Overview

Enjoy the warm climate and even warmer hospitality of Myanmar on this two-week Journey that will teach you about the culture of this wonderful country. Learn about Buddhist traditions, meet residents in the small villages around Kengtung, watch local craftsmen create beautiful works of art, and visit plenty of pagodas, statues, and locations offering breathtaking scenery.

Home Hospitality

Though there is no home hospitality on this Journey; we will be visiting and interacting with native tribes and sharing breakfast with local people.

Live With a Local

  • Discover the culture and food through visits with locals sharing meals, exploring monasteries, and experiencing festivals
  • Learn about Buddhism
  • See remote villages untouched by tourism
  • Safely serve the cause of peace
  • Be met with appreciation as you share toys and over-the-counter medicine with adults and children in the local villages

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Kandawgyi Lake or "great royal lake," one of two major lakes in Yangon, Burma
  • Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott’s Market)
  • Sacred Pindaya Caves
  • Mt. Popa
  • View the sunset over the temples of Bagan
  • Archeological Museum
  • Ananda Temple
  • Shwesandaw Pagoda
  • U Bein Bridge
  • The unfinished Pahtodawgyi, a mammoth project which, if completed, would have claimed to be the biggest temple on earth
  • The world’s largest “uncracked” Mingon Bell
What an incredible [Journey]. To meet and get to know the people was so insightful. This is the way to travel. There were so many ways that we were able to understand their way of life, Buddhism, their food, etc. Well done. The best tour I have experienced. - 2014 Ambassador

Explore Myanmar

14 Days / 13 Nights Program and Itinerary:

October 15, 2019 – October 29, 2019
Coordinator: Jim Kerr, FF Dallas
judgejwkerr@juno.com

All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.

October 16, 2019: Yangon Arrival & Visit to Shwedagon Pagoda

You will be met by your driver and transferred to the hotel. (It is ideal for the participants to arrive by a morning or early afternoon flight in Yangon. Those arriving on preceding days will have to make their own way to the hotel)

The afternoon at 3.30 p.m, your guide will meet you at the hotel for a briefing and set out by bus to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, an iconic national landmark where we will learn a lot about the local beliefs, traditions and customs, followed by welcome dinner at a local restaurant

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Yangon

Dinner included

October 17, 2019: Yangon City Tour

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start the full-day tour of Yangon including:

A stroll in downtown Yangon where we will explore the historic area still boasting a significant number of old colonial buildings from the heydays of Yangon’s history

Chaukhtetgyi Reclining Buddha Image, one of the largest in the country

A short visit to Kandawgyi Park, one of the most scenic spots in the city with lots of photo ops

Lunch at a local restaurant

A short ride on the circular train the experience the way locals commute

Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott’s Market), a big bazaar-like affair with hundreds of stalls selling mostly accessories

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Yangon

Breakfast and lunch included

October 18, 2019: Yangon - Bagan

This morning we will take our breakfast in boxes and drive to the airport for an early morning flight to Bagan

Upon arrival in Bagan, we will set about exploring the ancient city of magnificent monuments from the 11th through the 13th centuries. The tour covers popular and significant pagodas including:

Shwezigon Pagoda, a majestic stupa commissioned by the founder of Bagan Empire in the 11th Century

Htilominlo Pagoda, one of the largest temples in Bagan from the early 13th Century

Gubyaukgyi Pagoda, a 13th century temple noted for its murals preserved with the help of UNESCO

Ananda Pagoda, the most venerated royal work of merit in Bagan

A lacquer ware workshop to observe the intricate process of lacquer ware production

The Archeological Museum with its impressive collection of ancient artifacts

Nanpaya Temple with its masterful stone carvings

Manuha Temple with its poignant history

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Bagan

Breakfast and lunch included

October 19, 2019 Bagan - Mt. Popa - Bagan

After breakfast at the hotel, we will set out on our excursion to the legendary Mt. Popa, a popular pilgrimage site with the believers of Nat worship

En route we will make visits to:

A toddy palm farmer who will be happy to show us how he harvests the toddy sap and makes it into sugar and other stuff

A resort with fantastic views overlooking Mt. Popa, which we will enjoy over lunch

A subsistence off-the-beaten-track farming village where we will be able to learn about their ways of life

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Bagan

(OPTIONAL: For those who want to enjoy breathtaking views of Bagan, “Balloon Over Bagan” is available for an additional $300 USD per person)

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included

October 20, 2019 - Bagan - Heho - Pindaya – Inle

After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Heho, the major airport in Southern Shan State

Upon arrival we will drive to Pindaya, a sleepy provincial town famous for its enshrined cavern with thousands of Buddha images from centuries ago. We will visit the cavern, as well as a craftsman’s workshop, before driving to Inle

En route we may make stops at villages or farms if interesting activities are taking place, such as harvesting or ceremonies

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake

Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

October 21, 2019 - Inle Full Day

Today after breakfast we will set out on our full-day excursion on the lake by boat, cruising through villages with traditional houses on stilts and floating gardens. The highlights include:

Ngephechaung Monastery noted for an impressive collection of old Buddha images in Shan style

A weaving house to learn about the weaving traditions of the region including lotus weaving

Lunch at a local home

Meeting with long-necked ladies

A visit to the picturesque pagoda complex of Inn Dein

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake

Breakfast and lunch included

October 22, 2019 - Inle - Heho - Kengtung

After breakfast at the hotel, we will have time at leisure until transfer to the airport. (2019 Winter schedules of airlines are not out yet. Usually the flights from Heho to Kengtung take off around noon)

