Visit Mandalay and the former Royal capitals | Explore the ancient temples of Bagan | Meet Kayan ‘long-necked’ women in Loikaw | Discover the stunning scenery of Inle Lake | Experience the splendor of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
Cultural Journey Through Myanmar
Who would love this tour?
The highlight of Burma’s Cultural Holiday
- Visit local communities in Mandalay and experience unique cultures during your two-week adventure.
- Explore ancient temples in archaeological Bagan, Myanmar’s famous UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Discover Kayah State, home to the famous Kayan ‘long-necked’ women, and interact with other ethnic groups in the region.
- Experience the watery world of Inle Lake where you can see unique floating villages in the middle of the lake.
- Admire sunset at Yangon’s iconic Shwedagon Pagoda and get lost in Yangon’s historic downtown with its distinct colonial architecture
We use Higher or Luxury hotels for our valuable clients to secure in every condition except under some experiential and local activities. If in case, the mentioned hotels are not available on your travel dates with valid reasons, then we will try to maintain alternative hotels which are at the same level.
- Yangon: 1 night at Inya Lake hotel
- Mandalay: 3 nights at Yadanarpon Dynasty hotel
- Bagan: 3 nights at Bagan hotel river view
- Kalaw: 1 night at Kalaw Heritage hotel
- Loikaw: 2 nights at Famous hotel
- Inle lake: 3 nights at Golden Island Cottages
Anyhow, if you do not satisfy the HOTEL we provide though we fitted the prime one in every destination, you are still welcome to address in advance upon your preferences.
Note: If your travel dates are fallen during X’s Mas and New Year, our tour price can be changed with the prior notice. If you have any more questions please contact us this email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Destinations in this tour
Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe)
Day 1 : Arrival to Mandalay
You will be picked up at Mandalay International Airport by our guide and transferred to your hotel for check-in (early check-in may be subject to a surcharge).
After freshening up, meet in the lobby to start your evening tour. First, explore Kuthodaw Pagoda, a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site, renowned for being home to the world’s largest book. Spend some time here learning about the story and scriptures from your knowledgeable guide. Then, head to Mandalay Hill nearby and ascend to the top at a height of 790 feet for a magnificent view over Myanmar’s second-largest city and former capital. The ascent is made with the assistance of a vehicle and escalators. From the top visitors can see the square of Mandalay’s former Royal Palace, several pagodas dotted around the area, and the Irrawaddy River running through agricultural land surrounding the city. It is a peaceful place where many friendly locals come to view the sunset.
After the sun has set return to your hotel for a good night’s sleep to recover from your international flight.
Day 2 : Mingun – Mandalay
Meal: (B, L)
This morning transfer from your hotel to the jetty and take a boat down to Mingun village on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. After a 45-minute scenic ride, you will arrive at Mingun pier from where you can view the Mingun Pahtodawgyi, an enormous stupa which would have been the biggest in the world if it was completed. Take some time to look around this magnificent site and then walk to the Mingun Bell, the world’s largest ringing bell, which is believed to weigh some 200,000 pounds. Crawl underneath the bell to crouch beneath this massive structure if you dare. Then continue on foot to the white-washed Hsinphymae Pagoda with its notable architecture and history. A visit to Mingun’s unique pagodas and historical relics will surely be one of the highlights of your time in Mandalay.
After discovering Mingun return to Mandalay by boat to learn about the city’s gold-leaf making industry, visit Mahamuni Pagoda, a marble workshop, and other handicraft shops.
Optional Activity: We can arrange for traditional Marionette artists to join you for the boat ride to and from Mingun. The traditional art of puppetry is one that is slowly dying so help safeguard the tradition and enjoy an extraordinary performance of Myanmar art. The artists will also provide an educational workshop by showing you how to manipulate the puppets like a professional. This interaction is guaranteed to give you a deep insight into local culture in the beautiful natural surroundings of the Irrawaddy River.
Note: The additional charge for this cultural activity puts money directly into the hands of the local artist (15000 Kyats per artist – there are usually four artists).
Day 3 : Ava-Sagaing-Amarapura
Meal: (B, L)
After breakfast embark on a full-day tour of the three ancient royal capitals surrounding Mandalay for a journey back in time: Ava, Sagaing, and Amarapura.
Start driving towards Ava where you will take a short boat ride across the river and board a horse-cart for a leisurely ride around the capital city from the 14th to the 18th century. Stop off for visits to the remains of the old wooden Bagaya Monastery and the famous Menu’ brick monastery. Then, return to the car and drive towards Sagaing, crossing a bridge over the Irrawaddy River. Sagaing is widely regarded as the religious center of Myanmar and this is evident upon observing the hundreds of white and gold Stupas covering the green of Sagaing hill – a truly enthralling representation of the importance of religion in this country. Sagaing is also home to more than 3,000 monks and over 100 meditation centers.
