Day 1 - Yangon
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). 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. After the meeting, there's an optional group dinner – a great chance to chat with fellow travellers and enjoy sumptuous Myanma cuisine, which draws variously on Mon, Indian and Chinese flavours.
Day 2 - Bagan
Take an early morning flight to Bagan (approximately 1.5 hours). This famous archaeological site, located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River, is where Theravada Buddhism was first introduced to the Kingdom. It was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries; it still boasts a staggering 2,000 brick and gilded ruins. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a half-day bicycle tour of the stunning UNESCO site. Seeing these marvels on two wheels is ideal, as the site is quite spread out. You'll witness the grandeur of Ananda Temple and more.
Day 3 - Bagan
Take a cooking class with a friendly, community-minded culinary expert this morning. Visit the local market to stock up on produce, then head to the kitchen to cook up a storm. Take the opportunity to ask your host about any mysterious ingredients you might see in the marketplace – she's a wealth of knowledge. As well as a chance to cook and taste real home-cooked Myanma cuisine, it's a good cause, with part of the proceeds going towards a local children's library initiative. Enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch.
Day 4 - Mandalay
Drive to Mandalay by private minibus (approximately 5 hours). Though it's mostly a hub for day trips, the enchanting and evocative former royal capital has many lovely churches, temples and mosques to discover. Enjoy free time exploring or simply relaxing this afternoon.
Day 5 - Mandalay
Embark on a morning boat trip up the famous Ayeyarwady River to Mingun (approximately 1 hour each way). Here you will find a small handful of impressive pagodas. Spend some time exploring, then return to Mandalay. In the afternoon you will visit the Mandalay Palace and Shwenandaw monastery. In the late afternoon, head out of the city and witness the awesome sunset over the U Bein Bridge.
Day 6 - Inle Lake
Fly to Heho airport, then transfer (approximately 1 hour) to your hotel in Nyaung Shwe. This is your gateway to Inle Lake, a picturesque and culturally fascinating area. Settle into your hotel, then enjoy free time in the afternoon. The town has a relaxed atmosphere and is pleasant to walk around. Perhaps enjoy a cool drink in one the local bars and strike up a conversation with one of many fellow travellers floating around town.
Day 7 - Inle Lake
In the morning you will explore the lush waters of Inle Lake by canoe. Then continue by motorised boat for a sightseeing tour. You will stop in to see the local cigar makers, silk and lotus weavers, and see the unique floating gardens. This tour is a fascinating insight local handmade traditions. Even the floating gardens require considerable manual labour to make. Local farmers collect weeds from the depths of the lake, then fashion them into gardens with the help of bamboo poles as anchors.
Day 8 - Yangon
Catch a morning flight to Yangon. After settling into your hotel, head out to see the holiest shrine in the country, the Shwedagon Paya. This gilded pagoda is studded with nearly 5,000 diamonds and a number of gems, and is said to contain eight hairs of the Buddha. It’s a particularly impressive sight at sunset when the stupa begins to shine in the fading light of the day.
Day 9 - Yangon
Your trip comes to an end today and you are free to depart at any time.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
Flights, Travel Insurance, Visa, Vaccinations or Personal Spending Money