Myanmar Explorer

12 Days - 11 Nights Bagan, Heho, Indein, Inle Lake, Kalaw, Mandalay Division, Mingun, Naypyidaw, Nyaung Shwe, Yangon Division Big Group Journey

Tour Overview

One of the best ways to discover Myanmar’s countryside overview and unique cultural sites is by car. This program will offer you Myanmar highway experience and also a great opportunity to explore Myanmar’s New Capital “Nay Pyi Taw” along the way. Travel from vibrant Yangon to cultural hub Mandalay, drop by the capital Nay Pyi Taw in between to get up close with the “gentle giants” and visit their home – the Hmaw Yaw Gyi elephant camp. Discover the temple-studded plain of Bagan and wrap up the journey in serenely beautiful Inle Lake, take in the very best of Myanmar including the unique experience of the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon that will linger in the memory forever

Travel itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive Yangon

    Meet our experienced guide at Yangon International Airport and transfer to hotel and orientation tour around the city before check-in at the hotel. (If time permits)

    In the later afternoon, visit Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and it is a huge reclining Buddha 217 feet long and is one of the largest Buddha images in Myanmar. Completing the first day in Myanmar by visiting the famous Shwedagon Pagoda known to be the largest pagoda in the world, it stands on top of a hill, overhanging the city and is believed to be over 2,600 years old.  Enjoy the breathtaking view of the sunset with the background of Shwedagon Pagoda.
    Transfer to hotel and overnight in Yangon.

    Optional Activity: Traditional Light Oil Lamps Ceremony at Shwedagon Pagoda

    The highlight of this evening, a special oil lamp lighting ceremony is a unique and highly symbolic Buddhist ritual where they believe more than 1000 special oil lamps lighting will bless their life with wisdom and enlightenmentThis is a special arrangement to provide unique memories for a once in a lifetime experience.

    Optional Activity: Welcome evening at Karaweik Palace

    Immerse yourself in your great evening at glittering Karaweik barge, a replica of the royal barge to discover authentic traditional performances, arts and crafts, great food in a majestic setting. Karaweik Palace presents the Basic Myanmar Dance performance to continue preserving and passing on the unique tradition of Myanmar, dances, and culture. Enjoy a buffet with a great variety of cuisine with an Asian flavor.

  • Day 02: Yangon – Naypyidaw (Naypyitaw ) (B,L)

    Yangon to Naypyidaw : 367 km – 5.5 hrs

    Optional Visit : Hmaw Yaw Gyi  Elephant Camp -216 km (3 hrs)

    Early morning, drive to Hmaw Yaw Gyi Elephant camp (Approx.: 3hrs) located at the edge of Bago mountain range. Myanmar still has the second largest number of elephants after India among Southeast Asia countries. There will be a chance to get in close with the Asian elephants. A total of fourteen elephants will need help for their daily basic and opening for the visitors to earn the entrance charge for their survival. A perfect activity for the group enjoys meeting with elephants themselves for feeding and to take a bath with the elephants with the local elephant handler (before 8:00 AM). Pre-arrangement “Buffet Fruits Table” for the elephants as a food donation from a group that will be as great a memory as ever.

    Upon time permitting, explores the surrounding s including a small waterfall, forest and stream to create great memories, after observing with the elephants.

    The journey continues to Naypyidaw, the newly built capital, also the administrative hub of Myanmar which is larger than the former capital city Yangon. New Capital city usually organized Myanmar gem emporium, most of the business mission and hosted Southeast Asia game in 2013.
    Besides this, Myanmar’s mysterious capital differently makes one of the country’s most surreal sights.

    Once arrived, the first visit will be Parliament House (Pyi Thu Hlut Taw), a massive 31-building cream and magenta complex, believed to represent the 31 planes of existence in Buddhist cosmology. Impressive photo stops from outside before the next visit.

    Next, Uppatasanti Pagoda in Nay Pyi Taw is a replica of Yangon’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the emergence of the 325 feet high, lends a certain dignity to Nay Pyi Taw. In the pagoda, precincts are impressive religious edifices and enjoy the sunset (if time permits).
    Transfer to hotel and leisure at the hotel.
    Overnight in Naypyidaw.

    Tips – There is a fledgling nightlife scene here in Nay Pyi Taw. Some bars with “live” music that you can relax and unwind in include Breeze Bar; you can savor Myanmar’s unique flavors, ranging from the familiar to the more exotic. At this lively beer station, you can tuck into piping hot bowls of savory Shan noodles, traditional Thai delights, and a glass of cold draft beer for your perfect evening.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 03: Naypyitaw – Kalaw (B,L)

    Naypyidaw to Kalaw – 221.6 km (6 hrs)

    After breakfast, drive to Kalaw (221.6 km, approx.: 6hrs driving). Kalaw is a highland fresh air place as well as form hill station used by the British during colonial times as the way to escape from the summer heat.

