15 days
Duration
Asia and the Orient
Destination
Level 2 - Moderate
Activity

Myanmar Art Tour | Myanmar Small Group Tour

Visitors to Myanmar find a country that is fascinating and full of old world charm. Travellers on this small group tour will enjoy the culture, beautiful scenic destinations and some of the warmest and most welcoming people anywhere in the world. It is designed for the senior or mature-aged couple or solo traveller seeking to learn as they travel.

This small group tour of Myanmar is focused on a detailed study of the country's art and archaeology.  The itinerary is designed to take you chronologically through Myanmar’s history. There are also plenty of general sightseeing activities included to avoid ‘pagoda fatigue’, such as visits to local markets and villages as well as a boat trip up the Ayeyarwady River (Irrawaddy River).

Myanmar Art Small Group Tour Itinerary

The following paragraphs set out the tour itinerary on this small group educational tour of Myanmar. The days are reasonably paced to allow you time to learn and explore.

Yangon to Sri Ksetra

Our fully escorted tour commences in Yangon. A talk on Buddhism as practised in Myanmar sets the stage at the beginning of the tour. During your first few days on the tour, we have included visits to the Chauktatgyi and Ngadatgyi pagodas, the National Museum and the famous Shwedagon stupa.

Your tour also includes a day trip to the 14th-16th century capital, Bago, to see the giant reclining Buddha, the Kambawzathardi Palace and the archaeology museum. From Yangon you travel to the first millennium Pyu city of Sri Ksetra, near Pyay. Sri Ksetra is one of the three ancient cities of the Pyu civilisation. This city is on UNESCO's World Heritage List. In Sri Ksestra you learn about Myanmar's ancient civilisations.

This section of the  tour starts with a visit to the Sri Ksetra Museum. During your time in Sri Ksetra  you explore this city by tuk tuk, taking in the ancient palace walls, stupas and burial sites. That evening  you can watch  the sunset at Pyay's beautiful Shwesandaw pagoda.

Sri Ksetra to Yangon

From Sri Ksetra you then continue to travel on to the 11th- to 13th-century capital of Bagan. There are over 3,000 monuments, including temples, stupas, and monasteries here. These 3,000 monuments are scattered over a vast plain, a fascinating sight to see. Over the next two days this small group tour visits the most interesting temples of Bagan. During your visit you will learn about Bagan's art, archaeology and its controversial restoration program. We'll also take in a lacquerware workshop and visit a local village practising traditional artisan skills.

From Bagan you travel to Mandalay to see some of the last temples and monasteries built under royal patronage before the demise of the monarchy in 1885. You also visit several workshops in the city, watching  artisans creating marble Buddha images, casting statues in metal, weaving and woodcarving. In these workshops you will learn about the traditional techniques still in use today. On your return to Yangon you take a guided walk through old colonial Yangon with the Yangon Heritage Trust. You also have time to visit contemporary art galleries to take in Myanmar's exciting modern art scene.

Frequently Asked Questions About Myanmar Art Tour

  • What kind of food can you expect in Myanmar?

Reflecting its position as a cultural crossroads, Burmese food blends local traditions with influences taken from Thailand, India and China. The main elements of any Burmese meal is t’ămìor rice, and hìn (Burmese-style curries)Burmese curries have developed an unfortunate reputation for being rather oily, thanks to a cooking technique that sees them cooked until the oil separates from the other ingredients and rises to the top. But it isn’t all greasy – Burmese cuisine also features fresh sides, light and tangy salads and moreish leq.p’eq (or laphet), fermented green tea leaves mixed with sesame seeds, fried peas, fried garlic and peanuts. And spice-phobes will be happy to hear that Burmese curries are generally much milder than their equivalents in India or Thailand.

  • What should I wear when visiting temples?

Clothing that covers the arms and legs is a requirement at many Burmese temples for both men and women, and recommended elsewhere as most Burmese people dress conservatively. Women travellers should note that Myanmar is not as accustomed to tourism as nearby Thailand and Vietnam so revealing Western dress might attract attention.

Bring light, loose clothing that will keep you cool in Myanmar’s hot climate. Be prepared that average highs in Yangon reach over 30 degrees all year-round. Myanmar also lies within the monsoon region, so expect heavy rain if visiting between May and November, particularly in coastal regions.

