Myanmar Monk in Mandalay

Myanmar Highlights & Classic Tours


No visit to Myanmar is complete without pausing, even briefly, in Yangon, Mandalay, and of course the vast reddened plain of Bagan dotted with hundreds of striking ruins. But also consider exploring sublime Inle Lake, a remote Shangri-La high in the picturesque Shan State and a favorite place of past travelers.

Although most travelers visit these places, we'll ensure your time is spent adequately canvasing these highlights but also experiencing most enjoyable aspect of travel in Myanmar — immersion into the myriad of fascinating cultures and picturesque landscapes that leaves most of our travelers to claim Myanmar as their all-time favorite place. Browse some of our recommended itineraries below, then contact us to plan your entirely unique and original custom tour.

The Three Jewels : Bagan, Inle & Mandalay (six days)

Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay Tour

Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay
The capitol city of Yangon, the culture and ancient royal capitals of Mandalay, and the archaeological wonders of Bagan in a well paced tour


Day 1 | Yangon arrival (based on morning flight)

Transfer to the hotel and begin sightseeing of colorful downtown Yangon, including Chaukhtatkyi, a colossal reclining Buddha; a scenic photo stop on beautiful Kandawgyi lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most impressive golden stupas. Overnight Yangon

Day 2 | Yangon - Bagan (flight)

Morning flight to Bagan. Highlights of our visit include many of Bagan's distinctive pagodas and a local village. At sunset enjoy a panoramic view of the pagodas.

Balloons over BaganDay 3 | Bagan

At dusk, ascend by balloon over the plain for a stunning view of the temples below. After descending, continued sightseeing of Bagan's primary and secondary pagodas and temples, also visiting the local Bagan market and seeing Bagan's famous lacquerware being handcrafted.

 

 

Day 4 | Bagan - Mandalay (flight), Amarapura & Inwa sightseeing

Visit the former royal capital of Amarapura highlighted by a visit to U Bein bridge, the world's longest teakwood structure. Then visit Inwa, another former royal capital, and travel by pony cart down tree lined paths to see old palace walls, wooden monasteries, and the 'leaning tower of Ava'.

Day 5 | Mandalay sightseeing, Mandalay - Yangon (flight)

Sightseeing in Mandalay city, including the revered Mahamuni pagoda. Afternoon transfer to Mandalay airport for flight to Yangon. Overnight Yangon

Day 6 | Yangon

Last-minute sightseeing or at leisure until departure transfer.

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377.

On the Road to Mandalay (9 days)

9 day Myanmar tour of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake

Day 1 | Yangon arrival & sightseeing

Arrival transfer and begin sightseeing, including colorful downtown Yangon, Chaukhtatkyi, a colossal reclining Buddha; a scenic photo stop on beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the awe inspiring Shwedagon Pagoda. Overnight Yangon.

Day 2 | Yangon - Mandalay - Amarapura & Inwa

Morning arrival in Mandalay and sightseeing visit to the former royal capital of Amarapura, and see U Bein's Bridge, the world's longest teakwood structure. Then visit Inwa, another former royal capital, and travel by pony cart down tree-lined paths to see old palace walls, wooden monasteries, and the 'leaning tower of Ava'. Overnight Mandalay

Day 3 | Mandalay

City sightseeing includes gold leaf hammering, Mahamuni pagoda, Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings; and Kuthodaw Pagoda, renowned as the world's largest book for its stone slabs of the entire Buddhist scriptures. End the day with a sunset view from Mandalay Hill. Overnight Mandalay.

Day 4 | Mandalay - Bagan (Cruise)

Early morning departure (600) from Mandalay to Bagan by modern ferryboat service. A pleasant way to spend the day as you travel down the fabled Ayerwaddy River. Arrive in Bagan by late afternoon, in time for evening sightseeing.

Yangon - Mandalay - Bagan - Inle Lake

Day 5 | Bagan sightseeing

In the morning continue sightseeing of one of Asia's premier archaeological sites. Highlights of our visit include many of Bagan's distinctive pagodas and the colorful local market as well.

Day 6 | Bagan - Heho (flight), Inle Lake

Fly to Heho and transfer to a hotel at Inle Lake. Begin sightseeing by long tailed boat of this magical and unique area . Highlights include the boatmen with their 'one-legged' rowing style, the floating gardens, the 'jumping cats' monastery and more.

Day 7 | Inle Lake

Continue Inle Lake sightseeing today with a memorable visit to Indein village with its idyllic 16th century pagodas. We can also visit a local silk weaving 'factory' which sits on stilts on the lake.

