Culinary Myanmar Tour

In addition to exploring the history of Burma by visiting key sites and amazinf places (Pagoda Shwedagon Pagoda Kyaukhtatgyi, Sagaing, ...), discover the local cuisine... An introduction to different flavours, halfway between spicy Indian and colorful Thai food.

Tour highlights

    - Walk through the streets of ‘Little India’

    - Stop to sample a dosa or fried bean treat - Enjoy a refreshing faluda or other sweet

    - Visit to a buzzing local market

    - Stop by the Royal Lake located in Kandawgyi Park - Receive a special monk blessing

    - Learn more about the local culture

    - Visit the Gu Byaukgyi Temple with its beautiful frescos

    - Explore the life on the lake from your floating private restaurant


Day 1

Arrival Yangon

Mingalabar and welcome to Myanmar! The former capital Yangon, also known as Rangoon, remains Myanmar largest city and continues to be the country's the most important commercial hub and gateway for most of its international visitors. Its colonial background and religious legacy make it one of the most mesmerizing and genuine places in all of Southeast Asia. Upon arrival at the airport you will be warmly welcomed by your guide who will take you to your hotel for check in (note: check in time is 14.00. Early check in is subject to availability).  Food plays an important role in the local lifestyle- it serves not just as sustenance but bears social and religious significance.  Throughout the next 10 days you will not just taste and prepare food but also partake in daily rituals that revolve around food. This will give you a much deeper understanding of the culture and the cuisine of Myanmar. For a great introduction to the food culture of Myanmar, we’ll head to Yangon’s bustling and vibrant center.  A walking tour commences near Theingyi Zay an all-day bustling market. Walk through the streets of ‘Little India’ where a mix of Bamar and Indian-influenced dishes are prepared by vendors and stop to sample a dosa or fried bean treat. Continue toward China Town where colorful stalls feature fruits, flowers and vegetables. There are several small houses making fresh noodles, sausage makers and dumpling vendors dotting the streets. Stop for a refreshing faluda or other sweet at Shwe Pu Zun, a famous Yangon dessert shop, and then continue to a shop selling Myanmar’s beloved tea leaf salad. For dinner this evening we introduce your palatte to a variety for foods from different regions in Myanmar. Taing Yin Thar, meaning ‘National’, showcases great flavours from remote areas of the country such as Rakhine, Kachin and Karin as well as traditional Bamar foods. Lunch own account. Dinner at Taing Yin Thar. Overnight stay in Yangon. ( D )

Day 2


The morning begins with a visit to a buzzing local market where you will see everything from peppers to pickled tea on sale. We’ll drop in to one of the best noodle shops in town for a bowl of mohinga, which is the unofficial national dish, or another breakfast treat of your choosing.  From here, continue to the Pansodan Jetty to get on a local, two-deck ferry in order to cross the Yangon River to Dhala, a charming low-lying township. Since Dhala does not have  a direct bridge to Yangon, the ferry is the main mode of commuting and thus the area around the jetty- and the boat itself!- is an extremely vibrant market where many locals come to do their trading and sell snacks and other items to the ferry passengers. Upon disembark the boat in Dhala you will travel by trishaw throughout the town, which includes a visit to the colourful local market, Buddhist temples and rural neighbourhoods with plenty of opportunities to interact with the local residents. This trip is an absolute pleasure for people that like to take lots of photos, it is chock-full of beautiful scenery and amazing splendour. Have a drink on the terrace of the local tea shop at the jetty and watch the action while you take in the historical skyline of Yangon which has not changed in decades. Return to Yangon by boat around midday. For lunch today we rub elbows with the locals at Feel Myanmar. Feel is laid out like a typical Myanmar curry shop, where rows of curries are lined up behind a glass case which you can choose from. The curries at Feel are particularly fresh and tasty and come served with loads of accompanying vegetables and soup. After you lunch continue sightseeing with a trip to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to see a 70 meter long reclining Buddha statue around the size of a blue whale.
Next you continue uptown in order to make a quick stop by the Royal Lake located in Kandawgyi Park which is very popular with local residents, especially in the early morning and around sunset. Catch a view of Karaweik Hall, a reproduction of a royal barge and enjoy a spectacular view of the Golden Shwedagon Pagoda. No Myanmar expedition can be considered truly great if it’s lacking a visit to the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. Ready for an amazing experience? The visual delights present there alone, are worth the trip. Begin at the eastern entrance to find a row of shops at the base of the temple selling various religious items. Here you will find monks robes, alms bowls, offerings, incense and other unique Buddhist objects. As your browse the stalls your guide will explain the use and rituals of Myanmar’s Buddhist people.  Then continue up the stairs to the main platform. Witness the colours transform on the 100-meter chedi which is literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaf. Shwedagon is largely consider d to be the most important religious site for the Burmese; most visitors report that the trip is extremely memorable and still etched into their minds. For dinner this evening we recommend trying one of Yangon’s fine dining establishments or going more local at a lively street side restaurant. Lunch at Feel Myanmar. Dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Yangon. ( B, L )

