This custom Myanmar itinerary includes a great mix of sightseeing, cultural exploration and adventure. See some of the legendary highlights as well as the hidden gems of Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake and more! Shrouded in mystery and intrigue, Myanmar has long captivated the imagination of the discerning traveler. Unfortunately, due to the dire political situation Myanmar's legendary beauty and fascinating culture has remained relatively unexplored. Although renowned for its countless temples and celebrated Buddhist heritage, Myanmar's stunning landscape and natural beauty has remained a relative secret.
Welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival at the Yangon International Airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in.
Yangon, also known as Rangoon, is Myanmar’s largest city and most important commercial hub, located in lower Myanmar at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago rivers. This former Burmese capital artfully combines tradition, culture and modernity and is home to the stunning Shwedagon Pagoda, standing 99 meters high and dating back more than 2000 years. Pilgrimages and pagoda festivals abound, co-existing with modern day life that takes place in the ubiquitous tea shops found along the leafy avenues and fin-de-siecle architecture. Often called “the Garden City of the East," nature lovers will enjoy the city’s stunning lakes, verdant tropical trees and spacious parks.
So what’s behind the golden façade of the Shwedagon Pagoda? During this interactive half day tour we take you through the back door and show you the full history of the pagoda, the daily life of all people living in the immediate surroundings of the pagoda and a deeper insight in the Buddhist religion and how the spiritual belief is mixed with the belief in nats – the Myanmar spirits. An intriguing half day tour starting from the bottom of the hill and passing the workshops, markets and monasteries which will be useful or even essential to understanding more of the country during the rest of your journey. The tour includes a traditional Burmese breakfast, offerings to monks and the pagoda, a visit to a fortune teller and a Burmese lunch.
Yangon downtown is unique with much of its colonial-era architecture still standing. You find one of Asia’s most impressive collections of late nineteenth and early twentieth- century buildings, religious and secular. Starting after breakfast or lunch this walking tour will take you through downtown Yangon, focusing on its old colonial buildings. Your guide will walk you through the back streets in a relaxed tempo and explain you the history of each building some of them empty, some getting restored and some used for different purposes than when built. This walk along the streets of Yangon will at least architecturally take you a step back in time. The tour ends with a drink at Union Bar & Grill, a cozy cocktail lounge in the old Red Cross building on Strand Road.
Today you will mingle with the locals during an energetic trip using public transportation to see lesser known parts of this vibrant city using taxis, train, ferry and trishaw. Scratching under the surface of the city, you will visit locals markets, small workshops where pagoda accessories are made and cross the river to see “rural Yangon” to get a taste of local life.
Your guide will pick you up from the hotel by taxi to go to the main station for a fun ride to one of the oldest colonial stations in the country. From here you continue on foot crossing lively markets. Taste 5 different local snacks and see how food is produced – an interesting sight. We leave Dalat town behind and return to your hotel by ferry and taxi. This is a half-day tour.
This evening enjoy a tour to Shwedagon.
At the end of the day many Yangonites leave their office and on the way back home they stop for some shopping, catch up with friends at a teashop, visit a pagoda or go to a beer station. This is exactly what you are going to do as well this evening. Highlight of the tour will be the evening visit to the illuminated Shwedagon pagoda – a magic and mystical moment at a time it’s not very busy on the main platform. After the pagoda visit there will be local snacks to be tasted as well as a local draft beer or a fresh lime juice. The tour includes drinks, a walk over the night market in downtown, tea and snacks as well as a tasty bowl of noodles shared with some locals.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Yangon and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight Bagan. Upon arrival in Bagan, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the start of your tour.
Today you will embark on a full day tour by car through Bagan. Your experienced guide will show you the best known temples of the area. We start the day climbing a pagoda to get a first impressive view over the whole area. From here the you will explore other amazing temples that have been here for hundreds of years. Places like the Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, and Thatbyinnyu will certainly impress you.
Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant and around 4 pm we continue the tour by horse cart to Pyathagyi pagoda for sunset with some refreshing drinks served! Oh… we forgot to mention the best part of this tour; whenever you see a temple you like, just ask you guide to stop to have a look at it – simply pick your own favorite temple.
After your tour you will be transferred to your hotel.
