Visit the spectacular archeological sites of Bagan, explore historic Rangoon’s Buddhist temples and colonial heritage, go elephant-trekking in the unspoilt forests of Kalaw & finish the trip relaxing on the pristine beaches of the Bay of Bengal
Day 1: Traders Hotel, Yangon (Rangoon)
Upon arrival you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your accommodation in Yangon, Traders Hotel. The rest of the afternoon and evening will be spent at leisure, allowing you to relax and adapt to the time-difference.
Yangon, or Rangoon, is the largest city in Burma. Although the capital was formally moved to Naypyidaw by the military government in 2006, Rangoon remains the most important and largest commercial centre in the country, with a wealth of Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas, as well as being home to an eclectic mix of buildings reminding visitors of its colonial heritage, from the colonial architecture and government buildings to the Indian and Chinese quarters populated by immigrants shipped in by the colonial administration.
Day 2: Kyaik Hto Hotel, Kyaikhtiyo
After breakfast you will be transferred to your accommodation in Kyaiktiyo, passing through the ancient capital of Bago and verdant paddy fields.
In the afternoon you will visit the famous Golden Rock, balanced precariously (allegedly by one of Buddha’s precisely placed hairs) on top of Mount Kyaiktiyo. A short bus ride and a 1-hour walk will provide you with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside and a chance to see the fascinating procession of pilgrims and monks praying on the mountain. Sunset atop the mountain, depending on the weather, is usually an unforgettable experience. Guests may also be carried in a sedan chair by four porters.
Day 3: Bago City Tour
Before breakfast guests can walk up for sunrise on the mountain or enjoy a lie-in. After breakfast you will be transferred back to Bago for a city tour before continuing on to your accommodation in Yangon, Traders Hotel.
During your tour you will visit Shwemawdaw Pagoda, which has a stupa inlaid with diamonds and is Bago’s distinct landmark. The Shwethalyaung Buddha dates from 994 and is revered throughout Myanmar as the most beautiful Reclining Buddha. You can also visit the British War Cemetery near Htauk Kyan on the way back to Yangon.
Day 4 & 5: Shwe Taung Tarn Hotel, Mandalay
This morning you will fly to Mandalay, where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation in Amarapura, Shwe Taung Tarn Hotel, where you will stay for 2 nights.
On the way to the hotel you will visit the famous U-Bein Bridge, a 1.2km long leak bridge over Taung Thaman Lake. A visit to the Mahagandayon Monastery, some local workshops and Mahamuni Pagoda, built by King Bodawpaya in 1784, will also be organized. In the afternoon you will be able to visit a number of monasteries and pagodas before enjoying a tranquil Sunset at Mandalay Hill.
On your second day in Mandalay you will be taken on a boat trip to Mingun. If you’re lucky you may even spot a pod of rare Irrawaddy dolphins along the river. During the day you will visit the Mingun Bell, the largest uncracked bell in the world, the beautiful Mingun Pagoda, Hsinbyume Pagoda and the Sagaing Hill, with a number of stupas and monasteries. Afterwards you will be driven back to your accommodation in Mandalay.
Day 6 & 7: Kandawgyi Hill Resort, Pyin U Lwin
After breakfast you will be transferred to your accommodation for 2 nights in Pyin U Lwin. This former colonial hill station and the surrounding area is famed for its natural beauty, with pine trees, eucalyptus and silver oak covering the hillside and coffee, vegetables and strawberries grown on the slopes of the hills.
In the afternoon you can visit the local market, Kandawgyi National Park and the stunning Pwekaku waterfall. There is an interesting Chinese Temple in town, as well as some lovely colonial architecture to admire.
The next day you can visit the fascinating Peik Chin Myuang Cave and authentic Shan villages or just relax and unwind at the hotel.
Day 8: Hotel Win Unity, Monywa
After breakfast you will be transferred to Monywa, on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River. Upon arrival you will check into your accommodation for 1 night, Hotel Win Unity.
In the afternoon you will travel by boat to the famous Po Win Daung, a sandstone cave system of over 100 caves full of Buddhist statues and murals dating back to the 14th Century.
Day 9 & 10: Thiripyisayar Hotel, Bagan
After breakfast and a visit to the local market, you will visit Thanboddhay Pagoda, formed of a richly decorated central stupa with 845 smaller stupas around it and 500,000 Buddha images. Afterwards you will visit Pakkoku, an unspoilt small town famous as a tobacco trading centre and for its weaving shops.
