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On our Myanmar Culinary Tour, you will have the opportunity to uncover unique Burmese cuisine. Travelling north from the former capital Yangon to destinations including Inle Lake, Mandalay and Bagan, you will have the chance to taste traditional dishes, visiting local teashops and restaurants to sample snacks, noodles, and other more complex creations. Be immersed in authentic lifestyles when you dine at an Inthar House and prepare a meal together.
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DAY 01: YANGON ARRIVAL
Upon arrival in YANGON, you will be greeted by our Asia Senses tour guide then transferred to your hotel for check in. Depend on your actual arrival time, some soft sightseeing for an orientation tour is suggested.
After a short relaxation, we will take a trishaw and ride around Yangon’s downtown. It will give you the chance to explore the many colonial-style buildings including Saint Mary's Cathedral, Yangon City Hall, Yangon Region Court, and Independence Monument which is located in Maha Bandula Park. And explore best dishes of Myanmar cuisine.
On this Yangon food tour, we will stop at a local teashop which is fulled with many visitors, lively and noisy. Of course tea shop is not only a place for having a cup tea but people talk about their everyday life, news, and a place to exchange information. Tea is a part of Myanmar culture and important in daily life of Myanmar people. Seat down and enjoy a cup of Lah Phet Yay, Myanmar sweet tea which was brought to Myanmar by the British more than a century ago. You can taste very rich flavor of tea and mellow taste of condensed milk and evaporated milk. After the sweet tea, enjoy a cup of green tea to wash away the sweet flavor, then continue your conversation. In tea shop, you could also try some Myanmar traditional dishes such as Mont Pyar Thalet (Burmese rice pancake), Mont Leit Pyar (wanton-like parcels of bean and jaggery), Shwe Htamin (sweetened glutinous rice and jaggery garnished with coconut shavings), Mohingar (rice noodles with fish soup - Myanmar’s national dish) and Ohn no khao swè (wheat noodles in a curried chicken and coconut milk broth).
From tea shop, continue our food tour with a short transfer by trishaw to a Shan noodle restaurant. Enjoy a bowl of Shan noodle, rice noodle dish traditional to the Shan people, largest ethnic tribe in Myanmar.
In the late afternoon as the sun sets, we continue our exploration into evening street food scene. Pass through the side alleys of downtown's historic and ethnically rich neighbourhoods before heading to Little India and China Town at 19th street. We will finish up at our favourite 19th St BBQ joint where fish, meat, vegetables and cold beer perfectly compliment the people watching opportunities.
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.
We begin our sightseeing tour by visiting Shwezigon Pagoda, one of most important pagodas in Bagan. It was served as a prototype for later stupas built throughout the country. The journey of discovery then continues to Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with its unique architecture shows Indian influence and the elegant Htilominlo Temple, a large majestic structure towering 46 meters high with fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.
Have lunch at a local village where you would get hospitality of villagers. Enjoy Myanmar traditional food in a traditional home.
In the afternoon, visit Ananda Temple which is considered to be one of the most surviving masterpiece of the Mon architecture and Ananda Okkyaung, a small sanctuary or “vihara” located to the west of the northern entry of Ananda Temple.
After that, we take a visit to Thatbyinnyu Temple, the tallest temples of all monuments in Bagan; 61m high overlooking the Bagan scene. Then take a short transfer by horse cart, pass through ruin temples, traditional villages before reaching Sulamani Temple and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple, one of the most massive structures in Bagan.
In late afternoon, take a visit to Shwesandaw Pagoda, a perfect spot to enjoy a magnificent sunset, will conclude the day. The rest of the evening is free at leisure.
We 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. Our guide would be very pleasant to show you the different varieties of herbs and vegetables which are used in Burmese cooking. Stroll through stalls where fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and meats are sold. Our guide will help you to buy ingredients, plumpest chicken, freshest fish, herbs and vegetables which you will be using in your cooking class.
Then, head to a local restaurant to meet our chef who will host the cooking class. During this cooking class, the chef will teach you traditional cooking techniques of Myanmar, while introducing you to the classic food combinations, which are making Myanmar's food so popular worldwide. Prepare ingredients, cook several Burmese dishes by yourself. Then seat down and enjoy your lunch.
After lunch, we head out of town and take a visit to a palm tree workshop, see how villagers get juice from palm tree, make candy, wine from palm juice. The palm tree plays an important role in Burmese rural life. Beyond creating juice and sugars for people, it’s also used for making household utensils, construction materials and medicine. This provides a unique opportunity to experience the simple way of life of palm climbers and observe their daily routines.
In the afternoon, we will drive to Myingabar Village to visit a lacquerware workshop - one of Myanmar's most treasured handicrafts. Then take a visit to a village which are located in Bagan. Stroll around village to have a better understand of locals’ daily life. Then take a visit Nat Hlaung Kyaung Temple and Bu Paya Pagoda.
