Full of culture and interesting history, this tour will show you the best of Myanmar at close range. From the highlights of Bagan and Inle Lake to the remote ancient Kingdom of Mrauk U, this tour takes in the best of the country whilst also getting off the beaten track. Cap off the trip relaxing at the pristine beaches of Ngapali.
Your trip starts from British administration constructed capital city, Yangon where we visit the magnificent gold plate and gemstone decorated Shwedagon pagoda; take a stroll through quaint old quarter of Yangon enjoying sights and sounds of this bustling city.
Our journey continues northbound to rural Shan State and beautiful Inle Lake region inhabited by different minority peoples. By Inle we sample local vineyard harvest; visit markets, floating gardens and cultural highlights on the lake and vicinity.
From Shan State we continue our journey to Mandalay to explore the Ancient Royal Capitals of Myanmar (Burma) all situated near the city. We also take in all the sights and sounds of this fascinating city, visiting markets, monasteries and workshops where century old traditions live on.
Next we head to the Ancient Kingdom of Bagan, the greatest archaeological treasure of Myanmar with over 4000 pagodas and temple ruins located on the plains of Bagan by the great Ayeyarwaddy River (Irrawaddy). Bagan was during its heyday one of the greatest kingdoms in the World and is truly magical destination to visit.
From Bagan we head off the beaten track and fly to the Western Rakhine coast and explore the mysteries of lost kingdoms of Mrauk U and finish the trip with a perfect ending, relaxing on the unspoilt paradise beaches of Ngapali.
At a glance
- Colonial Yangon & Swedagon Pagoda
- Temples of Ancient Kingdom of Bagan
- Mandalay artisans, market & cultural heritage
- Royal Capitals Sagaing, Inwa & Amarapura
- Mesmerizing Inle Lake, minorities, boat trips & vinery
- Be among the first to explore the ruins of Mrauk U
- Relax on the pristine Ngapali Beach
Itinerary in Brief
- DAY 1: Arrival and sightseeing in Yangon
- DAY 2: Flight to Bagan. Temple sightseeing
- DAY 3: Flight to Mandalay. Mandalay City sightseeing
- DAY 4: Royal Kingdoms
- DAY 5: Fight to Heho. Inle Lake sightseeing
- DAY 6: Inle Lake Boat Trip, Inn Thein Excusion
- DAY 7: Flight to Yangon
- DAY 8: Flight to Sittwe
- DAY 9: Boat to Mrauk U
- DAY 10: Mrauk U sightseeing
- Day 11: Travel to Ngapali Beach
- Day 12 – 13: Relaxing on the Beach
- Day 14: Flight to Yangon, Departure from Myanmar
Upon arrival to the Yangon airport, you will be welcomed by your Discovery DMC guide and transferred to your hotel. Our journey begins with an afternoon tour through the colonial-style city center of Yangon. We complete the day with a visit to one of the world’s most spectacular monuments, the Shwedagon Pagoda, a gleaming bell dome structure that dominates the city’s skyline.
After breakfast, we transfer to Yangon airport for a 1 hour flight to Nyaung U/ Bagan. Where we begin our journey into the Ancient Kingdoms of Bagan. Throughout the day we will visit all the highlights of the ancient city and schedule is flexible according to your wishes. For sunset, a Bullock or Horse cart ride around the temples offers unparalleled photo opportunities of one of the richest archaeological treasures in Southeast Asia as the sun dips behind the temple ruins (weather permitting).
Morning flight from Bagan to Mandalay 30min and 1hr drive to the city. We enjoy a morning stroll through the lively Zegyo Market in the heart of the city to experience more authentic local life of Mandalay. We continue to the Artisan Quarters, where some of the oldest craftsmanship is showcased dating back to last kingdom of Myanmar.
We observe the process of pounding gold leaf, detailing teakwood carvings and embroidering Myanmar tapestry. We also see how bronze and marble Buddha statues are carved, cast and molded.
