A golden Buddha resides inside
one of Bagan's 2,500 pagodas
Visiting Shwedagon at night is a
Farmers carrying produce
to market at Inle Lake
Weavers produce exquisite silk
textiles using age-old techniques.
We'll join a family for lunch
Floating down the Irrawaddy River
is a delightful way to see riverlife.
- 13 nights in guesthouses /4-star or boutique hotels on twin sharing bed basis with breakfast
- Overnight cruise on the boutique Irrawaddy Princess (Upper Deck)
- All transfers and travel in a private air-con vehicle (and boats) as per the itinerary
- Cultural show at Inle Lake
- Welcome dinner
- One bottled water and two wet towels per person on sightseeing days
- English speaking guide
- Textile experts' presentations
- Guided sight seeing tours, with entrance fees and zone fees as per the itinerary
Cost does not include:
- International flight airfare
- Domestic airfare
- Hot air ballooning (optional)
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary, and all beverages
- Visa fees (approximately US$ 50 per person, subject to government regulation)
- Tips for meals and services, hotel staff and airport porters
- Expenses of personal nature including phone calls, laundry, excess baggage
- Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
- Medical and emergency evacuation travel insurance (mandatory)
- Temple and social service donations, and any other services not mentioned above
- Tax deductible donation to a non-profit (optional)
- Other services not specificallyl mentioned as include
On this trip –- designed for not just textile enthusiasts but anyone interested in Burma’s culture, arts, crafts and lifestyles -- we’ll venture off the beaten track to village settings and artisan workshops to learn about Burma’s age-old methods of hand-loom, silk and lotus root weaving and much more.
Weaving as a cottage industry plays an important role in the Burma’s economy and the lives of many Burmese today, particularly women. Our attention to the textiles and their producers brings not only pleasure to us but encourages and gives status to the weavers who uphold these traditions.
Textiles are the veil through which we’ll gain insight into Burma’s unique culture and identity but are not the only lens through which we’ll experience everyday life in Burma. We’ll attend quiet monasteries, tour magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Sites, hike by village farms and meet young professionals working to make a difference in the natural and fast changing social environment around them. We’ll travel by air, ground and water to see the colorful and undiscovered cultural landscapes of Burma.
We’d be happy to assist you in planning your travels to and from Burma, or extending your stay in Southeast Asia or the region. Please inquire about our Extension Trips.
Day 1: Arrive in Yangon: Visit Shwedagon Pagoda, the most revered Buddhist temple in Burma: 90 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf. We’ll remove our shoes and join pilgrims on a stroll on the well-swept marble arcade. Tonight is one of Burma's most important festivals, Tazaungmone, when women weavers compete in an all night contest at Shwedagon to see who can weave the finest saffron-colored robe to offer the Lord Buddha at the dawn.
Day 2: Yangon: Today we’ll visit the historic sites of Yangon: Botataung Pagoda and nearby Wahdan Jetty on the bustling waterfront, China town, and downtown, with numerous colonial style buildings standing proudly as a backdrop to a thriving street culture. We’ll also a private textile collection and visit the national museum for a good overview of Burma’s ethnic peoples, archaeological history and royal arts and furnishings.
Day 3: Inle Lake: living on the water. Set amidst a ring of hills, at 2950 feet above sea level, this elongated lake (35 miles by 19 miles) is the home of a unique lifestyle of living in stilted homes and fishing, farming and traveling by boat to market. We’ll travel primarily by boat for the next few days, and overnight on the lake.
Day 4: Inle Lake: We’ll travel in a long boat to a local market attended by hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares (subject to the rotating weekly schedule). Afterward, we’ll glide up a small creek at the southern end of the lake and walk through a forest of ancient and restored temple spires to the hilltop shrine at Indain.
Day 5: Inle Lake -- Textile Villages or Day Hike: Inle Lake is one of the main weaving centers of Burma. Today we will visit villages where expert weavers produce stunning textiles out of lotus stem, silk and cotton, including the complex patterned ikat design. Or, schedule permitting, we’ll take a moderately active hike through the rice paddies and picturesque countryside to a farming village for a simple lunch of traditional foods with a family.
Day 6: Mandalay: Take a short flight to Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city and the economic powerhouse of the north. We’ll see Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings; and Mandalay Hill for a view over the city and Irrawaddy River.
Day 7: Mandalay: Today we’ll attend the highly revered Mahamuni Pagoda, the holiest site in Mandalay where the devout perform daily washing of the millennia-old image of Buddha. We’ll stop to see how gold leaf is made by sledge hammer, and visit the ancient royal capital of Amarapura with its famously photographed U Bein Bridge, the longest teakwood bridge in the world. Take a horse cart ride to see the ancient wood carvings of another monastery.
Day 8: Mandalay: Stepping away from sightseeing for a while, we’ll visit a monastery that schools orphaned children and a nunnery, with time for some interaction and cultural exchange.
Day 9: Overnight cruise on the Irrawaddy River: We’ll board our boutique cruise ship (photo left) and glide down this still-active commercial, travel and fishing corridor as so many early travellers and trades men did. We’ll stop at a village known for its pottery making and will moor overnight at the quiet riverside. Lunch and dinner on board.
Day 10: Sunrise over Bagan, drive to Mt. Popa: After docking at Bagan, we’ll drive through picturesque countryside to Mt. Popa, a volcanic plug that rises almost magically above the plains. Time permitting, we’ll hike to the top alongside local pilgrims and scores of feisty monkeys. Then drive to another vista hilltop and overnight at Popa Mountain Resort.
Day 11: Bagan temple tour. We’ll drive back to Bagan this morning and tour some of the spectacular 10th to 12th century Buddhist temples for which Bagan is so famous. Inside we will see magnificent golden statues, frescoes and impressive stone arch supports. Later, we’ll visit a lacquer workshop and shop.
Day 12: Bagan: The Nyaung U market comes alive with hawkers of crafts, curios, textiles, vegetable and sundries in the morning: a great photo and bargaining op. Next, we’ll visit a village where women make traditional textiles using handlooms. Later this afternoon, we’ll take a horse cart ride to one of the ideal viewing sites for a panoramic view over the pagodas.
Optional: A chance of a lifetime: take an early morning hot air balloon ride over Bagan for an amazing view of this vast temples-cape from above.
Day 13: Yangon: Return to Yangon and visit Scott Market, a sprawling and fascinating collection of tiny shops where souvenirs are easily collected under one roof. The rest of the day is free. Mid-day, should you wish to turn back the clock to colonial times, consider lunch or tea at the elegant Strand Hotel.
Day 14: Depart Yangon: Begin your homeward or onward journey, with a bit of morning free time depending upon your international flight schedule beyond Burma.
Social Service Project
In keeping with KarmaQuest’s commitment to responsible tourism – tourism that benefits local communities and supports conservation of the natural and cultural environment in the places we visit – we invite you to donate to a recommended non-profit organization that benefits the disadvantaged women and children of Burma. Please inquire about this and other ways that you can help.
For more information and a detailed itinerary... please contact
KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel
Tel: (650) 560-0101/
699 Spindrift Way, Half Moon Bay,
California 94019 USA