Temples, Lake & Tribes

9 Days - 8 Nights Bagan, Heho, Indein, Inle Lake, Loikaw, Pekon, Pindaya, Sagar, Yangon Division Small Group Experiences

Tour Overview

Experience the cultural highlights and the natural wonders of Myanmar though Yangon with Shwedagon Pagoda, a fantasy of golden stupas and serene Buddhas and magical Bagan monuments at the world-famous archeological site. Relax in the countryside of former hill station “Kalaw” and the natural beauty of Inle Lake since it is a photographer’s paradise for its stunning natural landscapes. Discover Loikaw, a hidden gem of Myanmar immersed in rich local culture and see incredible nature sites. Capture the best moments and the virgin beauty of Loikaw will offer a wonderful way to appreciate the lifestyle of their inhabitants.

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 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 are said to represent the endless wisdom of the Buddha.

    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.

    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.

    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 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 to the hotel across the river to Bagan.

    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.

    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.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 04: Bagan – Heho – Pindaya – Inle Lake (B)

    In the morning, transfer to Bagan Airport for a short flight to Heho (Approx: 40 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.

    Explore Pindaya’s famous 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.

    Afterward, visit a local family-run workshop where local craftspeople make incredible handmade umbrellas and traditional paper.

    The last in Pindaya, stop at Banyan trees complex, the beautiful centuries-old trees at a cave complex create the perfect stop for excellent photos before down to Nyaung Shwe valley.

    Once arrived at Nyaung Shwe on the edge of Inle Lake, home to floating gardens, stilted villages, stupas and transfer to hotel. The evening is free for relaxing or exploring around and overnight in Inle Lake.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 05: Inle Lake – Indein – Inle Lake (B)

    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.

    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 which contains five sacred gold-covered Buddha images.

    Stop to see traditional handicrafts silk weaving on wooden handlooms and fabrics with the fibers of the lotus flower.

    After lunch, take a 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 pass endless floating gardens where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables.

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

    Breakfast included
  • Day 06: Inle – Sagar (Sankar) – Phaekon – Loikaw (B)

    After breakfast, set off on a memorable journey to the hidden gem of Myanmar “Loikaw” and firstly discover the delights of beautiful Sagar (Sankar). The boat journey takes 2.5 hrs to pass through many local villages and will witness different views of their daily life including rice noodles dry in the sun and cotton hung out to dry. Arrive in Sagar and explore the Sunken ancient stupas, a collection of 108 stupas dating back to the 16th – 17th centuries that are partially submerged for part of each year when the water level rises. Explore local life including monastery visits in the village.

    After lunch, relax and panoramic boat ride to Phaekon another an hour again but is full of scenic views and the Shan mountain range, home to many unique species of birds, both indigenous and migratory. The fresh, cool breeze will invigorate in spite of a long journey boat trip. Capture the stunning natural scene; enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the setting.

    Arrive in Phaekon and travel the last part of the journey by road an hour to reach Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State, one of the least visited areas of the country but the one with the greatest ethnic diversity. These picturesque hills are home to many of Myanmar’s indigenous hill tribes.

    Transfer to the hotel and evening time to relax at the hotel. Overnight in Loikaw.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 07: Loikaw (B,L)

    After breakfast at the hotel, first drive to Pan Pat village, native land for Kayah long neck women also are known as the Padaung tribe. Along the way to the village, stop at colorful Demawso market (depending on the day of travel, open Mon, Wed, and Sat) where different ethnic groups from the surrounding area are selling traditional outfits, local wine also is known as “Khaung–yay”. There is a chance to taste local wine as a sample of people who are interested in buying local ones.

    Drive continues to the countryside and a short trek of about an hour to Pan Pet village passes through the scenic beauty of the hills, farmland and admire the landscape. Reach the Pan Pat village, is a naturally beautiful area surrounded by spectacular rice fields. The Padaung women with elongated necks and still wear the traditional brass golden rings on their neck depends on their ages. It is rare to see a traditional style in the younger generation nowadays but Pan Pet village remains of the women in traditional customs.

    Stroll along the village to interact with Paduang women and observe artisans making Kayan bracelets, the traditional way of making Kayah dress, carving wooden statues and some kinds of handwork. So there will be a few chances to pick up some local products as souvenirs for the help of the local community village.

    You may have a unique chance to explore typical songs with their traditional musical instruments at beautiful Padaung village.

    Return to Loikaw after village immersion and stop for a late lunch at Demawso Lodge, a quiet tranquil and enjoy a beautiful lakeside view.

    Evening stroll, Thiri Mingalarpon monastery, the former palace of the Shan feudal chief is also well worth a visit before sunset time. Head to the most highlights of Loikaw, Taungkwe Pagoda built in the 11th century across two mountains, both are ideal spots to take in the region’s frequently vibrant sunsets.
    Overnight in Loikaw.

    Breakfast included
    Launch included
  • Day 08: Loikaw – Yangon (B)

    Start the day with a delicious breakfast and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to Yangon (Approx.: 60 mins). Back in Yangon begins with a visit to Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda and it’s 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 for your own leisure. Overnight in Yangon.

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

    Optional Activity: Rural Life of Dala

    Experience a taste of local village life in Yangon during this picturesque and interactive half-day excursion to Dala Village. There is a chance to stroll through a lively marketplace, take a trishaw ride, and interact with the locals, all of which will offer you a genuine glimpse of times gone by. A visit to Dala is perfect for those who want to observe the Burmese’s suburban life which is different from the cosmopolitan city of Yangon.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 09: Depart Yangon (B)

    Enjoy an abundant breakfast at the hotel this morning and relax at the hotel. All too soon, it will be time to transfer to Yangon international airport, unforgettable memories throughout the journey still remain.

    Breakfast included

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