Small-group Myanmar pottery tour hosted by ceramic artist, Dianne Turner and Chris Riou, Newport Travel
The 10-day small-group tour, with local Burmese guides, runs from the 2nd to the 11th of April 2019, returning home in Australia on the 12th of April.
Prices, inclusive of airfares, from Australia start from $6,450 per person twin share.
Step back in time on this unique, leisurely-paced river-cruise tour as we explore Burma’s ancient capitals and spiritual rural countryside. The tour is a celebration of life in Myanmar, with the focus on food and culture, and the place of pottery within it.
Discover how 2 binding constants – clay and culture – make Myanmar the enchanting country it remains today. Over 100 years ago, Rudyard Kipling wrote of Burma, “It is quite unlike any place you know about”. This is still so true today and definitely a destination to explore before modernisation and over-tourism spread their influence here.
The ancient craft of pottery has been anchored in the daily lives of the Burmese for over 2,000 years, and although plastic, metals and other modern materials are more readily available now in Myanmar, clay and ceramics are still preferred. We’ll discover the role that pottery plays in Myanmar in farming and production, spiritual rituals, home-making and cooking.
We’ll visit family-run traditional pottery villages to see the use of local techniques to produce water pots, garden pots, spiritual ornaments, toys and cooking utensils.
Food and clay go hand-in-hand and on the tour we will explore the different regional cuisines, including some hands-on home cooking sessions using fresh, regional organic produce. Myanmar’s enigmatic cuisine is one of the most complex and diverse in Southeast Asia, with influences from the bordering countries of Thailand, China, Laos and India, as well as from its European colonial heritage.
Here’s what you’ll love about this unique, small-group tour ..
- We’ll discover the natural, social and cultural influences of modern Myanmar in the 4 very different regions of Yangon, Inle Lake, Bagan & Mandalay
- Visit traditional pottery villages where entire families and communities base their livelihood on the production of pottery and ceramics
- Sample the local cuisine and fresh, regional produce at night-time street food markets, family-run restaurants and fine-dining restaurants, including high-tea at Yangon’s iconic Strand Hotel.
- Participate in a number of hands-on cooking classes and presentations in private homes, social enterprises of local communities and even with an awarded head chef aboard a 5-star river-cruise ship.
- Enjoy luxury boutique accommodation with a local flavour, including a 4-day river cruise on the sumptuous Sanctuary Ananda.
- Ultimately, experience the warmth and joy of the Burmese people who welcome us into their land and lives.
You’ll return home from this journey not only with a bagful of wonderful memories, but knowing that, on this sustainable tourism adventure, you have genuinely supported the local cultures and social enterprises that are working towards improving the lives of the local communities.
For more information or to book, contact Newport Travel on 9997 1277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
People who booked this tour also booked the connecting add-on cruise – Sailing the Andaman Sea – A Star Clipper adventure from Phuket 11-20 April 2019. Includes 2 nights prior to the 7-night cruise at the all-inclusive Club Med Phuket and no single supplement for solo travellers!
Day 1 – YANGON 2 April 2019
Mingalabar! Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport we will be met by our local expert tour guide and driver and transferred to our hotel.
Our welcome meeting is at 6:30pm at the Kipling Bar and will be followed by a short pre-dinner presentation about Myanmar's culinary culture and clay-pot cooking by the Hotel Chef or Representative.
Dinner is at the hotel - traditional Burmese cuisine with a modern twist.
Accom: Savoy Hotel (3nts)
Meals: Welcome Dinner
Day 2 – YANGON 3 April 2019
Begin the day with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, perhaps try the local Burmese breakfast specialties.
We then embark on a 2-hour coach tour to visit the key historical and spiritual sites of Yangon on an orientation tour of the city.
Lunch is at leisure.
In the afternoon we enjoy a guided heritage walking tour passing Yangon’s key architectural gems of the colonial era and other historical sites, and ending at the iconic Strand Hotel for high tea.
The Strand Café High Tea offers guests an indulgent selection of classic sweets and savouries, as well as some traditional Myanmar delicacies.
There will be time to relax or at leisure before later enjoying a guided Yangon night market tour to sample Yangon’s famous street food offerings.
Accom: The Savoy
Meals: Breakfast; high tea; street-food dinner
Day 3 – YANGON 4 April 2019
Today we will travel through the Yangon countryside to visit the riverside pottery village of Twante. Located 25 kilometres to the southwest of Yangon, Twante is renowned for its community-basedbearthenware pottery industry. Lunch is included at a local restaurant.
In the early evening, at 6pm, we visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most sacred Buddhist sites. Join worshippers at an oil lamp lighting ceremony. This is a tradition that pre-dates electricity when both locals and pilgrims would donate hundreds or even thousands, of oil lamps so that worshippers could enjoy the gilded pagoda after dark when the temperature is cooler. We’ll observe monks chant ancient Pali scriptures as 1,500 oil lamps are lit around the pagoda – a truly spiritual experience and highlight of our journey.
Dinner this evening is at your leisure.
Accom: The Savoy
Meals: Breakfast; lunch
Day 4 – YANGON-INLE LAKE 5 April 2019
Early morning transfer to the airport for our flight to Inle Lake.
The freshwater lake of Inle is Myanmar’s second largest and measures about 70 square kilometres. There are an estimated 70,000 people living in more than 200 villages on or around the lake. To get a real sense of the lake’s expanse, we will take a longboat cruise navigating past floating gardens and villages and catch a glimpse of the unique ‘leg rowers’ of the Intha fishermen. Along the way, we will also visit several villages specialising in various handicrafts and trades, such as lotus silk weaving and cheroot making.
