MYANMAR – Classic – Highlights of Myanmar 10 Days / 9 Nights

Day 1: Arrival in Yangon
Mingalabar and welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival at the airport you will be warmly welcomed and taken to your hotel for check-in. You will then go downtown to start your walking tour on Mahanbandola Road where the Immanuel Baptist Church is located. During the stroll you will see stalls selling second-hand and photocopied books, the High Court Building, the grand Inland Water Transport offices and even grander Myanmar Port Authority building, the majestic Strand Hotel, the Customs House and the Law Court. Be sure to make a photo stop at Sule Pagoda. After a complete rotation seeing the twice rebuilt City Hall, you will continue through the chaotic Indian and Chinese quarters. Explore the gold shops of Shwe Bontha Street and have a look from outside at the Moseh Yeshua Synagogue on 26th street. You will reach Theingyi Zei market, where you can engage in a little pickled-snake hunting. Finally, you will reach Sri Kali temple, Yangon’s most colorful Hindu temple.

Meals included: Meals on your own account
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: Hotel rooms will be available from 14:00; early check-in possible upon availability

Day 2: Yangon
Your morning will begin at Yangon’s Central Station where you will enjoy the lively atmosphere and experience people’s daily lives. Embark upon the local “circular train”, which runs from there around various neighborhoods in town as well as the borders surrounding the city itself. This train will travel at a slow pace, allowing you to really enjoy your surroundings and get a clear overview of the city. Disembark at Kyee Myin Daine station, one of the most beautiful station buildings remaining in Yangon. Continue on to a local market and wander around the stalls to see what the local vendors are offering.
In the afternoon, you will visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 72-meter-long reclining Buddha statue that features detailed carvings on his feet. Afterwards, you will continue through town and make a quick stop by the Royal Lake located in Kandawgyi Park which is very popular with local residents. The day will end with a stop at the famous Shwedagon pagoda to witness the colors transform on the 100-meter chedi, which is literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaf.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: The train ride is about 20-30 minutes, please take note that the trains are very simple, and used by many locals during the day

Day 3: Yangon – Bagan
You will be taken to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan. Upon arrival you will start your discovery of the city. Your first stop will be an elevated temple with panoramic views over the Bagan plains. This viewpoint will give you a taste of the sheer number of temples as well as some of their distinctive styles. From here you will have a look around the Ananda Temple – one of the most exalted of Bagan’s temples. Continue to various other temples dotted around the temple plains to experience a variety of architectural styles in the area as well as the artistic wonder of the 9-14th centuries. You will then have a chance to learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products – lacquer ware and wood crafts. Watch in amazement as the skilled craftsmen use traditional techniques passed down through generations to create beautiful items.
Late in the afternoon, you will drive to the jetty where a private wooden river boat will await you to cruise down the Irrawaddy River. You will cruise past several small villages, fishermen, local boats and of course many of the ubiquitous Myanmar Buddhist temples. You will be back at your hotel for the evening.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 4: Bagan

Option: hot air balloon ride over Bagan
The morning will start with an exciting hot-air balloon ride above the Bagan countryside. You will observe one-of-a-kind views when the sun begins to rise over the Irrawaddy River and various stupas in the region.

You will be off to the vibrant Nyaung Oo Market, where the locals come to trade fresh produce and other goods daily. From here you will have a look around the Old Bagan starting with a visit of the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda, constructed by King Anawrahta in the early 11th century as a religious memorial. Travel over dusty lanes and tree shaded roads past temples to a small village. Explore the village on foot, getting a glimpse of local lifestyles of Bagan’s residents. Continue to some lesser-known monuments in the area for the remainder of the morning. If you wish, a short walk can be arranged through a series of smaller monuments, which will allow for a unique perspective of Bagan.
From there you will journey by horse cart for an excursion passing some of the tallest temples in Bagan. Take pleasure in an extraordinary sunset from the upper terrace of one of the surrounding temples. The perfect ending to a perfect day!

