Magnificent Myanmar

9 Days - 8 Nights Amarapura, Bagan, Heho, Indein, Inle Lake, Kalaw, Mandalay Division, Mingun, Nyaung Shwe, Pindaya, Yangon Division Small Group Experiences

Tour Overview

Experience the remarkable culture of Myanmar on a 10-day journey which is made for travelers who love comfort and adventure. Discover the spectacular, jewel-encrusted Shwedagon Pagoda presides over Yangon and enjoy tribal village life and golden Buddha-filled caves in remote Pindaya. Admire the glorious wonders of Bagan, explore the former royal capital of Mandalay, and gaze upon the spectacular waters of Inle Lake. Enjoy an immersive tour to truly connect with the remarkable wonders of Myanmar.

Travel itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive Yangon

    On arrival at Yangon International Airport, be welcomed by an English speaking guide and then transferred to the hotel and orientation tour around the city before check-in at the hotel. (If time permits)

    Formerly the capital city of Myanmar, Yangon’s history includes shifts in power from Eastern to Western and back and its landscape reflects that diversity.

    After a relaxing break, walk through downtown, the city tour will offer many photo opportunities in Yangon’s colonial buildings, some of which are on the Yangon City Heritage List. City Hall is a fine example of syncretic Burmese architecture. See local sights and experience with local street shops which are selling local products, book stores, vegetables, fruits etc.

    From here, enjoy a respite and refreshment at one of the local tea houses for a chance to experience Myanmar tea culture, another way to throw back the influential British rule in the colonial era.

    In the evening, visit Yangon begins most appropriately with the world-renowned Shwedagon Pagoda. Over 2,600 years old, the pagoda’s spire soars a massive 326 feet into the air. Glistening gold plates adorn the structure whose dome is topped with over 6,500 diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones. This stunning stupa attracts pilgrims from all over the world. After enjoying the breathtaking view of the sunset with the background of Shwedagon Pagoda, drive back to the hotel. Overnight in Yangon.

  • Day 02: Yangon – Bagan (B)

    Morning transfer to the domestic airport and scheduled flight to Bagan, Nyaung-U (Approx: 75 mins). Bagan, one of Asia’s most popular archaeological destinations as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2019. On arrival in Bagan, head directly to the vibrant morning market at Nyaung-U; join the local residents pursuing a colorful array of fruits, vegetables, rice, handmade furnishings, and clothing.

    In Bagan, one will find over 2,000 pagodas, temples and monasteries which were built during the Bagan Dynasty and founded by King Anawrahta in 1044. The beauty and grandeur of the ancient pagoda are explored, beginning with the towering Shwezigon Pagoda. This is an important shrine and the main center of pilgrimage in Bagan. Note the golden mass and peaceful stability it seems to exude.

    Following a visit to Shwezigon Pagoda, head to one of the private places beside Ayeyarwady River, a tranquil venue that serves as a wonderful backdrop for photos and relaxation for a while with Bagan’s snacks as refreshment.

    Visit the masterpiece of early architectural style, the Ananda Temple. One of the finest, largest and best-preserved of the Bagan temples, the Ananda were built in 1091 by Kyansittha and it is said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha.

    Optional Activity: Sanon Training Restaurant by Bagan youth

    The region’s culinary school, Sanon Training Restaurant is the setting for lunch. Operated by the Myanmar Youth Development Institute, the school graduates 30 disadvantaged youths each year and assists with placing them in the hospitality industry. English language classes along with kitchen and front-of-the-house skills are part of the curriculum. Chat with one or two of the students and watch as meals are prepared in the open kitchen.

    After lunch, check in to the hotel and relax for a break.

    In the early evening, enjoy a great way to explore old Bagan and see majestic Temples by horse cart OR E-bike in the Archaeological zone before reaching the sunset place. Enjoy sunset at one of the hillocks over the Bagan plains and admire the light change on the pagodas as they exude antiquity and mystery. Transfer to the hotel overnight in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 03: Bagan – Village sightseeing (B)

    After a healthy breakfast at the hotel, head out Lawkananda Jetty across the Ayeyarwady River for a pleasant boat trip to Kyun Thiri village (about 1 hour).

    Once arrive at the island village, welcome by local villagers and head to the farming village by Ox-drawn cart. Explore the locals’ gardens growing cucumber, red chilies, tomatoes, mustard, cauliflower, and other seasonal vegetables along the way to the village.

    Stroll along the village’s shaded streets, interact with the friendly village residents and get an unvarnished view of life in a typical Bagan village.

    Continue visit over 120 years old ancient wooden monastery in the village and a great chance to learn about local people’s spiritual beliefs. The rest of the morning is spent learning about the daily lives of this unique agricultural society, before returning back to the hotel across the river to Bagan.

    Optional Activity: Village house lunch 

    After learning about the daily lives of this unique island village, walk to a village house and enjoy a homemade village-style lunch with a local family at their village house. There will be a unique way to learn about the local village life.

