Discover the secrets of Asia's best kept secret, Burma.

Travel to Burma and discover a country of mythical landscapes, ancient treasures and some of the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet. From glittering spires of Shwedagon Pagoda and the magical temples of Bagan to the tranquillity of Inle Lake and the lively atmosphere of Mandalay, Burma will excite, impress and intrigue you. Experience the South-East Asia of twenty years ago – full of rarely seen sights and generations of stories just waiting to be told. Come and discover a little bit of Burma magic with us.

Start
Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)
Finish
Yangon, Burma (Myanmar)
Countries
Burma (Myanmar)
Themes
Explorer
Code
TTKA
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 16
Carbon offset
671kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Explore the glittering temples of Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Discover Mandalay, Burma’s ‘Jewel City’
  • Experience the archaeological wonders of Bagan
  • Visit the floating gardens of Inle Lake
  • Trek to traditional tribal villages for a taste of local culture
  • Relax in the heart of beguiling Yangon

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 30 April 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 May 2016 - 31 December 2016

The former capital of Burma, Yangon – meaning ‘End of Strife' – has been through tough times. Surviving protests, natural disasters and economic uncertainty, this city remains the commercial, historical and cultural heart of Burma. Soak up the unique atmosphere of this irrepressible city with dinner at a local restaurant.
This morning we set off for one of the great sites of Yangon. The extraordinary Shwedagon Pagoda and its surrounding temples and edifices dominate all and provide an extraordinary mix of monks and pilgrims and worshipers and tourists. We will spend some time walking around the complex, learning of its history and spiritual devotions, and experiencing the ambiance of this extraordinary place.

We then leave for the airport (seeing a bit more of Yangon along the way). Departure time will vary depending on flight availability. The flight takes approx. 1 hour and after landing it is a drive of about 1 hour to the city and your hotel for the next three nights.

Tonight you might enjoy a walk to one of the markets, where a great time can be had enjoying the hustle and bustle or bargaining for local wares.
We make our way down to the city’s lively waterfront which offers an interesting backdrop for our boat trip upriver to Mingun - the site of the world's largest (albeit unfinished!) pagoda, the world’s largest unbroken bell, and temples dating back hundreds of years. The river is effectively a major trading, communication and commuting route and a wide range of different boats, barges and steamers can be viewed along the way. The journey usually takes 1 hour on the way there and 40 mins on the way back.

Later in the afternoon we embark on a tour visiting the remnants of one of the once great cities that surround Mandalay - Amarapura, just 11 km south of the city. Weather permitting, we may also view a spectacular sunset over the 200-year-old, 2 km long U Bein wooden bridge.
Take a drive up into the hills to Burma's most famous hill station, Maymyo (Pyin U Lwin), provides an escape from the heat of the plains (approx. 2 hours/70 km). Established during the colonial era back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it is today a crossroad for traders coming over from China and this is reflected in its colourful market.

Time permitting, you may explore surroundings in a local horse-drawn carriage called a 'myin-lay'. English-style country mansions and Chinese temples dot the hillsides in a place rightly called the 'vegetable garden' of Burma.

Later, we return to Mandalay where the rest of the day is spent visiting various temples, including Kuthodaw Pagoda that claims to house the world's largest 'book'. It was once a challenging walk up Mandalay Hill (236 metres), but these days, if in operation, a series of large escalators will do most of the work for you on the way up! If conditions oblige, the sunset views from the summit can be impressive and along the way there are many shrines of religious significance.
We depart early from our hotel for the waterfront to board the ferry boat that will take us down the as we cruise Ayeyarwady River to Bagan. This is a wonderful way to experience Burmese local life as we travel along the river. The ferry usually departs around 7am and takes approximately 9 hours to travel the 36 km to reach our destination.

We'll likely spend most of our time on deck watching riverside life go by, although there are also allocated seats on the lower deck. Some ferries also have a cafe/bar on the upper deck for drinks and simple meals. Your leader will let you know in advance if you need to plan to bring any supplies.

Along the way, we witness the idyllic way of life that epitomises parts of rural Myanmar in the form of the small fishing villages that lie along the riverbanks. And we pass dozens of boats of different size and utility, testament to the role which this mighty river plays in the life of so many.

Due to the unpredictable nature of water levels on the river between February and May, it is possible on the very rare occasion that some ferries may be cancelled during that period. Some of these cancellations may take place at the last minute and often without warning. If this is the case we may travel by road between Mandalay and Bagan.
We can explore the sights of Bagan from dawn to dusk. Nyaung U's lively market contrasts with the eerie silence of the plains littered with over 4000 structures, including Gawdawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Ananda and Shwezigon - all names of temples and pagodas that bear testament to a glorious past. The area is also famous for producing lacquer ware and sand paintings that are available in the stalls amid the ruins. There is also a chance to do some of our exploration by horse and cart. Weather permitting, we may enjoy a breathtaking sunset view from one of the ruins.

