The Heart of Myanmar (Burma)
SAVE UP TO $100 on this tour

Try on a new kind of adventure and immerse yourself in the warm and mysterious culture of Myanmar (Burma). Cruise the mighty Irrawaddy River to the ancient city of Bagan, home to over 2200 beautiful temples and pagodas. Explore the floating villages on serene Inle Lake. Visit Kyan Sithar Umin monastery to meet a Buddhist monk and climb Mandalay Hill to reflect on serene views of the surrounding countryside. Come to a special place and create some new favourite memories.

Duration: 12 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Local Culture & Cuisine, History Physical rating: Light
Accommodation standard:   Moderate% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 155162
Starts: Yangon, Myanmar Finishes: Yangon, Myanmar
You will visit
  • Yangon
  • Yangon



Day 1: Yangon

Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are free to relax and explore the city. Following a group meeting, we have an optional group dinner where you can sample some of the local cuisine.

Additional Notes:
Please note that most nationalities requires a visa to enter Myanmar (Burma); please double check this with your travel agent or local Myanmar Embassy prior to your arrival.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Arrival transfer included.
Private Vehicle


Day 2: Yangon/Mandalay (1B)

Fly to Mandalay and explore this ancient city, including the Golden Palace Monastery, Kuyuk Taw Gyi Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda, and Mahamuni Temple. Climb Mandalay Hill for magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. This evening, visit a local home and enjoy a local comedy cabaret performance by the infamous Moustache Brothers.

Included Activities:
Mandalay Hill Climb
Shwenandaw Kyaung (Golden Palace Monastery) Visit
Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda Visit
Kuthodaw Pagoda Visit
Mahamuni Pagoda (Buddha Temple) Visit
Burmese Political Satire Performance

Plane (1.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle


Day 3: Mandalay (1B)

Embark on a boat trip up the Irrawaddy River from Mandalay to the riverside village of Mingun, enjoying the picturesque scenery of this river and the lifestyles of the local people who live and work on these waters. We continue by road to Sagaing. After lunch we visit Amarapura, a former capital whose name means "city of immortality."

Included Activities:
Mingun Village Boat Trip and Visit
Sagaing Hill Visit
Amarapura Visit

Private Vehicle


Day 4: Mandalay (1B)


Day 5: Mandalay/Bagan (1B)

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the jetty for the boat to Bagan (Nyaung Oo). The journey takes 7-11 hours depending on the time of year and water level. On board there is a small café selling drinks and light meals (sandwiches, snacks and instant noodles usually).

Additional Notes:
When water levels are insufficient for the boat, we will use the bus for that part of the journey. Boat cancellations typically happen between April and September.

Included Activities:
Ayeyarwady River Cruise

Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))


Day 6: Bagan (1B)

Enjoy two days exploring Bagan, the first (and very beautiful) capital of the Burmese and founded in the 11th century. This is one the most important temples and pagoda complexes in Asia. We'll wander local markets, historical pagodas, a handicraft workshop, a local monastery, and ancient temples. Enjoy an unforgettable sunset over the plains from the upper terrace of one of the temples.

Included Activities:
Bagan Guided Tour
Kyan Sithar Umin Monastery Visit

Private Vehicle


Day 7: Bagan (1B)

You have the option to take a hot-air balloon flight over the plains of Bagan.

Included Activities:
Toddy Palm Farm Visit

Private Vehicle


Day 8: Bagan/Inle Lake (1B)

This morning, fly from Bagan to Heho and then travel by road to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images. Also visit around Nyaung Shwe by cycle rickshaw, passing the many monasteries and cruising along quiet residential streets.

We then board a boat and set off down the canal toward the main part of the lake, passing villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people.

Included Activities:
Nyaung Shwe Visit

Plane (1.75 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (0.75-1.00 hours)
Board a boat and set off down the canal toward the main part of Inle lake. Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.
Boat (1.00 hour(s))


Day 9: Inle Lake (1B, 1L)

Depending on its location, we start with a visit to the morning market, which rotates locations on a five-day basis. (Note: there are no markets on full-moon or dark-moon days.)

Our boat then takes us down a winding river to Inthien, with its one thousand stupas dotting the hillside. Back out onto the lake we visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake's main pagoda and monastery, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf. Explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. Mid-day, we are welcomed into a local chef's home and enjoy a home cooked meal of traditional Burmese dishes. This is a memorable demonstration and meal and a chance to learn more about family life and traditions in Myanmar.

Included Activities:
Morning Market Visit
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Visit
Nga Phe Chaung Monastery Visit
Cheroot Factory Visit
Burmese Cooking Class



Day 10: Inle Lake/Kalaw (1B, 1L)

Travel by boat and bus to the cooler air of this former British hill station. Take a half-day hike and enjoy lunch in the hills around Kalaw. Visit villages that have been helped by the Rural Development Society, a community-based organization that provides water, builds schools and libraries, and finances small-scale community projects.

Included Activities:
Local Burmese Village Trek

Boat (1.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours)


Day 11: Kalaw/Yangon (1B)

Fly back to Yangon and visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. Enjoy free time to explore and shop in the old capital.

Included Activities:
Shwedagon Pagoda Visit

Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
Plane (1.00 hour(s))
Transfer to hotel.
Private Vehicle


Day 12: Yangon (1B)

Depart any time today.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

    • Arrival transfer
    • Tour of Mandalay
    • Boat trip and tour of Mingun village
    • Burmese cabaret performance
    • Visit Sagaing and the ancient city of Amarapura
    • Visit Kyan Sithar Umin monastery and talk with a monk
    • Irrawaddy River boat trip
    • Guided tour of Bagan archaeological zone
    • Visit Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery
    • Tour Nyaung Shwe by trishaw
    • Boat tour of Inle Lake including floating villages and markets
    • Visit a cheroot factory
    • Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the Nge Phe Chaung Monastery
    • Tour Shwedagon Pagoda
    • Interesting articles, helpful tips, and photography advice from National Geographic before you depart
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Hotels (11 nts)
    Meals Included
    • 11 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 0 dinners
    • Private bus/van, plane, boat, walking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Talk with a monk about Buddhism and daily life
  • Visit villages helped by the Rural Development Society
  • Learn the basics of Burmese cuisine with a cooking demonstration from a local chef
  • Travel past floating villages on tranquil Inle Lake
  • Explore the pagodas and monasteries of this ancient land