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: The hot air balloon ride is only available from October/November to March

Day 5: Bagan – Mandalay
In the morning you will leave from Bagan to reach Mandalay on a charming and beautiful road. Follow the east bank of Irrawaddy and cross the charming villages along the road to Myingyan. During your trip you will see many fields of millet, sesame, cottonseed, corn, rice and many other legumes. You will stop to Shwe Pyi Tha village, a farmer village where you will have the possibility to meet local people and discover their simple daily life. You will continue your trip to reach Myingyan village where you will have the possibility to stop for a break, before resuming your journey to Mandalay.
You will then travel to Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital. You will start at Mahagandayon monastery, home to more than a thousand young monks. Continue on foot or by bus a short distance to the legendary U Bein Bridge, which was built in 1782. It spans 1.2 kilometers across the shallow Taungthaman Lake. As a stunning day will come to an end, you will head back to Mandalay for the night.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 6: Mandalay – Sagaing – Ava – Mandalay
In the morning, cross the bridge over the Irrawaddy River in to Sagaing. Sagaing Hill is generally seen as the spiritual hub of Myanmar and claims residence to around 3,000 monks and nearly 100 meditation shrines. You will visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin, U Min Thone Sae and Shwe Taung Oo Maw and, should you wish, you will stop at a local nunnery. Continue to Sagaing local market. You will head over to a small pottery village which is recognized for manufacturing ubiquitous water pots to observe the tradesmen here applying their traditional methods for producing their goods.
You will then move on to Ava which was the standing capital from the 14th through the 18th centuries. Cross the small river by ferry and travel in a traditional horse and carriage to the wooden Bagaya Monastery renowned for its extraordinarily elaborate woodcarvings. Be sure to check out the Nanmyint Watch Tower – also called “the leaning tower of Ava“ – which is what’s left from the remnants of the ancient palace and Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery. You will head back to Mandalay for the visit of Kuthodaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed as “The World’s Biggest Book” for its collection of 729 marble slabs inscribed with Buddhist teachings. Then you will reach Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery that is the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century. This impressive structure is celebrated for its remarkable woodcarvings.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 7: Mandalay – Pindaya
The day will be spent on the road to Pindaya (8 hours), a quiet town on the banks of the serene Botoloke Lake. While crossing the Shan hills on a winding road, you will collect fascinating pictures of the Burmese rural life. Pindaya can only be reached by small roads that will offer you breath-taking views. Finally, you will arrive in this little village and calm lake where the Danu Tribe is still living around.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 8: Pindaya – Inle Lake
After breakfast, you will visit the local market, a gathering place for area farmers who come to sell their fresh produce. Feel free to also visit a small shop that makes the famous Burmese tea leaf salad made with leaves of tea plantations from Pindaya. Then, continue your tour by visiting the famous caves of Pindaya, a unique site aged of more than 200 million years which is the house of thousands of golden Buddha statues. In order to visit these caves you will have to go through the pagodas of Shwe U Min – the white giant stupas that overcome the place.
You will then embark on a drive to Nyaung Shwe, gateway village to Inle Lake. Upon reaching the edge of the lake, you will take a short orientation tour of Nyaung Shwe, a small town of narrow streets dotted with temples, monasteries, tea shops and local houses. Then you will board a private motorboat and begin heading out onto Inle Lake. Its calm waters are dotted with floating vegetation and fishing canoes, to which scenic hills provide the perfect backdrop. Along the way you will pass several villages that are built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. You will also visit Nga Hpe Chaung monastery, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha images. Proceed to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main haven, which contains five sacred images of Buddha decorated in gold leaf. There are also many traditional crafts originating on Inle Lake and, should you wish, you can stop for a visit to one making incredible woven items from lotus silk, boat builders (depending on the time of year), a cigar-making workshop, blacksmiths or even silver smiths. The day will come to a close with a return trip by boat back to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 9: Inle Lake – Indein
After breakfast you will pay a visit to the lake’s morning market. The market’s location rotates between the lake’s villages in a 5-day schedule and is also visited daily by the lake’s inhabitants as well as the surrounding natives who also come to sell and trade their wares. A 1-hour boat ride down a small canal will take you to the Pa-Oh village of Indein, positioned on the western shores of Inle Lake. Take a leisurely stroll around the village before ascending the moss-covered stairway to the top of a hill. Once arrived at the summit, you will be greeted by an iconic Buddha image that sits enshrined among hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery. There, from the peak, you will also be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the placid surroundings. The Indein Pagoda complex consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery. Then it will be time to embark on a 45-minutes trek to Sae Ma village. Upon arrival at the village, observe the daily lifestyles of the rural inhabitants. On your boat ride back, should time allow, you will stop at the Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people and enjoy a delicious coffee and cake. Finally, the boat will take you back to your hotel for some well-deserved relaxation.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: The market is open every day apart from dark moon and full moon calendar days

Day 10: Inle Lake – Heho – Yangon departure
In the morning you will be taken to Heho Airport for a short flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival at Yangon airport, you will be greeted by a driver who will be at your disposal until returning to the airport for your international connection.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note:

  • The trip from Inle Lake to Heho airport will last 1 hour-1h 30min