Taste of Myanmar - Food & Culture Tour

Description

Discover the tastes and flavors of Myanmar with this unique, culinary-themed trip. Frequent the tea houses of Yangon, learn how to cook traditional Burmese dishes in Bagan, sample local specialties in Mandalay, and then continue to Inle Lake, home of the Intha people, before returning to Yangon.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Min ga la ba! Welcome to Yangon, Myanmar. You are greeted by your guide and driver at the International airport for your transfer to the hotel (check in time is 14:00 hours).

  • You’ll begin your culinary holiday in Myanmar early this evening with a trishaw tour of local tea shops and regional specialties. En-route, you’ll also see many of the iconic landmarks of Yangon.

  • Starting at Lucky 7, a local tea shop where one can enjoy Burmese tea and a nice introduction to the city’s traditional culture. The tradition of drinking strong tea with condensed milk and sugar was brought to Myanmar by the British more than a century ago. However, people still drink green tea, which is complimentary in most of the local tea shops, to wash away the sweet flavour. The tea shop is popular with locals and serves a variety of traditional Burmese snacks and noodles, all of which can be sampled. Some of the famous dishes are mont pyar tha let (rice pancake), mont leit pyar (wanton-like parcels of bean and jaggery), shwe htamin (golden sticky rice), mohingar (rice noodles with fish soup - Myanmar’s national dish) and own noe khauk swe (yellow noodles with chicken and coconut soup).

  • From here, board an open-air trishaw and head to 999 Shan Noodle.

  • On the way, pass by the Secretariat Building and St Mary’s Catholic Church, two grand colonial-era buildings with rich histories.

  • At the restaurant, sample Shan noodles, a famous staple of the largest ethnic tribe in Myanmar. Typically eaten for breakfast, Shan noodles can be had as a soup or salad and are fantastic any time of day.

  • From 999 Shan Noodle, head past Sule Pagoda (dating back over 2,000 years), City Hall, and Mahabandoola Park to Little India. During British rule, Yangon was populated with more Indians than Burmese. Many of their descendants still live here today.

  • In Little India, we’ll stop off at a local restaurant to try some of the Indian-influenced snacks that are still popular with Burmese people today.

  • From Little India, get back on the trishaws for one last stop, Chinatown, another chance to try local and Chinese delicacies. Venture through the stalls selling everything from flowers to seafood, spices to fresh tofu.

  • Nearby is 19th Street, a popular place to have draught Myanmar Beer, together with vegetable and meat sa-tays (BBQ), in the evening. Enjoy a beer and a light snack here.

  • Transfer to Hotel after enjoying beer and light snack at 19th Street.

  • Overnight in Yangon.

  • Meals included: snacks and dinner.

 

Day 2

  • After breakfast, guide will pick you up at the lobby and transfer to Yangon Central Railway where you will take a train ride on the Circle Line *. Opened in 1961, the train carries an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people a day in a loop around the city. This is life the way the locals live it - a unique, fun and authentic experience.

  • While waiting for the train, you can stroll around the interesting local market nearby to see the bustling local daily market scene.

  • As the journey passes from station to station you have a great opportunity to observe the life of Yangon suburbanites.

  • After 45-60 minute ride, disembark to visit a local market filled with street vendors and piles of colorful items. Explore the market and meet the curious and friendly locals.

 

  • Transfer back by taxi to Yangon and have Lunch at LinkAge Restaurant & Art. A training school where street and marginalized youth are trained to become cooks. It is a social project as well as a link to Forever Humanitarian & Development Projects, a volunteer group founded in 2010. The project was able implement thanks to French Government's Human Rights Prize.

  • After lunch visit the Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to view its magnificent reclining Buddha, and Karaweik Hall to marvel the uniquely decorated “hamsa-bird-shaped” floating barge on Kandawgyi (Royal) Lake.

  • Next we visit Bogyoke (Scotts) Market, where hundreds of gemstone, handicrafts, art, clothes and food stores are tucked in a maze of color. (Please note that the market is closed on Mondays and on public holidays).

  • Proceed to Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most spectacular religious monuments in the world rises majestically over Singuttara Hill to the city Yangon, casting its golden gleam over the low-lying capital. This 2,500-years old structure, which contains the relics of four Buddha’s, is the guardian temple of Yangon and the most sacred site for the people of Myanmar. Start from the Eastern entrance of Shwedagon pagoda and walk through the small shops where monk accessories, Buddha statues, flowers etc. are sold. The entrance is always very busy with sellers and local pilgrims. You'll learn about the daily life of the local people who reside in the immediate surroundings and gain a deeper insight into the Buddhist religion as you provide offerings to the monks.

  • Then, walk along the pagoda platform clockwise, as is tradition, around the main Pagoda. During this interactive walking tour of the pagoda, explore walkways and hidden gems that are unknown to most visitors. Stopping in one of the pavilions to prayer, you might get a chance to meet a Buddhist monk and talk about Buddhism and meditation or simply contemplate.

