Starting from Mandalay, the old royal capital of Upper Burma, make your way up to Kachin State and the remote Indawgyi Lake where you can kayak, cycle and trek in the surrounding mountains. Kachin, Shan, Burmese and many other languages are spoken in these parts, reflecting the diversity and vastness Myanmar. Then head south to the thousands of temples on the plains of Bagan and the beautiful Shan Plateau.
Deluxe Hotel Supplement:
US$33 per day
Arrive in Mandalay. After checking in at your hotel, visit the last royal palace of the Konbaung dynasty and recount the days of Thibaw and his queen, Supayalat, before they were expelled by the British into India. Visit the sacred Mahamuni Pagoda and receive a blessing for auspicious travels. Squeeze in a quick turn around Kuthodaw Pagoda that houses the largest book in the world and then climb the 1729 steps up Mandalay Hill to be rewarded with a stunning sunset over the city.
Head to the south of Mandalay, taking a stroll down the longest teak bridge in the world, the iconic U Bein bridge in Amarapura. The town of Amarapura is full of textiles stores and small metal works factories, where you can watch master craftsmen cast Buddha statues in bronze or visit a weaving factory to see how fabrics are made.
At Inwa, you can take a horse and cart around the quiet meandering roads that once made up a powerful kingdom’s capital city. Stop by at the Bagaya Kyaung, a living monastery that is still the centre of many local activities, including lively games of football in the afternoons; it’s a real pleasure to watch everyone come out to support their teams, and even the novice monks forget their strict codes to cheer the players on.
Depart from Mandalay in the morning for the Kachin capital, Myitkyina, a melting point of the ethnic groups in the north of Myanmar - as well as people from further afield, such as the city’s large Gurkha community. The town’s Strand Road is a bustling hub of activity with a colourful riverside market to explore during the day, and finish off with a drink and a meal at one of the Myitkyina’s riverside restaurants.
Spend the next day exploring the town further and heading up river to the scenic confluence of the Malikha and Maykah rivers at Myitsone, where the mighty Irrawaddy River begins.
Set out early for the drive to Lonton village on Indawgyi Lake, Myanmar’s largest body of water – and a remote, back-to-basics nature lovers’ paradise.
Kayak from Lonton to the beautiful Shwe Myitzu Pagoda, which is surrounded by the waters of the lake, and take the opportunity to motorbike or cycle around the fishing villages that line Indwawgyi’s shores. Bird watchers will be thrilled as this region is one of the most diverse in Southeast Asia, with thousands of migratory birds flocking here each season, as well as large numbers of indigenous species.
Head back to Myitkyina and fly back Mandalay, then take a car ride up to the former colonial summer retreat of Pyin U Lwin. Check out the botanical gardens and Candacraig, a former officer’s chummery made famous by Paul Theroux’s travelogue, The Great Railway Bazaar.
Follow in the steps of Paul Theroux and catch a train from Pyin U Lwin over the spectacular Gokteik Viaduct. Then head on to Hsipaw, a traditional and laid-back town nestled in the cool hills of Shan State. Hsipaw offers excellent trekking opportunities and a chance to meet with many of the various ethnic and cultural groups that make up this part of Myanmar.
Travel by car from Hsipaw back to Mandalay through the scenic Shan hills, in time for dinner by the Mandalay Palace moat.
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 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 to people back home. Arrive in Bagan in time for one of its famously stunning sunsets.
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 to get around the plains. The area is renowned for its lacquerware, so schedule an afternoon visit to one of the local shops.
We can arrange hot-air balloon rides that will give you spectacular sunrise views of the Bagan plain (to be booked in advance at additional cost).
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.
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. Finish up your day with sunset wine tasting at Red Mountain Estate vineyard and then dinner on the lakeshore.
Depart Heho to Yangon, for an afternoon of sightseeing and an evening visit to the heart of Myanmar’s Buddhist life – the dazzling Shwedagon Pagoda. Try out somesweet laphayet (Myanmar tea) at one of the many downtown tea shops and pair it with some fresh ee char kway, a deep fried dough snack to be really naughty on the last day of your tour. Walk it off by wandering the streets of downtown and admire the colonial architecture. There’s also time left for those last minute presents at the famous Bogyoke Market before you head home.
Would you like to extend your tour to the beautiful and relaxing Ngapali Beach? 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|
|Mandalay - Hotel Rama||Mandalay - Mandalay Hill Resort|
|Myitkyina – Xing Xian Hotel||Myitkyina - Xing Xian Hotel|
|Indawgyi Lake - IndawMaHar guest house||Indawgyi Lake - IndawMaHar guest house|
|Pyin U Lwin - Royal Park View Hotel||Pyin U Lwin - The Governor’s House|
|Hsipaw - Mr. Charles Guest House||Hsipaw - Hsipaw Riverside 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|
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.