Yangon – Bagan – Kalaw – Aythaya – Inle lake
DAY 01: YANGON – BAGAN – TEMPLES OF BAGAN BY BIKE (-, Lunch, -)
Pick up from your hotel, and you are transferred to the airport for domestic flight to BAGAN. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Leave your hotel and bike to the nearest small town of NYAUNG OO to visit the local market. Go to OLD BAGAN on the historical roads overshadowed by magnificent trees and commence with the visit of the most important temples and pagodas. See the SHWEZIGON PAGODA, built by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious shrine; KU BYAUK GYI, a temple with superb murals of Jataka scenes and ANANDA TEMPLE with four standing Buddha images. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant. As it gets very hot in Bagan at noon time we recommend returning to the hotel for a rest, but the choice is entirely up to guests’ preferences. Mid afternoon, you will bike to MYINKABA VILLAGE where you have the possibility to visit one of the famous lacquer ware craftsmen’s workshops and experience the bustling activities of the village. See the MANUHA TEMPLE, built in the Mon style in 1059 and follow on to NANBAYA TEMPLE, a unique sandstone monument said to have been the place of king Manuha. Continue to NAT HTAUNG Monastery, an ancient wooden monastery from 18th Century with decorated columns and ceiling. Finish the day of sightseeing by watching sunset over Myanmar’s longest river, Ayeyarwaddy from the one of the more off the beaten track pagodas to climb on top and view the sunset over the plain of Bagan dotted with more than 2,000 temples. Return to hotel by bike.
Distance from Old Bagan 25 to 30 km
Cycling hours 3½ to 4 hours
Road condition Flat terrain, partly tarred, partly dusty paths.
Dinner is taken on your own account and overnight stay in Bagan.
DAY 02 HALF DAY VILLAGES OF BAGAN BY HORSE-CART (Breakfast, -, -)
Breakfast at the hotel. Bagan is not only the site of thousand year old temples and pagodas, but also of many quaint villages scattered throughout the temple plain. Leave from your hotel by horse-carts and travel over dusty lanes and tree shaded roads past temples and monasteries to Taung Bi village. Visit the noodle makers, a Myanmar-style movie theatre, the village hairdresser and the local tea shop. Continue to the Irrawaddy River and along the way pay a visit to some of the family businesses including blacksmiths, brick makers, dry snack ‘factories’ and bamboo roof producers. They pursue their trade since generations in the same traditional way. Return to your hotel. The afternoon is free at your leisure for relaxation or own sightseeing. Both lunch and dinner are on your own account and overnight stay in Bagan.
Optional: Experience the magic of Bagan and a thousand years of history from the enchanting platform of a hot air balloon, for the first time ever. ‘Balloons over Bagan’ offer visitors exclusive sunrise champagne flights over the ancient pagodas of Bagan from late October to April.)
DAY 03 BAGAN – HEHO – KALAW (Breakfast, -, -)
After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for domestic flight to HEHO. Upon arrival, drive to KALAW, (30 km – 1 hour), a fresh and delightful hill station, on the rim of the Shan Plateau, a market center for ethnic minorities from surrounding regions. After check in at your hotel, your trekking guide will pick you up for a trek to Palaung hill tribe villages. Walk in a loop up- and downhill through tea- and cheroot leaf plantations until you reach the village of Tayaw. The animist Palaung Tribe was amongst the earliest inhabitants in Myanmar and cultivates cash crops and Thanapet for Burmese cheroot cigars. Return to Kalaw on foot. Total walking time approximately: 4 – 5 hours. Both lunch and dinner are taken on your own account and overnight stay in Kalaw.
Note: The trekking can be adapted to the physical conditions of each guest with interesting walks in and around the old town of Kalaw lasting from 1 to 6 hours. Guests who do not wish to walk extensively can see typical houses in Kalaw that were built at the time when Burma was a British colony, the railway station as well as the local market.
DAY 04 KALAW – AYTHAYA – NYAUNG SHWE - INLE LAKE (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast proceed overland through the Shan Hills to AYTHAYA (70 km – 2 hours) where we will start with the biking journey. Bike to the pier in NYAUNG SHWE through the beautiful hilly scenery of several ethnic minority villages the Shan State with on the way.
Aye Tha Ya – Nyaung Shwe 30 km
Cycling hours 2 ½ hours
Road condition Mostly tarred winding road with pot holes in many places, wooden bridges and some narrow paths. Slightly up and down hill. Light traffic. Shan noodle lunch at simple restaurant in Nyaung Shwe.
Board your private boat for an afternoon excursion on Inle Lake. We avoid the main tourist areas and take you to villages built on stilts over the lake and show you the daily life of the people. Late afternoon visit the village of THEI LEI OO. Thei Lei Oo village is a beautiful rural farming village that lies on the eastern shore of Inle Lake. It is at the heart of one of the most important farming areas on the lake. The inhabitants of the village are Inn Tha and Pa Oh ethnic minority groups. They are well known for their farming skills and use organic farming methods. The major crops farmed are rice, sugar cane, potato, tomato, garlic and a variety of beans, as well as cucumber and flowers. During the winter season (November to February) the harvested sugar cane is sent to small on site molasses plants where the juice is extracted, made into molasses, and then sent to the city for use in the production of Mandalay Rum. You will follow an agro trail that runs from the lake through the village and the surrounding organic farmland in a wide looping curve back to the lake. It affords an excellent window onto village life untouched as it is by modern development. Continue to your hotel by boat. Total walking time is approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours. Dinner is taken on your own account and overnight stay on Inle Lake.
DAY 05 INLE LAKE – HEHO (Breakfast, Lunch, -)
After breakfast, pick you up from your hotel and board your private boat to the western shore of the lake, where you will find the beginning of a stair path leading to the well hidden INN TEIN PAGODA complex. Visit one of the most amazing historical sights on the shore of the lake consisting of hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and green vegetation. Continue on foot to a village nearby where several crops are grown in traditional ways. Walk in an easy pace along one of the many creeks passing through rice fields to the village of SAE MA. Visit to the primary school of the village with a possibility to meet the children and teachers (on school days), and to observe their way of learning and teaching. Step in a wooden canoe for an exciting ride down a narrow creek until you reach the PAUNG DAW OO PAGODA. Lunch is taken at a local restaurant built on stilts over the lake. Transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and overland to Heho airport for onward domestic flight.
This is essentially a lifestyle tour. Lifestyle tours and excursions are for guests who wish to experience a destination and the surrounding attractions in a more unusual way and in a more adventurous spirit. Besides visiting cultural sights, guests on lifestyle tours and excursions divert from the beaten tourist paths and experience Myanmar in-depth with a focus on people and local life. Travel insurance is excluded from our arrangements and we will deny all claims arising from a lack of insurance by the passenger.
Itinerary is subject to changes depending on confirmed flights, road conditions and availability of rooms.