- Savouring diverse cuisine of Myanmar
- Learning local dishes in fun cooking class
- Colonial Yangon & Swedagon Pagoda
- Temples of Ancient Kingdom of Bagan
- Mesmerizing Inle Lake, minorities & boat trips
DAY 1: Arrival. Yangon Sights and Highlights
DAY 2: Full Day Yangon and Dala Explorations
DAY 3: A.M. Flight to Bagan. Bagan Introduction
DAY 4: Bagan Temples & Highlights
Day 5: A.M. Flight to Mandalay. Visit City Highlights
Day 6: Cooking Class & Ancient Royal Capitals
Day 7: A.M. Flight to Heho. Boat Trip Over Inle Lake
Day 8: Cooking Class & Visit to The Vineyard
Day 9: Inle Lake Highlights Boat Tour
Day 10: Flight to Yangon
Upon arrival at the Yangon International Airport you will be welcomed by Discovery DMC guide and a signboard with your name on it and transferred to hotel. In the afternoon, after some rest and freshening up we will start our introduction to the rich food food culture of Myanmar with a walking tour in a vibrant and lively center of the city situated around the ancient Sule Pagoda. Many charming historical buildings are located there dating back to the times of the British Burma.Our walk begins from the colorful Konezaytan street and down to the bustling Teingyi Zay. We watch vendors at numerous little street shops preparing all kinds of traditional Burmese and Indian style dishes as we cross the “Little India” quarter and head further eastwards in the direction of “China Town”. There, colorful street stalls are always full of fruits, vegetables and flowers at any time of the day. Your guide will show you some of the local favorite shops selling varieties of noodles, meat satay and refreshing juices. As the day approaches its end we continue to the 19th street with an array of bbq shops and draft beer stations to see the popular after-work meting point for the locals before returning back to hotel. This evening a welcome dinner will be served at Shan Yoe Yar restaurant offering a wide variety of traditional Shan dishes from the vast region in the Eastern Myanmar – a great place to sample culinary traditions of indigenous peoples of the country at the beginning of your journey.
Wake up early in the morning so that you can try your first Myanmar breakfast and mingle with the locals in a popular tea shop. Start the day local way and taste staple national dishes like mohinga soup or oun nouk khauswe coconut noodles together with a cup of sweet tea. After the breakfast shop we continue down to the Pansodan Jetty and take a ferry across Yangon River to the little town of Dala lying on the opposite bank from Yangon downtown. From the jetty start on your tour by trishaw, a three-wheeled bicycle taxi that maneuvers you through small lanes, lively market streets and friendly village neighborhoods. In Dala you will have an opportunity to observe the daily activities of locals and get a feel for the authentic rural lifestyle of Myanmar. We will then have break for a revitalizing cup of fresh sugar cane juice before returning to Yangon in the early afternoon. Enjoy today’s lunch in the all-time local’s favorite Feel Restaurant and get your introduction to typical Myanmar curry dishes that are served in a peculiar fashion with an array of accompanying soups, salads and sauces.
After lunch, we continue to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to view its magnificent 70 meter long reclining Buddha and later make a stop at Kandawgyi Park located on the banks of the Royal Lake for a photo of an intricately decorated “hamsa-bird-shaped” floating royal barge replica. We complete today’s explorations with a visit to the iconic symbol of the whole country – the majestic Shwedagon Pagoda. This gleaming golden stupa rises high in the sky and can be seen from almost every part of the city. Ancient legends say that the sacred hairs of the Buddha are enshrined here.