    En route to Kalaw, enjoy the difference scenery between the hearts of the dry zone through to Shan hill of Myanmar. The great part about driving to Kalaw is slowing down at interesting points along the way, enjoying the view through the window of the coach and capturing some photographs at the point of panoramic view and local people’s daily life movement.

    Arrive in the charming town Kalaw and enjoy a peaceful evening free.
    Transfer to hotel and overnight in Kalaw.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 04: Kalaw – Nyaung Shwe Jetty – Inle Lake (B,L)

    In the morning, visit one of the main attractions, Kalaw’s colorful market. A visit to the local market is an effective way to gain insight into the traditions and culture of a place. After that, let’s admire the architecture of Kalaw which owns a few relics of crumbling British colonial architecture. Visit Christ the King Church, An Old Catholic Church located on top of a hill and The Kalaw Railway Station since colonial days for memory photos.

    Continue 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
    Launch included
  • Day 05: Inle Lake – Indein – Inle Lake (B,L)

    Optional Activity : Morning Alms

    Almsgiving is an important part of the culture and one of the most common practices throughout the country on every day of the year for Buddhists in Myanmar. The ritual of giving alms is a way to support Buddhist monks who study and practice the Buddha’s teachings, by offering them food. Discover the unique cultural traditions and religious practices of Myanmar. Myanmar Voyages will create a private donation ceremony in the early morning by participating in a mystic food donation ritual at one of the monasteries in Inle Lake. This is a perfect opportunity to learn about the Buddhist culture that will for sure stay in your memory forever.

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel, morning visit to the local market; it rotates its location around the lake villages in a 5 days rhythm. The typical market 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.

    Return to Inle Lake and after lunch visit Cheroot –maker’s workshop where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand and pass by a traditional blacksmith’s forge.

    It’s time to explore 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
    Launch included
  • Day 06: Inle Lake – Nyaung Shwe Jetty – Heho – Mandalay (B,L)

    Enjoy a very peaceful breakfast with the view of Myanmar’s iconic freshwater lake; the calm waters appear like glass reflecting the surrounding beauty. Relax and enjoy the stunning beauty of Inle Lake before departing to Mandalay by flight (approx.: 30 mins).

    Upon arrival at Mandalay airport, head to Amarapura where you will observe U Bein’s Bridge, built-in 1782 when Amarapura was the royal capital. An amazing attraction, it remains the longest teak span in the world.
    And then, there will be a chance to learn how traditional fabrics are woven at a local workshop.

    Panoramic drive to Mandalay city, passing through various agricultural landscapes and villages along the way. First visit in Mandalay to Mahamuni Pagoda, one of the most revered religious images in Myanmar. Admire the beautiful gold leaf covered statues on display.

    After lunch, transfer to the hotel and check-in.

    Late in the afternoon, visit to the Shwenandaw Monastery that is the last original wooden structure of the Mandalay Royal Palace. This precious carved teak building was one of the King’s rooms and became a monastery.

    Next visit, Kuthodaw (Maha Lawkamarazein Pagoda) which is famous as the world’s largest book, composed with hundreds of stone slabs on which inscribed the whole Buddhist Literature.
    Return to the hotel and overnight in Mandalay.

    Optional Activity : Traditional Culture Show at Mintha Theater

    Before the end of the day, be introduced with Myanmar traditional dance which is essentially postures in movements of the feet, hips, head and hands, each detailing a different aspect of Myanmar culture. At Mintha Theater, it is organized by the Inwa School of performing arts and all the performers are students at the school. The school is run as a charitable project and an hour-long show composed of a series of short dance pieces in lavish traditional costumes. It will be a remarkable evening experience with a local traditional dancing in Mandalay.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 07: Mandalay – Sagaing – Mingun – Mandalay (B,L)

    After having breakfast at the hotel, head to Sagaing then cross the Ayeyarwady route to Sagaing Hill, the living center of Buddhism in Myanmar the pagoda sprinkled hills of Sagaing, an important religious and monastic center, home to some 554 monasteries and 6,000 monks and nuns. After reaching the bottom of Sagaing Hill, driving to the summit for sweeping panoramic views, a noteworthy Pagoda on the hill is Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda. Now it’s time to explore one of the monasteries which is home to many monks. Upon time permitting, to observe Lunch offering time at the monastery their last meal in a day.

