Start your journey by getting a general insight into the history and culture of Mandalay, the very name evokes the grandeur of the old Burma with its thousands of sacred pagodas and temples. Traverse this newly recognized tourist spot and immerse yourself into the picturesque sunset on a drifting boat on Inle Lake to get a taste of life in the provincial areas. The small town Heho and the ancient Bagan are always ready to give the best experience. Lastly, the capital Yangon with its thriving cultural and social scenes is a great place to end the most unforgettable journey. This tour offers you visits to the most famous destinations in Myanmar to get a general view into this mystical country
Itinerary in detail
Day 1: Mandalay - Arrival
Met and welcome by our guide upon arrival at the airport. Then transfer by private car to your hotel You refresh and relax a little after your flight, then we will furnish you with various items needed to begin your adventure.
You will be given a map of the city, and the necessary explanations to help guide you. Then we’ll help you to exchange currency, and you can start to soak up the atmosphere.
The tour of Mandalay will begin with visits to:
The Old Palace grounds Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the world’s largest book for its 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Buddha’s Doctrine Golden Palace Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings;
Golden leaf beating workshop.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 2: Mandalay - City tour
Your orientation tour of Mandalay begins with a visit to
- The Mandalay Palace Kyauktawgyi Pagoda with a giant Buddha carved from one marble block.
- Then proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as ‘The World’s Biggest Book’ for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.
- Our final stop of the morning is Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery which is the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century. This impressive structure is celebrated for its remarkable woodcarvings.
This afternoon continue your guided tour with a visit to
- The Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda houses one of the country’s most honored Buddha images, completely covered in gold leaves that are every day applied to the statue by male devotees. There are also many craft workshops in Mandalay and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making gold leaf, tapestries, wood carvings or marionettes if you are interested and if time allows.
- Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital. Visit Mahagandayon monastery, home to more than a thousand young monks and renowned as a centre for monastic study and strict religious discipline and continue on foot or by bus a short distance to U Bein Bridge. Built in 1782, it spans 1.2 km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake and is said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide. Enjoy the late afternoon beauty as the sun casts long shadows and illuminates the bridge.
As a stunning day comes to an end head back to Mandalay.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 3: Mandalay - FLY – Bagan
Early morning transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan. Welcome to Bagan, known to be one of the greatest architectural sites in Asia. When Bagan was the centre of Myanmar from the 11th to 13th centuries, the monarchs built multitudes of massive stupas and pagodas, scores of which are still present on the shores of the Irrawaddy River. The majesty of Bagan with more than 4000 red brick temples on a plain of the size of Manhattan Island is one of the highlights of a Myanmar holiday that will soothe the eye of every traveler.
- Discover the best of Bagan today! Not simply a chance to see the splendid Bagan temples, this excursion also introduces you to the Burmese culture, allows you to see traditional craftsmen at work and takes you up the mighty Irrawaddy River to a decidedly unusual ‘cave’ temple! Your fist port of call is an elevated temple with its panoramic views of the Bagan plains. This viewpoint will give you a taste of the sheer number of temples as well as some of their distinctive styles. From here you will have a look around the Ananda Temple – one of the most exalted of Bagan’s temples. We will ensure that our tour reaches this point before the majority of tourist arrive, enabling you to enjoy the splendor of the temple in relative tranquility. Continue to various other temples dotted around the temple plains to experience a variety of architectural styles in the area as well as the artistic wonder of the 9-14th centuries. Traveling amid the temples you will get a taste of rural Bagan life in this ‘living museum’ setting where farmers and families work amongst the monuments. Afternoon back to your hotel for relax. Overnight in Bagan.
OPTIONAL: SUNSET BOAT (USD 10 PER PAX):
You will be driven late in the afternoon to the jetty where a private wooden river boat awaits you. Sitting either under the shade or on the open-deck you’ll be treated to fabulous views as you cruise down the Irrawaddy River. You’ll cruise past several small villages, fishermen, local boats and of course many of the ubiquitous Myanmar Buddhist temples. The views of Bagan from the river are particularly spectacular and offer a different perspective from the land based tours. As the sun begins to sink slowly from view, you will prepare to disembark before being driven back, greatly relaxed, to your hotel for the evening.
The perfect end to a busy day of sightseeing in Bagan!
Day 4: Bagan – Visit
Start morning with visit to Nyaung Oo Market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily. From here you will have a look around the Old Bagan starting with a visit of the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda, constructed by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious memorial. Travel over dusty lanes and tree shaded roads past temples and monasteries to a small village. Explore the village on foot, getting a glimpse of local lifestyles of Bagan’s residents. Continue to more lesser-known monuments, selected based on your interest, in the area for the remainder of the morning. If you wish, a short walk can be arranged through a series of smaller monuments which allows for a unique perspective of Bagan.