As the day comes to an end, we will take a sunset boat along Irrawaddy River, offering magnificent views of the temples and riverside villages as the sun begins to set.
In the morning, be transferred to Nyaung U Airport for the domestic flight to MANDALAY, cultural capital of Myanmar. Start our full day sightseeing tour of Mandalay with an excursion to Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its venerable statue of Buddha covered with gold leaf.
After that, we will take a visit to craft shops includes marble masonry, Kalaga tapestry, jade and gold-leaf workshop. As is former capital of Myanmar, Mandalay is the centre of skilled craftsmanship. In the past, all skillful craftsman gathered in Mandalay, produced and supplied good to Royal Courts. In this exploration, you would observe excellent quality Buddha images, the process of making the 0.00005 inch thick pieces of gold and watch gems being cut and polished.
After that, stop at a local tea shop to discover the famous Burmese fermented tea leaf salad, also known as Lahpet Thoke. Lahpet is so important to the Burmese culture that when tea leaves are harvested, the best of the crop is set aside for fermenting and eating, while the rest is dried and processed for tea and drinking. Your lunch will be served at a tea house in Mandalay.
In the afternoon, visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda (also known as the world’s largest book), named after the 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings and Shwenandaw Monastery, a very finely carved teak wooden monastery building just outside the Mandalay Royal Palace.
Afterwards, head to visit Royal Palace, heart of Mandalay is the King Mindon’s Royal Palace. Situated just to the south of the Mandalay Hill, it is a magnificent palace complex inside the magnificent walled fortress city. You could climb the curious spiral, timber-walled watchtower for a good general view. Then, we climb up covered stairways to 240 meters high Mandalay Hill and enjoy the spectacular panoramic views during sunset - an amazing photo opportunity.
Check out at your hotel and be transferred to Mandalay airport for a short flight to INLE LAKE. Upon arrival at Heho airport, take a one-hour scenic transfer to Nyaung Shwe then make a stop to visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery.
After that, transfer by local boat to the hotel in Inle Lake. Check in hotel then embark on an excursion by boat. As the motorized boat cruises on the lake, there is a chance to see the famous leg-rowing fishermen, local methods of fishing and see their floating villages & gardens filled with fruits and vegetables that provide an income to the lake dwellers.
The other highlights include Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda the holiest religious site in Southern Shan State, which is famous for its five small gold-gilded Buddha images, now covered in so much gold leaf they are more like round balls and Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, better known as the Jumping Cat Monastery. Although the performing cats no longer remain, the monastery houses an impressive collection of Buddha images.
We also visit Alodaw Pauk Pagoda, one of the oldest shrines on Inle Lake, stands on stilts, built by King Thiri Dhamma. Then we will visit handicraft workshops such as blacksmiths, silversmiths, weaving looms, etc.
After breakfast, take 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.
Next, we will take a visit to a traditional Inthar house at Tharlay Village. Here, you will spend time to prepare the dishes and learn about their cuisine and culture with a local family. Together you’ll prepare local delights including Inle Style Tomato Salad and other Inthar dishes. Enjoy your lunch which whole members of family. It would be a memorial experience in your journey in Inle lake.
After lunch, we 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 Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery, one of Burma’s two wineries. Located 1,000 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is also the perfect place for winemaking in tropical Myanmar with locally grown grapes, sourced from Italy, France, Spain and Israel. The vineyard is founded in 2002, the winery employs French and Australian know-how and French, Spanish and Israeli vines to knock out some fine and varied vintages. Take a stroll through the grounds and in the factory, observing the production of Cabernets and Sauvignon and then sit down to take a try. Enjoy 4 different wines, with a light snack, as you watch the sun glisten on the calm waters of Inle.
This morning, return to Yangon. Upon arrival, be transferred to Insein Train Station to catch the Circular Train. This slow train offers a unique opportunity to observe the colorful bustling Yangon Market where sellers and hawkers boarding the train with their home grown produce.
Afterwards, you will be transferred to the wholesale market of Thiri Mingalar which is located just outside central Yangon. In here, you will see all the produces which are transported from all corners of Myanmar lands. Then be bought and sold at the dozens of smaller markets throughout Yangon. Have lunch at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, we take 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.
Then head to Bogyoke Market (formerly known as 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.
In the late afternoon, we will 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. 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. Enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point.
On day 8 your Burmese adventure comes to an end after a final morning of sightseeing in Yangon including the Gaba Aye (World Peace) Pagoda and Mahapasana Cave, a replica of the Satta Panni cave in India where the first Buddhist Synod (council) took place. The cave is 139 metres long and 110 metres wide. Then, be transferred to Yangon International Airport for your onwards flight.