  • Should you say Myanmar or Burma?

It’s complicated. In 1989, the ruling military junta changed the name from Burma to Myanmar. The move was portrayed as anti-colonial, as the country had been commonly known as Burma during the period of British rule, and as anti-Burman ethnic supremacy (because of the obvious similarity between Burman and Burma). Following the change, what name you used took on a political weight – with opponents of the regime and sympathetic nations such as the US and UK continuing to use the term Burma.

Since the end of the regime, however, the term Myanmar has entered everyday use. The country retained the name following the end of the military regime. After all, the two names shared a common root and meaning. Though they look very different in English, in Burmese they are pronounced almost identically. Native speakers use both words: Myanmar is the formal, literary form, and Burma an everyday term.

For more FAQs, read our article Questions about Myanmar (https://www.odysseytraveller.com/articles/questions-about-myanmar/).

For more information about the Archaeology of Myanmar the link to this site may be useful.

For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re interested in this small group and educational travel style and are keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.

Tour Notes
  • Group size is limited to 16.
  • Tour will include walking up to 1 kilometre a day at a leisurely pace with stairs, uneven surfaces, and boarding of long boats from piers.

PDF of Tour PDF of Reading List

Overview: After arriving in Yangon, we make our way to the Bahosi Hotel for an introductory session and welcome dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Bahosi or similar.

Overview: Our first day is spent discovering two of Yangon’s loveliest pagodas, the Chauktatgyi and the Ngatatgyi and the downtown riverfront.

After lunch we take in Myanmar’s National Museum, founded in 1952 and housing a vast collection of ancient artifacts, ornaments, works of art, inscriptions and historic memorabilia. Afterwards, we view the Shwedagon pagoda and have dinner at one of Yangon’s many fine restaurants

Accommodation: Hotel Bahosi or similar.

Overview: Today we take a day trip to Bago. On the way, we stop to visit the War Cemetery. We also visit Kanbawzathardi Palace (which was originally built in 1556 but was rebuilt in 1992 after being destroyed by a fire) and the Archaeology Museum. After lunch, we take in the Shwemawdaw and Kyaikpun pagodas. We then return to the hotel for dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Bahosi or similar.

Overview: Today we take a bus to Pyay, with several stops en route. We view the extraordinary Shwe Nat Taung (Golden Spirit Mountain) as well as the Shwe Myat Hman pagoda (“Spectacled Buddha). Upon arrival to the city, we check into the Lucky Dragon hotel, where we enjoy a group dinner and hear a talk on Myanmar’s archaeology.

Accommodation: Lucky Dragon Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today we tour the first millennium walled city of Sri Ksetra via tuk tuks and visit the Sri Ksetra Museum. This museum tells the story of the ancient Pyu cities, which including some of the earliest Buddhist monuments in the world. After lunch, we visit the wonderful Shwe Hpone Pwint Museum, before taking in an extraordinary sunset at the Shwesandaw Pagoda overlooking Pyay.

Accommodation: Lucky Dragon Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning we take the bus to Bagan, stopping for a local lunch en route. After checking into our new hotel, we enjoy another unforgettable sunset at the Lokananda Temple, before coming together for a group dinner and a talk on Bagan’s history, archaeology, and the controversial restoration of the site.

Accommodation: Bawga Theiddi Hotel or similar.

Overview: Today we being our sightseeing in Bagan, taking in the southern monuments, including the East and West Hpetleik, the Nagayon, the Abeyadana, and the Nanpaya. After lunch, we visit Kubaukgyi (Myinkaba), and its wonderful frescosThe rest of the afternoon is free, and we remain at liberty in the evening to discover a local restaurant to eat at.

Today we tour Bagan, taking in the Southern Pagodas, which include the East and West Hpetleik, Nagayon, Abeyadana, and Nanpaya. After lunch, we visit Kubaukgyi (myinkaba), a Buddhist temple built in 1113 AD by Prince Yazakumar, shortly after the death of his father. The rest of the afternoon is free, and we remain at liberty in the evening to discover a local restaurant to eat at.

