Imagine a vast silver smooth lake adorned with stilt-house villages, island-bound Buddhist temples and floating gardens, the distinctive dress of ethnic tribes and a wetland bird sanctuary where herons, warblers, cormorants, wild ducks and egrets live. This is no dream! Inle Lake offers a tranquil paradise for discerning travellers who seek a relaxed way of life and want to be close to nature in a stunning and scenic landscape.
Day 1 - Arrival Yangon – Welcome - City tour (Car)
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is a charming and still relatively quiet city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating and authentic cities of Southeast Asia. On your morning arrival at Yangon International Airport our welcoming guide will take you to your hotel. After check-in and time for a coffee we start our city tour. First you’ll see the Sule Pagoda, a landmark in the city centre, said to be 2,000 years old, before we view Yangon's colonial architecture.
We then see several important pagodas, including the fabulous Swe Taw Myat Zedi, (Sacred Replica Tooth Pagoda); Kaba Aye (World Peace Pagoda) and Mahapasana Guha (Great Cave) close by. After lunch we begin our afternoon tour Highlights include Chauk Htagyi (Reclining Buddha Image: 230 ft/ 70 m long in a restful pose) and Karaweik Hall, an amazing palace on the lake built in the style of a Royal barge. Later we visit the world renowned Shwedagon Pagoda with its golden stupa towering, nearly 100m. Overnight is in Yangon.
Day 2 - Yangon – Heho - Inle Lake – Boat excursion (Flight/Car/Boat)
After breakfast you transfer to the airport for the flight to Heho. On arrival we drive to Nyaung Shwe village, the starting point of a trip on evocative Inle Lake. This vast lake, 22k long and 10k across, is 900m above sea level. You will travel on a traditional long boat (motorized) and on the journey pass through breathtaking and tranquil scenery. Enjoy the panorama and peaceful way of life. You will see Pa-O and Danu women in bright and distinctive traditional dresses and their ethnic villages too. Inle Lake is also famed for the elegant Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery with its oval-shaped windows.
The boat excursion offers you an unforgettable experience. You’ll see stilt houses, one-leg rowers, floating vegetable, flower & fruit gardens, attractive villages, vibrant markets and prolific birdlife. You will also see the 800 years old Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda with five Buddhist statues and Ngaphekyaung monastery, famous for its “Jumping Cats.” In Paw Khone village you’ll visit traditional silk weaving workshops. On docking you’ll hear the looms clacking away and be amazed at the frenetic activity. Here you can admire the technique and skills in designing and making silk and lotus fabric products. You then transfer to your hotel by private boat and check-in to relax at your hotel for an overnight stay on Inle Lake.
Day 3 - Inle Lake – Indein boat tour (Boat)
After a leisurely breakfast your day begins with a visit of the floating market. We then cross the Lake and its canals to the southwest coast to the Indein area, populated by ethnic Padaung (“long neck women”). A long and covered staircase is your approach to the magnificent complex of Alaung Sithu in a beautiful setting with panoramic views of the Lake. Experience peace and calmness, feel the cool breeze and listen to tinkling bells in a different world. The creek at Indein is narrow with many twist and turns. On both sides are paddy fields where farmers plough using traditional methods. They rely on docile water buffaloes which enjoy a dip in the creek whilst farmers have lunch. They are not alone as novice monks, buffalo boys and village girls may wash and swim in the creek. Overnight is on Inle Lake.
Day 4 - Inle Lake - Heho – Yangon - Departure (Flight/Car)
After breakfast at the hotel we travel from Inle Lake to Heho airport for your flight back to Yangon where you have free time until your departure flight. Think about combining a tour of Myanmar with Thailand, choosing airport options of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. These can make for interesting tour combinations, especially the ancient cultures of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, coupled with a relaxing break in a bungalow alongside the River Kwai. Then there is the option of Vietnam, served by Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. From Ha Long Bay, Hoi Ann and Hue to the Mekong Delta there is something for all. These tours provide a fascinating contrast to Myanmar in culture, landscape, history and lifestyle. All will leave an indelible impression with wonderful memories.