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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

A tour to the mystical lands of Burma

December 1 - 13, 2015 • 11 days
Yangon • Dala • Bagan • Mandalay
Inwa (Ava) • Sagaing • Amarapura
Mingun • Heho • Pindaya
Inle Lake • Indaing

$4680 per person double occupancy beginning and
ending in Yangon plus $68 Myanmar visa fee and $10 airport taxes
Airfare additional
Single Supplement $1560

Myanmar December 1 - 13, 2015

Preliminary Day by day itinerary

December 1 Arrive Yangon
Tuesday
Welcome to Myanmar! Our guide will meet those arriving on the group schedule and transfer to the hotel for check in and time to relax. Alaungapaya, the founder of the last line of Burmese kings, made Yangon his capital in 1753 and so it remained until 2005 when the capital was moved to Napyidaw. A green city of tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes, leafy sidewalks, pavement tea-shops and magnificent colonial buildings, it offers an intriguing mix of Burmese culture with Chinese and Indian quarters. Lunch is at the House of Memories restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit to Chauk Htat Kyi, a huge reclining Buddha image, followed by a photo stop at the Karaweik Hall royal floating barge. The highlight of every visitor, Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world’s most spectacular religious monuments is saved until late afternoon when the light is at its most magical. The golden dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda rises 321 feet above its base, is covered with 60 tons of pure gold and is the very heart and soul of Buddhist Myanmar. Make sure to spend time here watching the Burmese come to pray and make offerings; it is an unforgettable experience. Dinner and accommodation at Kandawgyi Hotel. (L-D)

**** Kandawgyi Palace Hotel


December 2 Yangon - Dala - Yangon
Wednesday
This morning drive to the famous Strand Road and visit the bustling Yangon harbor, from which ferries leave for Pathein in the delta and for up country towns along the Ayeyarwady River.

We then cross the Yangon River by local ferry (10 min.) to Dala. The short journey offers great views of life and bustling activity on the river before disembarking to meet your Trishaw driver. He takes you on dusty and bumpy roads, through local villages and plantations, stopping at a market to get an insight into real local rural life. Come back to Yangon by local ferry.

Lunch at Monsoon Restaurant followed by a drive through the colonial style buildings downtown, the Chinatown area and the Indian quarter. Photo stops at the gilded Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years and makes a useful landmark in downtown Yangon. Lead by our knowledgeable guides you will explore the lively streets with uncountable street vendors and tea shops on the sidewalks as well as the colonial buildings constructed in the early years of the 20th century. Visit continues to Bogyoke (Scott) Market giving you the opportunity to see Myanmar’s wide range of handicrafts.

If you are interested in arts, you may wish to visit some of Yangon’s art galleries, There is a surprisingly high amount of very talented painters and artists in Myanmar. Some of them are known internationally. Their accomplishments can be admired and also bought in numerous art galleries and showrooms in Yangon.
Return to the hotel for dinner. (B-L-D)

**** Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

December 3 Yangon - Bagan
Thursday
Early morning transfer to Yangon Airport for our direct flight to Bagan (Mann Yadanarpon Airlines 7Y131 0700/0820). Scattered around a 16 sq. mile plain surrounding the Ayeyarwady River are the magnificent red brick temples and pagodas left from the religious fervor of the Kings of Bagan during the period 1057-1287 AD. In addition to the impressive architecture, inside are colorful murals and exquisite Buddha statues, and from the summit, awesome views showing the immense expanse of the Bagan era temples.

From the airport, start your tour at the busy local market continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded zedi built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, Gu Byauk Gyi, a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of Jataka scenes and the immediately recognizable Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest temples with its 170 ft shimmering gold spire and four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery. Lunch at the Red Pepper Restaurant restaurant.

