Exploring Myanmar (Burma) - 12th to 29th January 2018

people of Myanmar

On our fascinating journey to Myanmar (formerly Burma), we take in the countries beautiful and diverse countryside, including hill country, unspoilt jungle, remote areas, picturesque rural communities and traditional teak villages. In a land with few roads, the rivers are the major highway taking us on truly memorable river journeys through the areas we visit. We travel by air between Yangon, Bagan, Heho and back to Yangon.

  • Explore Myanmar's beautiful and remote countryside
  • Guided walking in hill country, jungle and traditional villages
  • Memorable and tranquil river journeys
  • Luxury hotel accommodation
  • Introduction to Myanmar's rich culture, history and archeological sites
  • Golden Rock, one of the country's most sacred religious sites
  • Moderately graded walks including Mount Zwe Kabin (optional)
  • Visiting local markets and meeting people

Hotel accommodation ranges from deluxe to the best available in remote areas. The walking programme is suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit. The guided walks are graded easy to moderate and the tour will be accompanied throughout by a tour leader and a local English-speaking guide. International travel is via Singapore where, outbound, we have included a two-night stopover, giving you time to explore this fascinating city from our stay at a 5-Star hotel. Travel in Myanmar is a combination of private coach, mini buses, jeeps for off-the-beaten-track places, river journeys and three domestic flights. The size of the group is limited to a maximum of 16 persons.

Myanmar

Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country's largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks, lakes and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics dating from the 6th century. Famed for its ornate pagodas and colonial past, Myanmar retains Asia’s sense of tradition. From ancient temples and beautiful landscapes, to trishaw travel and traditional teahouses, you’ll find relics from the country’s tumultuous past at every turn. This visit offers a unique insight into a beautiful part of the world, with its magical, untouched landscapes, ethnic villages and diverse cities.

Nyaung_U_Market.jpg

Day 1: Friday 12rd January – Fly to Singapore (Meals In-Flight)

Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements or the flights to Singapore. Please check-in three hours before departure time, using your passport and e-ticket. Flights are with Singapore Airlines and are the latest known and subject to confirmation.

 

Day 2: Saturday 13th January – Arrival Singapore

Transfer from Singapore Changi Airport to the Mandarin Orchard Hotel. At leisure in Singapore. Overnight Mandarin Orchard Hotel.

 

Day 3: Sunday 14th January – At Leisure in Singapore

At leisure in Singapore. Overnight Mandarin Orchard Hotel.

 

Day 4: Monday 15th January – Fly to Yangon (D)

Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the flight to Yangon.

Depart Singapore SQ5033 11:00

Arrive Yangon 12:20

Arrive Yangon and met by our agents, Signature Holidays, with transfer by private coach to the hotel. Free time or optional walk in Kandawgyi Lake, where from across the water you have spectacular views of Shwedagon Pagoda as well as Karaweik, the royal gold painted boat with its multi-level roof.

Walking: Grade Easy, Elevation flat, 2km, 1hr.

Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

Dinner and overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon. (Deluxe room).

 

Day 5: Tuesday 16th January – Yangon (BD)

After breakfast, drive downtown by coach. Start walking through Chinatown to Little India with its many old colonial buildings and local markets bustling with street vendors selling noodles, snacks, betel-nut, etc. It’s the best way to experience the city, as lived day-to-day. Board our coach near City Hall and drive to Aungsan Museum, in the old house where Aung San Suu Kyi spent her childhood. Continue the drive to the Chaukhtagyi Reclining Buddha Image (65m long).

Afternoon, drive to Scott Market with hundreds of colourful stalls selling local handicrafts, jewellery, painting, etc. Drive to Shwedagon Pagoda, built over 2600 years ago. This is an important landmark in Yangon, plated with gold from top to bottom. Here, pilgrims offer candles, incense or flowers and offer prayers quoting the Holy Script in peace and silence. The pagoda is known to the world as a Waking, Winking and Wonder of Myanmar and there is much to see here, including the rest-houses and shrines that characterise this sacred site.

