The Best Tour of Myanmar

Private Tour with Personal Guide and Chauffeur Driven Vehicle

9 DAYS - Activity Level : Easy
  • Yangon - 2 Days
  • Bagan - 2 Days
  • Mandalay - 3 Days
  • Inle Lake - 2 Days


Highlights

  • Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Bogyoke Market
  • Walks through markets in Bagan and Yangon
  • Bagan's Incredible Valley of Temples
  • Mount Popa
  • Boat Cruise on the Irrawady
  • Mandalay‚Äôs Many Sites Including Amarapura
  • U-Bein Bridge
  • Inle Lake's Inpawkhon and Indein Villages
Detailed Itinerary

All tours are not created equal. If you are searching for great value on an excellent tour that includes top rated boutique lodging, we strongly recommend that you take the time to read the detailed itinerary below.

Day 0 (for early arrivals) OR Day 1: Arrive at Yangon, Myanmar. Some flights arrive either in the evening or at night, and, especially in such cases, we strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier, as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag, and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations. An additional night’s Hotel stay can be Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmarselected during the online reservation process.
Our services begin here. You are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. This itinerary assumes an afternoon arrival in Yangon. If your arrival is a little earlier, you may have to wait until 2 PM for your check-in.
You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check  in. The days plans are briefly reviewed and you are presented with your welcome package. Among other things, this package includes travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers, as well as copies of documents (such as our General Travel Guide) that were sent to you earlier.
Welcome to Myanmar, an ancient land with a unique culture, although things are changing fast as the country rapidly grows and evolves, now that the international trade and travel restrictions have been lifted. In the last half a decade we have seen an incredible amount of development occur in Myanmar, yet the nation still retains a lot of its original charm. It is home to some of the warmest people in the world, and their colorful attire and culture are fascinating to experience.
Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon (Rangoon), is very different from most of the rest of the country, as it has rapidly progressed and expanded over the last few years. Much of you will witness is typical of a big Southeast Asian city, with scores of tall commercial and residential buildings, traffic jams, and luxury stores. Many of the locals lead modern and cosmopolitan, lives, yet everything is still indelibly mixed with their ancient culture and traditions.
In the late afternoon you will enjoy a visit to the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda and its massive golden Stupa. This is Myanmar’s most treasured monument and you can easily spend hours exploring the various structures. Legend has it that the Pagoda is about 2600 years old, which would make it the oldest Buddhist Stupa in the world. Academics do not agree, and date the original construction to somewhere between 600 and 1000 CE. Legend also states that the Stupa contains relics of Lord Gautam Buddha, and the three Buddha’s who preceded him. Although initially a much smaller structure, the structure was added to by various rulers over many centuries, and it now reaches a height of 325 feet, or 99 meters. Multiple lesser temples and other structures surround the Stupa in its hilltop location, dominating the skyline of historical Yangon.
Many ceremonies will be taking place in the various structures of the complex and you will get a chance to observe them. There are hundreds of pilgrims and monks at the monument at any given time. You may also get to observe a class where young Buddhists are taught prayer techniques and/or other aspects of Buddhism.




Day 2: Yangon. Continue your exploration of the Yangon region with a drive to the historic downtown area of Yangon, where you will enjoy an easy walking tour in the heart of the capital city. You will learn about the history of Yangon and the numerous colonial buildings you will walk by. Attractions during this exploration will include the beautiful Saint Mary’s Cathedral and its exquisite collection of stained glass windows, the Indian quarter,  Sule Pagoda, Yangon’s City Hall, Myanmar’s Independence Monument, and the embassy area.
Your walk will end at the Pansodan Jetty on the riverfront in Yangon. Board the Ferry to the rural Dala region, which lies across the river from Yangon. Up until a couple of years ago,Mahamuni Buddha Temple Mandalay this extremely interesting cruise took about 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Since the Japanese government donated 3 new cruisers to Myanmar, the journey is just a few minutes, yet it is a fascinating glimpse into the life of the villagers of the rural Dala region, which is your destination. Vociferous hawkers walk among the seated passengers marketing all sorts of products, from food and household items, to clothing and toys for children.
Disembark from the ferry and proceed on an extended walk through this farming region that is dotted with small villages and local markets. Those that do not feel up to the walk can pay their guide a small amount of Kyat (Myanmar’s Currency) and ride along in the unique trishaws that are found all over Myanmar.
Although just across the river from Yangon, this is a different world, and the locals do not enjoy the big city sophistication and relative prosperity of Yangon’s residents.  You will walk on dirt trails that are surrounded by farmland, farming and fishing villages with small rustic lodging, and little markets where the locals haggle over their daily needs. Photo opportunities of genuine native moments abound during this afternoon’s expedition as this area in mostly untouched by tourism.
Return to the ferry and enjoy the noisy and colorful cruise back to Yangon. From the port you are driven to a restaurant where you will enjoy a late lunch.
After lunch you will be driven to the Botataung Pagoda. Located on the Yangon water front, this pagoda is where many Yangon residents come to pray. After exploring the Pagoda, you will go to the massive Chauk Htut Gyi Reclining Buddha Image. This impressive image is also an attraction for locals and Buddhist monks who come here to pray. Of particular interest are the voluminous inscriptions on the soles of the feet of the statue.
You are driven back to your hotel in the late afternoon.




