Essential Myanmar

Highlights: Yangon – Bagan – RV Paukan Cruise – Mandalay – Inle Lake - Yangon Other departures: Manchester - £2845, Birmingham - £2789, Glasgow - £2805, Edinburgh - £2805, Newcastle - £2789, Aberdeen - £2964, Leeds Bradford - £2729 Hotels:
Yangon - Sule Shangri-La Yangon or similar 4* (Superior Room)
Bagan- The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate or similar 4* (Deluxe Room)
Mandalay - Mandalay Hill Resort or similar 4* (Superior Room)
Inle Lake - Amata Garden Resort or similar 4*(Deluxe Room) Itinerary: Day 1: Arrival - Yangon
- Mingalabar and welcome to Myanmar! The former capital Yangon, also known as Rangoon, remains Myanmar largest city and continues to be the country's most important commercial hub and gateway for most of its international visitors. 
- Its colonial background and religious legacy make it one of the most mesmerizing and genuine places in all of Southeast Asia.
- Upon arrival at the airport you will be warmly welcomed and accompanied to your hotel for check in (check in possible from 2 pm. Subject to availability).
- No Myanmar expedition can be considered truly great if it’s lacking a visit to the legendary Shwedagon Pagoda. The visual delights present there alone, are worth the trip. - Witness the colors transform on the 100-meter chedi which is literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaf. 
- You will start at the eastern staircase where you will find a row of shops at the base of the temple selling various religious items.
- Here you will find monks robes, alms bowls, offerings, incense and other unique Buddhist objects.
- As your browse the stalls your guide will explain the use and rituals of Myanmar’s Buddhist people. Shwedagon is largely considered to be the most important religious site for the Burmese; most visitors report that the trip is extremely memorable and still etched into their minds.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight in Yangon. Day 2: Yangon - Bagan
- Transfer to Yangon domestic airport with guide for flight to Bagan.
- Welcome to Bagan, known to be one of the greatest architectural sites in Asia.
- When Bagan was the centre of Myanmar from the 11th to 13th centuries the monarchs built multitudes of massive stupas and pagodas, scores of which are still present on the shores of the Irrawaddy River.
- The majesty of Bagan with more than 2000 red brick temples on a plain of the size of Manhattan Island is one of the highlights of a Myanmar holiday that will soothe the eye of every traveller.
- Discover the best of Bagan today! Not simply a chance to see the splendid Bagan temples, this excursion also introduces you to the Burmese culture and allows you to see traditional craftsmen at work.
- Your first port of call is an elevated location amid the temple plains to see the fields and pagodas of Bagan.
- From here you will have a look around the Ananda Temple – one of the most exalted of Bagan’s temples. 
- We will ensure that our tour reaches this point before the majority of tourist arrive, enabling you to enjoy the splendour of the temple in relative tranquillity.
- Continue to various other temples dotted around the temple plains to experience a variety of architectural styles in the area as well as the artistic wonder of the 9-14th centuries.
- Traveling amid the temples you will get a taste of rural Bagan life in this ‘living museum’ setting where farmers and families work amongst the monuments.
- At the end of the day, head to an elevated location amid the temple plains to watch the sunset over the fields and pagodas of Bagan.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight in Bagan. Meals: Breakfast Day 3: Bagan
Option: Hot Air Balloon Ride over Bagan
The morning will start off with an exciting hot-air balloon ride above the Bagan countryside. You will observe one-of-a-kind views when the sun begins to rise over the Irrawaddy River and various stupas in the region. You’re simply not going to find many other opportunities like this on Earth. (Only available from October/November through March)
- It’s off to the vibrant Nyaung Oo Market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily.
- From here you will start with a visit of the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda, constructed by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious memorial.
- Travel over dusty lanes and tree shaded roads past temples and monasteries to temples and monasteries to a small village.
- Explore the village on foot, getting a glimpse of local lifestyles of Bagan’s residents.
- Continue to more lesser-known monuments, selected based on your interest, in the area for the remainder of the morning.
- If you wish, a short walk can be arranged through a series of smaller monuments which allows for a unique perspective of Bagan.
- Pay a visit to a traditional lacquer workshop. Here you can watch the manufacture of one of Myanmar’s most popular handicrafts.
- Afterwards you’ll continue to Ananda Temple, which is considered to be an architectural work of art and is certainly one of Bagan’s most gorgeous temples. Constructed in an earlier “Mon” style, Ananda houses two distinctive Buddha images.
- Their expressions also appear to transform, according to the space from which the statue is seen.
- From here you will journey on by horse cart for an excursion that passes Thatbyinnyu, the tallest temple in Bagan and the gigantic Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork, among others.
- Take pleasure in an extraordinary sunset from an elevated location amid the temple plains to see the sun’s last light cast its colours over the fields and pagodas of Bagan.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight in Bagan. Meals: Breakfast Day 4: Embark Cruise in Bagan
- After breakfast, transfer to Jetty with guide for join the RV Paukan cruise.
