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Hidden Burma

16 days from £3990 per person

An alternative take on a classic journey, this itinerary introduces the traveller to a side of Burma that few others see. Using Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake as centres, visits are made to the Padah-Lin Caves famous for their prehistoric painting and Stone Age remains, the Kyaukgu Umin. ‘Rock Cave Tunnel’ reached by boat from Bagan and the Pindaya cave complex which is home to over 8,000 Buddha images. From Pindaya continue to Kalaw then take a day trek to beautiful Inle Lake before ending the journey in remote and little-visited Loikaw.

Route: Mandalay – Bagan – Pindaya – Kalaw – Inle Lake – Loikaw – Nyaung Shwe – Yangon

Itinerary Highlights

Over 1000 years old, Bagan is Burma’s most important archaeological site. The stupas and temples are incredibly varied and whilst 3,000 of the original 10,000 remain the views are staggering.

A good centre for trekking to Inle Lake, Kalaw is a hill town in Shan State. The town was popular with the British during colonial rule and there are many examples of typical English cottages.

Inle Lake, high in the Shan Hills, occupies a beautiful position. Transport here is entirely by boat and village visits focus on traditional arts and crafts including silk weaving and cheroot making.

Itinerary: Hidden Burma

Depart the UK on the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok. (N)
Arrive into Bangkok and connect directly onto Mandalay where you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a three night stay. In the afternoon visit Mahamuni Paya which houses the highly venerated Mahamuni Buddha image and then the Shewenandaw Kyaung before climbing Mandalay Hill to enjoy the sunset. (N)
Accommodation in Mandalay: Hotel by the Red Canal (or similar)
Upgrade option: Mandalay Hill Resort
After breakfast visit the 18th century capital of Amarapura located 11kms south of the city. Founded in 1783, Amarapura lost its status as capital city in 1857 to Mandalay, however, pagodas such as Pahtodawgyi Paya and Kyauktawgyi Paya still remain as do numerous palace ruins and U Bein's Bridge—a 1.2km long footbridge made entirely of 984 teak posts. Later continue to Inwa, an ancient city which, for a long time, was capital of Northern Myanmar and subsequently the Burmese Kingdom from the 14th century to the 18th century. Return to Mandalay in the late afternoon. (B)
Accommodation in Mandalay: Hotel by the Red Canal (or similar)
Upgrade option: Mandalay Hill Resort
Today is a full day visit to the Padah-Lin Caves. Not easily accessible, the journey to the caves is long and involves a two hour drive to the small town of Kume, a further drive of one hour to King Tar Dam, an hour boat ride across the lake and a final one hour uphill trek to the cave site. The Padah-Lin Caves are famed for their prehistoric painting and Stone Age remains and, after explore the site, return to Mandalay in the evening. (B)
Accommodation in Mandalay: Hotel by the Red Canal (or similar)
Upgrade option: Mandalay Hill Resort
This morning transfer to Mandalay airport and fly to the ancient city of Bagan where you will stay for the next three nights. Bagan is one of the most important archaeological sites in Asia and a highlight of any visit to the country. Thousands of temples and pagodas dot the vast flood plain of the Irrawaddy River and, at sunset, end the day with a marvellous panoramic view of these ancient houses of religion. (B)
Accommodation in Bagan: Bluebird Bagan (or similar)
Upgrade option: Hotel at Tharabar Gate
After breakfast leave your hotel for a full day of sightseeing in and around Bagan with your guide. Magnificent pagodas include Ananda Pahto, one of the finest, largest, best-preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples, Thatbyinnyu Pahto which rises 61m and was built in the mid-12th century, Shwezigon Pagoda and Nathlaung Kyaung, the last remaining Hindu temple. (B)
Accommodation in Bagan: Bluebird Bagan (or similar)
Upgrade option: Hotel at Tharabar Gate
This morning visit the village of Minanthu to see the Payathonzu Pagoda—a fascinating complex of three interconnected shrines before visiting Tayok Pye, the largest temple in the village. In the afternoon return to Bagan and take a two hour boat trip to Kyaukgu Umin. Known as the 'Rock Cave Tunnel', this temple was built on a deep ravine site into the cliff-side and consists of a high ground storey surmounted by two receding terraces on which stands a small pagoda. (B)
Accommodation in Bagan: Bluebird Bagan (or similar)
Upgrade option: Hotel at Tharabar Gate
