Laos / Vietnam



Inle Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival in Burma
September 19-October 3 2009
15 Days

Burma, also known as Myanmar possesses a rich and vibrant cultural tradition. Great natural beauty combines with magnificent temple architecture. It is also a Buddhist country rich in pagodas and temples, and traditionally, tourism has been based on culture.

Myanmar with its long history,  culture, and religion has many pagodas, temples and monuments  country-wide.  In addition, Burma is also blessed by nature with natural attractions. There are snow-capped mountains, deep forests, cool and scenic planes, long rivers, beautiful lakes, and many unspoiled beaches and archipelagoes. The different national races and their way of life, traditional arts and crafts offer exotic vistas of the nation while the warm hospitality of Myanmar people is world-renowned. Burma is also one of the safest countries in the world.

We have organized this trip to take advantage of the relatively small time that the weather in these countries is mellow and less humid, and also the availability of a local guide whose fame has spread amongst many travelers. Guides are the window to their culture, and as professional guides ourselves we respect those who stand out, like “Joe,” whose plain, westernized nickname belies his talents.

Our visit to Burma begins in Yangon, formerly  Rangoon, the centerpice of which is the famous Schwedagon Pagoda, and awe-inspiring wonder or great beauty and spirituality.

Our trip  becomes increasingly more rural, as we encounter the magical Inle Lake, where entire villages exist in the water, on stilted houses of wood, thatch, or bamboo, much as did the founders of the Venice Lagoon, Fertile floating islands grow an abundance of tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbages taro, beans and strawberries.  Floating gardens are anchored by bamboo poles that protrude above the surface of the placid lake, which is ringed by undulating mountains, sprinkled with spiraling animals, and shops. Here we visit the large, bustling market, crumbling pagodas, numerous artists and craftsmen. Fishermen row the placid lake with their right leg, the better to survey the surrounding area for fish. Our visit to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival promises to be the highlight of our trip.

Mandalay is our next stop, the former center of the royal courts, and hence, the home of numerous artists and crafts people whose families used to serve the palaces. Artists subsidized by the former kings include marble carvers, woodcarvers, embroiderers and other hand-workers, gold-leaf making, leather work, silver smithing, and bronze casting. Visits to the studios of these artisans will feature into our visit to Mandaley.

We continue on to Bagan, which flourished in the 11-13 centuries, and boasts more temples than any other site in the world. The flat, vast, 24 square miles of Bagan is currently considered the largest archeological site in Asia, with 4,200 monuments. Excursions into the tranquil countryside reveal numerous pagodas, and fertile black-soil plantations of rice, chick-peas, sunflowers, maize, accacia and mango trees, fields of melons.

If you have more time, we offer an optional add-on visit to Burma’ss neighbor, Thailand, with an exciting trip to the North, experiencing the natural beauty ofthis, SE Asia's most popular destination. While here we focus on visits to the Hill Tribes who migrated long ago from China, and still affect their local customs and traditions. We stay in some wonderful accommodations that blend local architecture with western needs, and enjoy the attention of Thailand most eco-friendly guides and travel agency. We feel this is an excellent balance, as travel to the hilltribe areas in Burma is not permitted. We also offer a 5 day, 4 night package to Angkor Wat.

Comments from previous trip participants:

“I rate this trip with it’s diversity, compelling interest, and good times among the very best of all my travel experiences. The time at Inle Lake was magical, and our guide was the best I have ever been with on my many travels”
Verle Waters Clark, Los Gatos, CA.

“Many thanks for making the trip a high adventure 2007 style.”
Robert Johnson, San Francisco CA.

“I liked the variety of activities we did--elephant riding, white water rafting, cooking lessons, massage, visiting schools & monasteries, visits with different ethnic tribes, seeing a wide variety of crafts being made, experiencing Buddhism through the help of our local guide.”
Jean Chandler, Cambridge MA.










