Tuck in to Myanmar’s exotic cuisine! In between visits to iconic sites, enjoy a variety of culinary adventures from cooking classes to street-food touring. Slurp noodles at a local tea shop, venture into a family kitchen and taste the best that Myanmar has to offer.
Experience the diverse flavours of Myanmar by sampling foods from different ethnic groups around the country.
Visit popular tea shops, busy fresh markets and family homes to understand the role of food in the local culture.
Under the guidance of a local chef, use traditional techniques and family recipes to cook a typical Myanmar meal.
Myanmar Culinary Delights - 8 Days / 7 Nights
Upon arrival, be greeted by the guide and transferred to the hotel.
Early this evening, begin a Local Foods by Trishaw tour. Covering a wide variety of local specialities, this route will passes by many of the famous landmarks in downtown Yangon.
Starting at Lucky 7, a local teashop 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 flavor. 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, 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. We’ll continue through a bustling night market before heading to 19th street. Famous for its barbeques, 19th street is a lively place to enjoy meat and vegetable satays, washed down with draught Myanmar Beer.
Overnight in Yangon.
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 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.
Overnight in Bagan.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Balloon Experience Over Bagan - Start the morning with an incredible hot-air balloon flight over Bagan’s temple-studded plains. Begin by snacking on pastries and croissants, and sipping coffee and tea as the balloon is inflated. Climb aboard before gently rising above thousands of gilded stupas and earthen temples, set against the backdrop of the impressive Irrawaddy River. A truly unique and unforgettable experience that’s considered to be among Asia’s very finest. (Note: available only from late-October to late-March; all flights weather permitting)
After breakfast at the hotel, visit the colourful Nyaung Oo Market. The guide will point out the different varieties of herbs and vegetables which are used in Burmese cooking.
Spend time exploring stalls where fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and meats are sold. The guide will explain the various ingredients and help pick out the plumpest chicken, freshest fish and finest vegetables to use in a cooking class, which comes next.
Then, be transferred to a local restaurant to meet ta chef who will host the cooking class. Helped by the chef, prepare ingredients using traditional techniques such pestle and mortar, and cook several Burmese favourites. This class will be an extremely insightful introduction to the finer details regarding Burmese cuisine, its influences and the typical eating habits of local people.
After having prepared local dishes, it’s time to sit down and enjoy a feast of freshly prepared delights.
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 to a lacquerware 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 boat ride along this famous river, offering magnificent views of the temples and riverside villages as the sun begins to set.
Overnight in Bagan.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Nyaung Oo Airport for the flight to Mandalay, Myanmar’s cultural capital.
On arrival, a sightseeing tour starts with a visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda, famous for its venerable statue of Buddha covered with gold leaf. Mandalay has long been known as a centre of skilled craftsmanship and, in former times, the city supplied the royal courts with all their goods. Receive insight into this heritage on a tour of traditional workshops, including such crafts as marble masonry, Kalaga tapestry and gold leaf making.
Take a break from sightseeing to discover another uniquely Burmese culinary treat: le phet thoke. Eaten as snack, dessert, or even as a meal with rice, le phet thoke is a local salad made from fermented tea leaves.
For lunch, stop at a popular tea house in Mandalay that serves two of the city’s most famous dishes: Mandalay monte and khotaung monte. Tea houses in Mandalay are always full of local people, serving not only as a place for having tea, but also as a hub for socializing and doing business. For example, a car or real estate broker may sit at a tea shop for an entire day in the hope of finding potential new customers. Enjoy this typical Mandalay atmosphere while filling up on a delicious traditional lunch.
In the afternoon, visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 marble stone slabs containing Buddhist scriptures (known as the world’s biggest book) and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite woodcarving.
Afterwards, head to the top of Mandalay Hill, the highest point in the city, for spectacular panoramic views during sunset -an amazing photo opportunity.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Speed off into the Mandalay night where marionettes, crispy ducks and frosty Myanmar beers greet riders. Riding pillion on a local motorbike, enjoy the twinkling scenery, friendly locals and cool breezes as the driver zooms around Mandalay’s frenetic streets. Stopping along the way at markets, restaurants and bars, this is a great way to experience the best food, drinks and nightlife Mandalay has to offer.
Overnight in Mandalay.
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 the local 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.
After breakfast, visit the daily market on the lake, which rotates every five days between villages surrounding the lake.
Arrive at Inthar Heritage House, which serves as a restaurant, vocational training center, organic garden and even a home for Burmese cats. This beautiful centre is regarded as Inle’s most progressive enterprise with a focus on preserving the past, cherishing the present and preparing for the future.
Follow the lead of the host and chef to the classroom and be presented with an apron and recipe book (both are free to keep). After a short briefing, forage through three different organic gardens, picking fresh vegetables and herbs to be used in cooking.
Back in the classroom, it’s time to begin preparing a series of traditional Inthar and Burmese dishes. The head chef will explain each step while students from the vocational training centre assist with the cooking. Typical dishes include mint fish soup, long bean salad, fried spring onion and Burmese chicken and potato curry. Once the dishes are prepared and the aprons dirtied, head to the adjoining dining room to taste the creations. (Coffee/tea and one free soft drink, juice or beer are included).
Proceed to the village of Inpawkhone to observe the traditional silk weaving techniques of the Intha people. Inpawkhone is also known for its technique of weaving the stems of the lotus flowers - a time-consuming process that results in high quality materials that have become famous throughout the country.
Then visit a cheroot factory where local Burmese cigars are rolled by hand, before continuing 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.
In the morning, transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon.
Upon arrival, transfer to Insein Train Station to catch the Circular Train. This slow train offers a unique opportunity to observe the lively and colourful life of rural Burmese people.
Alight at Hledan Market and transfer to Thiri Mingalar, a sprawling wholesale market just outside central Yangon. Produce from all corners of Myanmar lands here where it is then bought and sold at the dozens of smaller markets throughout the city.
Lunch at Khaing Khaing Kyaw Restaurant.
Afternoon at leisure
Late this afternoon, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda -the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend states that the original structure was built 2,500 years ago then renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The octagonal central stupa is 99 metres tall, gilded with gold leaf and surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. Follow the guide around this massive complex and learn why the temple is so revered. Enjoy breathtaking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point.
From Shwedagon, continue to Kandawgyi Park, which is busy in the evening with locals who come to enjoy the fresh air and dine at the park’s many restaurants. At the weekends, there are often local bands playing and there are always good opportunities to take photos of the illuminated Karaweik Royal Barge, Shwedagon Pagoda and the lake. After a stroll around the park, there is an option of staying for dinner at one of the Thai, Burmese or Chinese restaurants in the area, or taking a short drive to Le Planteur or The Strand Grill, two of the top restaurants in Yangon (own account).
Overnight in Yangon.
Today is free at leisure, explore independently or head out for some last-minute souvenir shopping. Then, be transferred to the airport for the departure flight.
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