Myanmar (Burma): An Adventure of a Lifetime (Nov. 21 - Dec. 2, 2017)

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Myanmar (Burma): An Adventure of a Lifetime (Nov. 21 - Dec. 2, 2017)

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TOUR PRICE:  To be established in the fall of 2016.

AVAILABILITY:  Accepting advance courtesy reservations.

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We are very happy to offer this extraordinarily special trip to a country that has recently opened its doors to tourism and which is now also beginning to practice democracy.  It is thus an exciting time to visit Myanmar (Burma) to visit its national development, its tremendous history and historical monuments and one of its incomparable beaches, Ngapali.  This tour is designed in the same spirit as our previous Southeast Asian tours, including our trips to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.  There is a wonderful mix of active sightseeing coupled with time to relax and opportunity to do your own thing on a number of possible side excursions.  So join us on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure to beautiful Myanmar.  See below for the complete itinerary and inclusions.  Our fabulous hotels are also listed for your review.  Contact us to be placed on our advance courtesy reservation list.  The final price will be established roughly eleven months prior to departure.

DAY 1 - ARRIVAL YANGON, MYANMAR

Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your guide at the Yangon International airport and transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day at leisure.

Yangon is a city where contemporary and colonial Myanmar (19th and 20th centuries) continues to coexist decades after British departure.  It is a handsome city with a history of over two millennia, though it has been a capital for a mere 100 years.  Re built on a grid plan in the 1850s, the wide tree-lined boulevards are bordered by fine stone buildings.  In the 1880s, Yangon was renowned as “the Queen of the East”. Today, visitors can immerse themselves in the chaotic street-life, thriving markets, charming tea shops or just wander round the bustling capital, in what remains an incredibly safe city.

Sule Shangri La Hotel, Yangon
Deluxe Room
Meals: Breakfast    2 Nights

DAY 2 - YANGON

After breakfast, start your sightseeing with a visit to the Botataung Pagoda. This 131 foot stupa is unusual in that it is hollow and visitors are able to walk around inside. The original pagoda was destroyed in 1943 when it took a direct hit from an Allied bomb. During the cleanup a golden casket containing a hair and two other relics of Buddha were found. 

Continue sightseeing to the Scott Market (Bogyoke Aung San Market) CLOSED ON MONDAY AND PUBLIC HOLIDAY where you can find all the consumer goods a Myanmar family could possibly need or want.  The days when it was difficult to buy so much as an electric light bulb seem to be over. Scott market is a shopper's paradise; it has everything from old ethnic material, spears, masks, gems, carvings….. You name it, its got it!  

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.

This afternoon visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, which houses a 70-meter reclining Buddha.  Also within the pagoda enclosure is a center devoted to the study of sacred Buddhist manuscripts.  About 600 monks live in the monastery and spend their days studying and meditating.  

You will end the day with visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar.  The central stupa is 90 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf.  On the outside the stupa is plated with 8,688 solid gold slabs and the tip of the stupa is set with 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies, sapphires and topaz.  A huge emerald sits in the middle to catch the first and last rays of the sun.

Sule Shangri La Hotel, Yangon
Deluxe Room
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch    

DAY 3 - YANGON-BAGON

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Bagan.

Bagan is the 11th century capital of the country and one of Asia’s most extraordinary travel experiences. It is a flat plain dotted with the remains of 2,000 pagodas, temples and stupas which once stood in splendor before the sword of Kublai Khan.

On arrival, your journey begins with a visit to Nyaung Oo local market, the economic center of Bagan, located about 5 km (3.1 miles) to the north. The local market, which takes place every day, is where the locals meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware.  

Continue to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Then, visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Then you will be transferred to the hotel for check-in.

This afternoon begin with a visit to Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed. Neighbouring Ananda Okkyaung is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period and is filled with intricate paintings.  From here, travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, massive Dhammayangyi Temple, noted for its remarkable brickwork, and Sulamani Temple and enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from a spot where there is no tourist. 

Bagan Lodge, Bagan
Villa Room
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch    2 Nights

DAY 4 - BAGAN-MT. POPA

Rising 1,518 metres from the otherwise flat plains surrounding Bagan, Mount Popa is considered the sacred home of the 37 Great Nat spirits and is an extinct volcano which offers unparalleled views over the scorched, temple-dotted plains below. 

