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TRAVEL TIP: 2-WEEK MYANMAR TRAVEL ITINERARY

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Discovering Myanmar: A Journey Through the Golden Land

Nestled between the bustling giants of India and China, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, remains one of Southeast Asia’s most enigmatic and unexplored destinations. A land where golden pagodas touch the skies, ancient traditions intertwine seamlessly with modern life, and the landscapes range from pristine beaches to majestic mountains. 

As you embark on this journey through the “Golden Land,” prepare to be enchanted by its rich history, diverse culture, and the unparalleled warmth of its people. 

Whether you’re meandering through the bustling streets of Yangon, floating over the ancient temples of Bagan in a hot air balloon, or finding solace in the serene waters of Inle Lake, Myanmar promises an experience that is as unforgettable as it is transformative. Dive in, and let the magic of Myanmar captivate your soul.

DAY 1: ARRIVAL YANGON

Morning:

  • As you touch down at Yangon International Airport, the vibrant atmosphere of Myanmar’s largest city will greet you. The bustling sounds, the aroma of local cuisine, and the sight of traditional longyis will set the tone for your adventure.
 

Late Morning:

  • Begin your exploration with a visit to the heart of the city, the Sule Pagoda. This 2,500-year-old golden temple is not just a religious site but also a landmark that has witnessed many of the city’s historical events.
  • As you walk around, your guide will share tales of its significance and the legends that surround it.
 

Afternoon:

  • Proceed to the Chaukhtagyi Temple, home to the impressive Reclining Buddha. This 66 meters long statue is adorned with intricate carvings and engravings, depicting the life of Buddha. Take a moment to soak in the serenity and marvel at the sheer size of the statue.
  • Next, step back in time as you stroll through Yangon’s colonial districts. Admire the British colonial architecture, with buildings that have stood the test of time. Your guide will point out significant structures and share stories of the bygone era.
 

Late Afternoon:

  • As the sun begins its descent, head to the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. This 99-meter tall gold-covered stupa is a sight to behold, especially during sunset. The golden hue of the pagoda, combined with the setting sun, creates a magical atmosphere. Learn about its history, which spans over 2,500 years, and its significance in Burmese culture and religion.
 

Evening:

  • After a day of exploration, transfer to your chosen hotel. The staff will assist you with a smooth check-in process. Unwind in your room, freshen up, and relax after the day’s adventures.
 

Night:

  • For dinner, head to the hotel’s in-house restaurant. Indulge in a mix of traditional Burmese dishes and international cuisine. The chef’s special Mohinga, a classic Burmese noodle soup, is a must-try.
  • After dinner, you might want to take a leisurely walk around the hotel premises or simply retire to your room for a good night’s sleep, recharging for the adventures that await the next day.

DAY 2: YANGON – MANDALAY

Morning:

  • Start your day with a hearty breakfast at your hotel in Yangon, savoring a mix of traditional Burmese dishes and continental favorites. As you dine, let the anticipation of the day’s adventures build.
  • Post breakfast, a smooth transfer will be arranged to Yangon International Airport. Board your flight to Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar and a city steeped in history and culture.
 

Late Morning:

  • Upon arrival in Mandalay, your journey into the heart of Myanmar’s cultural heritage begins. Your first stop is the revered Mahamuni Pagoda, home to a spectacular gold-covered Buddha statue. As you stand before it, you’ll feel the spiritual energy that attracts pilgrims from all over the country.
  • Dive deeper into Mandalay’s artisanal heritage by visiting local craft workshops. Witness the meticulous skills of wood and marble carvers, and observe stonecutters as they shape intricate designs. Each workshop tells a story of traditions passed down through generations.
 

Afternoon:

  • Travel back in time with an excursion to Amarapura, the former royal capital of Myanmar. Here, the past comes alive with ancient temples and historical landmarks.
  • A highlight of the day awaits at the Mahagandayon Monastery. Experience the profound serenity as you attend the lunch of the monks, a daily ritual that showcases the monastery’s disciplined way of life.
  • Following this, take a leisurely walk on the U Bein bridge, the world’s longest teakwood bridge. The bridge, set against the backdrop of Taungthaman Lake, offers picturesque views and is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.
 

Late Afternoon:

  • Amarapura’s rich craft heritage beckons as you visit a silk weaving workshop. Marvel at the intricate patterns being woven and learn about the age-old techniques that make Amarapura a hub for silk production.
  • Continue your exploration with a visit to the Shwenandaw Monastery, known for its exquisite wood carvings, and the Kuthawdaw Pagoda, home to the world’s largest book.
 

Evening:

  • As the day winds down, ascend Mandalay Hill. From its peak, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the city and the meandering Irrawaddy valley. The golden hues of the setting sun combined with the city’s silhouette create a mesmerizing spectacle.
  • After a day rich in experiences, a transfer will be arranged to your hotel in Mandalay. Check-in and take some time to relax and refresh.
 