- The embarkation time is at 11:00 am at Ayeyarjetty.
- Sip a refreshing cocktail in the Saloon as the boat casts off at around 11:30 am.
- Lunch will be served at 13:00.
- Cruise upstream Irrawaddy River.
- In the late afternoon, a stop is made in a typical river village and take a short excursion around.
- Lunch and dinner onboard.
- Overnight stay onboard RV Paukan. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 5: Yandabo Village
- Early in the morning cruise upstream with a stop en route to visit Yandabo, a typical river village specializing in pot-making, where the peace treaty of the First Anglo-Burmese war was signed on Feb. 24, 1826.
- Then cruise all day on one of the greatest rivers on earth.
- You can enjoy the natural beauty of the river and the life of its banks while relaxing on the sundeck or just sitting outside their own cabin.
- Moor overnight near the village of Ywa Thit Gyi or Pauk Myaing Pauk Taw, a few miles away from Ava Bridge.
- Lunch and dinner onboard.
- Overnight stay onboard RV Paukan. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Day 6: Disembark Cruise in Mandalay
- Awaken in the morning to witness the villages coming to life as the boat casts off for the cruise down to Mandalay.
- Enjoy the sunrise near Mandalay and disembark at Sagaing Jetty (Thursday only) or Gawein Jetty (Sundays only) around 09:30/10:00 a.m.
- Welcome to Mandalay! Mandalay, the second largest city of Myanmar and one of the ancient royal capitals is often perceived and described in literature as Asia at its most traditional, timeless and alluring but those who go meet a booming and vibrant city located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River.
- However, despite the energy and thriving business it's where the cultural heart of Myanmar lies and tradition of music, dance and drama are still alive.
- Visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda houses one of the country’s most honored Buddha images, completely covered in gold leaves that are every day applied to the statue by male devotees. Proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed as “The World’s Biggest Book” for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings.
- Directly south of Mandalay Hill stands the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, known as the pagoda of the Great Marble Image.
- Admire the huge Buddha, carved from a single block of marble.
- It’s said that the colossal marble block took 10,000 men almost two weeks to transport it from the riverside to its current location. Then it’s off to the Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery which is the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century.
- This impressive structure is celebrated for its remarkable woodcarvings.
- Late in the afternoon, go to the top of Mandalay Hill overlooking the city at 240 meters high that offers a wonderful panoramic view of the surroundings.
- From here you will be able to admire a beautiful sunset over the city, the Irrawaddy River and the rural surroundings of Mandalay.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight in Mandalay. Meals: Breakfast Day 7: Sagaing – Ava – Amarapura
- The day will begin with an expedition to investigate the previous capitals of Amarapura, Ava and Sagaing.
- Cross the bridge over the Irrawaddy River in to Sagaing. With 600 ivory colored pagodas and monasteries, Sagaing Hill is generally seen as the spiritual hub of Myanmar and claims residence to around 3,000 monks and nearly 100 meditation shrines.
- You’ll visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, U Min Thone Sae and Shwe Taung Oo Maw. Continue to Sagaings local market, a less visited tourist site. We’ll head over to a small pottery village which is recognized for manufacturing ubiquitous water pots to observe the tradesmen here applying their traditional methods for producing their goods.
- Next it’s on to Ava which was the standing capital from the 14th through the 18th centuries.
- Cross the small river by ferry and travel in a traditional horse and carriage to the wooden Bagaya Monastery renowned for its extraordinarily elaborate woodcarvings.
- Be sure to check out the Nanmyint Watch Tower - also called “the leaning tower of Ava“ - which is what’s left from the remnants of the ancient palace and Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery.
- The afternoon’s activities will kick off with a visit to Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital.
- Amarapura means “City of Immortality”, though its period as capital was relatively brief.
- First you’ll stop at a silk weaving workshop known for their exquisite merchandise.
- Continue to Mahagandayon monastery, home to more than a thousand young monks and renowned as a centre for monastic study and strict religious discipline. Once the sun starts to set, you’ll want to stroll along the legendary U Bein Bridge, which was built in 1782 when Amarapura was the Royal center of attention.
- It spans 1.2 km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake and is said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide.
- Enjoy this very special atmosphere as the late afternoon sun casts long shadows and illuminates the local people heading home.
- As a stunning day comes to an end head back to Mandalay for the night.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight in Mandalay. Meals: Breakfast Day 8: Mandalay – Heho – Inle Lake
- Transfer to Mandalay airport with guide for flight to Heho.
- From Heho you will experience a lovely scenic one-hour drive (32km – 1 hour) which leads to Nyaung Shwe, gateway village to Inle Lake.
- Along the way, you will have an opportunity to visit rural workshops that specialize in traditional Shan paper and unique handcrafted umbrellas.
- Also, be sure to stop in at the teak monastery of Shweyanpyay to witness the intricate wood carving artwork and craftsmanship of the monks there.