Early in the morning transfer to the airport and flight to Bagan. There you will be welcomed by our guide who will take you then to a viewpoint pagoda and explain the history of an ancient kingdom of Bagan, one of the most notable powers of its time. Most of historical temples and stupas in sight date back to 11th – 13th centuries, the period when the kingdom of Bagan was at its strongest. An archeological valley that presently numbers more than 2000 monuments is truly a highlight not to be missed on a journey to Myanmar. Today you will explore some of the finest temples in Bagan and marvel at their unique murals and stucco decorations. Our specialist guide with share an insight to old building techniques and architectural diversity of Bagan. Around noontime, we will take shelter under the shades of trees in the vicinity of a beautiful Ananda Temple. Traditional food stalls here offer a variety of curries and it is a good opportunity rub shoulders with the locals during busy lunch hours. After lunch continue with visits to the most notable temples around Myinkaba village and old Bagan area to stop by a local artist making sand paintings and observe how Bagan’s famous lacquerware items are made. In the late afternoon enjoy a horse or ox cart ride through the rustic landscape of a lesser known parts of Bagan’s archeological wonderland to witness a magical sunset.
You may have to wake up a bit earlier today if you wish to have a hot-air balloon ride over the plain of Bagan – can be arranged at additional cost. After breakfast at the hotel our guide will take you to the town of Nyaung U where we visit gold gilded Shwezigon Pagoda. After that a stroll through the local town market – the largest market in the Bagan region where all local produce is traded – will give us a glimpse into rural life. At the market, we will be introduced by our guide to all the essential ingredients required in traditional Myanmar cooking and shown how the locals choose and buy the best ones. We then continue to the outskirts of Bagan and make a stop at a family-run toddy shop to observe the process of making the rich and caramel-like candies and alcohol from the processed juice of toddy palms. Simple local lunch will be served there to be enjoyed with cup of some toddy palm wine. In the afternoon drive back to the walls of old polis where we start our 1,5 hr walking tour into the heart of rural Bagan. History here is literally under every step as – amidst the fields of sesame and groundnut pieces of petrified wood and centuries old bricks of long gone temples lie randomly in the sand. After the walk we transfer to the Ayeyarwaddy River for a private sunset cruise where you will enjoy local cocktails and snacks on board along with views of the temple silhouettes and bustling shore.
Meals Included: Breakfast at Hotel, Lunch at Toddy Farm Restaurant
Overnight stay: Hotel in Bagan
After breakfast and transfer to airport you will take a half an hour flight to Mandalay, the second largest city in the country and Myanmar’s last royal capital. On the way stop at a local teashop for a traditional Mandalay snack and a bowl of noodles. Our guide will then take you around to show the main highlights. We will start with Mandalay Hill, the highest point of the city offering a fascinating panoramic view over city skyline and further to Ayeyarwaddy River and distant Shan mountains. Proceed to Kyauktawgyi Pagoda housing the largest marble Buddha image in the country. We then make a stop at the Shwenandaw Monastery, the only surviving building of the mid 19th century Royal Palace building in Mandalay, boasting intricate woodcarvings and offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royalty. Move on to the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved in the sacred Pali script on marble slabs and regarded as the world’s biggest book in terms of surface area. After lunch, we head to the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda that houses one of the most honored Buddha images in the country. Covered in several tons of gold leaf, it was a crown prize in long past wars between competing Myanmar kingdoms. We continue to the artisan quarters, where some of the oldest craftsmanship are showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar. You will observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teakwood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry. Stop at nearby workshops where bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded.
Next we drive to another beautiful royal capital city of the past, Amarapura, famous for its weaving traditions and Ubein Bridge, said to be the longest teakwood bridge in the world. This simple yet strong teak structure spans 1,2km over Taungthaman Lake is an ultimate highlight of Myanmar. The bridge silhouetted by the setting sun is one of the most magical experiences and a photographer’s dream. Have a dinner tonight at a lively local bbq house and try a variety of Burmese classics with a glass of ice-cold draft beer.