Today your Abercrombie & Kent guide and driver will collect you in your air-conditioned vehicle and take you on an (approximately) 1.5 hour drive to Mt. Popa from Bagan. En route, visit a small palm tree plantation to learn how palm sugar (jaggery) is produced. 

Upon arrival at the base of Mt. Popa, your A&K guide will take you to visit a small but beautiful shrine dedicated to the nat spirits. Nats are worshipped in conjunction with Buddhism in Myanmar but historical evidence suggests that nat worship pre-dates the arrival of Buddhism to the country.

Optional: If you are feeling energetic you may choose to climb the 777 steps that lead to the top of Mount Popa; however, it should be noted that shoes must be removed for the walk and the mountain is home to a raucous population of monkeys.  

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Transfer back to Bagan in the evening.

Bagan Lodge, Bagan
Villa Room
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch    

DAY 5 - BAGAN - HEHO - INLE LAKE

After breakfast, transfer to Bagan Airport for a flight to Heho.

From Heho, a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop to see paper parasol making and the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images.

Upon reaching the edges of Inle Lake, board a private motorboat to head out to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.

Visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which enshrines five golden Buddha images carried back to Myanmar by the 12th century King Alaungsithu upon his return from the Malay Peninsula.  The images were deposited in a cave near the lake, and were not rediscovered until centuries later.  Since their relocation to this pagoda, however, they have been covered with so much gold leaf that they look more like balls of gold than Buddha figures. 

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. 

Then visit the Ngaphechaung Monastery.  This wooden monastery is built on stilts over the lake and has an impressive collection of Buddha images in the Shan, Tibetan, Bagan and Inwa styles on a highly ornate wood and mosaic pedestal. 

During your boat ride today, witness the unique methods of farming and fishing which sustain local residents.  Residents create “floating gardens” from bundles of floating water hyacinths, which, over time, develop a soil layer from the silt in the water.  The government sells these plots of floating land to be farmed by the villagers.  Women tend to their crops growing in the plots from shallow canoes. The most common crops found are cauliflower, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, beans and eggplant.  

Fishing is done by means of a cone-shaped trap containing a net that the fisherman thrusts to the bottom of the lake when he sees movement.  All this is done while the fisherman perches precariously on the stern of his shallow boat on one foot and twists his other leg around a long oar that he uses to propel the boat!  

Villa Inle Resort, Inle Lake
Garden Single Villa
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch - Two Nights

DAY 6 - INLE LAKE

Begin your day with a visit to the 5-day market.  This rotating market changes locations every day and is an excellent place to see local hill tribe people buying and selling their goods, which range from hand-made crafts to produce grown on the lake’s famous floating gardens.  Take notice of the colorful outfits worn by the different hill tribes as they barter is this lively setting.  

Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. Continue to observe ikat-style silk weaving at Inn Paw Khone Village. 

This afternoon continue down a small canal leading to the Pa-oh village of In Dein. Explore the area on foot, strolling around the village, visiting a local school, and wander through the beautiful bamboo grove and up a beautiful stairway lined with wooden columns to old Shwe Inn Dein, an impressive and thankfully unrestored collection of ancient Shan style stupas. At the top there is a stunning view out across the lake and beyond, to the hills in the east and of the rolling countryside to the west.

Villa Inle Resort, Inle Lake
Garden Single Villa
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch    

DAY 7 - INLE LAKE - HEHO - THANDWE - NGAPALI BEACH

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Thandwe. Upon arrival in Thandwe airport, transfer to your hotel by shared shuttle bus. 

Enjoy a day at leisure.

Ngapali Bay Villa, Ngapali Beach
Deluxe Sea View Villa
Meals: Breakfast    4 Nights

DAYS 8, 9 AND 10 - NGAPALI BEACH Enjoy a few days at leisure or participate in a number of land and/or sea optional excursions.  Activities include swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and fan fishing around the beautiful beach of Maung Shwe Lay. Visit a number of local villages around Thandwe and see the local countryside around Myanmar.  See local crafts including the manufacture of local table mats out of woven bamboo stripes.  Lots of things to do from this astounding location.   

Ngapali Bay Villa, Ngapali Beach
Deluxe Sea View Villa
Meals: Breakfast