Day 3: Yangon - Bagan. You are assisted with your check-out in the early morning and driven to the airport to board the morning flight to Bagan. The landscape at Bagan is surreal as over 2200 pagoda’s and temples dot the lush countryside of this otherwise rural area.
Upon your arrival at Bagan you are driven to Nyaung Oo market.  This bustling market is always full of local shoppers buying a variety of beans, sesame, vegetables, flowers, bamboo wares, various kinds of Thanakar (the paste that all traditional women apply Monkto their, and their children’s, faces), and many other consumables local to this region. You will see Buddhist nuns as they visit the stalls and ask for supplies for their afternoon meal.
A clarification about the main difference between Pagoda’s and Temple’s. Temple’s are structures that one can usually enter, with a sanctum that has one or more idols of the presiding deity. A Pagoda is an enclosed structure, where the interior is sealed, and the structure is supposed to contain something of great spiritual value. The most famous pagodas are purported to contain a relic of the Buddha.
From the market you will be driven to the archaeological zone and the thousand year old Shwezigon Pagoda, a great example of prototypical Burmese architecture. It was built of sandstone carried from the quarry at Turintaung Mountain (seven miles away from Shwezigon) by using a chain of people. As mentioned earlier, the massive Archaeological Zone at Bagan is other-worldly and amazing photo opportunities are everywhere you turn. Adding to this charm is the fact that cowherds and goatherds can sometimes be seen grazing their livestock around these monuments, seemingly oblivious to their magical surroundings.
Next you will visit the Wetgyi-in Gubyaukgyi Temple, which was built about 900 years ago. The temple has a large collection of well preserved wall paintings that depict scenes from the 550 jatak life stories of the Buddha. After this you will drive a short distance and visit the beautiful Ananda Temple, one of the most impressive and exquisite monuments of Bagan. It was built by King Kyansittha in 1091 A.D. and it stands out among the hundreds of ancient structures around it. The last of this morning’s experiences is the awe-inspiring Dhamayangyi Temple, the largest temple in Bagan. The craftsmanship of this temple is widely regarded as one of the best examples of precision brick work during the Bagan Era. The temple is similar in some ways in design, to the Ananda Temple, but on a much larger scale. Most of the interior has been walled off by the authorities.
After this temple there is a break for lunch, which can be enjoyed at a restaurant on the banks of the scenic Irrawaddy River.
After lunch you are assisted with your check in to your boutique resort and then you are at leisure for a little while to freshen up after your early start and busy morning. Your resort has by far the best location in Bagan as it is located next to many of the amazing monuments of the archaeological zone.
Mid-afternoon - enjoy an excursion to the striking Thabyinnyu Temple, said to be the tallest temple (almost 200 feet, over 60 meters) ancient structure in Bagan. The temple’s size and unique white façade make it stand out from all the other monuments at Bagan, and it is featured in most wide photos of Bagan’s landscapes.
From near the temple you will board your horse cart and enjoy a ride through the surreal landscape of Bagan, to the iconic Shwesandaw Pagoda. The stupa has fairly steep stairs leading up to a succession of five terraces, culminating with a conical stupa. A climb up the stairs will reward you with great views of Bagan’s incredible landscape, especially as the sun sets. This thousand year old monument is purported to house some of Lord Buddha’s hair.
Evening: Enjoy the facilities and pool at your resort, or take a self-guided moonlit walk around the neighboring monuments.




Day 4: Bagan - Mandalay. You have the option to enjoy a hot air balloon ride over Bagan early this morning - a significant surcharge applies, and this selection has to be made during your online reservation process. In the mid-morning you will be driven to the nearby palm forest, where you can observe the agrarian lifestyle of the local farmers. Their primary occupation is the extraction of juice from palm trees, which is then used to make a popular Myanmar candy and sweetener called Jaggery.
Return to your hotel to freshen up and check-out.
There is a break for lunch, after which you will proceed on the four hour (approximately) drive to Manadaly. Arrive at Mandalay and you are assisted with check-in at your Hotel.