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3


It’s an early start this morning with a transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan. Welcome to Bagan, known to be one of the greatest architectural sites in Asia. When Bagan was the centre of Myanmar from the 11th to 13th centuries the monarchs built multitudes of massive stupas and pagodas, scores of which are still present on the shores of the Irrawaddy River. The majesty of Bagan with more than 4000 red brick temples on a plain of the size of Manhattan Island is one of the highlights of a Myanmar holiday that will soothe the eye of every traveller. You will be picked up from your hotel and whisked away to visit the most noteworthy pagodas and temples in Bagan. Monuments visited will represent a variety of architectural styles and hold different religious and spiritual value for the local people. During the morning a stop will be made at a local monastery where you will receive a special monk blessing. Afterwards tea and a selection of local snacks will be served in the shade of the trees. Resume temple touring until lunch time. We’ll head to a local spot run by a former sushi chef from New York! La Min Thit serves fresh, traditional style curries from its open-air kitchen. In the afternoon drive through Bagan’s countryside to the rustic village of Minnanthu, one of Bagan’s less visited regions; it’s very tranquil and isolated. You will discover temples such as Payathonzu with its strange structural design, Lemyentha and Nandamannya as well. Also, be sure to head over to Kyat Kan Cave monastery, which is an extremely important meditation retreat. There are also plenty of farming villages around Bagan if you’re interested in studying their particular way of life. If time allows, enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of an elevated temple. Lunch at La Min Thit. Dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Bagan. ( B, L )

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4


The morning will start off with an exciting hot-air balloon ride above the Bagan countryside. You will observe one-of-a-kind views when the sun begins to rise over the Irrawaddy River and various stupas in the region. You’re simply not going to find many other opportunities like this on Earth. (Only available from October/November through March) After breakfast at your hotel, your guide and driver will pick you up to start your Bagan excursion. You’ll first visit the Nyaung U market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily. Take a stroll through the market, and if you wish, through a nearby village which makes local bean paste or other treats. This bean paste is only produced in Bagan yet is popular throughout the country. e’ll then head out in to the countryside to a toddy farm. Here you will see the local farmers at work harvesting the juice from the toddy trees and then processing it in to various forms such as alcohol, sugar and molasses. Then you will be served lunch in the shade of their hut, a lovely rural setting for a meal. Your tour will continue back to Bagan for a walk through Myinkaba village where you will also have the chance to examine the village itself as well as the local craftsmen. Learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan's most famous products: lacquer ware and wood crafts. Watch as the skilled craftsmen use techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items. You’ll also visit the Gu Byaukgyi Temple with its beautiful frescos before a chance to see Manuha Temple (constructed in 1059!). Investigate Nanbaya Temple, one of the oldest temples in the region. Nanpaya is reputed to have been built in the eleventh century by the Mon King Manuha and has several Buddha images. Your next stop is scheduled to be the Myazedi (Jade) Stupa a pace of worship for Buddhist due to the relics held within. Here you can see the twelfth century inscriptions written in Burmese, Pyu, Pali and Mon, giving rise to the stupa’s sometime nickname of ‘Myanmar’s Rosetta Stone’. Late this afternoon board a boat for a sunset cruise on the Irrawaddy River. For dinner this evening we recommend trying the famed bean paste at the charming local restaurant Queen or one of the vegetarian restaurants near Ananda Temple. Lunch at the toddy farm. Dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Bagan. ( B, L ) OPTION: HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE OVER BAGAN £185 pp