Walking: Grade Easy, Elevation flat, 3km, 1.5hrs. Dinner and overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon (Deluxe room).

 

Day 6: Wednesday 17th January – Yangon-Bagan (BD)

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Bagan (1hr 20min). Drive to Nyaung U Market and explore a few selected temples. Next stop is the Shweizigon Pagodas and Htilominlo Temple (a Burmese style temple built in 13th Century). Stop for refreshment at Buphaya on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. Optional visit to a lacquerware cottage industry, where traditional techniques are still in use.

In the afternoon, take a walking tour in Minnanthu Village to see the rural ways of life. Continue the road journey to Bagon, where our visit to the temple complex, if timed well, should coincide with beautiful views of the sunset.

Walking: Grade Easy, Elevation flat on sandy trail, 3km, 1.5hrs (excluding sightseeing time inside temples.

Dinner and overnight at Aureum Palace Hotel Bagan (Jasmine/Orchid room).

 

boat_inle_river.jpg

Day 7: Thursday 18th January – Bagan (BD)

Drive 15 minutes from the hotel for the morning walk starting at Dhamma-ya-zi-ka (built in 1195 by King Narapatisithu with its unusual pentagonal terrace). Walk along a sandy trail passing smaller stupa/temple as we continue to Dha-ma-yan-gyi (the largest temple in Bagan built by King Narathu). We then continue the walk to Shwe-nan-yin-daw temple complex (built in the 13th Century). Cross over the main street to see Ananda Temple, site of the Jataka glazed plaque telling of the previous life of the Buddha and the two narrow vaulted corridors that run parallel to each other. Continue the walk to the That-byin-nyut, which is the highest temple of Bagan, towering 201ft from the ground. Optional refreshments at a local restaurant, then a drive to Taung-phi Village.

We explore the area and interact with local people, as well as taking a visit to their houses. We often find that villagers are enthusiastic to share their life and experience.

Transfer back to hotel.

Walking: Grade Moderate, Elevation flat on sandy trail, 8km, 3hrs Dinner and overnight at Aureum Palace Hotel, Bagan (Jasmine/Orchid room).

 

Day 8: Friday 19th January – Bagan-Heho-Kalaw (BLD)

Transfer to the airport for the flight to Heho (approx: 50min). Check in at the hotel, then drive to Myinka Village (4300ft elevation) via Kalaw (1.5hrs) for today’s trek starting at Myinka village, home of the Da Nu tribe, to Peinnepin Village, (4800ft elevation) home of the Palaung tribe. Our route along the track gradually ascends as we pass through an area rich in agriculture, surrounded by scenic mountains.

After a picnic lunch at Peinnepin, continue along the track that descends for two miles where our coach will be waiting for the 20-minute drive to the hotel.

Walk: 6km, 3-4hrs, moderate, slowly ascending/descending Dinner and overnight at Pine Hill Resort, Kalaw.

 

Day 9: Saturday 20th January – Kalaw-Inle (BLD)

After breakfast, we explore the local Kalaw Market area where villagers come to sell their crops, fresh fruit and vegetables. Drive to Inle, where we see bamboo houses built on stilts in the middle of the water, along with crops such as tomatoes, gourds, onions etc. all grown on floating islands. During the 45 minutes’ boat ride expect to see traditional funnel baskets used for fishing along the river.

Visit Phaungdawoo Pagoda and local villages to see traditional handicrafts such as weaving, blacksmith, boat-making, cheroot and Shan-paper making in progress. Our agent hopes to arrange a cooking demonstration at a house near by Phaungdawoo Pagoda and have lunch there. Afterwards explore locally made handicrafts.

Dinner and overnight at Aureum Inle Hotel, Inle (Villa).

