Myanmar Explorer

Myanmar Explorer

Purpose: Adventure, Discovery, Culture, History
No. of days: 15 days – 14 nights
First & Last Cities: Mandalay, Yangon
Other cities: Sagaing, Bagan, Heho, Kalaw, Pindaya, Yasakyi Village, Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake, Indein
Starting cost: $1,565
The last capital of the third Myanmar Empire, Mandalay is situated in the center of the country, some 668 km due north of Yangon. It is the largest city after Yangon and is both a bustling commercial center and a repository of ancient culture.  With the remains of the old Royal City, sacred monasteries and numerous other places of interest, Mandalay is a showcase for Myanmar art and architecture and is known as the country’s cultural capital. It is also noted for woodcarvings, silverware, tapestries, silk cloth, and other traditional craft products.
Day 1:  Mandalay
On arrival at Mandalay Airport, you will be met by your local guide and transfer by car for a half day of sightseeing. You will see the imposing Mahamuni pagoda, where pilgrims come from afar to make offerings and place gold on the Buddha image and to visit the bronze warrior statues. On the way to Mandalay you will see the street of marble sculptors, an ancestral tradition now modernized with machines. Statues carved on the street, of all shapes and sizes are exported all over Myanmar and even to China. If time permits you will visit Kuthodaw pagoda, known as the biggest book with more than 700 stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures. This site was recently included in the Memory of the world register of UNESCO. Finally, drive to Mandalay Hill to watch the sunset over the city. Transfer to hotel.
Day 2:  Mandalay
Today the guide will pick you up around 7:45 am at your hotel (Please note: no need for breakfast before leaving!) setting out in search of food. He will take you on a classic Mandalay rickshaw to explore the best snacks that Mandalay has to offer. From the famous morning noodle dish mohinga, to Myanmar pancake, samosa, Mandalay salad, Shan noodles and numerous sweet snacks that will leave you with a firm understanding of why Myanmar people walk around with a smile on their face all day. Our resident food enthusiasts will explain the details and some of the secrets behind this delicious food. Then head for a light meal at Daung Lann Gyi, a great local place to try a ‘daung lan’ meal (round tray, lots of small dishes and ideal as it is not too heavy after all of the morning eating!) then transfer back to your hotel for a short rest. Around 14.30, we’ll hop on the bikes for a warm up ride. Just outside of the city center lies miles of rice paddies and farms. We’ll bike around 6 miles, getting a chance to test out our bikes but also to learn about local lifestyles in the countryside.  Then you will transfer by car to a nearby monastery where the monks teach free English classes to neighborhood residents. After the visit return to your hotel. [B/L]
Day 3:  Mandalay (Sagaing)
Today you will meet with your guide around 08.00 and ride out of the city. There are many ships moored here; all kinds of shapes and sizes and both old & new. You’ll have a chance to visit Mingun’s famous sites on foot before heading to Sagaing. Sagaing is the national center for Buddhism in Myanmar and home to hundreds of monasteries, nunneries and meditation center. A short but quite steep climb will be rewarded by a panoramic view and lunch will follow shortly after. Then lunch will be at local restaurant. In the afternoon we will explore the ancient capital of Ava set amid banana plantations before heading to Amarapura and the famous U Bein Bridge. Along the way we stop in the little-known hometown of the Mayor U Bein after whom the bridge is named and learn about a Muslim community that has lived here for the last two hundred years or so. We explore the shady paths through the ancient capital of Ava and finish our ride at U Bein Bridge. The bridge spans 1.2km and was reportedly built by Mayor U Bein from salvaged teak wood that was left behind in the move of the Royal Capital from Amarapura to Mandalay in 1859. After enjoying the sunset from a boat on Taungthaman lake you will drive back to Mandalay for dinner. [B/L/D]
Day 4:  Mandalay
Free day to explore Mandalay on your own. [B]
Bagan is to Myanmar what Angkor Wat is to Cambodia, Giza is to Egypt, Tikal is to Guatemala, Chichen Itza is to Mexico - a testament to a time when their cultures were THE cultures, and others looked on in awe. Founded by King Anawrahtain in 1044 AD during the Bagan Dynasty, the Archaeological Zone is home to over 3,000 ancient pagodas and temples within 50 sq. miles. The unequivocal and absolute faith of Burmese to Buddhism is most apparent in Bagan, and those who visit cannot help being swept under the magic and holistic experience due to the sheer number of temples. Inner peace seems to embody all who live here.
Day 5:  Mandalay, Bagan
After breakfast at hotel, at about 5 am transfer to the jetty for cruise check in. Lunch will be served onboard. Upon arrival in Bagan in the early evening, you will be transferred to your hotel. [B/L]
Day 6:  Bagan