Later, visit a lacquer craftsman’s workshop in nearby Myingaba village. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in Mon style in 1059, Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha and visit Myingaba Gu Byuk Kyi Temple (under the protection of UNESCO), noted for its ancient mural paintings. Observe a sunset in the vicinity of Bagan’s ancient monuments. Dinner and accommodation at Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, Deluxe River View room. (B-L-D)

**** Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Deluxe River View room

December 4 Bagan
Friday
After breakfast visit Min Nan Thu Village area by horse-cart. Visit Tayokepyay Temple, Phaya Thone Zu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave monastery, a famous meditation center in Bagan. Visit farming villages around Bagan. Lunch at the Ayeyarwaddy River Terrace Restaurant. In the afternoon, an excursion to the nostalgic Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for woodcarvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery’s collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. In the late afternoon, board a small local boat to Tune Thiri Island for a sunset cruise on the mighty Ayeyarwady River. (B-L-D)

**** Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Deluxe River View room

December 5 Bagan
Saturday
If taking the balloons over Bagan option (see page 9 for details), we head back to the hotel for breakfast. Rest of the day is at leisure for relaxing or doing some shopping. (B-D)

**** Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Deluxe River View room

December 6 Bagan - Mandalay
Sunday Inwa - Amarapura
Transfer to Bagan Airport for your direct flight to Mandalay (Mann Yadanarpon Airlines 7Y131 0835/0905). Although Mandalay has a few highlights such as Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill, it is the ancient capital, battered stupas and sights outside of the city which are the main attraction. Upon arrival at Mandalay Airport, drive towards the former capital of Inwa (Ava), located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. Taking the local ferry to reach there, visit by horse cart passing ruined pagodas scattered amongst the palm fringed rice fields and bucolic scenes of ox carts. Entering through the ancient city walls visit a brick and stucco monastery called Maha Aungmye Bonzan (also known as Ok Kyaung) and continue to the 90 ft Nanmyin Watch Tower – the climb to the top offers lovely views over the river. The tour of Inwa ends with the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya Kyaung dating from 1834 AD. Lunch at the Small River Restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit Amarapura via the Ava Bridge, built by British engineers. Then continue to the 150-year-old U Bein Teak Bridge, built in 1851 at the time when Amarapura was the royal capital. Walk over U-Bein Bridge, which is over a 3,200 feet long and enjoy spectacular views at sunset. Enjoy the dinner with cultural show “Dances from Dynasties” at Mandalay Hill Resort, which takes the audience through Myanmar’s dynasties with its typical costumes, headdresses and dances. Accommodation at Mandalay Hill Resort, Deluxe Mandalay Hill View room. (B-L-D)

***** Mandalay Hill Resort
Deluxe Mandalay Hill View

December 7 Mandalay - Mingun
Monday Mandalay
This morning take a boat trip on the Ayeyarwaddy River to Mingun about 7 miles (one hour each way) upriver from Mandalay. The boat trip is interesting as you see all types of wooden boats and bamboo rafts, carrying goods up and down the river. Visit the Mingun Bell, weighing 99 tons (US) and being the world’s largest intact bronze bell. Continue to the beautiful Hsinbyume Paya and the unfinished Mingun Paya (built with the intention of being the world’s biggest pagoda). Return to Mandalay by boat. Lunch at the Daung Lan Gyi restaurant.

An afternoon of comprehensive sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves, a visit to a craftsman’s workshop to see Kalaga tapestries being created, Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung (Golden Monastery), a superb example of a traditional wooden building and Kuthodaw Pagoda (known as the world’s largest book), consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. End the day with a sunset view from Mandalay Hill. Dinner is at Bistro @ 82 restaurant. (B-L-D)

***** Mandalay Hill Resort
Deluxe Mandalay Hill View

December 8 Mandalay - Heho
Tuesday  Inle Lake
Transfer to Mandalay Airport for your direct flight to Heho (Mann Yadanarpon Airlines 7Y131 0920/0950). Transfer from Heho airport by private vehicle down into the valley to Nyaungshwe on the edge of Inle Lake, and en route stop at Shweyanpyay wooden monastery, then board the local boat to take you to your hotel and board your private local boat to take you to your hotel. Lunch at the hotel. Inle Lake is simply magical; located at 3,200 feet, its calm waters are dotted with Intha stilt house villages, floating vegetable gardens and fishing canoes against the back drop of the beautiful Shan hills. Motorized boats are the means of transport across the lake although the Intha people get around in traditional flat bottomed boats using a unique and skillful form of leg rowing. Dinner and accommodation at Pristine Lotus Spa Resort – Lotus Villa. (B-L-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

