Tour DetailsDestination: Myanmar (Burma)
Dates: Fall 2013
Myanmar (Burma) Culture and Pagoda Tour for Women
Number of days: 13
Itinerary dates: November 1 – 13, 2013
Tour leader: Beth Whitman
* Register now to save on flights and to be matched with another participant to avoid single supplement!
WanderTours Giving Program – A portion of your tour cost will be donated to the Sagaing Nunnery to purchase lunch for the hundreds of nuns in residence. The group will then have the honor to serve lunch to the nuns.
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* Uncover delights at the markets and pagodas of Yangon
* Tour the ancient stupas and pagodas of Bagan
* Visit handicraft workshops in Mandalay
* Spend time on peaceful Inle Lake
* Join in a hands-on cooking class of traditional Myanmar cuisine
* Enjoy 4-star hotels
* Every tour participant on a tour with a departure date in 2013 will receive a free Donner Bag from Overland Equipment in their color choice. See details here.
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Register now via PayPal by clicking on the Register Now button. You do not need a PayPal account.
November 1, 2013 – Yangon Arrival (Meals: L, D)
Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport, you’ll be met by a driver and guide and transferred to your hotel. After checking in and having lunch with the group, you’ll spend the late afternoon visiting the fantastic Shwedagon Pagoda. Here, you’ll have time for a relaxing walk around this great stupa and its compound to admire its breathtaking beauty and to observe the daily religious activities of the Buddhists who come here to worship. Dinner and overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel or similar in Yangon.
HIGHLIGHT! Shwedagon Pagoda and its large complex is considered by Buddhists to be one of the holiest places in the region and is a landmark of the country. Pilgrims come from as far away as Sri Lanka to worship here.
November 2, 2013 – Yangon (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast at the hotel, the group will proceed downtown to sightsee in Yangon. This will include a visit to Sule Pagoda, the waterfront and jetty along the Yangon River and a visit to the National Museum. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, you’ll have a rest at your hotel and then visit the famous Scot Market and Chaukhtetgyi Pagoda, which houses a spectacularly large reclining Buddha. Dinner and overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel or similar in Yangon.
November 3, 2013 – Yangon – Bagan (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, the group will head off to the airport for the flight to Bagan. Upon arrival, you’ll start your day of sightseeing by visiting the colorful morning vegetable and goods market in Nyaung Oo, followed by visits to a number of pagodas and temples. Depending on time, this may include Shwezegone Pagoda, Htilominlo Temple and Anandar Temple (with its painting museum).
This afternoon, the group will proceed to a lacquerware factory to see the amazing and labor-intensive process of creating lacquer products. In the afternoon, you’ll visit Manuha Buddha Image, Nan Phayar and Gupyutgyi Temple. Prior to dinner, you’ll have a chance to enjoy the sunset and the unforgettable vista of Bagan from atop a temple. The group will have dinner at a restaurant specializing in local cuisine. Overnight at Bagan River View Hotel or similar in Bagan.
November 4, 2013 – Bagan (Meals: B, L, D)
Following breakfast, the group will start another day of sightseeing with visits to a number of beautiful pagodas and temples that are famous for their interior paintings and writings.
You’ll have lunch at a riverside restaurant before continuing with sightseeing at more of the great pagodas of Bagan. The day will end with a sunset horse-drawn carriage ride through some well-established villages to see how the local people continue their traditional lifestyle. Dinner and overnight at Bagan River View Hotel or similar in Bagan.
HIGHLIGHT! No photo or description can adequately portray Bagan with its thousands of pagodas that jut up from the landscape. Views are breathtaking whether from the air, ground or from the top of one of the temples during sunset.
November 5, 2013 – Bagan – Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast at the hotel, the group will fly to the Mandalay airport and drive onward to the mountain town of Pyin Oo Lwin (elevation 3,500 feet), known as the flower city of Myanmar. Along the way, you’ll stop to visit the colorful vegetable market.
After lunch, the group will spend the afternoon enjoying the Kandawgyi National Botanical Gardens and the stunning landscape. It’s well worth spending a couple of hours here. In the late afternoon, you’ll check into the hotel and have some leisure time to enjoy the natural surroundings of the area (including this very special hotel). Dinner and overnight at Aureum Hotel or similar in Pyin Oo Lwin.
HIGHLIGHT – Heading up in to elevation will give you a different perspective on Myanmar as this fertile area is home to some 300 orchid species and a wide range of indigenous tree, bamboo and roses.
