Small Group Tour (2-15 pax)
Take a journey to explore the unspoilt beauty of Myanmar – the gem of South-East Asia. Discover the floating villages at Inle Lake and the millennial-old art & culture of Mandalay. Marvel at the countless Pagodas rising up from the green delta plain in Bagan, take a relaxing day cruise on the Irrawaddy river, visit vibrant Yangon and the amazing Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Vibrant Yangon with its unique Shwedagon pagoda
- Visit of the Morning Market at Inle Lake where ethnic minorities from the mountain regions sell their products
- Discover the arts and culture of Mandalay
Day 1: Mandalay
Arrival in Mandalay. Welcome to Myanmar!
Upon arrival you will be greeted by your guide who will accompany you as you transfer to the hotel.
This afternoon start your sightseeing tour of Mandalay with a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda. This pagoda is home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images which over the years have been covered with gold leaf giving it an almost ‘lumpy’ texture. Mandalay is well known for its skilled craftsmen and as you tour traditional workshops you will learn more about the city’s cottage industries. Observe the production of wood carvings kalaga tapestries and gold-leaf where the techniques remained unchanged from those used centuries ago to craft items for the Royal Court.
Climb to the top of Mandalay Hill as the sun begins to set to see magnificent views of the city and Irrawaddy River.
Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 2: Mandalay – Sagaing – Amarapura – Mandalay (B)
Early morning optional activity: Hot air ballooning Experience Over Mandalay As your hot-air balloon rises against the backdrop of Mandalay Hill the first site to greet you is 729 white pitaka pagodas housing the world’s largest book. Drifting above the vibrant city you’ll witness barefoot monks collecting alms bustling morning markets boats coming alive on the Irrawaddy River and U Bein Bridge in Amarapura.
(Note: available only from late-October to late-March; all flights weather permitting)
This morning cross a bridge over the Irrawaddy River to Sagaing. Covered with 600 white-painted pagodas and monasteries Sagaing Hill is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar. It is home to 3000 monks and 100 meditation centers and you will visit pagodas such as Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin and U Min Thone Sae.
Visit Sagaing’s local market a typical Burmese market that few tourists visit. Here you will find a range of items for sale including locally made pottery silver and other handicrafts. We will also stop at a small pottery village to see the process of making the ubiquitous water pots found throughout Myanmar.
Back to Mandalay and continue your afternoon tour of Mandalay with a visit to Kuthodaw Pagoda whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title ‘World’s Biggest Book’. Continue to Shwenandaw Monastery the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. This grand teak building is known for its exquisite woodcarving.
At the end of the day stop at Amarapura at U Bein Bridge for a walk along this 200 year-old teak bridge. The bridge was constructed of 984 teak posts that were once part of the deserted Inwa Palace and it is 1.2 kilometers in length making it the world’s longest teak span. Take a stroll along the bridge and the fabulous views of the surrounding farms and streams.Overnight in Mandalay.
Day 3: Mandalay - Bagan by local ferry boat (B L)
After early breakfast you will transferred to the small ferry port of Mandalay. Today you can relax on board a one day cruise on a local ship to Bagan. Stop on the way to visit a typical village on the Ayeyarwaddy river bank. Lunch on board and afternoon sailing giving the opportunity to observe life along the riverbank with its small villages and bustling ferry terminals. Arrive in Bagan at aournd 5.00
In the late afternoon you will reach Bagan and its thousands of Pagodas. From the 11th to 13th centuries when Bagan was the capital of the country originated more than a thousand stupas temples and monasteries and most of them are still preserved as ruins making Bagan one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the whole of Southeast Asia.
Overnight in Bagan.
Remark : from April to September due to the water levels the cruise might not operate. In this case you will reach Mandalay by domestic flight or land route (supplement applies)
Day 4: Bagan (B)
Early morning optional experience: hot air ballooning over Bagan
Start your morning with an incredible hot-air balloon flight over Bagan’s temple-studded plains. Start your morning snack on pastries and croissants and sipping coffee and tea as the balloon is inflated. Climb aboard before gently rising above thousands of gilded stupas and earthen temples all back-dropped by the impressive Irrawaddy River. A truly unforgettable and unique experience.
(Note: available only from late- October to late-March; all flights weather permitting)
This morning visit the colourful Nyaung Oo Market where villagers gather every day to buy and sell their produce and other goods. Continue to Myinkaba village and take a short walking tour to explore the temples of Manuha and Nan Paya.
Then visit an elevated temple from where you will have a panoramic view of the magnificent plains of Bagan. Continue with a visit to the golden stupa of Shwezigon Pagoda for an introduction in to Bagan’s rich history. Then visit to nearby Wetkyi-In Gubyaukgyi a cave temple with exquisite jataka mural paintings and the elegant Htilominlo Temple noted for its fine plaster carvings and glazed sandstone decorations.