Day 5: Mandalay. This morning you are driven to Amarapura, the 18th Century capital of Myanmar. You will now visit Myanmar’s largest monastery, Maha Gandayon Monastery, where you will have the opportunity to observe a fascinating ritual. You will watch as over a thousand young Buddhist monks line up, and then consume their main meal of the day. These monks range from about six years of age to early manhood and Myanmar’s largest monastery is where they are educated.  The ritual takes about an hour before the last of the young men gets seated. Myanmar’s affluent families provide these meals and there is a waiting time of months for the privilege to sponsor this meal.
Before the ritual you will explore the monastery complex on foot and peek into the living quarters of the monks. Also included is a visit to some of the kitchens where some of the meal is prepared in massive quantities.
You will also enjoy a very brief stop at a silk weaving facility to observe traditional silk weaving, the local specialty. The craftsmen meticulously design and create the silk garments that are worn by Burmese for special occasions like wedding ceremonies, graduations, and during other significantly cultural and social events.
You are then driven back to Mandalay and there is a break for lunch.
After lunch you will enjoy a guided visit to the Maha Muni Image. This is the most sacred Pagoda in Upper Myanmar and a treasure trove of Buddhist culture. The main Buddha statue at the temple continuously increases in size as devout Buddhist men place gold leaf on it throughout the day, as an offering to Lord Buddha.
By now your eyes may be a little weary of all the Gold (paint, as well as the actual precious metal) that they have seen in the last few days and the next stop is a welcome respite.
The Shwenandaw Monastery is a masterpiece of wood carvings, constructed with wood from the palace of the last Burmese King. The incredible detail of the teak carvings is a must for visitors to Mandalay. Rulers of this kingdom had a legacy of not wasting the teak of structures that became obsolete, so they were disassembled and used for other construction. The ancient teak bridge you will visit tomorrow is another example of this exemplary recycling process.
The next stop will be the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 stone slabs (housed in separate structures) of Buddha’s scriptures. This impressive complex is known as the world's biggest book. As you walk through this interesting complex, and peek at the meticulously carved slabs, you will be reminded of the simple spirituality of the Burmese people.
Your last stop today is the top of Mandalay Hill, from where you will enjoy magnificent sunset views of Mandalay and the mighty Irrawaddy.




Day 6: Mandalay. Start your day with a drive through the rural countryside. You will arrive at a jetty from where you will board a private boat to cross the mighty Irrawaddi.  The cruise takes about an hour and you will go by tiny fishing hamlets on islands in the river. If you are fortunate, you may get to see river dolphins on this cruise, although they seldom venture this far south on the river.
As you approach the banks on the other side of the river, you will be awed by the sight of the massive unfinished pagoda that awaits you. You will dock at Mingun village. Pa Hto Daw Gyi Pagoda was started in 1790 but, but due to the king’s death, construction stopped after about 20 years. 20,000 laborers were employed in its construction, and the massive drain of the construction costs (on the kingdom’s resources) is rumored to have been behind foul play that was suspected in the king’s untimely death. The massive unfinished brick structure has major cracks that were caused by an earthquake in 1838.
The next stop on your walk is the enormous Mingun Bell which was constructed by the same king around 1810. At 90 tons (200,000 lbs.), it is said to be the largest ringing bell in the world. After ringing the bell, which is done by hitting the soundbow with wood, you will enjoy a village walk, as you explore the ancient fishing village area you are in, and observe the lifestyles of the locals. Your last stop at Mingun will be a brief photo opportunity at the charming Mya Thein Dan Zedi Pagoda, built by the King of Saggaing as a memorial for his beloved wife, who passed away one week after giving birth to their son. This charming white structure is quite different from any other pagoda you will see in Myanmar, and the local’s call it Myanmar’s Taj Mahal.
Return to the jetty for your scenic cruise back to Mandalay. Disembark at the jetty and drive about an hour to Saggaing. Saggaing Hill offers a panoramic view of the Irrawaddi River and the hills on the other side. Return to Mandalay, crossing over the historic AVA Bridge, which was built in 1927 by the British Occupiers and partly damaged during WWII, before being renovated in 1954.
Your last stop today offers great photo opportunities. The 160 year old U Bein Bridge is the longest teak bridge in the world. The bridge is always full of locals and tourists, including a lot of Buddhist monks. Enjoy a walk along part or all of the 1.2 kilometer long bridge at sunset. You have the option to board a Sampan, which is a small wooden boat, so that you can cruise along Taung Tha Man Lake and admire the bridge from a short distance.