Simple lunch may have to be arranged at a convenient place before or after the flight to Kengtung

Upon arrival there if time permits, we may be able to visit some places of interest in town such as a Shan blacksmith, a pottery quarter and a Shan monastery

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Kengtung

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included

October 23, 2019 - Kengtung

After breakfast at the hotel we will set out on our excursion to tribal villages. There are a number of different minority tribes here in this region still largely living in the same way as their ancestors did centuries ago. Each tribe has its own traditions and customs as well as distinctive costumes. Basically we will start from the town of Kengtung by car to reach a staging point from where we will start trekking to those villages. Very simple meals will be arranged for lunch en route

(There will be plenty children in the villages and they are very poor. If you bring some toys to give them, they will be delighted. Some basic medicines such as aspirin and ointment will be useful for the adults)

The hill tribes found here include Shan, Akha, Lahu, Loi, Wa, Palaung, Eng, Lisu, etc.

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Kengtung

Breakfast and lunch included

October 24, 2019 - Kengtung

After breakfast, we will drive out in a different direction from the day before to visit another area with different tribes

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Kengtung

Breakfast and lunch included

October 25, 2019 - Kengtung - Mandalay

This morning after breakfast, we will  explore the town a bit more before heading for the airport to catch the flight to Mandalay

Upon arrival in Mandalay we will transfer to the city for check-in at the hotel

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Mandalay

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included

October 26, 2019 - Mandalay

Today we will explore the city of Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar. The highlights include:

The legendary Mandalay Hill commanding panoramic views over the city

Kuthodaw Pagoda, otherwise known as the world’s biggest book!

Shwenandaw Monastery, an incredibly ornate wooden building under the care of a joint committee of Myanmar and American experts

Gold-leaf makers workshop where we will see the workers pounding the gold in the same way as their forefathers did centuries ago

Mahamuni Buddha Image, arguably the most venerated Buddha image of all thanks to the legend associated with it

After the tour we will have the remainder of the day at our leisure

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Mandalay

Breakfast and lunch included

October 27, 2019 - Amarapura - Ava - Sagaing

We have another full-day excursion today. We will be exploring Amarapura, Ava, and Sagaing (the sites of ancient cities). We will be traveling by bus to go from one place to another. The highlights include:

Breakfast in local style at a local teashop mingling with locals before they go to work

Bronze casters who make enormous statues of Buddha and others

A monastery with hundreds of monks to learn of their monastic ways of life

A nunnery, if possible, to chat with the nuns and chat with them for a while

Sagaing Hill noted for fantastic views over the Ayeyarwaddy valley

Tour of Ava by horse-drawn carriages to visit some old monasteries dating back to early 19th century

The Famous U Being Bridge, reputed to be the world’s longest teak span

Overnight at a 3-star hotel in Mandalay

Breakfast and lunch included

October 28, 2019 - Mandalay - Mingon - Mandalay

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the jetty where you will board a private boat to go upstream at a leisurely 11 km per hour. You will be able to enjoy the bustling life on the riverbank from the sundeck of your boat as it winds its way to Mingon. You will see various activities on the river such as fishermen, teak rafts, and sand-diggers, plus observe the lifestyles of the riverine crofters on the banks

After one hour of leisurely cruising, you will arrive at Mingun which, despite being a small village, has a number of historical sites and some rather large edifices:

Boat to Mingon

Pahtodawgyi

Mingon Bell

Chinthes Hsinphyumei Pagoda

Afternoon free

The unfinished Pahtodawgyi, a mammoth project which if completed would have claimed to be the biggest temple on earth

The world’s largest “uncracked” Mingon Bell (weighing in at 90 tons) which would have accompanied the immense temple

The buttocks of gigantic Chinthes, which would have served as large guardians of the king of temples

Hsinphyumei Pagoda with its unique architectural design reminiscent of Mount Meru from Buddhist mythology

You will then return to Mandalay by boat, transfer to the hotel and the rest of the day is at your leisure including finding your own lunch

Meet back at the hotel and hop on the coach and head to the venue for the farewell dinner

Overnight at your hotel in Mandalay

Breakfast and dinner included

October 29, 2019 - Departure

Morning free until transfer to the airport

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Mandalay International Airport for your departure flight

Free time will be dependent on the departure time of your flight

Breakfast included

Rate:

$3000 USD

Price Includes: FFI and tour fees, tips, and domestic airfare.

Optional extension: $1270 USD with $187 single supplement.

Availability:

20Spaces Remaining

Moderate

Know before you go

  • Journey Number 15417
  • There is an optional five-day tour in Laos. The cost is $1270 USD (double occupancy) in a 3-star hotel and includes tours, most meals, hotel stay and round trip airfare from Bangkok to Laos. The single supplement for the extension is $187 USD.
  • Heavy rain could be experienced in Yangon but it is unlikely, as it is the end of the rainy season. Pleasant weather will be the norm.
  • Wear warm weather clothes with a light jacket for possible cooler evenings.
  • Be prepared to take off your shoes every time you enter a monastery, nunnery, or temple.
  • Internet may be unreliable at times and global roaming may not be available.
Interested in this Journey?

We would love to have you on this Journey with us.

Our Mission

Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.
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