Join us in Myanmar in January 2018 to celebrate the beginning of the year and step back in time. No longer "terra incognita", Myanmar (known as Burma until 1989) is now a vivid cultural study in Southeast Asian life as it existed 30-40 years ago. After decades of being off limits to most outside visitors, Myanmar has finally begun to shed its cloak of mystery and allow travelers to discover its ancient traditions, architectural and artistic treasures, and abundant natural beauty.
Surrounded by the hills and mountains that rise from the huge Irrawaddy Valley, Myanmar’s people, while still deeply impoverished, showcase a culture of hospitality and openness. Discover a land bejeweled with gilded pagodas and splendid Buddhist temples.
You begin your journey in Yangon. Located in the fertile delta region of central Myanmar, Yangon served as the capital of the country until 2006. With its wide streets, parks, and lakes, Yangon has the sleepy charm of a provincial town. The city's colonial core is well-preserved, and has the largest number of colonial- era buildings in the region.
Stately British colonial mansions stand beside glittering pagodas, including one of the most remarkable religious shrines in all of Asia – the magical Shwedagon Pagoda. Much of Yangon’s allure stems from its colorful street life: the food peddlers on the sidewalk, gems in the gem market, rickshaw drivers in striped longyis (sarongs) peddling lazily through tree-lined streets, and locals drinking endless cups of sweet, milky tea at roadside tea stalls. Shwedagon is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. You’ll fall silent, spellbound, as red-robed monks light hundreds of oil candles in an ancient ritual that is believed to have been practiced by the Buddha himself.
We head next to Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State, located in the Karen Hills area near the state’s northern tip. The inhabitants are mostly the Kayah (Karenni) people. Women of the Kayan tribes identify themselves by their forms of dress and well known for wearing neck rings, brass coils that are placed around the neck. Visit Hawnan, Taung Kwe Zadi, and Mya Ka Latt Taung - twin hills each of which feature a pagoda on top.
You will also have a chance to explore the area surrounding Inle Lake, Myanmar's second largest lake, by bike and then paddle around exploring Inle Lake's shores by kayak. Inle Lake is home to silk and lotus weaving craft shops located on stilts on the lake. The people are known for their peculiar style of rowing: they stand on one leg and use the other leg to row.
We will enjoy majestic views of Natma Taung, or Mount Victoria, which at over 10,000 feet is one of the most prominent peaks of Southeast Asia. The Natma Taung National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, is known for its flora and plant life, which is highly diverse and provides insight to the biogeographical history of Asia. It is also an important site for wildlife conservation, containing many species of endangered birds, mammals, and reptiles.
You'll visit Bagan, once the capital of the Pagan Empire when more than 10,000 Buddhist temples were built. More than 2,200 local temples remain in the Bagan plains alone, all with unique designs and architectural characteristics. This is sure to be a highlight of this Myanmar adventure! Bagan is one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia often seen as even more fascinating than the temple complex at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
The villages surrounding Bagan also offer rich opportunities to soak up local rural life and to learn more about the daily activities of the Burmese people. And you’ll meet women who practice regional traditions important to the local economy and artisans practicing their crafts. Learn about the ways of a master weaver as she collects local plants from specially cultivated gardens, renders them into natural dyes, and creates textile masterpieces on handmade looms.
Join us in January for this new and culturally-rich AdventureWomen "Pagodas, Boats, Bikes, and Hikes" journey to Myanmar!
- Explore golden pagodas and ancient Buddhist temples while learning about Myanmar’s history and cultural traditions
- Climb Nat Ma Taung, one of the most prominent and sacred peaks in Southeast Asia
- Enjoy a cooking class from a local chef and savor traditional Burmese cuisine
- Bike along scenic paths through rural villages and expansive rice fields
- Meet women weavers and learn about their unique artistry
What You'll See and Do
- Canoe and Boat Travel
- Cooking Class
- Cultural Exploration
- Historical Sites
- Local Delicacies
- National Parks
- Wildlife Viewing