The beautiful Golden Land of the former Burma has remained almost untouched by the modern world for decades. This timeless and unspoilt country is a hidden treasure for those seeking an authentic travel experience. Explore the traditions, culture, natural environment and rich heritage of Myanmar with many ancient pagodas, Buddhist shrines and a way of life devoted to Buddhist doctrines and philosophy. This is reflected in its charming people. Expect generous hospitality, welcoming smiles and a genuine interest in wanting to meet people from other lands.
The road infrastructure is generally poor which means taking short internal flights to Bagan, Mandalay and Heho for Inle Lake. Feel free to spend more time in a chosen location such as the evocative Lake Inle to chill out for another day or maybe two! As a specialist and local tour operator we will configure the perfect tour to suit your interests and wishes. With safety and peace of mind uppermost, it is important to stress we use only registered and approved guides in a country still developing its tourist industry.
Day 1 - Arrival Yangon – Welcome - City tour (Car)
Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, is still a relatively quiet and charming city. Its impressive colonial and spiritual heritage makes Yangon one of the most fascinating and authentic cities of Southeast Asia. Upon arrival at the airport our welcoming guide will transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Our morning city tour takes in Yangon's colonial architecture and important Pagodas, including the fabulous Swe Taw Myat Zedi, (Sacred Replica Tooth Relic Pagoda); Kaba Aye (World Peace Pagoda) and the Mahapasana Guha (Great Cave) close by. We will make a stop at a traditional teashop too.
After lunch we begin our afternoon city tour Highlights include Chauk Htagyi (Reclining Buddha Image: 230 ft/ 70 m long in a restful pose) and Karaweik Hall, an amazing palace on the lake built in the style of a Royal barge. In the evening we visit the world renowned Shwedagon Pagoda with its golden stupa towering, nearly 100m, towering over the city skyline. Overnight is in Yangon.
Day 2 - Yangon - Bagan – Pagoda tour (Flight/Car)
After an early breakfast you transfer to the airport for historic Bagan and on arrival check-in at your hotel. This ancient city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th to 13th centuries and the first kingdom to unite the regions constituting the Myanmar of today. Set in a verdant and sublime setting, Bagan is an archeological wonder and rivals Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat – though without hordes of tourists. Over half the 4,450 temples remain and are superbly preserved or restored by UNESCO.
Our tour highlights include: Nyaung Oo Market; the 11th century Shwezigon Pagoda (prototype for later Myanmar Stupas) and nearby Kyansittha Umin, a cave complex with long corridors adorned with murals. We then visit Gawdawpalin Temple, completed in 1227 and restored in 1975 following an earthquake. It is 63m high and built on four levels. Our final stops are Shwegugyi Pagoda (Golden Cave) and Tharabar Gate, the best preserved remains of the 9th century wall and only gate still standing. After relaxing back at your hotel, wander around and check out the local culture, lifestyle and restaurants too. Overnight is in Bagan.
Day 3 - Bagan - Mt. Popa - Bagan (Car)
After your morning breakfast we will visit Mt. Popa, a steep-sided volcano 1518m above sea level and about an hour’s drive from Bagan on the road to Mandalay. The Mahagiri Shrine is the spiritual home of the 37 ‘nats’ almost all of whom were humans, meeting violent deaths. After this we can enjoy the wonderful panoramic view before continuing on. We make several stops at local villages to see rural and traditional life and see wood carvings at a monastery and a palm tree plantation also. We return to Bagan where the rest of the afternoon is free with an optional tour of Bagan in a hot air balloon (late October to March). Overnight is in Bagan.
Day 4 - Bagan – Mandalay – Mingun – Boat excursion (Flight/Car/Boat)
After breakfast you transfer to the airport for your flight to Mandalay and on arrival check-in at your hotel. In the afternoon we go to the Shwe Kyatyat Jetty for a boat excursion to the small town of Mingun. Along the way you will see the Mingun Pahto, intended to be the largest pagoda in the world, and badly damaged after an earthquake. You will also see the Mingun Bell. Reputedly the world 3rd larges bell it is made of bronze with gold, silver ornaments and jewellery inserted too by Buddhist devotees. The bell stands 3.7m high and weighs 90 metric tons. We then see the impressive Hsinbyume Pagoda, with its seven terraces representing seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru, after which we visit local villages to observe the local lifestyle. We drive back to Mandalay and finish the day with a spectacular sunset view from Mandalay Hill. Overnight is in Mandalay.
Day 5 - Mandalay – Amarapura – Sagaing - Innwa (Ava) – Sightseeing tour (Car)
After your morning breakfast at the hotel we drive to Amarapura, the former capital, visiting Maha Gadayon Monastery where you can see about 1,000 monks walking in procession to take their meals. In the afternoon you visit the famous U Bein Bridge which crosses the shallow Taungthman Lake. This 1.2k bridge is believed to be the oldest and longest teak bridge in the world. After that we drive to Sagaing and cross the Inwa Bridge, the longest in Myanmar. From here you will see hilltops, each crested with a pagoda with banners proclaiming Buddhist teachings and refuge from all illness and the tribulations of life.
We visit Sagaing Hill where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for study and meditation and see the Padamyazedi pagoda dating back to 1300. We stop at the Umin Thonze or thirty caves pagoda with Buddha images in a crescent shaped colonnade and view murals in the Tilawkaguru Cave Temple built around 1672. Enjoy a spectacular approach to nearby Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda constructed in 1312 and observe that the hill on which it stands resembles a frog. Afterwards we proceed for Ava, crossing the Myit Nge River where a horse-cart ride awaits. You will visit the huge Maha Aung Mye Bonzan brick monastery, a fine example of Burmese architecture. On the drive back to Mandalay we stop at Shwenandaw Monastery (Golden Palace), an absolute masterpiece of wood carving. Overnight is in Mandalay.
Day 6 - Mandalay – Heho - Inle Lake – Boat excursion (Flight/Car/Boat)
After breakfast we drive to the airport for a flight to Heho airport in Shan State. On arrival we drive to Nyaung Shwe Jetty for check-in at the hotel on the lake before our boat excursion to Inle Lake, 900m above sea-level. Admire the stilt houses of this captivating Lake, see the floating vegetable & fruit gardens and villages too, lotus petal robe weaving looms and the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda. This is the most revered pagoda on the lake and houses five images of Buddha. There is the opportunity also to observe silk and other weaving crafts typical of Lake Inle with a visit also to the Jumping Cats Monastery that is built on stilts. We return to the hotel late afternoon where you can chill out and relax. Overnight is at the hotel on Inle Lake.
Day 7 - Inle Lake – Heho - Yangon – Shopping in Yangon (Flight/Car/Boat)
After breakfast you transfer via Nyaung Shwe village by boat and then car to Heho airport for your flight back to Yangon. After check-in and time to relax there is the opportunity to shop in downtown Yangon at Bogyoke Market and visit some of Yangon's most famous shopping malls. Overnight is in Yangon.
Day 8 - Yangon - Departure (Flight/Car)
Your time is free after breakfast until transfer for your departure flight. You might think about combining a tour of Myanmar with Thailand with airport options of Bangkok and Chiang Mai that can make for interesting tour combinations. There is the option of Vietnam too that is served by Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. These tours can provide a fascinating contrast in culture, landscape, history and lifestyle to that of Myanmar, leaving an indelible impression.