Tours

Myanmar

Tour departs: 02 October 2018
Tour length: 18 Days

Overview

Tour Departs: 02 October 2018.

Tour Length: 18 Days.

We are delighted to again return to Myanmar in 2018. Previously known as Burma, the country has intrigued travellers for centuries and after being “off limits” to visitors for many years, the move  towards full democracy will bring rapid change. In the meantime, it still offers the visitor the mystical experience of the Asia of the past. Despite conquerors and austere military rule, it is still the land of Buddha where pious monks are more revered by the gentle locals than any statesmen or international celebrities. Prepare to be dazzled by the ‘’winking wonder” of Shwedagon Paya, contemplate the 4000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan, and enjoy the smiles and the waves from the friendly locals as we explore the interior of the country.

Our tour takes us to the nation’s capital Yangon (Rangoon), on to Inle Lake, a beautiful highland lake on the Shan Plateau before we travel to the historic city of Mandalay in the north. There, we join our river ship for 7 nights cruising through the impressive gorges of the Upper Irrawaddy River, perhaps the most dramatic part of the 1,200 mile length of the river. We will visit the small towns and villages which have been remote from the western world and offer a glimpse of a timeless lost Myanmar.

 

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Yangon (Rangoon), the nations capital
  • Inle Lake, on the Shan Plateau
  • Mandalay, the spiritual capital
  • Bagan, perhaps Asia’s greatest archaeological site
  • 7 nights’ river cruising through the interior of Myanmar

 

RIVER CRUISE SHIP “ANAWRAHTA” – A VERY SPECIAL SHIP

There are a number of ships plying the interior waterways of Myanmar but our home for the 7 nights cruising the Upper Irrawaddy River, the “Anawrahta”, is very special and unique. Only launched in 2015, the vessel carries the name of the founder of the Burmese nation, modern-day Myanmar. Built to resemble a British colonial paddle steamer, the “Anawrahta” takes guests back to an era of bygone elegance. Our Deluxe Staterooms, each with its own private balcony, are amongst the largest of any ship cruising the rivers of Myanmar. Enjoy the finest on-board culinary experience as resident chefs introduce guests to the authentic flavours of Burma as well as offering international favourites. Enjoy a cocktail in Kipling’s Bar on the Terrace deck as you watch the world slip by, learn about the history and culture of the country from local experts in the comfort of the colonial club-styled Mandalay Lounge, participate in a full programme of included shore excursions and when you return to the ship, unwind in the pool or visit the Thazin Spa for a massage. Cruising the rivers of Myanmar is an adventure but why not enjoy it in absolute first class comfort.

 

 

 

Itinerary

 

Tuesday 02 October

HOME – SINGAPORE

Early this afternoon, we join the flight to Singapore. On arrival, we make our way to our hotel, located adjacent to the airport, for an overnight stay.



Wednesday 03 October

SINGAPORE – YANGON (RANGOON) (B,D)

This morning, we return to the airport and join the lunchtime flight to Yangon. On arrival, we are met and welcomed by our local host and transferred to our hotel for a 2 night stay. This evening, we enjoy our first “taste” of Myanmar over dinner at a local restaurant.

 

YANGON / RANGOON

Yangon / Rangoon owes its history to two factors, the Shwe Dagon Pagoda and the River. It only became capital in 1854, following the 2nd Anglo Burmese War when the British made the small port with its important national pilgrimage shrine the administrative capital of their recent acquisition of Lower Burma. The city stands on the Eastern edge of the Delta and is on the Rangoon River, not the Irrawaddy. It was not connected by water to the Irrawaddy proper till the construction of the Twante Canal in the early part of the 20th century.
Rangoon was renamed Yangon or ‘The End of Strife’ after the conquest of Lower Burma by King Alaunghpaya in 1755. The city later became anglicised as ‘Rangoon’. The name has now officially reverted to Yangon. The British laid out the city with its grid plan — the cross-streets being numbered in the American way. The city soon prospered as a glance at the magnificent colonial architecture will tell. Rangoon was a cosmopolitan capital with large Indian and Chinese communities.


Thursday 04  October

YANGON (B,L)

After breakfast, we start our day of sightseeing with a visit to beautiful Kandawgyi Lake, an artificial lake originally built by the British as a reservoir and complimented by lovely gardens. At the Yangon River we see Botataung Pagoda which houses many ancient Buddhist relics and artifacts, before continuing to the downtown district with its many old colonial buildings still in use. The Independence Monument in Mahabandoola Gardens is dedicated to Burma’s independence from Great Britain in 1948. The streets are filled with colourful sidewalk markets selling various items both old and new. If time allows after our downtown ‘walkabout’, we will go to Wahdan jetty on the Yangon River to see the hustle and bustle of local life as goods and people transfer on and off the ships.  We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before seeing the colossal reclining Buddha Chaukhtatkyi and the National Museum filled with cultural exhibits of Myanmar. We end the day with a visit to the awe inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda, perhaps the most beautiful pagoda complex in all of Asia.

