Best of Myanmar - 12 Days

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Reviews
  • Dates
  • On The Go Tours

Discover Myanmar, an exotic land of tradition and sacred sites from the awe-inspiring religious monuments of Yangon to evocative Mandalay and its Royal Palace, the spectacular stupa-filled plains of Bagan and heavenly Inle Lake with a few surprises along the way.

Highlights
  • Yangon – Enjoy a tour of the city including the Sule Pagoda, the colossal golden Shwedagon Pagoda and the bustling Bogyoke Market
  • Mingun – See the colossal Mingun Bell and the ruins of the abandoned project, to build the world’s largest pagoda
  • Pindaya – Explore inside the famous Pindaya Caves and marvel at thousands of statues and Buddha images
  • Irrawaddy River – Cruise along the river to Bagan and enjoy breathtaking views as we travel through scenic countryside
  • Mandalay – Discover the sprawling Royal Palace and watch a beautiful sunset from Mandalay Hill
  • Bagan – Gaze at the impressive Mingalarzedi Pagoda and browse the vibrant market in Nyaung-U
  • Kalaw – Trek past rice paddies and tea plantations in the Palaung Hills on our visit to a local village
  • Amarapura – Visit the ancient Mahagandayon Monastery and gaze at the striking U Bein Bridge at sunset
  • Sagaing Hill – Admire wonderful views of the Irrawaddy River and see the colourful Thirty Caves Pagoda
  • Inle Lake – Tour the lake’s stilted villages and floating gardens by boat and then enjoy free time to relax or explore by canoe or bicycle
Age Policy
18yrs or 16yrs accompanied by an adult
Destinations
  • Myanmar
  • Asia
Tour Types
  • Small Group
  • Cultural
  • Singles
  • History
  • Trekking
Day 1: Yangon

Saturday. Welcome to Myanmar, ‘quite unlike any place you know about’. Arrive into Yangon with an included airport transfer to your hotel where later in the day a Welcome Meeting will be held.

Location: Yangon

Day 2: Yangon

Today we explore the fascinating city of Yangon and its famous religious monuments. In the heart of downtown we begin with a photo stop in front of Yangon City Hall, before visiting the Sule Pagoda, which provides a peaceful place to retreat from the bustle of the city. The pagoda is near Maha Bandoola Park which is encircled by a host of colonial buildings and heritage sites, including Independence Monument and the High Court. We also see the hollow, golden Botahtaung Pagoda before lunch at the Yangon Tea House, which is reminiscent of the grand tea houses of colonial times and serves a delicious cup of traditional tea.

After lunch we take a stroll around the colourful Bogyoke (Scott) Market, which sells an array of goods, including gemstones, handicrafts and clothes. After some retail therapy we visit the giant 70 metre-long reclining Buddha of Chaukhtagyi Paya at Chaukhtagyi Pagoda, which has a crown encrusted in diamonds and other precious stones.

Later this evening we enjoy an excursion to the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar, the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. Standing at 90 metres tall, the gold leaf central stupa dominates the city’s skyline and turns vivid hues of yellow, orange and red when the sun begins to set.

Location: Yangon

Day 3: Mandalay

Yangon – Mandalay. This morning we fly to Mandalay, Myanmar’s last royal capital. On the outskirts of Mandalay is the ancient city of Amarapura, a former capital of Myanmar full of sights. Here we visit the largest teaching monastery in the country, the Mahagandayon Monastery. Hundreds of monks from the monastery queue to receive their daily alms from the people.

Travelling into the city we explore the Royal Palace and see the teak carvings on the historic Shwenandaw Monastery. We also have the opportunity to visit a local handicraft workshop to see bronze sculpting, gold leaf marking and wood carving, before spending the afternoon at leisure. This evening we visit the world’s largest book at the Kuthodaw Pagoda and our day concludes at Mandalay Hill, where we hope to enjoy a spectacular sunset, with vistas across the city.

Location: Mandalay

Day 4: Mandalay

This morning we enjoy a cruise up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun where we visit the remains of what could have been the world’s largest pagoda and the mighty Mingun Bell. Intended to reach a staggering height of 152 metres, work on the pagoda stopped after the death of King Bodawpaya in 1819. Dramatically split by an earthquake in 1838, the monumental structure is still incredibly impressive.

Travelling on to Sagaing Hill we take in the spectacular views over the river and the rolling hills, which are studded with pagodas and stupas. On top of the hill is the ancient Swan Oo Pon Nya Shin pagoda and we see the remarkable Thirty Caves Pagoda and the Kaungmhudaw Pagoda.

