12 days

Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

Maymyo hill station

2000-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda

Mingun's world's largest pagoda and unbroken bell

Pagan's thousands of temples

U-bien Bridge of Mandalay

The one-legged rowers of Inle Lake

Trip rating
  • The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are once again revealed to travellers in this landmark journey. Travelling by road, by air and on water, we discover why the country is often dubbed the ‘Golden Land’. We start in Rangoon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, then fly to Mandalay, before journeying on the Irrawaddy River down to the fabled 11th century capital, Pagan. The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and enables us to sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country.

     

    **Please note for that the following departures are starting and finishing at the Summit Parkview Hotel: 4th October 2015, 14th October 2015 and 15th November 2015. Please contact your booking agent if you would like to book any additional accommodation at the Summit Parkview Hotel.**

     

    TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016 - Due to passenger feedback about the popularity of the Golden Rock we are extending the trip to 14 days for departures after 1st May 2016. The planned changes are as follows:

     - Day 2 - Travel out to the Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo) via Bago. Stay overnight at Kyaiktiyo.

     - Day 3 - Return to Yangon. Stay overnight in Yangon.

     - Day 4 - Morning walk in Yangon, afternoon flight to Mandalay and continuing with the 2015 itinerary.

    Why we love it

    • The glories of this ancient land (now known as Myanmar) are once again revealed to travellers in this landmark journey.
    • Travelling by road, by air and on water, you will discover why this country is often dubbed the ‘Golden Land’.
    • Starting in Rangoon, a city crowned by the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, this adventure will also take you to Mandalay, before journeying on the Irrawaddy River down to the fabled 11th century capital, Pagan.
    • The Inle Lake region exudes tranquillity and will enable you to sample the hospitality of the Shan people, one of many groups that contribute to the ethnic diversity of this colourful country.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Burma.
    • An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
    • Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
    • **Please note for that the following departures are starting and finishing at the Summit Parkview Hotel: 4th October 2015, 14th October 2015 and 15th November 2015.**
    • You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're afible to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). Please note in some cases Peregrine are not able to secure the same room type for pre-tour accommodation that we stay at on the trip. You may need to change rooms on Day 1,the hotel will assist you if this is necessary. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
    • Formerly named Rangoon, Yangon is the country's biggest city and was the capital from 1885, when the British conquered the north and the kingdom of Mandalay, until just a few years ago when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw.
    • To get your bearings and a taste of this wonderful city, perhaps take a walk to Sule Paya, then perhaps down to the Victorian Strand Hotel to admire both the colonial architecture and the bargaining madness of Bogyoke Market.
    Rose Garden Hotel or similar

    Day 2 - Rangoon (Yangon) - Mandalay

    • This morning we set off for one of the great sites of Yangon. The extraordinary Shwedagon Pagoda and its surrounding temples and edifices dominate all and provide an extraordinary mix of monks and pilgrims and worshipers and tourists. We will spend some time walking around the complex, learning of its history and spiritual devotions, and experiencing the ambiance of this extraordinary place.
    • We then leave for the airport (seeing a bit more of Yangon along the way). Departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approx. 1 hour and after landing it is a drive of about 1 hour to the city and your hotel for the next three nights.
    • Tonight you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle or bargaining for local wares.
    Ayarwaddy River View Hotel or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Mandalay

    • We make our way down to the city’s lively waterfront which offers an interesting backdrop for our boat trip upriver to Mingun - the site of the world's largest (albeit unfinished!) pagoda, the world’s largest unbroken bell, and temples dating back hundreds of years. The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting route and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way. The journey usually takes 1 hour on the way there and 40 mins on the way back.
    • Later in the afternoon we embark on a tour visiting the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay - Amarapura, just 11 km south of the city. Weather permitting, we may also view a spectacular sunset over the 200-year-old, 2 km long U Bein wooden bridge, either from land or by boat.
    Ayarwaddy River View Hotel or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 4 - Mandalay