Inle Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
September 19-October 3 2009

Sept. 19: Transit (BLD)
Depart USA aboard regularly scheduled Singapore Airlines.

Sept. 20: : Yangon (D)
Afternoon arrival in Yangon where we are welcomed by our top English speaking guide.  Yangon, the commercial capital city is the biggest city in Myanmar with a population of 5 million. Its tree lined wide avenues, its shady green parks, and the beautiful huge lakes make Yangon holds the reputation of most charming lively city in Asia. The meaning of Yangon is “the end of struggle.” Dinner at Hotel and  overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Superior room.

Sept. 21: Yangon (B)
Breakfast followed by a full day sightseeing.  Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is charming, tropical green city with thousands of Victorian style buildings, beautiful lakes and unlike any other Asian cities, is a  "city without motor bikes". The highlight of the tour include Yangon, colonial town, including Sule Pagoda (Land Mark in city centre), the City Hall & Colonial buildings,  and the Chaukhtatkyi Temple houses the biggest reclining Buddha image in Southeast Asia. A few hundred monks live in this compound in their monasteries, photo stop at Karaweik Hall & Royal Barge on the Kandawgyi Royal Lake.  In the afternoon, drive to Pyay Road to visit the National Museum, with a perfect collection of priceless artifacts and cultural heritage, to understand the history, culture, ethnicities, arts and crafts and life style of the country and its people. We also visit the Bogyoke Market --  the liveliest, fanciest yet moderatly priced market in Yangon. Here you can practice your art of negotiation. We then proceed to visit the elegant Shwedagon Pagoda, built in the 6th century B.C, which enshrines eight strands of Buddha's holy hair inside. Towering almost 100m above the green cityscape of Yangon,  this land mark is visible from miles around. One of the wonders of the world, our tour end at its pagoda bazaar at sunset which will be the highlight of the day Overnight at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Superior room

Sept. 22, : Yangon / Heho- Inle (B, D)
After breakfast at Hotel, transfer to airport for flight to Heho. Once you step out from the airplane, you will feel the freshness of cool air as the elevation  rise up to 3000 ft. It will take about an hour from Heho airport to the gateway  Town of Inle Lake. Along the journey, you will be driving through the scenic countryside of the Shan Hills, many colourfully dressed tribal people to Inle Lake if it happened to be on market day.  Arrive Nyaung Shwe, on board on traditional long tailed motored boat and transfer to your hotel. Discover Inle Lake, one of the natural inland lakes in the world  and famous for its unique leg-rowers, floating gardens and the floating villages of Inthas.  Dinner and overnight at Golden Island Cottages in superior room

Sept. 23: Inle Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival (B, D)
Early breakfast at the hotel. Today you will witness Phaung Daw Oo PAGODA FESTIVAL. This festival is held on a grand scale for 18 days will fall in September in 2009. Four Buddha Images  from Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda are carried on royal barge and conveyed around 14 villages on the Lake. The barge is towed by the boats of leg -rowers and hundreds of boats follow the procession. Crowds of  people gather on the lake-shores to celebrate the occasion. It is really a splendid sight. Among the dance shows and fun-fairs, the most interesting event of the festival, especially for foreigners, is their boat race - due to their unique leg rowing. It is the one and only place in the world that one can see such marvelous feat.  In the afternoon we will proceed to visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda-- the most revered religious site in the area. We will also see several floating gardens and villages and also visit Nge Phe Chaung Monastery, famous for its’ peculiar performance of  cats jumping through hoops. Dinner and overnight at Golden Island Cottages in superior room.