Next, we proceed to the highlights of Mandalay: the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda, housing one of the most significant Buddha images in the country, covered in several tons of gold leaf and the crown prize in long past wars between competing Myanmar kingdoms; the Golden Palace Monastery, the only surviving Royal Palace building in Mandalay, offering a glimpse of the original style and architecture of the Myanmar royals; and lastly, the Kuthodaw Pagoda, a compound housing Buddha’s teachings carved in the sacred Pali script on stone slabs and regarded as the world’s largest book in terms of surface area.
We end our day with sunset panoramic views over city skyline on Mandalay Hill, the highest point of the city.
After breakfast at the hotel, we embark on a journey to the Ancient Kingdoms of Myanmar near Mandalay. We transfer 15km to Ava (Inwa), the ancient capital of the Shan and Burmese Kingdoms for over four centuries. We cross over the Myint Nge River by ferry and explore the small roads of Ava by horse cart.
We continue to the Ancient Kingdom of Sagaing, located across the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River. From the Sagaing Hills, we enjoy magnificent views overlooking the river and hill side covered with countless pagodas. We also visit a monastery in Sagaing to learn about the life of Buddhist devotees.
Next we visit yet another beautiful ancient capital city, Amarapura, famous for its weaving and textile industries. There, we visit a cottage industry workshop to learn how Myanmar longyis and traditional fabrics are constructed.
We end the day at the Ubein Bridge, a simple yet strong teak structure that spans 1,2km over Taungtaman Lake. The bridge silhouetted by the setting sun is one of the most magical experiences in Myanmar and a photographer’s dream.
Enjoy breakfast and then transfer to the airport for the Flight to Heho, a quiet transit town with one of the few airport links in the beautiful hills of Shan State. Visit the bustling main Heho Market, the meeting point for different ethnic minority groups of the surrounding areas to trade handmade goods and locally grown produce (on market days only).
Next, we take a 1-hour drive to Inle Lake that descends through the valley with views of the Shan mountains and rice paddy fields. Near Inle Lake, visit the Red Mountain Estate to tour the lush vineyard situated on the side of a mountain, taste some of Myanmar’s premiere wines, and observe the different aging methods completed in their cellar cave.
After checking into your hotel, we embark on afternoon explorations of Inle Lake, populated with floating islands and gardens made from the naturally tangled roots of water hyacinth plants and reeds. Delight in the picturesque sights of fishermen who balance and row with one leg, a technique indigenous to the Inn Thar minority group who do this only on Inle Lake.
After breakfast we journey out by boat, following the currents of a small river to reach the Inn Thein Pagoda Complex, a site that makes us feel as if we’ve stepped through a forgotten portal in time. To access the complex, we walk through verdant bamboo groves that open up to a field covered with the ancient pagodas constructed over 1,000 years ago.
We boat back to the lake and visit Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, the home of some of the country’s most sacred Buddha statues covered in gold leaf by devout followers. We also make a visit to the Inpawkhon weaving Village to learn how local silks, linens and lotus fabrics are handmade and crafted.
We end our day with magnificent sunset canoe ride with local boatmen who gracefully navigate and row perched on one leg.
The morning is free for sightseeing at the Lake. We can make arrangements for a leisurely stroll to neighboring villages to observe local village life. Alternatively, we can make arrangements for a visit to Nyaung Shwe town to explore the quaint town or shop for local handicrafts.
In the afternoon, we transfer to the Heho Airport for the next connecting flight to Yangon. Rest of the day is free for leisure in Yangon.
Morning pick up from your hotel in Yangon and transfer to Yangon domestic airport for flight to Sittwe. Afternoon arrival to to Sittwe, a former seaside capital of colonial Burma where the Rivers Kaledan and Lemro meet the grand Bay of Bengal.
After enjoying a late lunch at a local restaurant, we visit the following town highlights: the Cultural Museum, with an impressive wealth of cultural artifacts representing the Rakhine civilization that dates as far back as 3000 BC; the Buddhist Nunnery, a stately building hailing from by gone times; and the fascinating Local Fish Market, at times with thousands of fish on display from the deep Bay of Bengal.