  • Continue through the back door of Shwedagon Pagoda and discover its fascinating history. As you walk the magnificent grounds and interior and even you can visit a local fortune-teller (if time permits) and learn about the ancient spiritual beliefs. 

  • For dinner, we will introduce you to a variety of dishes from different regions of Myanmar at Taing Yin Thar, which means national, offers great tastes from remote parts of the country like Rakhine, Kachin and Karen, as well as traditional Burmese food.

  • Overnight in Yangon

  • Meals included: breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

*The train is fairly old and slow but it’s a fantastic way to experience local life.

Day 3

  • After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Yangon Airport for the flight to Bagan (Nyaung Oo). Bagan’s collection of thousands of ancient stupas and temples make it one of the most remarkable archaeological sites in Asia. From the 11th to the 13th Century, when Bagan was the capital of Myanmar, rulers constructed huge stupas and temples on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, many of which are still standing today.

  • Explore Bagan’s most important pagodas, starting with the Shwezigon Pagoda, which was the prototype of Burmese stupas.

  • The journey of discovery then continues to Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi, a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings, and the elegant Htilominlo Temple, which is noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.

  • Lunch is served at a local village where guests will be greeted by their hosts and treated to authentic local cuisine in a traditional home. 

  • In the afternoon, visit Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece built in Bagan’s early-style, and Ananda Okkyaung, one of the few surviving brick monasteries from the early Bagan period.

  • After a visit to Thatbyinnyu, the highest temple in Bagan, take a charming horse and carriage tour through this temple-studded landscape, passing the traditional village of Taungbi, Sulamani Temple and the massive Dhammayangyi Temple, which is noted for its remarkable brickwork.

  • Afterwards, settle down on the upper terrace of one of the temples and watch as an unforgettable sunset casts its light temples, chedis and pagodas of Bagan.

  • The best of this tour; whenever you see a temple you like, just ask your guide to stop to have a look at it. Simply pick your own favorite temple!

  • The rest of the evening is free at leisure, however we suggest dinner at Nanda Restaurant, which serves fantastic Burmese cuisine in the traditional daung-lan style incl. traditional puppet show.

  • Overnight in Bagan.

  • Meals included: breakfast and lunch.

 

Day 4

  • Enjoy a cooking class at the Kuthodaw library runs by the harismatic Ms. May. She welcomes you in her small garden and typical Bagan house and introduces the ingredients that you will use for today’s class to prepare delicious Burmese recipes. Besides the plants in her garden, the most important ingredient Ms. May uses is her love of food and sharing it. She graduated in bio-gardening in Thailand and is an ardent promoter of pesticides and fertilizers free agriculture.

  • The daytime course includes a visit to the market to shop for ingredients (with accommodations made for vegetarians and dietary restrictions), followed by a walk back to May's house for preparation – using charcoal fires to make curries, soups, salads and other dishes.

  • After the cooking class, sit and take the time to savor today’s creations. It's a great way to learn more about Burmese food, customs and culture, and May gives back to the community, with 20% of earnings going towards a town library.

  • After lunch, pay a visit to another cottage industry where pe chaung, another locally famous snack, is made from gram beans.

  • Then the tour heads out of town to a palm garden, paying a visit to the family of toddy palm climber. This provides a unique opportunity to experience the simple way of life of toddy climbers and observe their daily routines. Watch as they collect juice from the toddy fruit and process it into molasses, alcohol and other items. From August to February there are also other plants (such as beans, peanuts, sesame and cotton) grown in the toddy garden.

  • In the afternoon, drive back to Bagan to visit a lacquer ware house, and witness the skills of artists who draw decorative figures and intricate patterns by hand.

  • As the day comes to an end, be taken to the Irrawaddy River for a private boat ride along this famous river, offering magnificent views of the temples and riverside villages as the sun begins to set, drinks and light snacks will be served on board.

  • Overnight in Bagan.

  • Meals: breakfast and cooking class.

  • OPTIONAL ACTIVITY:

    • Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight

    • Operated: Daily between October and March, 5.30-8.00 or 8.30am 

    • Imagine floating over thousand year old pagodas and the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River, as the sun rises slowly from the horizon over the misty fields and temples. The magic of Bagan has inspired visitors to Myanmar for centuries. One of the most remarkable sights in Asia, where ancient temples dot the landscape as far as the eye can see.

    • The flight duration is approx. 45min to 1hr depending on wind and air currents and other local factors.

    • Balloons team will pick you up from the hotel and transfer to the launch site.

    • After briefing session, set off for the spectacular flight.

    • Upon landing enjoy glass of champagne and light snack prior transfer back to your hotel.

 

Day 5

  • In the morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Heho. From Heho, a one-hour scenic drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake.

  • Start with a visit to the Nyaung Shwe morning market where locals gather to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.

  • Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal, which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to markets around the country. Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes.

  • Then hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘Tomato House’, a warehouse-like structure, where tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale.

  • Then continue past some of the towns’ many monasteries and nunneries, stopping for photos along the way.

