Day 1. Arrival at Yangon Airport.
Day 2. Have breakfast at your hotel. Enjoy a full day excursion in the colonial city of Yangon culminating in a visit to the breathtaking Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 3. After breakfast meet your driver for the transfer to the airport and your flight to Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State in the far north of the country. 919 miles from Yangon this is where the railways end and the wilderness begins. The name means ‘near the big river’ as the city lies on the mighty Ayeyarwady. Take a walk around and discover this city of 150,000 people.
Day 4. Myit Sone means ‘confluence’. Your destination today is the meeting of the waters between the Malikha and Maykha rivers. The junction of these two mountain streams is a beautiful place, torrents of wild water gushing over huge boulders, coming together to form the great Ayeyarwady River which continues from here for 2150km south to the Gulf of Mottama. Visit soon – a huge dam is planned for the area that will flood the confluence forever.
Day 5. A six hour drive down dusty a dusty road that sees but one bus a day, south past local ethnic villages to the river town of Bhamo. This is the northernmost navigable point for the large river ferries that ply the Ayeyarwady River from Mandalay. The road to China starts here so expect to see many traders and hill tribes at the market.
Day 6. Board the boat to Katha for a journey through the scenic second defile (river gorge) of the Ayeyarwady River. The defile, 13.5 kilometres long features 300 metre high cliffs that dwarf your boat. The journey ends at Katha where you disembark and proceed to your accommodation.
Day 7. Katha is a peaceful, pleasant old market town studded with charming rain-trees planted over one hundred years ago. Katha is famous as the setting of George Orwell’s “Burmese Days”. Eric Blair (Orwell) was stationed here from 1926-27 as a colonial police officer. Discover many of the locations from his book during the day today.
Day 8. Pick up your jeep today for the long ride down bone-shaking roads to Mandalay via villages and towns that are almost never seen by foreign travellers.
Day 10. Enjoy your breakfast then embark on a tour of the ancient cities area to the South of Mandalay. Continue in the afternoon onto Sagaing, the religious centre of Myanmar home to some 500 pagodas. Sunset photographs at the famous U Bein Bridge.
Day 11. Your car will pick you up for a full day visit to the colonial hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo. Wander around the market, gaze at the beautiful colonial-era mansions and relax and admire the famous botanical gardens.
Day 12. Relax today and watch the rural heartland of the ‘Dry Zone’ of central Myanmar slowly drift by on the Ayeyarwady River boat journey to Bagan. We will pick you up and check you in to your hotel on arrival.
Day 13. Optional dawn champagne balloon ride over the pagodas of Bagan. After breakfast enjoy a full days exploration of the Bagan archaeological zone including highlights such as Shwesandaw and Gawdawpalin. Spend some time observing the work at a lacquer ware factory and watch the sunset from one of the tallest pagodas.
Day 14. A second full day to tour in and around the Bagan area. Visit 11th Century Shwezigon Pagoda, Htilominlo and the beautiful Ananda Pagoda amongst others. We can also include a visit to a rural village to interact with the local people and learn a little about their lives.
Day 15. Breakfast at the hotel and a transfer to the airport for the short flight to Heho. On arrival your car will be waiting for the drive through the Shan hills to the British colonial hill station of Kalaw. Spend the day enjoying the cooler temperatures and meeting the locals, many descended from the Indian and Nepali workers brought here to build the railways.
Day 16. Begin your 3 day trek to Inle Lake. Today visit Taunggyi Chae village at the foot of Mt Myin Ma Hti (5,602 feet). After lunch continue to La Maing and finally Binn Nwe village. We overnight at a local home or monastery.
Day 17. After breakfast we continue to Kone Hla village, about 16 kilometres walk. After lunch we trek onto Hti Thein village along the valley. Dinner and overnight at a local home or Buddhist Monastery.
Day 18. Enjoy breakfast and then set off for Ngoke village, about six kilometres away. After some lunch we continue to Taung Mauk followed by the final stretch to the lakeshore. A boat will be waiting to take you to your chosen hotel.
Day 19. After breakfast set off for a full day’s exploration of the Inle Lake area. Photograph the Intha fishermen’s leg-rowing technique, meet the local tribal people and observe the fascinating local cottage industries. Visit the now famous ‘jumping cat’ monastery and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda with its five sacred gold-covered Buddha images.
Day 20. Meet you boat and local Pa O guide for the scenic three hour journey to the far southern reaches of the lake and the village of Sankar.Explore the ruins here, have lunch and meet the people of this area where few foreigners reach.
Day 21. A final morning to enjoy the delights of the Lake area before meeting your driver for the transfer to Heho and your flight to Yangon. On arrival we will meet you and transfer you to your chosen hotel.
Day 22. Enjoy your breakfast then meet your guide and embark on the boat journey to the Ayeyarwady delta and Meinmahla Kyun, the ‘Island of beautiful women’.
Day 23 – 24. Visit the wildlife sanctuary, home to various animal and bird species including the rare and endangered saltwater crocodile. In season you can also take a trip at night to spot rare sea turtles nesting on a nearby beach.
Day 25. Return on your private chartered boat to Yangon via the scenic waterways of the delta. Stop en-route at Twante to visit the huge Pagoda and pottery sheds.
Day 26. Depart from Yangon Airport.