Discover the gilded glories of Myanmar
A visit to Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a chance to glimpse one of the last unspoiled, exotic areas of the world. Its incredible pagodas, temples, and monasteries are elegant reminders of earlier ages, and its vibrant people and cultures are still deeply rooted in centuries-old traditions.
Easy touring and road travel
- Explore the beautiful architectural glories of Myanmar: sacred pagodas, ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries that defy the imagination
- Visit artisan workshops, stilted villages, colorful markets, and more
- Discover Inle Lake, where high hills rim calm waters dotted with floating gardens and fishermen ply the lake in flat-bottomed boats
Duration: 10 days Start Location: Yangon End Location: YangonDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar
Arrive in Yangon, Myanmar Arrive in Yangon (formerly Rangoon). Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel.
Day 2 : Yangon
This venerable and well-built city on the wide Yangon River has plenty to offer, and we start off after breakfast today with a visit to its most celebrated attraction: the great Shwedagon Paya. Rising nearly 322 feet and decorated with 60 tons of pure gold, this landmark Buddhist pagoda has been built and rebuilt many times, and its illustrious history is a symbol of Myanmar. We'll also marvel at the famous statue of the huge but little-visited reclining Buddha of Chaukhtatgyi. In the afternoon we'll explore some of the other sights of Yangon, including the ancient Botatung Paya—destroyed in 1943 and completely rebuilt—and the bustling city waterfront before returning to the hotel.
Day 3 : Bagan
Transfer to the airport and fly to Bagan (formerly Pagan). Gracing the shores of the muddy Irrawaddy, numerous peaceful and scenic Buddhist temples make up the ancient city of Bagan. Though the oldest temples date back 2,000 years, Bagan had only a brief period of grandeur that lasted a mere two centuries before being destroyed by the Mongol hordes in 1287. Spread over a range of 15 square miles are hundreds of pagodas, from spectacular structures to simple places of worship. Among the sacred sites we visit are the Sulamani and the stunning Ananda Temple, built by King Kyansit around 1105.
Day 4 : Bagan
We begin our visit of this extraordinary region with an early morning (5:00 a.m.) optional walk to a nearby temple to observe sunrise over Bagan. After breakfast back at the hotel, we transfer to the colorful village market at Nyaung Oo where we visit Shwezigon Paya, said to be the prototype of all subsequent Burmese pagodas. We then explore the riches of the Bagan archaeological zone, which numbers at least 2,200 identifiable sites. We'll explore Mimalaung Kyaung, Pahtotharmya, Nat Hlaung Kyaung, Ngakwenadaung, and That Byin Nyu Temple. Also on our itinerary are Shwegugyi and the Tharaba gate, and Ananda Okkyaung. Lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the river. Afternoon tour by horse cart to see Htilominlo and Dammayangyi pagodas, then enjoy sunset from the steps of Shwesandaw Paya. Dinner and overnight at hotel. (You have the option of a balloon ride over the temples at sunrise. This adventure can be booked with the hotel or ahead of time at an additional cost.)
Day 5 : Mandalay
Morning flight to Mandalay. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and proceed on a city tour of Mandalay that includes a visit to the intricately carved teakwood Shwenandaw monastery, one of the last surviving buildings of its kind, the Khutodaw and Mahamuni pagodas, Shwe Inbin wooden monastery, and a gold drummers' workshop. In the afternoon, you'll take a one-hour boat trip up the Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy), the major river that bisects the country, to Mingun to visit the unfinished Mingun Paya (pagoda), begun in 1790 by King Bodawpaya (which was destroyed by an earthquake in the early 1800s), and the Myatheindaw Paya with its seven circular terraces. You'll also see the huge, 90-ton Mingun Bell, built by King Bodawpaya in 1808.
Day 6 : Mandalay
After breakfast, we'll drive to Sagaing, mostly known as a religious center that helps support Buddhist monasteries and nunneries as well as a monastic hospital. Here we'll visit Kaunghmudaw Paya and climb the Sagaing Hill for a panoramic view of Mandalay. After lunch we go to the nearby village of Amarapura, the intermittent capital city for brief periods of time in the 18th and 19th centuries, for a stroll across U Bein's Bridge. U Bein was a former mayor of Amarapura and built the teak bridge about two hundred years ago from the remnants of a deserted palace (most of the teak posts remain). We then take a ferry to Ava, the former capital located on an island, and visit it by horse cart. You'll enjoy the sunset at U Bein's Bridge.
Days 7 - 8 : Inle Lake
Afternoon flight to Heho, departing at noon and arriving at 12:35 p.m. Upon arrival, we drive to Inle Lake, stopping at Nyaung Shwe, the "Golden Banana Tree" town at the northern end of the lake. From here we'll board a boat that will take us across the lake to our hotel.
Inle Lake is very beautiful: high hills rim the calm waters of the lake that are dotted with floating gardens and fishermen who ply the lake in flat-bottomed boats. The lake is famous for its "leg-rowers": the fishermen stand at the stern of the boat on one leg and wrap the other around the oar to propel the boat (relief for the arms and the better to spot obstacles and fish!). After lunch we commence our tour of the lake with a walk around the cotton weaving village of Tha Lay and a visit to the Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda. We'll then take a boat to the stilted village of Ywama (there are more than a dozen stilted villages around the lake) to visit its silversmith workshops, and Nga Phe Kyaung village to visit its floating gardens and "Jumping Cat" teak monastery containing 16th- and 17th-century lacquer Buddha images. (It's known as the "Jumping Cat" monastery because its monks have trained a few cats to jump through small hoops.) We'll also visit Paw Khone village where traditional silk weaving is produced, and Nampan village with its cigar factory and blacksmiths.
Days 9 - 10 : Yangon / Fly home
Morning drive to Heho for the flight to Yangon. Afternoon free for exploring the town or last minute shopping.
DATES: Best time to go: January - February, November - December Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.
The colonial-style Chatrium Royal Lake Yangon is a luxury property committed to excellent service. The outdoor pool area is a tropical respite from frenetic Yangon. The hotel's amenities also include a fitness center, Nemita spa and several restaurants (Chinese, Japanese and Continental). The hotel is centrally located in Yangon, near many attractions including the world's oldest pagoda, the Shwedagon Pagoda.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.