November 6, 2013 – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay (Meals: B, L, D)
After a relaxing morning at the hotel, the group will visit a colorful Shan market to buy some vegetables for today’s cooking class in Mandalay. On the way to Mandalay, you’ll stop at the flower market where trucks, cars and motorbikes are brimming with colorful flowers grown in the region and sold wholesale.
Upon arrival in Mandalay, you’ll take a cooking class featuring traditional local recipes. After a short rest at the hotel, the group will take a half day tour to Shwenandaw Monastery, which has beautiful wood carvings brought from the palace compound of King Thibaw. You’ll then proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the “World’s Biggest Book” with its 729 stone tablets of Buddhist scriptures written in Pali.
For sunset, the group will head to Mandalay Hill, where you’ll have a magnificent view of the city and countryside. Dinner will be at a local restaurant serving a wide variety of typical Myanmar foods. Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort in Mandalay.
HIGHLIGHT! You’ll love the opportunity to learn some typical recipes in this cooking demonstration and class. You’ll leave feeling full and with a handful of recipes to take home.
November 7, 2013 – Mandalay – Sagaing (Meals: B, L, D)
In the morning, the group will head to Sagaing Hill, where there are more than 500 stupas and Buddhist monasteries. You’ll visit Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda and the Buddha images in U Minthonesel cave on the hilltop. From here, you can enjoy a view of Mandalay, the Ayeyarwaddy River and Kaungmudaw Pagoda.
After this sightseeing, you’ll visit the Saigaing Nunnery where you’ll have the unique opportunity to serve lunch to the nuns.
NOTE – a portion of your tour cost will cover the donation made for this day’s lunch and, as a donor, you have the honor of serving them their midday meal as an offering.
After the nunnery visit, you’ll continue to a silver workshop to see the process in which local hand-made silver products are created, then have lunch at Sagaing Hill Restaurant.
The afternoon will be spent taking a short boat excursion on the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River to the village of Mingun. Upon arrival, you’ll visit the impressive Mingun Bell, the world’s largest ringing bell, Mingunphahtotawgyi, the biggest temple in Myanmar, and Myatheindan Zadi. In the late afternoon, you’ll enjoy the sunset on the boat before returning back to Mandalay for dinner at a restaurant specializing in Mandalay cuisine. Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort in Mandalay.
HIGHLIGHT! It is considered a great honor to provide service to nuns and monks who have committed their lives to following the Bodhisattva’s way of life. You’ll gain merit and good karma on this day
November 8, 2013 – Mandalay (Meals: B, L, D)
Before breakfast, the group will visit an area where you’ll observe monks walking along the roadside to receive food and offerings from the community. After breakfast (back at the hotel), you’ll then visit Mahamuni Buddha and its compound which is crowded with local pilgrims. Afterward, you’ll take a trip to Amarapura for a walk on U Pein Bridge. This 200 year-old bridge is the world’s longest teak bridge (don’t worry, it’s safe!).
You’ll then have a walking tour of Amarapura to visit a silk weaving workshop as well as see stone carvers, handicraft-workshops and tribal souvenir collection shops and a gold leaf factory. Not only will this day be good for shopping but it’s an excellent way to support the local crafters. After some leisure time at your hotel, enjoy dinner and overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort in Mandalay.
HIGHLIGHT! Seeing the monks and the beautiful pagodas on this day will give you tremendous insight into how deep the Buddhist religion is ingrained into the country’s psyche.
November 9, 2013 – Mandalay – Inle Lake (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, you’ll head to the airport for the flight to Heho Airport. You’ll then make the scenic drive to peaceful Inle Lake with a visit to Shwe Yann Pyae Monastery along the way. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.
After a boat ride (about 45 minutes) to the hotel, you’ll check in and then do some afternoon sightseeing around the lake, surrounded by the enchanting Shan Mountains, including a trip to a small village where you can see how the local people live. Afterwards proceed to Ngaphalchaung Village, famous for its Buddha images made of antique lacquerware. Dinner and overnight at Inle Treasure Resort Hotel on the lake.
November 10, 2013 – Inle Lake (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, you’ll take a scenic boat ride on Inle Lake. The group will then go to a local village where you’ll visit one of the famous “five-day markets.” Many of the local hilltribes come to the market dressed in their traditional clothes.
This market is fantastic for photography and shopping. Souvenirs abound while goods for the locals (fruits, vegetables, clothes, kitchen goods, etc.) make up many of the goods for sale.