- Reach the jetty and board on boats with outboard motors to (4-5 people per boat) and go over the 900 m above the sea level lying freshwater. You will enjoy its calm waters dotted with vegetation and see fishing canoes.
- As well as the surrounding mountains form the perfect backdrop for beautiful photos.
- Have you ever seen floating gardens or entire villages on stilts? Or can you believe that fisherman can row on only one leg? The Inle Lake leaves an unbelievable impression.
- Although located adjacent to Inle Lake, few travellers take the time to visit this charming Shan town. The town is at its busiest in the early morning and you’ll get a true taste for local lifestyle with this excursion.
- Start with a visit to the Nyaung Shwe morning market where locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.
- Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as b oats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to the markets around the country.
- Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes.
- Hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets.
- Make a stop at the ‘tomato house’, a warehouse-like structure where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale.
- Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos as you go.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight at Inle Lake. Meals: Breakfast Day 9: Excursion To Indein Village
- After breakfast you’ll pay a visit to the lake’s morning market (the market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days).
- The market’s location rotates between the lake’s villages in a 5 day schedule and is also visited daily by the lake’s inhabitants as well as the surrounding natives who also come to sell and trade their wares.
- A 1-hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein, positioned on the western shores of Inle Lake. Take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending to the top of a hill.
- Once you’ve arrived at the summit, you will be greeted buy an iconic Buddha image which sits enshrined among hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery.
- Here, from the peak, you will also be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the placid surroundings.
- The Indein Pagoda complex is undoubtedly one of the most amazing sites around the shore of the lake and it consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery.
- On your boat ride back, should time allow, you'll stop at the Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake's indigenous people and enjoy a delicious coffee and cake (snack break not included).
- As an exciting day comes to close transfer back to your hotel for some well-deserved relaxation.
- Lunch and dinner on own account.
- Overnight at Inle Lake. Meals: Breakfast Day 10: Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon
- Enjoy your last boat ride from your hotel on the lake to Nyaung Shwe.
- From Nyaung Shwe you’ll be transferred Heho Airport (1 hour) for your domestic flight to Yangon.
- You’ll be taken downtown and start your tour on Mahanbandola Road where the Immanuel Baptist Church, originally built in 1830, is located.
- Continue east passing a couple of alleyways crammed with food stalls and markets.
- Turn right onto Pansodan Street with its many stalls selling second-hand and photocopied books.
- You’ll pass the High Court Building, the grand Inland Water Transport offices and even grander Myanma Port Authority building until you’ll reach Strand Road. Your next stop will be outside of the majestic Strand Hotel and walk along Strand Road until you’ll see the Customs House and the Law Court, an impressive-looking colonnaded building.
- Turn north onto boisterous Bank Street and up onto Sule Pagoda Road, where you can consult one of the many fortune tellers who hang out under the trees. Be sure to make a photo stop at Sule Pagoda, downtown’s symbol whose construction dates back to over 2,000 years ago and have a glimpse of Independence Monument and Mahabandoola Garden.
- After a complete rotation seeing the twice rebuilt City Hall continue west down Mahanbandoola Road through the chaotic Indian and Chinese quarters.
- Explore the gold shops of Shwe Bontha Street and have a look from outside at the Moseh Yeshua Synagogue on 26th street. You’ll reach Theingyi Zei market, where you can engage in a little pickled-snake hunting.
- Exit onto Anawratha Road until you reach into the Sri Kali temple, Yangon’s most colourful Hindu temples.
- This evening you will be taken to Le Planteur, Yangon’s landmark restaurant, for an outstanding dinner. Located in a lush tropical garden close to Inya Lake, the gourmet restaurant, bistro and wine bar assure that Le Planteur satisfies the needs of every customer at the highest level.
- The owner, Boris Granges, saw an opportunity to put his years of international experience fine dining and create Myanmar’s first fine-dining experience. Established in 1998, he founded the high end restaurant Le Planteur and it continues to gain accolades for its delicious cuisine, served in a warm, welcoming environment.
- Lunch on own account.
- Farewell dinner at Le Planteur restaurant.
- Overnight in Yangon. Meals: Breakfast & Dinner Day 11: Yangon Departure:
- Unfortunately, it is already time to say goodbye to one of the most impressive and enchanting country in the world. - Transfer to Yangon International Airport, check-in for flight back.

Offer Includes

Flights from London Heathrow with Thai Airways International
Airport taxes
10 nights accommodation as per itinerary
Activities and sightseeing as mentioned in the program
Local English speaking station guides
Entrance fees for visits mentioned in the program
Horse cart in Ava/Bagan
Private motorized boat on Inle Lake
Farewell dinner at Le Planteur

Meal Plans

  • As per Itinerary