Returning to ancient Amarapura, which is famous for its textile industry, we see how traditional fabrics are woven at a cottage industry workshop, before our final stop of the day at the famous U Bein Bridge. U Bein is the longest teak bridge in the world, set over the enchanting Taungthaman Lake. Here we have the wonderful opportunity to see the bridge in all its glory at sunset, which is a photographer's dream.

Location: Mandalay

Day 5: Bagan

Mandalay - Bagan. Transferring to the jetty this morning we board the MGRG express riverboat that plies the Irrawaddy from Mandalay to Bagan. The journey takes approximately 9 hours and you'll be treated to breathtaking views interrupted by scenes of everyday life as family fishing boats pass and children wave from the shore. Upon arrival to Bagan hotel, we check in and enjoy free time this evening.

If travelling between 01 Apr and 31 July each year the water level of the river is at its lowest which prevents cruises from operating. These dates do vary depending upon rainfall and the amount of water coming down the river. When the cruises are not in operation we fly from Mandalay to Bagan. Enjoy a morning at leisure in Mandalay before taking a short flight to Nyaung Oo Airport and transfer to Bagan where we spend the night. Please also note that only breakfast is included when we fly to Bagan, lunch and dinner is excluded.

Location: Bagan

Day 6: Bagan

Early this morning there's the opportunity to float over Bagan in a hot air balloon for those that have booked our Ballooning over Bagan add-on. Nothing can quite prepare you for the spectacular sight of stupa-upon-stupa that fills the green, dusty plains of Bagan. Over 2000 temples and pagodas dating back some 800 years create one of the most impressive skylines to be seen in Southeast Asia. Our sightseeing today begins with a visit to the town of Nyaung-U to see the local market and Bagan’s most important reliquary shrine, the Shwezigon Pagoda, and the simple Kyansittha Cave Temple with interesting 12th century frescoes.

Continuing our sightseeing we visit the gigantic Buddhas housed inside the Manuha Temple, the sandstone carvings of the nearby Nanpaya Temple, and the Ananda Temple with its four standing gold-leaf Buddhas. Other highlights of the day include the towering Thatbyinnyu Temple, Dhammayangyi Temple and the Mingalarzedi Pagoda, which was the last of the large pagodas built in the 13th century, representing the pinnacle of Bagan’s architectural skills. Our final port of call is a local lacquer workshop where we can see local craftsmen skilfully prepare Bagan’s most famous handicraft.

Location: Bagan

Day 7: Mt Popa & Colonial Kalaw Hill Station

Bagan – Mount Popa – Kalaw. Today we travel to the popular hill station of Kalaw with a stop en route at the extinct volcano of Mount Popa. The mountain is believed to be the abode of legendary Nats (spirit gods) and at the summit are numerous monasteries, pagodas and shrines in various architectural styles. Arriving into Kalaw, (approx. 7 hrs drive) a former British hill station perched on the western edge of the Shan Plateau, we enjoy breathtaking views and the serenity of the surrounds. Late this afternoon we visit Thein Taung Pay pagoda.

Location: Mt Popa & Colonial Kalaw Hill Station

Day 8: Danu Hill Tribe & Pindaya Caves

Kalaw – Palaung Hills – Pindaya. An early morning start allows us to enjoy a light trek into the Palaung Hills. Meandering through small ranges of rice paddies and tea plantations we arrive to Painaebin village, home to the indigenous Danu people. Walking back to Kalaw, we drive on to the quiet town of Pindaya, set amidst beautiful countryside and famous for its extensive cave network. Highlights of our sightseeing tour today include the carved Buddha images of the Pindaya caves, the ancient Banyan tree and small local factories producing Mulberry paper and bamboo hats.

Location: Danu Hill Tribe & Pindaya Caves

Day 9-10: Inle Lake

Pindaya – Inle Lake. After breakfast on day 9 we drive to the wonderful watery world of Inle Lake; home to floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas. We tour the lake by boat and witness the unique rowing techniques of the local fishermen before visiting the unusual Nga Pe Chaung monastery and Inle Lake’s largest pagoda, the Paungdaw Oo pagoda. The remainder of the day and evening offer free time.

Day 10 is spent at leisure. You could take advantage of the lush surrounding countryside and partake in canoeing or cycling, or alternatively you could opt for an excursion to an Indein village to learn more about the ethnic tribes of the region or to Kakku, a valley of more than a thousand stupas to admire the intricate ancient carvings. Other options include a visit to Taunggyi - capital of the Southern Shan state and former British hill station or to Sagar to see the sunken stupas that lay under water for part of the year with local village visits along the way (bookable and payable locally).

Location: Inle Lake

Day 11: Yangon

Inle Lake – Heho - Yangon. After breakfast we leave the lake and transfer to the Heho airport for our flight back to Yangon. Once back in Yangon, the remainder of the day offers free time for you to further explore this delightful city or sit back, relax and enjoy the hotel facilities.