Depart from hotel at about 8am, transfer by car, the first visit today will be the interesting market at Nyaung Oo where you will see the variety of fresh produce for sale and gain an insight into the bustling market atmosphere in Bagan. Your next stop will be the well-preserved Shwezigone Pagoda. Commenced by Anawrahta in the 12th century but completed by his son, King Kyansittha, it is a prototype for many later Myanmar pagodas. Its distinctive gilded zedi dominates the small town of Nyaung-U. This impressive pagoda contains 4 shrines at the cardinal points, each housing a 13ft high bronze standing Buddha, the largest surviving examples in Bagan. Proceed to amazing Ananda Temple which is one of the four main temples remaining in Bagan. Ananda temple is considered to be one of the most surviving masterpieces of the Mon architecture. Also known as the finest, largest, best preserved and most revered of the Bagan temples. Finish the day joining the Bagan Sunset Bike tour (Join in). The tour will start at the bicycle shop in New Bagan for a bike and helmet fitting. First visit small villages set amid the arid landscapes. Life here moves at a slower pace and you are more likely to encounter a cow or pig on the road than another vehicle. Depending on the time of year we may see ox-carts piled high with chilies or garlic being brought in from the fields or groups of school kids flying kites on their days off. This is true life in the dry zone. Turning in to the temple zone, pagodas replace people as the backdrop. Using the network of small tracks and trails, wind through the plains. This section of Bagan is difficult to reach by car and rarely visited by tourists. Although the monuments are not as well-renowned, the route exposes the grand scale of Bagan and sheer number of pagodas. [B]
Note: Should wear clothing suitable for this activity: quarter length pants, shorts, t-shirts are all advisable (shoulders must be covered at the temples), as are comfortable closed shoes to prevent scratches from briars. Long sleeves or a light jacket is recommended for the sunset.
Day 7:  Bagan
Free day to explore Bagan on your own. [B]
Day 8:  Bagan, Heho, Kalaw, Pindaya   
This morning (At about 8 am) you will be transferred to Bagan airport in order to connect with your onward flight to Heho. (Estimate departure and arrival time of the flight: 09.20 am –10.05 am). Upon arrival at Heho airport, drive directly to Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave Pagoda at Pindaya, passing through some of the most fertile and lush scenery in Myanmar along the way. Home to farming communities that have worked the land for centuries, it is not uncommon to see buffalo-drawn carts and groups of famers wearing the traditional dress of the region. Of all the caves temples in Shan State, those at Pindaya are the most impressive and there are more than 8000 statues of Buddha adorning the many caves in various shapes and sizes and ranging from centuries-old to almost new. This afternoon there will be the opportunity to stop at a local workshop and witness Shan paper and umbrella making. Check in at your hotel for overnight. [B]
Day 9:   Pindaya, Yasakyi Village (5 hours trekking) 
Early morning, walk to the market and buy all the provision for your forthcoming 2 days trek. This morning, enjoy a walk through the hills, 1 hour, to Htut Ni, village of the Danu tribe. You will pass through the faming where the Danu cultivates cheroot, tea, damsons and mangoes on the hillsides. The track crosses the valley floor before climbing very steeply again to another Danu village of See Kya Inn stop for simple lunch. Continue to walk about 2 hours to Yasakyi. In the afternoon, observe tribal village life and how the Palaung people dry cheroot in a specially designed oven. Simple dinner and accommodation at Yasakyi Monastery. [B/L/D]
Day 10:   Yasakyi Village, Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake (3-4 hours trekking)
Simple breakfast. This morning, enjoy continue walking through the hills, 40 minutes to the village of Danu tribe. The Danu cultivate peanut, corn, potatoes on the hillside. After 40 minutes arrive at Danu village of Lin Lay Inn and continue to Taung Paw Gyi, 1 hours and 30 minutes by trekking through up and down hills. The path leads through villages, producing Shan Tea in the traditional way. You will see the drying of the tealeaves and pass through the tea plantations. From Taung Paw Gyi descending to Pindaya through the Banyan Trees. This afternoon, drive to the Nyaung Shwe. A brief visit to Shwe Yaung Pyae Kyaung Monastery, which is famed for its unique oval windows, transfer to your private boat and venture onto the lake. The rest of the day is at leisure. [B]
Day 11:   Inle Lake      
