Explore magical Myanmar travelling from Yangon to Inle Lake, Bagan and Mandalay.

Myanmar (Burma) is a country with a deep and fascinating culture. Beginning and ending in Yangon, discover the spiritual heavyweight of Shwedagon Pagoda, bicycle through Bagan and its thousands of pagodas, cross the longest teak bridge in the world near Mandalay and enjoy life lakeside at Inle Lake, where floating markets, leg-rowing fishermen and ethnic minorities make for a unique destination. Mix in delicious food, breathtaking landscapes and people both curious and welcoming, and you have a place that will keep you coming back for more.


Start
Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
Finish
Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
Country
Myanmar (Burma)
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer
Code
TRRB
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Get acquainted with Myanmar on a tour of downtown Yangon. Truly an incredible city, Yangon is packed with beautiful pagodas, astounding giant Buddhas and countless historical sites

  • Touring the ancient city of Bagan by bicycle is a magical way to see the place. You'll have convenient and leisurely access to thousands of temples, stupas and pagodas

  • The boat trip to Mingun is scenic and pleasurable in itself, but viewing the world's largest uncracked bell when you reach your destination is an awesome experience

  • A full day of walking through the hills and villages of Kalaw may require a bit of energy, but it's one of the highlights of the trip. Get up-close and personal with the culture of rural Myanmar

  • Take a scenic long-tail boat ride along the waters of Inle Lake. This is a truly authentic Southeast Asian experience

Is this trip right for you?

  • The overnight train ride from Yangon to Bagan is about 18 hours long, is quite basic and can be a little bumpy. However, it's a great chance to travel as the locals do and see the country from the ground.

  • Although the cycling tour of Bagan is within the abilities of even the most amateur of riders, it does take you off paved roads onto sandy terrain which can make your clothes dusty. It's best to wear comfortable clothes on the day and be well protected from the sun.

  • Myanmar is a hot and humid country. Even wintertime is pleasantly warm by European standards, so take this into account if travelling here in summer.

  • This trip involves a full day of walking in the hills and villages around Kalaw. While not a trek, the day still requires travellers to have a decent level of fitness.

  • Myanmar is a big country so you'll spend a lot of time travelling from place to place. Expect some long drives on this trip, and an overnight train journey of up to 20 hours. This is a great opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader.

If you have free time to explore before the meeting, we recommend stepping out onto the chaotic streets of Yangon. Once Myanmar’s capital, Yangon is still the country’s major city. See its beautiful skyline studded with the golden Shwedagon Paya temple. If you have the full day free, consider booking an Urban Adventure to see more of the city with an experienced local guide.

Note: If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel in time for the meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Let Yangon Take You For a Ride Urban Adventure - USD41
  • Yangon - Kandawgyi Lake - MMK300
  • Yangon - Shwedagon Pagoda - MMK8000
  • Yangon -Tradition and Culture in Yangon Urban Adventure - USD55
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start the day with an orientation tour of Yangon. Afterwards, enjoy some free time to explore the city at your own pace. You might like to visit some sites that weren’t covered on the tour, such as Bogyoke Market or various temples and pagodas around town. If you run out of ideas, your leader will happily point you towards some interesting spots.

In the afternoon, transfer to the railway station and board an overnight train to Bagan. Overnight train travel in Myanmar is a real adventure. Trains are one of the safest travel options around the country, and you’ll get to experience travelling the way the locals do. Cabins are basic four-berth compartments with doors to a corridor. There are no showers but there is a toilet at the end of each carriage. While the trains aren't air conditioned, there is usually a ceiling fan and plenty of airflow. Conditions are basic and the trains may be a little dirtier than what you’re used to, however overnight trains are the best way to brush shoulders with the locals and make the best use of your time travelling overnight.
Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yangon - City Orientation Walk
Optional Activities
  • Yangon - Sule Pagoda - MMK3000
  • Yangon - Bogyoke Market (Scotts Market) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Due to rail upgrades around the country, expect a bumpy ride and possible delays. There is usually a restaurant car attached to the train but it’s a good idea to bring some snacks in case there isn’t. A sheet and blanket are usually provided but you might like to a sleep sheet or sarong. If travelling in the winter months, the trains can get cold, so bring plenty of warm layers (please see 'what to take'). Remember to bring some toilet paper as there’s unlikely to be any in the bathroom.
Arrive at Bagan after an overnight train ride. Please note that this train ride usually takes 17 to 20 hours and rarely runs to schedule. Although the scheduled arrive time is 11.00 am, you can expect to arrive closer to midday.