Location: Yangon

Day 12: Yangon

Wednesday. Today marks the end of our Burmese adventure with hotel check out and airport departure transfer.

Location: Yangon

  • Breakfast daily and 2 lunches
  • 10 nights 3-4 star hotels and 1 night simple country cottage
  • 2 economy class flights: Yangon to Mandalay and Heho (Inle Lake) to Yangon
  • Private boat on Inle Lake to explore the floating gardens and villages. Boat trip to Mingun
  • Riverboat cruise from Mandalay to Bagan. Or flight from Mandalay to Bagan for travel 01 Apr - 31 Jul (dates can vary dependent on the weather conditions)
  • Guided sightseeing - Yangon, Mandalay, Amarapura, Bagan, Kalaw, Pindaya and Inle Lake
  • Escorted by an English speaking tour guide (for groups of 6 or more) and specialist guides at some sights
  • Airport arrival and departure transfers on days 1 and 12
  • All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles


NB - the following are not included:

-International flights and visa
-Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3-6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
-Entrance Fees: USD$80-90pp, paid in USD

Stephen Ranson 27-Mar-2017

Tun was a great help in dealing with Thai Airway when they lost my luggage. He was also an excellent guide with a great knowledge of all things Burmese and a good friend by the end of the tour. I (and the rest of the tour group) couldn’t recommend him highly enough.

Rating: 5/5




Debbie Flintley 03-Nov-2016

What an amazing experience ! Daut was the perfect host, organized, helpful and truly passionate about his homeland. Everyday he surprised us with some authentic local experience whether it was stopping by a family home to sit on the porch and sip tea or taking us to the morning alms in a revered location. The tour offered the ideal balance of sightseeing in the morning and lazy afternoons to head out and explore independently or laze by the pool.

Rating: 5/5




David Brimmer 03-Sep-2016

Hi Caroline. This was yet another great trip. The itinerary, included airport transfers and accommodation was great and the local guides were excellent. This was our 5th time with On the Go!

Rating: 5/5




Damaris Perry 02-May-2015

The 12 day Best of Burma tour was inspirational in terms of the different cultures in the states that we visited, the religious buildings (Buddahs, Temples, Monasteries) and the activities and adventures undertaken. I was so pleased to be able to see this country while it is still developing and progressing after years of repression and before the tourism industry takes it over (5 million tourists expected in 2015). There were only three of us on the tour and we were all over 60 years of age! Being used to a lot of walking and other exercise at home I was able to climb steps and get on and off boats quite easily but the other two ladies in their 70's struggled a bit sometimes particularly with the "light" trekking in Kalaw. However, they were very determined and managed most activities. The organisation of the tour ran smoothly and the first guide who met us at Yangon airport (Win) was helpful and informative when we were seeing various sights in the city. He also gave us quite a lot of information about Buddism in order that we could understand the reasons for so many archeological religious buildings. The guide who met us at Mandalay was also very helpful and knowledgeable about the area and various stupas and temples. He noticed that the two older ladies needed help at times and was very helpful in getting them on and off boats. The 11 hour boat trip from Mandalay to Bagan was very pleasant but too long and I think the concensus of opinion was that we would have rather have flown to Bagan and had more time for further sightseeing. The food on board was not very good and stomach upsets ensued! We were met by our Bagan guide (whose name escapes me!) who was probably the most knowledgeable and helpful of all our guides. He took particular care to help the two older ladies in Kawlaw and when they decided not to attempt the steps at Mt Popa temple, he ensured that they were well looked after by the bus driver. He had a good sense of humour and kept us all cheerful. We were very sad to say goodbye to him at the jetty of Inle Lake but was then looked after by yet another guide (Sai) for the day. He gave us information of the Lake and accompanied us to the restaurant, a monastery and silk making factory before taking us to our water world hotel. At the end of our stay at Inle Lake, we were met by a Columbus driver who took us to Heho Airport for the return journey to Yangon. Cost wise the tour was fairly expensive compared to the Vietnam/Cambodia tour as there were no meals included (apart from breakfast) and there were 5 guides to tip!! However, I appreciate that it is early days for tourism and that hotel costs may still be expensive. We were asked by OntheGo to take USD as there were no ATM's in the country but this was not correct in our experience. The restaurants/hotels were quite fussy about the state of the dollar bills and I had some refused on one or two occasions. Luckily I had no money stolen on this tour but there was an attempt to cut the strap of my shoulder bag whilst we were at the Indein market at Inle Lake which I discovered when getting back into the boat. Altogether I loved this country and would return for a further tour should the north and western areas be more accessable in the future.

Rating: 4/5



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