Sept. 24: Inle – Pindaya- Inle (B, D)
After breakfast, board our boat to Nyaung Shwe for a drive to Pindaya (2h30), a small beautiful town in the Southern Shan State.  About 50,000  Danu, Taungyo, Palaung and Shan people live in this small town. The groves of huge old banyan trees, the peaceful lake in the town center, the limestone caves and the simple friendly people make this small town a famous travel destination.The Pindaya Caves, located next to the town of Pindaya, are a site one should not miss. There are three "caves" on the ridge which runs north-south, but only the southern cave can be entered and extends for about 490 feet along a well-worn path.  It is known for its interior which contains over 8,094 images of Buddha. Some of the older statues and images in the cave have inscriptions dating back to the late 1700’s-- the earliest one dated from 1773. The collection as a whole forms an  impressive display of Buddhist iconography and art from early Konbaung era to the modern period. Return to hotel.  Dinner and overnight at Golden Island Cottages in superior room.

Sept. 25: Inle Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival – Indein (B, D)
This morning offers another highlight of this voyage--you will have the opportunity to witness another spectacular procession this time from Linkin village to Nyaung Shwe, followed by a unique leg rolling boat race.  In the afternoon continue to explore a beautiful ruin temple site, Indein situated in western shore of Inle Lake to see a temple complex which is similar to the Khmer style in Angkor. We drive by boat  for 1/12 hours, and then walk  through magnificent columns for 15 minutes.  Then take a beautiful walk through a bamboo forest. On the way back, we visit Impawkhone silk weaving village, a blacksmith, and Cheroot making workshop. In the afternoon we continue visiting surrounding villages. Dinner and overnight at Golden Island Cottages in superior room

Sept. 26: Inle – Heho/ Mandalay (B)
Early breakfast in order to catch the closing ceremony of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival, enjoying the 10:00 AM boat race at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda then transfer back to Heho airport for evening flight to Mandalay. Mandalay, the last capital of the last Burma Empire, is representative of  Buddhist  city conservative culture and traditional art. Presently, the second largest city in Burma with a population of 927,000, it is the major communication and commercial hub of the north. The city is bounded by the Ayeyarwaddy River and is 716 km north of Yangon and lies at the centre of Burma's dry zone. Founded on 23 May 1859 by King Mindon Min, Mandalay was the last capital (1860–1885) of the last independent Burmese Kingdom before annexation by the British after the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885. Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel in superior room.

Sept. 27: Mandalay (B)
Sightseeing tour in Mandalay including: Mahamuni Temple, housing a huge bronze Buddha image covered in thick layers of gold. It is one of the three holiest places in Myanmar and always crowded with pious devotees from all over the country. A walk past bustling small shops selling local snacks and religious objects on the approach to Mahamuni Temple is interesting.
Golden Palace Monastery is the most well known wooden monastery in the country for its intricate carvings. It is the only original building from Mandalay Palace which fortunately had  escaped from bombing in WWII.
Kuthodaw Pagoda is known as the biggest book in the world with hundreds of marble slabs inscribed with the entire Buddhist Canon.
Mandalay is the center of arts and crafts and the techniques from the last centuryremain unchanged. Artists of Mandalay are proud to be able to maintain the arts of their ancestors. We visit several workshops in Mandalay including a gold leaf making workshop, where 24K gold is transformed into super thin gold leaves which even hi-tech equipment cannot match.  We spend sometime at a place where puppets and Kalaga (tapestries) are made and head to other handicraft places such as wood carving and bronze casting work shops. Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel in superior room.

Sept. 28: Mandalay & surrounding cities (B)
Drive to Amarapura (the capital of Konbaung Dynasty). Our visit includes Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist monastery where more than a thousand monks live and study. Then we’ll head to U Bein Bridge, a half-mile long teak span also known as the longest teak bridge in the world. Built in 1851 when Amarapura was  the royal capital. Next explore Bagaya Monastery with its superb collection of Buddha statues. Witness the marble carving street, where thousands of Buddha images are made. Have a glance of traditional cotton and silk weavers whose ancestors used to weave royal robes for the royalties. The weaving of colourful and intricate silk longyi (sarongs) where only an inch a day can be woven is really astounding. Afternoon tour continues with a short boat trip to Inwa (Ava)- a small town south of Amarapura, is another ancient former capital. Here we visit the Nanmyint Watchtower, the remains of a palace building nicknamed the "leaning tower of Ava", the brick and stucco Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery and Bagayar Ava Monastery, famed for its impressive and ornate woodcarvings and teak posts. Continue to Sagaing Hills, dotted with pagodas and there are over 500 monasteries, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, for a scenic sunset.  Overnight at Mandalay Hill Resort Hotel in superior room.