The afternoon is yours to explore your new surrounds in Bagan. We’ll go on a guided tour of the archaeological site tomorrow, but feel free to go exploring on your own before then. The archaeological site is where Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the Kingdom of Bagan and was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. Today, the ancient city still has over 2,000 brick and gilded ruins and is a stunning sight to behold.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bagan - Shwezigon Paya - Free
  • Bagan - Archaeological Museum - MMK5000
  • Bagan - Dandaree Culture Show - USD50
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend the entire day sightseeing in Bagan. You’ll be given a bicycle and toured through the site by a local guide. You’ll get to see many of the large and impressive temples such as Ananda Pahto, Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya, as well as some of the smaller hidden gems. Exploring the temple site by bike is a great way to take in the atmosphere of this amazing place. There are also many opportunities to climb stairs to vantage points and capture some magical views. To fully enjoy the day out, please make sure you wear comfortable clothes and adequate protection from the sun (long sleeves, sunglasses and hat).

If you have some free time at the end of the day, you may like to check out the nearby Nyaung U market, which is one of the more interesting markets in the country.

Notes: For sunrise today, many travellers like to take an optional hot air balloon ride over the site. On this flight take in breathtaking views above the stupa-studded landscape, followed by a light breakfast and champagne. The entire experience runs for approximately 2.5 hours, with flights times an average 45 minutes (ranging from 1 hour to 20 minutes subject to local conditions). Weather dependent, flights operate between October through to March. Advance bookings are highly recommended as places are limited. Please ask your booking agent for further details of the Premium and Classic service options.

The bike ride through Bagan is easy, taken on flat terrain and at a leisurely pace. You don’t have to be a serious cyclist to do the tour, however if for some reason you’re unable to participate in the ride, your leader can arrange a pony cart to take you around the sights (cost not included).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bagan - Temple bike tour - MMK2000
  • Bagan - Archaeological Museum - MMK5000
  • Bagan - Nyaung U Market - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Board a public ferry before dawn and cruise up the Ayeyarwady River to Mandalay. Depending on the daily schedule, the ferry departs at either 5:00 am, 6:30 am or 7:00 am. You'll likely spend most of the day on deck watching riverside life go by, a wonderful way to experience Burmese local life. Some ferries also have a cafe/bar on the upper deck for drinks and simple meals, but you may also like to bring your own food with you.

Arrive at Mandalay at 5:30 pm and transfer to a simple hotel where you’ll be staying for the next two nights.

Notes: Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the Ayeyarwady River between February and May, it’s sometimes possible that your ferry may be cancelled. Although rare, cancellations may take place at the last minute and without warning. If this happens, the group will travel by road from Bagan to Mandalay.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel further along the Ayeyarwady River this morning to the archaeological site of Mingun. Here you’ll see the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an incomplete stupa which would have been the largest in the world. You’ll also see the world’s largest ringing bell and the nearby beautiful white Hsinphymae Pagoda.

The rest of the day is a free day to explore the amazing city of Mandalay. Once known as The Golden City, Mandalay was the last capital of the former Kingdom of Myanmar. Perhaps see the city by taking a local van or bus to Mahamuni Buddha Temple, an important pilgrimage site famous for its 2000-year-old golden Buddha statue. You may also like to visit the nearby cottage industries where gold leaf is made or go to Shwe In Bin Kyaung, the intricately carved teak monastery. Alternatively, take a half-day trip up to the hill town of Pyin Oo Lwin.