 

INLE LAKE

Inle Lake is located in the heart of the Shan Plateau. It is a beautiful highland lake, 900 meters above sea level, 22km long and 10km across, and inhabited by many different ethnic nationals of the area. The Intha people are the Lake dwellers and are renowned for their leg rowing. Leg rowed traditional boats are the main ceremonial attractions of the Inle Lake.


Friday 05 October

YANGON – INLE LAKE (B,D)

This morning, we return to the airport and join the short flight to Heho. On arrival, we drive to the magical lake and cruise to the famous Paung Daw Oo Pagoda, with its five famous Buddha images, four of which are carried in great ceremony around the lake at festival time. Nearby at Inpawkhone Village where the houses sit on stilts, we see traditional silk weaving with hand looms and the processing of lotus blossoms as they are made into beautiful fabric. As time permits this afternoon, we will visit traditional craft workshops for blacksmiths, cheroot (local cigar) rolling, and boat making before continuing our boat ride to Kaylar village. We see the floating gardens up close, then continue to “Ngaphae Chaung Monastery”, an old traditional monastery on the lake. Finally, we retire to our lakeside hotel for a 2 night stay. Dinner tonight at a local restaurant.


Saturday 06 October

INLE LAKE (B,L)

After breakfast, depending on the location of the morning market – it rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5-day cycle – we will visit the market which is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. We then journey by boat up a small river to the village of Indain where small pagodas are half-hidden amongst the undergrowth. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant there before returning to our hotel with the remainder of the day at leisure.


Sunday 07 October

INLE LAKE – MANDALAY (B,D)

After breakfast at the hotel it is a short boat ride to our coach which will take us back to Heho Airport where we join the flight to Mandalay. On arrival we are met and transferred into the city, the last royal capital of the Burmese kingdom and a city rich in history and culture. On the way we stop at the ancient royal capital of Amarapura (a capital twice during the Konbaung period), and enjoy a walk on U Bein Bridge which stretches 1.2 kilometres over Lake Taungtaman. Built around 1850, it is the oldest and longest teakwood span in the world. As we stroll in the vicinity of U Bein Bridge we can also see traditional silk and cotton weaving for which Mandalay is noted.

This afternoon, we take a short ferry ride to the small island of Inwa, founded in 1364 and a royal capital for 400 years. There are no cars on the island so we travel by pony cart down tree-lined paths to see old palace walls; a watch tower now called the’ leaning tower of Ava’; the Maha Aungmye Bonzan, which is a beautiful brick-and-stucco monastery; and the elegant teakwood monastery Bagaya Kyaung, one of the few surviving teakwood monasteries in Myanmar and where young monks still study. Later this afternoon, we return to the mainland and our overnight accommodation in the city for an overnight stay.

 

MANDALAY

Though Rangoon is the modern day capital, Mandalay, or Yadanapura — the ‘City of Gems’, remains the Golden Land’s spiritual capital. To know Mandalay and its pleasant surrounds is to know Burma. Situated in the heart of Upper Burma, the city is at the hub of river routes from China and India and land routes from the Shan massif and Siam beyond. The city throbs with life and trade. This is a city of markets and monasteries and is no touristic backwater. As well as being the economic epicentre of Upper Burma Mandalay is the religious capital of Burma. There are as many living monasteries and pagodas as Pagan has dead ones and the monastic population numbers over 100,000. The present city covers an area of 25 square miles and is rapidly growing.

The British captured Mandalay in 1885 following a campaign for control of the Irrawaddy and on 1st January 1886 the Burmese empire was formally annexed by Lord Randolph Churchill. The royal palace was renamed Fort Dufferin and a new city on a grid plan was laid out to the south-west of the palace-city extending to the river bank and its important port. This plan remains to this day though sadly many of the old colonial buildings have been lost — either in the war, fire or to developers. Glimpses of the old colonial city may still be seen, particularly in the downtown area around the Mahamuni Hpaya-gyi — the city’s principal shrine.


