Discovering Burma

Explore colonial Yangon, holy Golden Rock, ancient pagodas of Bagan and former capitals around Mandalay, enjoy tranquility of picturesque Inle Lake and Ngapali beach

Tour length: 14 days / 13 nights
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Highlights of this itinerary

  • Visit the splendid Shwedagon Pagoda, 2500-year-old most revered temple in Myanmar
  • Enjoy the magical sunrise over the Golden Rock balanced of the edge of the cliff
  • Admire the spectacular temples of Bagan constructed between 11th and 13th centuries
  • Observe leg-rowing fishermen of Intha tribe on the waters of picturesque Inle Lake
  • Explore the ancient capitals around Mandalay and the world’s oldest teakwood bridge
  • Enjoy tranquility of unspoiled Ngapali beach with its white sands and crystal-clear water

Day 1: Yangon (-/-/-)

Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, enjoy a private tour and drive through downtown to explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architecture and culture. The streets are filled with historical buildings, many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia. Visit Mahabondoola Garden and the famousChaukhtatgyi Temple, home to a 70-meter long reclining Buddha whose feet are carved with traditional symbols, and observe the locals praying and paying homage. Then enjoy the scenic Kandawgyi Royal Lake and take photos by the stunning floating Karaweik Royal Barge. End the day by observing local pilgrims and monks offering devotions at dusk and enjoy the magnificent sunset view at Shwedagon Pagoda. Overnight in Yangon. 

Day 2: Yangon – Golden Rock (B/-/-)

Depart Yangon early in the morning and enjoy a 5 hour-long scenic journey by road to Kyaikhtiyo or the Golden Rock.  Then take an open-air track to the top of the mountain where you will be dropped off just a short walk from the Golden Rock. One of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Myanmar, the Golden Rock is said to be held in place by a single strand of Buddha’s hair and has been completely covered in gold leaves by worshippers. Overnight at Golden Rock.

Day 3: Golden Rock - Bago - Yangon (B/-/-)

In the early morning you might choose to visit the Golden Rock again for a magical sunrise over the holy rock. Local pilgrims climb to the rock from the nearby town of Kyaiktiyo, which can take a few hours and gather by the rock to make offerings in the solitude of the morning. Travel back to the base camp by the same route in an open-air hill truck. Then drive to Bago, the former capital of the Mon kingdom. Start exploring the city with a visit to the local bustling market and observe locals trading their produce and goods. Then visit Shwethalyaung Temple, house to a superb 55-meter long reclining Buddha, and to the Mon-style Shwemawdaw Pagoda whose 114 meter spire, that is covered by 1.5 tones of gold leaf, is taller than even Shwedagon Pagoda. On the way back to Yangon, visit the Allied War Cemetery near Htaukkyan, which is which is the final resting place for over 25,000 Allied soldiers. Overnight in Yangon. 

Day 4: Yangon – Bagan (B/-/-)

Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Bagan. Visit a busy local market to gain an insight into the bustling local atmosphere in Bagan. Spend the day by exploring the architectural masterpieces of this ancient town and by visiting a diverse selection of the most important pagodas and temples. Visit Shwezigon Pagoda which is built a thousand years ago by King Anawratha as a religious shrine. Then visit the famous Ananda Temple, an architectural masterpiece and Bagan’s most outstanding temple. Visit another historical pagoda, Htilominlo Pagoda before transfer to the hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, visit Lacquerware workshop to get to learn more about the techniques of creating artistic lacquer items perfected and passed down through generations. Then visit Manuha Temple and transfer to Shwesandaw Pagoda for a marvelous sunset view. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset and a panoramic view from the top of the pagoda over the magnificent plains of Bagan. Overnight in Bagan.

Day 5: Bagan (B/-/-)

Optional activity (available from 1 October to 31 March): Drift over thousands of pagodas in the ancient city of Bagan for a truly unique sunrise hot air ballooning experience. The experience begins with a 5AM pick up from your hotel and transfer to a departure point. While sipping coffee/tea and having a croissant, observe how the crew inflates the giant balloons. Enjoy a magical 45-minute ride over one of the world’s most highly acclaimed ballooning spots. Upon landing, you will be served with sparkling wine and fresh fruits before a transfer back to your hotel at 8.30AM for breakfast.

