Vegan Food and Cultural Discovery of Myanmar - 10 Days
Get ready to discover amazing food adventures at every turn when you journey through Myanmar. This fascinating country oozes culture and charm to delight even the most jaded of travellers. You too can be dazzled by the 'winking wonder' of Shwedagon Paya, or contemplate the 4000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan when you embark on this trip of a lifetime. Your 10-day adventure will start in Yangon, before moving onto Bagan, Mandalay, Heho and Lake Inle. You will be wowed as you explore important Buddhist sights in a country where pious monks are more revered than rock stars. This package will be filled with unique adventures from cooking classes to trishaw and boat rides. You can also enjoy a spot of people watching when you board the famous Circle Line, which carries an estimated 20,000 people a day in a loop around Yangon. This amazing getaway includes flights, accommodation, breakfast, lunch and memories to last a lifetime.
|Validity||01 Nov - 10 Dec 2018||10 Jan - 31 Mar 2019||01 Apr - 30 Sep 2019|
|(Based on twin Share)||Price (Per Person)||Price (Per Person)||Price (Per Person)|
|2 Passengers||From £1975.00||From £1975.00||From £1850.00|
|4 Passengers||From £1875.00||From £1875.00||From £1775.00|
|6 Passengers||From £1795.00||From £1795.00||From £1675.00|
What's not Included
Day 1 - Arrival in Yangon:(L,D)
Hold on tight for an amazing adventure when you jet into Myanmar. You will be welcomed by a friendly guide who will take you to your hotel in Yangon. Once you have checked-in, you will have time to freshen up before the afternoon, which is when you will begin your culinary and culture holiday in Myanmar with a trishaw tour of local teashops and regional food. Best of all, you will also see many of the iconic landmarks of Yangon. You will start at Lucky 7, which is a local tea shop where you can enjoy Burmese green tea. The shop is popular with locals and serves a variety of traditional Burmese snacks and noodles, all of which can be sampled. Some of the famous dishes are mont pyar tha let rice pancakes, shwe htamin golden sticky rice and own noe khauk swe yellow noodles with vegetables and coconut soup. From here, you will board an open-air trishaw and head to 999 Shan Noodle. On the way, you will pass by the Secretariat Building and St Mary’s Catholic Church, two grand colonial-era buildings with rich histories. At the restaurant, you will sample Shan noodles, a famous staple of the largest ethnic tribe in Myanmar. These are typically eaten for breakfast, but Shan noodles can also be eaten as a soup or salad and are fantastic any time of day.
From 999 Shan Noodle, you will head past Sule Pagoda, which dates back over 2,000 years, City Hall, and Mahabandoola Park to Little India. During British rule, Yangon was populated with more Indians than Burmese. Many of their descendants still live here today. In Little India, you will stop off at a local restaurant to try some Indian-influenced snacks that are still popular with Burmese people today.
From Little India, you will get back on the trishaw for one last stop - Chinatown. Here you have another chance to try local and Chinese delicacies. You will also be able to venture through the stalls selling everything from flowers to fruit, spices to fresh tofu. Nearby is the famous 19th street, a popular place to have Myanmar draught beer, together with fresh vegetables and a selection of mushrooms from the barbeque. Here you can pick whatever you want and have them grilled fresh in a hot chili-garlic marinade. We have ensured that you will get a table close to the street so that you can watch the busy waiters and enjoy a nightlife of Yangon like a local. After such a busy start, you will return to your hotel for a well earned rest.
Day 2 - Trip on the Circle Line- local markets - Golden Pagoda:(B,L,D)
After breakfast, a guide will pick you up from your hotel and transfer to Yangon Central Railway where you will take a train ride* on the famous Circle Line. Opened in 1961, the train carries an estimated 20,000 people a day in a loop around the city. While waiting for the train, you can stroll around the local market nearby, which sells fresh produce and traditional wares. As the journey passes from station to station you have a great opportunity to observe the life of Yangon suburbanites. After the 60 minute ride, you will disembark to visit a local market filled with street vendors and piles of colorful items. Next, you will be transferred back by taxi to Yangon and have lunch at Nourish Café. This plant-based restaurant in the heart of Yangon provides delicious and healthy food. It’s philosophy is simple – eat unprocessed whole foods, mostly plants. In addition to a meat and dairy-free menu, they strive to use natural sweeteners such as maple syrup and coconut sugar, along with superfoods like chia seeds, quinoa, and ginger. After lunch, you will go on a mini sightseeing tour to visit the Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to view its magnificent reclining Buddha, and Karaweik Hall, where you can marvel at the uniquely decorated “hamsa-bird-shaped” floating barge on Kandawgyi Royal Lake.
