In this 7-day tour, you will have opportunities to see and feel the culture and customs of Myanmar in an in-depth way. This tour is aimed at people who want to experience more in a limited period and leave with splendid memories.
Best Time to Visit
Oct. to Feb.
We have just returned from an amazing trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our travel adviser Albee Ning prepared a wonderful itinerary taking us to great locations with creative activities highlighting local culture.
We traveled with Asia Highlights (Lissie was our agent) several years ago when we went to Saigon, and the experience was so positive, we automatically went to Asia Highlights again for an extensive trip to Southeast Asia.
Welcome to Mandalay, the second-largest city in Myanmar. When you have arrived, your guide will greet you at the airport's exit holding a sign with your name on it, then drive you to your hotel. After a short break to freshen up after the long flight, your tour will start in the afternoon.
The ancient town of Amarapura is your first stop.
Amarapura was the capital of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752–1885), which was the last feudal dynasty in Myanmar's history, and the Buddhist cultural center. Nowadays, the kingdom has faded but
Amarapura Palace remains for visitors to trace the evidence of history and discover the glory of the ancient times.
After visiting the palace, you will visit another famous attraction in Amarapura: U Bein Bridge. This bridge is made of wood and has existed for over 150 years. It is also called the ‘Bridge of Love' by the locals.
In the rainy season, when the water level is high, the bridge's walkway isn't far out of the water. You will board a canoe near the bridge, hold your breath, and be amazed by the sight of the sunset over the water's surface.
Your guide and driver will escort you back to Mandalay at dusk.
Entering Mandalay: The city is connected with China (Guangzhou and Kunming), Thailand (Chiang Mai and Bangkok), and Singapore.
During your stay in a city of deities, why not join in with a holy ceremony? Get up early and follow local believers to see them taking various offerings to Mahamuni Buddha Temple and watch them start a 1-hour face-washing ritual starting at 4am. It is a routine event that occurs every day. The temple abbot will wash and clean the Buddha statue from top to toe, remove any dust, and smear it with sandalwood oil, finally sprinkling the statue with holy water to maintain its holiness. However, according to local customs, females are forbidden to enter the main hall so should wait in the side room and watch a video of the event.
Shwenandaw Monastery was once the king's living quarters and part of the Imperial Palace but was moved away from the palace after the king's death. The building has survived natural hazards and bombing during World War II when the land was occupied by the Japanese. Maybe it really had been blessed by the Buddha. The monastery has plenty of exquisite wood carvings and valuable Buddhist manuscripts. Afterward, you will head to Kuthodaw Pagoda, which is near to the abbey. There, you can see the world's largest book. This superb sight is of hundreds of tablets clustered around the main pagoda, which explains why it deserves the name. The construction of such a huge Buddhist court and pagoda is dazzling and it is a great location for taking photographs.
Finally, take the elevator to the top of Mandalay Hill where you can see a panoramic view of the city at sunset.
Take off your footwear: Please take off your shoes and socks before entering a religious place, such as temples and pagodas. Your guide will help to store your footwear in a bag and will offer you wet tissues so you can clean your feet when you come out.
Flying is a better choice than traveling by car in Myanmar so take the early flight then transfer to West Pwa-Saw Village. Start your cooking class that's taught by locals and have fun. Travelers from all over the world are usually amazed when they first try traditional Myanmar-style food. Few people have eaten and know the essence of Myanmar food, which features the heavy use of fish products combined with many local specialties. Delicious food is a hidden treasure of Myanmar waiting for gourmets worldwide to explore.
The event is organized by a local charity so all income from you and other visitors will be spent on this project to support the local community's economy, public infrastructure, construction, and education, helping the locals to have a better life.
After the cooking class, stop at Nyuang U Market and experience the busy and dynamic atmosphere.
Before going to Bagan, quickly visit the Shwezigon Pagoda.
This elegant pagoda was built in 1060. It's the antecedent of Myanmar-style pagodas and the most recognized landmark.
The stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bagan Archaeological Zone, is an ideal destination for every traveler. Hundreds and thousands of temples, stupas, and pagodas sprawl out solemnly and magnificently in the morning sunlight. As they sprawl out across 25 square kilometers, you will visit typical pagodas and temples, which will silently tell you about the glorious history of this place.
Then go back to your hotel and have a rest as well as some lunch. You will return to the site in the late afternoon.
Perfect the day's journey by taking an ox cart ride to see Bagan's splendor at dusk.
There are some optional activities for you to enhance the experience and make it more unique.
A Hot-Air Balloon Ride
In this 1-hour hot-air balloon ride, you will fly high and enjoy the view from a different angle. Scanning the horizon filled with silhouettes of pagodas will provide you with unforgettable memories of a lifetime.
See a Sunrise Over Bagan
You definitely don't want to miss the view of a sunrise among the pagodas. Your guide knows the best location for the best view; however, it also means you need to get up at 5am.
Get up early and catch the morning flight to Yangon, the old capital of Myanmar.
Head to your hotel in Yangon and store your luggage, then start the tour in the afternoon.
Walk around in the formal colonial district and stop at the market.
Bogyoke Aung San Market is in memory of General Aung San. You can buy a variety of jewelry, carved wooden utensils, and specialties there.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is the holiest place for local devotees and is also the symbol of the country. This gilded pagoda is studded with nearly 5,000 diamonds and other gems. When the sun is setting, the pagoda glitters in the dusk and a picturesque, sacred, and particularly soul-touching picture is presented.
Jump onto a train at the Yangon Circular Railway for an overview of this city. This journey takes about 3 hours even though it's only 45 kilometers. Seated among different commuters on their way to schools, offices, and marketplaces will give you a better idea about the local people's daily lives and you can learn why Yangon is more laid-back compared with other capital cities in Southeast Asia. Hop off at the market place in the suburbs.
Your guide will wait for you outside the bazaar then you will head to Thadama Myintzu Nunnery. This nunnery is a new home for over 200 local girls who have been saved from prostitution, orphaned, or abandoned by their parents. Although these girls have had a miserable past, you can still see their passion for life. Many girls choose to return to the nunnery and become teachers and help their sisters in the nunnery.
Having returned to the city, if you want to witness how important the giant reclining Buddha is to local devotees, Chaukhtatgyi Paya is a must-see.
Before you go back to your hotel and have a rest, have a look at Aung San Suu Kyi's house. She is now the leader of Myanmar but had been under house arrest in this house for 15 years.
Thadama Myintzu Nunnery
Human trafficking and kidnapping is rampant in some parts of Myanmar, especially the civil war zone in northern Myanmar. Some good people are trying to do something to stop this situation. The head nun, Daw Aye Theingi, is one of them and started the Thadama Myintzu Nunnery in 2011. Many girls are from the north where there are conflict areas between the Myanmar government and poor minorities. Through generous donations from around the world, they can have a decent life and get an education like normal girls of their age.
Time flies when you're having fun and your guide will now transfer you to the airport for your flight back home. Thanks for traveling with Global Highlights and we hope to help you again soon.
Price from: $1,474 (Tour code: gh-ah-13)
Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.
Why Travel with Global Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
- Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.