Day 8 | Heho - Yangon (flight)

Fly to Yangon and afternoon visit to Botahtaung pagoda on the Yangon river. For a last shopping spree go to the sprawling 79 year old Bogyoke (Scott) Market, filled with a large collection of local handicrafts and other items. Overnight Yangon.

Day 9 | Yangon

At leisure until departure transfer.

   

Ngapali Beach Extension

Ngapali Beach shoreline

Situated on the clear blue water of the Bay of Bengal, Ngapali Beach is a deserted idyllic, palm-fringed shore much like neighboring Thailand's beaches were decades ago... A handful of local resorts are in the area, with a new Hilton opening its doors in 2015.

Aside from lazing on the beach and by the pool, Ngapali attractions include Pearl Island, Nghet Pyaw Chaung Lake, Jatetaw fishing village, the black-sand island Zalat Htone, local craftsmen working on pottery and weaving, Thandwe market, and three shimmering stupas on nearby hilltops of the Nan Daw, Ann Daw and San Daw Pagodas. Activities include boat cruises, cycling, snorkeling, kayaking, golf, and hiking up Amata Mountain or panoramic views from the top.

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377

Classic Myanmar (10 days)

Yangon - Bagan - Mt. Popa - Salay - Mandalay - Pindaya - Inle Lake
A classic tour with all the main destinations plus Mt Popa, the fascinating caves of Pindaya, and the monasteries of off-the-beaten-path town of Salay

 

Day 1 | Yangon arrival (based on morning flight).

Transfer to the hotel and sightseeing including colorful downtown Yangon, Chaukhtatkyi pagoda, a colossal reclining Buddha; a scenic photo stop on beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world's most impressive golden stupas. Overnight Yangon

9 day Myanmar tour of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle LakeDay 2 | Yangon - Bagan (flight)

Morning flight to Bagan. Highlights of our visit include many of Bagan's distinctive pagodas. At sunset enjoy a marvelous panoramic view of the pagodas.

Day 3 | Bagan, Salay & Mt. Popa excursion

Morning private boat ride downriver to Salay, a small quiet town with interesting monasteries and pagodas. Then drive to nearby Mt. Popa, an extinct volcano renowned as the home of the 'nats' (or spirits). Return to Bagan in the afternoon stopping to see a local toddy palm farm on the way.

Day 4 | Bagan-Mandalay (flight), Amarapura & Inwa

Visit the former royal capital of Amarapura highlighted by U Bein's Bridge, the world's longest teakwood bridge. Then visit Inwa, another former royal capital and travel by pony cart down tree-lined paths to see old palace walls, wooden monasteries and the 'leaning tower of Ava'. Overnight Mandalay

Day 5 | Mandalay city sightseeing and Mingun

In the morning travel by private riverboat upriver to the massive ruins of the Mingun pagoda and see the huge Mingun Bell. Sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda, gold leaf hammering, Shwe Inbin Monastery, and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings. Overnight Mandalay

Yangon - Bagan - Mt. Popa - Salay - Mandalay - Pindaya - Inle Lake

Day 6 | Mandalay - Heho/Pindaya

Fly to the Shan state and drive to Pindaya. Visit the fascinating Pindaya caves with their more than 8,000 Buddha images and a Shan umbrella making cottage industry. Overnight Pindaya

Day 7 | Pindaya - Inle Lake

Morning drive to beautiful Inle Lake and sightseeing highlights include the boatmen with their 'one-legged' rowing style, the floating gardens, the 'jumping cats' monastery and more.

Day 8 | Inle Lake

Continue Inle Lake sightseeing today with a memorable visit to Indein village with its idyllic 16th century pagodas. We can also visit a local silk weaving 'factory' which sits on stilts on the lake.

Day 9 | Heho - Yangon (flight), Yangon sightseeing

Fly to Yangon and afternoon sightseeing including Botahtaung Pagoda and the rustic 80 year-old Scott market with its large collection of local handicrafts and other items. Overnight Yangon

Day 10 | Yangon

At leisure until departure transfer.