Located on the eastern banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) river in central Myanmar, Bagan is famous for its picturesque Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins, more than 2,000 covering an area of 16 square miles many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. Every day you are not in Bagan should be a reminder that you're not there, taking pictures of it at sunrise, and exploring new pagodas in the balmy afternoons. Bagan at dawn really is a photographer's paradise you will remember for the rest of your life.
Early this morning you will hop in your 4X4 vehicle and set off the beaten track to experience the daily life of the surrounding local villages. At this time in the morning you may see local women carrying firewood to the market while the sun rises behind them. Nyaung Gyi is the first village we visit and we stop to see a black smith workshop.
In Se Ywa village we visit several local workshops (A plum purifier, cooking oil producers and a wooden slipper maker). If you like you can get a haircut in an open air saloon (only 400 Kyats). Then we continue to Taung Kong village where majority of the people are farmers but also make beautiful pottery. It’s a two hour drive each way by jeep or pajero. A great trip for photographers and anyone interested in daily life of local people.
Afterwards, return to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day free.
One of the many highlights when visiting Myanmar. Early morning before sunrise you will be picked up at your hotel and driven to the launch site for a spectacular hot air balloon ride over the temple zone in Bagan. The mostly British balloon pilots are operating each balloon under highest UK safety standards and the views you will get are simply breathtakingly spectacular. After floating in the air and following the wind you will land safely and be welcomed back on the ground by a smiling crew serving cold champagne before bringing you to your hotel. Your experience in the air is between 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Later, we start today's biking excursion from your hotel and head to the Z-Craft Jetty in Old Bagan. In the morning you'll find a busy market where locals bring their merchandise from across the river. After checking out the market we take a 10 min boat ride across to SeLan village on the other side of the Ayeyarwaddy River. We spend about one hour biking through vegetable plantations, seeing local life on our way to Myitchay village. Here we will visit workshops like cotton weaving and cane/bamboo ware workshops. Lunch will be in a local restaurant.
After lunch we continue on our bikes south (10 km) to KyaungChaung Jetty where our boat will be waiting for us to bring us back to Old Bagan. From here we return to our hotel by bike.
A great trip for photographers and anyone interested in daily life of local people.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight to Heho. Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the start of today's tour.
Today, your specially trained Elephant conservation guide will take you for a rewarding day in the Kalaw forest encountering elephants, their mahouts and people living in the surrounding areas. Recently, young tourism professionals originating from Kalaw decided to set-up a project in the area that focused on protecting nature, elephants and the traditions of the local people. The results have been amazing.
In a big part of this private protected forest the nature can grow undisturbed creating a natural habitat for animals that could otherwise be easily hunted down and killed. The project includes creating a natural environment for some Myanmar elephants from this part of the world and helping the local population to grow out of the vicious circle of poverty through education and a strong economy
A delicious lunch with local specialties (often from Nepalese origin) will be served in a traditional village, in the jungle or in the camp. After lunch it is time to help the mahout by washing and feeding the elephant. Walk back in the afternoon to the main road and continue by car back to Kalaw town and your overnight accommodations.
Sitting at an elevation of 4300 feet, the peaceful hill station of Kalaw offers a lush, cool respite from the heat of the plains. Known for its trekking, Kalaw is also interesting culturally with a diverse population of Shan, Indian Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims as well as Nepali Gurkhas who came to Kalaw to build the roads and railway line under British rule. Kalaw is the main setting of the novel “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” by Jan-Philipp Sendker.
Please Note: Paramount Inle Lake Resort is currently on Wait List. We will alert you in the event that it does become available.
Certainly the most fun way to arrive at the lake. From Kalaw, we drive you by car to the starting point of this leisurely bike ride from Thaung Lay Lone to Indein. A 3 hour bike trip – mainly flat – passing sugarcane and garlic fields, Khaung Dine village with some beautiful views on Inle Lake. On arrival in Indein we visit the famous ruins and continue by motorboat to your hotel. A fun and easy way to start your Shan State adventure.
Magical Inle Lake is a vast natural freshwater lake located in the heart of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar bordering Laos and Thailand. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 square miles, and one of the highest at an elevation of 2,900 feet. A wonderful watery world of floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas, Inle Lake is a place to be savored. Watch the unique leg-rowers of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers. Revel in colorful floating markets, meditative monasteries and interesting hill tribe villages in the surrounding mountains.