 

Bagan_village.jpg

Day 10: Sunday 21th January – Inle-Indein-Inle (BLD)

The day begins with a visit to a travelling market, where from village to village locals come to buy and sell local produce. Then take a boat ride to Indein Village, through the winding creek into bamboo forest. Inle is called ‘“Little Angkor of Burma” by foreign guests, and is a hidden treasure on the west of Inle Lake. Our boat-ride to Indein (45min from hotel) weaves its way through bamboo forest, jungle and rice fields. From the boat, you should see school children reading their lessons out loud, water buffaloes and women from nearby villages washing clothes.

Disembark for a leisurely walk uphill, studded with clusters of ruined temples and over 1000 stupas believed to be built in an effort to spread Buddhism by King Ashoka, around 268 – 232 BC. Lunch at local restaurant.

Return to the hotel by boat. Walking: 3km, 1.5hr walk, half way flat, half way slowly ascending/descending, Easy. Dinner and overnight at the Aureum Inle Hotel, Inle (Villa).

 

Day 11: Monday 22th January – Inle-Heho-Yangon-Golden Rock (BLD)

Fly back to Yangon (1hr 20min) and drive to Kimpun Base Camp (4hr). Transfer by truck from Kimpun Base Camp to the Golden Rock (1hr). Hotel check-in and walk to the Pagoda (5min). The small stupa sits on top of a massive rock, completely covered with gold leaf, and delicately balanced on the edge of the cliff. Optional visit to a local pottery near Bago and lunch at local restaurant.

Dinner and overnight at Mountain Top Hotel, Golden Rock (Deluxe room).

 

Day 12: Tuesday 23th January – HPA AN (BLD)

Optional walk down the hill to Yaethataung Base Camp (steep concrete-road, 3km, 45min walk, descending). Then a drive by truck to Kimpun Base Camp. Another option is to take the truck from near the hotel to join our van at Kimpun Base Camp. Drive to Hpa An (4-5hrs).

Just before arriving into Hpa An, drop in Bayin Nyi cave to visit a hot spring. Fifteen-minute optional walk up the hill to enjoy a lovely view. Arrival in Hpa An and check in at the hotel. After refreshment, a passing through the countryside takes us to Kyaukkalat. It’s a pagoda built on layers of natural rock formations and encircled by a lake and mountains. Perhaps the best place to capture the panoramic view by camera.

Lunch in local restaurant. Dinner and overnight at Hpa An Lodge, Hpa-An (Cottage)

 

Day 13: Wednesday 24th January – HPA AN (BLD)

After breakfast, proceed to the 722-meter-high Mount Zwe Kabin. This sacred mountain has several thousand identical Buddha statues lined up at its base. The walk to the summit is steep in places and two hours each way, so therefore is optional. Early start recommended.

Around 11:00am, you can witness the feeding of the mountain’s monkeys. The mountain boasts fantastic views over the Kayin countryside. Next, we drive to Kaw Gun Cave, also known as the “Cave of the Ten Thousand Buddhas”. Walking through the cave look out for more than 2000 votive tablets of Lord Buddha and Mon inscriptions. One inscription is so ancient that no scholar has been able to interpret it. Lunch at local restaurant.

Drive to the town and take a short walk around market area and check into the hotel. Dinner and overnight at Hpa An Lodge, Hpa-An (Cottage).

 

shewadagon_pagoda.jpg

Day 14: Thursday 25th January – HPA AN-Moulemin (BLD)

After breakfast, embark on a local Than Lwin Princess boat to Mawlamyine, the capital city of Mon State, overlooking the river's scenic estuary and Gulf of Martaban. Scenic five-hour journey to enjoy the tranquil charm of Thanlwin River (which has the least impact environmentally). As we cruise along the river, admire the mountains, hilltop stupas, fisherman and passing river traffic.