December 9 Inle Lake
Wednesday Indaing
This morning explore one of the 5-day markets (on market day only). By visiting 5-day markets, you will get insight into the life-style of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha inhabitants who come to these markets to sell their goods. Then enjoy a boat tour to Indaing at the western end of Inle for one of the most scenic trips on the lake.

Passing through the busy village of Yawama, the largest on the lake with its many channels and tall teak houses on stilts, enter a long often tree-lined canal towards Indaing Jetty with farmers cultivating their land on either side under the backdrop of the Shan Hills. After disembarking it is a 15-minute walk through Indaing village to reach the 14-18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak; many pagodas here remain charmingly un-renovated with plants and even small trees growing out of them making it very atmospheric. A covered walkway, popular with souvenir stalls, leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather beaten zedi; some sadly reconstructed although the views from the top make it worth the ascent. Returning to the river we walk along a lovely shady path for 30 minutes to the Intha village of Sema, where a simple dugout canoe awaits us. Enjoy a relaxing 30 minute downstream paddle past Yethar village, watching local life on the banks and birds in the trees until rejoining the lake near Phaung Daw Oo Paya in time for lunch at Mr. Toe’s Restaurant.

In the afternoon we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden hand looms in Inpawkon village, a cheroot workshop and a blacksmith shop. Returning back to the hotel, the beauty of the sunset over Inle Lake enchants all visitors. Dinner at the hotel. (B-L-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

December 10 Inle Lake
Thursday
Breakfast at the hotel with a day at leisure. Or, take our optional Sagar excursion. Lunch on your own. Dinner and accommodation at the resort. (B-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

December 11 Inle Lake
Friday
Breakfast at the hotel with a day at leisure. Lunch on your own. Dinner and accommodation at the resort. (B-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

December 12 Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon
Saturday
This morning, transfer from our hotel to the Heho Airport (15.5 miles, 1 hour). Return by domestic flight to Yangon (Mann Yadanarpon Airlines 7Y131 1005/1115) and transfer to our hotel for lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure to pursue individual interests (no car and guide at disposal service). We suggest seeing the National Museum with its enormous Lion Throne, and Mandalay Regalia – a collection of bejeweled swords, arms and jewelry.
This evening, you will have a farewell dinner at the hotel’s own Agens French Restaurant. Accommodation at Kandawgyi. (B-L-D)

**** Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

December 13 Depart Yangon
Sunday
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning transfer to Yangon Airport for your departure. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

 

We invite you to bookmark this page, visit us often (don't forget to "refresh" or "reload") for latest information.

A tour to the mystical lands of Burma

January 5 - 17, 2015 • 13 days
Yangon • Dala • Bagan • Mandalay
Inwa (Ava) • Amarapura
Mingun • Heho • Inle Lake • Indaing

per person double occupancy beginning and
ending in Yangon plus $68 Myanmar visa fee and $10 airport taxes
Airfare additional

Myanmar January 5 - 17, 2015

Preliminary Day by day itinerary

January 5 Arrive Yangon
Tuesday
Welcome to Myanmar! Our guide will meet those arriving on the group schedule and transfer to the hotel for check in and time to relax. Alaungapaya, the founder of the last line of Burmese kings, made Yangon his capital in 1753 and so it remained until 2005 when the capital was moved to Napyidaw. A green city of tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes, leafy sidewalks, pavement tea-shops and magnificent colonial buildings, it offers an intriguing mix of Burmese culture with Chinese and Indian quarters. Lunch is at the House of Memories restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit to Chauk Htat Kyi, a huge reclining Buddha image, followed by a photo stop at the Karaweik Hall royal floating barge. The highlight of every visitor, Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world’s most spectacular religious monuments is saved until late afternoon when the light is at its most magical. The golden dome of the Shwedagon Pagoda rises 321 feet above its base, is covered with 60 tons of pure gold and is the very heart and soul of Buddhist Myanmar. Make sure to spend time here watching the Burmese come to pray and make offerings; it is an unforgettable experience. Dinner and accommodation at Kandawgyi Hotel. (L-D)

**** Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

January 6 Yangon - Dala - Yangon
Wednesday
This morning drive to the famous Strand Road and visit the bustling Yangon harbor, from which ferries leave for Pathein in the delta and for up country towns along the Ayeyarwady River.

We then cross the Yangon River by local ferry (10 min.) to Dala. The short journey offers great views of life and bustling activity on the river before disembarking to meet your Trishaw driver. He takes you on dusty and bumpy roads, through local villages and plantations, stopping at a market to get an insight into real local rural life. Come back to Yangon by local ferry.

Lunch at Monsoon Restaurant followed by a drive through the colonial style buildings downtown, the Chinatown area and the Indian quarter. Photo stops at the gilded Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years and makes a useful landmark in downtown Yangon. Lead by our knowledgeable guides you will explore the lively streets with uncountable street vendors and tea shops on the sidewalks as well as the colonial buildings constructed in the early years of the 20th century. Visit continues to Bogyoke (Scott) Market giving you the opportunity to see Myanmar’s wide range of handicrafts.

If you are interested in arts, you may wish to visit some of Yangon’s art galleries, There is a surprisingly high amount of very talented painters and artists in Myanmar. Some of them are known internationally. Their accomplishments can be admired and also bought in numerous art galleries and showrooms in Yangon. Return to the hotel for dinner. (B-L-D)

**** Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

January 7 Yangon - Bagan
Thrusday
Early morning transfer to Yangon Airport for our direct flight to Bagan (Yangon Airways YH917 0610/0730). Scattered around a 16 sq. mile plain surrounding the Ayeyarwady River are the magnificent red brick temples and pagodas left from the religious fervor of the Kings of Bagan during the period 1057-1287 AD. In addition to the impressive architecture, inside are colorful murals and exquisite Buddha statues, and from the summit, awesome views showing the immense expanse of the Bagan era temples.

From the airport, start your tour at the busy local market continuing with visits to a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples in Bagan. These include Shwezigon Pagoda, a huge gilded zedi built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century, Gu Byauk Gyi, a 13th century temple with exquisite murals of Jataka scenes and the immediately recognizable Ananda Temple; one of the finest and largest temples with its 170 ft shimmering gold spire and four huge standing-Buddha images and numerous seated figures arranged around the interior gallery. Lunch at the Eden BBB restaurant.

Later, visit a lacquer craftsman’s workshop in nearby Myingaba village. Sightseeing continues with visits to Manuha Temple, built in Mon style in 1059, Nanbaya Temple, a unique sandstone monument that is said to have been the palace of King Manuha and visit Myingaba Gu Byuk Kyi Temple (under the protection of UNESCO), noted for its ancient mural paintings. Observe a sunset in the vicinity of Bagan’s ancient monuments. Dinner and accommodation at Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort, Deluxe River View room. (B-L-D)

**** Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Deluxe River View room

January 8 Bagan
Friday
After breakfast visit Min Nan Thu Village area by horse-cart. Visit Tayokepyay Temple, Phaya Thone Zu and Nandamanya Temples (noted for exquisite 13th century murals) and Kyat Kan Cave monastery, a famous meditation center in Bagan. Visit farming villages around Bagan. Lunch at the Sunset Garden Restaurant. In the afternoon, an excursion to the nostalgic Nat Htaung Kyaung, a monastery famous for woodcarvings, built in 1781 by a group of monks. Admire the monastery’s collection of ancient Buddha statues and lacquer boxes. In the late afternoon, board a small local boat to Tune Thiri Island for a sunset cruise on the mighty Ayeyarwady River. (B-L-D)

**** Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Deluxe River View room

January 9 Bagan
Saturday
If taking the balloons over Bagan option, we head back to the hotel for breakfast.