Inle Lake in southern Shan State is a vast natural lake surrounded by traditional Shan villages. On the lake itself the Intha people have been living for many centuries in villages built entirely on stilts on the lake. Today we will take you by private motorboat around the lake to discover the natural beauty of the lake, visit the floating gardens, see some of the famous leg rowers and have some tea at a local family’s house. On and around the lake traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5-day rotating schedule and today we will take you to visit a colorful market frequented by Shan and PaO people living nearby. We will certainly also visit a local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made), floating tomato gardens, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Intha Heritage house where the Burmese cats are bred and if you'd like, we can visit a weaving factory.
An active adventure is waiting today as we bring you in the morning to the starting point of an interesting trip per kayak through rural villages in this part of Shan state. Depending on the location of your hotel, a transfer by motorboat over the lake will bring you in 30 minutes to In Phaw Khone, the famous weaving center of the Intha people in the middle of Inle Lake. Light kayaks are ready for you to start peddling on the lake (2 persons per kayak) for a trip that takes you in 2 – 3 hours through rural areas few people visit.
A landscape of villages, beautiful nature with the Shan mountains in the background and floating gardens is passing by, while every now and then we stop in a traditional Intha village. After about 1 hour we stop in a village for a short walk to meet some of the villagers in their house and learn more about their life style or to discover some locally produced food production.
We continue peddling and around lunch time we arrive at an Intha house were we are welcomed for a home-cooked lunch. We leave the kayaks behind and continue from here by motorboat back to the hotel or we continue for more visits on the lake by boat and guide. Total kayaking time (non-stop) would be about 2 - 3 hours of gentle peddling on the lake. Including stops in villages and lunch total excursion is a bit more than half a day while the rest of the day a motor boat and guide are available for additional visits on the lake. The rest of the day is free at your leisure.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for your departing flight to Yangon. On arrival you will be met by your guide. Enjoy the services of your private guide and car for additional visits or last minute shopping before returning to the airport for your 1:00 am departing flight on December 1st.
We hope you enjoyed this amazing experience in Myanmar and we wish you a pleasant flight home.
Founded in 1995 and since then in private ownership, the Savoy Hotel is a four star colonial boutique hotel. All of its 85 full time employees are committed to a personalized and attentive service. The Savoy is ideally located in the picturesque area of Yangon, overlooking the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's "twinkling wonder" and the nearby People's Park. Just ten minutes drive from the city centre and 20 minutes to the International Airport. All 30 deluxe rooms including six suites express the charm of "the old days" with traditional Myanmar antiques, teak furniture and spacious bathrooms. Nicely overshadowed by tall old trees, the pool with its lounge area makes the Savoy Hotel a silent oasis in the middle of the bustling city.
Perched on the edge of an archaeological wonderland, Bagan Lodge is gateway to some of the world's most magnificent temples and pagodas. The rooms and suites evoke the romance of a storied expedition, albeit in posh, air-conditioned comfort. The delicious restaurant and bars are fuel to the fire of local adventure, and the swimming pool and spa are an oasis any time of day. You can indulge in your own personal paradise, here at Bagan Lodge.
The 3-star Dream Mountain Resort offers comfort and convenience whether you're on business or holiday in Kalaw. The hotel offers a high standard of service and amenities to suit the individual needs of all travelers. To be found at the hotel are smoking area, coffee shop, luggage storage, Wi-Fi in public areas, free Wi-Fi in all rooms. Each guestroom is elegantly furnished and equipped with handy amenities. The hotel offers various recreational opportunities. For reliable service and professional staff, Dream Mountain Resort caters to your needs.
Magnificently located on the shores of the Inlay Lake, this Boutique Eco-Resort & Spa is one of the finest resorts in this unique tourist destination. Custom built and designed with the detailed flair of traditional native style architecture, the Inle Resort & Spa is recognized by it's signature roof, prominent on the Lake; a welcome beacon to all guests. Located in an ideal spot, the resort has character and quality facilities, topped with personalized service. As a long-term stakeholder, Inle Resort & Spa is fully committed to responsible tourism for the ecological and cultural protection of the Lake environment.