonial era buildings. After that, we walk around and take a leisurely stroll around the colonial area of Yangon to visit City Hall, Yangon Region Court, and Independence Monument (which is located in Maha Bandula Park).
In the late afternoon, visit the famous Shwedagon Pagoda - Yangon’s most famous landmark. 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. Enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point.
Today, you will catch an early domestic flight to BAGAN. On arrival at the Nyaung U Airport, you will be welcomed by our local guide and transferred to the hotel for check in. Originally founded in 849 as the capital of their empire, this ancient city is one of the most amazing archaeological sites in the world which houses more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments stud green plains, an area of 42 square kilometres (16.2 square miles) on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, testifying to the power and status of Bagan in bygone times.
We begin our sightseeing tour by visiting the golden Shwezigon Pagoda constructed in 1057 as a place of prayer and meditation by King Anawrahta, who is considered the founder of the Burmese nation. After that, visit Ananda Temple, 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. Then, 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, we will drive to Myingabar Village to visit a Lacquer Ware Workshop - one of Myanmar's most treasured handicrafts. Continue to visit 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. Visit Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with its unique architecture shows Indian influence.
To finish our today’s tour, experience by local horse–cart way to Shwesandaw Pagoda, a perfect spot to enjoy a magnificent sunset. Enjoy sunset from the temple then transfer back to the hotel.
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.
Then, take a stroll through the lively Nyaung U Market for a great photo opportunity and 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.
After that, enjoy a day trip to the village of SALAY and MOUNT POPA today. Salay is home to many active monasteries including the impressive Yoke-son Monastery and its famous wood carvings. Mystical Mount Popa, is an extinct volcano which is believed to be the abode of spirits. 777 winding steps are carved into the side of the mountain, taking pilgrims up to the striking Popa Taungkalat monastery which sits atop the mountain.
Return to Bagan then spend time at the hotel to avoid the midday heat. As the day comes to an end, embark on a sunset motorized cruise along Irrawaddy River, to enjoy magnificent views of the temples and riverside villages as the sun begins to set.
In the morning, take a domestic flight to MANDALAY, the second-largest city and former royal capital of Myanmar’s king in 1885.
Upon arrival, drive to Amarapura to visit Mahagandayon Monastery, home to some 800 monks and one of the major destinations of Mandalay tour. You can watch the whole monastery with monks eating silently.
Afterward, we will take a stroll over a historic U Bein Bridge. This beautiful 1.2 kilometre-long structure built from teak planks. It was built in 1851 and cross over the Taungthaman Lake. Then we head to your hotel for check in and take a short break. Enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we continue to visit Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung (or Golden Palace Monastery) to marvel at its carvings, particularly the interior gilded Jataka scenes (past-life stories of the Buddha) and Kuthodaw Pagoda (also known as the world’s largest book), named after the 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.
Climb up covered stairways to 240 meters high Mandalay Hill and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views during sunset - an amazing photo opportunity.
OPTIONAL: For some extra entertainment in the evening, why not catch a traditional show by the Mandalay Marionettes, or a non-conformist comedy show by the Moustache Brothers?
After breakfast, our guide will pick up you then take a short transfer to Sagaing District by passing Ava Bridge.
Visit Sagaing Hill where you can observe white and gold pagodas along the Irrawaddy River from top of hill. This hill has numerous pagodas, monasteries and meditation centers known as a peaceful place for Buddhist studies. It is a place one can enjoy the magnificent views over Sagaing hill. Then visit a Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, U Min Thonze Caves which are located on the top of the Sagaing Hill.
On the way from Sagaing to Ava, visit a handmade silverware workshop. Alter that, we will drive to Inwa (Ava), an ancient city near Mandalay. It's well-known for religious structures left over from several reigns as the nation's capital, from the 14th to the 19th centuries.
Your excursion in Inwa can be made with a horse cart. Visit to Leaning Tower called “Nan Myint” followed by a stop at the Maha Aungmyae Bonzan Monastery, located inside of Innwa Palace and is one of remaining buildings from Inwa Dynasty. Continue to Bagayar Monastery famous for its traditional architecture, with soaring tiered roofs and heavy teak doors carved in high relief of celestial figures bearing lotus buds. At the end of day, we return to Mandalay.
Early checkout at your hotel and transfer to Mandalay airport for a short flight to Heho Airport, the gateway to Inle Lake. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by our guide and driver then take a short transfer to NYAUNGSHWE. En route, stop to visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery located just a short walk north of the Nyaung Shwe town.
Transfer by local boat to the hotel over INLE LAKE, one of Myanmar's most anticipated destinations and all the hype is justified. The lake is 22km long, and is densely inhabited by many different tribes in Taunggyi District of Shan State. Check in hotel and take have lunch.
Then, we take a boat excursion, seeing the famous leg-rowing fishermen, local methods of fishing and see their floating villages & gardens where fruit and vegetables are grown. The highlights including Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda the holiest religious site in Southern Shan State, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.
Proceed to the weaving village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk weaving techniques of Innthar people. Inpawkhone is also known for its weaving from the stems of lotus flowers, a time consuming process that results in high quality materials famous throughout the country. We will also visit Nampan cheroot factory where the local Burmese cigars are rolled by hand.
This morning, pay a visit 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.
Afterwards, visit floating gardens on the lake. These gardens are a large part of the region’s economy as the produce is shipped to the four corners of Myanmar. Our guide will provide an insightful glimpse into how the gardens are created and harvested. We will have an opportunity to pick our own choice tomatoes for our upcoming lunch. After lunch, choose an option for the afternoon activity:
OPTION 01: Head to Khaung Daing Village which is famous for hot springs and making tofu from yellow split peas. Villagers use traditional method to make Shan tofu – fried crackers and folded, triangular tofu treats. Observe steps of tofu making: the soy beans are sifted, boiled, mashed into balls then formed tofu cakes. This is a fabulous taste of local life on Inle Lake.
From there, we will cycle along the banks of Inle Lake and up into the hills to reach the Red Mountain Estate Vineyard that has amazing views over the lake. Whilst Myanmar is not traditionally known as a wine growing country, however, this estate started in 2002 and produced it's first wine in 2008. You'll have a chance to taste some of the wines they've produced and to explore the grounds.
OPTION 02: After delicious lunch, we continue to a small canal leading to Indein Village. In the village, we will visit Nyaung Ohak and Shwe Inn Thein, two groups of ancient pagodas. Explore the area on foot and wander through the beautiful pagodas. We 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.
Enjoy some time to chill today. You might like to visit the Mingala Morning Market, or maybe Nyuangshwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Pagoda. Later, you will be transferred to the Heho Airport for your flight back YANGON where you embark on your onward flight. See you again in your next Myanmar (Burma) Tours with us.