You will fall in love with Myanmar on this all out tour of Asia’s newest tourist destination. The trip balances temple hopping and city tours with river cruises and nature watching. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to interact with the locals and our expert guides will make your trip unforgettable.
4 star accomodation is included throughout the trip. At several locations there is an option to change your accommodation to suit your budget.
14 nights’ Accommodation in a shared twin/double room with daily breakfast
Private guided excursions with English speaking guide, entrance fees, boat trips
Laundry, shopping and other personal expenses (including tips)
14 Nights in 4 star hotels
Breakfasts x 14, Lunch x 13
Highlights of Yangon Tour, Private Boat Trip to Hpa An, Hpa An temple and village tours, Sadder Cave Tour, Mandalay Historic Highlights Tour, Bagan Temple & Village Tour, Burmese Cooking Class, Pindaya Caves Exploration, Trek with Elephants, Inle Lake Boat Trip,
Welcome to Myanmar! After clearing customs at the Yangon International Airport, your driver and guide will be waiting to greet you. Transfer to the hotel for check in. (note: check in time is 2.00pm, early check-in subject to availability) The rest of today is free to relax and recover after your long journey.
DAY 2: HIGHLIGHTS & HIDDEN PLACES
Spend an insightful morning in and around Myanmar’s most holy site: Shwedagon Pagoda. This fabulous ‘insiders’ excursion will teach you about the beliefs of the Myanmar people and put you in touch with the culture. Make donations to monks, meet a fortune teller and much more as you walk around the pagoda and its surrounding neighborhood. After a local lunch, continue to discover Yangon. Explore the diversity of downtown with its colonial buildings, leafy side streets and bustling street markets. Pop into a busy tea shop for a cup of tea or coffee before returning to the riverside to check out the action along the Yangon River. If you wish, there may be time to hop on the local commuter train for a journey to the suburbs.
DAY 3: MAWLAMYINE: INTRO TO MON STATE
Depart from Yangon this morning by private car, driving out of the bustling city and in to the countryside. The journey to Mawlamyine, capital of the Mon State, will take around 5.5-6 hours. Meet with your guide on arrival and head to a local family home for a delicious lunch of Mon dishes. Then set off to explore the city by tuk tuk with your guide to discover the historic sites of town including Seindon Mibaya Monastery, Ni Paya and the colonial-era buildings.
DAY 4: BOAT FROM MAWLAMYINE TO HPA AN
At 09.00 transfer to the jetty. Board a private motor boat with your guide for a cruise to Hpa An along the Thanlwin (Salween) River.After an hour, take a short tour of U Na Auk village. Travel by tuk tuk to the temples and ordination hall donated by Mr Na Auk, a Mon renowned trader during the British era. Everyone in the country is familiar with Mr Na Auk and the stories of his intellect and generosity. These beautiful monuments are decorated with incredible carvings- the entrance is free but a small donation is suggested to help preserve these historic sites. Return to the boat and enjoy the scenery, as Mt Zwekabin and other limestone karsts begin to appear in the distance, rising from the rice fields. A simple lunch will be served on boardAnother stop will be made in Pa Lin Village for a walk around this community which is home to Mon, Kayin, Burma and Shan residents. Arrive late afternoon in Hpa An – if you wish, head directly to a cave to witness an incredible sunset ritual when thousands and thousands of bats pour out of the entrance. Then continue by car to your hotel for check-in.
DAY 5: HPA AN: VILLAGES & NATURE
Set off for a day of soft adventure to explore real Kayin life with your guide- the day features a mix of light walking and kayaking, passing through rice paddies and beautiful villages. A home-cooked lunch will be served.This afternoon continue exploring Hpa An and remarkable Saddar Cave with your guide.
DAY 6: HPA AN – YANGON; FLY TO MANDALAY
Set off after breakfast for the return journey to Yangon. If time allows, a stop may also be made at the Taukkyan War Cemetery, the final resting place of thousands of Allied soldiers who died in Myanmar during World War II.Arrive at the airport in time for an early evening flight to Mandalay. Your guide and driver will greet you and transfer you to the hotel for check in.
DAY 7: MANDALAY: U BEIN BRIDGE, BIKE THROUGH INWA; HISTORIC HIGHLIGHT
After breakfast, join your guide and drive south to Amarapura. Take a stroll across U Bein Bridge in the early morning light. Spanning 1.2 kilometers, this is the world’s longest teak bridge and is steeped in history. Then drive a short distance onwards to the banks of the Irrawaddy River. From here, hop on bikes to explore this former royal capital- travel along quiet lanes and roads to see amazing historic ruins, rural villages and more.The ride wraps up at midday and a picnic lunch of local dishes will be served in a village.Return to your hotel to freshen up. Then, at the end of the day, explore Kuthodaw Pagoda and Shwe Nandaw Kyaung. The former is often referred to as the 'Worlds Biggest Book' as it has more than 700 marble slabs engraved with Buddha's teachings. The latter is the last remaining building from the former Royal Palace and has exquisite wood carvings.