    Afternoon visit, Damayangyi Pagoda, a massive temple built similar in layout to the Ananda. However, this temple is much larger and was built by King Karathu in 1160.

    Bagan is not only famous for the profusion of pagodas but also for its artistic handicrafts and local lacquer-ware store where the process of making each piece can be seen. Visit a local lacquer-ware workshop where the process of making each piece can be seen and observe the art of Bagan lacquer-ware being created.

    In the evening, head to the riverside pier to board a local boat for a slow cruise down the Ayeyarwady River to observe the lifestyle of the fishermen and riverside villagers as well as enjoying the unique perspective of Bagan’s temples. At the end of the tour, drive back to the hotel.
    Overnight in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 04: Bagan – Mandalay – Amarpura – Mandalay (B)

    Bagan Mandalay (179 km) Approx: 4 hrs via Myingyan 

    Depart Bagan for a journey by road to Mandalay (approx.: 4 hrs). After two hours’ drive, stop at Myingyan, a typical Burmese city lies in the valley of the Ayeyarwady River and it is still away from tourists. Glimpse the local bustling surroundings while visiting the morning market. Myingyan is an important and famous city for local cotton trading and home cigar production to distribute throughout Myanmar. Make a short visit stop at the production of local cotton home business and cigar production. Continue to drive to Mandalay and make a few rests stops along the way for stretching and snapping photos.

    Arrive Mandalay; the last stop of the day is on the way back to Amarapura, head to U Bein’s Bridge, built-in 1782 by Major U Bein using salvaged teak columns from the deconstruction of Ava Palace. At 1.2 kilometers in length, it is believed to be the longest teak bridge in the world. Enjoy a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams. Enjoy a picture-perfect sunset over the bridge. Following the sunset, drive to Mandalay and overnight in Mandalay.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 05: Mandalay – Mingun –Mandalay (B)

    Following breakfast at the hotel, drive to the top of Mandalay Hill for an impressive panoramic view of the former kingdom. Next, begin exploring some of the most hallowed attractions in Mandalay starting with a visit to Shwe Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery) – an excellent example of a traditional wooden building.

    Also, visit Kuthodaw Pagoda which houses the world’s largest book. It consists of 1,460 pages, each measuring three and a half feet wide, five feet long and five inches thick. Each page is made of marble and is placed upright on a stand of its own. Combined, the book’s pages cover 13 acres.

    Carry on and explore Mandalay’s impressive marble carving and handicrafts workshops followed by a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda, named after the holy image “Maha Muni” housed therein. Enjoy the beautiful gold leaf covered statues on display, including Erawan, the three-headed elephant.

    In the afternoon time, the journey continues to the  jetty to join a local private boat trip to Mingun (11 km, about one hour) enjoying the picturesque scenery of this river and the lifestyles of the local people, small longtail boats, bamboo rafts, and ferries carry goods up and down the river. Upon arrival, start to visit the Mingun Bell which weighs more than 87 tons and is more than 3.7 meters tall. This is the world’s largest uncracked bell.

    Head out to the beautiful Hsinbyume (Ma Thein Tan) Pagoda, a white-washed temple built to resemble Mount Meru. And the unfinished, mighty Mingun Pagoda (built to be the world’s biggest. Cruise along the river, sail back to Mandalay and savor sunset vistas over the scenic beauty of River Ayeyarwady.
    Return back to the hotel and overnight in Mandalay.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 06: Mandalay – Heho – Pindaya – Kalaw (B)

    In the morning, transfer to Mandalay Airport for a short flight to Heho (Approx.: 30 mins). Once, leisurely drive to Pindaya through varied agricultural landscapes, villages and panoramic views of Shan Plateau.

    Pindaya is a charming town inhabited by the Pa Oh, Danu and Shan ethnic groups, famous for its limestone caves, traditional Shan paper umbrellas that are manufactured here.

    Visit Pindaya Caves, a unique site housing 6000 various sizes of bronze, marble and coated with gold leaf placed there by pilgrims and devotees over the centuries. Continue exploration to Hsin Khaung Taung Kyaung, a gorgeous temple with its carved teak panels dating back to the 19th century.

    Afterward, visit a local family-run workshop to observe paper making for the production of traditional Shan parasols.

    The last in Pindaya, stop at Banyan trees complex, the beautiful centuries-old trees at a cave complex in Pindaya create the perfect stop for excellent photos.

    Optional Activity: Tea Plantation Visit

    Myanmar has one of the longest histories of cultivating tea in the world where tea leaves are eaten as well as used to make a hot beverage (hot tea with plain boil water). And tea is still one of the major products of the country; the pickled tea produced in Shan State is used for a special dish called tea leaf salad. This pickled tea leaves salad is a signature snack throughout Myanmar. The best tea in Myanmar is known to be produced in the mountain ranges of Shan State where the tea leaf plantations extend from the rugged mountain-sides to the terraced farms. Today, a great opportunity to visit a local family tea plantation near Pindaya!