Sept. 29: Mandalay – Bagan (Ferry Boat) (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the jetty on pubic express ferry for Bagan,  the magical Buddhist kingdom and one of Asia’s holiest cities. Bagan was built by the 11th century king Anawrahta and continues for two and a half centuries, cementing the city as the nerve center of ancient Burmese culture. Bagan was eventually sacked in 1287 by Mongol armies under Kublai Khan, who destroyed  hundreds of monuments but it is still dotted with over 3000 temples. The ruins of Bagan cover an area of 16 square miles in the semi-desert region of central Burma. During its grandeur golden age in the 12th century, Bagan was known as “the city of four million pagodas”. While Army attacks and several massive earthquakes have reduced that inflated number drastically, what remains is still quite incredible. Bagan is the place from heaven available on earth not only for archaeologists, historians and photographers but also for all travelers. On arrival at Bagan transfer Thande Hotein Deluxe room in Bagan

Sept. 30: Bagan (B)
Today we will travel to the most interesting must-see temples  with distinct architectural styles, including Shwezigon pagoda, Ananda Temple, Gubyaukgi Htilominln and Sulamani temple. Some of the temples are lavishly decorated with mural paintings which have lasted amazingly for over 900 years. Bagan is also famous as the center of Myanmar’s thriving lacquerware industry. In the afternoon, the tour includes a stop at a local lacquerware workshop to watch the skilled artisans at work in various stages in the  six month process.
Then proceed to Old Bagan for a pony cart tour among the temples before sunset.  Enjoy the magical moment form top of the one of the tall temples, breathe the fresh air of the surrounding plain, relax and let your imagination taking you back to  1000 years, while looking at the spectacular view in front of you and experience a peaceful and tranquil moment. Thande Hotel in Deluxe room in Bagan.

Oct 01: Bagan – Mt. Popa – Bagan (B)
After breakfast, a morning drive to Mt. Popa, an extinct volcano which lies 50 km southeast of Bagan. You will see the countryside of central Burma, passing few cars but many peasants working together with their oxen in their fields and  toddy palm orchards. It is worthwhile to stop and watch the family industry making palm liquor, palm wine, and irresistible palm sugar from the local Toddy Palm.
This Burmese “Mt. Olympus” is a legendary home of the “Mahagiri nats” (powerful  national spirits) and an important pilgrimage site for spirit worshippers. Everything about this place is dramatic: the lush vegetation on the mountain’s slopes; the Petrified Forest along the road; the complex of monasteries and shrines perched on the rocky crag and endless views of the plains below.  Mt Popa area has also been designed as a National Park. There are semi tamed macaques monkeys. This core of the volcano that was last active 250,000 years ago rises 737m from the flat surrounding Myingyan Plain and is topped with a grand pagoda.
After arrival at Mt Popa, you may climb 777 steps to the summit for amazing panorama view and visit “nats” Shrine and the Buddhist temple. In the afternoon proceed to Salay for a half day trip from Popa. The visit to Salay includes the Payathonzu complex, the Man Paya - the largest lacquer Buddha image in Myanmar from the 13-century, Thathana yaunggyi Monastery, and famous Yokesone Wooden Monastery preserved as the museum. Thande Hotein Deluxe room in Bagan.