  • Lunch is served at View Point, which specializes in creative Shan tapas and is considered one of the best dining venues in the Inle region.

  • Proceed to Nyaung Shwe and visit Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery, which is located at the northeastern part of Inle Lake. Here, guests can enjoy magnificent views of Inle Lake and its stilted villages while tasting some of Myanmar’s premiere wines and observing the Old World grape varieties grown in the estate.

  • Continue to the jetty and board a private motorboat for a cruise on Inle Lake. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.

  • Overnight in Inle Lake.

  • Meals: breakfast and lunch.

 

Day 6

  • The Shan cuisine is famous for its refined taste and the possibility to make amazing dishes with just a few local ingredients.

  • After breakfast, you’ll by picked up by tuk tuk or boat (depending where you’re staying) by either Mr. Min or his lovely wife, your chef for the cooking class this morning. First, you’ll visit the Mingalar market or five-day market. The chef explains how to shop, traditional bargaining and explains the ingredients being purchased. Then, you’ll will drive for about 15-20 to a stunning/ beautiful “hidden” place on the lake.

  • After a cup of tea you’ll will start with the cooking class and learn how to prepare 8-10 special Shan dishes. At the end you will sit down to enjoy what you have created for lunch. You’ll also get a very nice recipe book of all the dishes to take home to impress your family and friends about your cooking.

  • After lunch, hop back on the boat and visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, home to five gold leaf-covered Buddha figures, and the holiest religious site in southern Shan State.

  • We also visit the boat construction workshop at Nampan village and stop to see some traditional handicrafts - silk weaving on wooden handlooms in Inpawkhon village, a cheroot-maker's workshop and a blacksmith's forge.

  • Continue by boat to Khaung Daing Village on the northwest shore of the lake. This village is famous for its traditional Shan tofu - fried tofu crackers and folded, triangular tofu treats. Watch and even participate in the process of sifting soy beans, boiling them, mashing them into balls and then forming tofu cakes to dry in the sun. This is a fabulous taste of local life on Inle Lake.

  • Return to your hotel by boat as the sun lowers and the light softens over the lake.

  • Overnight in Inle Lake.

  • Meals: breakfast and cooking class.

Day 7

  • After breakfast, travel by long-tailed boat across the lake to Indein, at the western end of Inle, for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake.

  • Passing through the busy village of Ywama, the largest on the Lake, with many channels and tall teak houses on stilts; enter a long, often tree-lined canal, either side of which farmers cultivate their land against the backdrop of the Shan Hills.

  • Disembark at the jetty and walk for 15 minutes through Indein village to reach the 14th - 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Ohak. Many pagodas here remain charmingly untouched, with plants and even small trees growing out of them, making the area very atmospheric. A covered walkway popular with souvenir stallholders leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th - 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed.

  • Returning to the river you have the possibility of walking along a lovely shady path for 30 minutes to the Intha village of Sema.

  • From here continue by boat downstream past Yethar village, watching local life on the banks and birds in the trees until rejoining the Lake near Phaung Daw Oo Paya.

  • For lunch, you will be welcomed by the house owners of a hidden Intha Village House and experience the traditional dining.

  • Transfer back to your hotel and the rest of the afternoon is free at leisure.

  • Overnight in Inle Lake.

  • Meals: breakfast and lunch.

 

Day 8

  • After breakfast, transfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe and overland to Heho Airport (32 km – 1 hour) for a domestic flight back to Yangon and with connecting flight home.

Myanmar

April to September 2020 From

R 21 855.00*

per person

October 2020 to March 2021 From

R 28 784.00*

per person

8 Days / 7 Nights

Validity: Immediately - March 2021

* All above pricing is based on 3* accommodation and 1 traveler, inquire with us for 4* accommodation and bigger groups.

Including

  • 7 nights’ shared Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast at the indicated room types (see hotel category list) (check in and check out around noontime)

  • All transfers and transportation with air-con vehicles (types of vehicles depending on the number of pax):

    • 1-2pax: Saloon car or similar 

    • 3-5pax: Hiace car of similar

  • Local ENGLISH speaking station guides 

  • All entrance and zone fees as program

  • Meals (B/L/D) (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) as indicated in the program (local food) 

  • 2 bottles of mineral water per person per day, on bus, on days of transfer and sightseeing only tour 

Excluding

  • Airfares (international and domestic)

  • Meals (other than mentioned in the program)

  • Drinks 

  • Visas to Myanmar

  • Mineral water beyond that supplied

  • Tips

  • Early check in or late check out

  • Insurances

  • Optional excursions and activities

  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation

  • Items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, beverages…)

  • Peak season surcharges if any

  • All not mentioned above

Surcharges apply for high season or late bookings. Prices are in ZAR, subject to availability & tax fluctuations.

+27 (010) 035 5205

1st Floor, 65 Knoppiesdoring St, Randpark Ridge, Johannesburg, 2156

  • Instagram
  • Facebook Social Icon