Hilltribes of Myanmar (Burma)

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Burma, Myanmar

Best time to go: January to April, October to December

13 Nights | from £2,995pp

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5 6 9 0

Holiday type: Tailor-made

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Highlights:

  • Stay among local people in a rural village amid picturesque rice paddies
  • Drink in the atmosphere at the ancient Buddhist temples and pagodas around romantic Mandalay
  • Gawp at the views from your train carriage window atop the lofty Gokteik viaduct
  • Drift on tranquil Inle Lake to discover the little-visited ruins of submerged pagodas
  • Feel the silky white sand of palm-shaded Ngapali beach between your toes
Day 1: UK / Mandalay
Maximise your time in Myanmar by flying overnight from Heathrow to Mandalay, the fascinating hub of central Myanmar, via Bangkok.

Day 2: Mandalay
The royal capital of the last kings of Burma has more than a whiff of romance about it – even though Mandalay remained capital for less than 30 years before the British empire stepped in. After your transfer to your hotel, discover precious reminders of the era of King Mindon, the city’s founder, and his son Thibaw, the country’s last monarch among this large, modern city. Visit Shwenandaw Monastery, adorned with beautiful teak carvings, and Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as 'the world's largest book' – each of its 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings is housed in a separate stupa. As the sun sets, drink in the views across the surrounding countryside from atop Mandalay Hill, 236m above the city.
Mandalay Hill Resort

Day 3: Mandalay/Pyin Oo Lwin
The summer heat of Mandalay was too much for the British, who – as elsewhere in Asia during the imperial Raj era – preferred to retreat from the steaming central lowland plains to higher altitudes in summer. Journey northeast of Mandalay to one such retreat, the quirky hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo. Explore this charming little colonial town in the cool Shan hills is known for its fairytale clock tower and the miniature stagecoaches that ply the streets – as well as delicious strawberries, if you’re here in the right season.
Aureum Resort at Governor’s House | Meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Pyin Oo Lwin/Hsipaw
Experience one of Asia’s most memorable train journeys on the local railway from Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw, an ancient Shan capital nestling into the mountains. Passing hills and rice paddies, peer down from atop the Gokteik Viaduct – at 102m high, the longest and tallest in Myanmar, providing dramatic views. Finish off the day with a stroll up to Thein Daung Pagoda on Nine Buddha Hill – as dusk falls you’ll discover why it’s popularly known as ‘Sunset Hill’, enjoying beautiful views over the town and the Shan hills.
Amata Hsipaw Resort | Meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Hsipaw
The best way to explore the lush Shan highlands is on foot, with a trek around the Hsipaw area, traversing traditional farming villages. Enjoy intimate insights into local lifestyles of the Shan people as you hike amid the typical rural scenery of rice paddies, fields and occasionally babbling mountain streams.
Amata Hsipaw Resort | Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Hsipaw/Mandalay
Descend from HIspaw back to Mandalay on a scenic drive through the Shan hills via a series of little-visited gems. Delve into the Peik Chin Myaung caves, where gilded Buddhist stupas sit beneath impressive stalactites, and cool off under the cascades of nearby waterfalls.
Mandalay Hill Resort | Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Mandalay/Inle Lake
After a short flight to Heho you’ll arrive at Inle Lake, renowned for the unique leg-rowing technique of local fishermen, the temples, stupas and monasteries lining its waters and the hilltribe settlements perched on the surrounding slopes. The slow pace of life means it’s tempting to simply relax in the comfort of your hotel while taking in the beautiful backdrop of the Shan Hills, but step out to explore the town, perhaps keeping an eye out for a café – locally grown avocados are an unexpected treat.
Villa Inle Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast

Day 8: Inle Lake
There’s no better way to explore Inle than from water-level. Sit back in your own private long-tail boat and chug south across the lake in the shadow of the verdant Shan hills to an area little visited by tourists: the old ruins at Sagar, where a cluster of semi-submerged pagodas, thankfully not tarnished by any modern attempts at restoration, provide fascinating examples of early Shan State religious architecture.
Villa Inle Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Inle Lake/Hill Villages
Lace up your walking shoes again for an unforgettable gentle trek though the rolling Shan hills through diverse landscapes: red-earth fields ploughed by oxen and sown by hand; fiery-red chilli crops; and a variety of trees including teak, jackfruit, wild pear and sweet acacia. Learn about traditional lifestyles during an overnight stay in a small village, providing a unique opportunity to gain intimate insights into local culture.
Homestay | Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Hill villages/Kalaw
Wave goodbye to your new friends in the village and continue your trek to Kalaw. Once a hill station popular with British colonial staff, Kalaw is now an attractive, bustling rural town on a cool plateau, surrounded by villages of the Palaung, Danu and Pao tribes. Spend the afternoon relaxing in your hotel, visiting the various pagodas and stupas, or shopping for souvenirs at the busy market, swollen every few days by the arrival of traders from the hills.
Amara Mountain Resort | Meals: Breakfast

Days 11 to 13: Kalaw/Heho/Ngapali
Time to wind down even more, if that’s possible: after another brief drive and a flight from Heho the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal beckon, lapping at the soft white sand of Ngapali. Spend three idyllic days relaxing on the palm-lined beach.
Ngapali Bay Villas & Spa | Meals: Breakfast

Day 14: Ngapali/UK
A short flight from Ngapali to Yangon connects with your onward journey to the UK.

Pricing
At A&K all of our journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 14 day suggested journey in Myanmar will cost from £2,995 per person based on two sharing, including international flights.

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Our office in Yangon is managed by a local team of experienced and passionate travel professionals with an intimate knowledge of Myanmar, enabling them to provide clients with great insight into this fascinating destination, and ensuring a seamless experience every step of the A&K journey. With their long standing personal connections and networks they're also there to help you uncover local secrets and experiences, and to open doors to people and places normally beyond the reach of the ordinary traveller.


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Useful info

Myanmar (Burma) Map

Best time to be there

Myanmar (Burma) has three clear seasons: from March to May are the very hot summer months, the wet and humid monsoon runs from May to October and the cold dry winter lasts from November to February. The best time of year to visit is late November early December when the rains have gone, the landscape is lush and green and the skies are crystal clear. However any time from late November to March is a good time to travel.

Fly to

Yangon (Thai Airways via Bangkok)

flying time

12 hours 55 minutes via Bangkok

time difference

GMT +6 1/2 hours

Visas

Required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area

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