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BurmaLocal Culture and Lifestyle

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Explore the jewels of Myanmar in this 12 day programme. From the spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda to the breathtaking landscape of Inle Lake, your journey will take you from bustling cities all the way to remote villages, while visiting ancient temples and giant Buddha statues along the way. Experience the locals’ everyday life from a unique perspective in this trip of a lifetime!

Customisable trip itinerary

This tour idea is fully customisable

The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Arrival in Yangon

Mingalabar and welcome to Myanmar! Upon arrival at Yangon airport you will be warmly welcomed by your guide who will take you to your hotel for check-in (note: check-in time is 14.00. Early check in is subject to availability). We will start things off in the afternoon with a trip to Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda to see a 230 feet long reclining Buddha statue. Afterwards, continue uptown in order to make a quick stop at the Royal Lake located in Kandawgyi Park, which is very popular for its sunrise and sunset sights.  

​Catch a view of Karaweik Hall, a reproduction of a royal barge and enjoy a spectacular view of the Golden Shwedagon Pagoda. Shwedagon is largely considered to be the most important religious site for the Burmese. Witness the colour transformation on the 100-meter chedi, which is literally enclosed in over 40 tons of gold leaf. During your visit you will find shops at the base of the temple selling various religious items. Along the way your guide will explain the rituals of Myanmar’s Buddhist people.  Return to your hotel for a relaxing evening. Lunch and dinner on own account.

Night at Chatrium Hôtel, Deluxe (Yangon)

Day 2: An extraordinary cultural tour 

In the morning, after enjoying your breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your domestic flight to Bagan. Soothe your eyes with the majesty of Bagan with more than 4,000 red brick temples of different size and style in a valley of the size of Manhattan Island. One of the most exalted of Bagan’s temples is the Ananda Temple. Strolling amid the temples you will as well get a taste of rural Bagan life in this ‘living museum’ setting, where farmers and families work amongst the monuments. Learn more about the local culture with a visit to two workshops producing Bagan’s most famous products - lacquer ware and wood crafts. You will attend the creation of beautiful items made by skilled craftsmen using traditional techniques.

Late in the afternoon you will be driven to the jetty where a private wooden river boat awaits you. Sitting either in the shade or on the open-deck you will be treated to fabulous views as you cruise down the Irrawaddy River. Small villages, fishermen, local boats and of course many of the ubiquitous Myanmar Buddhist temples will enrich your cruise. As the sun begins to sink slowly, you will prepare to disembark before being driven back, greatly relaxed, to your hotel for the evening.
Lunch and dinner on own account.

Night at hotel Areindamar (Bagan)

Day 3: Learning more about Birman’s way of life

After breakfast at your hotel, your guide and driver will pick you up to start your Bagan excursion. After a stop at the vibrant Nyaung Oo Market have a look around the Old Bagan starting with a visit of the renowned Shwezigon Pagoda. Drive through Bagan’s countryside to the rustic village of Minnanthu and appreciate its tranquility and isolation. You will discover temples such as Payathonzu with its strange structural design, Lemyentha and Nandamannya as well. Also, be sure to head over to Kyat Kan Cave monastery, which is an extremely important meditation retreat. Learn more about the way of life of the farmers of Bagan by paying a visit to their villages.

In the afternoon, ride a horse cart for an excursion that passes Thatbyinnyu, the tallest temple in Bagan, the gigantic Dhammayangyi Temple, and, of course, Sulamani Temple. Take pleasure in an extraordinary sunset from the upper terrace of one of the surrounding temples. Lunch and dinner on own account.

Amazing Bagan (Bagan)

Day 4: A relaxing boat trip

Departure from Bagan will begin directly after breakfast. You will be transferred to the jetty and you will be boarding a local boat in Pakkoku for a relaxed, two-hour journey running down the river to Pakkoku. After arrival you will disembark and be travelling along the calm eastern river. Still an unexplored path, pass through genuine traditional villages, where you will most likely see farmers climbing palm trees in order to extract the juices that they will use to produce palm tree sugar.

​A quick stop at a local village will give you the chance to learn first-hand about the way of life and culture of these rural inhabitants. Once you’ve reached Monywa, which is best described as a characteristic Burmese town situated on the eastern banks of the Chindwin River, you are transferred to your hotel. Lunch and dinner on own account. Overnight stay in Monywa.