The villages on Inle Lake have survived by specializing in crafts and products that are sold at the markets. The group will visit a number of these villages including a visit to Ywa Ma Village to see a traditional silver workshop and then on to a small community of longneck tribal women, where the local shop makes handmade paper and umbrellas.
You’ll also visit a lotus-weaving factory (where beautiful clothes are made from lotus plants and scarves are sold for as much as $200!), a blacksmith workshop and a cheroot (cigarette) making factory.
After lunch at a restaurant on the lake, you’ll boat around the villages and pass through the floating islands where people live and cultivate prolific gardens.
Dinner and overnight at Inle Treasure Resort Hotel on the lake.
November 11, 2013 – Inle – Indein (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, the group will head to the village of Indein. Along the way, you’ll be taken through small locks and down narrow streams that are surrounded by green bamboo forests and paddy fields. In Indein, you’ll walk through a local village and on to the ruined pagoda complex where beautiful stupas and temples dominate the area.
In the afternoon, you’ll return to the hotel and enjoy some free time and the sunset on the lake. Dinner and overnight at Inle Treasure Resort Hotel on the lake.
HIGHLIGHT! A visit to Indein is often a highlight for many visitors to Myanmar. To walk through these ancient ruins is like taking a step back in time.
November 12, 2013 – Inle Lake – Yangon (Meals: B, L, D)
After breakfast, you’ll return by boat to the small town of Nyaun Shwe. This is the town in which the locals begin their trading in and out of the lake. Here there may be time for some sightseeing before you transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon.
Upon arrival at Yangon, you’ll check into the hotel and have time for a short rest before lunch at a truly local restaurant that is mainly visited by Yangon residents. The afternoon will be spent with some final sightseeing, including a visit to Chinatown, a visit to the local grocery store and the chance for last-minute souvenir shopping. Dinner and overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel or similar in Yangon.
November 13, 2013 – Yangon – Departure (Meals: B)
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll transfer to Yangon International Airport for your international flight.
** Itinerary subject to change without notice.
**PLUS – if you and one or more friends book one of our international tours on or before May 15, you’ll both receive a 5% discount on land costs. See details and restrictions here.
Land costs: $4,850** (see note below re: costs)
Single supplement: $1,250
Interested in sharing? We do our best to pair up same-sex travelers so as to avoid the single supplement. However, priority is given to the first deposits received. If you’re interested in sharing – PLEASE send in deposit as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this benefit. (Why a single supplement charge? See this FAQ page for an explanation.)
Final payment due no later than September 1, 2013.
** Please note – Hotel costs in Myanmar are on the rise, hence there’s been a cost increase over last year’s tour. At present there are a limited number of clean, quality hotels to choose from but as infrastructure improves, we are looking forward to being able to lower our prices in years to come. In the meantime, please don’t let this deter you from visiting now. It’s an exciting time to visit Myanmar!
Price includes: Accommodation in 3-4 star hotels, 36 meals, land transportation, in-country flights, local guides and entrance fees to pagodas.
Price does not include: Flights to and from Myanmar, evacuation insurance (highly recommended), camera fees, purchases of personal nature such as souvenirs, laundry, tips and beverages.
We recommend World Nomads for travel and/or evacuation insurance.
NOTE: For best pricing on international flights, we will provide the name of our travel agent upon receipt of deposit for this or any other tour.
This unique journey requires a minimum of 6 and is limited to 15 women.
This tour requires an $800 deposit.
Minimum required for Tour Leader to join: 6 people
For deposit and payments, please make payable and mail check to:
PO Box 16102
Seattle, WA 98116
For questions, please contact Beth at:
info (at) wandertours (dot) com
It’s easy to register by making your deposit of $800! Simply click on the Register Now button below and you’ll be taken to PayPal where you add your debit or credit card information. You do not need a PayPal account. Subsequent payments may be made through PayPal by sending to: beth (at) wandertours (dot) com.
Burma Packing List: Provided upon registration
Having traveled around Southeast Asia for nearly 20 years, Beth finally visited this very special destination just as the country began opening its doors to the outside world. The country is just opening to tourism and Beth is excited to share this adventure with you.
Beth is the author of the Wanderlust and Lipstick guides including The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo, For Women Traveling to India and is the publisher of Traveling with Kids. She is also the publisher and founder of Wanderlust and Lipstick and WanderTours.