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U Bein Bridge at sunset, Burma, Asia

Best of Burma

14-day tailor-made journey from £4,015 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Whether it’s floating past stilted markets, a jeep drive to remote villages or a horse drawn cart tour of the country’s royal capital heritage, this itinerary is a comprehensive map of Myanmar’s highlights

Highlights

  • Between world-wonder sights and unique cultures you’ll experience Myanmar at its authentic best
  • Indulge your senses with Mandalay’s rich heritage, Bagan’s lost empire vistas, Yangon’s historically-charged energy and Inle Lake’s vast shimmering beauty
  • On floats past stilted markets, jeep drives to remote villages, horse drawn cart tours of royal capitals and a luxury river cruise, you’ll explore it all on hand-picked excursions

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Yangon
  • 3 Nights Inle Lake
  • 2 Nights Mandalay
  • 2 Nights Luxury River Cruise Mandalay-Bagan
  • 2 Nights Bagan

About

Recommended for:
Activity adventure | City | History & culture | Natural world

Showcase Myanmar’s rich heritage, world-wonder sights and fascinating culture on this fortnight-long itinerary that spans a hand-picked collection of unique experiences. Make your introductions in Yangon where guided tours and a Circle Train trip will guide you between giant golden pagodas and colonial hangovers before you fly north to Inle Lake. Here, a handcrafted resort will be your jetty to explore shimmering waters, host to floating villages and watched over by ancient pagodas.

Your next flight hop will bring you to Mandalay where you’ll explore its royal capital surrounds; there’s Ava’s island fortresses, Sagaing’s gold-speckled hills and Amarapura’s record-breaking teak bridge. After taking it all in from Mandalay’s eponymous hill and sacred monasteries, a luxury cruise will then bring you down the Irrawaddy’s fabled waters to Bagan. A highlight to any trip east, you’ll push through verdant plains to summit some of its thousand-strong cast of temples, stupas and pagodas, some of which date back to the 10th century. You’ll also have the rare opportunity to head off the beaten track on a jeep excursion that calls into remote villages and craft workshops.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
UK/Yangon

Depart the UK on an overnight flight, arriving in Yangon the following day.

Day 2
Yangon

Arriving into Myanmar’s largest city, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. Later, your driver and guide will bring you into the city centre for its myriad architectural and historical treasures. Start at the colonial post office before walking to Sule Paya, a giant golden pagoda that marks the city centre. Along the way, you’ll pass the Strand Hotel and its stonework detailing, the verdant Mahabandoola Garden and the impressive Independence Monument. You’ll then finish with Little India and Chinatown’s colourful cacophony of restaurants, temples and markets.

Stay: The Savoy, Yangon (Superior)

Day 3
Yangon

Your full-day city tour will begin with Shwedagon Pagoda. If Sule Paya is impressive, this is doubly so, rising almost 100 metres above the city and entirely resplendent in nearly 30 tons of gold leaf. After taking in the city views, move on to visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda and its giant reclining Buddha. Here, you’ll gain an insight into the nation’s religion – Theravada Buddhism – before continuing on to a more recognisable part of life, the humble Burmese tea stop. You’re next leg will then see you to the National Museum whose artefacts span 19th century kingly dynasties, archaeological treasures and artistry from throughout the country’s rich history. Before a visit to some of the city’s famous, highly-energised markets, you’ll stop for a breather at Kandawagyi Park and on a Circle Train tour of the city’s lesser-visited suburbs.

Stay: The Savoy, Yangon (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 4
Pindaya/Inle Lake

Board a flight to Heho where a scenic drive through the mountain fields of the Shan Plateau will bring you to the magnificent Pindaya Caves. Home to thousands of Buddha images, labyrinthine chambers are carved out of a limestone ridge, overlooking a picturesque lake. You’ll also have a chance to learn about the local paper crafts with a house visit before you move on to the century-old Sing-gaung Monastery. Finish the day by driving to Nyaungshwe – Inle Lake’s largest village and the former capital of the Shan kings – where you’ll board a boat to transfer to your waterside accommodation.

Stay: Inle Princess Resort, Inle Lake (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 5
Inle Lake

Your next full day tour will take you – via boat cruises and lakeside drives – to wooden monasteries, complete with intricate Buddha carvings, and across the lake itself. Here, a private motorboat will bring you alongside the Inthar people that punt using their legs to reach fishing spots, floating gardens and stilted villages. You’ll also stop off at PhaungDaw Oo Pagoda, the lake's main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images and the royal barges used during the pagoda's annual festival. Compare it to the more humble beauty of the local crafts on offer at your next stop – a lotus flower weaving workshop and a cheroot factory where cigars are still hand rolled.

Stay: Inle Princess Resort, Inle Lake (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 6
Inle Lake

Wake early for a morning market visit where you’ll see the Pa-oh, Inthar and Shan peoples – sometimes in traditional dress – congregate on the lakeshores. From here, journey by canal on to Indein where you’ll have some time to explore on foot, visit a local school and walk among Alaung Sitthou, a stunning collection of ancient stupas. From here, summit a short staircase to views out over the town to the lake beyond. Should time allow, stop at Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake's indigenous people and enjoy a coffee and cake snack.