On arrival at Mawlamyine we have lunch at a local restaurant. Walk around Mawlamyine Market area and take in the sunset from Kyaik Thanlan Pagoda. Our accommodation for the next two nights is the century-old Strand Hotel.

Dinner and overnight at the Strand Hotel, Moulemin (Superior room).

 

Day 15: Friday 26th January – Thanphyuzayat and Burma-Siam Railway (BLD)

Drive 65 km south to Thanphyuzayat, south of Mawlamyine. The area is noted for the Burma-Siam Railway that once operated a 415km rail link to Thailand during the second world war. The project was known as The Death Railway, for which hundreds of thousands of Asians and POWs worked in appalling conditions. You will see an old locomotive on the railway and the recently opened museum in the town.

We will also visit the Allied War Cemetery, recording the deaths of over 80000 Asians, 6540 British, 2830 Dutch, 2710 Australians, 356 Americans who died during the Railway’s construction. The cemetery is there to commemorate the lives and fortitude of all who suffered during its assembly.

Drive another 20km to Set-se beach to enjoy the amazing beauty of the Bay of Mottama. On the way back, we stop at Win Sein Tawya and see the world’s biggest reclining Buddha image (560ft), before taking a visit to Mudon’s hand weaving workshops. Evening walk along Strand Road, close to our hotel, where we see the sunset and boats going by on the Thalwin River.

Dinner and overnight at the Strand Hotel, Moulmein (Superior room)

 

Day 16: Saturday 27th January – Moulemin-Bago-Yangon (BLD)

Six-hour drive back to Yangon, stopping at a rubber and pomelo plantation and visiting Bago on the way. The classical name for this area is Hamsawaddy, a kingdom for around 300yrs, from 1365AD to 1635AD. Take in the remnants of the time of King Bayinnaung where he twice conquered Ayutthaya, although was unable to sustain it. Lunch at local restaurant.

Dinner and overnight in Yangon at the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon (Deluxe room).

 

Day 17: Sunday 28th January – (B)

Transfer to the airport by private coach for the flight back to the UK via Singapore

 

B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner

The Myanmar Ministry of Tourism’s rating system of hotels in Myanmar is based on a separate set of standards and regulations from most travel associations. The hotels where we stay are graded as follows:

DELUXE

The very best hotels available in Myanmar. Some may be classified as luxury not due solely because of the amenities but also for their historical significance (an example would be a colonial hotel)

FIRST CLASS

First Class hotels are overall comparable to an internationally 3 to 4-star hotel service. They reflect high standards and offer an array of premium services. 

3 nights - Yangon: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel DELUXE

Over looking Kandawgyi Lake, this colonial style hotel is full of character and history, an ideal location for our visit to Yangon. Rooms are pleasantly designed. Facilities include swimming pool, restaurant, bar, lounge, spa.

2 nights - Bagan: Aureum Palace (Jasmine/Orchid Villa rooms) DELUXE

Located within Bagan’s archaeological Preservation Zone amongst ancient temples and tropical gardens, this hotel and spa offers a relaxing and unique experience. Bedrooms are spacious, elegant and include all modern facilities. Bathrooms are large and lavishly equipped.A swimming pool and luxury spa along with cultural entertainment add to the quality of this hotel. Facilities include a cocktail bar, gymnasium, swimming pool and spa.

1 night – Heho/Kalaw: Pine Hill Resort FIRST CLASS

Located in hill country in the centre of Kalaw at an elevation of 4200+ feet, this is a peaceful and picturesque location surrounded by pine trees and attractive landscaping and orchids. The central market and restaurants are within easy walking distance. Evidence of British Colonial architecture can be seen in the Reception area. This is the perfect place to escape from the heat of the lowlands and to enjoy its tranquillity, but we are only here for one night. Facilities include an Edwardian Restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre and sauna.