In the evening, perhaps head to Mandalay Hill for a sunset view over the town, or see a puppetry or dance performance at the Mandalay Marionettes or Mintha Theatre.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
Optional Activities
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Hill - Free
  • Mandalay - Mahamuni Buddha Temple - ALL10000
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Marionettes - MMK10000
  • Mandalay - Shwenandaw Monastery - MMK10000
  • Mandalay - Gold leaf pounding workshop demonstration - Free
  • Mandalay - Mandalay Palace - MMK10000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise early this morning, and travel to Kalaw by private bus along the Great Road of China – the new superhighway built by the Chinese (approx. 8 hours). On the way we stop in at the impressive U Bein Bridge. At 1.2km long it is the world’s longest teak bridge.

Kalaw is located in the mountains of Shan state and features stunning scenery.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today head to the hills and explore the villages, farms and forests in the area near Kalaw. Kalaw provides welcome relief from the heat of Myanmar's low-lying areas and is home to various ethnic minority groups, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O, as well as Indians and Nepalese who moved here during the British rule. We stop for a simple lunch at one of these local villages.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kalaw - Full day trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Enjoy some free time this morning to see some more of the sights of Kalaw, including more beautiful Buddhist pagodas and the local market. In the afternoon, travel by bus for about three hours to Inle Lake. The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities. They live in stilt houses along the lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kalaw - Village market - Free
  • Kalaw - Hnee Pagoda - Free
  • Kalaw - Thein Thaung Paya - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Start the day by heading out in a motorised boat. You’ll see local life on the lake including fisherman who use a distinctive leg-rowing technique on their boats, floating tomato plantations and cottage industries such as silversmiths, weavers and cigar makers. If you’re lucky, you might even see the floating market which circles the lake every five days. Here you can buy traditional wares produced by the locals.

Later in the day, you’ll visit some villages where locals greet you with a smile and you can browse the various handicraft items. At the end if the day, make your way back to the base in Nyaungshwe.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Inle Lake - Boat trip & village tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day at Inle Lake. Perhaps you’d like to visit the morning market at Mingala and later in the day, head to Nyuangshwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya. There's also a traditional puppet show held in town every evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Inle Lake - Aung Puppet Show - MMK5000
  • Inle Lake - Mingala Market - Free
  • Inle Lake - Yadana Man Aung Paya - Free
  • Inle Lake - Red Mountain Estate Winery Tasting - MMK3000
  • Inle Lake - Bicycle hire - MMK3000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state and make your way to the airport in Heho. From here, take a one-hour flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon.

Your trip ends upon arrival at Yangon airport and you’re free to leave at any time. If you’d like to stay on for a few extra days and have booked additional accommodation, your leader can help you get to your hotel. We can also assist in booking post-tour accommodation at our Basix Yangon hotel when you first book your trip.

Notes: If you are planning to fly out today, we advise you not to book a flight out before 4 pm. This is because domestic flights in Burma are often delayed and there’s a chance you could arrive late from Heho and miss your flight out. If you have some free time in Yangon before leaving, your leader can suggest some things for you to do.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch

Transport

Bicycle, Boat, Bus, Ferry, Longboat, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Trishaw, Truck

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Yangon - City Orientation Walk
  • Mandalay - Boat trip to Mingun
  • Mandalay - U Bein Bridge
  • Kalaw - Full day trek
  • Inle Lake - Boat trip & village tour

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
2. Tour ends upon arrival at Yangon airport on Day 12 (from internal flight). Do not book onward international travel before 3pm.
3. Intrepid can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October to March). Please refer to Day 4 of the Trip Notes for more information. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your agent.
4. 4. A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip and excludes nights 2 (Overnight Train) where you will be in shared accommodation.
5. Departures from 1st January 2017: The trip duration will change to 13 days. Based on traveller feedback an additional night will be included in Yangon on Day 12, rather than finishing on arrival at Yangon airport. Departure dates will remain the same, and you will be contacted with more details about itinerary changes before the end of the year. Please take this into consideration when planning onward travel.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Myanmar Experience 2016 trips score an average of 4.85 out of 5 based on 54 reviews in the last year.

Myanmar Experience , November 2016

Kerry Heyer

Myanmar Experience , November 2016

Rob Heyer