Stay: Inle Princess Resort, Inle Lake (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 7
Inle Lake/Mandalay

Transfer back to Heho to fly north to Mandalay where you’ll start with Mahamuni Pagoda, home to one of the country’s most revered Buddha images. In deference, devotees have kept adding gold leaf to it, giving the image an almost lumpy texture. However, the city is better known for its more skilled craftsmen who you’ll meet on a tour of the city’s cottage industries. Watch as wood carvings, tapestry weavings and gold leaf work results in intricately detailed pieces. You’ll then move on to the quieter canalside district where monasteries rub shoulders with tranquil colonial gardens. Prime among the sights is Kuthodaw Pagoda, whose 729 marble stone slabs of Buddhist scriptures have earned it the title, 'World's Biggest Book'. Then, continue to Shwenandaw Monastery, the only remaining building from the 19th century Royal Palace. Summit Mandalay Hill for a sunset view over the city.

Stay: Sedona Hotel, Mandalay (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 8
Mandalay/Sagaing/Amarapura

Perhaps start with a steaming hot noodle soup from your morning market visit before moving out to Sagaing. Here, 600 pagodas and monasteries are home to some 3,000 monks and 100 meditation centres, making its gold-pockmarked hills the country’s religious heart. On your way back towards town, stop at Amarapura where you’ll visit a traditional village and its palm leaf weaving industry along with U Bein Bridge. Dating back some 200 years and spanning nearly two kilometres, it’s the world’s longest teak bridge.

Stay: Sedona Hotel, Mandalay (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 9
Mandalay/Ava

Transfer to the jetty to board your luxury river cruise ship. Settle into your cabin – complete with outward-facing windows and artisan-crafted furniture – as you drift down the Irrawaddy to your first stop, Ava. Here, a horse and carriage tour will introduce you to the island city’s royal palaces, fort and monasteries that recount its 400-year-long history, beginning in the 14th century. Highlights include Bagaya Kyaung and Me Nu Okk Kyang, two monasteries realised in ornate teak and stucco respectively. You’ll then continue downstream, enjoying a demonstration of how to tie a longi – a cousin of the sarong – and how to apply thanaka, a traditional paste used by women as a sunblock and toning cream. Come the evening, you’ll meet your fellow guests over a cocktail party and welcome dinner.

Stay: Belmond Road to Mandalay, Myanmar (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 10
Bagan

After breakfast, disembark for an introductory tour of Bagan. With religious sites ranging from grand temples to delicate golden spires and numbering in the thousands, your expert guide will pick out the lesser-known gems among the highlights. You’ll also experience the more human side to this UNESCO-listed site with visits to a local market, a village and a lacquerware workshop before enjoying a sunset panorama across the temple complex. You’ll then return for dinner back on board before the evening’s cultural entertainment.

Stay: Belmond Road to Mandalay, Myanmar (Deluxe)

Meals: B L D

Day 11
Bagan

After breakfast on board, your guide and driver will pick you up to delve deeper into Bagan’s mysteries. Start with a visit to Thagyar Prone, a temple with spectacular views over the surrounding plains. Then, a leisurely two-hour drive – stopping at toddy farms along the way – will see you through sun-parched plains to arrive at Mt. Popa. Climb a volcanic rock staircase to reach its mist-shrouded shrines for views out over the entire region. You’ll also learn about the mountain’s importance to animist worship before returning to Bagan. 

Stay: The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate, Bagan (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 12
Bagan/Myitche/Pakkoku

Transfer back to the Irrawaddy Jetty to board a boat and sail downstream to the western bank. Here, an open-air jeep will see you to Myitche, a typical river village complete with a full range of cottage industries. Stop at its morning market to sample some of the local snacks before continuing to a village, famed for its production of rattan furniture. By now, you’ll be well off the beaten track as large trees line the road and cars are swapped for cyclists and ox carts. You’ll pass tobacco, cotton, chilli and peanut farms to arrive in Pakkoku, famed throughout the country for its velvet sandals – considered the best slippers in Myanmar. Take a break from the midday heat to cruise back to Bagan.

Stay: The Hotel @ Tharabar Gate, Bagan (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 13
Depart for UK

Transfer to the airport to fly back to Yangon where you’ll board your onward journey home.

Meals: B

Day 14
Arrive UK

Arrive back home, following an overnight flight. 

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior Deluxe

14-day tailor-made journey from £4,015 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £4,015 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £4,920 pp. incl. flights

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between the UK and Yangon including domestic flights as per itinerary
  • Private transfers and touring with local guides
  • 9 nights accommodation in 4* (Superior) hotels on BB basis and 2 nights Deluxe cruise onboard 'The Road to Mandalay' on FB basis

*Demand for hotels in Burma is very high during the peak months from October to March. Please book as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.




Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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