Our kayaks are stored in a beautiful old teak house built in traditional Intha style in the village of Nampan, at the southern end of the lake. This is also the place where lunch will be served after the tour. The long-tail boats should bring the guests to this house first, so that the guests can change their clothes into something they don’t mind getting wet, and they can also leave any bags here. Meanwhile we will have already moved our kayaks to the start point of the tour ready for the arrival of your long-tail boats and guests. In this way they can avoid doing any paddling in the busy area of the lake near Nampan and Inle Heritage. Instead they will transfer from the long-tail boat to the kayak (two people per kayak) near the quiet village of Inn Paw Khone and then start paddling gently south, away from the noisy tourist boats and into the peace and tranquility of stilt villages and floating tomato gardens, all against a backdrop of the beautiful Shan Mountains. Every now and then we will stop, perhaps to visit a house or to walk in a village to learn more about their lifestyle and maybe see some traditional food production methods. Overall the tour will take about two hours, including stops and rest time. If a guest starts to feel tired they may simply stop at any time and return to the long-tail boat that will accompany us. At the end of the kayaking section, everyone will return to their long-tail boat and be taken back to Nampan. This afternoon, visit to the five-ancient-gold-covered Buddha images at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest monastery on the lake.  Continue sightseeing with a visit to the temple at Nga Hpe Kyaung on the eastern side of the lake, which houses an impressive collection of ancient Buddha images. There will also be the opportunity to visit a floating garden and it goes without saying any visit to the lake would not be complete without witnessing the unique technique of leg rowing which is so synonymous with Intha fisherman. The rest of the day is at leisure. [B]
Day 12:   Inle Lake (Indein)
At about 06:45 (transfer by boat), the local 5-Day Market rotates between towns in the Inle Lake region. The market is a great place to observe local life with many of the ethnic minorities attending to buy and sell their goods. After exploring the market and perhaps buying the odd local handicraft or two, it is time to continue to the ruined stupas and temples at the lake-side village of Indein. A covered walkway leads to the main Shwe Inn Thein Paya, from where (weather permitting) there are great views across the lake. The day will end with a tranquil canoe ride to witness life in one of the floating villages that are scattered throughout the lake. [B]
Note: The schedule for the 5-day market rotation is not available until nearer the time. If necessary, the order of sightseeing will be changed in order to coincide with a market day. On some occasions there may not be a market at all and in this case the guide will make alternative sightseeing plans for the morning in question.
Day 13:  Inle Lake, Heho, Yangon
Morning will be leisure and then at about 08:50am, transfer to Heho airport for your flight to Yangon. (Estimate departure and arrival time of the flight: 10.30am – 11.40am). A ride on the slow-moving Yangon Circular Railway presents a fantastic opportunity to observe commuter life in Myanmar’s largest city. Departing from Insein Train Station, there are over 30 stops in total and the railway serves the greater metropolitan area. You will take it as far as Insein which is located north of the city proper. Here, disembark at Yangon Central train station and walk to Bogyoke Aung San market. ( 15 mins). Explore Bogyoke Aung San Market, still commonly known by its old British name of Scott Market. Undoubtedly offering the largest selection of handicrafts in Myanmar, the market is a great place to discover a bargain and have fun haggling with the local traders. Continue visit to Pansodan street, where the most impressive colonial buildings can be seen. [B]
Day 14:  Yangon
Yangon presents an excellent setting to immerse in local traits and feel a connection to the welcoming and caring people of its community. On this fascinating walking tour through its lesser known side streets of the Bahan neighborhood with our guide, we experience the city like a local. And the first introduction to this place; is how to hail a taxi Myanmar style. We start about 7 am with a steaming bowl of mohingar noodles, the traditional Myanmar breakfast. We then we head to a flower vendor in lively Bahan market to prepare a donation in Shwedagon pagoda on our name-day. After a walk around and finding out more about the golden stupa, we continue our walk to Kandawgyi park for a photo stop before then visiting Bogyoke Aung San museum – the former home of Aung San Suu Syi. At the house we learn more about her father, a charismatic leader who paved the road to independence, and is still revered by Burmese to this day. Our journey then continues along a small road to the sitting Buddha featuring intricate teak carvings, and then to the reclining Buddha. On the way to our final destination, Pearl Condo, there is the opportunity to stop in an art gallery and chat with the owner about his current collection. Before finishing the walking tour, we enjoy lunch in typical Burmese noodle shop and then relax with some local style pampering; a 45-minute shampoo with head and neck massage. After that take a taxi to your hotel. [B]
Day 15:  Yangon, USA
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to the USA. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and dinner