After breakfast transfer back to Bagan Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Heho. On arrival met and transferred to Pindaya for an overnight stay. Pindaya is famous for its extensive limestone caves filled with Buddha images and later visit the complex. Inside the caves are nearly 8,000 Buddha images made of various materials. All different sizes, the statues are to be found in every nook and cranny throughout the many cave chambers. (B)
Accommodation in Pindaya: Pindaya Inle Inn
Today leave Pindaya and drive to Kalaw where you will stay overnight. A former British hill station, Kalaw stands at 1,320 metres above sea level on the edge of the Shan Plateau and is known for its beautiful colonial bungalows and proximity to numerous minority villages which are home to Shan, Palaung, Burman, Indian and Nepali people. (B)
Accommodation in Kalaw: Amara Resort
Leave Kalaw and drive to a local village for the three hour trek towards Inle Lake. The trail winds through the green hills with views of tea plantations, fields, vegetables gardens and small village homes. Later continue to the shores of Inle Lake and board a local long-tail boat which will be your transport for the duration of your stay on the lake. Home to the local Intha people, Inle Lake is famous for its stilt villages, floating crops and local fisherman that row in a unique 'one-legged' style. (B)
Accommodation at Inle Lake: Inle Princess Resort
Alternative accommodation: Inle Lake View Resort
Today explore Inle Lake with your guide including a memorable visit to the small village of Indein which is home to some enchanting 17th century pagodas, including the Nyaung Ohak Monastery, and numerous local craftsmen. After lunch visit further villages to witness silk and lotus weaving and cheroot making before winding your way back to the hotel through unique gardens of grass and earth that float on the lake surface. Stunningly beautiful, Inle is a hidden gem that highlights the diversity of Burma and a place far removed from the busy modern world. (B)
Accommodation at Inle Lake: Inle Princess Resort
Alternative accommodation: Inle Lake View Resort
This morning travel south from Inle Lake by boat to the small town of Phekon stopping en-route to visit Tharkhong Pagoda and Samkar Pagoda. Once in Phekon continue by car to Loikaw where you will stay for the next two nights. In the afternoon visit the Taung Kwe Zedi pagoda on Thirimingala Hill for a sunset view over the town. (B)
Accommodation in Loikaw: Loikaw Hotel
Today explore Loikaw and the surrounding area. Places of interest include the local town market, the village of Sunbon which is home to the Padaung people and the Kayar State Museum. (B)
Accommodation in Loikaw: Loikaw Hotel
After breakfast leave Loikaw and drive north past Inle Lake to the small town of Nyaung Shwe where you will stay overnight. (B)
Accommodation in Nyaung Shwe: Amazing Nyaung Shwe Hotel
This morning transfer to Loikaw Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Yangon. On your arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel for a two night stay. Later in the afternoon, time permitting, you will have an opportunity to visit the famous, and historic, Scott Market for some last minute shopping. (B)
Accommodation in Yangon: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Savoy Hotel
Alternation upgrade option: Belmond Governor’s Residence Hotel
Today tour this colourful city. Places of interest include the Chaukhtatgyi, a colossal reclining Buddha, the National Museum, beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the magical Shwedagon Pagoda. This 2,500 year old Buddhist temple is resplendent in over 60 tonnes of gold leaf, is the most sacred of all Buddhist sites in Myanmar and was described by Kipling as 'a golden mystery'. Stay for sunset and admire the view. (B)
Accommodation in Yangon: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Savoy Hotel
Alternation upgrade option: Belmond Governor’s Residence Hotel
This morning you will be met and transferred back to Yangon Airport in good time to catch your onward flight to Bangkok. On your arrival in Bangkok connect onto the Thai Airways flight back to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Domestic flights
  • Private car and driver
  • Sightseeing with an accompanying English speaking guide
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Experts in Tailor-Made Holidays

For over 30 years, Pettitts Travel have led the way in creating authentic, tailor-made holidays. Our knowledgeable team have first-hand knowledge of our destinations and no two itineraries we prepare are the same.

Please call us for more information or complete the online enquiry form to request a quotation.

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