Magical Myanmar – a 14-day private Burmese family adventure
Fully tailored journey from AU$3885 per person (twin share).
If your kids want to head back to school with tales of elephant bath-times, nights in Buddhist monasteries, cooking freshly caught fish with local families and swimming in the crystal waters of the Bay of Bengal, then read on: this is the holiday for you!
This is the ultimate family holiday for those who like to combine adventure, activity, and unique cultural experiences with a little relaxation time, all in a setting that is both reassuringly safe and exhilaratingly exotic.
There are few places in the world as welcoming as Myanmar (Burma), and we guarantee that travelling with children will open doors to mind-expanding, unforgettable experiences for all members of the family.
The adventure starts in Mandalay, last capital of the Burmese Kings, cruising on the wide Irrawaddy River and exploring ancient cities. A short flight brings you to Shan State, home of numerous minorities and glorious scenery.
Spend a night in Kalaw, a former British Hill Station and home to Green Hill Elephant Sanctuary, where you have chance to assist in the care of the retired logging elephants.
From Kalaw, don your walking boots and set out through the rolling hills and farmland on a gentle two-day trek to Inle Lake, stopping overnight with the Buddhist monks at the village monastery in Htee Thein.
Learn the traditional skills of the Inle fisherman, and join an Inthar family in preparing lunch with the day’s catch.
At Bagan, jump on your bikes to explore the wide, pagoda-dotted plains, stopping to investigate the hundreds of remarkable, ancient buildings.
A few days of well-earned downtime await at Ngapali Beach, a glorious stretch of coastline on the Bay of Bengal, before concluding your Burmese adventure in Yangon, the former British colonial capital and home to the immense Shwedagon Pagoda.
To enquire or book call 02 9997 1277 or email email@example.com
You arrive today in Mandalay, Myanmar's second-largest city and its last royal capital.
Your local guide will meet you at the airport and accompany you to your hotel to freshen up. You will then head to the Mahamuni Pagoda, which houses an ancient and highly sacred image of the Buddha. After visiting the temple, your guide will take you to visit some of the area's craft workshops, where artisans have preserved their traditional techniques for centuries. Watch craftsmen as they create intricate wood carvings, embroider kalagatapestries, and beat out the gold leaf that you'll see decorating countless temples and pagodas throughout the country.
Later in the day you will visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda. This temple is home to the world's biggest book, which consists of 729 marble stone slabs containing Buddhist scriptures. Next you'll pay a visit to the Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th-century Royal Palace, and finally end your day's exploration atop Mandalay Hill for sunset.
On day two you depart early for a day tour to Hsithe village, watching out for Irrawaddy dolphins on the way! A two hour drive will take you to Singu (the closest accessible village by road), from here you will hop into the waiting boat and enjoy a 30-minute journey to the village of Hsithe. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled as there may be a chance to spot some of the famed Irrawaddy dolphins, easily identifiable by their blunt forehand and nose.
On arrival into Hsithe you will make your way to the villages new destination centre, for some light refreshments and snacks. Here you will meet with a cooperative fisherman to learn how to prepare and cast the fishing net, after which you can try your hand with two or three trial throws in the centre's garden. You will then take the boat across the river to put your net casting skills to the test in shallow water!
Returning to the destination centre you will enjoy a home cooked picnic lunch prepared by the villagers. After which you will have some free time to explore Hsithe village with a local resident as your guide. In the afternoon you will return upstream to Singu, this will also be your last chance to spot any dolphins, so fingers crossed there will be a few around!
Overnight: Bagan King Hotel
An early flight this morning brings you to Heho Airport, gateway to Inle Lake and beautiful Shan State.
On arrival you'll be met by your local guide and driven the short distance to Green Hill Elephant Camp, where you will don your hiking boots for a short walk through the Green Hill Valley. The camp is a family-owned refuge for elephants that are rescued from the logging industry. Most elephants at the camp are “senior citizens” and have been “retired” by the government. The family at Green Hill has adopted and cares for the elephants at the refuge, and you can assist in the daily tasks of feeding, bathing, and helping with the caretaking.
After lunch at the camp, plant a tree and contribute to the reforestation of the Green Hill Valley. In the afternoon you'll continue on to the former British Hill Station at Kalaw, where you will spend the night.
Overnight: Amara Mountain Resort
After breakfast visit Kalaw's morning market, a small but beautiful market with an array of produce on sale.
Depending on the day you may see Pa-Oh, Shan or Danu vendors in traditional dress buying and selling their wares. From Kalaw you will then transfer by car to the starting point of the trek around an hour from town.
Accompanied by your local guide you will set off on foot here for the first part of your gentle trek to Kone Hla village, passing through Baw Hnin Kone and Htun Kom Village along the way. The route offers fabulous views and passes through fields where, depending on the time of year, farmers will be harvesting, planting or tending to their crops of wheat, potatoes, ginger and vegetables. Kids should have plenty to see and do along the way, as you'll be travelling at a leisurely pace and have lots of time to stop in the villages you pass through.
After a break for a picnic lunch, continue on for a further two-and-a-half hours through Pack Tu Pouk Village to Htee Thein, your overnight stop. Your overnight stay is in the village monastery, a very special place to spend the evening. The accommodation is basic but comfortable, and dinner will be prepared in the monastery and served later in the evening.