Accommodation: Bawga Theiddi Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning we head north to visit the Nyaung-Oo market, before visiting Upali Thein, an elaborate ordination hall constructed in the mid-13th century. We then visit the marvellous Shwezigon pagoda, and choose one of the local restaurants on Yarkinnthar St, aka “Restaurant Row”, for lunch. After wards we’ll visit theTharaba Gate, the Ananda Temple, the Ananda Ok-Kyaung, Kyanzittha’s Palace site, and Bagan’s wonderful Archaeology Museum. In the evening, we come together for another group dinner, including one of Myanmar’s oldest traditional artforms – a puppet show.

Accommodation: Bawga Theiddi Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning we have the option of taking a morning balloon flight (for an additional fee) or enjoying free time instead. We leave the hotel soon after lunch, and catch the bus to Mandalay, where we check into the Hotel Yadarnabon and enjoy a group dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Yadarnabon or similar.

Overview: This morning, we take a boat trip up the Ayeyarwaddy River to visit the enormous Mingun pagoda, its famous bell and the Mya Thein Tan pagoda. Our lecture program today includes a talk on Myanmar’s last royal dynasty and the beginning of the Colonial era. We then return to Mandalay for a group lunch by the river, before setting off to visit Shwe Nandaw Kyaung (The Golden Monastery). We also visit the Kuthodaw and Mandalay Hill,an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists with a fabulous view over Mandalay Palace, before enjoying a group dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Yadarnabon or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we head south of Mandalay to the Paleik Pagodas and Hmwe (snake) temple to see the bathing of the resident pythons, an unforgettable experience. After lunch, we explore Inwa by pony cart and stop to see a silk weaving workshop at Amarapura. We experience yet another spectacular Myanmar sunset this evening — this time from the historic U Bein’s Bridge — before enjoying a group dinner.

Accommodation: Hotel Yadarnabon or similar.

Overview: This morning, we visit the famous Mahamuni Pagoda, a major pilgrimage site, before visiting a range of Mandalay workshops to learn about the traditional practices of carving, lacquer decorationbronze casting and gold leaf making. In the late afternoon, we visit the spectacular Shwe Inbin Kyaung teak monastery, before enjoying dinner together.

Accommodation: Hotel Yadarnabon or similar.

Overview: After flying to Yangon, we check into our new hotel and enjoy a local lunch together. We then explore the Nawaday Thalar Gallery, Pansodan Gallery, and the River Gallery, all part of Yangon’s thriving modern art scene. In the late afternoon, we enjoy free time and have the chance to explore some of the restaurants in the local area.

Accommodation: Strand Hotel or similar.

Overview: This morning we enjoy a guided walk of Yangon’s colonial heritage with an expert from the Yangon Heritage Trust. We then enjoy lunch at a local restaurant that trains disadvantaged young people from the area, giving them the skills necessary to start their careers. Afterwards, we explore Bogyoke Market and enjoy some free time to explore the city.

We reconvene in the evening for our final group dinner before the tour concludes at breakfast the following morning.

Accommodation: Strand Hotel or similar.

Overview: After breakfast, we say our farewells and the tour draws to a close.

1
Visit the UNESCO world heritage listed city of Sri Ksetra and its highlights
2
Spend over two days exploring the best of Bagan’s Buddhist monuments
3
Visit a range of artisan workshops in Myanmar’s last royal capital, Mandalay
4
Explore Yangon’s fascinating colonial heritage on a guided tour by the Yangon Heritage Trust
5
Hear captivating talks on Myanmar’s art, archaeology, heritage and local customs from your Odyssey program leader, an art historian specialising in Myanmar.

What’s included in our Tour

  • 15 nights hotel accommodation
  • 15 breakfasts, 11 lunches, and 12 dinners.
  • Transport and and excursions as indicated.
  • All sightseeing including entrance fees and boat trip to Mingun
  • 1 internal flight as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Odyssey program leader for the duration of the tour, an art historian specialising in Myanmar
  • Services of an English speaking local guide.
  • Detailed tour information booklet.

What’s not included in our Tour

  • International airfares and taxes.
  • Items of a personal nature, such as telephone calls and laundry.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance.

Myanmar, Temples of Bagan
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar Yangon
Buddhist Monks crossing U Bein Bridge
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Small Group Discovering Myanmar

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