4 Dec

A Classic Myanmar Trail (15 nights)

Overview
For those looking to incorporate Myanmar’s classic destinations, along with some of the more peaceful and remote, A Classic Myanmar Trail offers the perfect blend of adventure, culture and relaxation.

 

a-classic-myanmar-trail-map
Trip highlights include:

  • Sunset tour of Schwedagon Pagoda
  • Marvel at the remnants of Yangon’s colonial past
  • Get off the beaten track using Yangon’s Circle Line
  • Explore remote Shan Villages
  • Take a train ride over the 100m high Goteik Viaduct
  • Explore Maymyo, the summer capital of British Burma
  • Brush shoulders with the locals at Mandalay’s railway bazaar
  • Early morning balloon flight over Bagan’s temple strewn plain
  • Witness first-hand the Intha ‘one-legged rower’ fisherman technique
  • Unwind for a couple of nights in one of South East Asia’s most underrated beach destinations

Whilst it is now possible to fly into Mandalay, we would always recommend you start and end your trip in Yangon – doing so will provide you with access to more flexible international and domestic flight times, whilst providing you with the opportunity to enjoy some of the country’s best accommodation and dining options.

An example of a typical A Classic Myanmar Trail itinerary can be found below. Please note that this is merely a suggestion and all of the arrangements suggested by Tour Mandalay can be tweaked and tailored to your heart’s content.

Itinerary in-brief
Day 1 (Fly to Yangon)
Start your adventure with a sunset tour of Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in the country. Due to its popularity with the locals, a trip here will also provide you with plenty of opportunity to brush shoulders with people from all walks of life. For dinner, we would recommend making a reservation at the recently opened Shan Yoe Yar, a restaurant that offers authentic Shan cuisine in a beautifully restored wooden building. 

Day 2 (Yangon)
Spend the first half of the morning exploring Yangon’s downtown area, a tour that will leave you feeling mesmerised as you navigate through the cracked walls and creeping vines that make up Yangon’s faded colonial grandeur. For lunch, we would recommend a quick stop at the 999 Shan Noodle Shop – a simple, yet tasty noodle restaurant that’s a firm favourite with the locals. Later this afternoon you will explore Yangon’s Circle Line in an ordinary class cabin – this is one of the best ways of getting off the beaten track in Yangon and we can assure you that the locals will truly appreciate your presence.

Day 3 (Yangon – Lashio – Hsipaw)
Shortly after finishing breakfast you will be escorted to the airport in time for your flight to Lashio. Ever wondered what it feels like to disembark directly onto a runway? Well, it won’t be long until you find out! After clearing security you will be driven directly to Hsipaw, a drive of approximately 1.5 hours. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to spend at leisure in Hsipaw Resort – the river view rooms here provide the perfect spot for reading and relaxation.

Day 4 (Hsipaw)
You will meet with your guide early this morning whilst the weather’s still cool, to take your private motor powered boat down the Dokhtawady River. After approximately one hour you will stop to explore a Shan monastery that is believed to be over 150 years old – surrounded by plantations of pineapple, papaya, and orange, it really does make for the perfect setting. The next stop is a remote Shan village where you will get the chance to carry out a spot of gentle hiking. Be sure to greet local passersby with the phrase, “Mày sǔng khaa!” (this translates as hello in the Shan dialect) and you will be sure to see their faces light up with the biggest smile.

Day 5 (Hsipaw – Pyin Oo Lwin/Maymyo)
This morning you will drive from Hsipaw to Naung Pein train station in time for the train to Naunghkio – this journey will see you cross the 100 metre high Goteik Viaduct which was built by the British Empire to expand their influence in the region in 1900. Once again, we would recommend that you sit in the ordinary class carriage seeing as its more authentic and the windows go all the way down, thus helping to ensure you get the best view as you slowly chug across the viaduct. You will once again meet with your driver, who will pick you up in Naunghkio and drive you directly to the old British summer capital, Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo). Shortly after arriving into Pyin Oo Lin, you will be taken on a tour of the town’s major colonial attractions with the help of a horse-drawn carriage.

