SMC Myanmar Study Group

Inle Lake, S Ho Photography and Culture, Myanmar
Carla Bossard and group of 18 students, St Mary’s College (January 10-24, 2014)

Feedback from the group:

“We all especially loved Bagan, the trek to the Paluang village and Inle Lake.  Those who went to Inwa loved it and enjoyed seeing the country side up close in horse carts. The truck ride up to Golden Rock Hotel should be a new ride at Disneyland. Breakfasts at our hotel in Mandalay were quite spectacular. Shan noodles for breakfast at Inle Lake delighted us every morning. The places Zaw (guide) picked for our lunches were terrific and gave us a nice variety of Burmese foods. Zaw is a treasure and should guide all groups to Myanmar.”

Rates at $2800 per person included:

  • Round trip airfares with all taxes for all flights: (SFO – Yangon – Mandalay / Bagan – Heho – Yangon – Singapore – SFO). 
  • Professional English speaking guide traveling with group from Day 1 to Day 15, taking care of logistics; offering knowledge, support and insight; and building great rapport with the group throughout the trip.
  • Dinner & cultural show at Karaweik Restaurant, group dinner at Golden Rock, 2 lunches including an elegant lunch at Mount Popa resort.
  • Cooking class in Yangon.
  • Traditional marionette show in Mandalay.
  • All hotel accommodations using standard class hotels with breakfasts.
  • All transfers and sightseeing in private air conditioned coach.
  • All entrance fees for sightseeing as listed below.

Highlights and summary

Shwedagon Pagoda, S.HoDay 1, Arrival Yangon

A warm welcome with an city orientation tour including the Botataung Riverside Pagoda, downtown colonial area, Sule Pagoda, Chauk Htat Gyi Reclining Buddha, and world famous Shwedagon Pagoda at sunset.  Dinner and a Burmese cultural show at Karaweik Restaurant.

Day 2-3, Overnight expedition to Gold Rock

Getting there is half the fun starting with a 5 hour drive through bucolic scenes of orchards and small family farms. Along curvy roads to the summit in an open truck and an invigorating 45 minute walk through the local market selling local medical remedies. (Pickled centipedes and snakes thrown in for good measure.)

Golden Rock, TC McdonaldHighlights:

  • Join local pilgrims and families as they meditate at the Golden Rock under amazing sunsets and sunrises.
Day 4-5, Mandalay

2 nights in the historical city of Mandalay, the cultural, commercial, and religious center of Myanmar. Home to skilled artists, makers of traditional handicrafts (wood carving, lacquer ware, gold leaf) and major monasteries.


  • Amarapura, site of Mahaghandayon Monastery – home and school to hundreds of monks of varying ages, King Mindon’s Palace, Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery), and Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the World's Biggest Book.
  • Inwa Island and Sagaing – Bagayar wooden monastery, the leaning tower of Inwa, Maha Aung Myay Bonzan Monastery, more pagodas, and sunset at the classic U Being Wooden bridge.
  • Traditional marionette show in the evening at Minthar Theatre.
Day 6-9, Bagan

Amazing Bagan, with its 2300 or so pagodas and ruins scattered across the plains, seems out of this world.


  • Leisurely boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan.
  • Nyaun U vegetable market and the many pagodas of Bagan including Shwezigon and Manuhar pagodas, as well as Htilominlo, Anandan, and Gubyaukgyi temples.
  • Day trip through bucolic scenes of rural Myanmar to Mt. Popa, “Abode of the Gods” and part of a national park.
  • Wonderful lunch at beautiful Mt. Popa Resort.
At Market, S.Ho Day 10, Kalaw

Kalaw, originally a summer hill resort established by the British; cool, colonial, pine scented, charming.


  • Half day guided trek to surrounding countryside.
Day 11-13, Inle Lake

Beautiful Inle Lake, surrounded by rolling hills, is a must on every itinerary to Myanmar.


  • Boat tour including floating gardens, villages on stilts, and Paung Daw Oo Pagoda.
  • Five day market, silk weaving, blacksmith’s workshop, cheroot making, and ruins of temples and pagodas at Inn Dein.
Day 14-15, Yangon and home


  • Cooking class
  • Last minute shopping at Bogyoke Market before transferring to airport for flight home

Please contact us for more information for your own group!