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Myanmar small group tour TOP038_11

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Myanmar Small Group Tour

Join this Myanmar small group tour on an adventure that will take you beyond the tourist circuits for an incredible insight into this fascinating country.

You could classify this trip in many different ways, from a foodie fantasy to a Buddhist temple safari to a trek into untouched Asia.  Whatever you call it, you’ll be mesmerised by the Myanmar culture from beginning to end.

Highlights:

  • Local guides that know how to show you the places most people don’t get to see
  • Taste Kayan food during a jungle picnic
  • Meet the Kayan peoples, otherwise known as the Long Neck Karen
  • Enjoy the Shwedagon Pagoda for a fabulous sunset
  • Cycle through the backstreets of Yangon
  • Visit an ethically-run elephant sanctuary
  • Indulge on ‘BBQ Street,” an entire street of barbeque to eat your way through
  • Visit a snake temple
  • Try out an electric bike as you explore Bagan

With the ban on tourism lifted in recent years, travellers have been discovering this land of mountaintop monasteries and natural serenity. This 12-day journey through magical Myanmar (aka Burma) offers intrepid explorers an otherworldly expedition into a friendly, colourful and profoundly moving country that time forgot. Myanmar is a vibrant strip of coastline along the Bay of Bengal and bordered by China, Laos, Bangladesh, India, and Thailand.

The group assembles in Yangon during a sunset trek to Shwedagon Pagoda, believed to be almost 3,000 years old. You’ll have time to explore Kandawygi Park, street markets, and enjoy a food crawl down ‘BBQ Street’. A private sunset cruise down the Ayeyarwaddy River will allow you to kick back and observe local life along the river.

Over the next few days visit the cave temple of Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, take a walk through rice paddies and visit temples like Htilominlo and pagodas like Shwe Pon Taung and Bu Kin.  Visit some of the 4,000 ancient temples around Bagan Lake, marvel at the four giant Buddhas that each face a different cardinal direction, and trek to the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp.

A traditional long-tail boat ride will allow you to observe the simple life of the Intha people around Inle Lake and the sunken stupas of Samka.  Here you’ll find 108 stupas all built between the 16th and 17th centuries.  Many travellers find this to be the highlight of the trip. The adventure winds down with a trek to Pan Pet to meet the incredible Kayan people and enjoy a traditional meal with them in their jungle home.

This small group adventures is perfectly designed for 30-40 something travellers looking for a unique experience in an extraordinary place. This is an expedition into one of the most colourful, welcoming, and profoundly moving countries on the planet.

Enquire today to learn more.

Itinerary

Day 1: A golden arrival in Yangon

Upon arrival in this majestic country you shall be whisked off to Yangon where your palace awaits. Kandawgyi Palace Hotel to be precise, your picture-perfect lakeside home for the night where you will meet your fellow travellers in time for a spiritual sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda. As dusk paints the sky, you’ll wander the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda on foot, admiring the sacred site built some 2,500 years ago. As your guide lets you in on Shwedagon’s secrets, you’ll explore the temple’s beating heart: an 8-sided central stupa towering 99 metres tall and gilded with gold leaf. Watch the golden landmark turn to pink as twilight sets in – this is Myanmar and you’re going to love it!

Day 2: A BBQ Burma-style

Banish your jet lag with a leisurely lie in and a decadent breakfast – this morning is designated pool-and-chill time. If you fancy a stroll, take a wander round the nearby Kandawgyi Lake. This afternoon, we’ll set off for a walking tour and enjoy the exhilarating contrast between Kandawygi Park’s tranquil gardens and the colourful chaos of Yangon’s bustling street markets. As day turns to night, we’ll go in search of traditional street food in China Town’s locally known ‘BBQ Street’, so grab your skewers and prepare for a barby like no other!

Day 3: Smooth sailing on the Ayeyarwady river

Fuel up on a hearty breakfast before your flight to the ancient city of Bagan. Photographers, you’re welcome. This snap-happy paradise is bursting with ancient ruins, temples and pagodas that stand strikingly against lush green vegetation. Here you’ll check into boutique bolthole Bagan Lodge and rest up by the shimmering pool. This evening, you’re in for another blazing sunset as we cruise down the Ayeyarwady river on a private boat tour observing local riverbank life.

