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Community and conservation in Myanmar (Burma)
15 days from $4,945pp
Experience traditional river life on the banks of the Ayeyarwady
Get an authentic insight into the diverse tribal communities in Kayah state
Learn how to cast a fishing net and help in the conservation of the wonderful Irrawaddy dolphin
Cycle through Bagan's many pagodas, exploring them from a unique perspective
- Inle Lake
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Day 1 Yangon
On arrival into Yangon, your private guide and driver will transfer you to your hotel. After a chance to refresh, head out to explore the glistening stupa of the Shwedagon Pagoda and enjoy a drink on 19th Street, with its lively atmosphere.
Day 2 Yangon
Enjoy a walking tour of Yangon today with your private guide. You will visit some of the city's historical points of interest, including the Secretariat; a fascinating building with many stories to tell. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.
Day 3 Loikaw
You will have an early start this morning for the drive back to the airport. Your guide will assist you at the airport, and you will take the short domestic flight to Loikaw. On arrival, you will be met by your local Loikaw guide and will transfer to your hotel to relax for a short while. Later this morning enjoy an introduction to the local area, before the scenic forty-five minute journey to the local animist village of Hta Nee La Leh with your private guide and driver. Enjoy a traditional Kayah barbeque lunch, before exploring the tribal culture of Kayah state this afternoon. Return to your hotel via Seven Lakes, where you have the evening at leisure.
Day 4 Loikaw
This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel, and you will drive around thirty minutes to either Demawsoe market or Kandarawaddy Haw Nan monastery, depending on your day of travel. From here, you will transfer around an hour to the beautiful village of Pan Pet. Here you will have an introduction to the Kayan Lahwi culture, and take a short forty-five minute trek through the countryside, arriving at a pretty hilltop pagoda in time for lunch. Enjoy a traditional jungle picnic, before reconvening with your private driver and returning to Loikaw. This evening, enjoy a picturesque sunset cruise along the Pilu River, into the scenic countryside beyond. The cruise will last for around an hour, and you will return to your hotel in time for dinner.
Day 5 Inle Lake
Loikaw , Inle Lake
Transfer from Loikaw to Inle Lake this morning via boat and car. The total journey time will take around five hours, but during your time on the lake you can take in many of the sights along the way. Arrive at your hotel in time for lunch, and you have the afternoon at leisure.
Day 6 Inle Lake
This morning, transfer around twenty-five minutes to a small village, just outside the town of Nyaung Shwe. Here you will be met by your hosts for the morning; you will not be accompanied by a guide today, in order to make the experience as authentic as possible. You will be given a list of Myanmar phrases and will be tasked to visit local houses around the village to acquire the ingredients you need. Once complete, take a tuk-tuk to the local market, where you will barter for more fresh produce, before returning to the cooking school. Pick your final ingredients from the lodge's organic gardens, before taking up your cooking station and learning some traditional Myanmar recipes under the watchful eyes of the chef. Enjoy the fruits of your labour for lunch, before returning to your hotel where you have the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 7 Kalaw
Inle Lake , Kalaw
Leave Nyaung Shwe and Inle Lake behind this morning as you head to its small station for the mountainside train journey through to the hill station of Kalaw. This typically takes around three hours. Explore the famous hill station with your guide in the afternoon.
Day 8 Kalaw
Travel a short distance outside Kalaw to visit the excellent Green Hill Valley Elephant camp for the day. The camp is exemplary in its conservation of the elephant, and programmes can be adjusted to also include some light trekking and tree planting.
Day 9 Salay
Kalaw , Heho , Bagan , Salay
Transfer around an hour from Kalaw to Heho airport this morning, where your guide will assist you in checking-in for your short flight to Nyaung U, the airport in Bagan. From here, you will transfer around ninety minutes, through the surrounding countryside to the small colonial riverside town of Salay. You will have time to enjoy lunch at your hotel, before heading out to explore the town this afternoon with your private guide. There are several points of interest nearby, including a beautiful teak monastery and a traditional tea shop. If you would like to explore further afield, you can cycle around four miles to Shin Bin Sar Gyo Hla, where you’ll see long pillared pavilions used for walking meditations.
Day 10 Bagan
Salay , Bagan
From your hotel, you will take a scenic thirty minute boat trip across the Ayeyarwady river this morning, to visit the beautiful Paday Thar Kyan village with your private guide. Take a short walking tour around the surrounding fields before enjoying a refreshing cup of tea and a chat with the locals. Return to your hotel late this morning, where you will have time for lunch before transferring the 90 minutes back to Bagan. This evening, you will explore the beautiful Ananda and Shwezigon temples by night; illuminated gold with the lights and with much fewer visitors than during the day, this has the dual benefit of both providing a much better experience, and avoiding overcrowding at these sacred monuments.
Day 11 Bagan
This morning, you will explore Bagan by bicycle with your private guide. As well providing a more eco-friendly form of travel, cycling allows you to get under the skin of Bagan and its some 2000 temples. The roads are quiet and flat, and the cycling is taken at an easy pace. After a chance for lunch in town, you will then be transferred the short distance to a local lacquerware workshop. Here you will learn more about this traditional craft, including the process from bamboo strips to finished, lacquered products, and you can see the talented artisans at work. You will also get chance to try your hand at making your own lacquerware souvenir. This experience lasts around two hours; you will then be transferred back to your hotel, where you have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Day 12 Mandalay
Bagan , Mandalay
Today you will take the scenic journey from Bagan to Mandalay with your private guide and driver. The journey will take between four and five hours, with stops available on route at various points of interest along the way. On arrival into Mandalay, you will check-in to your hotel, where you have the afternoon at leisure.
Day 13 Mandalay
The journey from Mandalay to Hsithe fishing village takes around two and a half hours in total. The drive to the riverside town of Singu takes two hours, and from here you will take a thirty minute boat journey along the Ayeyarwady, to the village. You will be warmly welcomed by your hosts and will have chance to relax and explore on arrival. All of your food is included during your stay here, and will be local dishes cooked by the villagers. After a delicious lunch, you will have the chance to learn how to cast a fishing net, with the help of the fishermen and women from Hsithe village, along with your private guide. Return to the lodge for dinner, enjoying the sunset from the river bank.
Day 14 Mandalay
After a simple breakfast, your guide will accompany you on a short tour of Hsithe village. This is your chance to see many of the local industries which supplement fishing, such as the making of cheroots and traditional handicrafts. After a last delicious lunch, you take the 30 minute boat trip back to Singu; reconvene with your driver and make the two hour journey back to Mandalay, where you have the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 15 Return home
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