After breakfast, visit villages around Bagan to explore the real way of life for most Burmese people. Walk around villages and learn more about local customs and culture and observe the villagers in their daily routine. Then proceed with a visit to the famous Damayazika and Damayangyi Pagodas. In the afternoon, take a horse cart ride among the ancient temples and pagodas and explore areas where cars are unable to enter. Wrap up the day with a transfer to the jetty for a sunset cruise along Irrawaddy river on a wooden private boat. Overnight in Bagan

Day 6: Bagan - Mandalay (B/-/-)

Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Mandalay. Begin your sightseeing tour of Mandalay with a visit to Amarapura and walk along U Bein Bridge, the longest and oldest teak wood bridge in the world. The 200 year-old bridge rests on over a thousand wooden piles which stand above 6 m high of the waterline in the dry season, but are almost completely submerged during the monsoons. Then visit Mahagandayon Monastery to observe hundreds of barefoot monks collecting alms and having their last daily meal at 11AM.  Then transfer to the hotel for a check-in. In the afternoon, visit Mahamuni Temple, home to the country’s most reverted Buddha image, covered daily by worshippers with multiple layers of gold leaves. Then visit Shwenandaw Monastery, the sole remnant of 19th century Golden Palace and Kuthodaw Pagoda, known as the World’s Biggest Book due to its 729 text-inscribed marble slabs of Buddhist scripture, each housed in its own small stupa. Wrap the day with a magnificent panoramic view over of the city from the top of Mandalay Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.

Day 7: Mandalay (Mingun –Ava – Sagaing) (B/-/-)

Optional add-on activity (available from 1 November to 15 March): Experience a balloon flight over Mandalay. Drift over the historical city and witness barefoot monks collecting alms, bustling morning markets, boats on the Irrawaddy river and U Bein Bridge in Amarapura. As your hot-air balloon ascents above Mandalay Hill, the first site to welcome you is 729 white marble slab pagodas housing the world’s biggest book. 

After breakfast transfer to a jetty and board a private boat to Mingun. After 45 minute long journey along Irrawaddy river, climb a monumental uncompleted Mingun Temple, commissioned in 1790 to house a tooth of the Buddha. Then visit Mingun Bell the largest bronze bell in the world which weights over 90 tons and Hsinbyume Pagoda, a whitewashed temple built to resemble Mount Meru. In the afternoon, transfer to Ava, the capital from 14th to 18th centuries. After a short ferry ride across a river, take a ride around ancient Ava by a horse cart and visit the impressive old teak wood Bagaya Monastery and the ruins of the Fort and Royal Palace. Then drive to Sagaing, another former capital dotted with hundreds of white-painted pagodas and monasteries and home to 3000 monks. Visit the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda roofed by a huge golden dome and enjoy a stunning sunset view from the Sagaing Hill. Overnight in Mandalay.

Day 8: Mandalay – Inle Lake (B/-/-)

Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Inle Lake (Heho). Drive to Nyaung Shwe, a vibrant town which is a gateway to Inle Lake.  From there take a full-day tour by private boat to explore the marvelous Inle Lake. Along the way observe leg-rowing fishermen, villages ofIntha tribe built on stilts on the lake and floating gardens built up from up from the strips of water hyacinth anchored to the bottom with bamboo pools. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Explore numerous local crafts by visiting a weaving village, a local blacksmith and a cheroot factory. Visit Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, also called jumping cat monastery with unique Buddha status. Overnight in Inle Lake.

Day 9: Inle Lake (B/-/-)

Begin your day with a visit to the lake’s morning market, which rotates its location around lake’s villages every five days. You will encounter hill tribes people dressed in colorful, traditional outfits who come to sell and trade their wares. Then continue sightseeing in Inle Lake, maneuvering by boat through long, scenic channels. You will visit the fascinating village of Indein, with its complex ancient shrines and stupas and climb colonnades of stairways filled with numerous shop stalls to the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Indein hills and the Inle Lake. Then proceed to Bamboo Delight Cooking class to learn how to prepare Burmese cuisines and enjoy your cooked dishes for dinner. Overnight in Inle Lake. 

