Myanmar — Land of the Golden Pagoda
Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has experienced remarkable changes in recent years, but it has so far escaped the modern advances of the rest of Southeast Asia. Its years of isolation mean Myanmar still provides travelers a glimpse into a world otherwise lost.
This itinerary explores this fascinating country in Andrew Harper style, examining common points of interest — such as the tree-lined avenues of Yangon and the revered Shwedagon Pagoda — but also remote Mulashidi and Malikha Lodge, the ultimate retreat from the stresses of modern-day living. It cruises down the Ayeyarwady River aboard the luxurious Belmond Road to Mandalay, and finishes in the mountainous and ethnically diverse Shan State and the beautiful setting of Inle Lake.
Ye Ye (a.k.a. Jack) is a recognized expert on the Bagan Archeological Zone in Myanmar. He was raised in Bagan and holds a degree in English literature from Yangon University. He completed Myanmar's stringent Advanced Guiding Course and joined the family guiding business, which has turned into one of Myanmar's premier companies, with construction, hotel management and trading divisions. Ye Ye is renowned for treating clients as friends, taking them to his favorite sites throughout Myanmar, areas not found in guidebooks. He possesses a vast knowledge of Burmese archaeology, history, religion and art, which, combined with his kind nature and unique humor, makes him one of the country’s most sought-after guides.
Day 1 - 2 : Yangon
Arrive in Myanmar from Bangkok. After clearing immigration and customs formalities, transfer to your hotel for check-in, with the remainder of the day at leisure to rest after your long international flights. Private English-speaking guides and private vehicles will be available for those who arrive earlier in the day, and dinner reservations can be made based on personal preference, including round-trip transfers to and from various restaurants.
Spacious and comfortable 1920s teak mansion-hotel in the diplomatic quarter of Yangon close to the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Head out for a morning exploration of the city — including downtown's frenetic markets and fading colonial buildings — aboard a trishaw or on foot. Pass Buddhist pagodas, Hindu shrines, Chinese temples, Islamic mosques, Anglican cathedrals and a Jewish synagogue.
Visit the Kalaywa Tawya Monastery, where over 1,300 monks and novices reside. Have lunch at Le Planteur.
Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda complex, said to house eight hairs of the Buddha. Over 350 feet tall and gilded in gold and gems, the Shwedagon is the most revered shrine in the country. The dream of all Burmese people is to see the Shwedagon at least once in their lifetime. The current of humanity visiting the pagoda and grounds is quite a spectacle and a perfect introduction to the Golden Land.
Return to the hotel to relax and freshen up before cocktails and a special dinner in the hotel's gardens, accompanied by an a cappella music performance by students from Gitameit Music School.
Meals provided: B L D