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377

Land of Gold (12 days)

Yangon - Inle Lake - Pindaya - Mandalay - Maymyo- Bagan - Pandaw Cruise
All the major destinations and featuring a cruise on the fabled Ayerwaddy River on board the elegant colonial steamer replica RV Pandaw

 

Day 1 | Yangon arrival (based on morning flight)

Transfer to the hotel and begin our sightseeing including colorful downtown Yangon, Chaukhtatkyi, a colossal reclining Buddha; a scenic photo stop on beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda, arguably the world's most impressive golden stupa. Overnight Yangon

9 day Myanmar tour of Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle LakeDay 2 | Yangon - Heho (flight), Inle Lake

Transfer to Inle Lake and begin sightseeing of this magical lake by private boat. Highlights include the boatmen with their unique 'one-legged' rowing style, the floating gardens, the 'jumping cats' monastery and more.

Day 3 | Inle Lake

Continue Inle Lake sightseeing today with a memorable visit to Indein village with its idyllic 16th century pagodas. We can also visit a local silk weaving 'factory' which sits on stilts on the lake. Afternoon drive to Pindaya. Overnight Pindaya

Day 4 | Pindaya, Heho - Mandalay (flight)

Morning visit to Pindaya caves, which contain more than 8,000 Buddha images. Sightseeing at the caves and then drive to Heho airport for afternoon flight to Mandalay. Overnight Mandalay

Day 5 | Mingun excursion & Mandalay sightseeing

Morning transfer to Mandalay jetty for a short and pleasant ride upriver to the massive ruins of the unfinished Mingun pagoda. Nearby we can also visit the Mingun Bell and Mingun village. Return to Mandalay and sightseeing includes Mahamuni Pagoda, gold leaf hammering, Shwe Inbin Monastery, and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings. Overnight Mandalay

Day 6 | Amarapura & Inwa

Plowing rice field at Inle LakeSightseeing today includes visits to the former royal capitals of Amarapura and Inwa. At Amarapura visit U Bein's bridge, the world's longest teakwood bridge and then at Inwa travel by pony cart down tree lined paths to visit old palace walls, wooden monasteries and the 'leaning tower of Ava'. Overnight Mandalay

Day 7 | Mandalay - Maymyo (car)

Afternoon drive to the former British Hill Station of Maymyo and enjoy the cool temperatures and scenery. Sightseeing includes elegant old colonial houses, and the beautiful 237 acre botanical garden. There are many horse drawn carriages to enliven the scenery. Overnight Maymyo.

Day 8 | Mandalay - Bagan

Embark the colonial style 1947 Pandaw river boat and morning departure for Bagan. Overnight Pandaw ship.

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377

 

Burmese Odyssey (16 days)

Yangon - Kyiaktiyo - Pindaya - Inle Lake Mandalay - Monywa - Bagan - Mt. Popa
An all around tour that takes you from the Golden Rock at Kyaiktiyo in the south to the caves of Po Win Taung near Monywa. A boat trip down the legendary Ayerwaddy River is also part of this extended tour

 

Day 1 | Arrive Yangon

Transfer to the hotel and begin sightseeing including colorful downtown Yangon, Chaukhtatkyi, a colossal reclining Buddha; a scenic photo stop on beautiful Kandawgyi Lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda, arguably the world's most impressive golden stupa. Overnight Yangon

Day 2 | Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo

Breakfast at the hotel before an early morning drive to Kyaikhtiyo (about 5 hours), site of the famous 'Golden Rock'. It is a large boulder delicately balanced on the edge of a cliff near the top of a mountain and it is one of the most revered Buddhist shrines. Overnight at Golden Rock.

Day 3 | Kyaikhtiyo to Bago-Yangon

The morning sunrise at Kyaikhtiyo is a memorable sight. After early morning sightseeing descend the mountain and drive back to Yangon. On the way to Yangon, we will visit some interesting pagodas as we pass through Bago, and also some nearby pottery making cottages. Overnight in Yangon.

Day 4 | Yangon-Heho, Pindaya sightseeing

Breakfast at the hotel before transfer to Yangon airport to take the flight to Heho. After arrival proceed to Pindaya, noted for its extensive limestone caves filled with more than 8,000 Buddha images. See the interesting process of Shan umbrella making at a family run umbrella business. Overnight at Pindaya

Day 5 | Pindaya-Inle, Inle sightseeing

Morning drive to magical Inle Lake, located about 1000 meters above sea level. Highlights include the fisherman rowing in their unique one-legged style and the floating gardens of grass and earth used for growing vegetables. Another attraction is a visit to the 'jumping cats' monastery, the Phaungdaw U Pagoda and the silk weaving looms

Inle Lake Lake rower

Day 6 | Excursion to Sangha & Thakong Pagoda

After breakfast, travel by boat south for a journey to reach Sangha and Thakong at the far end of Inle Lake. This relaxing boat journey (about 3 hours one way) enables us to get off the beaten path and see unspoiled culture and the traditional life-styles of the ethnic groups living in the area. On our trip we will see beautiful landscapes, flowering trees and settlements dotting both sides of the canal.