Monday 08 October

JOIN 7 NIGHT ANAWHRATA “IMPRESSIVE GORGES” CRUIS

MANDALAY – NEW NYEIN (B,L,D)

This morning, we join our home for the next 7 nights, the luxury river cruise ship “Anawhrata” and, set sail northwards from Mandalay along the Upper Irrawaddy River passing through the Dolphin Sanctuary. The day’s cruising includes a morning lecture on Myanmar culture entitled “Myanmar Ways of Life” and a Myanmar Traditional Dress demonstration early in the afternoon. In the cooler air of late-afternoon we enjoy a tour of the pottery village of Nwe Nyein where we can see traditional techniques still being used to produce a wide variety of decorative pots. This evening, we get to meet our fellow ship-board travellers over cocktails


Tuesday 09 October

TAGUANG (B,L,D)

This morning, there are yoga and meditation groups on the sun deck for those that wish to participate. Today, we cruise through the rolling hills of the Third Defile passing by bamboo villages and small fishing settlements where life is both tranquil and simple. Today’s programme includes a cookery demonstration from the ship’s chef and an informal Burmese language lesson. Later this afternoon, we reach Taguang and during our tour we see life on the riverbank and visit this small town with its ancient fortifications, archeological area and famous nat or spirit shrines.


Wednesday 10 October

KATHA (B,L,D)

During the morning, why not relax and enjoy some of the wonderful facilities aboard our ship including the spacious Spa and Swedish-style sauna, or the 8 metre whirlpool swimming pool, conveniently raised so that while lying in the water you can still enjoy the passing scenery as we sail to Katha. Early this afternoon we reach this enchanting colonial town. a setting of George Orwell’s “Burmese Days”. Little has changed since then. Of interest are the fire station’s collections of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company’s ship’s bells taken from sunken ships in the Second War. Katha was the final resting place for much of the old flotilla as over a hundred ships were scuppered here in 1942 – an act of defiance before the advancing Japanese. Our tour will take us around all the places that appear in the book so that we have the opportunity to really imagine how life was in this far-flung corner of the British Empire.


Thursday 11 October

NABA AND ELEPHANT CAMP (B,L,D)

This morning, we take a scenic oriental train ride from Katha to Naba through the thick Kachin jungle passing through villages in the teak forest. Upon arrival in Naba, we visit an elephant logging camp in the hardwood forests of the hills that surround the town before returning to the ship for lunch. This afternoon, maybe relax on the sun deck while we continue sailing upstream to Shwe Gu. Afternoon tea will be served before a lecture on Myanmar history and current affairs. As the evening approaches and the Burmese sun immerses everything in a golden light, dress up in style and join our  fellow travellers in  the Kipling’s Bar for a “a toast to the past”. Its time to reminisce on the British-Burmese days and the colonial  British Clubs where gents whiffed cigars and ladies sipped on tasty gins with tonic. This is the perfect time to lose time. After dinner, maybe enjoy a movie under the stars on the sun deck.


Friday 12 October

THE SECOND DEFILE AND KYUN DAW (B,L,D)

Early this morning, we make our first passing through the impressive Second Defile. This takes about two hours depending on the force of the current and breakfast can be enjoyed on the sundeck while negotiating the gorge. Once on the other side, we turn at the Sinkan Bridge and begin our return journey, this time with the fast-flowing current behind us. It may take as little as 25 minutes to traverse the gorge in the southerly direction! We sail on, passing Kyun Daw Island where we visit countless small pagodas, local villages and river nomads who live on the river banks of the Irrawaddy. We return to the ship for lunch and contain our journey south. After dinner, our crew entertains us with traditional Myanmar dance.


Saturday 13 October

HSITHE (B,L,D)

Early morning yoga and meditation are again available on the sun deck. For those wishing to further their knowledge of the country and its culture, this morning there is a lecture on the subject of “Religion in Myanmar” as well as further lessons on the Burmese language. After lunch, there are demonstrations  on the traditional rolling of Burmese cigars as well as an introduction to the Burmese habit of beetel nut chewing. Early this afternoon, we reach the picturesque fishing village of Hsithe, home to fishermen who conduct co-operative fishing with the critically endangered Irrawaddy River Dolphin. During the village tour,  we see the local agriculture products and learn how to cast a traditional fishing net. Afternoon tea will be served at the visitor center of the village along with a presentation focusing on the river, the wildlife and the people. We return to the boat for dinner after which you may wish to join the friendly locals back at the village outdoor cinema.


 

Sunday 14 October

MANDALAY (B,L,D)

Today is our last opportunity to simply sit back, relax and enjoy the luxurious facilities on board and the passing scenery as we sail to Mandalay. As we pass through Mingun, look out for the monumental and unfinished stupa of King Bodawpaya. It has never been completed as an astrologer claimed that once the temple was completed, the king would die.
We reach Mandalay late in the afternoon where we disembark in time for a return visit Amarapua to see the sunset at the famous “U Bein’s Bridge”, the longest teak bridge in Myanmar. After a farewell dinner on board, enjoy the evening entertainment Ramayana show, a legendary story and performance accompanied with traditional music instruments.