This afternoon the journey continues to Amarapura, the royal capital from 1783 until 1859. Highlights here include a visit to a traditional silk-weaving workshop and the world’s longest teak footbridge – U Bein Bridge, which crosses the shallow Taungthaman Lake. This is a fantastic place to take beautiful photos and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the bridge as the sun sets before returning to your hotel in Mandalay
Day 4 : Mandalay – Bagan
This morning continues your adventure from Mandalay to Bagan by private car (or take the option of going by boat if your travel date is between October and March). Making this journey by car takes approximately 4 hours (going by boat would take the entire day from 6.00 am to 5.00 pm) and gives you plenty of opportunities along the road to observe the life of local people outside of the cities in the various village you pass by. You will have the freedom to stop wherever you like along the way for a break or a scenic photograph. Traveling overland is an eco-friendly alternative to traveling between these two destinations by plane and does not take much more time in total.
You will arrive in Bagan in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to relax or explore independently. This ancient capital is famed for the thousands of temples on its plains and is one of Asia’s most stunning archaeological sites.
Overnight in Bagan.
Day 5 : Bagan
Meal: (B, L)
Start early this morning to avoid the heat for an exploration of the most beautiful and historically significant temples with your tour guide, who will give you detailed insights and stories about the most iconic sites, as well as the lesser-known areas that those without a guide would struggle to find. Highlights of the morning include Ananda Temple, one of Myanmar’s most revered temples, and Shwezigon Pagoda, a center of prayer and reflection.
During your tour of the temples, you will notice that it is now forbidden to climb the temples at this UNESCO World Heritage Site in order to help conserve them. Don’t worry though, your guide will take you to one of the other elevated viewpoints dotted around the temple complex for a panoramic view of this ancient site.
In the afternoon you will have a chance to visit a traditional lacquerware workshop and buy unique, finely-crafted, locally-produced handicrafts. Later on, enjoy a fantastic sunset from a boat on the Irrawaddy River with your guide who will happily point out sites from earlier in the day. This is the most relaxing and beautiful way to end a day in Bagan. Drinks and snacks will be served on board to create an unforgettable evening experience.
Day 6 : Bagan
Today is a free day for you to either continue exploring this gorgeous area by yourself or simply relax by the pool at your hotel and let your mind wander.
If you do choose to continue touring the temples and villages within the Bagan complex you can do so by e-bike (electric scooter), bicycle, or on your own two feet. E-bikes are a great way to get around without breaking too much of a sweat. They are also perfect for going down smaller paths which cars and buses cannot access. This allows you to get well off the beaten path and visit even more of the lesser-known sites of Bagan. Navigating your way around is quite straightforward and your hotel can provide a map.
End your memorable stay in Bagan with dinner at your hotel on the banks of the Irrawaddy River (on your own account).
Day 7 : Bagan – Kalaw
This morning transfer to Kalaw by public VIP Bus. The journey takes more or less 7 hours and is an eco-friendly alternative to flying. The bus ride includes at least one stop at a service station for a meal (on your own account) and to freshen up. Another advantage of traveling by road is the opportunity to meet local people who regularly travel around the country with this form of transport. Upon arrival in Kalaw, our representative will meet you at the bus stop point and he will lead you to the hotel where you will be spending the night. This evening is at your leisure to explore Kalaw on your own two feet (dependent on arrival time). Wrap up because it can get a bit chilly during the winter months.
Note: The public VIP Bus (sometimes called Express Bus) is very comfortable with air-conditioning and usually features reclining seats, and 2+1 or 1+1 seating (as opposed to the usual 2+2).
Day 8 : Kalaw – Loikaw
This morning you start the approximately 4-hour drive to Loikaw by private car. On the way, you will see villages along the road and you can make some stops depending on how you are feeling. You will pass by stunning viewpoints that offer fantastic opportunities for photography. Upon arrival in Loikaw, you will explore the main local attractions in this small city including Haw, the former palace of the Kayah Prince, the Kayah Museum to see some of the artifacts of this state, and famous Taung Kwe Pagoda, if time permits in the evening.
Stay overnight at a hotel in Loikaw.
Day 9 : Kayan Village
Meal: (B, L)
Today the sightseeing begins at 08:00 am.