Night:

  • For dinner, you have the freedom to explore Mandalay’s culinary scene on your own. Whether you choose a local eatery or a fine-dining restaurant, the city promises a gastronomic delight.
  • Return to your hotel for a restful night, recharging for the adventures that await the next day.

DAY 3: MANDALAY – AVA – SAGAING – MANDALAY

Morning:

  • Begin your day with a delightful breakfast at your hotel in Mandalay. As you indulge in a mix of local and international dishes, prepare yourself for a day filled with historical exploration and cultural immersion.
  • Post breakfast, embark on an excursion to Ava, also known as Inwa, the ancient capital of successive Burmese kingdoms for over four centuries. The journey to Ava is as enchanting as the destination itself, with scenic views accompanying you throughout.
 

Late Morning:

  • Upon reaching Ava, step back in time as you hop onto a traditional horse-drawn carriage. This mode of transport, reminiscent of a bygone era, is the perfect way to explore the historical sites of Ava.
  • Your first stop is the Royal Palace ruins. As you wander through the remnants of what was once a grand palace, imagine the splendor and opulence of the Burmese royalty that resided here.
  • Continue to the leaning watchtower, known as the “Ava Tower.” This 27-meter high structure offers a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape.
  • Conclude your carriage ride with a visit to the Bagaya-Okkyaung Monastery. Made entirely of teak wood and adorned with intricate carvings, this monastery stands as a testament to Ava’s glorious past.
 

Afternoon:

  • After your historical tour, satiate your hunger with a sumptuous lunch at a local restaurant. Relish traditional Burmese dishes, each telling a story of the region’s rich culinary heritage.
  • Post-lunch, head to Sagaing, a region renowned for its spiritual significance and home to numerous Buddhist monasteries and pagodas.
  • Dive into the world of Burmese craftsmanship with a visit to the coppersmith workshops. Witness artisans at work as they skillfully practice the art of repoussé on silver, creating intricate designs and patterns.
  • Your cultural exploration continues with a visit to the majestic KAUNG MU DAW Pagoda. Standing at a height of 46 meters, this dome-shaped pagoda is an architectural marvel and holds great religious significance.
 

Evening:

  • As the sun begins its descent, make your way back to Mandalay. The drive back is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the day’s experiences and the rich history of the regions you’ve explored.
  • Once in Mandalay, the evening is yours to enjoy. Whether you wish to relax at the hotel, explore the local markets, or take a leisurely walk along the streets, the choice is yours.
 

Night:

  • For dinner, you’re free to explore the gastronomic delights of Mandalay. From street food stalls offering local delicacies to upscale restaurants serving international cuisine, there’s something for every palate.
  • After a fulfilling day, return to your hotel for a peaceful night’s rest, recharging for the adventures of the next day.

DAY 4: MANDALAY TO BAGAN RIVER VOYAGE 

Start your day with an early morning breakfast, savoring a mix of local and international flavors. Once satiated, make your way to the pier for the next leg of your journey.

Embark on a serene cruise along the iconic Irrawaddy River, setting course for the historic city of Bagan. As you glide on the waters, immerse yourself in the picturesque landscapes and the gentle rhythm of river life. However, please note that during the dry months of February and March, the river might be less navigable. In such cases, we’ll ensure a comfortable road transfer to Bagan.

Midday, indulge in a delightful lunch at a riverside restaurant, enjoying dishes that capture the essence of the region.

By late afternoon, the ancient temples and pagodas of Bagan will start to appear on the horizon, signaling your arrival. Once docked, a transfer will take you to your hotel where you can settle in and relax.

The evening offers you the freedom to explore Bagan’s culinary scene. Choose from local eateries serving traditional Burmese dishes or opt for international cuisines at upscale restaurants.

Conclude your day with a restful sleep at the hotel, dreaming of the adventures that await in Bagan.

DAY 5: EXPLORING BAGAN’S HERITAGE 

Begin your day with a hearty breakfast, indulging in a mix of traditional Burmese and continental dishes. With your energy replenished, set out to explore the ancient wonders of Bagan.

Your first stop is the Shwezigon Pagoda, a magnificent structure known for its golden dome that glistens under the sun. As you wander, learn about the pagoda’s rich history and its significance in Burmese culture.

Next, head to the Htilominlo and Kyanzittha Umin temples. These architectural marvels, with intricate carvings and murals, offer a glimpse into Bagan’s glorious past.

Venture into the quaint village of Myinkaba, where you’ll discover the art of lacquerware. Visit local workshops and witness artisans meticulously crafting beautiful lacquer pieces, a craft that Bagan is renowned for.

After some shopping and exploration, head to the Gubyuakgyi Pagoda and the Manuha and Nanpaya temples. These sites, with their unique designs and stories, are a testament to Bagan’s rich heritage.