    • On Day 4 a drive up into the hills to Burma's most famous hill station, Maymyo (Pyin U Lwin), provides an escape from the heat of the plains (approx. 2 hours/70 km). Established during the colonial era back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is today a crossroad for traders coming over from China and this is reflected in its colourful market.
    • Time permitting, you may explore surroundings in a local horse-drawn carriage called a 'myin-lay'. English-style country mansions and Chinese temples dot the hillsides in a place rightly called the 'vegetable garden' of Burma.
    • Later, we return to Mandalay where the rest of the day is spent visiting various temples, including Kuthodaw Pagoda that claims to house the world's largest 'book'. It was once a challenging walk up Mandalay Hill (236 metres), but these days, if in operation, a series of large escalators will do most of the work for you on the way up! If conditions oblige, the sunset views from the summit can be impressive and along the way there are many shrines of religious significance.
    Ayarwaddy River View Hotel or Similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • We depart early from our hotel for the waterfront to board the ferry boat that will take us down the as we cruise Ayeyarwady River to Bagan. This is a wonderful way to experience Burmese local life as we travel along the river. The ferry usually departs around 7am and takes approximately 9 hours to travel the 36 km to reach our destination.
    • Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the river between February and May, it is possible on the very rare occasion that some ferries may be cancelled during that period. Some of these cancellations may take place at the last minute and often without warning. If this is the case we may travel by road between Mandalay and Bagan.
    • We'll likely spend most of our time on deck watching riverside life go by, although there are also allocated seats on the lower deck. Some ferries also have a cafe/bar on the upper deck for drinks and simple meals. Your leader will let you know in advance if you need to plan to bring any supplies.
    • Along the way, we witness the idyllic way of life that epitomizes parts of rural Burma in the form of the small fishing villages that lie along the riverbanks. And we pass dozens of boats of different size and utility, testament to the role which this mighty river plays in the life of so many.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 6 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • We can explore the sights of Bagan from dawn to dusk. Nyaung U's lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with over 4000 structures, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon - all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The area is also famous for producing lacquer ware and sand paintings that are available in the stalls amid the ruins. There is also a chance to do some of our exploration by horse and cart. Weather permitting, we may enjoy a breathtaking sunset view from one of the ruins.
    • For many travellers a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of their time in Pagan. This optional activity is a possibility for the mornings of Day 6 or Day 7, depending on availability. We recommend booking in advance with Peregrine to secure a space.
    • If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up and driven to the launch site. You will then float over the hundreds of stupas and temples below, to watch at the morning glow illuminates this breathtaking landscape. Flights last between on average for 45 minutes, however they can range from 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on local conditions. After landing be treated to a celebratory glass of champagne and light breakfast. You will then be returned to your hotel. The experience is approximately 2.5-3 hours in total. Baskets hold up to 16 passengers in four separate compartments. The size of the basket will depend on the number of passengers booked. The balloon ride is operated by Eastern Safaris – Balloons over Bagan.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Pagan (Bagan)

    • Our drive takes us for approx. 1 hour/60 km to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano that is home to local spirits or deities known as 'nats'. For the energetic, there is a chance to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. Returning to Bagan the afternoon is free to further explore this amazing area. You may hire a bicycle or take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the archaeological sites.
    • If you are interested in taking the hot air balloon tour over Pagan, there is free time on the morning of day 6 or 7. Please note that this needs to be booked in advance - please refer to the "Other Important Information" section of the notes.
    Sky Palace Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 8 - Inle Lake

    • Today we drive the approx. 25 mins to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, from where we fly to Heho (approx 40 mins), the gateway for Inle Lake.
    • We drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to our final destination, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe (approx. 45 min).
    • This afternoon you may like to rent a canoe (for about one hour) and row in to Lin Kin village, famous for its floating garden in the lake. On our way back we may stop over at some of the village houses to see the process of making traditional snacks (optional and at extra cost). You will notice that the weather is rather cooler here due to the high altitude. At certain times of the year, some of our tours will stay in an alternate hotel, located up in the hills in Taunggyi.
    Khuang Daing Resort or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 9 - Inle Lake