60 miles - 3 hours

Monywa hotel (Monywa)

Day 5: Discover the top jewels of ​Buddhism

On this particular morning you will depart from Monywa for an engrossing 3.5 hour drive to Mandalay. Afterwards, you will cross the Chindwin River by ferry and advance towards Po Win Taung by open air jeeps. After your delightful visit to Po Win Taung, you will be brought just a few hundred meters away to Shwe Ba Taung. Many travellers really enjoy spending their time exploring this fascinating site, the monasteries and temples are literally carved into the stony slender cliffs.

On the way to Mandalay be sure to stopover at Thanboddhay Pagoda, an enormous Buddhist temple that happens to be covered with more than 500,000 images of Buddha. You may also want to stop by the Bodithataung Pagoda which houses the biggest Buddha’s image in Myanmar, measuring 100m in length x 27m in height. After arrival in Mandalay, you will be transferred to your hotel. Lunch and dinner on own account.

87 miles – 3 ½ hours

Night at Notte al Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort (Mandalay)

Day 6: Yet another astonishing day to come

The day will begin with a visit to Mandalay’s vibrant morning market. The market is a hive of activity in the morning with vendors selling mainly fresh products and meat, but there is an array of other goods including spices, local ‘slippers’ and Buddhist donation items. After this invigorating start, continue across the Irrawaddy River into Sagaing. You will visit pagodas such as Swan Oo PonNya Shin, U Min ThoneSae and Shin Pin Nan Gyaing. Go on to Sagaing’s local market, a less visited tourist site. We will head over to a small pottery village which is recognized for manufacturing ubiquitous water. A break at midday will be taken in Sagaing or nearby for lunch (own account).

In the afternoon return back to the eastern side of the river, making a stop in KanDaw village. Here you will see a small village where all of the families produce handmade longyis and other textiles. Next spot is Ava, the standing capital from the 14th through to the 18th century. Cross the small river by ferry and travel in a traditional horse carriage to the wooden Bagaya Monastery. Be sure to check out the Nanmyint Watch Tower, then go to the “City of Immortality”, Amarapura, Myanmar’s penultimate royal capital. Discover Mahagandayon monastery, take a walk or a bus for a short distance to the legendary U Bein Bridge, said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide. As a stunning day comes to an end, head back to Mandalay for the night. Lunch and dinner on own account.

Night at Notte al Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort (Mandalay)

Day 7: Get into monks daily life

Start with a visit to the Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda houses one of the country’s most honored Buddha images. Proceed to Kuthodaw Pagoda, frequently dubbed as “The World’s Biggest Book”. Directly south of Mandalay Hill stands the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, known as the pagoda of the Great Marble Image. Admire the huge Buddha, carved from a single block of marble. Then off to the Shwenandaw Monastery, the Golden Monastery which is the only enduring structure from the Royal Palace of the 19th century. This impressive structure is celebrated for its remarkable woodcarvings.

In the afternoon, travel east of the city centre, leaving the buzz of the city behind while passing through rice fields and along small villages towards Yankin Hill. Meaning ‘away from danger’, Yankin is a peaceful retreat from the city and at its base lay many monasteries and shrines. First we will stop in one of these monasteries where most of the 350 monks are studying English. From here take a walk up the stairs to the top of Yankin Hill where, as the sun is dipping low in the sky, you will be privileged to see panoramic views of Mandalay and its surroundings fields and mountains. Descending back to the monastery you will arrive in time to see the monks as they say their evening chants. Return to the city centre in the evening. Lunch and dinner on own account.

Night at Notte al Mercure Mandalay Hill Resort (Mandalay)

Day 8: Explore caves and step back in colonial times

This morning return to the Mandalay airport without guide for the flight to Heho, in the heart of the Shan State. Upon arrival, you are to proceed by road to Pindaya (59 km – 2 hours), a quiet town on the banks of the serene Botoloke Lake. Visit the renowned Pindaya caves, a unique site housing thousands of Buddha images. Also visit a small shop making Myanmar’s famous tea leaf salad from Pindaya’s tea plantations. Take a break at midday for lunch (own account) and continue by road to Kalaw (48 km – 1,5 hour).

​In the afternoon, enjoy Kalaw, a holiday resort founded by the British: clean air, calm atmosphere, leafy and green streets and some of the best trekking sites. You can expect to reach Kalaw in the middle of the afternoon, giving you enough time to look around and soak up the local atmosphere while you shake off the effects of the journey. After checking in to your hotel, take a short orientation walk through the town, stopping to admire the colonial buildings, historic train station and numerous monasteries. Dinner on own account.