Balloons over Bagan Option:

There is no better or more spectacular view of the ancient kingdom of Bagan than from a hot air balloon. This world-famous archaeological site of more than a thousand Buddhist temples scattered over a plain is at its best when seen from a bird’s eye vantage, as the sun comes up gently over the Ayeyarwady River.
You will be collected from your hotel in Balloons Over Bagan’s vintage Renault bus, and provided with a light breakfast and safety briefing while the balloons inflate, before enjoying a dawn flight lasting just under one hour. Flights operate daily from 20th October through 20th March.

Balloons Over Bagan is operated by qualified pilots and technicians who are all registered in the United Kingdom. Cameron Balloons Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of high quality balloons, manufactures the equipment. Eleven balloons carrying a total capacity of 140 passengers are available for pre-booking.

The rest of the day is at leisure for relaxing or doing some shopping. (B-D)

**** Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort
Deluxe River View room

January 10 Bagan - Mandalay
Sunday Inwa - Amarapura
Transfer to Bagan Airport for your direct flight to Mandalay (Yangon Airways YH917 0745/0815). Although Mandalay has a few highlights such as Kuthodaw Pagoda and Mandalay Hill, it is the ancient capital, battered stupas and sights outside of the city which are the main attraction. Upon arrival at Mandalay Airport, drive towards the former capital of Inwa (Ava), located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. Taking the local ferry to reach there, visit by horse cart passing ruined pagodas scattered amongst the palm fringed rice fields and bucolic scenes of ox carts. Entering through the ancient city walls visit a brick and stucco monastery called Maha Aungmye Bonzan (also known as Ok Kyaung) and continue to the 90 ft Nanmyin Watch Tower – the climb to the top offers lovely views over the river. The tour of Inwa ends with the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya Kyaung dating from 1834 AD. Lunch at the Small River Restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit Amarapura via the Ava Bridge, built by British engineers. Then continue to the 150-year-old U Bein Teak Bridge, built in 1851 at the time when Amarapura was the royal capital. Walk over U-Bein Bridge, which is over a 3,200 feet long and enjoy spectacular views at sunset. Enjoy the dinner with cultural show “Dances from Dynasties” at Mandalay Hill Resort, which takes the audience through Myanmar’s dynasties with its typical costumes, headdresses and dances.

Accommodation at Mandalay Hill Resort, Deluxe Mandalay Hill View room. (B-L-D)

***** Mandalay Hill Resort
Deluxe Mandalay Hill View

January 11 Mandalay - Mingun
Monday Mandalay
This morning take a boat trip on the Ayeyarwaddy River to Mingun about 7 miles (one hour each way) upriver from Mandalay. The boat trip is interesting as you see all types of wooden boats and bamboo rafts, carrying goods up and down the river. Visit the Mingun Bell, weighing 99 tons (US) and being the world’s largest intact bronze bell. Continue to the beautiful Hsinbyume Paya and the unfinished Mingun Paya (built with the intention of being the world’s biggest pagoda). Return to Mandalay by boat. Lunch at the Mya Nandar restaurant.

