Crossing from China’s beautiful Yunnan Province, this tour will take you along roads little seen by foreigners, through bustling trade towns on the Shan Plateau, through colonial hill stations and on extraordinary railway journeys. Take a trip down the Irrawaddy River and wend your way through gigantic, pagoda-filled plains and beautiful lakes to a pristine beach on the Bay of Bengal.
This tour is currently unavailable as the overland border with China is temporarily closed.
Deluxe Hotel Supplement:
US$13 per day
Cross the border from China into Myanmar itself (for which you will need advanced permits that we will arrange), then take the road through the beautiful, winding roads of the northern Shan hills to the town of Lashio; you may be well inside Myanmar now, but this fascinating trading post has a large Chinese population. Visit the Mansu Pagoda, which offers a panoramic views of Lashio and the surrounding hills, and then head south westwards to Hsipaw.
A charming and laid-back town located high in the hills, Hsipaw’s quiet, dusty streets, traditional buildings and trekking opportunities make it a special place; there are numerous shrines in the area, including the atmospheric collection of pagodas to its north, dubbed ‘Little Bagan’; a hilltop pagoda with lovely views over the town and its valley; and a huge Chinese cemetery. Or you can ride around by bicycle to get to the waterfalls, fresh water pools and rock formations of the surrounding hills, witnessing the lives of local farmers in their paddy fields and banana plantations.
Taking the train westwards to Pyin U Lwin makes for one of the most memorable railway journeys in Asia; the route was made famous by Paul Theroux in his books The Great Railway Bazaar and later Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, and takes in the towering Gokteik Viaduct. When completed in 1900, it was the largest steel trestle in the world and a true engineering triumph.
Pyin U Lwin is a picturesque hill station that was a summer playground for the colonial elite of old Burma. Grab a bicycle and cruise around or jump aboard a colourful local horse and cart taxi – working relics of bygone days. Ride to the botanical gardens and admire this green and beautifully maintained English-style area. Pyin U Lwin is also renowned for its pretty waterfalls, which offer a chance for a refreshing dip.
Descend 1,000m from the Shan Plateau to Mandalay by car. Take a look at Mandalay Palace and visit the Mahamuni Buddha. Originally from Rakhine State, it is focal point at one of the most revered temples in the country; men are allowed to stick gold leaf alms on the sacred deity to bring luck. The temple is also a fantastic place to purchase hand-crafted souvenirs at bargain prices. At sunset, take a stroll down the longest teak bridge in the world, the iconic U Bein bridge in Amarapura.
The following day, explore Inwa (the former Court of Ava) by horse and cart, a formerly glorious capital that is now a peaceful and scenic area full of paddy fields and pea farms. Stop at the Bagaya Kyaung, built in 1834 and is still a living monastery and see the Nanmyin Watchtower, once the centerpiece of the palace complex. Finish the day amongst the pagoda-studded hills of Sagaing, across the mighty Irrawaddy River from Inwa, and home to many living monasteries that offer views of the river below.
Start early and have complimentary breakfast on the boat to Bagan; enjoy the beautiful Irrawaddy riverside views and take this time to relax, read a book or write those postcards back home. We recommend you bring warm clothing for the early morning and sun protection as the day grows hotter. Arrive in Bagan in time for one of its famously stunning sunsets.
Start a full day exploring at the Ananda pagoda, dating from the 12th century and famed for its gilded sikhara tower at the top of its structure. Gubyaukgyi pagoda has extensive murals of the Buddha in his previous lives. Choose from bicycle, car or horse and cart to get around the thousands of temples on the plains. Bagan is also renowned for its lacquerware and artisan crafts, which make perfect souvenirs or gifts. In the afternoon, climb up the Gawdawpalin or Bupaya pagodas for perfect panorama views.
On your second day in the area, head south east of Bagan to explore the spectacular monastery at Mount Popa, which sits precariously on top of a volcanic plug. In the evening, enjoy some Myanmar wine over dinner by the pagodas back in Bagan.
Fly to Heho airport and transfer via car to characterful Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. If you go for the superior hotel option, a boat will take you to your hotel on the lake (standard hotels are in the Nyaung Shwe). There will be plenty of time in the afternoon to relax or for sightseeing around the lake to see the local Intha fishermen employing their traditional one-leg rowing technique and finish up your day with sunset wine tasting at Red Mountain Estate vineyard.
After breakfast the next day, visit the ancient lakeside stupas at Indein and see handicrafts in Nampan village. If the time is right, see the floating markets that are a photographer’s dream.
Fly to Yangon from Heho airport.
Take a quick walk around the colonial streets of downtown Yangon and then head by car to relax in total tranquility at Ngwe Saung, one of the many stunning strips of sand on the Bay of Bengal coast. Spend two full days enjoying the sun and eating all the fresh seafood you can. Snorkelling and fishing trips to outer islands can be organised, as well as evening campfires on the beach.
Would you like to extend your tour to the untouched Myeik Archipelago? 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|
|Hsipaw - Mr. Charles Guest House||Hsipaw - Hsipaw Riverside Resort|
|Pyin U Lwin - Royal Park View Hotel||Pyin U Lwin - The Governor’s House|
|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|
|Yangon - Clover Hotel||Yangon - Chatrium Hotel|
|Ngwe Saung - Eskala Hotel Resort||Ngwe Saung - Aureum Palace Hotel|
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). Larger groups will pay less per person, single person purchase will mean a higher price.