Despite Buddhists making up the majority of the population, Myanmar remains a country of great religious diversity. Taking this tour, you will find not only cities and central plains scattered with golden pagodas as far as the eye can see, but also quiet rural backwaters of ancient tribal beliefs and deep Christian faith – as well as the mosques, Hindu temples and synagogue in bustling Yangon.
Deluxe Hotel Supplement:
US$38 per day
After checking into your hotel, wander around downtown Yangon, taking in the Muslim, Chinese and British colonial architecture that make up this vibrant city. Witness Yangon’s many Buddhist monuments, including Sule Pagoda, the hollow Botataung Pagoda, and the massive, dazzling Shwedagon Pagoda. There are also many churches dotted around the area, including the St Mary’s Cathedral and St John the Baptist, an Armenian church which is the oldest in Yangon. Around the corner, find a synagogue, numerous mosques and Hindu temples.
Discover the Golden Rock at Mount Kyaiktiyo, one of the three most sacred sites in Myanmar. The rock appears to defy gravity by delicately balancing on the edge of the 1,100m mountain; you will stay at a hotel at its summit, offering magnificent views of the area.
Drive on eastwards to Hpa An, the charming and laid back capital of Karen State. The dramatic limestone karst mountain scenery of the surrounding area offers much to explore, including lush paddy fields; pagodas that sit atop strange rock formations; natural pools; and, best of all, a number of huge caves, which hold religious significance that date back many hundreds of years. The following day, you will hike up the sacred and monolithic Mount Zwegabin, which offers a good work out (particularly in the heat!) and immensely satisfying vistas when you reach the famous monastery at the mountain peak.
After your exertions on Zwegabin, take a relaxing boat trip down the Salween River to Mawlamyine, the tropical capital of Mon state and one-time administrative centre of British Burma. This quiet city has many colonial buildings lining its streets and a magnificent pagoda with views of the surrounding area – it was a short visit here that inspired Rudyard Kipling to write his famous poem Mandalay.
Visit the gigantic reclining Buddha at Mudon and (time permitting) check out the rustic Bilu Island, located across the water from Mawlamyine and home to a variety of local shops offering fine handicrafts.
Fly up to Bagan and begin the day exploring the Ananda pagoda, dating from the 12th century and famed for its gilded sikhara tower at its peak; choose from bicycle, car or horse and cart for your preferred mode of transport around the temples. The area is renowned for its lacquerware and artisan crafts, which make perfect souvenirs or gifts. Later in the day, climb the Gawdawpalin or Bupaya pagodas for perfect sunset panorama views of the temples and plain.
Drive 8 hours west of Bagan to the small Chin mountain town of Kanpetlet and wander around the simple churches and homesteads of this quiet rural backwater; you will stay at one of the eco lodges higher up the mountain. The next day you make the straightforward hike up Mount Victoria (known as Nat Ma Taung in Burmese or Khonuamthung in the local Chin language), witnessing beautiful mountain vistas and variety of colourful flora on the way.
The next stop is the Mindat, dramatically perched on a mountain ridge. Here, you will find members of the indigenous Dai, Upu and Ya tribes, of which the older womenfolk all have distinctive full facial tattoos; despite beliefs rooted in animism, most of the locals have deep Christian faith, belonging to a number of different churches. Explore the local market and mountainside villages and then return to Bagan for the chance to explore some more temples and enjoy some Myanmar wine over dinner by the pagodas.
Fly to Mandalay and visit the last royal palace of the Konbaung dynasty, recalling the days of Thibaw and his queen, Supayalat, before they were expelled to India by the British. Just to the south of Mandalay, take 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. Across the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay, the Mingun Bell is reputed to be the heaviest and largest working bell in the world. If you’ve worked up a hunger wandering around 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.
Fly to Heho airport and transfer via car to the characterful town of 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 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.
Return to Yangon and take in more opportunities for sightseeing. 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 somehow is the perfect marriage. Walk it off by wandering the streets of downtown and there may be time for those last minute presents at Bogyoke Market before you head home.
Would you like to extend your tour the haunting ruins of Mrauk U or 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 for above program||Deluxe hotels for above program|
|Yangon - Clover Hotel||Yangon - Chatrium Hotel|
|Mount Kyaiktiyo - Mountain Top Hotel||Mount Kyaiktiyo - Mountain Top Hotel|
|Hpa An - Hotel Zwekabin||Hpa An - Hpa An Lodge|
|Mawlamyine - Attran Hotel||Mawlamyine - Strand Hotel|
|Bagan - Floral Breeze Hotel||Bagan - Bagan Lodge|
|Kanpetlet - Mount Oasis Resort (Kanpetlet)||Kanpetlet - Sky Palace Villa|
|Mindat - Mount Oasis Resort (Mindat)||Mindat - Mount Oasis Resort (Mindat)|
|Mandalay - Hotel Rama||Mandalay - Mandalay Hill Resort|
|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). Larger groups will pay less per person, single person group will mean a higher price.