The far north of Myanmar is a vast and remote wilderness rarely visited by foreigners. Take the opportunity to see the highest mountains in Southeast Asia and witness fascinating tribal cultures around the town of Putao, virtually untouched by modern civilisation. Then head south to the thousands of pagodas on the plains of Bagan, beautiful Inle Lake and bustling Yangon.
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Deluxe Hotel Supplement:
US$37 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.
Depart from Myitkyina for the flight to Putao. Situated in the far north of Myanmar, and only accessible by air, Putao is a small and picturesque town with mostly ethnic Kachin and Lisu population, from which you can see the Himalayas on the far horizon. For the truly adventurous, there are some serious trekking, mountaineering and white water rafting opportunities in the surrounding mountains.
This itinerary is based 4 day/3 night visit to Putao, but there are other shorter and longer options available here – to find out more, fill out the ‘Any further queries’ box after you have clicked on the ‘Book Tour’ button. Note that travel options are restricted by the days on which there are flights to and from Putao, and accommodation is shut during the low season (May-Sep).
Fly from Putao to Mandalay for some more exploration of the city and dinner by 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 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 for your preferred mode of transport around 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 pagoda 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.
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|
|Putao - Putao Trekking House||Putao - Putao Trekking House|
|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). Larger groups will pay less per person, single person purchase will mean a higher price.