Day 4: Beautiful Bagan by electric bike

Today we’re cycling around Bagan’s ancient temples – but don’t worry, we’re not expecting you to rival Chris Froome, we’re treating you to a relaxing electric bike tour. We’ll start at Nyaung Oo Market, where you’ll join the locals in bartering over fresh produce and handicrafts. Next up is Shwezigon Pagoda with its glistening golden stupa and the 13th centrury cave temple of Wetkyi-In-Gubyaukgyi. We’ll pause at the striking temple of Htilominlo, before reaching stunning panoramic views over Shwe Pon Taung Pagoda and Bu Kin Pagoda (your postcards home may be difficult to spell!) By now lunch is calling, so you’ll cycle (or at least give the impression of cycling) back to the hotel for a refuel. Later this afternoon, we’ll watch local Bagan artisans working on the lacquerware that is a staple of the region, before we pack in a couple more temples for good measure. Tonight, you’ll be dining in a local restaurant and trust us, you’ll have earned it!

Please note: If you would like to see Bagan by hot air balloon as an optional extra then please speak to a member of our team when you book!

Day 5: Trek-tastic Kalaw

After breakfast we’re heading to Nyaung U airport, because it’s off to Heho we go to reach the trekking haven of Kalaw. The scenic Shan Plateau affords a stunning drive as we head towards our hotel. Freshen up for a 5km trek through the hills, a feat totally worth it once you reach Pein Ne Bin village. Here, multiple families of the Palaung tribes live in a single long house under one roof, and you’ll enjoy a mighty fine lunch. Once you’re suitably replenished, you can watch as the villagers hand-weave Palaung textiles and roll cheroot leaf cigars. Enjoy picturesque plateau views from the nearby Pagoda hilltop before we return back to the hotel and relax as the mist descends over the mountains.

Day 6: Walk with giants in Green Hill Valley

Today we’re journeying into the Shan Hills for an hour’s guided trek to reach the trunked residents of the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. This family-run sanctuary began as a means of improving the welfare of retired timber logging elephants in the area. Here, you’ll have a chance to walk alongside these gentle giants, learn about their care in the onsite clinic and throw on your swimwear for a splash in the river as the herd enjoys their daily bath. After a traditional lunch back at the main camp in Magwe, we’ll drive onwards towards Inle Lake and board an authentic long-tail boat to reach your lakeside cottage.

Day 7: Float along Inle Lake

Today heralds an early start as we race the sunrise along the Shan Plateau, making our way to the small rural township of Nyaung Shwe at the edge of Inle Lake. The silvery sheet of Inle Lake is a sight to behold with its floating gardens and Buddhist temples, and we’re getting on it in a Burmese long-tail boat. As we drift peacefully around the lake, you’ll see the unique leg rowing fishermen with their floating farms, not to mention monasteries on stilts and the famed Phaungdaw Daw Oo Pagoda. We’ll stop at the floating village of Ywama and Inpawkhon, as well as Nga Phe Chuang where old artefacts of monasteries are restored. After lunch in a lake-side restaurant, we’re heading to the secret spot of Samka which is far from the eyes of tourists (so sshhh, let’s keep this beautiful corner of the Shan State between us…)

Day 8: A lazy day in the hazy sun

Fancy another lazy day on the water? You’re in luck! This time you’ll be reclining onboard a private boat to Phekhone. The cruise along the Bilu Creek between Sagar Lake and Phekhone Lake reveals yet another peaceful, healing landscape characterised by tall grasses and mesmerising, motionless waters.  We’ll stop for lunch at Phekhone, before hopping in the car for an hour’s drive to Loikaw. Here, you’ll check in at Kayah Resort for a quick rest, before we head out to Taungkwe Zeti viewpoint to watch the sun set over the hilly panoramas.