Begin the day with a 30-minute drive to visit Demawso market (only open Mon, Weds and Sat). This local market attracts members of ethnic groups from the surrounding area to sell unique wares, including the local Kyaung-yay wine which is a must-try. Local women line up with batches of this homemade rice wine, all offering free samples to interested customers, eager to show that theirs is the best. After deciding on their favorite one, customers make their purchase, filling up containers brought from home.
Following the market visit, drive out into the countryside for a leisurely walk through local villages and farmland.
After an hour of easy walking, you will reach Pan Phet village. Most of the inhabitants of Pan Phet are from the Padaung tribe. The women of this tribe are famous for the many golden rings they wear around their necks. Although the tradition is dying out, most women over the age of 40 in the village can still be seen wearing these heavy accessories. Here you will enjoy a unique opportunity to interact with these ladies during a stroll through the village – learn about their culture and traditions, and answer any questions they have about yours. A few roadside stalls have opened to cater to visiting tourists so there will be a few chances to pick up some locally sourced souvenirs and refreshments, a good way to support the local community.
After leaving the village it will take an hour to walk back to the car and head for a late lunch.
During the late afternoon, we will head to a jetty on the outskirts of Loikaw. You will experience a private motorboat cruise on the Bilu River which meanders its way through the heart of the city and out into the countryside. We’ll pass under the city’s many bridges and witness locals washing clothes and bathing in the river before ending the 45-minute trip at Thatta Bilu village where our vehicle will be waiting to take us back into town.
Overnight in Loikaw.
Day 10 : Loikaw – Pekong – Sagar – Inle
Meal: (B, L)
This morning drive 30 minutes to Pekong where you will board a boat for a fantastic 2-hour journey to Sagar and Thakong villages on Sagar Lake. This relaxing boat journey takes you off the beaten path to see the unspoiled nature and traditional lifestyles of the ethnic groups in this region, namely the Pa-O, Shan, and Inthar. After visiting these two villages continue north to the beautiful and larger Inle Lake to check in to your hotel in Nam Pan village, where you will stay overnight in a unique stilted hotel (or similar), one of the highlights of a stay on Inle Lake.
Day 11 : Inle Lake with Local culinary chef
Meal: (B, L)
This morning, after an early breakfast at your hotel, a local chef will take you to the morning market to browse the wide range of local products on offer and pick up the most delicious ones, which will be taken to the chef’s very own house. Here, you will prepare a traditional Inn-Thar (the name given to the people from Inle Lake) lunch with guidance from the chef. After cooking the ingredients, sit down to enjoy your culinary feast. An aperitif of local wine will be served to help wash down the meal. This is sure to be an unforgettable half-day learning experience that informs you of the basics of Inn-Thar cooking along with the culinary culture of the local community.
With stomachs full, head back to your hotel to relax. Then, in the late afternoon before sunset, take a tour of Inle Lake’s famous floating gardens to witness first-hand the agricultural methods of local people living on the lake.
Day 12 : Inle Lake-Indein
Meal: (B, L, D)
After breakfast, our tour guide will lead you on a boat tour to Indein village, which is famous for its numerous and significant small pagodas located in picturesque surroundings on the west bank of Inle Lake. Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to take part in a soft trek to discover the rural life of the people that call Kyae Paw Khon village home.
In the afternoon, you will further explore this unique living lake, full of atmosphere and fishers simultaneously fishing and rowing while balancing on one leg. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, a famous shrine in the middle of the lake housing five sacred Buddha images that have become almost round in shape due to the sheer volume of gold leaf applied by devotees. Producing gold and silverware is a long tradition of local people in this area. Other work done here includes lotus weaving and cheroot making – you can visit the workshops producing these handicrafts to learn how they are made close-up. Take a break for lunch somewhere in the Lake and rest awhile at your hotel after lunch.
After your afternoon break, we will get back in the boat towards Inn Paw Khon village, a peaceful escape from the main part of the lake and its noisy motorized boats. In this village you will be able to take part in one of two optional activities:
Activity options of the afternoon: Settle down in this restaurant, you can take a relaxing canoeing trip on a quiet part of the Lake. Alternatively, you can learn from a local fisherman the unusual technique of one-leg rowing (if available), which involves impressive balance and has come to be the symbol of Inle Lake.
Note: The additional charges for these activities put money directly into the hands of a local family (approximately 10000 Kyats per person) and allow you to learn about local traditions.
After this immersive cultural experience enjoys watching the sunset from a nearby stilted restaurant as you sip on locally-made wine while enjoying a sumptuous dinner at the restaurant.
Return to the hotel after dinner and have well dream in your last night at the Inle Lake.
