From the hustle and bustle city of Yangon to the peaceful small ancient towns in provincial areas, come and discover the contrasting areas of this diverse Myanmar. Yangon’s Golden Pagoda with its iconic design and structure is definitely a glamorous charm, offering an awesome and spectacular site. Embark on a morning visit to a market to meet some ethnic minority people, and also to sample some typically local specialties around Inle Lake can be a great way to get a deeper understanding into local life. Enjoying the beauty and endless charms of major spots make you want to linger a few days more.
Itinerary in detail
Day 1: Yangon - Arrival
Met and welcome by the Hanoi Voyages Guide upon arrival at the airport. Then transfer by private car to your hotel.
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.
After lunch, start your discovery of Yangon by visits to:
- Chauk Htat Kyi – an impressive 60mtr long and 16mtr high reclining Buddha
- Shwedagon Pagoda – the world famous golden stupa rises 98 meters above its base and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold, located on Singuttara hill, just 2kms from the city center. This pagoda is the premier religious center of Myanmar and contains icons of silver and gold, stupa’s, bells, many Buddhist artifacts and precious jewels. It is an awesome and spectacular site.
- Then enjoy the colorful sunset reflections off the pagoda’s golden rooftops before returning to our hotel.
Dinner will be served with cultural show at Karaweik Palace – a famous restaurant located on the Royal Lake built in the style of Royal Barge used by Myanmar’s old day’s kings.
Overnight in Yangon
Day 2: Yangon - FLY - Nyaung shwe by bike
Leave Yangon this morning and fly north to Heho. From here, travel by road a further 1 hr to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake.
Take the rest of the day to explore Nyaung Shwe. Wander the numerous side streets, stupas, and restaurants around the town.
Overnight in Nyaungshwe
Day 3: Nyaungshwe - Inle Lake
Visit Inle Lake by bike and boat. Cycle around the lake and stop for lunch with a local Intha family during the ride. Bike out to Inle Lake today, your first experience of cycling around Myanmar (Burma).
First, take a boat down the canal to Inle Lake. Pass villages built on stilts over the water, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens, built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.
Stop for lunch with a local Intha family and admire the views across the lake as we follow the road past paddy fields and tiny villages.
In the afternoon, cycle around the lake itself.
Overnight in Nyaungshwe
Day 4: Nyaungshwe - Bike& Car – Pindaya
Cycle through rolling hills to the village of Pindaya, before heading out into the countryside and exploring the surrounding trails.
After a short ride to Heho, enjoy a ride out to the village of Pindaya, set in a picturesque valley. Once here, enjoy the routes around the village, exploring country tracks on two wheels. Discover the myths and legends around the area.
Overnight in Pindaya
Day 5: Pindaya
Begin an overnight hike up through the hills around Pindaya.
Visit the magnificent Pindaya Caves, set in a limestone ridge overlooking a picturesque lake, where over 8,000 images of Buddha are on display.
Hike up among the caves surrounding the village of Pindaya. Passing the Shwe U Min Paya pagoda, the 152.4m (500 ft) caves are filled with thousands of images of Buddha, many dating back centuries. These images are made in a variety of materials, from cement to marble. Keep an eye out for monks in prayer, even in the smaller caves.
Overnight at homestay in Pindaya
Day 6: Pindaya - Heho - Fly - Mandalay
Transfer from Pindaya to Heho, then fly to Mandalay. Meet with your guide on arrival and transfer to the city of Mandalay, the second largest city in the country, known as the “Golden City”, and also the cultural and religious center of Buddhism in Myanmar. While here we will discover:
- The Atumashi and Shwe Nandaw monasteries to see beautiful and extremely fine hand carved teak motifs that adorn these magnificent architectural buildings which house incredibly beautiful marble sculptures.
- Kuthodaw Pagoda, a set of Buddhist stupas that house the largest book in the world, a vast collection of seminal texts engraved on marble headstones, each nestled in a small white temple, a total of 729 in all.
- The Arakan Pagoda, also known as the Mahamuni Pagoda, that houses a Buddha from the ancient Arakan Kingdom, conquered by the Burmese. This highly revered Buddha is endlessly being covered in gold leaf.
The day will finish with visit to Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset and the panoramic view of the city.
Overnight in Mandalay
Day 7: Mandalay – Myingyan by bike
Enjoy a full morning in the saddle as the journey continues by bike. Wheel through the ancient kingdom of Ava, the ancient capital of Amarapura, and the multiple Buddhist monasteries of Sagaing.
In the afternoon, transfer to Myingyan. Jump back on the bike today, leaving Mandalay behind and head for Myingyan. Pass through the former Ava Kingdom, which once ruled upper Myanmar (Burma), before arriving at the city of Sagaing. The city is known for its numerous Buddhist monasteries, so stop here to wander around the many sites. Looking along the river, pagodas seem to sprout from the trees, puncturing the skyline.
Continue on to Myingyan by bus, and spend the evening there.
Overnight in Myingyan
Day 8: Myingyan - Mont Popa
Make the challenging uphill cycle from Myingyan to Mount Popa, enjoying the great views along the way.
Cycle through the dry interior of Myanmar.
Pass through fields of crops and varied farmland as the terrain steadily rises en route.
Head uphill towards the pilgrimage site of Mt Popa.
Overnight in Popa
Day 9: Mont Popa - Bagan
Enjoy a downhill cycle, passing through villages, towards the plains of Bagan. Cycle downhill from Mt. Popa towards the plains of Bagan. The journey passes through villages that are endemic to the region. Buffalo plough the fields and farmers collect their crops as you cycle by.
Overnight in Bagan
Day 10: Bagan – Visits
The plain of Bagan is the largest archaeological site in Myanmar and it covers around 40 square kilometers, and is a testament to the populations’ Buddhist beliefs. In this magical and historical location there are over 2000 pagodas spread out and punctuated by vegetation. Some of the monuments were built between the 10th and 13th century, showing a variety of external influences including Tibetan, Indian, Sri Lankan and some Burmese influences as well. Our guided tour of Old Bagan and popular surrounding sites can be made by carriage or bike, depending on your choice. We will see:
- The door, Sarabha, the monastery of Ananda, Archaeological Museum, Thatbyinnyu Temple , Dhammayanzika Temple, Nanpaya Temple, Pagoda Bupaya, Manuha Temple.
- Discovery of a workshop, making traditional lacquer ware products.
- And at sunset, if the sky permits, we will climb to the terrace of a temple to admire the scenery of Bagan in the last rays of the setting sun.
Overnight in Bagan
Day 11: Bagan - Visits
After a short tour of the Nyaung Oo Market, we will resume our visit to the ancient and historical archaeological sites, with a visit to Shwezigon Pagoda, one of the most beautiful and richly decorated pagodas in the country.
After lunch, we embark on a carriage ride and visit the village of Minnanthu, set a little apart from the ruins:
- Visit the Sulamani temple
- Visit the Tayoke Pyay and see its temple frescoes, and also enjoy the spectacular views and contemplate the pinnacle of the temple.
- Visit the pagoda Dhammayazika Enjoy dinner in Bagan and a puppet show.
Overnight in Bagan
Day 12: Bagan - Yangon
Transfer to the airport and fly to Yangon. Enjoy a free afternoon.
Overnight in Yangon
Day 13: Yangon - Departure
Free time until transfer to the airport for departure flight.