Day 7: Mandalay - Heho - Inle Lake. You are assisted with your check out from your hotel in the early morning and driven to the airport to board the short flight to Heho. Upon arrival at Heho Airport, you are greeted by your chauffeur and guide and then you start on the scenic 90 minute drive to the amazing Inle Lake region. Upon your arrival at Nyaung Shwe, the main access point to Inle Lake, you are assisted to the jetty where you will board a boat for your journey to the heart of the lake. This journey will serve as your introduction to life in this aquatic region as you go past scores of boats that the locals use to transport their agricultural produce. Inle Lake is roughly 22 kilometers long and 10 km wide, with an average depth of 6 meters. There are 64 villages, whose inhabitants reside on the lake in their homes that sit on stilts above the water. The amazing cultivation process that takes place on the lake has to be seen to be believed. Millions of pounds of vegetable (with tomatoes being king) are grown here every year, and shipped all over Myanmar. Everywhere you turn there is amazing scenery and fascinating glimpses of the unique local lifestyle. Through your explorations at Inle you will be cruising through fascinating floating villages. There are over 100 monasteries on the lake and you will start your exploration of Inle Lake with a visit to Nga Hpe Kyaung, the Jumping Cat Monastery. The performing cats are no longer available, supposedly because the monk who trained the cats (that gave this monastery its name) passed away a while back. What you will find is a unique (in this region) teak monastery with tall beams supporting the roof and teak Buddha statues, as well as a picturesque locale.
After exploring the monastery there is a break for lunch at one of the boutique restaurants that offer great views of the lake.
After lunch your boat will take you to your resort, where you are assisted with your check-in upon arrival. Your boutique resort is at the edge of the lake and the flora in the resort is gorgeous.
After freshening up you will continue exploring the lake and the local culture. This afternoon’s stops will include a visit to a facility where they make Shan paper, which is made of mulberry bark and transformed into Shan umbrellas and other beautiful local products.




Day 8: Inle Lake. If a floating market is scheduled in your resorts vicinity this morning, you have the option to visit it. Not including the possibility of the market, your first adventure today is the Indein village, which is both a fascinating journey, and destination.
After cruising through much of the lake and many photo opportunities of fishermen and lake life, you will enter a picturesque canal at the edge of the lake and navigate your way to this ancient village. Hundreds of pagodas, many of which are crumbling, are clustered in the picturesque complex. These ancient structures are said to have been built by one of the kings from the Bagan era. You will also enjoy a walk through the bamboo forest, then a gentle climb up the stairways to the hill, which offers a magnificent view over the lake.
After the Indien Village there is a break for lunch.
You will now visit Phaung Daw Oo Paya, which is the Inle regions most auspicious Buddhist site. Housed in this beautiful temple complex are five gold 800 year old Buddha statues and a steady stream of worshippers graces the sanctum. The  locals have been applying gold leaf to these statues for centuries and the figures are no longer identifiable as the Buddha.
Later in the afternoon you will enjoy a visit to Inpawkhon village where you can observe a traditional weaving Mill. After that you will cruise through nearby Nam Pan Village and get a close up look of how life is lived by people that seldom touch dry land. It is not unusual to see a 5 or 6 year old rowing their own boat around the village; the children here learn how to row soon after taking their first steps.
At the end of the afternoon you will return to your resort.




Day 9: Inle Lake - Yangon - International Flight. You are at leisure during the first part of the morning to enjoy your beautiful resort. You are assisted with your check-out in the late morning and your boat will now take you back to the jetty at Nyuang Shwe, where you will disembark and break for lunch.
After lunch you will proceed on the scenic drive to Heho airport, where you are assisted in boarding your afternoon flight to Yangon. Connect with your international flight at Yangon. If your international flight is late at night or in the early morning, airport transfers and lodging can be selected during the booking process.
Our services end at Heho airport.



Inclusions
* Breakfast daily at your Hotels except for Arrival day
* Ground transportation by Upscale Van
* Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
* Services of the best local English speaking guides
* Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
* Bottled water during sightseeing
* Hotel accommodation as listed above
* All Boat Fees/Fares

Not Included
* International travel
* Any expenses of a personal nature, such as tips, laundry, phone calls, drinks etc.
* Meals other than those specified on itinerary
* Travel insurance, visas, etc.


Lodging

Yangon Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake Yangon - Deluxe Room
Bagan Aureum Palace Bagan Hotel - Deluxe Room
Mandalay Pullman Mandalay Mingalar - Deluxe Room
Inle Lake Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min - Luxury Room Garden View
Please contact us for Specials on this Tour.
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