Day 7 | Heho - Mandalay, Mandalay sightseeing

Breakfast at the hotel before transfer to Heho airport to take the flight to Mandalay. Sightseeing in Mandalay includes Mahamuni Pagoda, gold leaf hammering, Shwe Inbin Monastery, and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings. Overnight Mandalay

Day 8 | Excursion to Mingun & Mandalay sightseeing

Transfer to Mandalay jetty where we take a short and pleasant ride upriver to visit the massive ruins of Mingun, the site of what would have been the world's largest zedi had not King Bodawpaya died in 1819 thus halting all further work. Nearby we can also visit the Mingun Bell. Return to Mandalay and visit Kuthodaw Pagoda and then Mandalay Hill for sunset viewing. Overnight Mandalay.

Day 9 | Excursion to Inwa & Sagaing, Monywa

Sightseeing today includes a visit to Inwa, which was founded in 1364 and lasted nearly 400 years as a royal capital, and to Sagaing, another former capital of the Shan kingdom. Then drive to Monywa, 135 km northwest of Mandalay and situated on the Chindwin River. En route visit colorful Thanboddhay Pagoda. Overnight Monywa

Day 10 | Monywa sightseeing, river boat to Bagan

Excursion across the Chindwin River to visit the fascinating Po Win Daung Caves and Shwe Ba Daung. Then take an afternoon cruise by boat down the river to Bagan. Late afternoon Bagan arrival and transfer to the hotel.

Day 11 | Excursion to Mt. Popa

Morning drive, or bicycling, to Mt. Popa which rose from the ground in a massive earthquake in 442 BC. Mt. Popa is famous as the abode of the Nats (Spirit Gods) and for its panoramic view of the local tropical region. On the way to Mt. Popa we visit a local farmer and see how toddy palm juice and sugar are produced.

Day 12 | Bagan

Today enjoy Bagan sightseeing. Highlights include visits to Nyaung Oo Market; and many of Bagan's distinctive pagodas. In the afternoon visit a lacquerware workshop and Dhammayangyi Pahto, a massive later period temple with the finest brickwork in Bagan. As the sun goes down we will be at one of the ideal viewing sites selected by our tour guide.

Day 13 | Bagan - Yangon, Yangon - Pyay

Breakfast at the hotel before transfer to Bagan airport to take the flight to Yangon. Arrive in Yangon and drive to Pyay (Prome), about 5 hours, located on the bank of Ayerwaddy River. Overnight Pyay.

Day 14 | Pyay

Drive across the Ayerwaddy River to Htonbo village (about 2 hours drive) and take a short boat ride down the river to bring us to this unique mountain. On its cliff face are carved hundreds of Buddha images. Optional short but steep hike up to reach the top. Sightseeing highlights of Pyay include Shwesandaw pagoda. Overnight Pyay.

Day 15 | Pyay - Yangon

After breakfast drive back to Yangon, arriving late afternoon. Overnight Yangon

Day 16 | Yangon Departure

At leisure until departure transfer.

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377

Myanmar & More, (from Thailand, 8 days)

Yangon - Bagan - Mandalay
A Myanmar tour to combine with a Thailand trip. This Myanmar program starts with the border crossing at Tachilek

Day 1 | Tachilek border crossing, and flight to Heho

Cross from Thailand into Myanmar at the town of Tachilek and after immigration processing transfer to airport for flight to Heho. Arrive at Heho, transfer to Inle Lake and check in to the hotel.

Day 2 | Inle Lake

Transfer to a hotel at Inle Lake and begin sightseeing by long tailed boat of this magical and unique area. Highlights include the boatmen with their 'one-legged' rowing style, the floating gardens, and a memorable visit to Indein village with its idyllic 16th century pagodas. We can also visit a local silk weaving 'factory' which sits on stilts on the lake.

Inle Lake stilt house

Day 3 | Inle Lake, Heho - Mandalay

Morning sightseeing on the lake and afternoon transfer to Heho airport for flight to Mandalay. Transfer to hotel. Overnight Mandalay

Day 4 | Mandalay

In the morning travel upriver by private boat to the massive ruins of the Mingun pagoda. Also visit Mingun village and the Mingun Bell, the largest hanging uncracked bell in the world. Return to Mandalay and sightseeing includes Mahamuni Pagoda, gold leaf hammering, and Shwenandaw Monastery, noted for its exquisite wood carvings. Overnight Mandalay

Day 5 | Mandalay - Bagan

Take a ride on the local ferry (private reserved seats) and enjoy a leisurely day traveling down the legendary Ayerwaddy River. Arrive in Bagan in time for evening sightseeing and enjoy the sunset view from one of the pagodas.