Day 13 : Inle- Heho – Yangon (flight)
Meal: (B, L)
This morning you will take a domestic flight to Yangon from Heho airport, around 1 hour from Inle Lake. A private car and local guide will pick you up at Yangon airport and first drop you off at your hotel (early check-in dependent on availability).
Then, go sightseeing in the colonial downtown area of Yangon. Sule Pagoda represents the center of downtown and is the point from which all distances in the country are calculated. Today’s tour is done on two feet and will take you around various British colonial-style buildings such as Yangon City Hall, Rowe & Co Building, Post Office, High Court Building, Rander House, Sofaer & Co. building, Myanmar Port Authority building and other historic attractions, each with a story of their own to tell about the city’s past. Then proceed to Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott’s Market, closed on Mondays & Public Holidays) which is the best place in town to go shopping for traditional items such as clothes, handicrafts, food, and gems, all with a fair price.
During the late afternoon, visit Shwedagon Pagoda to explore Myanmar’s most iconic landmark. Shwedagon is rich with distinctively Burmese symbolism and gives you an interesting insight into how Buddhism is practiced in Myanmar, from the basics of Theravada to the traditional belief in Nats, or spirits. You’ll find people praying at shrines, monks washing the images, offerings of fresh flowers, hundreds of candles, and a unique spiritual atmosphere.
Optional plan: Please request in advance if you would like your international departure flight to be from Mandalay to your destination (instead of Yangon). In this case, we will provide domestic flight tickets from Heho to Mandalay, airport pickup, and one-night accommodation in Mandalay. The next day we will provide airport transfer without tour guide in Mandalay.
Day 14 : Depart any time
Have your breakfast and enjoy some leisure time at your hotel to prepare for your departure.
We will arrange a transfer service to the airport (without tour guide) for your international departure flight.
include & exclude
What is included in this tour?
Items that are included in the tour price.
- 13 nights 3/4 stars accommodation with daily breakfast ( Twin/ double sharing based)
- All transfer and sightseeing by air-con car as mentioned in the itinerary
- Boat excursion trip from Mandalay to Mingun
- Sunset boat trip in Bagan
- Bagan to Kalaw bus tickets
- Intercity transfer by private car (Kalaw- Loikaw)
- Community visit in Kayah
- Boat trip from Phekon to Inle lake
- Cooking class experience in Inle lake
- Exploration by a private boat trip in Inle lake
- Domestic flights from Heho to Yangon
- Entrance fees for the visit places which mentioned in the itinerary
- English speaking (station) tour guide service for 10 days except for Day 4, 6,7 and 14)
- 1 dinner in Inle lake and 9 lunches during the trip as mentioned in itinerary B=breakfast, L-lunch, D=dinner
What is not included in this tour?
Items that are not included in the tour price.
- International air tickets and airport departure tax
- Meals & Beverages which are not mentioned
- Visa fees and arrangement
- Personal expenses and mini-bar charges at hotels
- Early check-in and late check-out charges
- Camera fees and other expenses not mentioned in the itinerary
- Any service on Day 6 in Bagan
- Transport for dinners
What is the cancellation policy for this tour?
All cancellations made by travelers will be charged as follows:
- Cancellation more than 45 days before the travel start date: there are no charges.
- Between 30– 45 days before the travel start date: 25% of the tour cost.
- Less than 30 days before the travel start date (or) No-show: 100% of the tour cost.
- The Government Tax (5%) is non-refundable.
Can I book this tour at the last minute?
We say yes, and but it is subject to availability. Advance booking is recommended for a better and secure arrangement. Please make Enquiry or Customized for this tour. Then we can get back to you with the information to help you book the tour.
What do I need to bring with me to do this tour?
We suggest you carry slipper and something to protect from the sun and the dust. Shorts or sleeveless tops and shoes are not allowed to enter the place of Pagodas and Religious area.
I am a solo traveler, can I book this tour?
We operate this tour privately as we, MUL considered to the privacy of the travelers and not sharing with other travelers. Our mentioned price is based on 2 passengers for a booking, but the solo traveler can still book this tour requesting for the solo price by email (email@example.com).
Is the vegetarian option available for this tour?
Yes, the Vegetarian option is available, please advise at the time of booking if required.
What is the best season to do this tour?
We have three seasons in Myanmar, October to February is Winter (cold) season with average temperatures 20-24 C, March to May is Summer (hot) season with average temperatures 30-35 C) and June to September is the Monsoon (rainy) season, with high rainfall and average temperatures 25-30 C.
We offer this tour all year round and the best season to do this tour is Winter season (Oct – Feb).
Can I extend my trip for longer days or more exploration?
Yes, We offer extension tour packages and/or other travel-related services depend on your request. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.