Monday 15 October

CRUISE ENDS IN MANDALAY

MANDALAY – BAGAN (B,D)

This morning, we disembark from our cruise ship and are transferred to Mandalay Airport in time to join the flight to Bagan. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 2 night stay. This afternoon, enjoy an orientation tour which includes the magnificent Ananda Temple and the pretty Sulamani Pagoda. We finish at one of the ‘sunset’ pagodas to watch the breathtaking vista of the sun setting over the temple-strewn plain.

 

BAGAN

Some 200 km southwest of Mandalay and 600 km north of Yangon, Bagan is to Myanmar what Angkor is to Cambodia, Ayuthia is to Thailand and Borobudur is to Indonesia — the most magnificent architectural flourish of an ancient people. Sprawling away from the banks of the Irrawaddy River, more than 2,200 temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins grace more than a 42 square kilometers. Some date back to the 9th and 12th Centuries, and all contribute to what National Geographic hails as “one of Southeast Asia’s greatest archaeological heritage sites.”


Tuesday 16 October

BAGAN (B,L)

After breakfast, we return to the Irrawaddy River for an enjoyable 30-minute boat ride to Kyun Thiri Island in the middle of the river. Here we visit this typical farming village, interacting with the villagers and observing their way of life. We also visit a monastery where we are served local tea and snacks. We return to Bagan by boat. The afternoon is at leisure


Wednesday 17 October

BAGAN – YANGON (B,D)

This morning, we join our flight from Bagan to Yangon where we are met and transferred to our hotel for our final night in Myanmar. This evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner together.


Thursday 18 October

YANGON – SINGAPORE – HOME (B)

This morning, we start our homeward journey as we are transferred to Yangon Airport in time to report for the flight to Singapore. On arrival, we transfer to our final homeward flight for the overnight journey.


Friday 19 October

ARRIVE HOME

Arrival time is mid-morning.


 

Map

 

Sedona Hotel Yangon

Be swathed in plush cordiality of our luxury hotel in Yangon; the Sedona Hotel Yangon, an urban oasis amidst the hustle & bustle of city life.

Sitting majestically on eight acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, Sedona Hotel Yangon is a 20-minute drive away from the international airport and the bustling city centre.

Within close proximity to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda and Inya Lake, this deluxe 5-star hotel in Yangon impresses with its local ethnic decor and architecture. We offer 366 newly-upgraded rooms and suites along with several dining options, as well as a new 29-storey Inya Wing extension with 431 well-appointed accommodations, along with a grand lobby and a high-end retail gallery. Additionally, we provide business travellers with exclusive club access for privacy, comfort and personalised service.

Relish the multitude of flavours at our variety of restaurants in Yangon. Savour Italian fare at Orzo, Oriental cuisine at Du Fu, International buffet at D’Cuisine, or simply unwind at the classic Lobby Lounge.

Inle Resort and Spa

Inle Resort is blessed with a vantage location in a unique tourist destination but beyond the physical hardware of the resort, the distinctive difference that sets it apart from its competitors must be the Resort Management and the Employees. Every senior manager at “Inle Resort & Spa” comes with operating experience from international hotels in Myanmar backed by an experienced Yangon Sales & Reservations Team for effective customer relationship management.

You can expect the highest standards of service at “Inle Resort & Spa”, as you would have from the “Mandalay City Hotel” for this inimitable culture sets us apart from our competitors; an intangible quality that keeps our valued guests returning again and again and drives us to deliver the best service and value in the industry.

Prices

Tour Costs

Per Person Sharing Twin or Double Room/Cabin: $ 11,900
Per Person Supplement for Single Room/Cabin: $ 2,800

Cost Include
  • Economy class air travel from the tours international departure point
  • Upgrade to Business Class available at additional cost.
  • Prepaid government and airport taxes, security and fuel surcharges (as at 01/09/2017).
  • First Class accommodation throughout.
  • Deluxe Balcony Staterooms on board “Anawrahta”
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary.
  • English speaking local hosts and guides in each country.
  • Baggage handling of one suitcase per person.
  • Tips to local guides and coach drivers.
  • Fully escorted by a Maher Tours Leader.

Costs Exclude
  • Any meals and sightseeing not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Travel insurance – advice and assistance offered.
  • Visa fees – advice and assistance offered.
  • Items of a personal nature such as room service, laundry, drinks, telephone charges etc.

Testimonials

“A nicely balanced variety of history, religion, customs & crafts with an insight into village life and a chance to interact with the locals.

Thanks for taking care of us Adrienne and for being terrific company. This has been my 3rd journey with Adrienne and I look forward to the next one.”

“An experience to get away from our capital lifestyle to see how millions of people live, happy to see whole families fishing, bathing, washing, in the rivers and at the same time have cell phones. Just to sit on the river boat and watch the Burmese people go about their work as you sail by.”
– Diane Sharpe

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Need Assistance?

By Phone: 0800 500 518 | By Email: info@mahertours.co.nz