Upon arrival at Heho airport we will be greeted by our local guide before departing for Kakku, home of the Pa-Oh people and an impressive display of ancient monuments dating back to the 12th century. Stop en route in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, located 1,440m above sea level
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant in Kakku before exploring the over 2,000 very well-preserved stupas packed closely together in an area of just one square kilometre. Wander through the area and observe the colourful carvings within some of the stupas.
Return to Inle, enjoying scenic views along the way. Transfer to Nyaung Shwe, then take a private boat trip to your hotel.
Accom: Inle Princess Resort (2nts)
Meals: Breakfast, dinner
Day 5 –INLE LAKE 6 April 2019
Rise early to visit the rural but bustling five-day market, so called because the date of this special market is set by the local minority groups and the location changes every five days. Visit the lively market and observe locals and several minority groups wearing traditional costumes trading in animals and farm produce.
Next we travel by boat to Inpawkon village for a cooking class at Intha Heritage House. The chef of the Inle Heritage Restaurant will present the menu, give details about the class, ingredients and cooking methods. After this introduction, wander through the vegetable gardens and pick the ingredients for the meal. Back in the kitchen, we will clean the vegetables and start cooking, with step-by-step teaching from the chef. Using home-cooking methods and traditional recipes, we follow the principle of ‘Teaching with pleasure and respecting the produce.’ As soon as dessert is ready, we can sit down and enjoy the meal.
Before or after the cooking class, visit the site and get a view of how the Intha Heritage House promotes culture and traditions of the Inle area and supports sustainable development.
After lunch, we visit the Burmese cat village. The Burmese cat breed has existed in Myanmar for over 1000 years, recorded as royal pets and temple or monastery cats. Indeed when King Thibaw’s kingdom fell to the British, he was said to keep 40 ‘copper cats’ in his palace.
Before our return to Inle Princess Resort we will visit the nearby pottery workshops of Kyauk Taing. Inle Lake potters make an array of traditional handmade terracotta utensils which include water pots, home wares and cooking pots with a unique underground firing process.
Dinner tonight is at the Inle Princess Resort.
Accom: Inle Princess Resort
Meals: Breakfast, cooking class lunch, dinner
Day 6 – INLE LAKE – BAGAN 7 April 2019
We take an early flight from Heho to Bagan to board our 3 -night cruise sailing from Bagan to Mandalay aboard Sanctuary Ananda.
The ancient city of Bagan in central Myanmar, formerly known as Pagan, was the capital of several ancient Burmese kingdoms. From the 11th to 13th centuries, more than 4,000 temples and pagodas were built, of which approximately 2,200 remain standing. We will visit some key temple sites including Shwezigon Pagoda and Ananda Temple to gain a deeper understanding of Burma’s royal past.
Our river cruise check-in is at 11 am and we enjoy lunch on board the Sanctuary Ananda.
After lunch, we will visit the Kayminga pagoda complex to see the different architecture of the stupas and the Ananda Temple, regarded by folklore as one of the most beautiful temples in Myanmar.
We then return to our ship for a welcome briefing and champagne reception hosted in the Kansi Panorama Lounge, before a candlelit sandbank dinner is served with the backdrop of the twinkling lights of Bagan.
Accom: Sanctuary Ananda (3nts)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 7 - BAGAN 8 April 2019
This morning we head to Nyaung Oo Market, Bagan’s central market. The daily market is where the local farmers meet to buy and sell a variety of goods, ranging from fruit and vegetables to china and lacquerware.
Next, on to the great golden Shwezigon Pagoda which is said to contain important relics of the Gautama Buddha, two bones and a copy of a tooth.
We will then return to the ship and start sailing upstream towards Sagaing. As we sail, a variety of on board activities will be offered including a longyi (sarong) and thanaka (cosmetic) demonstration, and a talk on Myanmar.
A delicious dinner in the Talifoo Restaurant will then follow.
Accom: Sanctuary Ananda
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 8 - MANDALAY 9 April 2019
Enjoy a back of house tour and cooking class with the Sanctuary Ananda Executive Chef as we cruise the Irrawaddy.
In the afternoon visit the pagoda sprinkled Sagaing Hill, an important religious and monastic centre, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns.
Here we will visit a Monastic school where you will have the opportunity to meet some of the residents and understand the teachings of Buddhism.
Afterwards, take in the breath-taking views from the top of the hill on the terraces of the Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda.
We visit Amarapura, once known as 'The City of Immortals'. Today, the leisurely 'clack-clack' from the looms of the cotton and silk weavers has replaced the noisy bustle of this former capital.
Enjoy sunset at the much-photographed, 200 year old U Bein Bridge. This long teak bridge snakes across the Taungthaman Lake and is one of Burma’s most iconic sights.
After sunset, return to the Sanctuary Ananda for a farewell dinner.
Accom: Sanctuary Ananda
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 9 - MANDALAY 10 April 2019
We disembark from the Sanctuary Ananda after breakfast for our last day of the tour in Mandalay.
Today's touring will include a trip to visit the riverside pottery village of Kyauk Myaung with lunch in the regional capital of Shwebo, an important trade centre. On our return to Mandalay in the afternoon we will visit a gold-leaf workshop before returning to our hotel to freshen up for the evening.
On our last night together, we explore Mandalay’s street food culture which comes to life in the evening. Sample a variety of popular dishes including curries, salads, and traditional tempura.
Accom: Mandalay Hill Resort (1nt)
Meals: Breakfast, street-food dinner
Day 10 - MANDALAY 11 April 2019
Sadly, our Burmese Bliss tour comes to an end after breakfast.
Your morning is at leisure to enjoy the hotel facilities or free time in Mandalay.
We have a late morning group transfer to the airport for our onward afternoon flight.
NB Itinerary subject to adjustments for logistical reasons at the discretion of our local operators in Myanmar