Night at Amara Mountain Resort (Kalaw)

Day 9: Inle by train

Transfer to the station for a train ride (3.5 hours) to Nyaung Shwe. During the trip, you will have the opportunity to admire the beautiful green landscapes and mountains in Shan State. Continue by road to Nyaung Shwe. Along the way, you will visit rural workshops that specialize in traditional Shan paper and unique handcrafted umbrellas. Also, be sure to stop at the teak monastery of Shweyanpyay to witness the monks’ intricate wood carving artwork and craftsmanship.

Upon reaching the edge of the lake, you will board a private motorboat and begin heading out onto Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular and breath-taking sights. You will also visit Nga HpeChaung Monastery, known in the past for its ‘jumping cats’, which houses loads of early Shan Buddha Images. Proceed to the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main haven. There are also many traditional crafts originated on Inle Lake and, should you wish, we can stop for a visit to one making incredible woven items from lotus silk, or boat builders, or a cigar making workshop, blacksmiths or even silver smiths. The tour will come to an end with a return trip by boat back to your hotel. Picnic lunch. Dinner on own account.

Inle LakeNyaung ShweInle Lake
Pristine Lotus Resort (Inle Lake)

Day 10: Meet the lake dwellers

After breakfast you’ll pay a visit to the lake’s rotating morning market. 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. At the summit, you will be greeted by an iconic Buddha image which sits enshrined among hundreds of stupa ruins and overgrown shrubbery. Here, from the peak, you will also be rewarded with mesmerizing views of the placid surroundings. The Indein Pagoda complex is undoubtedly one of the most amazing sites around the shore of the lake and it consists of hundreds of small stupas which are overrun by moss and greenery.

In the afternoon, it’s time to embark on a 45 minutes trek to Sae Ma village. Along the way, you will enjoy the natural beauty and panoramic vistas of the area while basking under the shade of the bamboo grooves. 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 Intha Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake's indigenous people and enjoy a delicious coffee and cake (snack break not included). At the end of the day transfer back to your hotel for some well deserved relaxation. Lunch and dinner on own account.

IndeinInle Lake
Pristine Lotus Resort (Inle Lake)

Day 11: Free time in Yangon

Breakfast will be served at your hotel before driving by a combination of boat and car without guide to Heho Airport for a short flight back to Yangon. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Lunch and dinner on own account.

Night at Chatrium Hôtel, Deluxe (Yangon)

Day 12: Departure

Breakfast will be served at your hotel and transfer to Yangon international airport according to your flight time. The driver will be at your disposal for your transfer. Lunch on own account.


YangonBaganPakokkuMonywaPo Win DaungMandalaySagaingAvaAmarapuraYankin HillHehoPindayaKalawInle LakeNyaung ShweInle LakeIndein

Price details

This tour idea is fully customisable

The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. £1,850 / 12 days
Excluding international flights
For 2For 4Single Supplement
Price per Person High Season£1,850£1,710£830
Price per Person Low Season£1,660£1,500£590

Included in price:

  • Accommodation on shared twin room basis with daily breakfast
  • Meals as mentioned in the program
  • Activities and sightseeing as mentioned in the program
  • Local English speaking station guides (different guides in each destination – one guide per town)
  • Ground transportation with air conditioned vehicle (where available) with drivers on touring days
  • Entrance fees for visits mentioned in the program (except camera fees)
  • Private motorized boat on Inle Lake
  • Domestic airfares
  • Drinking water and refreshing towels on touring days

Not included in price:

  • International airfare
  • Visa fee for Myanmar
  • Tour options (quoted separately)
  • Transfer for dinners if meals are not included in the itinerary
  • Drinks during meals
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses (souvenirs, laundry etc.)
  • Peak season surcharges (Myanmar Water Festival, Christmas, New Year, etc.)
  • Christmas and New Year compulsory dinner supplement (TBA at time of booking)
  • Early check-in and late check-out from hotel tips for guides, driver and other suppliers
  • Any other services/items not mentioned in inclusions
Book your flights to Burma
International flights are not included in this trip. Thanks to our partnership with Option Way, you can take advantage of booking your flights directly with your local agent.
Check out the many benefits:
  • Competitive rates
  • All-inclusive prices with no hidden fees
  • Quynh Hoa, in Burma will inform you of any changes to your flights
For more information or to book your flights directly, head to our partner site.

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