From here you will journey on by horse cart for an excursion that passes Thatbyinnyu, the tallest temple in Bagan, gigantic Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork, and of course, Sulamani Temple. Take pleasure in an extraordinary sunset from the upper terrace of one of the surrounding temples.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 5: Bagan - FLY - Heho - Inle lake
Transfer to the airport for a flight to Heho. From Heho, it is a scenic one-hour drive (32km – 1 hour) to Nyaung Shwe, gateway village to Inle lake.
Then you will board a private motorboat and go to Inle lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and breathtaking sights. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. Observe the daily activities of the local leg-rowing fishermen and see their ‘floating gardens’, which are built up from strips of water hyacinth, earth and anchored to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles.
You will also visit Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha Images. In the past this temple was known for its ‘jumping cats’ but these days there are only a few felines roaming around and none are jumping any more. Finally, proceed to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, which contains five sacred images of Buddha decorated in gold leaf.
There are also many traditional crafts originating on Inle Lake and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making incredible woven items from lotus silk, boat builders (depending on the time of year), a cigar making workshop, blacksmiths or even silver smiths.
Overnight in Inle Lake or Nyaung Shwe.
Day 6: Inle lake – Indein
Begin with a visit to the lake’s morning market (the market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days). The market is a hive of activity as the lake’s residents gather to buy fresh produce and other goods in the early morning hours.
Continue with a 1-hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein, positioned on the western shores of Inle Lake. Take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending the moss-covered stairway to the top of a hill. Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you will be greeted buy an iconic Buddha image which sits enshrined among hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery. Then it’s time to embark on a 45 minutes trek to Sae Ma village. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the natural beauty and panoramic vistas of the area while basking under the shade of the bamboo grooves in the area. Upon arrival at the village, observe the daily lifestyles of the rural inhabitants.
Afternoon back to your hotel for relax.
Overnight in Inle Lake or Nyaung Shwe.
Day 7: Inle lake - Heho - FLY – Yangon
Breakfast will be served at your hotel before driving by a combination of boat and car to the Heho Airport (1-1.5 hour) for a short flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival at Yangon airport you’ll be greeted by a guide and driver then transfer to your hotel in Yangon for check-in and relax.
Afternoon begin your sightseeing of Yangon with a visit the 70-metre reclining Buddha at Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda. Heading to Chinatown for a change of scenery and check out the dragons and incense of the colorful Khen Hock Keong Chinese temple. Explore the vibrant street stalls where vendors sell all kinds of fruit, vegetable and other goods or simply just walk around and soak in the atmosphere of this little China in Yangon.
Resume your sightseeing with a visit to the gleaming royal barge at Kandawgyi Park. Then, as the sun begins to set, travel to the resplendent Shwedagon Pagoda. Begin at the eastern entrance to find a row of shops at the base of the temple selling various religious items such as monk’s robes, alms bowls, offerings, incense and other unique Buddhist objects. Continue up the stairs to the main platform of Shwedagon where you will gaze in awe at the 100-metre gold-covered chedi.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 8: Yangon – Kyaiktiyo pagoda – Golden rock
After breakfast at your hotel, start the road trip to the “Golden Rock”.
After 02 hours driving, you will get to Bago and visit the studies of Buddha’s teachings with the monks of Kyakhatwaing monastery where over 1000 Buddhist monks reside. Then, take another 2 hours 30 minute drive to get to Mountain view restaurant for lunch break nearby Kin Pun base Camp. There, get on the open truck to be transferred to “Yathetaung Camp” as other vehicles are not allowed to driving up the steep way. Start your light trekking (approx 45 min) to the famous “Golden Rock Pagoda”. This miracle Pagoda is situated in Mon State, regarded as one of the most sacred pagodas along with Shwedagon from Yangon and Maha Muni from Mandalay. It is also believed the hair relic of the Buddha was enshrined in the huge rock which is hanging and balancing on the edge of the cliff. Enjoy and overlook the magnificence view of the surrounding area.
In the early morning, depart Yangon in a private vehicle for Kyaiktiyo standing on a gilded boulder precariously perched on the edge of the hill over 3615 feet above sea-level, 190km to the east of Yangon.
Late morning, arrive at Kyaiktiyo and stop at Kinpun Base camp, then transfer an open truck for one hour ride to the transit junction and take a slight hiking for one hour to reach the summit to see the Golden Rock, one of Myanmar most important pilgrimage sites.
Overnight in Kyaiktiyo.
Day 9: Kyaiktiyo – Bagon – Yangon
After breakfast return to Yangon. On the way, stop at Bago, an ancient city of the 15th century Mon Kingdom as well as Myanmar Second Dynasty and pay visits to
- Shwemawdaw Pagoda – the highest pagoda in Myanmar
- Kanbawzathadi Palace, the palace site of King Bayinnaung who is the founder of Myanmar 2nd Dynasty
- Shwethalyaung Pagoda – a 55 meters long reclining Buddha
- Mons’ weaving village, and Cheroot Making Home Cottage Industry
On the way back to Yangon, visit Kyaikpon Four gigantic Buddha Images and the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyant where 27,000 allied soldiers who had perished during the Second World War were buried.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 10 Yangon - Departure
Free time until transfer to the airport for your departure flight