Myanmar’s ancient cities were once sophisticated centres of trade, commerce and religious importance that garnered the envy of empires from as far away as Europe. Discover the country’s rich cultural and archeological heritage on this tour of the centres that once ruled vast kingdoms.
Deluxe Hotel Supplement:
US$52 per day
Yangon was made capital of Burma by the British and served as the country's political centre until 2005. It remains the country's biggest and most bustling city - so throw yourself into the fray at Yangon’s geographic heart, the 2,200-year old Sule Pagoda, before making your way to Pansodan Street, where you can take in the charm the colonial architecture or chat to lively street vendors selling their second-hand books and treasures.
Head south towards the historic Strand Hotel where you can enjoy a cold beverage just like the literary greats, George Orwell and Somerset Maugham. In the evening, head to the religious heart of Myanmar – the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda.
Depart Yangon for the drive to Pyay. Head to Myanmar’s only UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, the ancient Pyu capital of Sri Ksetra. Considered one of the more important archaeological sites of Therevada Buddhism in the country, this ancient compound is host to iconic landmarks like the Baw Baw Gyi Pagoda, the the oldest buddhist monument, the Be Be Gyi Pagoda, and the Hmawzar museum which contains a plethora of relics .
At the end of the day, return to Pyay for the evening.
Begin the day at the gleaming Shwesandaw Pagoda, located on a hilltop in the centre of town. One of Myanmar's largest pilgrimage sites, this relgious landmark offers spectacular panoramic views of the Irrawaddy River and Pyay's hilly surroundings. Then drive back to Yangon, and stay there for the evening.
Fly to Mandalay,the last royal capital of Burma, visit Mandalay Palace and observe the rituals of the Buddha washing ceremony at the Mahamuni Pagoda (if you can get up at 4am); the Mahamuni Buddha is one of the most revered in the country. The pagoda is also a fantastic place to purchase hand-crafted souvenirs at bargain prices.
How big’s your bell? In the afternoon, embark on a boat up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun, an ancient village host to the heaviest and largest reputed working bell in the world. If you’ve worked up a hunger wandering the small town of Mingun and its massive unfinished stupa, reward yourself by purchasing some freshly steamed corn on one of the many roadside stalls – it’ll be the sweetest you’ve tried. Back to Mandalay and enjoy the sunset along Irrawaddy River by boat. Overnight at hotel in Mandalay.
After a hearty breakfast, set out to explore the ancient capitals surrounding Mandalay! Begin with Amarapura and Inwa, capitals of ancient Myanmar during the 14th-16th and 17the-18th centuries, respectively. Explore the remnants of old glory and soak up the serenity of the sleepy little enclaves that were once grand kingdoms. In Amarapura, walk across the beautiful and unique U Bein Bridge, believed to be the longest of its type in the world. Visit the bronze casting workshops to see how Buddha statues are made and further down the road walk through a time-honoured textiles quarter.
Ride through Inwa (also known as Ava) on a traditional horse and cart, stopping at the Bagaya Kyaung, a nearly 200 year-old monastery, and the Nanmyin Watchtower, one of the best-preserved remains of the original Mandalay Palace.
A short drive across the Irrawaddy River is the stupa-studded hills of Sagaing, home to hundreds of white, silver and gold pagodas and monasteries which offer stunning vistas of the river below.
Overnight at hotel in Mandalay.
It’s an early start from Mandalay to Bagan, and it can get quite chilly in the early morning so come prepared with some warmer gear. Enjoy your breakfast on the boat and make sure to pack your camera to capture beautiful Irrawaddy riverside scenes. There are some quieter stretches on the water so this is a perfect time to catch up on some reading or write those postcards. Arrive in Bagan in time for one of its famously stunning sunsets.
Lunch will be served on boat.
Start a full day exploring Bagan at the Ananda pagoda, dating from the 12th century and famed for its gilded sikhara tower. Gubyaukgyi pagoda has extensive murals of Buddha in his previous lives and the Gawdawpalin or Bupaya pagodas are great for sunsets. Choose from bicycle, horse and cart or minibus tours for your preferred mode of transport around Bagan. The area is renowned for its lacquerware, so schedule an afternoon visit to one of the local shops.
We can arrange a hot air balloon ride that will give you spectacular sunrise views of the Bagan plain (must be booked in advance, at additional cost).
Depart in the morning and fly to Heho airport. From the airport, drive to Nyaung Shwe, the vibrant village closest to Inle Lake. On the way, stop for lunch and a wine tasting at Red Mountain Vineyards, sampling their Sauvignon Blanc while taking in the expansive vista from a shaded terrace.
After lunch, board a boat on Inle Lake. Cruise to Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda, one of the lakes most famous and holy attractions, and Inpawkhon, a village internationally renowned for its weaving of lotus silk. The boat journey is plentiful with sightseeing opportunities around the lake, including witnessing the local Intha fishermen employing their traditional one-leg rowing technique. Overnight in Inle Lake.
Drive to the southwest of the Inle Lake to Indein, a village famous for its crumbling and atmospheric groups of ancient pagodas. Across bamboo walkways and rickety bridges over the many canals running throughout, these 17th century pagodas stand in various degress of preservation and ruin, a mythical collision of past and present. Stroll through at your leisure. In the evening, enjoy the one of Myanmar's most stunning sunsets, in a boat on Inle Lake. After sunset, disembark. Overnight in Nyaung Shwe.
After breakfast, transfer to Heho Airport and fly to Yangon for final sightseeing opportunities and departure. Try out some sweet laphayet (Myanmar tea) at one of the many downtown teashops on your final day in the country; pair it with some fresh ee char kway, a deep-fried dough snack that is somehow is the perfect marriage. Walk it off by wandering the streets and there may be time to pick up last-minute presents at Bogyoke Market before transferring to Yangon International Airport for the flight home.
Would you like to extend your tour to the beautiful and relaxing Ngapali Beach or the haunting ruins of the ancient capital of Mrauk U? Our travel advisors will be able to arrange this for you, along with any other travel, accommodation or activity requirements you may have. Just fill out the ‘Any further queries’ box after you have clicked on the ‘Book Tour’ button.
|Standard hotels||Deluxe hotels|
|Yangon - Clover Hotel||Yangon - Chatrium Hotel|
|Pyay - Mingalar Garden Resort||Pyay - Mingalar Garden Resort|
|Mandalay - Hotel Rama||Mandalay - Mandalay Hill Resort|
|Bagan - Floral Breeze Hotel||Bagan - Bagan Lodge|
|Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe) - Hupin Hotel||Inle Lake - Amata Garden Resort|
To get prices for this tour with luxury accommodation or basic accommodation, please enter a query in the ‘Any further queries’ field when you submit your tour booking form (link below).
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The above itinerary is indicative and some details may change according to conditions and availability; you will always be informed of such changes.
There may be changes to estimated prices depending on air fuel cost, domestic airfares, US$ exchange rates and festive season surcharge. All supplemental cost to be advised.
 Price per person based on two person tour (twin hotel room sharing basis) during high season (October to April). Larger groups will pay less per person, single person purchase will mean a higher price.