Start and finish your explorations of Myanmar in incredible Yangon, rapidly developing but still packed with beautiful pagodas, astounding giant Buddhas and countless historical sites.. There are plenty of opportunities to get in touch with the people and culture in your ample free time. Try our Urban Adventures in Yangon, Bagan or Mandalay for river tours, exploring after dark, local food and community visits.. Tour the ancient city of Bagan by bicycle or float high above the spectacle of stupas in a hot air balloon. There are multiple magical ways to see this astonishing site and it’s thousands of temples and pagodas.. Spend a full day waking through the hills and villages of Kalaw, getting up-close and personal with the culture of rural Myanmar.
Myanmar is a country with a deep and fascinating culture. Beginning and ending in Yangon, discover the spiritual heavyweight of Shwedagon Pagoda, journey through Bagan and its thousands of pagodas, cross the longest teak bridge in the world near Mandalay and enjoy life lakeside at Inle Lake, where floating markets, leg-rowing fishermen and ethnic minorities make for a unique destination. Mix in delicious food, breathtaking landscapes and people both curious and welcoming, and you have a place that will keep you coming back for more.
TRIP UPDATES FOR 2019:
Due to a decline in tourism we are unfortunately no longer able to offer our current full range of trips in all styles in Myanmar. From 1st January 2019 this Basix trip will be discontinued. For other trips to Myanmar in Original or Comfort style, please see our Best of Myanmar (TTSM), Myanmar Highlights (TRSH) or Classic Myanmar (TTKA) trips.
Breakfast Included: 12 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included:
Min Gala Ba! Welcome to Myanmar. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader.
If you have free time to explore before the meeting, we recommend stepping out onto the chaotic streets of Yangon. Once Myanmar’s capital, Yangon is still the country’s major city. See its beautiful skyline studded with the golden Shwedagon Paya temple. If you have the full day free, consider booking an Urban Adventure to see more of the city with an experienced local guide. Or explore at your own pace, and check out sites like the bustling Bogyoke Market, and the peaceful Kandawgyi Lake.
Catch an early morning transfer to the public bus station. Travel by public bus from Yangon to Bagan (approximately 10 hours). There will be 2 drivers on board, and scheduled breaks for lunch and in the afternoon. You can let your leader know if you need to make any extra rest breaks. Arrive in Bagan in the evening and check into your hotel. Stretch your legs after a long travel day by tracking down Bagan's best laphet (tea leave salad) or mohinga (rice noodle broth) at a nearby restaurant.
Enjoy a full free day to explore the sites of Bagan. The archaeological site is where Theravada Buddhism was introduced to the Kingdom of Bagan and was once the site of 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. Today, the ancient city still has over 2,000 brick and gilded ruins and is a stunning sight to behold.
Enjoy another free day to experience all that beautiful Bagan has to offer. Perhaps have a browse at the nearby Nyaung U Market and sample some of the local food stalls, or hire a bicycle and visit the many large and impressive archaeological sites and temples around Bagan, such as Dhammayangyi Pahto and Shwesandaw Paya. You can also pay a visit to the village of Kyunkalay, where you can enjoy lunch with a local family and learn how ActionAid Myanmar is using responsible tourism to improve local infrastructure and living conditions. Another great option is a sunset river cruise and picnic beside the Ayeyarwady River, the country's largest river and most important commercial waterway. Your leader can help you book any of these activities locally.
Board a public ferry before dawn and cruise up the Ayeyarwady River to Mandalay. Depending on the daily schedule, the ferry departs at either 5:00am, 6:30am or 7:00am. You'll likely spend most of the day on deck watching riverside life go by, a wonderful way to experience local life. Some ferries also have a cafe/bar on the upper deck for drinks and simple meals, but you may also like to bring your own food with you. Arrive at Mandalay at 5:30 pm and transfer to a simple hotel where you’ll be staying for the next two nights.
Join your group leader for a half day walking tour around Mandalay. Once known as The Golden City, Mandalay was the last capital of the former Kingdom of Myanmar. The afternoon is free to continue exploring this amazing city. Perhaps see the city by taking a local van or bus to Mahamuni Buddha Temple, an important pilgrimage site famous for its 2000-year-old golden Buddha statue. You may also like to visit the nearby cottage industries where gold leaf is made or go to Shwe In Bin Kyaung, the intricately carved teak monastery. In the evening, perhaps head to Mandalay Hill for a sunset view over the town, or see a puppetry or dance performance at the Mandalay Marionettes or Mintha Theatre.
Rise early this morning, and travel to Kalaw by private bus along the Great Road of China – the new superhighway built by the Chinese (approximately 8 hours). On the way you'll stop in at the impressive U Bein Bridge. At 1.2km long it is the world’s longest teak bridge. Kalaw is located in the mountains of Shan state and features stunning scenery.
Today head to the hills and explore the villages, farms and forests in the area near Kalaw. Kalaw provides welcome relief from the heat of Myanmar's low-lying areas and is home to various ethnic minority groups, including the Palaung, Danu and Pa-O, as well as Indians and Nepalese who moved here during the British rule. You'll stop for a simple lunch at one of these local villages.
Enjoy some free time this morning to see some more of the sights of Kalaw, including more beautiful Buddhist pagodas and the local market. In the afternoon, travel by bus for about three hours to Inle Lake. The calm waters of Inle Lake are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities. They live in stilt houses along the lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas.
Take a day to settle into lakeside life at your own pace. Perhaps take a boat trip out on the lake to pay a visit to the floating market, which circles the lake every five days, and encounter the various tribal people who converge at the marketplace.
Enjoy a free day at Inle Lake. Perhaps you’d like to visit the morning market at Mingala and later in the day, head to Nyuangshwe's oldest Buddhist monastery, Yadana Man Aung Paya. There's also a traditional puppet show held in town every evening.
Bid farewell to the splendour of Shan state and make your way to the airport in Heho. From here, take a one-hour flight back to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. After settling into the hotel, your leader will take you on an afternoon walking tour of downtown Yangon. Later in the afternoon, head out and see Shwedagon Paya. One of Buddhism's most sacred sites, the Golden Pagoda is adorned with 27 metric tonnes of gold leaf, along with thousands of diamonds and other gems. It is believed that the Pagoda holds eight hairs of the Gautama Buddha as well as other precious relics. Perhaps celebrate your final night in Myanmar with a group dinner.