2 nights - Inle: Aureum Inle (Villa) 5*DELUXE

The hotel’s description offers unsurpassed luxury accommodation in villas built over the waters and shores of one of Myanmar’s most stunning natural and cultural wonders, Inle Lake. Each villa is elegantly decorated with spacious bathrooms, lotus pond and a private outdoor terrace offering spectacular views over the lake and distant hills. Facilities include swimming pool, indoor/outdoor restaurant, bar, spa, beauty salon and boutique shop.

1 night – Golden Rock: Mount Top Hotel FIRST CLASS

After an intrepid trek up Mount Kyaiktiyo or a visit to the awe-inspiring Golden Rock Pagoda, there is no better place for comfort and relaxation than at the Mountain Top Hotel. Rooms are fully equipped with modern facilities and provide outstanding views of the surrounding mountain ranges including unbeatable sunrise views directly from your bed. Facilities include restaurant, bar and shop.

2 nights – Hpa An Lodge (cottage) FIRST CLASS

This new hotel in Hpa-An, near Mt. Zwe Kabin in Karen State is already said to be one of the most beautiful boutique lodges in the area with excellent services. 18 Individual Wooden Cottages are set in the valley at the foot of Mt. Zwe Kabin. Cottages are spacious and furnished with modern facilities of the highest standard. The Lodge’s Restaurant serves international and local cuisine. The swimming pool and poolside terrace facing Mt. Zwe Kabin are an ideal place to relax with chilled drinks after a long day of visits.

2 nights - Mawlamyine: The Strand Hotel FIRST CLASS

Situated on the banks of the Thanlwin with beautiful views of the sunset. Located on the Lower Main Road and Strand Road, this is the most luxurious hotel in Mawlamyine. Restaurant and bar.

Price per person sharing a twin/double room £4,850
Single supplement £950

What The Price Includes

  • International economy class return flights
  • Two-night outbound stopover in Singapore
  • Airport transfers
  • Hotel and lodge accommodation with full facilities
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary
  • Local English guides
  • Accompanying tour leader
  • Guided tours and visits includedin the itinerary
  • Entrance fess to all places of interest
  • Airport taxes and fuel surcharges
  • Welcome reception
  • Transport throughout the holiday
  • ATOL protection and ATOL Protection Contribution (APC)

What Is Not Included

  • Beverages
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Any Government taxes that may be introduced after the publication of this web page
  • Gratuities, which are optional

Please Note: For reasons of safety, weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances, it may be necessary to make changes to the programme without advance notice. Every effort will be made to avoid this if at all possible.

Arrival (Meals-in-Flight)

 

Arrive at the airport under your own arrangements for the flights to Singapore. Please check-in three hours before departure time, using your passport and e-ticket. Flights are with Singapore Airlines and are the latest known and subject to confirmation.

 

Heathrow Passengers:

Depart Heathrow                       SQ317                          10:55

Arrive Singapore                                                           07:50 (+1)                                                                 

                                                                       

Manchester Passengers:

Depart Manchester                   SQ51                            11:10

Arrive Singapore                                                           07:55 (+1)

 

Departure

 

Breakfast then transfer to the airport by private coach for the flight back to the UK via Singapore

 

Heathrow Passengers

 

Depart Yangon                          SQ997                          10:25

Arrive Singapore                                                           15:10

Depart Singapore                      SQ322                          23:45

Arrive Heathrow                                                            05:55 (Monday 29 January)

 

Manchester Passengers:

 

Depart Yangon                          SQ997                          10:25

Arrive Singapore                                                           15:10

Depart Singapore                      SQ52                            02:15 (Monday 29 January)

Arrive Manchester                                                         08:40 (Monday 29 January)

 

Due to the flight times at Singapore, we can leave our cases at the airport and take the metro into the city for dinner.

Map

Weather

At this time of the year, you can expect temperatures around 20 C to 25 C during the day and 18-15 C at night, ideally suited for both the walking and sightseeing programmes.

Find more about Weather in Yangon, BM
Click for weather forecast

E&OE

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