However, your adventure doesn’t end there. Next, you will visit Bogyoke Scotts Market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of colour.
Be sure your camera is to hand when you visit the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, which is one of the world's most spectacular religious monuments in the world. You will be wowed as you see it rise majestically over Singuttara Hill to the city Yangon, casting its golden gleam over the low-lying capital. This 2,500-year-old structure, which contains the relics of four Buddhas, is the guardian temple of Yangon and the most sacred site for the people of Myanmar. You will start your tour of the site from the Eastern entrance of Shwedagon Pagoda and walk through the small shops where monk accessories, Buddha statues, and flowers are sold. Be aware that the entrance is always very busy with sellers and local pilgrims. You'll learn about the daily life of the local people who reside in the immediate surroundings and gain a deeper insight into the Buddhist religion as you provide offerings to the monks. Then, you will walk along the pagoda platform clockwise, as is tradition, around the main Pagoda. During this interactive walking tour of the pagoda, you will also have the chance to explore walkways and hidden gems that are unknown to most visitors. Next, you will continue through the back door of Shwedagon Pagoda and discover its fascinating history including its magnificent grounds and interior. You can also visit a local fortune-teller, if time permits, and learn about the ancient spiritual beliefs.
At dinner, you will have a chance to discover a variety of dishes from different regions of Myanmar at Taing Yin Thar Restaurant. This will provide you with a great opportunity to try dishes from remote parts of the country such as Rakhine, Kachin and Karen.
*The train is fairly old and slow but it’s a fantastic way to experience local life.
Day 3 - Fly to Bagan-Temple Tour -Sunset:(B,L)
Start the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel, before you are transferred to Yangon Airport for a flight to Bagan, which is also known as Nyaung Oo. Bagan is famous for its collection of thousands of ancient stupas and temples, which makes it one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia. From the 11th to the 13th century, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, rulers constructed huge stupas and temples on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, many of which are still standing today.
Today you will have a chance to explore Bagan’s most important pagodas, once your plane lands. From the airport, you will be taken to the Shwezigon Pagoda, which became the prototype of Burmese stupas. You will then continue to Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, which is a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings, and the elegant Htilominlo Temple, that is famous for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations. Next, you will enjoy a delicious lunch at The Moon Vegatarian Garden Restaurant, where you can feast on fresh soups, salads, and vegan curries.
In the afternoon, you will visit Ananda Temple, which is an architectural masterpiece that was built in Bagan’s early-style. You will also visit Ananda Okkyaung, which is one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period. Next you will head to Thatbyinnyu, which is one the highest temple in Bagan, before heading to the Sulamani Temple and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple, which is noted for its remarkable brickwork. After a busy day of sightseeing, you will have a chance to settle down on one of the viewing platforms and watch an unforgettable sunset cast its light over the temples, chedis and pagodas of Bagan.
You will have the rest of the evening free at leisure. If you are peckish, then head to Nanda Restaurant, which serves fantastic Burmese cuisine and also includes a traditional puppet show.
Day 4 - Vegan Cooking Class- Toddy Farm-Lacquerware House - Sunset Cruise:(B,L)
After breakfast, you will learn a new skill as you go on a vegan cooking class at the local library. It is run by a charismatic lovely lady, who will welcome you to her small garden and house. She will introduce you to the ingredients that you will use for today’s class to prepare delicious Burmese vegan recipes. Besides the plants in her garden, the most important ingredient she uses is her love of food and sharing it. This daytime course will also include a visit to the market to shop for ingredients, followed by a walk back to her house for preparation – using charcoal fires to make curries, soups, salads and other vegan dishes. After the cooking class, you will be able to sit and taste your creations. It's a great way to learn more about Burmese food, customs and culture. After lunch, you will pay a visit to another cottage industry where, pe chaung, another locally famous snack, is made from gram beans.