After a few hours spent wandering around Pakkoku you will board a private boat to Bagan, complete with sunset overlooking the pagodas. Upon arrival you will check-in to your accommodation for 3 nights, Thiripyisayar Hotel.
Over the next few days you will be taken to visit Bagan’s archeological sites, as well as the local market and a number of other local sites.
Arguably the jewel of Burmese tourism, Bagan is a fascinating archeological and historical centre, having been the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan from the 9th-13th Century, the first kingdom to constitute the effective unification of modern day Burma.
Nowadays, Bagan consists of a vast archeological area, with countless stupas, pagodas, temples and city walls from the 9th Century onwards. Highlights include the local Nyaung U market, sunset overlooking the temple-dotted plains at the Shwe Sandaw pagoda and a visit to the Myazedi Stupa, home to Myanmar’s “Rosetta Stone”, bearing inscriptions written in four languages.
Day 12 & 13: Hill Top Villa, Kalaw
Today you will set off on a long drive to Kalaw, a long but very scenic drive of paddy fields and mountains, stopping at Mount Popa en route, an energetic climb with fabulous views from the top. Upon arrival into Kalaw you will check-in to your accommodation for 2 nights, Hill Top Villa.
After breakfast the next day you will travel to Magwe village, from where you can watch elephants bathe in the river and help the local guides with their feeding and bathing. Afterwards you can enjoy a short elephant-back safari through the conservation area, giving you the opportunity to see butterflies, birds and orchids. In the afternoon you can go trekking in the local forest or help the conservation team plant new trees from the nursery to regenerate the forest.
Day 14 & 15: Royal Inle Resort, Inle Lake
After breakfast you will drive to Inle Lake, via the limestone Pindaya Caves, which overlook the lake, and some local villages, which produce Shan Paper and Parasols. Upon arrival you will check-in to your accommodation for 2 nights, Royal Inle Resort.
The next morning you will be taken on a boat trip on the lake, allowing you to see the lake’s unique ‘Leg Rowers’, Intha fishermen who row standing up with one leg wrapped around an oar. Afterwards you will visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the holiest religious site in the southern Sahan State and surrounded by quaint arts and crafts stalls, as well as the wooden Nga Phe Kyuang monastery. Phaung Daw U Festival in late September/early October is fascinating to watch.
Day 16-20: Amata Ngapali Beach Resort, Ngapali
After breakfast you will be transferred to Heho airport for your flight to Thandwe, where you will be met and driven to your accommodation for 4 nights in the beachside area of Ngapali, Amata Resort.
Over the next few days you will be able to spend the time at leisure, relaxing on the beach, exploring the local area and enjoying the hotel’s facilities.
Info: Amata Ngapali Beach Resort
Amata Resort has tastefully decorated, traditional teak rooms with comfortable beds and all modern amenities. All the rooms lead out onto the resort’s carefully landscaped gardens. The main attraction of the resort is the tranquility of the sequestered, shaded gardens and the ocean, which the resort’s large infinity pool and sun-deck lead on to. The restaurant and bar face West over the ocean, making it the ideal spot to have a sun-downer and enjoy spectacular views of the sun setting over the ocean every evening. The restaurant serves an eclectic mix of international, Thai and Burmese cuisine, being complemented by a nightly seafood barbecue.
Day 20 & 21: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel, Yangon
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Yangon. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your accommodation for 2 nights, Kandawgyi Palace Hotel.
In the afternoon you will be taken on a tour of the city. Enjoy the colonial architecture of down-town Yangon, Chinatown and the Indian quarter. Then visit Sule Pagoda, situated in the centre of Yangon, before continuing on to Kandawgyi Lake, where you can see Karaweik, the impressive, golden royal barge. A short walk onwards takes you to Shwedagon Pagoda, still the active ‘heart’ of Buddhist Myanmar, believed to be 2,500 years old and home to relics from the last four Buddhas.
The next day can visit the local market, the reclining Buddha at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, and the Bogyoke (Scott) Market, with the largest selection of Burmese handicrafts in the country. The afternoon will be spent at leisure, so you can have time to wander around down-town Yangon and do some last-minute shopping.
Day 22: Departure
You can spend today at leisure until it is time for your transfer to the airport for your return flight home, where we will bid you farewell.