DAY 8: MANDALAY TO BAGAN BY BOAT
An early morning transfer takes you to the Mandalay jetty where, around 5.30-6 AM, you will board a boat to Bagan. Spend the full day cruising the Irrawaddy River, a journey of around 8-10 hours. Lunch will be served on board.Arrive just before sun set in Bagan. Disembark and meet with your guide and driver who will transfer you to the hotel for check in.
DAY 9: BAGAN: FULL DAY OF TEMPLES & VILLAGES
You will be picked up early this morning and transferred to Yangon’s airport for a flight to Bagan.Upon reaching Bagan, meet with your guide and spend a full day exploring Bagan's incredible archaeological wonders. This is best done by electric bike or regular bicycles, which means you can utilize the network of small lanes that criss-cross the temple plains but you can also chose to explore by car. Visit famous sites as well as some hidden gems. The day will unfold based on your personal interest and energy level- village visits, stops at lacquer ware craft shops or time by the pool can be mixed in with the temple touring.
DAY 10: BAGAN: COOKING CLASS & FREE AFTERNOON
Start the morning with a cooking class with May, an inspiring local woman and fabulous cook! Around 07.30 you will be picked up for the drive to New Bagan market to meet with May. Together you will shop for ingredients for lunch. Then it's a short walk to her family home, getting a chance to see what life is like beyond Bagan's temple-filled plains. Spend the morning cooking and chatting, learning about the local culture and culinary secrets of Myanmar. (Note: this is a join-in class but maximum of 6 people total)After enjoying your home-cooked lunch, bid farewell to May and transfer back to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore on your own.
DAY 11: BAGAN: FLY TO HEHO, EXPLORE PINDAYA EN ROUTE TO KALAW
You’ll be picked up after breakfast this morning to transfer to Bagan’s Airport. A morning flight takes you to Heho, the main airport in Myanmar’s beautiful Shan State. Upon touching down meet with your guide and take a drive through the rolling hills to Pindaya, a small town inhabited by the Danu and Paoh people. Stop often as you wish on the scenic drive to take photos of the farms, which will be in full bloom during the winter. Upon reaching town, head to a local family house to learn the secrets of making the region's renowned tea leaf salad. Then Pindaya's famous caves, a limestone labrynth filled with thousands of Buddha images. During the day, you’ll also have the chance to see umbrellas and lanterns made using traditional techniques. Then continue to Kalaw (1.5 hours drive) for the evening.
DAY 12: KALAW: FORREST TREK & A DAY WITH THE ELEPHANTS
After breakfast this morning, you'll drive through the Shan Hills to a small village on the roadside where a staff from the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp, a ‘retirement home’ for former logging elephants, will be waiting. Join him on an informative walk through the forest learning about the local flora and fauna as well as the environmental problems facing the region. After approximately 1.5 hours walking you’ll arrive at the Green Hill Valley camp.
Spend rest of the day working with the mahouts (elephant caretakers), interacting with the elephants and learning more about these gentle giants. The elephants are not tamed like circus elephants. They are free to wander as they like but they love human company so you will likely get a lot of trunk-to-face time with them.
Aside from the elephants, the scenery at Green Hill Valley is simply stunning and there is plenty of time to just sit back and soak it all in.
Then return by car to Kalaw late this afternoon.
DAY 13: DRIVE TO SHWE NYAUNG; BIKE TO INDEIN & BOAT ON INLE LAKE
Take the road less travelled to Inle Lake! Transfer out of Kalaw by car (appx 1.5 hours) then hop on bikes for a ride along the shores of Inle Lake. After visiting the village of Kaung Daine, take a short boat ride to another village and resume cycling on a quieter side road. The ride wraps up in Indein (appx 15 km total) where you will rejoin your boat and cruise across the waters of Inle Lake toward your hotel for check in.
DAY 14: INLE LAKE: FULL DAY BOAT TRIP ON INLE LAKE
After breakfast, your guide will join you for a short walk to the hotel's jetty. Board a private, wooden motorboat for a full day excursion on Inle Lake. (NOTE: if staying in Nyaung Shwe, you will start the day with a 5-15 minute walk to the jetty. Trishaws are available if you do not wish to walk)
Explore villages built on stilts and floating gardens, getting a chance to learn about the life and culture of the lake’s residents. The day unfolds as you wish- we suggest stopping into workshops making incredible hand-woven silks and fabrics created from the fibres of the lotus flower and a visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda where we can join local devotees as they come to pay homage to this sacred site.
During the day, a stop will be made in a local village. You will be welcomed in to a family home for lunch, sitting on the floor around a low round table just like the locals do. Feast on traditional dishes and learn about the lives of the people living on Inle Lake while chatting with your hosts.
Return to your hotel late this afternoon.
DAY 15: INLE LAKE: FLY TO YANGON FOR INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE
Transfer to the Heho Airport for the return flight to Yangon.
Continue to the International Terminal for your onward flight. (recommended for departures 15.00 and later)