This afternoon begin with a visit to a traditional lacquer ware workshop where you can observe the production of one of Myanmar’s best-known handicrafts. Continue to Ananda Temple an architectural masterpiece and one of Bagan’s most beautiful temples. Built in the early Mon-style Ananda contains two unique Buddha images whose expressions seem to change depending on the distance from which the statue is viewed.
From here travel by horse cart for a tour passing Thatbyinnyu the highest temple in Bagan massive Dhammayangyi Temple noted for its remarkable brickwork and Sulamani Temple.
Experience an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 5: Bagan (B)
Today is at leisure to explore on your own in and around Bagan.
Overnight in Bagan.
Note: your hotel is located in New Bagan depending on the sites you wish to explore today you may walk or get a local taxi/tuk-tuk to get to your destination.
Day 6: Bagan - Heho - Nyaung Shwe - Red Mountain - Inle Lake (B)
This morning transfer to Airport for a flight to Heho.
From Heho a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images. You will also stop in Nyaung Shwe for a short walk around town and visit to the colourful market if it is being held that day.
Afterwards head to Red Mountain Winery for a tasting of locally produced reds and whites.
Upon reaching the edges of Inle Lake board a motorboat to head out to Inle Lake one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda the lake’s main sanctuary which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.
Take a short walk through one of the lakeside villages before checking in at your hotel. Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 7: Inle Lake (B)
Your guide will greet you at your hotel this morning to embark on your Inle Lake day trip. Board your private motorboat (on board are cushioned wooden chairs lifejackets umbrellas - for sun and wind protection and blankets in the winter months)
You will start with a visit to the morning market which rotates locations on a 5-day basis. (note: there are no markets on full moon or dark moon days) This daily market attracts people from all over the lake’s shores who gather to buy and sell their wares- if you are lucky you may see Pa-Oh Inthar and Shan people in their traditional outfits. Wander amid the stalls where your guide will explain the local produce and goods for sale.
Continue to Khaung Daing village on the lake’s western shores. This village is famous for its traditional Shan tofu - fried tofu crackers and folded triangular tofu treats. You’ll be able to watch (and perhaps participate!) as they sift the soy beans boil them mash them into balls then form tofu cakes to dry in the sun. You will also have a chance to visit the village monastery for a tea break and snacks. This is a fabulous taste of local life on Inle Lake.
Return to the main part of the lake and venture through small ‘streets’ as you make your way to a neighbourhood of stilted houses whose residents craft wooden boats. Depending on the time of year you will see traditional methods of boat building in various stages from the initial framework all the way to the final coat of paint.
Then return to Inle Lake and explore if time allows to the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand.
Continue along the lake for additional sightseeing before returning to your hotel this afternoon.
Overnight on Inle Lake.
Day 8: Inle Lake - Heho – Yangon (B)
This morning transfer to Heho Airport for your flight to Yangon.
Upon arrival visit Bogyoke Market formerly known as Scott’s Market where there is time to browse through the dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods.
(Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays).
Then transfer to hotel for check in. Later visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda home to a 70-meter long reclining Buddha. A visit to Kyaukhtatgyi provides a great overview of Buddhism with murals depicting the life of Buddha the feet of the statue carved with traditional symbols and often many locals gathering to pay homage and pray.
Next your guided tour goes to Kandawgyi Park one of central Yangon’s greenest spots. Here you will see the glittering Karaweik barge a replica of the royal barge and the vast lake with views of Shwedagon in the background. Depending on the day of your visit Kandawgyi may be busy with local families who come here on the weekend to relax in the fresh air.
From here continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear the local legend states that the original structure was built 2500 years ago then renovated several times until taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 meters tall and gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas and your guide will show you around the massive complex explaining why this temple is so revered. Enjoy breath taking views of the golden stupa from this vantage point.
Overnight in Yangon.
Day 9: Yangon (B)
After breakfast at your hotel transfer to International airport for your onward flight.
- Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room in Moderate First Class hotels
- Daily breakfast
- Professional English-speaking local guides (different guides in each destination)
- Porter fees at airports
- All transfers and excursions with air-conditioned vehicles
- Motorized boat in Inle Lake
- Ferry Boat from Mandalay to Bagan
- Horse cart tours in Bagan
- Entrance fees for the visits as mentioned in the program
- Water and refreshing towels
- Domestic flights (price subject to change)
- Meals other than mentioned
- Visa arrangements for Myanmar
- Visits not mentioned in the program
- Drinks and personal expenses
- Tips and porters at the hotels
- Early check in and late check out for hotels
- Any other items not mentioned
Note: The hotel selection may change – please use this as a guideline only
This itinerary is subject to changes without prior notice depending upon flight changes delays or cancellations weather and road conditions availability of rooms or any other unanticipated events.
The hotel selection may change – please use this as a guideline only
Accommodation based on the following or similar:
Yadanabon Dynasty Hotel (Superior room)
Bawga Theidi (Superior room)
Golden Island Cottages (Superior room)
Best Western Green Hill (Deluxe room)
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.