Oct 02, 2008: Bagan / Yangon (B)
After breakfast, visit Nyaung Oo Market where you can find the fresh products of the region being sold. There will be plenty of photo opportunities as  you will witness the morning market with old weathered ladies vigorously puffing on their fat cheroots (local cigars) selling and buying things.
Proceed on to see personal favourite temples of your expert tour leader/guide. This mid afternoon, you will visit a traditional village to see the local way of life and experience well known Burmese hospitality. In the evening transfer to airport for a flight to Yangon and transfer to Kandawgyi Palace Hotel  Yangon. Optional Supplement: Farewell Dinner at Le Planteur (see the supplement), an excellent French restaurant.

Oct 03:  Yangon
Departure Since this is your last day in Yangon, you might want to go shopping for famous Burmese handicrafts or just enjoy the hotel’s facilities.
There will be no refunds for missed acitivities. Anyone who leaves the tour at any time for any reason is on their own.

Hotels (category): 
Kandawgyi Palace Hotels (Sup) Golden Island Cottages (Sup) Mandalay Hill Resort (Sup) Thande (deluxe)

Inle Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

  • Accommodations in supirior hotels, based on two people sharing a twin room (private bath) with daily breakfast,
  • Zone Fees & Entrance fees as per above program
  • 5 Dinners only: welcome dinner at the hotel in Yangon  and 4 compulsory dinners in Inle lake
  • Three Domestic flights (Yangon/ Heho/ Mandalay and Bagan/ Yangon)
  • All transfer, transportation, sightseeing & excursion with A/C coaches & driver
  • Excellent English Speaking Guide Service
  • Boat ticket Mandalay –Bagan on Public Express Ferry
  • Private boat for Inle
  • International flight fare on Singapore Airlines from LAX or SFO.
  • Pre-trip information.
  • Danu Enterprises participation.

Not Included:
  • All Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Personal expenses including Beverages & tipping
  • Airport departure tax currently at US$10 per person
  • Other services not listed in above
  • Optional Supplement: $395.00 
  • Farewell diner at Le Planteur: US$ + 30 nett per person

$4200.00 based on two people sharing a twin or double-bedded room in supirior and deluxe hotels. Ground only $2750.00 Single Supplement: $395.00. Minimum 10 participants. Maximum 16. Trip fee includes a donation to victims of the Nargis cyclone.

Deposits/ Penalties:
A $350.00 refundable deposit reserves trip space.  A penalty fee of $75.00 will be charged for all cancellations received  in writing. After tickets have been issued airline penalties will  occur.  No refunds will be made after departure. Final payments are due 60 days prior  to departure.

Trip leaders:
Judy Slattum MFA  has been organizing and leading study tours to Bali, SE Asia,  Italy and Greece for 3 decades. She has written extensively on Balinese culture. Her book, Masks of Bali:Spirits of an Ancient Drama, is the definitive work on this topic, was featured in Time magazine, and has sold over 17,000 copies, has been reprinted by Periplus Editions, and is a best seller in SEAsia. Our local tour guide in Burma is famous among travelers and one of the best wehave metanywhere in the world.

Airline Options:
Participants may depart and return at any time. Participants are urged to sign up early and make plans regarding dates, as we are traveling during High Season. Contact our travel agent, Wendy Simon at Pacific Harbor Travel, Santa Cruz (local calls: 427-5002) or 1-800  435-9463 for further details or for extension to Angkor Wat or other stopovers.

Terms and Conditions:

In case of unexpected situations, the tour leader reserves the right to cancel or postpone any event. Festivals and special events will be incorporated into the itinerary as optional excursions. Any one who leaves the tour at any time FOR ANY REASON is on their own. There will be no refunds for missed tour activities and no substitutions.

Based on double occupancy. We stay in  the best 3 and 4 star clean, comfortable locally-owned hotels with private baths, cable T-V, mini fridge, and large buffet breakfasts, some with swimming pools.

Additional Options:
We are also offering a four night visit to Angkor Wat in neighboring Cambodia, and tour to Northern Thailan Contact us for further information.

Call toll free 888-476-0543 or email for further information.
Contact Danu Enterprises today and escape the ordinary!


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