    On the way back to Kalaw, head to a local family tea plantation, and enjoy a walking tour through the emerald scenery of Shan hills where tea plantations carpet the landscape. Firstly the family will serve the tea from their tea plantation and you will also have the opportunity to learn how to prepare tea leaf salad, one of the most popular snacks in Myanmar. From here, you will have a view across the nearby tea plantations. Hopefully get to see the tea pickers at work, learning the process for tea leaves production.

    The journey continues on a narrow, winding, and bumpy road through the Shan Hills. In the late afternoon reach Kalaw, a fresh and delightful hill station, on the rim of the Shan Plateau which is a market center for ethnic minorities from surrounding regions.
    After the check-in, the rest of the day is leisure. Overnight in Kalaw.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 07: Kalaw – Nyaung Shwe Jetty – Inle Lake (B)

    In the morning exploring the beautiful town Kalaw, drive to the viewpoint from the top, a beautiful view of the city of Kalaw and the hills surrounding it can be enjoyed.

    Explore the local market before down into Nyaung Shwe valley on the edge of Inle Lake, famous for its unique leg rower (approx. 1hr 30 mins).

    On the way, visit “Shwe Yan Pyay” is a beautiful red-painted teak building dated back to the 19th century. Start a local boat trip on Inle Lake which is a photographer’s dream because of its natural beauty. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes to which picturesque hills provide the perfect backdrop.

    Explore the lake’s only ‘leg rowers’, Intha fishermen who stand up with one leg around a single paddle, leaving their hands free to manipulate the conical fishing net. Marvel at Phaung  Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State.

    Afterward, visit a traditional boat building workshop, and the longboats used to traverse Inle Lake take four weeks to build and are made of local teak. Stop to see traditional handicrafts silk weaving on wooden handlooms and fabrics with the fibers of the lotus flower.

    Pass endless floating gardens where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables on the way to the hotel.

    After a day of exploring, transfer to the hotel and overnight in Inle.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 08: Inle Lake – Indein – Inle Lake (B)

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, explore a 5-day rotating market (if the visit coincides with the schedule) which offers an insight into the life of the ethnic Pa-O, Danu and Intha people who come to these markets to sell and buy goods.

    Long-tailed boat across the lake to Indein at the western end of Inle for one of the most scenic trips on the Lake. Disembark at the jetty and walk for a few minutes through Indein village to reach the 14th – 18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Oak. A covered walkway popular with souvenir stall holders leads up to Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of weather-beaten 17th – 18th century zedi; some newly reconstructed.

    Optional Activity: Heritage Lunch Experience

    A great place to stop for a traditional lunch at the best restaurant in Inle Lake “Inle Heritage”, Non-Profit Organization is involved in several activities aimed at preserving the culture of the local people in the lake. Under the tree of Inle Heritage, there is a vocational training restaurant, an organic garden and a breeding house of Burmese cats recorded as royal pets in ancient days. The restaurant will serve “Traditional food” with its own organic garden vegetables with homemade Shan recipes. A family can observe all activities at the Heritage house before enjoying the canoe experience.

    Continue visit to cheroot –maker’s workshop where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand and pass by a traditional blacksmith’s forge.

    Time at leisure will allow exploring the canoe boat experience by Inle Canoe Lady. The canoe will be rowed by local women who work at the cigar workshop but are offering this short trip to provide their families with an extra income. The canoe through the channels, between the houses built on stilts and the floating gardens of the “Intha” who live in the lake. Once back to the hotel, time at leisure for the rest of the evening. Now it’s time to watch the sunset over postcard views of the lake.
    Overnight in Inle Lake.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 09: Inle Lake – Nyaung Shwe Jetty – Heho – Yangon (B)

    Start the day with a delicious breakfast and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to Yangon (Approx: 75 mins). Back in Yangon begins with a visit to Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and its huge reclining Buddha 217 feet long and is one of the largest in Myanmar.

    The last visit of the day is the famous Bogyoke Market (Scott Market) with hundreds of shops for food, clothing, crafts and precious stones.

    Drive back to the hotel and check-in; the rest day will be for your own leisure.
    Overnight in Yangon.

    Important Notice: The Bogyoke Market (Scott Market) will be closed every Monday and public holidays.

    Optional Activity : Yangon night dinner in last

    As for your last night in Myanmar, you will be experiencing the most memorable dinner in Yangon’s most prestigious and best quality restaurant; Le Planteur is a French Fine Dining with an Asian twist served in a luxurious mansion along with a romantic garden compound. The experience of watching the sensational view from the garden while having a delicious meal with your loved one is what makes the night special at your memorial time in Myanmar!

    Breakfast included
  • Day 10: Depart Yangon (B)

    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Spend the day for your own leisure time until transfer to Yangon International airport for the onward flight. Conclusion of Myanmar Holidays with unique experiences as ever.

    Breakfast included

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