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Burma: Land of the Golden Pagoda

Myanmar (Burma), Asia

from $5,995* per person 13 Days January, October, November
Luxury accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Asia Transpacific Journeys 18 people max
  • Yangon international airport, burma
  • Culture & Nature trips
This Myanmar trip captures the essence of the land we know and love so much. We reject government-run agencies, to work directly with private Myanmar tour guides and privately owned hotels and restaurants, many owned by long-time friends. Our grassroots approach to Myanmar travel results in an insightful, authentic connection to this country's people and places, and its economics directly benefit locals.

    Stunning boutique Myanmar hotels in traditional Burmese style
    Tour leadership by an expert on Asian culture
    Attend traditional, dazzling Shan State tribal market
    Revel in a classic overnight Irrawaddy cruise on a boutique barge
    See the 16th century ruins in Shan State
    Discover the hidden princely hamlet of Sagar, far off the tourist radar
    Marvel at the graceful Intha leg rowers on Inle Lake
    Explore Bagan's thousands of 1,300-year old ruins by van, bike, foot or horse cart

Locations visited/nearby

Myanmar (Burma), Asia

0 testimonials about this trip.

1 testimonial about the provider, Asia Transpacific Journeys:

  • Reviewer:
    We had a superb time and it couldn't have gone more smoothly. We had excellent guides everywhere-they met us on schedule, they took great care of us and showed us the personality of their own counries. Thanks again for putting together a trip that gave us a lot of people contact. It was truly memorable!

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Day 1 Yangon (Rangoon)
On arrival set your watch back 30 minutes—
or is it 30 years? Check in to our hotel
before enjoying a welcome dinner. Overnight
Governor’s Residence. (D)

Day 2 Yangon
Today we’ll explore the capital, with its wide
avenues, fine Victorian architecture, bustling
markets and picturesque waterfront. Visit the
National Museum, housing interesting exhibits
on Burmese history, culture and ethnic groups.
Of great interest in the museum is the glittering
Lion Throne of King Thibaw, an extraordinary
work of art that stands over twenty feet
tall and is covered with carvings depicting
scenes from Burmese mythology. Also fascinating
are the Mandalay Regalia (a collection of
gem-studded arms) and displays on Burmese
pre-history, crafts and musical instruments.
There will be time to do some shopping for old
books or rattan. At sunset view the Shwedagon
Pagoda, the glistening golden stupa that towers
over the capital and never fails to enchant
visitors. Dinner will be on your own tonight,
offering opportunities to explore or relax.
Overnight Governor’s Residence. (B,L)

Day 3 Yangon/Maymyo
This morning fly to Mandalay and Snake Temple
before we depart for the cool hill station of
Maymyo, now known as Pyin U Lwin. This was
a favorite retreat of the British during Burma’s
long torrid summer. It remains a delightful
spot, with fine colonial architecture, colorful
markets and teashops
run by friendly proprietors.
Many descendants
of Indian and
Nepali Gurkhas live
here: their forefathers
were famously brave
and feared members
of brigades who
fought on behalf of
the British Raj. We’ll
do a little exploring
on foot and perhaps
by horse-drawn carriages,
which look like
miniature stagecoaches.
Overnight Aureum
Resort. (B,L,D)

Day 4 Maymyo
For a change of pace we’ll travel upcountry
by slow train, to take in the lovely views of
the countryside. We’ll cross the impressive
Gokteik Viaduct, built over a deep gorge by
the Pennsylvania Steel Company in 1900. This
train ride is a classic of the genre, a fascinating
study in colonial and WWII history, and
the triumph of American ingenuity. This afternoon
we’ll return to Maymyo by road, stopping
at a colorful local market. You may also
choose to stay in Maymyo to relax and explore
on your own. Your tour leader can advise other
options for exploring this delightful town.
Dinner will be on your own tonight. Overnight
Aureum Resort. (B,L)

Day 5 Maymyo/Mandalay
Drive to Mandalay this morning, arriving midday.
The country’s second city and cultural
center has many interesting
sites, including
the Shwenandaw
Kyaung Monastery,
noted for its fine teak
carvings, and the
Kuthodaw Pagoda
with 729 marble slabs
inscribed with the
entire Buddhist canon.
Then visit a gold-leaf
factory and a shop
selling woodcarvings,
Burmese marionettes
and richly embroidered
tapestries, called kalagas.
Time permitting
we’ll also prowl the Zegyo Market with its endless
panoply of color, hustle and heady aromas.
We’ll stay by the moat near the center of town.
Dinner will be on your own tonight. Overnight
Hotel by the Red Canal. (B,L)