An afternoon of comprehensive sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda with its spectacular Buddha image covered with thick layers of gold leaves, a visit to a craftsman’s workshop to see Kalaga tapestries being created, Shwe Nan Daw Kyaung (Golden Monastery), a superb example of a traditional wooden building and Kuthodaw Pagoda (known as the world’s largest book), consisting of 729 marble slabs engraved with Buddhist scriptures. End the day with a sunset view from Mandalay Hill. Dinner is at Delight restaurant. (B-L-D)

***** Mandalay Hill Resort
Deluxe Mandalay Hill View

January 12 Mandalay - Heho
Tuesday  Inle Lake
Transfer to Mandalay Airport for your direct flight to Heho (Yangon Airways YH918 0830/0900). Transfer from Heho airport by private vehicle down into the valley to Nyaungshwe on the edge of Inle Lake, and en route stop at Shweyanpyay wooden monastery, then board the local boat to take you to your hotel and board your private local boat to take you to your hotel. Lunch at the hotel. Inle Lake is simply magical; located at 3,200 feet, its calm waters are dotted with Intha stilt house villages, floating vegetable gardens and fishing canoes against the back drop of the beautiful Shan hills. Motorized boats are the means of transport across the lake although the Intha people get around in traditional flat bottomed boats using a unique and skillful form of leg rowing. Dinner and accommodation at Pristine Lotus Spa Resort – Lotus Villa. (B-L-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

January 13 Inle Lake
Wednesday Indaing
This morning explore one of the 5-day markets (on market day only). By visiting 5-day markets, you will get insight into the life-style of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha inhabitants who come to these markets to sell their goods. Then enjoy a boat tour to Indaing at the western end of Inle for one of the most scenic trips on the lake.
Passing through the busy village of Yawama, the largest on the lake with its many channels and tall teak houses on stilts, enter a long often tree-lined canal towards Indaing Jetty with farmers cultivating their land on either side under the backdrop of the Shan Hills. After disembarking it is a 15-minute walk through Indaing village to reach the 14-18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak; many pagodas here remain charmingly un-renovated with plants and even small trees growing out of them making it very atmospheric. A covered walkway, popular with souvenir stalls, leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather beaten zedi; some sadly reconstructed although the views from the top make it worth the ascent. Returning to the river we walk along a lovely shady path for 30 minutes to the Intha village of Sema, where a simple dugout canoe awaits us. Enjoy a relaxing 30 minute downstream paddle past Yethar village, watching local life on the banks and birds in the trees until rejoining the lake near Phaung Daw Oo Paya in time for lunch at Inthar Heritage Restaurant.
In the afternoon we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden hand looms in Inpawkon village, a cheroot workshop and a blacksmith shop. Returning back to the hotel, the beauty of the sunset over Inle Lake enchants all visitors. Dinner at the hotel. (B-L-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

January 14 Inle Lake
Thursday
Breakfast at the hotel with a day at leisure. Or, take our optional Sagar excursion.

Optional Full day boat trip to Sagar:

From your hotel, travel by boat via Nampan to Sagar (approximately 2h30 to 3 hrs per way) and Thakong, a rarely visited area south of Inle Lake. Explore the 5-day market (on market days only) on the way and a Shan village where earthenware pottery is produced. At Kyainkhan (near Kyauktaing) visit a family, producing monk’s robes made from fabrics of thousands of lotus stems. Observe local methods of producing high degree alcohol fermented and extracted from bran rice in Thakhong. You will get insight into the unspoiled culture and traditional life-style of the ethnic Pa-O and Intha inhabitants around Sagar and Hmawbi. Lunch at A little lodge in Samkar. Enjoy the beautiful landscape, flowering trees and numerous settlements dotted on both sides of the canal. Late afternoon return to the hotel at Inle Lake. (Note: During this tour, you will be exposed to a lot of sun, do carry a hat and bring along sun cream.)

Lunch on your own. Dinner and accommodation at the resort. (B-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

January 15 Inle Lake
Friday
Breakfast at the hotel with a day at leisure. Lunch on your own. Dinner and accommodation at the resort. (B-D)

****Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Lotus Villa

January 16 Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon
Saturday
This morning, transfer from our hotel to the Heho Airport (15.5 miles, 1 hour). Return by domestic flight to Yangon (Yangon Airways YH918 0935/1045) and transfer to our hotel for lunch. The rest of the day is at leisure to pursue individual interests (no car and guide at disposal service). We suggest seeing the National Museum. This evening, you will have a farewell dinner at the hotel’s own Agens French Restaurant. Accommodation at Kandawgyi. (B-L-D)