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5


A short flight takes you from Bagan to Mandalay this morning! Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar and one of the ancient royal capitals is often perceived and described in literature as Asia at its most traditional, timeless and alluring but those who go meet a booming and vibrant city located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. However, despite the energy and thriving business it's where the cultural heart of Myanmar lies and tradition of music, dance and drama are still alive. Upon arrival in you’ll be transferred (1 hour) to Mandalay city. After the early flight you may be hungry so before commencing any sightseeing you’ll stop at the popular Shwe Pyi Moe tea shop for a tea or coffee and a snack. They make delicious mee shay, the Mandalay signature noodles, as well as Indian-style dosa. Having fueled up, it’s time to head to Mandalay Hill, rising 240 meter above the city. At the top the reward is a full panoramic view, the hazy blue outline of the Shan Hills to the east, the Mandalay Palace (and the city sprawl) to the south and the Irrawaddy River to the west. Directly south of Mandalay Hill stands the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, known as the pagoda of the Great Marble Image. Admire the huge Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. It’s said that the colossal marble block took 10,000 men almost two weeks to transport it from the riverside to its current location. Proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed as “The World’s Biggest Book” for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. Then it’s off to the Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery which is the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century. This impressive structure is celebrated for its remarkable woodcarvings. Take a break at midday and then proceed to your hotel to check in (Note: check in time at most hotels is 14.00; early check-in is subject to availability) Lunch will be served at Daw Lay May, a delicious curry house. Your Mandalay guided tour continues this afternoon with a visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda houses one of the country’s most honored Buddha images, completely covered in gold leaves that are every day applied to the statue by male devotees. There are also many craft workshops in Mandalay and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making gold leaf, tapestries, wood carvings or marionettes if you are interested and if time allows. Next drive to Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital. Amarapura means “City of Immortality”, though its period as capital was relatively brief. You will start Mahagandayon monastery, home to more than a thousand young monks and renowned as a centre for monastic study and strict religious discipline. Continue on foot or by bus a short distance to the legendary U Bein Bridge, which was built in 1782 when Amarapura was the Royal center of attention. It spans 1.2 km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake and is said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide. Enjoy this very special atmosphere as the late afternoon sun casts long shadows and illuminates the local people heading home. As a stunning day comes to an end head back to Mandalay. Dinner this evening is a fun local experience. Head to Yunnan Barbeque, a large hall with dozens of tables. Mandalay residents gather here nightly to drink cold draft beer and eat varieties of barbeque as well as noodle dishes, such as the tasty, slightly-spicy malahin flat noodles. Enjoy the food and atmosphere on this fun evening out. Lunch at Daw Lay May. Dinner at Yunan. Overnight stay in Mandalay. ( B, L, D )

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6


The day will begin with a visit to Mandalay’s vibrant morning market. The market is a hive of activity in the morning with vendors selling mainly fresh produce and meat but there is an array of other goods including spices, local ‘slippers’ and Buddhist donation items. You’ll be amazed at the colors and sounds as deals are made. Should you wish to buy some fruits or household items your guide can assist and advise on a monastery or nunnery in today’s touring at which to donate. Then continue to Auntie Alice’s house where your delightful host awaits to entertain you with a cooking course. The clean setting has a couple burners, chopping boards, mortar and pestle and other items. Along with Alice you will assist in preparing traditional Myanmar dishes while she explains the local methods and recipes handed down by generations. After cooking sit down to a feast of your home-cooked creations (total course time around 2 hours) The day continues across the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing. With 600 ivory colored pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is generally seen as the spiritual hub of Myanmar and claims residence to around 3,000 monks and nearly 100 meditation shrines. You’ll visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, U Min Thone Sae and Shin Pin Nan Gyaing. Continue to Sagaing’s local market, a less visited tourist site. We’ll head over to a small pottery village which is recognized for manufacturing ubiquitous water pots to observe the tradesmen here applying their traditional methods for producing their goods. Return back to the eastern side of the river in the late afternoon and transfer to your hotel. Dinner this evening is at your leisure. Lunch at Alice Cooking Course. Dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Mandalay. ( B, L )