For lunch, savor authentic Burmese cuisine at a riverside restaurant, offering panoramic views of the tranquil Irrawaddy River.

In the afternoon, delve deeper into Bagan’s history by visiting the monumental temples of Gawdawpalin and Mingalazedi. Don’t miss the grand Ananda temple, a masterpiece of Mon architecture.

As the sun begins to set, embark on a nostalgic horse-drawn carriage ride, taking in the beauty of Bagan’s landscape and soaking in the day’s experiences.

The evening is yours to enjoy. Opt for a local eatery or an upscale restaurant for dinner.

Retire to your hotel for a restful night, with memories of Bagan’s splendors fresh in your mind.

DAY 6: RELAXATION IN BAGAN

After a sumptuous breakfast, the day is yours to design. Bagan offers a plethora of experiences, from temple hopping to local market visits.

Perhaps, rent a bicycle and explore the lesser-known temples and pagodas at your own pace. Or, indulge in a spa treatment, rejuvenating your senses with traditional Burmese therapies.

For those interested in arts and crafts, consider taking a short workshop on pottery or lacquerware, getting hands-on experience in these ancient crafts.

DAY 7: DISCOVERING PINDAYA AND INLE LAKE’S BEAUTY 

Start your day with a delightful breakfast, savoring the flavors of Bagan one last time. Once done, prepare for your journey ahead as you’re transferred to Bagan airport for your flight to Heho.

Upon arrival in Heho, embark on a scenic drive to the charming town of Pindaya. Nestled amidst rolling hills, Pindaya is renowned for its limestone caves. Explore the Pindaya caves, a sacred pilgrimage site filled with thousands of golden Buddha statues, each with its own story. The serene ambiance and spiritual energy of the caves are sure to captivate you.

Next, immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting a traditional Burmese umbrella-making workshop. Witness artisans at work, crafting these colorful umbrellas using age-old techniques passed down through generations.

After a morning of exploration, enjoy a delectable lunch featuring regional specialties. Post-lunch, continue your journey to Nyaung Shwe, the primary access point to the mesmerizing Inle Lake.

Upon reaching the lake’s vicinity, transfer to your hotel. Be greeted with a warm welcome tea, a local tradition that offers a taste of Inle’s hospitality. After checking in, unwind and relax, taking in the serene views of the lake.

The evening is yours to enjoy. Opt to stroll along the lake’s shores or simply relax at the hotel. Dinner is on your own, giving you the freedom to explore local eateries or enjoy the hotel’s culinary offerings.

Retire for the night, with the gentle sounds of Inle Lake lulling you to sleep.

DAY 8: A DAY ON INLE LAKE 

Awaken to the tranquil beauty of Inle Lake. After breakfast, embark on a motorboat adventure, the best way to experience the lake’s wonders. Glide through calm waters, observing the unique leg-rowing technique of the Intha fishermen, a sight synonymous with Inle Lake.

Visit the picturesque Intha lakeside villages, where stilted houses rise above the water. Marvel at the incredible floating gardens, a testament to the locals’ ingenuity, where crops are grown on floating islands.

Midday, stop at a lakeside restaurant for a sumptuous lunch, enjoying dishes made with fresh produce from the lake.

Post-lunch, continue your exploration with a visit to Inpawkhone, a village renowned for its weaving traditions. Observe skilled weavers crafting intricate textiles, a craft that has defined the village for centuries.

Next, head to a workshop producing cheeroots, traditional Burmese cigars. Learn about the process and even try your hand at rolling one!

Conclude your day with a visit to the “jumping cat monastery”, named for its once-trained cats. While the cats no longer jump, the monastery remains a place of tranquility and spiritual reflection.

As evening descends, return to your hotel. Dinner is at your leisure, allowing you to choose from the myriad of dining options available.

Drift into a peaceful sleep, with memories of Inle Lake’s enchantments fresh in your mind.

DAY 9: FROM INLE’S TRANQUILITY TO NGAPALI’S GOLDEN SHORES

Rise and shine early to make the most of your last morning at Inle Lake. As the sun casts its first rays over the calm waters, enjoy a hearty breakfast, reminiscing about the adventures of the past days.

Board a boat for a serene ride back to Nyaung Shwe. As you glide through the waters, take a moment to appreciate the picturesque landscapes and the daily life of the Intha people unfolding around you.

Upon reaching Nyaung Shwe, you’ll be transferred to Heho airport. As you ascend into the skies, catch a final glimpse of Inle Lake’s shimmering waters below. Your destination is the pristine beaches of Ngapali, with a brief stopover in Yangon.

Upon landing in Ngapali, feel the shift in ambiance as the cool mountain air of Inle is replaced by the warm, salty breeze of the Bay of Bengal. A representative will greet you and facilitate your transfer to the hotel.