**** Kandawgyi Palace Hotel

January 17 Depart Yangon
Sunday
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning transfer to Yangon Airport for your departure. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

 

Laos & Cambodia Extension

January 17 - 27, 2016

January 17 Arrive Vientiane
Sunday

Welcome to Laos! Plan to arrive in Vientiane by midday. You’ll be met upon arrival at Vientiane Wattay airport. Transfer and check-in to the hotel. Vientiane’s major attractions are the serene Buddhist monasteries that dominate the center of town. The city has kept its timeless charm with tree-lined avenues, brightly painted temples and quaint French architecture. Visit Carroll Cassidy (Lao textile work shop). Dinner at Kualao Restaurant (D)

**** Dhavara Hotel, deluxe room

January 18 Vientiane
Monday

Visit Vat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Built in 1818, Vat Sisaket is the sole survivor of an invasion in 1828. Vat Sisaket features remarkable frescoes and 6,840 Buddha images. Nearby is Ho Phra Keo, once the royal temple of Lao monarchy. Built in 1565, Ho Phra Keo has been used as a museum since 1970 and contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artifacts in the country. The main structure originally housed the famous Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo. One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Patousay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958, its architecture is inspired by the Arc of Triumph in Paris. Another famous Vientiane landmark is the That Luang Stupa. King Setthathirath built this great sacred stupa in 1566. Its central structure is 148 feet tall and echoes the curving lines of an elongated lotus. The original stupa was said to contain relics of Lord Buddha.
Lunch at local restaurant followed by an afternoon at leisure for your own activities. (B-L)

**** Dhavara Hotel, deluxe room

January 19 Vientiane – Luang Prabang
Tuesday

Transfer to the airport for Vientiane departure flight to Luang Prabang by QV 101 (1130-1240). We’ll be met upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport and transferred to the hotel for check-in. The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, Luang Prabang, is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East Asia. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City.

Lunch at 3 Nagas Restaurant followed by a visit the National Museum (former King’s palace) displaying a collection of personal artifacts of the royal family. Climb Vat Phousi hill for an outstanding view over the city. Continue our visit to Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa, That Makmo, stylistically more Srilankanese than Lao. Then walk to the nearby Vat Aham, which is one of the city’s major tutelary shrines, dedicated to Deveta Luang (spirit) Pu Gneu Ya Gneu (ancestors). View the sunset at Vat Prabaht Tai located along the Mekong River. (B-L)

**** Luang Prabang View Hotel, Terrace Room

January 20 Luang Prabang
Thursday Pak Ou Cave
Luang Prabang

Visit Vat Xieng Thong, considered as the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang. The sim of the Vat represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with roofs that sweep low to the ground. In the compound stand several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images, which were displayed in Paris in 1911. Near the East gate stands the Royal Funeral Chapel. Inside are an impressive 40-foot high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of each royal family’s member. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana. Then board a traditional boat for a trip up the Mekong River to visit the famous caves of Pak Ou housing thousands of statues representing Lord Buddha. Lunch at a local restaurant in Pak Ou overlooking the confluence between the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. Return to Luang Prabang by boat and continue by car to visit Ban Xang Khong, a weaving village where traditional Sa paper is also produced. Dinner and accommodation are at our hotel. (B-L-D)

**** Luang Prabang View Hotel, Terrace Room

January 21 Luang Prabang
Friday Kuang Xi Waterfall

Rise early so we may depart at 6:00 AM to see the monks gather for their morning alms. You will join along with the local people giving alms to the monks. The custom of alms gathering is an ancient monastic tradition where the monks or nuns, who may not beg, stand quietly with their alms bowl visible allowing interested people to approach and offer food - if so inclined. Return to hotel for breakfast.
Depart to the Khuangsi Waterfalls (19 miles, approx. 1 hour drive). The waterfalls tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. Visit the rescued bears of the “Bear Lao” project on your walk along the pools up to the waterfall. On the way to the waterfalls, visit a small Hmong village for a glimpse into their lifestyle. Continue to the waterfalls where we have a picnic lunch near the waterfall.

