Myanmar: Back in Time

The relatively unknown Myanmar is perhaps the most extraordinary country in Southeast Asia. It was called the “Land of Gold” by Marco Polo because of the numerous golden pagodas which are to be found here and the country was a controversial travel destination until 2012 due to the political regime. This has now changed and Myanmar is on the “bucket list” for many a world traveller, wishing to be enchanted by the pagodas in the early morning light while the mist unfolds, or to see the gold-covered roofs shining at sunset. A journey to Burma seems like a journey back in time, to a world that has disappeared in many other destinations and with a guarantee for an unforgettable experience.

16-day Itinerary:
Day 1 and 2: Amsterdam – Bangkok – Yangon.
Transfer from the airport to the Governors Residence, your lovely hotel in Yangon. This elegant teak mansion was built in 1920 and is situated in the green Embassy district, near the Shwedagon pagoda and other major attractions. Enjoy the garden, shaded by old trees, ponds with lotus flowers and a fan-shaped swimming pool.

Day 3: Yangon
Yangon is the starting point of the journey and although it is a big bustling city, the actual city centre is relatively small. There’s alot to visit: a bustling Chinatown and the famous Bogyoke market are near the Sule pagoda. The golden Shwedagon Pagoda (99 mtrs high) is the most important temple in the country and  was built on a hill close to the Kandawgyi lake. Beautifully lit during the evening, many locals and monks come to pray.

Day 4 and 5: Bagan
By plane to Bagan, the biggest attraction of the country. As one of the ancient royal capitals of Southeast Asia, Bagan offers an enormous wealth of ancient pagodas and stupas. At sunrise the plains of Bagan are shrouded by a mystical fog, and you can see the tops of thousands of temples peaking through. From the highest temples, there are wonderful views of the surroundings, but the best views are from a hot air balloon. Cycling is a good means to discover both the temple complex’s in the town of Old Bagan and New Bagan. Overnight at Auereum Palace Hotel, overlooking the temples.

Day 6: Bagan- Mount Popa – Mandalay
Travel overland from Bagan to Mount Popa and to a monastery that was built at a height of 700m. Mandalay is the epicentre of Buddhism, there is no other place in the world that has as many monks and nuns as Mandalay, which is one of the main reasons to visit the city. As the early morning light hits the streets, the walkways are filled with robed monks in orange. Barefoot, with a black bowl in their hands, the locals donate more than enough food, as it is considered to be an honour. Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort at the foot of Mandalay Hill with a panoramic view of a large number of pagodas.

Day 7 and 8: Mandalay, Sagaing Hill and Ubein Bridge
Mandalay’s most famous attraction is Mandalay Hill. This pagoda is situated on 200 meter high hill with 1730 steps. It is well worth the effort as you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and fort. Across the river lies Sagaing, an ancient meditation resort with hundreds of pagodas and monasteries, the religious centre of Myanmar. The U Bein Bridge in the outskirts of Mandalay, is the longest wooden pedestrian bridge (over 1.2 km) in the world and dates back to 1870. The bridge leads into a monastery and has a lovely view over the lake. The best photo opportunity during sunset.

Day 9, 10 and 11: Inle Lake
A short flight will bring you to Inle Lake located at an altitude of 900m. The lake is 22 km long and 11 km wide and surrounded by 17 villages built on stilts. The local tribes have become fully adapted to life on and around the lake. Besides the floating gardens, there are also interesting markets to visit. Overnight at Inle Lake View hotel.

Day 12, 13, 14: Ngapali
Today’s flight will bring you to one of the most beautiful white beaches of Myanmar, the Ngapali Beach. The cobalt blue sea is lined with palm trees and here you can relax or join a fishing boat for a tour of the islands or take a bike ride to the nearby coastal villages. Some fifty years ago Thailand was the same: the livelihood of the villagers was fishing. The beaches were covered with fish drying in the sun and the ox cart was used to bring cargo from sea to land. Overnight at the lovely Sandoway Resort.

Day 15: Ngapali – Yangon
A return flight will bring you to Yangon and your overnight is at the Traders Hotel which has an ideal location close to the old town.

Day 16: Yangon – Bangkok – Amsterdam
Transfer to the airport for flight back to Amsterdam.

Because of the high demand for Myanmar and the very limited range of beautiful hotels, it is important to allow enough time to plan your tour. Best time to visit Myanmar, which has a tropical climate , is from October to February. This is the driest time and temperatures are around 30 degrees.

 

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