Settle into the colonial Strand Hotel in Yangon and start your adventure in the city centre at the Sule Pagoda, originally an Indian structure, it is according to legend over 2,500 years old. Stroll through downtown and observe the locals at Mahabandoola park going about their daily lives before visiting the first floor of Bogyoke Market to pick up an antique or two. Finish your day in the Indian quarter for a different view of the city (and a lovely curry).
Take a private boat trip on the Yangon River and step off the beaten track to visit rural communities rarely seen by outsiders. Gain a unique insight into the traditional daily life of the villages of the river delta whilst exploring monasteries that play a pivotal roles in community life.
Ballooning in bagan
Journey towards the ancient city of Bagan in central Myanmar, stopping off in Bago to visit the Shwemawdaw Pagoda; (the Golden God temple to you and I) the country’s tallest pagoda as well as the previously lost ‘Shwethalyaung’ reclining Bhudda. It really is temple time as over the next few days a private guide will show you around the vast complexes highlighting the Htilominlo pagoda, famed for its original fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations and the Dhammayangyi pagoda, Bagan’s largest temple. The structure is an enormous square, single story, pyramidal temple with six monumental ascending exterior terraces. Needless to say we recommend enjoying sunset from its summit; by far the most scenic spot in town. When the sun has finally sunk below the peachy sky, your room awaits at The Hotel at Tharabar gate; just a short stroll away. Sometimes we all need to take to the skies so as a special treat for all that hard exploring you have done, we will arrange an early morning hot air balloon ride for you to watch the sun rise over the thousand year old pagodas…nirvana.Read more
Hit the trail
Next it’s off to Mount Popa and the Taung Kalat monastery, home to the 37 nats (spirits) of Myanmar, all displayed at the base of the temple. The views from the top are incredible and reach as far as back to Bagan on a clear day. Moving on it’s up to Heho to explore the Pindaya Caves; a Buddhist pilgrimage site that houses thousands of Buddha images. An insight from our Black Tomato expert: there are three caves on the ridge but only the southern cave can be entered and explored. There are about 8,000 Buddha statues on display in the cave, left by previous pilgrims…wander around the cave and allow some time to explore the town, which is beautifully situated at a small lake and surrounded by mountains. Finish your day in Kalaw with a visit to local market before a short drive to Baw Ning Gone Village to reach the start of your trekking route. Begin on small trails that lead through the hills and settlements towards Kone Hla Village passing through paddy fields and vegetable gardens. Strike up a conversation with locals and enjoy snack and drink breaks along way. Your overnight experience ends in Indein where your boat awaits to take you across placid Inle Lake.
A moment of tranquility
With its floating gardens and lush surroundings, Inle Lake is what we dream about when we think of the early morning mist clearing revealing perfect scenes of Asiatic tranquillity. Visit the bustling five-day market (you can guess where it gets its name) and check out the vibrant atmosphere with local people in colourful costumes trading farm products and livestock. Continue with a boat trip to the weaving village of Inpawkon and onwards to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. To really soak in the essence of Inle Lake, we will take you to the floating gardens, built-up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles…seen to be believed.
Nuts for ngapali
Located on the Bay of Bengal along Myanmar’s west coast, Ngapali beach is a stunning stretch of unspoilt golden shoreline with tropical turquoise waters. The palm fringed beach, spotted with small local fishing villages, is the perfect place to round off your adventure and spend your final few days in Myanmar. Scuba diving, sailing, cycling, snorkeling and plenty of relaxing…our new found hideaway has it all. Amazing Ngapali Beach Resort (the name doesn’t lie) will be your bolt hole hideaway for the next four nights; plenty of time to unwind, de-stress and contemplate the sparkling bay and its uninhabited islands. Speaking of which, if you can tear yourself away from the silky sand, we reckon there is no better way to spend an afternoon than by renting a boat to explore the shoreline and really get under the skin of the rural communities that call this idyll home.