    Continue visit, Umin Thonze Pagoda also known as 30 Caves Pagoda filled with 45 beautiful gilded Buddha images which are unique in a different size. These thirty caves make for some excellent photo opportunities.
    From here, admire an amazing view of the beautiful green valley below and many stupas around.

    After lunch, 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 carrying goods up and down the river. Enjoy beyond normal lunch onboard while enjoying this scenic stretch of the Ayeyarwady River.

    Arrive in Mingun and start to visit the Mingun Bell, 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 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
    Launch included
  • Day 08: Mandalay – Mt. Popa – Bagan (B,L)

    Mandalay to Bagan – 180 km (4.5 hrs)

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and road trip towards Bagan by car. Enjoy a scenic overland drive and make a few rests stops along the way for stretching and snapping photos of the countryside.

    En route, visit Mt. Popa, an extinct volcano, iconic Myanmar postcard sight which is believed to be the sacred home of the Nats (spirits of the animists), being now a national park. On top of a rocky crag, lay the shrines and pagodas shine on this narrow piece of rock. It will offer a majestic view after climbing up 777 steps and after passing through a plethora of market stalls and cheeky monkeys.
    Resume driving towards Bagan before sunset and transfer to the hotel.
    Overnight in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 9: Bagan (B,L)

    After breakfast, start the day with a stroll through the bustling local market of Nyaung-U to experience the colorful daily life of the local people and a wide variety of tempting goods including fresh vegetables, meat, fish and assorted crafts. Start the exploration of the archaeological site with Bagan’s most treasured temples and pagodas including Shwezigon Pagoda, known for its glittering golden stupa, Shwegugyi Pagoda. Ananda Temple is believed to be the most beautiful temple which has thousands of terracotta, mural paintings, and sandstone statues that depict the life of Buddha and previous lives of Buddha.

    Transfer to the hotel and leisure as the temperature rises.

    Bagan is one of the last remaining locations in the world where quality lacquerware items are produced. In the late afternoon, visit a lacquerware workshop to observe the skilled craftsman produce and decorate lacquer ware items.

    The final temple of the day will be the Damayangyi Temple which is the most massive temple ever constructed in Bagan. From here join a local horse cart for a leisurely ride along the back roads of Bagan and 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. After enjoying the setting sun of Bagan return to the hotel and overnight in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 10: Bagan (B.L)

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel; the day begins with a visit to a little complex including Payathonzu, Lemyentha, and Nandamannya Temples, with spectacular views over the surrounding plains. This is the perfect introduction to the grandeur and scope of Bagan’s architecture. Walking tour around these beautiful Temples complex and take some excellent photo opportunities.

    Continue leisure drive to one of the local authentic villages to explore the real Bagan typical village, once at the village, explore the daily life of the local inhabitants with a walking tour. After the visit, proceed to one of the local family business making of toddy or palm sugar the opportunity to see how the palm sap is gathered in small pots hung high in the trees and then is heated in large pots to produce a smokey tasting and sweet palm sugar.

    Drive back to Bagan and enjoy the hotel atmosphere for this afternoon.

    In the evening time, 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. Return back to the hotel and overnight in Bagan.

    Optional Activity : Ayeyarwady Sandbank Dinner

    Prepare for an amazing dinner experience that you will never forget in Myanmar. Transfer by a local boat that will take you to a mid-river sandbank where a private gala-style dinner will be served under an open sky, surrounded by Bagan’s resplendent temples mirrored on the leisurely river. Look forward to exquisite local dishes in a stunning surrounding. Light entertainment will perform during your dinner time for the romantic atmosphere.

    (Subject to weather conditions – usually best between November and April)

    Launch included
  • Day 11: Bagan – Yangon (B,L) – Tea house Lunch

    After breakfast at the hotel transfer to the Nyaung U airport to take the flight back to Yangon. (approx.: 75 mins).

    Upon arrival, drive to downtown for a walking experience tour, Yangon is known for the highest number of colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia. A walk around the city tour will offer many photo opportunities of locals enjoying at local tea shops, as well as a chance to view some of the historic buildings in the area and the impressive British-Colonial City Hall a fine example of syncretic Burmese architecture.

    Next proceed to one of the local tea houses for a chance to experience Myanmar tea culture, a contemporary venue inspired by the traditional tea house of the British colonial era. The last visit is to 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 own leisure.
    Overnight in Yangon.

    Optional Activity : Finale Dinner in Yangon

    As for your group 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 group together is what makes the night special at your memorial time in Myanmar!

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 12: 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. Conclude of group holidays with all priceless memories that last forever.

    Breakfast included

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