Then you will go to a palm garden,and visit the family of toddy palm climber. Watch as they collect juice from the toddy fruit and process it into molasses, alcohol and other items. From August to February there are also other plants, such as beans, peanuts, sesame and cotton, grown in the toddy garden. In the afternoon, you will be drive back to Bagan to visit a lacquerware house, and witness the skills of artists who draw decorative figures and intricate patterns by hand. As the day comes to an end, you will be taken to the Irrawaddy River for a private boat ride along this famous river, taking in magnificent views of the temples and riverside villages as the sun begins to set. Cocktails and local snacks will be served on board. So simply sit back and relax and watch the world float by.
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight
Operated: Daily between October & March, 5.30-8.00 or 8.30am
Day 5 - Fly to Mandalay- traditional workshops- Tea House- Monastery - Mandalay Hill:(B,L)
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to Nyaung Oo Airport for your flight to Mandalay, which is Myanmar’s cultural capital. On arrival, you will set off on a sightseeing tour that will start at Mahamuni Pagoda. This landmark is famous for its statue of Buddha, which is covered with gold leaf. Mandalay has long been known as a centre of skilled craftsmanship and, in former times, the city supplied the royal courts with all their goods. This will provide you with an insight into this heritage of traditional workshops, including marble masonry, Kalaga tapestry and gold leaf making.
You will then take a break from sightseeing to discover another uniquely Burmese culinary treat - the laphet thoke, which is a local snack made from fermented tea leaves. This pickled tea leaf is served in Myanmar for all occasions including parties, weddings, funerals and all religious ceremonies. You can eat this dish as a snack, as part of a bigger meal with rice or as dessert. A caffeinated dish, it is also commonly prepared for students during their exams to keep them awake at night.
At lunchtime, you will be served at Marie Min Vegetarian Café’. This is a great place for food lovers to eat quality vegetarian food. The cafe is run by an family with Indian origins, who spealise in old-fashioned tasty Indian, Nepalese and local dishes. Be sure to try the vegetable and potato curry with coconut milk, which is one of their most popular dishes.
In the afternoon, you will visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs containing Buddhist scriptures and Shwenandaw Monastery, which is famous for its exquisite woodcarving. Afterwards, you will head to the top of Mandalay Hill, which is the highest point in the city, to enjoy spectacular panoramic views during sunset. This also provides an amazing photo opportunity, so be sure to have your camera ready.
Day 6 - Ava (Inwa)- Sagaing-Amarapura -Ubein Bridge:(B,L,D)
After breakfast, you will be driven towards the former royal capital of Ava, which is located on an island between the Ayeyarwady and the Myitnge Rivers. A local ferry will take you to the island. Once you arrive, you will hop on a bicycle as no cars are allowed here. Then, you will travel through the ancient city walls to visit the brick and stucco monastery of Maha Aungmye Bonzan, which is also known as Ok Kyaung, before continuing to the impressive wooden monastery of Bagaya Kyaung. If there is enough time, then you will also visit some village homes to see how local handicrafts are made such as silk weaving, cane mats and alms bowls. All this activity means you are bound to have worked up an appetite, which is handy as you will enjoy a delicious vegan lunch at Small River Restaurant.
In the afternoon, you will visit picturesque Sagaing, which is the living centre of Buddhist faith in Myanmar today. The hills here are dotted with numerous pagodas and monasteries. From here you will continue to Amarapura to visit to Shan Kalay Kyun Village, which is located south west of Mandalay on an island. You will have time to walk around the village, and observe the famer’s way of life, as well as seeing the seasonal farming plots where they grow peanuts, corn, water melon, cucumber and many other vegetables. Next, you will enjoy a sunset stroll on U Bein Bridge, which at over a kilometre is believed to be the longest teak bridge in the world. After relaxing in the last light of the day, you will be driven back to Mandalay.
In the evening, you will enjoy a traditional ‘Royal’ dinner at Daung Lann Gyi Restaurant, which is extremely popular with Mandalay residents. Here dishes are served on a large drum-like tray. If you prefer, we can book a table in the outdoor area with floor tables.
Either way, you are bound to have an amazing time.
Day 7 - Fly to Heho- local market- Trishaw ride- Red Mountain Estate Vineyards - Leg-rowers of Inle Lake: (B,L)
Make sure you have a hearty breakfast to fuel up for a busy day of travel and sightseeing. After your morning meal, you will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Heho, which is a quiet transit town with one of the few airports that links to the beautiful hills of Shan State. From Heho, you will go on a one-hour scenic drive to Nyaung Shwe, which is the gateway to Inle Lake. Enroute you will stop at a local family workshop to learn how Shan umbrellas and paper are made by traditional methods using the fibres of the mulberry tree.