Return to Luang Prabang and visit the Ock Pop Tok Weaving Center outside the old town to learn more about the Lao weaving. Visit Ban Xangkhong where Sa paper is made. Dinner at Tamnak Lao Restaurant (B-L-D)

**** Luang Prabang View Hotel, Terrace Room

January 22 Luang Prabang
Saturday Siem Reap

Free morning at leisure. Around lunch time, transfer to Luang Prabang airport for departure flight by flight VN 931 (1410-1610) to Siem Reap. Welcome to Cambodia! Arrive at Siem Reap International Airport and transfer to the hotel. Dinner and accommodation at Royal Angkor Resort hotel, superior room (B-D)

***** Royal Angkor Resort hotel, Deluxe room

January 23 Siem Reap
Sunday

In the morning, visit the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century). See the South Gate with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, Bayon temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), Baphuon (recently re-opened after years of restoration), the Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace, the Terrace of the Leper King. Lunch at hotel.

In the afternoon, visit Prasat Kravan with its unique brick sculptures and Srah Srang (“The Royal Baths”), undoubtedly used in the past for ritual bathing. Then visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wat’s five towers symbolize Meru’s five peaks - the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. Sunset at Angkor Wat. Dinner at local restaurant. (B-L-D)

***** Royal Angkor Resort hotel, Deluxe room

January 24 Siem Reap
Monday

Continue to Banteay Srei temple (10th century), regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer art. Stop at a local village to visit families who are producing palm sugar. Visit Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor due to restoration using the method of “anastylosis”. The name Samre refers to an ethnic group of mountain people, who inhabited the region at the base of Phnom Kulen and were probably related to the Khmers. No inscriptions have been found for this temple, but the style of most of the architecture is of the classic art of the middle period similar to Angkor Wat. The proportions of Banteay Samre are splendid. A unique feature is an interior moat with laterite paving, which when filled with water must have given an ethereal atmosphere to the temple.

Lunch at hotel. Visit Ta Prohm, one of the area’s most beautiful temples, Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. Its appeal lies in the fact that, unlike the other monuments of Angkor, it was abandoned and swallowed by the jungle, looking very much the ways most of the Angkor temples appeared when European explorers first stumbled upon them. Visit Chau Say Tevoda and Thommanon temples. Visit Preah Khan temple, built by the King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder-hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, Preah Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Then visit Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool and representing the paradisaical Himalayan mountain-lake. Sunset at Pre Rup. Dinner with Apsara Dance Show at local restaurant (B-L-D)

***** Royal Angkor Resort hotel, Deluxe room

January 25 Siem Reap
Tuesday

Visit a floating village, take a traditional wooden boat for a ride on the Tonle Sap Lake, the “Great Lake” of Cambodia, one of the largest in Asia. Visit Senteurs D’Angkor and experience the authentic scents and tastes of Cambodia through a range of traditional handmade products that help create jobs and incomes for impoverished rural communities. Delicatessen delights include spices, traditional teas, highland coffees and local rice liquors. There are also medical balms and natural massage oils as well as perfumed candles and incense.

Lunch at hotel. Visit “Les Artisans d’Angkor - Chantiers Ecoles”, this center is working with young artisans; the team creates, produce and market a unique collection of ornamental sculpture, lacquer ware, silk weaving and silk painting. The company promotes fair, sustainable development in order to provide benefits to the rural communities. Time at leisure at the local market and dinner on your own. (B-L)

***** Royal Angkor Resort hotel, Deluxe room

January 26 Siem Reap
Wednesday

After breakfast enjoy a free day at leisure in Siem Reap. (B)

***** Royal Angkor Resort hotel, Deluxe room

January 27 Depart Siem Reap
Thursday

Transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for departure flight to the next destination. (B)

B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

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