Day 6 Mandalay/RV Paukan
This morning explore the lovely countryside
around Mandalay. Enjoy an excursion to
Amarapura with a visit to Mahagandayon
Monastery, home to more than one thousand
Buddhist monks and the famously picturesque
U Bein teakwood bridge. We’ll visit a weaving
workshop selling cotton and silk clothing.
Amarapura has fine pagodas, ruins of the old
palace, a Chinese joss house and shops specializing
in cotton and silk longyis (the Burmese
style sarong). Nearby see the two-mile long Ava
Bridge which was built during British times.
Arrive at the river, and board the RV Paukan. The
lovely Paukan, built in 2007, is a boutique hotel
on the river, beautifully furnished with a unique
combination of modern and traditional motifs.
Spend the day watching the river flow by from
the promenade deck or from the air conditioned
comfort of your stateroom. Pass magical scenes
of old Asia: women pounding their laundry on
rocks, old paddle steamers churning the muddy
waters, ox carts inching down rutted roads and
small children waving gaily at our passing vessel.
Overnight on board RV Paukan. (B,L,D)

Day 7 RV Paukan
Today enjoy stops in small villages to meet
locals, and explore beautiful remote pagodas.
Overnight on board RV Paukan. (B,L,D)

Day 8 RV Paukan/Bagan
Continue the leisurely river journey, arriving in
Bagan mid morning. During its golden age in
the 12th century, Bagan was known as “the city
of four million pagodas.” While Kublai Khan and
several massive earthquakes have reduced that
inflated number drastically, what remains is
quite incredible, and one of the greatest sites in
Asia. Over the next two days we’ll visit the principal
pagodas, some rarely-seen stupas, several
small villages and the museum. Our expert tour
leader and local guides will provide insightful
explanations of all we see. This afternoon is free
to relax, or take a bicycle or horse cart and lose
yourself amidst the crumbling spires. Dinner will
be on your own tonight, offering opportunities to
explore or relax. Overnight Thiripyitsaya Sakura
Hotel. (B,L)

Day 9 Bagan (Pagan)
Visit the spectacular Shwezigon Pagoda at early
morning light. (Note: if you have pre-booked
the optional Balloons Over Bagan excursion
depart early this morning for this wondrous
adventure.) Reconvene for lunch, then depart
for Ananda. Built in 1090, the whitewashed and
gilded Ananda is a fine, well-preserved temple.
Late this afternoon climb to the summit of a
pagoda and watch the sun drop into the distant
hills. This evening enjoy dinner at our favorite
restaurant, featuring a marionette performance.
Overnight Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 10 Mt. Popa/Bagan
For those who have pre-booked the optional
Balloons Over Bagan excursion depart early this
morning on this wondrous adventure. We will
then drive to Mt. Popa, an extinct volcano rising
nearly 5,000 feet above sea level. It’s the home
of the Mahagiri nats (powerful spirits) and an
important pilgrimage site. Everything about the
place is dramatic: the lush vegetation on the
mountain slopes; the petrified forest along the
road; and the complex of monasteries perched
on the crag. Dinner will be on your own tonight.
Overnight Thiripyitsaya Sakura Hotel. (B,L)

Day 11 Bagan/Inle Lake
This morning we’ll fly to the scenic countryside
of the Shan Hills, past many colorfully dressed
tribal people to Inle Lake. During our stay in
the Inle Lake area, visit the Shan States’ tribal
market, which rotates through towns in this
region. It is a fascinating hodgepodge of brightly
colored flowers, flopping fish and tribal people,
each in their distinctive traditional dress. It is
a feast for the sense and there will be photo
opportunities galore. This afternoon will be spent
aboard a boat exploring the beautiful Inle Lake,
surrounded on all sides by high hills. We’ll see
the famous Intha fishermen rowing their fishing
boats with a swirling move of their leg. See the
floating gardens, where villagers actually grow
tidy rows of vegetables on the lake’s surface.
Stop at a weaving village and visit several Shan
temples. Overnight Inle Princess Resort. (B,L,D)

Day 12 Inle Lake
At sunrise the glassy waters of the lake reflect
the surrounding hills and serene skies, and there
are birds everywhere. This morning travel by
boat to Indein, a 16th century temple where we’ll
explore the seldom-visited group of stupas, yet
another aspect of Burma’s vast cultural wealth.
Enjoy lunch at Nam Pan village with time to
explore the area’s interesting local market. Visit
with silk weavers, boat makers, cheroot makers
and blacksmiths. Tonight enjoy a farewell dinner.
Overnight Inle Princess Resort. (B,L,D)

Day 13 Inle Lake/Yangon
Transfer this morning to Heho for our flight
to Yangon. Fly home, or allow us to arrange a
private extension. B,L)

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