Tour includes
  • Domestic flights in economy class
  • Private transfers
  • 14 nights’ accommodation
    • Mandalay 4 nights
    • Bagan 3 nights
    • Pindaya 1 night
    • Yasakiy Village 1 night
    • Inle Lake 3 nights
    • Yangon 2 nights
  • Meals:
    • Breakfast daily
    • 4 Lunches
    • 2 Dinners
  • Sightseeing:
    • Mahamuni Pagoda
    • Kuthodaw Pagoda
    • Mandalay Hill
    • Mandalay rickshaw ride
    • Monastery
    • Mingun
    • Boat ride on Taungthaman lake
    • Nyaung Oo Market
    • Shwezigone Pagoda
    • Ananda Temple
    • Bagan Sunset Bike tour
    • Shwe Yan Pyae Kyaung Monastery
    • Private boat for lake trip
    • Morning kayaking
    • Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
    • Nga Hpe Kyaung
    • Floating garden
    • 5-Day Market
    • Shwe Inn Thein Paya
    • Canoe ride
    • Circular train
    • Hla Day souvenir shopping
  • Entrance fees to places visited
  • Private A/C vehicles for transfers and touring
  • Service of a different English-speaking station Guide in each destination (except on free days)
  • Bottle water and cool towel provided on transfers and sightseeing
  • VAT Government tax and services charge
Not included in tour
  • International or Domestic airfares
  • Any taxes and surcharges relating to airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Entry Visa and visa fees
  • Wi-Fi at hotels except as indicated
  • All alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks except as indicated
  • Other meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Extras and gratuities
  • Early check-in, late check-out (Most hotels begin check-in around 2:00pm).
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Porterage at airport and hotels
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Any service not specifically listed under "included

Hotels in your Tour

Category Hotel Name Room Type Tripadvisor
First Class
Mandalay Hotel Mandalay Deluxe 4.5
Bagan Bagan Hotel River View Deluxe RV 4
Pindaya Global Grace Pindaya** Deluxe 3.5
Yasakyi Village Monastery Basic accommodation n/a
Inle Lake Inle Garden Villa 4
Yangon Best Western Green Hill Deluxe 4
Mandalay Hilton Mandalay Deluxe 4
Bagan Hotel @ Tharabar Gate Deluxe 4.5
Pindaya Pindaya Inle Inn Bamboo Hut 4
Yasakyi Monastery Basic Accommodation n/a
Inle Lake Pristine Lotus Floating Cottage 4.5
Yangon Pan Pacific Deluxe 4.5

Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking

Tour Pricing

Season 2-3 Pax 4-5 Pax 6-9 Pax Single Suppl.
First Class
Junuary - September '20 $1,829 $1,719 $1,565 $699
Junuary - September '20 $2,345 $2,235 $2,079 $1,215
Courier Guide Supplement $945  
Prices are per person (except Courier Guide that is per party) and may change without notice
Courier Guide cost applies to both First Class and Deluxe options
Tour Code: MM02MDL20TE