AT#12 Mandalay – Mogok – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay
Valley of Rubies (Mogok)
3 Days / 2 Nights
Mandalay – Mogok
Guests will rise early this morning for a stunning road trip through the Shan Hills to once-restricted town of Mogok. Exchanging Mandalay’s bustle for quaint roadside villages and verdant tropical rainforest, the journey to Mogok is one few travellers have made.
After four hours, a short stop is made at a small village. All local buses and trucks make the stop, creating a vibrant rest area where stalls are stacked high with damson fruit, Burmese snacks and dried spices. Try a bowl of Shan Khauk Swe, a traditional Shan noodle dish.
Guests will reach the city of Mogok in the afternoon. Known as ‘Ruby Land,’ the town produces the finest rubies in the world. But it offers so much more than just precious stones, with stunning mountain scenery and a rich and diverse culture combining to create an experience found nowhere else in Southeast Asia. The downtown area is lined not only with the typical Buddhist monasteries that are seen across Myanmar, but also monasteries with Indian-influenced architecture, mosques, and even Christian churches.
Visit Paung Daw Oo Pagoda, where the Buddha’s throne is lined with rubies, sapphires and other precious stones donated by wealthy local families. There are also ruby-lined crowns and tiaras on display. The pagoda affords stunning views of downtown Mogok, providing a nice introduction to the city. Guests check in to their hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight in Mogok
Distances and journey time: Mandalay-Mogok (217 km): 6h
Mogok Valley Hike – Ruby Tour
After breakfast it’s time for guests to lace up their hiking boots and set off from the hotel for a half-day trek through the Mogok Valley. Just meters down the trail the hikers will reach an overlook with sweeping views of valley, where pointed stupas and small farms are shadowed by the impressive mountain range.
The first part of the trek will include a number of peculiar sites. First, guests will visit an abandoned rice wine distillery that has been taken over by a chicken farmer. Next, they will see an abandoned mansion with its own moat. The trail ends at a small waterfall.
A steep road then leads guests up to the local Lisu Baptist church. The Lisu tribe originates from the Himalayan foothills in the north, but they are actually practicing Christians. From here the trek continues through Lisu territory, taking guests along several jungle paths and concluding at a monastery which features Indian-style architecture.
Returning to the hotel guests will transfer to Myo Oo Lwin monastery, a massive fortress-like compound with Hindu-inspired architecture. The ruby tour begins in the afternoon. Myanmar produces nearly 90% of the world’s rubies, and many of the stones used in Queen Elizabeth’s ruby tiaras were mined here, along with many of the royal sapphires.
Today guests will be able to see the origins of these precious stones, including the chance to enter the mines’ small caverns and observe production. They will also get to see and purchase ‘new rubies,’ small red stones in granite. The next stop is at Mogok’s ruby market, which is unlike any other market in Myanmar. There are no stalls, no vendors, nor any shops. Business is conducted here at tiny picnic tables where buyers, sellers and experts examine the stones and negotiate prices over a cup of tea.
After the market, head to a local barbecue restaurant for dinner. Overnight in Mogok.
Mogok – Pyin Oo Lwin – Mandalay
After breakfast, Early depart from Mogok and then continuing onwards scenic drive to the cool hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo). Pyin Oo Lwin, east of the second largest city of Mandalay and at over 1,000 meters above sea-level, enjoys cool and pleasant weather all year round. The flower city is well known for its colonial era-buildings, pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abounding in town.
Visit National Kandawgyi Gardens and Orchid Garden (***Botanist from Forest department will accompany with you while visit in the Orchid Garden). After that, take unique miniature state-coaches, drawn by lively teams of horses and photo-stop around colonial-era buildings. Lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon visit Peik Chin Myaung Cave, inside a gushing stream twists and turns around the countless images and mini-pagodas that devout Buddhists have created. Transfer back to Mandalay in the late afternoon.
Distances and journey time: Mogok – Pyin Oo Lwin (Approx. 110 Km): 3hr