Once in Nyang Shwe town, you will contine by local trishaw down to the bustling canal, which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to markets around the country.
Then, you will hop back on the trishaw and travel through quiet streets, making a stop at the ‘Tomato House’, which is a warehouse-like structure where tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then, you will continue past some of the towns’ many monasteries and nunneries, stopping for photos along the way. Once the hunger pangs stike, you will stop for lunch at The Shan Restaurant, which specializes in creative Shan tapas and is considered one of the best dining venues in the Inle region.
After your meal you will visit the famous Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery, which is located at the northeastern part of Inle Lake. Here, you will be able to enjoy the magnificent views of Inle Lake and its stilted villages while tasting some of Myanmar’s premiere wines and observing the Old World grape varieties grown on the estate.
Finally, you will travel to the jetty and board a private motorboat for a cruise on Inle Lake. Here you will pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by local Intha people. You will be able to observe the infamous leg-rowers of Inle Lake and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Tonight you will enjoy an overnight in Inle Lake.
Day 8 - Cooking Class- Traditional Floating Craft Villages - Khaung Daing (Shan Tofu) Village: (B,L)
This morning you will learn more about the Shan cuisine when you join a cook class after breakfast. You will be picked up by tuk tuk or boat depending on where you’re staying by either Mr Min or his wife, who will be your chefs for the class this morning. First, you will visit the Mingalar market or 5-day rotating market. The chef will explain how to shop, offer traditional bargaining techniques and explain the ingredients that will be purchased. Then, you will drive for about 20 minutes to a beautiful “hidden” place on the lake.
After a relaxing cup of tea, you will start with the cooking class and learn how to prepare 8 to 10 special Shan dishes. At the end, you will sit down to enjoy what you have created for lunch.You will also get a recipe book, so that you can impress your family and friends with your cooking. After lunch, you can go on a short canoe trip around the area to see some of the floating gardens and villages.
Here you will visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which is home to five gold leaf-covered Buddha figures, and is considered the holiest religious site in the southern Shan state. You will also visit the boat construction workshop at Nampan village and stop to see some traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkhon village, a cheroot-maker's workshop and a blacksmith's forge. Next, you will continue by boat to Khaung Daing Village on the northwest shore of the lake. This village is famous for its traditional Shan tofu treats. You will be able to watch and even participate in the process of sifting soy beans, boiling them, mashing them into balls and then forming tofu cakes to dry in the sun. This will give you a fabulous taste of local life on Inle Lake. Finally, you will return to your hotel by boat as the sun lowers and the light softens over the lake.
Day 9 - Ywama Village-Indein-Pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak - lunch at hidden Intha Village House:(B,L)
After a delicious breakfast, you will enjoy a picturesque start to the day by travelling on a long-tailed boat across the lake to Indaing. This is at the western end of Inle, and is one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. From here, you will pass through the busy village of Ywama, which is the largest on the Lake. Next, you will disembark at the jetty and walk for 15 minutes through Indaing village to reach the 14th to 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. Many pagodas here remain charmingly unrenovated, with plants and even small trees growing out of them, making the area very atmospheric. Next, you wall wander through a covered walkway, which is popular with souvenir stallholders. It leads up to the famous Shwe Inn Thein Paya complex, which dates back to the 17th century. Finally, you will return to the river, where you will have the possibility of walking along a lovely shady path for 30 minutes to the Intha village of Sema. From here, you will continue by boat downstream past Yethar village, watching local life on the banks and birds in the trees until rejoining the Lake near Phaung Daw Oo Paya.
At around lunchtime, you will be taken to a hidden Intha Village House to experience traditional dining. One of the dishes that will be served is un no khauk swe, which is a traditional Burmese curry with deep fried Shan tofu. After a scrumptious meal, you will be transferred back to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the afternoon free to spend at leisure.
Day 10 - Inle Lake-Heho- Yangon - Departure:(B)
Relish in the final breakfast of your holiday, as you reflect on the wonderful adventures you have encountered.
Later, you will be transferred to Heho Airport for your flight back to Yangon and then a connecting flight for your onward flight home.