Day 6 | Bagan

After breakfast continue sightseeing of one of Asia's premier archaeological sites. Highlights of our visit include Bagan's distinctive pagodas, the colorful local market, and a visit to a local village.

Day 7 | Bagan - Yangon

Fly to Yangon by morning flight and Yangon sightseeing including Botahtaung Pagoda and the sprawling 79 year old Scott market with its large collection of local handicrafts and other items. Overnight Yangon

Day 8 | Yangon

At leisure until departure transfer

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377

And More...

Tour Extensions and Add- on ideas to spice up your program.

Mogokeabout a seven-hour drive north of Mandalay, Mogoke is famous for its beautiful rubies and sapphires which are mined there. Located at 1,170 meters in picturesque natural surroundings.

Kyiaktiyo (Golden Rock)—see above

Pyay (Prome) - Five hours drive northwest of Yangon and located on the Ayerwaddy River, Pyay was established as a trade center during the Bagan era. Some of the ancient Pyu civilization flourished here. You can also see nearby Akauk Mt., noteworthy for its hundreds of Buddha images carved in its cliff face.

Monywasee above

Mawlaymine - Travel further, due south into the Mon state from Kyiaktiyo and you will reach Mawlaymine, a former capital of British Burma and it is Myanmar's third largest city with a population of 300,000. Rich in decaying colonial architecture and still a large industry of shipping.

Mrauk-Usee above

Pathein - Myanmar's fourth largest city is located in the south in the Ayerwaddy Delta. This agricultural region grows the best rice in Myanmar. There is a picturesque waterfront area, bustling markets, and the city is noted for its hand painted umbrellas.

Kengtung - (previously mentioned)

Mandalay/Bhamo boat trip - A soft adventure trip is to take the local boat (you can get private cabins) north on the Ayerwaddy river to reach Bhamo, passing through three defiles on the way.

Naga festival - It is possible to arrange a trip to visit the Naga, who live near the Bangladesh border. Former headhunters, a few who only reformed as recently as the 1950's, they wear colorful costumes at festival time, and can still look fierce.

Classic Train Travel - For the serious train enthusiast, train trips, utilizing private coaches and steam engines at times, can be arranged.

Trekkingsee above

Beach Resortssee above

Excursion to TwanteLiven up your visit to Yangon with a short morning ride down the Yangon River to the local village of Twante where they make much of the pottery used in the Delta and Yangon area. It is about a 3 hour boat ride to Twante which you will share with Myanmar locals - a real Discovery Channel experience.

Bird watchingWorld class bird watching is available at Moyingyi Wetlands just 70 miles north of Yangon.

MeditationThere is no better country to come to for a serious study of meditation. And even if you are not that serious, you can come and do a combined meditation and leisure tour. Golf tours (previously mentioned)

Historical toursWe can organize tours that highlight places of historical interest, e.g., sites along the river which were key in the wars between the British and the Burmans.

Inle Lake Festival tourThe Paungdaw Oo pagoda festival which takes place at Inle Lake in October (sometimes partly in September depending on the moon cycle) is one of the most colorful and popular festivals with visitors.

Balloons Over Bagansee above

Honeymoon tourHoneymooners would likely find anyplace romantic but Myanmar truly does mesmerize, from the incredibly exotic Honeymoon bungalows at Kandawgyi Palace hotel to the beauty of its beaches.

River expeditions—Several opportunities for river cruises exist. The previously mentioned IFC PANDAW, 1947 PANDAW, and the ROAD TO MANDALAY cruise boats both do extended trips at select dates. In addition the DELTA QUEEN boat offers overnight trips between Yangon and Pathein. From Pathein it is an hours drive to Ngwe Saung Beach. The boat is fairly modern and though cabins are small, they are tidy and well kept. With Myanmar's vast river system there is great potential for river cruising.

Why choose Indochina Travel? We take you to places, organize original experiences, and introduce you to local people that no one else does. Whether celebrating an anniversary or planning a family journey, our journeys offer unforgettable experiences in the Land of Gold.

 

Ready to plan your trip to Myanmar? Fill out a short contact form by clicking below or calling us in San Francisco at (415) 731-4377.