We continue to mouth of the Keledan River where it kisses the Bay of Bengal, and stroll on the black sand beaches amidst a beautiful setting sun.
Early breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Sittwe jetty for the boat journey to Mrauk U. The 70 km cruise upstream the Kaledan River travels though farming region and small riverside communities. The travel time varies between 4-7 hours depending on boat size and river conditions.
Simple packed lunches are provided on the boat. On arrival to the Mrauk U Pier situated half a mile south of the town’s central market, we transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, we embark on a journey to the ruins of lost Arakan kingdom of Mrauk U, a seaport at the crossroads of ancient trading routes between the East and West.
Mrauk U has inherited a rich cultural legacy, particularly the 700 enchanting temple ruins scattered over misty hills. We visit the fortress-like Shite Thaung Temple, a solid structure with thick heavy walls housing some 84,000 Buddhas and reputed to be modelled after Indonesia’s Borobudur.
We continue to adjacent Andaw Thein Ordination Temple, which houses a stupa believed to contain the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha brought from Sri Lanka by the Burmese King Mindon.
Nearby on a hill is Htukkan Thein Fortress Temple, with only one entrance, three inner chambers and small windows designed to let the rays of the dawning sun shine directly onto the central Buddha statue in the main vault.
After breakfast, we visit the central Mrauk U Market to observe authentic Rakhine life, then drive 30min/14km to the ruins of the Wethali. At the Great Wethali Payagyi, we admire the 17ft-high seated Buddha crafted from a single slab of sandstone, set amidst a panoramic view of quaint villages and farmland.
We return to Mrauk U for lunch and later in the afternoon, visit the serene Pharaouk Temple, built in late 1500s and with a solid stupa featuring 29 life-sized Buddha’s seated radially in its wall.
Continuing to Kothaung Temple, we visit the most colossal temple of Mrauk U, named for the 90,000 statues it originally housed.
If weather permits, we climb to the Shwegudaung Paya, the highest pagoda of Mrauk U to enjoy the captivating views of temples winking under the setting sun.
Early breakfast at the hotel followed by a boat ride to Sittwe. If time permits, we visit en route Mro ethnic minority village, known for intricate designs of the Khami traditional dress hand woven by weavers. Lunch is served on board of the boat.
Upon arrival to Sittwe, we transfer to the airport for the afternoon flight to Thandwe (8km from Ngapali Beach). Upon arrival to Thandwe airport, you will be welcomed by your hotel transfer rep and transferred to your hotel.
Breakfast at your hotel, Rest of the day is for enjoying pristine beaches of Ngapali, relaxing in the shade of palm trees by the sea. Active visitors can choose from visiting the colorful local market in Thandwe (Sandoway), biking along the coast to surrounding villages, or hiring a boat to go fishing or sailing against the coastal backdrop of the Rakhine hills.
Breakfast at your hotel. Free at leisure until transfer to Thandwe airport for your flight to Yangon. Discovery DMC guide will welcome you at Yangon domestic airport and transfer to your hotel in Yangon or for your connecting flight departing from new international airport.
- Private tours and transfers with air-conditioned vehicles as specified in our itinerary
- 2 bottles of water & 2 refreshing towels per passenger per day
- Lodging with breakfast as specified in the itinerary
- Luggage handling fees at airports
- Entrance fees or zone fees
- Trekking guide from Kalaw to Inle Lake
- English speaking guide(other languages guide can be provide with additional charges)
What's Not Included
- Visa to Myanmar (note that pre-arranged visa is required for tourists)
- All entrance fees or zone fees
- Domestic Airfares (always quoted and mentioned separately from tour package price)
- International air fares
- Meals or any other item not described in the itinerary
- Peak season surcharges & Compulsory dinners during Xmas & New Year’s
- Early check-in, late check-out. Normal check out time from hotels in Myanmar is 11am or 12 o’clock noon
- Drinks during meals, hotel extras and expenses of personal nature
- Camera & video fees. Some of the sites visited may ask small fees for photographing and video recording.
Tips & gratuities
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