Day 6 (Pyin Oo Lwin/Maymyo – Mandalay)
After a leisurely morning you will reconvene with your guide, who will take you on a tour of the town’s local market and its star attraction, the 437 acre botanical garden. After lunch, start making your way towards the last royal capital of Myanmar, Mandalay. The remainder of the afternoon is then free for you to spend at leisure. Later this evening, why not try out the recently opened Bistro at 82nd, a restaurant that serves some of the finest European cuisine in the country – the head chef used to to be in charge of the kitchen on Belmond’s Road to Mandalay, so you can expect only the highest of standards.

Day 7 (Mandalay)
Start your exploration of Mandalay with a visit to gem market – this is one of the best places in the city to carry out people spotting as the locals buy, sell and barter for these tiny, yet valuable pieces of stone. You will then drive a short distance to the Thaye Zay Station Bazaar – a pop-up market that runs its stalls based around the time schedule of the passing trains. Once you have finished exploring the market, make your way to the exit where your trishaw(s) will be waiting – you will then be pedalled to the impressive Shewnandaw monastery, with a chance to view the ancient palace walls along the way. Later this afternoon, drive to U-Bein ‘stilted’ Bridge to witness the sunset from a private boat – the silhouette you will see is one of the most photographed shots in the country.

Day 8 (Mandalay – Bagan)
Depending on flight availability, you will fly from Mandalay to Bagan early this morning. To begin your exploration we would recommend exploring some of the lesser known temples with the help of a horse drawn cart – doing so will allow you to forgo the use of a car and get a better sense of how Bagan used to be. To help spread out your temple visits, we would like to recommend that you finish what will be a busy day with a short boat journey along the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy at sunset.

Day 9 (Bagan)
Another early morning start will see you privately escorted to the Oriental Ballooning launch pad to carry out a leisurely tour of Bagan’s temples by hot air balloon – make sure you charge your camera batteries as the view from the balloon’s traditional wicker basket is simply unforgettable. The remainder of the day will be spent exploring some of Bagan’s oldest and most famous temples, including Ananda, Shwesandaw and Shwezigon.

Day 10 (Bagan)
Assuming you have the time, Tour Mandalay would like to suggest you spend one whole day at leisure in Bagan. It’s impossible to explore all 2000 plus temples in three nights, but by hiring one of the recently introduced e-bikes you’ll be surprised at just how many you can fit in – this will also help you to escape the crowds of tourists and get off the beaten track a little.

Day 11 (Bagan – Inle Lake)
Board the early morning flight from Bagan to Heho Airport (Inle Lake). On the way to your hotel we would recommend stopping off at the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, a charming teak monastery that was built in the early 19th century. For your next stop, how about a trip to the Red Mountain Estate Vineyard & Winery to sample some of the region’s local grape? The view from the top of the vineyard will provide you with your first glimpse of the iconic lake. Spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure in the comfort of your hotel – if you are lucky enough to have a room with a lake view, why not pull up a chair and dive into your favourite novel?

Day 12 (Inle Lake)
You will be collected by a boat early this morning and taken on a private tour that will incorporate some of the lake’s main sights such as, the Intha ‘one-legged rower’ fisherman, the floating gardens, weaving villages and traditional workshops. Return to your hotel later this evening in time for a sunset drink by the lake.

Day 13 (Inle Lake – Ngapali)
This morning you will be escorted to the airport in time for your flight to Ngapali. We would not recommend using a driver or guide here seeing as most of the hotels provide a complimentary shuttle bus and the purpose of this visit is pure relaxation. The remainder of the day is free for you to spend at leisure. 

Day 14 (Ngapali)
Day at leisure on Ngapali’s golden sand beach.

Day 15 (Ngapali – Yangon)
Fly to Yangon where the afternoon is free for you to further explore the city with the help of your guide. A great place to carry out a bit of souvenir shopping is the touristy, yet very well presented Bogyoke Aung San Market – in our opinion the prices can be a little steep here, but there’s always room for negotiation. Finish off the day with a trip to some of Yangon’s art galleries – one of Tour Mandalay’s personal favourites is the Strand Hotel’s River Gallery, which even features work from the local graffiti artist Arker Kyaw – he became famous in 2012 when he painted an impressive portrait of Barack Obama on a wall to welcome the President on his first visit.

Day 16 (Fly home)
Private transfer arrangements will be arranged to coincide with your international flights.

If would like to create your own A Classic Myanmar Trail itinerary, feel free to contact us now to discuss prices. Once again, please note that this is merely a suggestion and all of the arrangements suggested by Tour Mandalay can be tweaked and tailored to your heart’s content.

 

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