Day 10: Inle Lake – Ngapali Beach (B/-/-)

Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Ngapali Beach. Spend the day at leisure at the beach. With its turquoise water, white sand and backdrop of gently inclined coconut palm trees, this unspoiled stretch of coast is one of the country’s most stunning beaches. The crystal-clear waters make it a perfect place for snorkeling and there are a few small islands that can be reached by private boats. Overnight in Ngapali.


Day 11: Ngapali Beach (B/-/-)

Enjoy three full days in Ngapali. There are quite a few options for snorkelingboat rides and bike rides. Overnight in Ngapali.

Optional activity: Boat excursion. A boatman will pick you up at the beach where you begin the tour with a cruise along the coast then through the narrow pass between the Jade Taw peninsula and Pearl Island where you stop to snorkel. While cruising along the Jade Taw Bay and past the fishing boats which float still in the bay, you get to experience a very beautiful and calming scenery. Depending on your preference, you an stop at some fishing hot spots, where you can try your luck for a Tuna, Barracuda, Mackerel or more…

Optional activity: Trekking. Take your shoes and let’s explore the nature by trekking. Unknown animal sounds and different types of flora are waiting for you in Ngapali. 

Day 12: Ngapali Beach (B/-/-)

Spend the day at leisure at the beach or visit nearby fishing villages. Overnight in Ngapali.

Optional activity: Jade Taw Fishing Village Morning Tour. After a short drive, reach the fishing village of Jade Taw just on time to see the fishing boats coming back after a long night out. Take a short stroll along the beach, passing the straw mats which are used to dry the smaller fish, a local delicacy exported all over Myanmar. The tour offers great photo opportunities and great impressions of the local life at Ngapali Beach.

Optional activity: Elephant trip. Take the chance to experience and interact with elephants at the elephant camp which is well looked after by the caring owner Aung Aung. After 2 hours drive through the beautiful Rhakine countryside, you will see the elephants in its natural habitat. Explore the amazing fauna and flora during a ride in their back and if you like, you can also shower and feed them.

Day 13: Ngapali Beach - Yangon (B/-/-)

Relax at the beach before departing to the airport for an afternoon flight to Yangon. Overnight in Yangon.

Optional activity: Visit Thandwe Market. The drive takes around 30 minutes through a beautiful countryside, small rice fields and traditional villages. Once in Thandwe Market, the bustling centre of the region, you will find anything from fresh meat, fish, seafood and vegetables to stationary and clothing. 

Day 14: Yangon (B/-/-)

After breakfast, enjoy a drive through the city and observe the influences of other cultures in the region. Intersperse in the tour are various religious sites such as the St Mary's Cathedral, built in 1899, and the Buddhist landmarks of Sule Paya and over 100 year old beautifulRangoon Synagogue. In there you will have the opportunity to meet with Trustee of the Synagogue to learn the Jewish history in the Pagoda Land.  Then enjoy a visit to sprawling 75-year-old Scott Market. At the market you will find a whole variety of interesting Burmese souvenirs, from lacquerware to gems & jewelry – bargain at the stores to fully experience the Burmese market atmosphere! Then transfer to airport for the international flight departure.

Our Services Include:

  • 13 nights’ accommodation in a shared double room basis with daily breakfast
  • 5 domestic flights by private airlines including passenger service charge 
  • Meals as mentioned (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • English speaking station guides – different guide in each destination except for Ngapali Beach
  • All transfers and excursions with private air-conditioned vehicles with drivers
  • Horse cart tours in Bagan and Ava
  • Private motorized boats for Inle Lake, Indein and Mingun excursions and sunset in Bagan
  • Ferry boat for Ava visit
  • Porter fees at the airports & Nyaung Shwe jetty
  • Daily mineral water and refreshing towels
  • Entrance fees for the visits mentioned in the program 

Our Services Do Not Include:

  • International flight tickets to/from Yangon
  • Meals other than mentioned (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Visa arrangements for Myanmar
  • Fuel surcharge for domestic flights if applicable
  • Visits not mentioned in the program
  • Camera fee wherever applicable
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Tips and porters at the hotels
  • Personal medical insurance (highly recommend to get one)
  • Any other items not mentioned
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