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7


This morning return to the Mandalay airport for the flight to Heho, in the heart of the Shan State. Upon arrival at the Heho airport, you are to proceed by road to Pindaya (59 km – 2 hour), a quiet town on the banks of the serene Botoloke Lake. Home to the local Danu people, Pindaya can only be reached by small and windy roads which snake their way through mountain ranges from Mandalay, Inle Lake, or Bagan. Stop along the way to enjoy the fresh, countryside air and take photos of the beautiful fields, farms and hills. Reaching the town, you will first visit the local market. Open daily, the market is a gathering place for area farmers to sell their fresh produce and it is also host to a 5-day market which attracts vendors from hill tribes further away. Also visit a small shop making Myanmar’s famous tea leaf salad from Pindaya’s tea plantations. Take a break at midday for lunch (own account- we recommend a local tea shop or a filling meal from Pindaya Inle Inn) and to check in to your hotel (note: Hotel check in time is 14.00. Early check in is subject to availability) This afternoon continue to a nearby village to spend time with a local family learning about the growing of tea and the production of tea leaf salad and other local delicacies. Pindaya is known throughout Myanmar as having the best green tea and tea leaf salad as well as soya-based products. You’ll start with a short 20 minute walk through a local village to a family house on the outskirts of town. Here you will have a chance to sample freshly brewed green tea and see the drying of soya bean crackers. Continue to their nearby farm where you will walk amid the tea plants, stopping to pick a few ripe leaves if you wish. Then return to the house to watch a demonstration of tea leaf salad making. Then, in the late afternoon, visit the renowned Pindaya caves, a unique site housing thousands of Buddha images estimated to have been formed more than 200 million years ago. The opening of the cave involves a walk past the Shwe U Min Pagodas – giant white stupas which climb out of the ground. For dinner this evening a spread of local Danu food will be served at Memento, a family-run restaurant. Lunch own account. Dinner at Memento. Overnight stay in Pindaya ( B, D )

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8

Pindaya-Inle Lake

Should today be Pindaya’s scheduled day on the 5-day market rotation, you may wish to stop by for a visit prior to embarking on the drive to Nyaung Shwe (90 km – 2 ½ hours), gateway village to Inle Lake. En route it may be possible to stop at the Aung Ban wholesale market. Before heading out to Inle Lake, stop in Nyaung Shwe at the market to buy some items for donation at a nearby nunnery. The nuns will welcome you in to their kitchen were a delicious meal awaits. This unique setting allows you to learn more about the simple lives of Myanmar’s Buddhist nuns and the role they play in society. Continue to the jetty and a private motorboat and begin heading out onto Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and breathtaking sights. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. Along the way you will pass several villages that are built on stilts over the lake, which are inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the daily activities of the local leg-rowing fishermen and see their ‘floating gardens’, which are built up from strips of water hyacinth, earth and anchored to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles. If time allows you will also pay a visit to the local silversmith and may even be able to see a boat workshop. The day will come to a close with a return trip by boat back to your hotel. Lunch at the nunnery. Dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Inle Lake ( B, L )

INCLUDES : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9

Inle Lake-Indein-Inle Lake

After breakfast you’ll pay a visit to the lake’s morning market (the market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days). The market’s location rotates between the lake’s villages in a 5 day schedule and is also visited daily by the lake’s inhabitants as well as the surrounding natives who also come to sell and trade their wares. You will also visit Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha Images. In the past this temple was known for its ‘jumping cats’ but these days there are only a few felines roaming around and none are jumping any more. Proceed to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main haven, which contains five sacred images of Buddha decorated in gold leaf. Don’t miss to explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone, renowned for its weaving from the stems of lotus flowers, and a cheroot factory, where traditional Burmese cigars are handmade. Have a mouth-watering typical Shan lunch on a rice carrier boat in the middle of beautiful surrounding of Inle Lake- this is a ‘must do’ for food lovers. The boat has been transformed into a fully equipped ephemeral restaurant. Relax and enjoy an exquisite lunch while exploring the life on the lake from your floating private restaurant. (subject to weather conditions.) Following this memorable lunch, a 1-hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein, positioned on the western shores of Inle Lake. Take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending a rural road to the top of a hill. Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you will be greeted buy an iconic Buddha image which sits enshrined among hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery. Here, from the peak, you will also be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the placid surroundings. The Indein Pagoda complex is undoubtedly one of the most amazing sites around the shore of the lake and it consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery. On your boat ride back, should time allow and if you wish, you'll stop at the Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake's indigenous people and enjoy a delicious coffee and cake (snack break not included). Lunch and dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Inle Lake. ( B )

INCLUDES : Breakfast

Day 10

Inle Lake-Heho-Yangon-Departure

Breakfast will be served at your hotel before driving by a combination of boat and car to the Heho Airport (1-1.5 hour) for a short flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival at Yangon airport you’ll be greeted by a guide and driver who will be at your disposal until returning to the airport for your international connection. Lunch and dinner own account. ( B ) Should you wish to extend your stay or add another exciting destination to this Tour, please call one of our Myanmar holiday travel specialists.

INCLUDES : Breakfast


Superior 1st June 2016 - 31st March 2017

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