The evening is yours to explore. Perhaps take a leisurely stroll along Ngapali’s golden sands, watching the sunset paint the sky in hues of orange and pink. Dinner is on your own, offering a chance to sample the local seafood delicacies or opt for international cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant.

Retire to your room, lulled to sleep by the gentle sound of waves crashing on the shore.

DAY 10: SUN, SAND, AND SERENITY AT NGAPALI BEACH

Wake up to the soothing sound of the ocean and the sight of palm trees swaying in the breeze. After a delightful breakfast, the day is yours to indulge in the tropical paradise that is Ngapali Beach.

Whether you choose to lounge on the sun-kissed sands with a book in hand, take a refreshing dip in the azure waters, or partake in water sports like snorkeling and paddleboarding, Ngapali offers a plethora of beachside activities.

For those seeking a touch of adventure, consider renting a bicycle and exploring the nearby fishing villages. Interact with the locals, witness their daily routines, and gain insights into their coastal way of life.

Lunch and dinner are at your discretion. With a plethora of beachside cafes and restaurants, you’re spoilt for choice. Relish the fresh seafood, from grilled fish to succulent prawns, all while enjoying panoramic views of the ocean.

As night falls, you might want to join a beach bonfire or simply gaze at the starlit sky from the comfort of your hotel balcony.

Drift into a peaceful slumber, with the promise of another relaxing day ahead.

DAY 11: NGAPALI’S NATURAL SPLENDOR 

Begin your day with a sumptuous breakfast, savoring the flavors of both local and international dishes as you overlook the sparkling waters of the Bay of Bengal. With the entire day at your disposal, Ngapali’s pristine beauty beckons you to explore and unwind.

Consider embarking on a boat trip to the nearby islands. These untouched gems offer secluded beaches and vibrant underwater worlds, perfect for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Dive beneath the waves to discover colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life.

Back on the main beach, indulge in a therapeutic massage at one of the beachfront spas. Let the skilled masseurs knead away your stresses, using traditional Burmese techniques combined with aromatic oils.

For lunch and dinner, the world is your oyster. From beach shacks serving freshly caught seafood to upscale restaurants offering gourmet dishes, Ngapali caters to every palate. Don’t miss out on trying the local specialty – mohinga, a flavorful fish soup.

As the sun sets, partake in a beach barbecue, where you can grill your catch of the day. With a cocktail in hand, enjoy the serene ambiance, the sound of waves, and the company of fellow travelers.

Retire to your hotel room, letting the gentle sea breeze lull you into a deep sleep, dreaming of another day in paradise.

DAY 12: FAREWELL NGAPALI, HELLO YANGON 

Wake up to the gentle hum of the ocean one last time. After a hearty breakfast, take a moment to soak in the serene beauty of Ngapali Beach. Perhaps take a final stroll along the shore, collecting seashells as souvenirs or capturing a few last-minute photographs.

Mid-morning, prepare for your departure. 

As you board your flight to Yangon, reminisce about the unforgettable memories you’ve made during your stay in Myanmar. From the cultural treasures of Mandalay and Bagan to the natural wonders of Inle Lake and Ngapali Beach, this journey has been nothing short of magical.

Upon arrival in Yangon, proceed to the international terminal for your onward journey. As you soar above the clouds, carry with you the spirit of Myanmar, a land of golden pagodas, verdant landscapes, and warm-hearted people. Safe travels!

CONCLUSION: EMBRACING MYANMAR’S ENCHANTMENT

As our journey through the golden land of Myanmar draws to a close, we are left with a tapestry of memories that will forever be etched in our hearts. From the bustling streets of Yangon to the tranquil shores of Ngapali Beach, every moment has been a testament to the country’s rich heritage, diverse landscapes, and the warmth of its people.

This expedition has taken us on a voyage through time, where ancient pagodas stand tall amidst modern cities, and traditional boats glide seamlessly alongside contemporary watercraft on serene lakes. We’ve tasted the flavors of Myanmar, from the bustling street markets to the quiet beachside barbecues, each bite telling a story of its own.

But beyond the sights and sounds, it’s the spirit of Myanmar that has truly captivated us. The devotion of monks in Mandalay, the craftsmanship of artisans in Bagan, the resilience of farmers in Inle Lake, and the hospitality of locals in Ngapali have shown us the soul of a nation that is as enduring as it is evolving.

As we bid adieu to this enchanting land, we carry with us not just souvenirs and photographs, but also stories and experiences that have enriched our understanding of the world. Myanmar, with its blend of tradition and modernity, has taught us that while places may change, the essence of humanity remains constant.

Here’s to the adventures we’ve had, the friendships we’ve forged, and the horizons we’ve yet to explore. Until we meet again, Myanmar, thank you for the memories. Safe travels to all, and may our paths cross again in another beautiful corner of the world.

 
 
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