Overnight: Htee Thein Monastery
Following a simple breakfast at the monastery this morning you will set out on the second day of your walk, a further four hours through rolling countryside to Inle Lake.
As you approach Than Daung village there will be great views of the lake in the distance. Along the route you will meet people from the Pa-O, Danu, Taung Yoe and Inthar minority groups – a great chance for your children to interact with kids from the local area.
At around midday you'll reach Than Daung and wander around the village for a chance to learn more about the local way of life. After lunch here it's a brief 30-minute walk to the jetty, where your boat will be waiting to transfer you across the lake to rejoin your luggage at your hotel.
On the morning of day six you'll join a local fisherman for a fun and educational introduction to the unique traditional techniques used on Inle Lake, which include rowing one-legged and corralling fish into handmade nets.
After trying to your luck at fishing, you'll be taken to see Inle's remarkable floating gardens. These floating farms are an important part of the region's economy, as the produce is shipped to all corners of Myanmar. Your guide will explain how the gardens are created and harvested, and you'll have an opportunity to pick your own choice tomatoes for your upcoming lunch. From here you will proceed to a traditional Inthar House at Tharlay village, where you will spend some time preparing your lunch dishes with a local family. This is a rare chance to spend time with the locals and a great, hands-on way to learn about their cuisine and culture.
After lunch, continue to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Finish the day with an exploration of the local crafts of Inle Lake, stopping at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. Return to the jetty at Nyaung Shwe in the late afternoon.
After breakfast on day seven, head to Inle's surrounding hills for a fantastic four- to five-hour day trek. Your walk will take you through a beautiful landscape of rolling green hills interspersed with farms and villages, with plenty of stops to ensure that your children can keep up with the pace.
After the walk you'll visit Mine Thauk village on the eastern shore of the lake, famed for its delicious soy bean crackers, tofu and other locally produced treats. Walking around the village you can observe all steps of the process of creating these local items – and try them, of course.
Overnight: Hotel Amazing Nyaung Shwe
Today you will be driven from your hotel to Heho Airport for your short domestic flight to Nyaung U.
Here a private car will be waiting to take you to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano soaring 650 metres above the surrounding plains. On top of this mountain is a famous temple dedicated to Myanmar's indigenous nat spirits, which you'll reach by climbing nearly 900 steps to the top.
After exploring Mount Popa, reward yourselves with a delicious lunch before your onward journey to Bagan this afternoon. Your driver will take you through the dry landscape of central Myanmar, along roads lined with toddy palms – an important contributor to the local economy. Beyond creating juice and sugars for the people, toddy palms also provide shade, materials for making household utensils, homes, medicines and alcoholic drinks. You will have a chance to stop and observe the process of creating toddy juice, before heading on to Bagan, where you will arrive in the late afternoon.
On the morning of day nine you'll hop on your bikes and head out to explore the plains of Bagan, visiting a mix of villages, markets and (of course) temples. Bagan is perhaps the most famous and impressive images of Myanmar, with its wide open plains scattered with over 2,000 Buddhist stupas.
Your exploration of the area will begin with a visit to the colourful Nyaung Oo Market, where every day the locals come to buy and sell fresh produce and other goods. Next you'll continue on to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction into Bagan's rich history before making your way to the architectural masterpiece that is Ananda Temple. Built in the early Mon style, Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on where you stand.
This afternoon you'll have the opportunity to visit a traditional lacquerware workshop, where you can observe the production of one of Myanmar's best-known handicrafts. After a short tea break, head on to another temple to enjoy the dramatic view as the sun goes down over the plains.
Overnight: Bagan Thande Hotel
On day ten you will head back to Nyaung U Airport and fly west to Thandwe Airport, gateway to the spectacular beaches of Ngapali.
A short drive brings you to your resort, set on the quiet two-mile stretch of palm-lined white sand that is Ngapali Beach. After quite a full-on itinerary of walking, temple visits and activities – this is the perfect place for you and your family to have a well-earned rest.
From your arrival in Ngapali, you will have two and a half days at leisure to enjoy the area. There is plenty to do, from relaxing on the beach to cycling around the local area. On one of the days you may wish to take a private boat to the tiny fishing village of Maung Shwe Lay to witness local life in this charming beach town. After lunch on the boat, enjoy an afternoon of swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, and fan fishing in a truly unspoiled region of Asia.
Overnight: Bayview Resort
On day 13 you will bid farewell to your beach resort and head back to Thandwe Airport for your flight onward to Yangon.
On arrival you will be greeted by your guide, who will accompany you as you transfer to your hotel in the centre of town. After a chance to freshen up and relax after your flight, you will be taken out into town for a short, guided introduction to the city. Follow in the footsteps of Kipling and start at the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most recognisable images of Myanmar. The rest of the day is yours to continue exploring the city or to relax at your hotel. On day 14 you will return to the airport for your flight to Yangon, where you connect with your onward flight home.
Overnight: Best Western Green Hill
To enquire or book call 02 9997 1277 or email firstname.lastname@example.org