    • A full day is spent on the lake exploring the floating gardens and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. These people are different from the Shan and they originate from the south of the country. The lake is also home to a wide array of bird-life including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey. Visits may be made to some of the local villages and our stay may coincide with one of the market days: always exciting with much of the commuting being done by local people using the ubiquitous long-tail boats.
    Khuang Daing Resort or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 10 - Inle Lake

    • After breakfast at our hotel we transfer to the Indein ruins complex (about 45 minutes by long-tail boat). On disembarking we find a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. We can also enjoy browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill or just marvel at the surroundings. After spending some time we will start our walk towards to Yankin, Pa O and Taung Yoe villages (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes). Along the way we explore the mystery of more than 300 ancient stupas around the village and then continue towards (1 km, approx 30 minutes) to a Buddhist monastery and head north to Naydaw (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes) to Taung Yoe ethnic tribe village through farm land and bamboo forest. From here turn to South-West (5 km, approx 3 hours) through the valley ups and downs to west Taung Mauk, Pa O village from here another 20 minute walk would get you to east Taung Mauk village. Finally we turn east through valley to Indein (3 km, approx 45 minutes) where we will meet our boat and return back to hotel.
    • This evening we enjoy a traditional Shan dinner and get to sample some of the local style culinary specialties.
    • Note: the amount of walking advisable today will depend on individual and group fitness and wishes, and also the time of year. In the hotter months from March to October reduced distances are often advisable, and arrangements can be discussed with your tour leader the day before.
    Khuang Daing Resort or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 11 - Rangoon (Yangon)

    • We transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon today (approx.1 hour). Departure time will depend on flight availability.
    • Once in Yangon we will have free time to perhaps visit Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of town and the nearby Bogyoke (Scott) Market that sells a wide array of local goods and handicrafts. Other options for your time here include exploring the fascinating city full of dilapidated colonial edifices, to perhaps take High Tea at the historic colonial hotel, The Strand, and take a stroll through vibrant Chinatown market area as the afternoon cools (these are optional excursions and at your own expense).
    Rose Garden Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 12 - Rangoon

    • The tour ends on Day 12 after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included but can be pre booked with our reservations team. Your tour leader will be on hand to advise you on onward travel arrangements should you require.
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour
    • Local flights by private airline: Rangoon to Mandalay, Pagan to Heho (for Inle Lake), and Heho to Rangoon
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Rangoon - Shwedagon Pagoda and Karaweik Hall; Mandalay - Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill
    • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Maymyo; Amarapura; archaeological site at Pagan; and Mount Popa - home to 'nats' (local deities)
    • Boat trip to Mingun - the site of the world's largest pagoda and unbroken bell
    • Day ferry boat cruise down the Irrawaddy River (subject to water levels) from Mandalay to Pagan to discover rural Burma
    • A full day discovering Inle Lake on a traditional long-tail boat
    • Trek to ethnic minority villages on Shan Plateau
    • Traditional Shan dinner
    • Free time to explore Rangoon, Mandalay and Pagan
    • Arrival transfer
    • Accommodation: 11 nights comfortable hotel
    • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 1 dinner
    • (From 1st Jan 2015) Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Departure taxes (if required)
    • Visas
    • Other meals
    • Insurance
    • Gratuities for non-essential services and for tour leader
    • Porter
    • Any additional optional tours or activities
    • Spending of a personal nature, including drinks, laundry, souvenirs
    • Departure transfer

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure. Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

    Kathleen - United Kingdom, 1 Jan, 1970
    5
    Overall Rating

    This was a memorable tour. It was very well organised to visit important sites and interesting places. The tour is advertised as 12 days but really we thought it consisted of 10 days and 11 nights as Day 1 was only an evening meeting up in the hotel and day 12 was just breakfast which we all did independently so couldn't really be counted as a day. In fact we were so confused that we had to book an extra night in Yangon as we had arranged a flight for the following day.

    Burma Unveiled (Myanmar)

    Joel & Sally - Canada, 8 Feb, 2014
    5
    Overall Rating

    We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Excellent guide, good hotels, good transportation arrangements. And because the group got along well, we did not have any criticisms.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PABU
Start City: Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)
End City: Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)
Style: Small Group

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