Notes: For many travellers a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of their time in Bagan. This optional activity is a possibility for the mornings of Day 6 or Day 7, depending on availability. If you have pre-booked this activity (please see 'Important Notes') you will be picked up and driven to the launch site. You will then float over the hundreds of stupas and temples below, to watch at the morning glow illuminates this breathtaking landscape. Flights last between on average for 45 minutes, however they can range from 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on local conditions. After landing be treated to a celebratory glass of champagne and light breakfast. You will then be returned to your hotel. The experience is approximately 2.5-3 hours in total.
Our drive takes us for approx. 1 hour/60 km to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano that is home to local spirits or deities known as 'nats'. For the energetic, there is a chance to climb the 777 steps to the shrine at the top of the hill. Returning to Bagan the afternoon is free to further explore this amazing area. You may hire a bicycle or take a horse carriage and enjoy your own exploration of the archaeological sites.
Today we drive the approx. 25 mins to the nearest airport in Nyuang U, from where we fly to Heho (approx 40 mins), the gateway for Inle Lake.

We drive through picturesque countryside and rolling hills to our final destination, Khaungdaing, situated on Inle Lake not far from the main township, Nyaungshwe (approx. 45 min).

This afternoon you may like to rent a canoe (for about one hour) and row in to Lin Kin village, famous for its floating garden in the lake. On our way back we may stop over at some of the village houses to see the process of making traditional snacks (optional and at extra cost). You will notice that the weather is rather cooler here due to the high altitude. Also there is the option to visit a nearby winery, with stunning view across the lake and wine tasting available
Today spend a full day is spent on the lake exploring the floating gardens and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. These people are different from the Shan and they originate from the south of the country. The lake is also home to a wide array of bird-life including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey. Visits may be made to some of the local villages and our stay may coincide with one of the market days: always exciting with much of the commuting being done by local people using the ubiquitous long-tail boats.
After breakfast at our hotel we transfer to the Indein ruins complex (about 45 minutes by long-tail boat). On disembarking we find a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. We can also enjoy browsing through the rows of shops along the corridor uphill or just marvel at the surroundings. After spending some time we will start our walk towards to Yankin, Pa O and Taung Yoe villages (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes). Along the way we explore the mystery of more than 300 ancient stupas around the village and then continue towards (1 km, approx 30 minutes) to a Buddhist monastery and head north to Naydaw (1.5 km, approx 45 minutes) to Taung Yoe ethnic tribe village through farm land and bamboo forest. From here turn to South-West (5 km, approx 3 hours) through the valley ups and downs to west Taung Mauk, Pa O village from here another 20 minute walk would get you to east Taung Mauk village. Finally we turn east through valley to Indein (3 km, approx 45 minutes) where we will meet our boat and return back to hotel.

This evening we enjoy a traditional Shan dinner and get to sample some of the local style culinary specialties.

Note: the amount of walking advisable today will depend on individual and group fitness and wishes, and also the time of year. In the hotter months from March to October reduced distances are often advisable, and arrangements can be discussed with your tour leader the day before.
We transfer to Heho Airport for the flight back to Yangon today (approx.1 hour). Departure time will depend on flight availability.

Once in Yangon we will have free time to perhaps visit Sule Pagoda, which marks the centre of town and the nearby Bogyoke (Scott) Market that sells a wide array of local goods and handicrafts. Other options for your time here include exploring the fascinating city full of dilapidated colonial edifices, to perhaps take High Tea at the historic colonial hotel, The Strand, and take a stroll through vibrant Chinatown market area as the afternoon cools (these are optional excursions and at your own expense).
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. A transfer to the airport is not included but can be pre booked with our reservations team. Your tour leader will be on hand to advise you on onward travel arrangements should you require.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
11 breakfasts1 dinner
Transport
Boat, Minibus, Plane
Accommodation
Hotel (11 nights)
Included activities
  • Bagan - Archaeological tour
  • Inle Lake - Boat trip & village tour
  • Inle Lake - Indein village visit and short hike
  • Yangon - Shwedagon Paya

Dates

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip.
2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
3. Please provide passport details at time of booking with exact name as per passport.
4. This trip is operated by our sister company Peregrine Adventures until 30 April 2016.
5. Intrepid can book an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Bagan (operating October to March). Please see the Important Notes section for more information. Places are limited and we recommend advance booking with your Intrepid agent.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide 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.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Classic Burma (Myanmar) trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 59 reviews in the last year.

Classic Burma (Myanmar) , December 2015

Classic Burma (Myanmar) , January 2016