Day 9: Jungle picnics and a long necked tribe

This morning, we’ll drive to Pemsong village to begin a moderate trek through lush, shady forest up to a magical panoramic viewpoint. After a couple of hours we’ll reach Pan Pet, an ancient settlement perched on a mountain top, which is considered to be one of the first Kayan settlements in the Kayah state. Here, you’ll feast on a jungle picnic with a delectable spread of fresh regional produce, before carrying on to Rang Ku village, where you’ll meet the famed Kayan community, aka Long Neck Karen. Spend some time in the company of these fun-loving, artistic folk, and grab some authentic souvenirs in the form of their traditional handicrafts. We’ll then head back to Loikaw by car before arriving once more in Kayah Resort.

Day 10: We’re heading downtown in Yangon

After breakfast, prepare yourself for a trip to the Ngwe Taung Dam, a colossal 22-mile long construction that supplies water to the majority of Kayah State’s farmlands. We’ll lunch at a local restaurant before catching a flight from Loikaw back to Yangon. Once you’ve freshened up back at good ol’ Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, we’ll drive downtown for a wander among the fascintating architecture of both old and new. All this being cultural business will build up your appetite, so we’ve arranged dinner at a local restaurant within reach of Yangon’s buzzing nightlife districts – the perfect way to soak up city life if you fancy continuing into the early hours.

Day 11: Boating and biking in Yangon

It’s your last full day with us and we like to go out with a bang, so we’ve planned plenty of action before you head home. Hop onto a bicycle and catch the local boat ride across the Yangon River. Our first port of call is Dhala, a small rural village where you can zoom off road at full pelt. We’ll swing by Twante, where we’ll admire the stilted Snake Temple (from a distance!) with 50 Burmese Pythons sliding freely among the Buddha statues and windows. After lunch at a local restaurant, we’ll leave the bikes on the shore and set off on a private boat cruise past sleepy bamboo villages. Tonight is yours to spend however you like, be it sipping cocktails at the Strand Hotel or seeking out raucous karaoke bars in BBQ street for a final farewell with your fellow travelers.

Day 12: Home sweet home, or beach sweet beach?

Your time in Myanmar has sadly come to an end, so it’s time to organise your taxi to the airport and depart at your leisure. Though speaking of leisure, why not consider our amazing Ngapali extension for a good dose of beach time to polish off your trip?

Itinerary disclaimer

From time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Trip Notes before booking or travelling on your tour. Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.

Dates and Prices

  • 21 September – 2 October 2017
  • 20 November – 1 December 2017
  • 22 December 2017 – 2 January 2018
  • 22 January – 2 February 2018
  • 19 February – 2 March 2018

Price: From approx 2,189 GBP.

Get in touch for live availability and prices.

WHAT IS INCLUDED

Meals:

11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 3 dinners

Accommodation:

  • 11 night’s based on sharing twin rooms

Transport:

  • Air conditioned mini bus
  • Mountain bikes
  • Electric bikes
  • Motor-boat
  • 3 domestic flights

Max group size: 14

Activities:

Until recently the beautiful country of Myanmar (Burma) was a closed book when it came to tourists, but boy are we glad that us wanderlusters can now visit. It has opened up an enchanting world of mystical temples, mirror-still lakes and lush valleys that will cast a soothing spell on your soul.

This 12 day tour will take you on jungle picnics, private river cruises and electric bike tours through this largely unexplored corner of Asia. It will show you enough golden temples to rival Michael Phelps’ medal collection and give you the unforgettable chance to bathe rescued elephants. There’s also rugged treks to enjoy and a sizzling barbeque street to eat your way down, what more do you need?

  • Explore Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset
  • See Bagan’s temples by electric bicycle
  • Kick back for a private cruise on the Ayeyarwady river
  • Take a tour of Yangon & China Town markets
  • Trek across Green Hill Valley
  • Visit the Rescued Elephant Camp and bathe the elephants
  • Cruise the mirror-still waters of Inle Lake
  • Meet Kayah’s Long Neck Karen tribe after a delicious jungle picnic
  • Hop on your bike for a tour of Twante with the locals
  • Visit a snake temple

Operator

Been backpacking when you were younger and now looking for something just as fun but with a bit more luxury and style? You’re in good hands. These guys are all about crafting travel experiences that infuse the soul of a backpacker with the style of a jetsetter.

Experts in small group travel they offer smaller-sized trips especially designed for 30-40 somethings. Their travel style is about getting under the skin of a country, hunting down secret locations. Its adventure but with style and comfort!

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