This morning you may wish to rise up early and join the locals for morning exercise or a walk by the Mandalay palace moat and later have a local style breakfast in a popular teahouse. Then head to a bustling local market in the heart of the city where you stroll through the rows of make-up stalls, displaying all kinds of traditional produce ranging from popular snacks like tea leaf salad “letphet”, to traditional beauty powder “thanakha” made of a ground tree bark. We continue to Alice & Su’s Kitchen cooking class where the charming host will teach you how to prepare traditional home-style Myanmar dishes and give some insight into the local cooking methods. Enjoy your cooking creations for lunch after class. In the afternoon drive across the Ayeyarwaddy River to Sagaing Hills for a magnificent panoramic views over hill side covered with countless pagodas and the mighty river beneath. Sagaing is an important Buddhist hub of Myanmar; thousands of monks reside here in some of the country’s most well-known monasteries and meditation centers. Take the opportunity to visit a monastery or nunnery and learn about daily life of the devotees. With the day coming to an end we return to Mandalay where you will have some free time to explore the city on your own.
Enjoy your breakfast and then transfer to Mandalay airport for the flight to Heho, a quiet transit town located amidst the beautiful hills of Shan State. Visit the bustling town market, where on certain days of the week people of different ethnic minority groups that live in the surrounding highland areas come to trade their homemade produce. Enroute to Inle Lake we stop at a local family’s house to learn how Shan umbrellas and paper are made by traditional methods using the fibres of the mulberry tree. We then continue 1-hour drive to Inle Lake that descends through the valley with views of the Shan mountains and rice paddy fields. After checking into the hotel and some rest we embark on a boat for afternoon explorations of Inle Lake, populated with floating islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roots of water hyacinth plants and fixed by bamboo poles. Farmers here grow many kinds of vegetables but the lake is foremost known throughout the country for its finest tomatoes. Delight in the picturesque sights of fishermen who balance and row with one leg, a technique indigenous to the Intha minority group who do this only on Inle Lake. This evening dinner will be served at the View Point Restaurant where you can savour Inn Thar and Shan traditional cuisines.
After breakfast at the hotel join a cooking class in Nyaung Shwe, the main town in the area and a gateway to the lake. This half day activity is run by a charming local couple in their simple open air kitchen and garden who started it as a social affair where you join a class with others which is part of the fun. You will be picked up early in the morning and brought to a local market where you will participate in buying ingredients for the food you will be in the class. Once shopping is complete head to the class room and prepare a delicious local style lunch with the guidance of your cooking mentor. You can choose couple of dishes to learn out of many and you are welcome to add your own touches to the dishes. After lunch we drive to Main Thauk Village situated 10km away to visit the Red Mountain Estate vineyard and have the opportunity to taste Myanmar’s premier winery’s harvest. Observe different aging methods completed in the estate’s cellar cave. With the sun setting behind the distant mountain range in the horizon return back to your hotel on the lake.
Wake up early today and after breakfast we will visit the area’s morning market that rotates every five days of the week moving from one village on the lake to another. You will have a chance to interact with Intha and Pa O farmers from surrounding mountains that come to the daily market to sell their wares. Continue the boat journey following the currents of a small river to reach the Pa O village of Indein, a site that makes us feel as if we’ve stepped through a forgotten portal in time. To access the Indein archeological site we walk through verdant bamboo groves that open up to a field covered with the ancient pagodas constructed over 1,000 years ago – truly an amazing sight and a highlight of the lake. Have a lunch today at a local family house where you will be treated simple yet tasty home style dishes of Intha people. Rest of the day is for lake explorations, you will learn how the floating islands are shaped and tended, stop at Inn Phaw Khone village to learn how local handmade silks, linens and lotus fabrics are crafted. Visit the Ywama village known for its silver smith traditions and Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, home of some of the country’s most sacred Buddha statues covered in gold leaf by devout followers. At Nampan village local craftsmen will show us how Burmese cigars, or “cheroots,” are traditionally packed and rolled. If time permits we can visit the Burmese cats at Inthar Heritage House and end our day with magnificent sunset canoe ride with boatmen who gracefully navigate and row perched on one leg.
Early morning breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Heho airport for the flight to Yangon. Connect to your international flight.
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