Travel agents now can book an innovative 4-day/3-night Khiri Travel discovery trip to the Mogok gem area in northern Myanmar, that doesn’t visit a gem mine.
Instead, the trip highlights include a workshop on gem stones, trekking in tribal areas, a street food session in Mogok, high tea, a visit to a botanical garden in Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo), and a river cruise from a pottery village on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) to Mandalay via the heritage site of Mingun.
The whole trip makes a creative and pioneering loop from Mandalay via Pyin Oo Lwin and Mogok before returning to Mandalay on the Ayeyarwady River.
Instead of the cruise there are options to visit Shwebo and the newly declared UNESCO World Heritage Site at Hanlin. The trip can be done in a private car with guide or even using public transport such as share taxis, also with a guide.
The mountainous Mogok area has only recently been opened for tourism. Most foreigners that previously visited the area were in the gem stone business.
“Our aim is to let guests experience the essence of a fascinating cultural area defined by Lisu, Palaung, Gurkha and Shan tribes, tea and coffee plantations, and the gemstone-rich mountains,” says Edwin Briels, General Manager of Khiri Travel Myanmar. “The legacy of British colonial influence also makes the Mogok area a unique experience.”
In the 90-minute gem lesson, guests will be able to understand the key differences between ruby, sapphire, spinel and topaz. There are explanations on the importance of color, carat, clarity and cut.
The evening market in Mogok is a culinary gem. Guests can try mohinga noodles, ‘husband and wife’ quail eggs, Shan curry, and steamed mustard leaves, among many delights.
Briels says that Khiri Travel wants to take visitors to new areas where tourism participation in the local economy is much needed.
“Expect beautiful scenery of mountains, tea plantations, jungle, remote villages, small rivers and a very welcoming population,” he says. “The cultural contrasts between lowland Ayeyarwady culture and the tribal hills are very apparent.”
Travel trade prices for the trip in a private vehicle range from USD485 per pax in a six-person party up to USD710 for a two-person party, based on twin-sharing. The single room supplement is USD110 per pax.