Temples, Lakes & Legends: Discovering Myanmar’s Panorama

6 Days - 5 Nights Bagan, Indein, Inle Lake, Mandalay Division, Shan State

Tour Overview

A simplified 6-day tour from the former colonial city of Yangon to the vast waters of Inle Lake, via exploration of Bagan’s extraordinary temples, is the ideal way to see the highlights of this mysterious nation in a short amount of time. You will discover the sights and secrets of this enigmatic land through this one-of-a-kind experience. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and witness the daily life of Myanmar’s people. From bustling markets to tranquil villages, this tour offers a unique perspective on one of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating destinations.

Travel itinerary

  • Day 01: Arrive Yangon

    When you arrive at Yangon International Airport, an English-speaking guide will greet you, take you to your hotel, and then give you a tour of the city before you check in. (If time allows) Take a seat, unwind, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon before the tour begins. Explore the city’s historic district, which is home to a variety of pagodas, monuments, and colonial buildings, some of which are on the Yangon City Heritage List. This is the ideal way to experience Yangon’s bustling street life, which is filled with numerous street markets selling snacks, food, and fruits. Along the way, there will be an opportunity to sample local cuisine.

    From here, take a break and relax at one of the neighborhood tea houses for a chance to experience Myanmar tea culture, another way to pay homage to the country’s illustrious colonial past under British rule. Visit the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda to finish off your first day in Myanmar. One of Yangon’s top attractions, the magnificent monument is covered in gold and is thought to be 2,600 years old. The pagoda’s spire rises a towering 326 feet into the sky. People come to pray at this magnificent stupa from all over the world.

    Drive back to the hotel in Yangon for the night after taking in the breathtaking sunset with Shwedagon Pagoda in the background.

  • Day 02: Yangon – Bagan (B)

    After having breakfast, you will be transferred to Nyaung-U Airport for your scheduled flight to Bagan, which takes approximately 75 minutes. Bagan is a prehistoric site where Theravada Buddhism was initially introduced to the Kingdom. In 2019, Bagan was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

    The trip starts with a stop at a small complex that includes the Payathonzu, Lemyentha, and Nandamannya Temples, all of which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding plains. This is the ideal way to introduce people to the size and scope of Bagan’s architectural achievements. These stunning temple complexes make for some fantastic photo ops when you walk around them.

    Visit Ananda Temple, one of the most beautiful and well-preserved Buddhist temples in Bagan. Its gleaming gold hti (pinnacle ornament), constructed in 1091 during the reign of King Kyansittha, sits atop a perfectly proportioned landmark that can be seen from all over the city. Continue your visit to the 13th-century Htilominlo temple. Large, two-story Htilominlo Temple is distinguished by its elaborate stucco decoration, particularly the designs on the ceilings of the interior arches.

    After that, check into the hotel and unwind during the sweltering midday sun.

    Visit the magnificent Shwezigon Pagoda first in the late afternoon. The bell-shaped, gilded structure was constructed by King Anaweahta in the 11th century and served as the model for nearly all subsequent pagodas in Myanmar. Finally, take a horse-drawn cart ride to the sunset hillock to experience the local mode of transportation. The much-heralded sunset from Sunset Hill Lock should not be missed. This excellent vantage point offers a panoramic view of numerous crumbling stupas and temples.

    Return to your hotel and spend the night in Bagan.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 03: Bagan (B)

    The day starts with a wholesome breakfast at the hotel, followed by a visit to the vibrant market in the bustling river town of Nyaung-U. Here, one can immerse themselves in the colorful array of fruits, vegetables, rice, handcrafted furnishings, and clothing, and witness the locals going about their daily business.

    Next, head to one of the nearby authentic villages to explore the typical Bagan village and gain insights into the daily lives of the locals with a walking tour. Afterward, proceed to a local family-run business that produces toddy or palm sugar. Here, visitors can witness the process of gathering palm sap in small pots hung high up in the trees and its transformation into smoky-tasting and sweet palm sugar.

    Take a short break in this beautiful location away from the crowds before heading back to Bagan. In the evening, head to the riverside pier to board a local boat for a leisurely cruise down the Ayeyarwady River. This allows for a unique perspective on the temples of Bagan and an opportunity to observe the lifestyle of the riverside villagers.

    The tour concludes with a transfer back to the hotel for an overnight stay in Bagan.

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

    This morning, enjoy an early breakfast before heading to Mandalay domestic airport for a quick 30-minute flight to Heho airport. Upon arrival, set out on an hour-long drive to Nyaung Shwe jetty, the gateway to Inle Lake, known for its exceptional leg rowers. Along the way, make a stop at a local family-run workshop to witness the production of traditional Shan parasols using paper-making techniques. You’ll also visit the beautiful red-painted teak building, “Shwe Yan Pyay,” which dates back to the 19th century.

    Upon arrival in Nyaung Shwe, begin a local boat trip to explore the breathtaking beauty of Inle Lake. As a photographer’s paradise, the calm waters of the lake are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, set against picturesque hills. During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the unique leg-rowing technique of the Intha fishermen, who stand on one leg with a single paddle, leaving their hands free to manipulate the conical fishing net. Admire Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State.

    Later, visit a traditional boat building workshop where the longboats used to traverse Inle Lake are crafted. These boats are made of local teak and take approximately four weeks to build. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to witness the creation of traditional handicrafts such as silk weaving on wooden handlooms and fabrics made from lotus flower fibers. Pass through endless floating gardens where Intha lake dwellers grow fruit and vegetables.

    After a day of exploration, you’ll be transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay in Inle.

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

    After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, visit the local market, which rotates its location around the lake villages every five days. Visiting this lively market offers a captivating glimpse into the daily routines of the Pa-O, Danu, and Intha people, who are ethnic groups that come here to buy and sell a diverse range of goods.

    Next, take a long-tailed boat across the lake to Indein, located at the western end of Inle. This scenic journey is one of the most picturesque experiences on the lake. Once you disembark at the jetty, walk through Indein village for a few minutes to reach the 14th-18th century pagoda ruins of Nyaung Oak. You can access the Shwe Indein Paya by walking through a covered pathway that is bustling with souvenir stalls. This leads to a collection of 17th-18th century zedis (small pagodas) that have endured the elements over time, and some have been recently restored to their former glory.

    Afterward, return to Inle Lake to visit a Cheroot-maker’s workshop where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. You’ll also pass by a traditional blacksmith’s forge. Later, it’s time to experience a unique canoe boat ride with the Inle Canoe Lady. This canoe will be rowed by local women who work at the cigar workshop but offer this short trip to supplement their family income. As you ride through the channels between the houses built on stilts and the floating gardens of the “Intha” who live on the lake, you’ll witness the serene beauty of Inle Lake.

    Once you’re back at the hotel, you’ll have leisure time for the rest of the evening. You can watch the sunset over stunning views of the lake, making for a perfect end to a memorable day. You’ll spend the night at your hotel in Inle.

    Breakfast included
  • Day 06: Inle Lake – Yangon Departure (B)

    Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport to catch your flight back to Yangon, which should take approximately one hour and twenty minutes. Upon arrival in Yangon, if time permits, you can visit the famous Bogyoke Market (Scott Market), which features hundreds of shops selling food, clothing, crafts, and precious stones.

    Afterward, transfer to Yangon International Airport for your departure flight back home. As your trip comes to an end, you’ll cherish unforgettable memories throughout your journey in Myanmar.

    Important Notice: Please note that the Bogyoke Market (Scott Market) is closed every Monday and on public holidays.

    Breakfast included

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